Salvation

How Do You Get It and Can You Lose It?

Our salvation presupposes truly genuine repentance. Therefore, we should never speak of salvation as our sole decision, but rather as God’s acceptance of a truly repentant sinner. This article will biblically demonstrate God’s formula for salvation, man’s occupation working for God’s gift, and whether His gift can be lost.

Let us begin by reading what the Watchtower has to say on the issue of salvation.

March 2015 WT

Do you believe that “these words are faithful and true”? Then, learn more about Jesus Christ, and exercise faith in him. If you do, you will gain Jehovah’s approval. Not only will you experience his rich blessing now but you will gain the hope of life eternal in the earthly Paradise, where “death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore.”

17 The hope of everlasting life on a paradise earth. “The wages sin pays is death,” says Romans 6:23. The same verse adds: “But the gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord.” In Chapter 3 of this book, we discussed the blessings of the coming earthly Paradise. (Revelation 21:3, 4) All those future blessings, including life everlasting in perfect health, are made possible because Jesus died for us. To receive those blessings, we need to show that we appreciate the gift of the ransom.

19 How, then, can you demonstrate that you appreciate God’s gift of the ransom? To begin with, get to know the Great Giver, Jehovah. (John 17:3) A study of the Bible with the aid of this publication will help you to do that. As you come to know Jehovah, your love for him will deepen. In turn, that love will make you want to please him.

20 Exercise faith in Jesus’ ransom sacrifice. Regarding Jesus, it is said: “The one who exercises faith in the Son has everlasting life.” (John 3:36) How can we exercise faith in Jesus? Such faith is not shown by words alone. “Faith without works is dead,” says James 2:26. Yes, true faith is proved by “works,” that is, by our actions. One way to show that we have faith in Jesus is by doing our best to imitate him not just in what we say but also in what we do.—John 13:15.

In a nutshell, the Watchtower purports that works are necessary to receive God’s blessings, and that their magazine is required reading for true understanding of Scripture. In essence, the Watchtower implies that the Originator of language does not possess the skill to adequately communicate His message, and that our Infinite God needs His finite creation (the Watchtower) to interpret. That said, we find an interesting parallel of this in the book of Genesis. There, Eve was approached by an interpreter of God’s Word. She believed the interpreter and spread the false information to Adam, leading to the original sin. The lesson learned: Listen and obey God’s Word above all else.

Watchtower dogma teaches that works are needed to experience blessings from God, and also also teach that salvation is not guaranteed. When I was a member of the Watchtower, I was taught that I had to work, wait, and hope. Yes, hope that I was saved. There was no guarantee.

How Is Salvation Received

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16

God is crystal clear. He promises us that anyone believing in His Son will not perish and will have eternal life. He does not specify any other requirement or condition (e.g., reading the Watchtower is not a prerequisite).

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-10

God said His gift of salvation is not of ourselves. What does that really mean … “not of ourselves”? The Author of Scripture makes it abundantly clear that He means “not as a result of works.” That is, any effort, job, performance, task, exertion, or activity on our part. Our Lord extends His gift of salvation to mankind because He loves us. The gift is free but came at great cost. His grace alone saves us through our faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. Nowhere in Scripture does God teach that giving His gift is contingent upon works, labor, meeting attendance, going door-to-door, reading the Watchtower magazine, or any of the man-made rules outlined by the Watchtower.

God is not fickle (bouncing from one side to another on a whim). He is not arbitrary or capricious (given to sudden and unaccountable changes of mood or behavior). His formula for our salvation has already been communicated in Scripture: “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9)  In other words and as I have already said, reading the Watchtower magazine is not part of God’s formula for salvation. God does not need an interpreter. His Word is crystal clear. The Bible provides His formula for Salvation, with all the instructions included.

Salvation Described

The salvation that comes through Christ may be described in three tenses: past, present, and future. When people believe in Christ, they are saved: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved …” Acts 16:31 … We are also in the process of being saved from the power of sin: “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh.” Romans 8:3 … Finally, we shall be saved from the very presence of sin: “And this do, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.” Romans 13:11

As I said before, our LORD is not fickle, arbitrary or capricious. Our salvation is not contingent upon what we give God. Our eternal salvation was His gift to us before we were even born. I just love the words of Paul below:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 35, 38, 39

I highlighted the words “nor any other created thing,” because they refer to any man-made thing, such as the Watchtower. Their created theology of lies, deception, craftiness, cunning and pretense remind me of the character in the Garden of Eden. This guardian of Adam and Eve (the devil) lied and contradicted his Creator (you know the story). The Watchtower is nothing more than the offspring of the devil.

Scripture quoted by the Watchtower with the intent to contradict, mislead or misrepresent what the Bible is actually communicating is a much rehearsed and skilled practice. The devil has taught them well. The Bible, however, contradicts Watchtower “truths” regarding His formula for salvation:

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast” Ephesians 2:8-10.

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” John 4:24

Can Salvation Be Lost?

Nowhere in God’s inspired Word do we find any hint that our salvation, once received, is in jeopardy of being lost or taken away.  Some do not believe this by pointing to the example of Judas Iscariot. He, being one of the chosen, is proof positive (so they say) that salvation is not eternally secure. Let us look into this line of thinking.

Jesus in John 17:12 said:

While I was with them, I was keeping them in Thy name which Thou has given Me; and I guarded them, and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”

The Scripture to be “fulfilled” was the following:

Even my close friend, in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.” Psalm 41:9

Scholar Sprios Zodhiates affirms the position that Judas’ salvation was never lost because he was never saved in the first place (Never Truly Regenerated; Never Truly Born Again):  “The son of perdition was always lost. He was never saved.” (The Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible pg. 1593, by Dr. Spiros Zodhiates)

Once someone has repented and is accepted by God (truly regenerated; born again), nothing in heaven or on earth (ourselves included) could separate us from our love for Jesus Christ.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 35, 38, 39

Conclusion

Scripture teaches us that God’s plan to save the mankind is twofold: (1) His Love & Grace (2) our faith placed in His Son, Jesus Christ. There are no other qualifications. Man’s participation in God’s salvation formula is restricted to his or her individual acceptance of God The Son. In other words, works are never a prerequisite for salvation; works cannot save us; they are only a by-product. Works become a by-product as evidence of our newly-regenerated heart, not the other way around.

As for losing salvation, this is not found anywhere in Scripture. If God accepts someone who He is not able to keep to the very end, then Christ has failed and that is an impossibility.  Scripture teaches us that God’s gift of salvation is eternally secure:

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know you have eternal life.” 1John 3:13

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: