I think everyone who believes in God can agree that the greatest gift God has given us is salvation through the Messiah. Whether or not you believe Yeshua (Jesus) is that Messiah or not, salvation through Messiah brings us the eternal peace we all crave.
But how many people are so focused on getting saved (cleansed from our sins) that they forget this is the least important stage of salvation? It is, you know, because (as I discussed in this post: Forgiveness is Only for the Past) getting “saved” doesn’t mean you will stay saved.
I have heard too many people, both Christian and Messianic, tell me that “once saved, always saved” because God’s gift is irrevocable. The understanding they have been given is that once you ask for salvation through Messiah, you have it, always. This is a very misleading teaching because some of the parables Yeshua tells us in the Gospels clearly point to the fact that even though we are saved, we can throw it away on our own! Yes, we can! Salvation is irrevocable, which means simply that God will not renege on His promise; He will not retract the salvation He promised to us and we can count on Him to deliver on His promise. But, even though salvation cannot be purchased or earned, it is not unconditional: you have to ask for it, you have to really do T’shuvah (turn from your sin) and you have to maintain that new attitude for the rest of your life.
Look to the parable about the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30)- the one servant that did nothing with the gift he was given was berated and thrown into the dark. The ones that used the talents to create more talents were honored and welcomed into their Master’s presence. The talents represent the salvation given, and the one that buried it never changed his lifestyle, kept doing what he had always done, so his salvation was unused, meaning he never really changed. What he was given was worthless due to his never using it.
Let’s take a look also at the parable about the fruit tree that bore no fruit (Luke 13:6-9)- there was a tree in the garden that after three years produced no fruit, so the man who owned the garden told the manager of the garden to cut it down. The manager asked for one more year to tend it and if it still didn’t produce it would be thrown out. The tree is the saved person, and being in the garden means that they have received salvation: they have a promised place in God’s presence. However, after being given a spot in the garden they did nothing to produce fruit. I believe the manager of the garden is Messiah Yeshua, who is our Intercessor and works with us to help us become holier. The extra tending is through strengthening of the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit.) Yet, even after interceding, the manager agrees to uproot and throw the tree into the fire if it continually fails to produce fruit.
The promise of salvation we receive when we ask for it is just that- the promise of salvation. It is, as I said before, conditional: though we cannot earn it in any way, we have to change our behavior (to be less sinful) so that we stay as clean as we can be AFTER being forgiven (cleaned.)
This is a hard word to hear for many, and I have had some very mature Believers argue vehemently with me about how salvation cannot be lost.
Let’s look once more in the bible for absolutely undeniable evidence, understandable without interpretation, that salvation can be lost. We find it in the book of Messianic Jews (Hebrews), Chapter 6, verses 4-8:
It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.
I have bold printed the part of this that shows people who are saved can throw away their salvation, and it is not taken out of context. The writer of this book is telling the believing Jews (and converted Gentiles) in the Diaspora that once someone has been saved, if they apostasice by failing to live a life devoted to sinning less and being led by the Ruach, they are like land that is barren, full of thorns and thistles and will be burned in the end. He even goes as far as to say don’t even try to “re-save” them because they have known the goodness of God, yet they still rejected it.
Living your life the same way you did before you accepted Messiah and asked for forgiveness through His sacrifice, is essentially having lied to God. You asked for forgiveness and wanted salvation, but you didn’t want to live for Messiah. Yeshua said to follow Him we have to give up what we are and carry our own execution stake (Matthew 16:24), which clearly means a lifestyle change. And we are talking about a major change, not a little change, although the change can occur a little at a time. We can’t stop sinning “cold turkey”, but every day we can sin a little less than the day before. And that’s the point I am trying to make: if you don’t change what you do, what you say and who you are, you aren’t using the salvation you were given and you will have thrown away that chance for eternity in God’s presence; it will be lost, but not by God, not by someone else, not by the Devil, but by Y-O-U!
So- keep running the good race, keep your eyes on the prize, and know that as long as you are trying to be better, as long as you are using the gift God gave you, and as long as you are trying to sin less, everyday, you are guaranteed a place in God’s presence.
When you accept Messiah Yeshua and ask for forgiveness in His name, you have received the greatest promise anyone could ever want: and when you truly do T’shuvah in your heart, you will produce fruit, you will create more talents, and you will be welcomed into your Master’s joy.