Many Bible verses explain that people are saved based on a choice they make and sustain. One of the most powerful texts is found in Ezekiel18:24, which says, “But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die.”
The Scriptures make it clear that salvation isn’t a choice we simply make one day and then go on our way. When we accept salvation, we are making a free choice, and if we later choose to reject God, we are given that freedom as well. Just as the devil cannot force anyone to be lost, so Jesus does not force anyone to be saved. We must choose to serve Him.
Many people get confused because the Lord says that He will not lose or let go anyone that comes to Him (John 6:37). What this means is that He willnever turn His back on us. It does not mean that He will save individuals who stop coming to Him! Knowing that it is possible for us to lose our salvation, Paul counsels in Hebrews 10:23, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering.”
The idea of “once saved, always saved” can be traced to John Calvin. While he was a great theologian, this particular doctrine is not biblical. For example,the New Testament tells of Demus, Paul’s friend who travelled with him but later threw off his salvation to go back to the world (2Timothy 4:10). In the Old Testament, we have the example of King Saul, who was chosen by God and anointed and filled with the Holy Spirit but later turned his back on God and committed suicide (1Samuel 10:1; 1 Chronicles 10:13).
Many Christians believe that if an individual falls back into sin, it is because that person was never truly saved. However, accepting Christ as our Saviour never guarantees that we will be free from temptations to turn away from Him or that we will no longer have the freedom to decide our eternal destinies. To suggest that once we’re saved we can’t be lost is like saying that the Lord holds us as hostages against our will, and He would never do that! It is true that once we’re in heaven we will never be lost, but in this world we are still in a land of war, and we can defect to the enemy any time we want.
Of course choosing sin after knowing salvation can bring only great pain. Peter warns: “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them” (2 Peter 2:20, 21).
As you can see,countless Scriptures explain that salvation is based on a daily commitment. That is why Paul said, “I die daily” (1 Corinthians15:31), meaning that he put his human nature to death each day so that he could live for the Lord.
Instead of taking our salvation for granted, we must heed Matthew 24:13, which says, “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” Furthermore, as 1 Corinthians10:12 warns, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”
Of course, we must not make the opposite mistake of being so constantly fearful that we fall into a yo-yo, saved-lost-saved-lost relationship with God! The Bible doesn’t condone that either.
While it is true that people who are saved may sin, they are instantly grieved and led to repentance by the Holy Spirit. As Romans 8:14, 15,promises: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out,“Abba, Father.”” By daily continuing our walk with Christ, we can have assurance and confidence of our salvation.