By Ricky Smith
I can do it! Any parent has heard this from their child numerous times. This struggle for independence is critical for growth and development. At the same time, when an adult says it we view it as confident, or in the extreme as arrogant. Personally, I am a fan of positive thinking, hard work, drive, and determination. The attitude of “you can do it” is strong.
Conversely, this attitude can infect faith in a way that is destructive. As a matter of faith there is one thing that we must confess we cannot do. I cannot save myself. I cannot keep my salvation. While we may know that in our head, we live as though our eternal security depends on us. This core doctrine is essential that we grasp and confess.
True rest and peace is discovered when we recognize that our salvation is fully made possible by the work of Jesus. It was His atoning sacrifice that made the way for me to be in right standing with God. It is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus that saved. Ephesians 2:8-9 reminds us that it is a gift of God. He is the source of our salvation.
Beware of the natural human tendency to think that I have any power in my salvation or that I have any power to keep my salvation. This is a human tendency and a lie that the Devil would love for us to accept. Furthermore it is compounded by Scripture that can be interpreted to suggest that one can be cast off, or that one can abandon their faith.
For example, Hebrews 3:7-19 recounts the story of the Israelites and provides a case study for apostasy. We can look at research which reveals young adults that abandon faith. We can look at the rise of the religious unaffiliated. We can read stories of faith deconstruction. We can reflect on personal relationships with those really seemed to be saved and who now really seem to not be saved.
You and I should be careful to judge one’s faith, as only God knows the heart of a person. The bottom line is that it is possible to be around Christ and not be in Christ. The proof of sincere faith is the evidence of faith that is kept until the end.
The thought of losing my salvation is a contradiction of reality. The thought is contradictory to the doctrine of Justification, the nature of Christ. God is not a God you do a transaction with and have to keep your part of the contract. You can’t pray enough. You can’t believe enough. You can’t be good enough.
God is a God of covenant who does all the work for you! He chose you. He adopted you. He saved you. He keeps you! We are blameless because of Him, not because of us. And all God’s people said, Amen!