Answering Common Sense Questions – #6

The next question asked by Mr. David Martin of the Solid Rock Baptist church in his article “Common Sense Questions a Church of Christ Preacher Cannot Answer” is:

If as a Christian I can fall and “lose my salvation,” is it possible to regain it? If so, how? If God “takes away” my salvation, doesn’t that make Him an “Indian giver”? How could I ever know for sure that I was saved or lost?

Yes, if your salvation is lost it is possible to regain it and there is a biblical example.  First we need to realize what it means to lose ones salvation.  Peter describes it as becoming once again entangled in, overcome by, and enslaved by sin after we had been cleansed (2 Peter 2:19-20). Jesus said that you cannot server to masters (Matthew 6:24), thus one cannot be enslaved by sin and yet still be a servant of Christ.  Paul also expressed this same thought that who we serve is to who we belong, whether sin or Christ, and characterizes salvation as a state of freedom from sin (Romans 6:17-18).  Thus to lose ones salvation means to return to a state of bondage to sin thus becoming free from Christ.

Given that can we find an example of someone who was saved who later returned to bondage in sin?  If so what were they commanded to do to return to a state of freedom from sin?  Well the Bible does give us such an example in the account of Simon the sorcerer.  Simon was a magician who decieved the people into believing that he had the power of God (Acts 8:9-10).  When Philip came through performing true miracles even Simon believed him and was baptized (Acts 8:13).  We know that Simon was saved because the inspired narrative tells us that Simon believed and second because he was baptized. Whether or not you believe that baptism is necessary to salvation that Philip, filled with the Holy Spirit, allowed him to be baptized indicates that Philip also accepted his faith as genuine.  Thus at this piont Simon was free from the bondage of sin.  Then Peter and John came down to lay hands on the people and impart the gifts of the Spirit (Acts 8:14-15).  Simon then approached them and offered to pay them money so that he could perform this laying on of hands to which Peter told him that he was in bondage to iniquity (Acts 8:19-23).  So here we have an example of one who had been freed but had relapsed and was once again in bondage to sin.  So what did Peter tell him to do and what example do we have of him doing to return to a state of freedom.  Peter commanded him to repent, to turn away from sin, and pray to God that he would be forgiven (Acts 8:22) and Simon requested that they pray with him and for him as well (Acts 8:24). This is how we can return to a state of salvation if we have turned from the way of truth.  We must repent and pray to God or forgiveness. Remember that repentance involves more than just remorse but is a change of action. Thus we must return to walking in the light and pray to God that he will forgive us.  It is also appropriate for us to ask our brothers and sisters in Christ to pray for us.

The next part of Mr. Martin’s question is whether or not God is an “Indian giver” if he takes away salvation.  Here, once again, Mr. Martin strays from common sense.  Most of us who are parents realize that we do this from time to time.  For example, my teenage son was given a car for his 16th birthday with the condition that if he engaged in certain negative behavior while driving, such as racing, that the car would be taken away and sold.  Does that condition make the car less of a gift? Not at all.  If my son were to be caught drag racing and we took the car back and sold it would that make my wife and I “Indian givers”? Of course not, he knew the rules and broke them and thus we would be justified to take the car. God like any parent has rules that he expects to be obeyed and is justified in taking away the privilege of salvation if we refuse to follow his rules. 

Finally Mr. Martin asks how we can be sure of our salvation and I believe that I have sufficiently answered that in the previous two articles that dealt with his questions on the loss of salvation.

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