What is Salvation?, Pt. 2

Scripture: Hebrews 10:23-26, John 1:12, 1 John 3:1
We can have confidence in our salvation when we honestly come in repentance and call upon Jesus. While no one can take away our salvation, does that mean we lose our own freedom of choice? This broadcast looks at Bible texts on sinning willfully after receiving truth.
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Announcer: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join our hosts, Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw, speakers for the Amazing Facts Ministry as they now open the Bible and discuss themes that affect your life today. Stay tuned because the next 15 minutes will deepen your understanding of God's Word.

John Bradshaw: Hi, friends and welcome to Bible Talk! Where we talk about what the Bible has to say to us today. I'm John Bradshaw and with me is Gary Gibbs. Hi, Gary!

Gary Gibbs: John, it's good to be here today and we have another exciting topic that we're going to cover today.

John: We're going to carry on from our last conversation where we talked about salvation and we discovered that a person who comes to Jesus can really have confidence that Jesus forgives them and saves them totally from their sins.

Gary: Yes, John. But you also said that it is possible for us to give up our salvation or maybe even lose our salvation, isn't it what you said in our last program?

John: I don't want to be a downer here but there's no doubt about it. Let me read to you from the book of Hebrews. I think the reason we've covered is that a lot of people kind of get into this presumptuous mode. "I've come to Jesus, He saved me. Now, man, it really doesn't matter because I'm saved and that's it!" Right? You know that there are people who believe that.

Gary: Oh, I was raised that way, John! When I went to church and I gave my heart to the Lord I was taught "Once saved, always saved." It did not matter what I did after that.

John: I know we looked at a verse last time that talked about no one plucking you out of God's hand.

Gary: John 10:28 and 29.

John: I wan to encourage people, when you study the Bible consider all the Bible has to say on a subject. Hebrews 10, also in the 20's, that with 23. "Let us draw near with a true heart and full assurance of faith having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water." Verse 23: "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering for He is faithful that promised." I'm going to drop down to verse 26: "If we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin but a certain fearful looking for judgment, fire, indignation..." and so on. That's pretty clear, Gary.

Gary: [laughs] What's clear about it, John?

John: What's clear is that when we come to Jesus, if we turn and carry on sinning willfully, obviously without repenting, that we can not expect to receive the gift of salvation from God.

Gary: So if we sin willfully, that means if we choose to sin...

John: That's right.

Gary: ...even after we have received the knowledge of truth. So I know what is truth...

John: Sure.

Gary: ...and I'm choosing to go against it, then there's no more sacrifice to cover my sin.

John: That's exactly right. In other words...

Gary: And who's sacrifice?

John: That's the sacrifice of Christ because only the sacrifice of Christ can cover and wash away a person's sins.

Gary: Now, John. I kind of want to voice here what a lot of my friends who believe in once saved, always saved believe. So I'm going to play their advocate here, alright?

John: And I do think this is important because we're really talking about...see, what you believe about how you're saved impacts how you're going to act, right?

Gary: Oh, it really does!

John: So no doubt how you act is going to impact where you spend eternity. So it's worth going through this. Let's hear what you have to say.

Gary: A lot of my friends, John, would take you to a text like John 1:12 here. It says "But as many as received Him as many has received Jesus."

John: Sure.

Gary: "To them gave He power..." Or other translations say the right or the privilege "...to become the sons or the children of God."

John: Amen.

Gary: "Even to them that believe on His name." So, John, when a person's born again, when they give their life to Christ and they're born of Christ...my friends would say "How can you be unborn? Once you're a child, you're always a child." My daughter, I've got a little two-year old, she's my child. Now as she grows up, if she ever goes through a rebellious stage, which I imagine most every child does...

John: Sure, except for mine.

Gary: Except for yours but I'll remind you of that in a few years.

John: No doubt.

Gary: But if she leaves me...she's always my child, John!

John: Sure and you'll always love her, right?

Gary: She'll always be my child. So once I give my life to Christ and I'm born again, I'm His! And even though I might stray and rebel a little bit, I am still His. I am still in His will and I'm still going to receive the benefits of being part of His family. And that's what a lot of my friends would say right now.

John: You're overreaching there. Now let's think of your little princess. If she rebels, is she still yours? Yes. Do you still love her? Yes. Is she still in your will? She's absolutely not walking in your will unless it's your will for her to walk in sin. And it's not God's will for any of us to walk that way, see? Speaking of sons and daughters here, let's be careful not to muddy the issue. The issue isn't, does God still love us when we sin? That's no the issue. The issue is, are we still walking where God wants us to walk and do we still have the right to be able to claim that salvation is ours after we've turned our back on God?

Gary: I think you're right. The issue is that but isn't God's love the paramount thing? I mean, as long as He loves me and He has me, isn't that what really matters?

John: What matters is how we respond to that love. I'm going to take you to one John three and then look at a Bible story.

Gary: Alright.

John: Because you've talked here about being the sons of God.

Gary: So 1 John 3:1, the little book of John near the back of the Bible by Revelation?

John: That's the one. "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us..." you know this "...that we should be called the..."

Gary: "...sons of God."

John: OK. "Therefore the world knoweth us not because it knew Him not. Beloved now are we the sons of God and it just not yet appear what we shall be but we know that when He shall appear we will be likened for we will see Him as He is." And here's my verse "Every man that has this hope in him..." What comes next?

Gary: "purifies himself even as he is pure."

John: Right. So when you truly are a son of God, you will be purified by the grace of God working in your life.

Gary: But is the purification necessary for salvation or is that something separate?

John: Let's have a look at a story that answers that and illustrates that very clearly. It's a story that deals with the subject of son-ship and fathers and so on. We'll have a look at this story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15.

Gary: OK. Let's hear about that, John.

John: A certain man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, and I know most people are familiar with this. "Dad!" he said "Give me the portion of goods that falls to me." So dad divided them his living. Now let's understand this. Dad should have given that to the sons after he died. Well, that would be clever, wouldn't it? You can't do that. This should have gone to the sons after the dad died. So, in essence, the son was saying, "Dad, I'd rather that you were dead. I can't wait 'til you die, so give me what's mine, give me my inheritance." Right?

Gary: Yeah, it's amazing to me, it always has amazed me. Why in the world did the father give it to him?

John: Well, he is demonstrating in this whole story that grace, and the love of our Father God isn't he?

Gary: Alright.

John: So what happened next? "Not many days after, the younger son gathered it all together and took off into a far country." So he didn't even wait around. He didn't even say, "Dad, I'll give you another week," or anything like that, he said, "Thank you, I am gone."

Gary: He took the money and ran.

John: He did, and look, It was something I'm guessing equivalent to the value of half of that farm. That was a lot of money! And he took that big bank account, ton of dough, and what does the Bible say he did? He went to a far country - so he got as far from his dad as he could - and he wasted his substance with a riotous living. So what did he do? He started, say, in the East, and he took off to Las Vegas. And he ate well. Man, he wasn't eating at Taco Bell and buying 99 cent burritos. He was eating at fine restaurants, he was driving fancy cars, he had a Palm Pilot, and all the gadgets, and a big-screen TV set, and vacationing in the Caribbean. This guy was doing it up, right? The Bible says, riotous living. Now, who does he represent? He represents the Christian, the person who turns from God and goes far from God and lives a deplorable life. Right?

Gary: He does, but John, I think I know where you are going with this: is he still a son? Even though he's out there in that far land, my friends would tell me he's still a son of the father.

John: And your friends would be right, he is a son! But what kind of son is he?! He is a lost son!

Gary: If he's born again, how can he be unborn?

John: If he's out there living that life of sin, how can he be born again? This man is as lost as lost can be. He is like the guy who comes into church every week, reeking of alcohol, beats up his wife, dishonest in his business practice, flops down in the back row of church, and deceives himself that he's OK because he showed up in his father's house.

Gary: So you're saying salvation is based on what the person does, either the prodigal son or the drunken [laughs] Christian. And you're saying it's based on what he does instead of what Christ does.

John: Salvation definitely has something to do with what we do, but our doing is to respond to what God does for us. Salvation is essentially about what Jesus does, what He does for you and in you. The prodigal son had nothing going on in him. That drunk - who is trying to fool everybody but who is fooling nobody - is lost in the church because Christ isn't living in his heart by faith. Now, what happened to the prodigal son?

Gary: He gets hungry. He gets tired of eating pig's food. And if I remember the story correctly, he returns back to his father's house.

John: Lost all his money, right? Bottomed out, his 401K, had...

Gary: ...stock market crashed.

John: ...crashed, everything's gone. And what did he do? He came to himself, Holy Spirit is working in his life. He realized that his father's hired-hands have it better. So, to cut the story short, he said, "I'm going to go back, confess to my father that I have sinned," and what did dad do?

Gary: He meets him with arms wide open, in fact.

John: Dad came after him! And he opened up his arms and he said, "Son, you're back! Let's kill the fatted calf, let's celebrate, we're going to put the ring on you, the robe on you," right?

Gary: Yes, and that ring - if I understand my history correctly - that signified the bank account. It was a signet...

John: Signet ring.

Gary: ...ring that they would sign the accounts with. He essentially brings him back into the inheritance.

John: All authority. Now was he his son along the way, yes or no?

Gary: Yes.

John: Was he a son when he was out eating the pig's food?

Gary: He was always a son.

John: But what does dad say? He says, "Look here, this my son was..." do you know the story,"...he was ...

Gary: Dead.

John: Yeah, "...he was dead, and is now alive. He was lost, and he is found."

Gary: So he was, as the Bible says he was, "Dead in trespasses and sin."

John: He absolutely was, because there is no safety in wandering far from God. When we know God, if truly we are experiencing salvation, we come to God, we stay with Him, we stay in Christ, we stay close to Jesus, and, Gary, let's look at it like this too: while he's out there eating the pig slop, even while he is out there in Vegas gambling his money away, how much joy is there in his experience?

Gary: None at all! He's out there, and he's... you know I was out there one time. I was raised originally in a Christian family, but then when I got in my teen years, in fact my whole family stopped going to church - not because I was in my teen years.

John: Sure.

Gary: [laughs] But they just all stopped. But I stopped going to church, and I was just not happy. I was confused, I was looking for meaning in life, I didn't have peace, and it's when I came back to God that I found the peace. You're right, I couldn't say I was saved when I was out there, out of the benefit, out of the care of my Heavenly Father.

John: Not saved, and not happy either.

Gary: No.

John: And friends, what we want to encourage you today is that a relationship with Jesus, and joy in that relationship with Jesus, is only found in closeness to Christ. And Gary, you can attest to that. [music]

Gary: He is our wonderful Savior, but we have to keep our hand in His hand.

John: Gary, it's been good today, so glad you were here, and glad that we had the opportunity to go through this important subject.

Gary: Amen.

John: Friend, thanks for joining us today. Join Gary and me again next time for more, here on Bible Talk.

Announcer: If you'd like more information on what we've been studying today, we have a comprehensive Bible study guide we'd love to share with you that's absolutely free. This study includes many of the texts we've just discussed, and expands on the subject including information you'll want to know. To receive this free informative Bible Study Guide, simply call, write, or email and ask for BT103, "It's Still There." The toll-free number is 866-BIBLE-SAYS, that's 866-242-5372. You can write to us at: Bible Talk, P.O. Box 1058, Roseville, California 95678. Or email us, at bibletalk@amazingfacts.org. Bible Talk has been produced in association with Amazing Facts in the studios of Life Talk Radio.

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