Can I Lose My Salvation? Part 1 - God Promises to Keep You
Sadly, there are many stories today of friends, family, and former Christians who, instead of taking steps closer to Jesus, are taking steps farther away or even completely rejecting faith in Christ.
The news is replete with stories of former believers "Destructing Christianity." One notable individual in recent years is Joshua Harris, a pastor and the author of best seller, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, who has entirely denounced Christianity. I read many of Harris' books and they impacted me personally, especially as a young believer.
For many of us, this faith exodus is personal: family and friends who are wandering away, a child who was once on fire for Jesus but is now vocally against the church or Christianity, a parent who has become disinterested, a former pastor who is on a different path.
This is a national trend. In my generation, the millennials, around 20% were religiously unaffiliated in the year 2000, today that number is almost 35%! Generation Z, is not even on this survey because they were too young to be surveyed. Other statistics show that they are the first generation to eclipse 10% in identifying as atheists (13% of this youngest generation would self-identify as an atheist).
We are witnessing a wave of unbelief and are becoming increasingly post-Christian. As a student pastor I see this far too often. I saw a former student not long ago post publicly:
“Christianity was the worst thing to ever happen to me…From as young as 7 or 8 years old I strived for perfection as I was afraid of burning in eternity.”
This breaks my heart.
And it begs the question. Is your faith safe? Is Christianity a house of cards which given a matter of time will fall? Is gospel-preaching, Bible-believing, church-going Christianity on its last breath?
I want to encourage you, DO NOT FEAR. Jesus promised, “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Mathew 16:18). We can have confidence that God is building and will build His church, AND we can also have assurance that we too individually, as those in Christ, are being kept for Him.
This is the first in a series of posts on assurance of salvation and today we will look at the reality that God promises to keep you.
Contend for the Faith
Jude is writing to a church that is under attack. There were false teachers and false doctrines being spread from within and without. Many were denying Jesus Christ. Others were living and celebrating sin and immorality. Much of the church was questioning spiritual authority and the truth of God. Sound familiar?
Jude writes to this church and says in 1:3 to “contend for the faith!”
Contend for THE faith
The truth doesn’t change. We are called to fight for it and to hold fast. Hold the line!
The answer to mass de-conversion isn’t to soften the truth. In a post-Christian culture we may need to CONTEXTUALIZE the truth to make it more accessible but we must never CHANGE the truth to make it more palatable. We are commanded to preach the word in season and out of season. Success should ultimately be measured by our faithfulness in contending for the faith and following in the footsteps of Jesus.
In a post-Christian culture we may need to CONTEXTUALIZE the truth to make it more accessible but we must never CHANGE the truth to make it more palatable.
Today, though, I want us to see Jude’s message of hope and assurance in the midst of a storm of apostasy. To what do we hold when the church around us or Christians who are dear to us seem to be crumbling? I believe Jude wants us to see that it is God who promises to keep us. You are kept by God. Look at verse 1...
God Promises to Keep You
Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ. -Jude 1:1
No matter the storm, your loving Father has you. God promises to keep you.
Notice Jude refers to the church as "called, beloved and kept." These are beautiful words of assurance. The idea especially of being "kept by God" is replete throughout God’s Word.
- Isaiah 42:6 - I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you;
- John 6:37 - All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
- John 10:27-29 - My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand
- John 17:11 - And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.
- Philippians 1:6 - And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
- 1 Peter 1:3-5 - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
- Hebrews 13:5 - I will never leave you nor forsake you.
- Romans 8:35-36, 38-39 - Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written…For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Brothers and sisters YOU ARE KEPT BY GOD. If you have received Jesus as your Savior by faith and surrendered your life to Him by faith, YOU ARE HIS. THIS IS HIS PROMISE.
To doubt this promise is to doubt the God who saved you, bought you, redeemed you, and calls you His son or daughter. God promises to keep you!
What do we do when a close friend or family member leaves the faith?
Those Who Walk Away
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 1 John 2:19
You see the promise of being kept isn’t for you to hold for others, it is for you to hold for yourself. We don’t know one another’s hearts, but we can know our own heart. Am I trusting in Jesus alone for salvation? Is my faith and trust in Him alone? If so, THEN I AM HIS! And He promises to keep me.
You see the promise of being kept isn’t for you to hold for others, it is for you to hold for yourself.
For those who have walked away I would say there are only two options…either God has turned them over to their sin, for them to feel the discipline and consequences of running from God and they will return…OR they were never truly in Christ in the first place. But we can’t know, all we can do is pray and exhort them in the words of James 4:8, Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
God's will for the person who is running from Him is always REPENT AND BELIEVE. Whether it be the son, daughter, prodigal, or apostate. Return to Jesus and cling to the beautiful promise,
"Whoever comes to me I will never cast out" (John 6:37).
To see more posts on Assurance of Salvation Click Here.
This post adapted from a portion of a sermon I preached in 2022 on taking a step closer to Jesus through assurance. You can listen to the whole sermon below.