How do I keep my salvation?

I recently received an email from someone asking,

What does a person have to do in order to keep their salvation?

To answer this question let’s first look at three misconceptions about salvation.

01. Misconception - Salvation can be obtained apart from God.

As long as we believe salvation can be obtained purely by our human effort, we’ll try. But it’s a dead end. Jesus was asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible.” It’s important to hear Jesus clearly say, “impossible”. Dead end. No way, no how. If Jesus stopped there we would have reason to be discouraged, but Jesus went on to say, “but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:25-26 NIV) In the context of salvation, it is also important to hear Jesus clearly say, “With God all things are possible”.

This cat has a better chance jumping to the moon, than humans have of obtaining salvation on our own.

This cat has a better chance jumping to the moon, than humans have of obtaining salvation on our own.

02. Misconception - Salvation can be maintained apart from God.

Paul reminded the Galatian Christians that salvation doesn’t start by means of the Spirit, and then it’s up to them to finish it by means of their own human will power. We start with the Spirit and continue with the Spirit. (Galatians 3:3 NIV) Jesus told his disciples, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (John 15:4 NIV). We remain in Jesus as we continue to draw our strength from him. He’s our daily bread. Peter wrote, “If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides” (1 Peter 4:11b NIV).

This branch that broke off has a better chance of producing fruit, than a Christian has of maintaining their spiritual life being disconnected from Christ.

This branch that broke off has a better chance of producing fruit, than a Christian has of maintaining their spiritual life being disconnected from Christ.

03. Misconception - The pinnacle of Christianity is being saved from hell.

Being saved from hell, is definitely something to be eternally grateful for, but the pinnacle of Christianity isn’t what we are saved from, but what we are saved for.

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Here are just three purposes we are saved for.

01. We were saved for a new life.

Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10b NIV) This new life is contrasted with our old selfish-self-centered life, “And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” (2 Corinthians 5:15 NIV) 

I personally know that living for myself is a low standard; it was lonely, and frustrating. When I live for myself I’m missing out on what I was designed for. Living for Jesus has given me a quality of life and purpose unmatched in my previous way of life.

A Christian surrenders to Jesus, like a seed surrenders itself to become what it was designed to become.

A Christian surrenders to Jesus, like a seed surrenders itself to become what it was designed to become.

02. We were saved for good works.

This new life that comes from Jesus allows us to do good works God wants us to accomplish.

“For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV)

I receive so much joy from pouring my heart into creating and serving with Jesus and for him.

Christians are saved for doing good works.

Christians are saved for doing good works.

03. We were saved for a transformation that ends with us looking like Jesus!

Now this won’t excite the skeptic who thinks God is a tyrant and hard to like, but for those who have discovered Jesus is not only likable, but captivating and awe inspiring; this is good news. 

Paul, who started out as a skeptic got to know Jesus and this is what he had to say about it: “[7] But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. [8] What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:7-8 NIV) and

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21 NIV).

Paul also said: [18] And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV)

This is wonderful news for those who want God’s wisdom, purity, love, joy, sincerity, faithfulness, compassion, and grace within us abundantly.

In our fast paced world, we want overnight transformation, but it doesn't always happen that way. Paul encouraged the Philippian Christians to not give up hope with these words, "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6 NIV)

In our fast paced world, we want overnight transformation, but it doesn't always happen that way. Paul encouraged the Philippian Christians to not give up hope with these words, "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6 NIV)

Now back to the question, “What does a person have to do in order to keep their salvation?”

I find Paul’s words in Colossians 2:6-7 helpful. 

[6] So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, [7] rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6-7 NIV) 

Paul says, “Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him”. Now the question is, “How did we receive Christ Jesus as Lord?” Through trust. Trust wasn’t meant to be a one time thing we do in baptism, but an eternal life long practice in our relationship.

These words from John have encouraged many Christians to refocus on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, [11] And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. [12] Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 John 5:11-12 NIV). 

Just as our bodies need to continually receive food, water, and rest, Christians need to continually trust Jesus.

Just as our bodies need to continually receive food, water, and rest, Christians need to continually trust Jesus.

Caleb Grimes