By Dr. Charles Stanley
You and I do not have eternal life because we exhibit unwavering faith. We are saved because at a moment in time we expressed faith in our enduring Lord, Jesus Christ, and what He accomplished for us on the cross. The apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:8-9: “By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” The salvation that has been given to us is His loving, sacrificial gift to us—we can do nothing to earn it.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I have learned that a present that can be taken back is not really a gift at all. True gifts have no strings attached. Once we place a condition of any kind on a present, it becomes a trade—not a gift. To say that our salvation can be taken from us for any reason, whether it be sin or disbelief, is to ignore the plain meaning of what Paul teaches us in the verse above. Questioning the permanency of our salvation is equivalent to not believing Ephesians 2:8-9 or other passages where Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is clearly described as a gift.
What you do once you’re saved is another matter entirely. When you accept a present, it’s yours—like it or not. You can take it and bury it in the backyard, but it still belongs to you. You may say, “Well, what if I give it back?” You can only return a present if the giver accepts it back, and there is absolutely no evidence in Scripture that the Lord has ever taken back the gift of salvation once it has been given. His love keeps Him from doing so. Remember, Christ came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). Why would He take back what He came to provide?
“What about a wavering faith?” we may wonder. “If faith is our way of accepting God’s gift, can’t we lose our salvation if our trust in Him falters?” Though it is true that faith serves as our spiritual hands by which we receive the Lord’s gift, it is not necessarily a sustained attitude. We are reconciled to God the moment we accept what He has offered.
Has there been a time in your life when you accepted God’s free gift of salvation? If not, why not settle the issue once and for all right now? It’s really so simple. The Lord is not looking for a series of promises from you and is not concerned about what you can do for Him. Rather, He is more concerned about what you will let Him do for you. So have faith in what Christ has accomplished on the cross and accept His gift of eternal life. It is the one present you will never lose—it will truly be yours forever.
Copyright 2010 In Touch Ministries, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org
For more information on the topic of eternal security, please read Eternal Security: Can You Be Sure by Dr. Charles Stanley or to participate in an online discussion about this book, please visit www.intouch.org/bookclub