We are in a relationship with God and therefore, salvation is more than saying a prayer or “making a decision” for Christ. Salvation is a sovereign act of God whereby an unregenerate sinner is washed, renewed, and born again by the Holy Spirit (John 3:3; Titus 3:5). God gives the forgiven sinner a new heart and puts a new spirit within him (Ezekiel 36:26). The Spirit will cause the saved person to walk in obedience to God’s Word (Ezekiel 36:26–27; James 2:26).
Romans 8:30 declares, “And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified.” Once a person is justified, his salvation is guaranteed.
John 3:15 states that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will “have eternal life.” If you believe in Christ today and have eternal life, but can lose it tomorrow, then it was never “eternal” at all. Hence, if you lose your salvation, the promises of eternal life in the Bible would be in error.
Scripture says, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38–39).
If we couldn’t have saved ourselves through works, then we are also unable to maintain our own salvation through works and it would mean that we are fallen from the grace that saved us.
Does the saved sin? Of course, we do because we are still in battle with our sinful flesh. The difference, however, is that we are no longer slaves to wilful sinning (Romans 6:6). Paul gives a good description of our battle in Romans 7:15-20. “Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.”
As a result of being a new person, we also bear fruit. “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” (John 15:8)
If a person therefore continuously bears bad fruit, the question should be asked whether such a person was saved in the first place.
There are two judgements. The Bema seat judgement for believers after the rapture, and the White Throne judgement after the Millennial reign of Christ.
Regarding the Bema seat judgement, Paul says: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what we have done whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). The Bible says that God will reward the actions of believers. “and that you, O Lord, are loving. Surely You will reward each person according to what He has done” (Psalm 62:12). Jesus also said; “For the Son of Man is going to come in His Father’s glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what He has done” (Matthew 16:27). Paul wrote: “Knowing that whatever good we do, we will receive the same again from the Lord, whether we are slaves or free” (Ephesians 6:8).
The Bible gives us even more assurance, as it says: “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:10-12).
Not everyone will receive the same reward. At the judgment seat of Christ, there will be those who suffer loss. “If anyone’s work is burned, they will suffer loss; but they themselves will be saved, yet so as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:15).