21 Days of Once Saved Always Saved Salvation Assurance – Day #17 John 3:16 – Once Saved.org
 

21 Days of Once Saved Always Saved Salvation Assurance – Day #17 John 3:16

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This is day 17 of a video series called 21 Days of Once Saved Always Saved Salvation Assurance. It’s January 2022 and, in honor of the new year, my church in Marietta GA has asked us to dedicate 21 days to the Lord to draw closer to Him.  Over these 21 days, I’m going through 1 passage of Scripture a day that proclaims our salvation assurance in Christ and shows how salvation can never be lost or forfeited but is held securely in place for us by our heavenly Father so we can have confidence that we are eternally saved.

Today’s passage is John 3:16:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 KJV)

This is the most well-known, most evangelistic, even iconic, verse in the Bible. More people have been brought to salvation from this verse than any other. It presents a simple, clear explanation of the Gospel, the good news about Jesus and how we can be saved by God through faith in Christ. It is through faith in Jesus alone that we are saved, by believing in Him, that He is God’s Son, Who died on the cross for us, to pay for our sins, was buried and then rose again to everlasting life three days later. It is through faith in Him alone that we will not perish but have everlasting life. If we are guaranteed not to perish and have everlasting life, then that means Once Saved, Always Saved. Let’s break this verse down.

Most of you know the story. A pharisee named Nicodemus came to Jesus at night and started asking Him about all the miracles that He did, saying that no one could do those miracles except that God be with Him. In that discussion, Jesus responded with John 3:16.

The verse begins with this statement:

“For God so loved the world” (John 3:16 KJV)

From this, we see God’s motive or reason for Him saving anyone, which is love. God is perfect in all His ways. First, He is perfect in holiness. This means no sin or unrighteousness can exist in His presence, which is a big problem for us because all of us have sinned. Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death. What we have earned because of our sin, is eternal punishment, eternal separation from this perfectly holy God in a place called hell. If God’s only attribute was perfect holiness, then there would be no hope for any of us. We would all be condemned, for all of us have sinned. 

But God is perfect in all His ways, including being perfect in love. In spite of all the wicked and terrible things mankind has done, God still loves us. He still loves you. He loves us perfectly. Because of His great love, He is willing to save us from the punishment we deserve.

The question is: How does He save us? All of us have sinned so no matter how much good we do, we can’t erase the fact that we’ve sinned before a perfectly holy God. The answer is Jesus:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16 KJV)

Salvation comes from the Father and is given to us through the Son. Without Christ, we can’t save ourselves. But God so loved us that He sent His Son Jesus to die in our place, paying the penalty for our sins, a free gift we do not deserve, so that His perfect holiness could be satisfied, which demands a payment for every wrong. Jesus died to pay for our sins. He died in our place. And with His death, God’s perfect holiness, His anger and wrath over sin, is satisfied. Only in Jesus do we see God’s perfect holiness and perfect love come together in a way that is perfectly balanced. It is only through Jesus that God remains both perfect holiness and perfect love.

But how does that work? It is through faith, by believing in Him. For Jesus said:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish” (John 3:16 KJV)

No good work or effort of yours can save you. Instead, Jesus tells us that the only way to be saved is to believe in Him, thereby accepting through faith the gift of His payment for your sins. But it’s not enough that He died. You have to accept it.

It’s like if you had a huge mortage on your house that you couldn’t pay and you were about to be evicted. Out of love, I could offer to pay it off for you. So, I stand there with a check for the full amount and hold it out to you. At that point, you have a decision to make. You could either accept it and be free of the debt, or you could refuse it, which means you would then keep the debt yourself and be evicted. Perhaps you don’t believe my check is real. Or perhaps you are too proud to take it. Whatever the reason, if you don’t take it, the debt remains.

So it is with salvation. Jesus paid our debt of sin for us on the cross. By faith, by believing in Him, you have to accept it, putting your trust in Him. If you do, your debt to God is paid and you will be given eternal life. If you don’t, the debt remains for you to pay, and you will face eternal punishment.

So, salvation is by faith in Christ alone, by believing in Him.

This word, “believe,” is the word “pisteuō” in the Greek, which means, “to think to be true, to be persuaded, to place confidence in, to trust in.” It is more than just intellectually agreeing that something is true but knowing it to be true so much so that you place your confidence, your trust, in it. The moment you place your confidence, your trust, in Jesus, believing that He died in your place on the cross, paying your debt of sin to God in full, that He was then buried and rose again on the third day – the moment you believe in Him, you are saved.

Now, there are those who do not believe in salvation assurance, particularly in the Lordship Salvation movement, who have taken this definition of the word “believe” and have hijacked it because it doesn’t fit their false beliefs. They believe that you have to rid yourself of sin and obey Jesus’ commandments to be saved or to stay saved. If you don’t, you could lose your salvation. So, they’ve taken this word “believe” and have hijacked it to mean “obey.” I had one Lordship Salvationist tell me that there are many nuances to this word “believe,” including the requirement that we must obey God’s commandments to keep our salvation. They distort the meaning of words like “believe” because the plain reading of this verse totally destroys their entire false belief system. 

To “believe” simply means to think something is true, so much so that you place your confidence in it and trust in it. Or in this case, your trust in Him, Jesus. We see this plain meaning of the word “believe” whereever we see it used, such as in Matthew 8:13, where a centurian came to Jesus to ask that his servant be healed.

“And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast BELIEVED, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.” (Matthew 8:13 KJV)

There aren’t any special nuances to this word “believe.” It doesn’t mean “obey.” The meaning is clear. So it is with John 3:16.

To believe in Christ is simply to think His crucifixion, death and resurrection to pay for your sins is true to the point where you place your confidence in Him and trust that this good news, this Gospel, is true for you. That’s all “believe” means. There aren’t nuances to this word which twist it into meaning “obey.” We are not saved by obeying commandments and we don’t keep our salvation by obeying commandments.

For Jesus said:

“that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish.” (John 3:16 KJV)

The moment we believe in Jesus, putting our confidence, our trust, in Him to save us, He Himself guarantees in this verse that we will not perish. 

Now, I can already hear Lordship Salvationists saying, “Wait a minute. It says “SHOULD not perish.” The word, “should,” makes not perishing conditional.”

No. Anyone who says that is twisting Scripture. This becomes clear when we look at the original Greek text. This entire phrase, “should not perish,” is only two words in the Greek: “ apollymi,” which means, “not perish.” There is no conditional word, “should.” in the Greek manuscript. The word, “should,” was simply added by translators to make the verse flow better in English. The verse literally says: Whosoever believes in Him not perish.” It’s a very strong statement with no conditions other than to believe in Jesus. Every single person who believes in Him will not perish.

 The reason why Lordship Salvationists and others don’t believe in salvation assurance is because they have an improper understanding of Scripture. Specifically, they take verses that have to do with discipleship, which is the process of becoming like Christ, which occurs AFTER we are saved, and incorrectly applying them to salvation, what we have to do to get saved.

Salvation is based on faith. 

  • It is a gift of God through faith in Christ.
  • It cannot be earned.
  • Not of works.
  • Requires only believing in Jesus.
  • Based on faith alone.
  • Can never be lost or forfeited because it is a free gift from the Father.

Discipleship, on the other hand, is based on works.

  • Discipleship follows salvation. It’s not a part of salvation.
  • Discipleship is about becoming like Jesus.
    • Taking up your cross daily
    • Obeying Him
    • Doing good works
    • Walking in holiness.
  • Based on works (can earn rewards)
  • Rewards can be lost.

Those who do not believe in salvation assurance take verses on discipleship, which is based on works, and mix them in with verses on salvation, which is based on faith, thinking it’s ALL about salvation. When they do that, what they end up with is a Gospel based on works instead of faith. So, they say, you have to obey God to keep your salvation. When in reality, our obedience has nothing to do with salvation. It has everything to do with discipleship, which comes after salvation. Salvation itself is based on faith in Christ alone.

As Jesus said in John 3:16:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 KJV)

This brings us to the last phrase, “everlasting life.” This word, “everlasting,” is the Greek word, “Aiōnios,” which means, “eternal, everlasting, without end, never to cease.” It couldn’t be clearer. It means just what it says: Everyone who believes in Jesus will not perish no matter what and has everlasting life.

This everlasting life means eternal life with God, spiritual life, which requires a spiritual birth. Just as we were born physically, we must be born spiritually. 

In John 3:3:

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3 KJV)

When we place our faith in Christ, at that very moment, we are born again, for John 3:36 says:

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36 KJV)

He that believes on the Son already has everlasting life. According to this verse, everlasting life begins the moment you believe in Christ. But to them that do not believe by not placing their trust in Christ to save them, the wrath of God remains on them. We are born again into everlasting life the moment we believe in Jesus. God’s not waiting till the end of your life to make a final decision on whether you will go to heaven or hell. Everlasting life starts the moment you believe in Jesus.

Peter also made it clear that being born again means everlasting life in 1 Peter 1:23: 

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1 Peter 1:23 KJV)

When we place our faith in Christ, we are born again, not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible seed. This word, “incorruptible,” means, “uncorrupted, not liable to corruption or decay, imperishable, immortal.” 

If from the moment we believe in Jesus, we are born again and have everlasting life that is incorruptible, then that means it will never end and nothing we can do, including our sin, can corrupt it. God will chasten believers if they sin. But sin has forever been dealt with on the cross and cannot cause anyone to lose their salvation. If you don’t believe that, then you are not believing the Gospel. You are not believing that Christ really saved you. Instead, you are believing that you have to save yourself by being good, by ridding yourself of sin and by obeying commandments. 

That is a lie. It is not the Gospel. You’re not trusting in Christ but in yourself. If you are in a church that teaches that to be saved you need anything in addition to believing in Christ, run don’t walk out the door and don’t look back. It is a false church. 

By simply believing in Jesus, we are immediately born again of incorruptible seed that is eternal and cannot be corrupted. 

Or, as Jesus said to Nicodemus:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 KJV)

Let that sink in. Everlasting life means we can never lose it. It starts the moment we believe in Jesus. And it cannot be corrupted by anything or anyone, including yourself. 

That means Once Saved, Always Saved.

But the real question is: Are you saved? Have you placed your confidence and trust in Jesus to where you know with absolute certainty that God will save you?

 Being saved comes down to this:

Salvation = God’s Grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

Nothing more. Nothing less. There are no other requirements to be saved than to believe in Jesus. The question is: do you believe this? Or are you like those who are not trusting in the finished work of Christ but are trying to prove yourself worthy through your own obedience. Well, let me give you some help: You’re not worthy! You never will be. None of us are. It is Christ who is worthy. We stand in His obedience by faith, not our own. We stand in His righteousness by faith, not our own. He makes us worthy. He makes us righteous.

Once you believe in Him, you are born again, and you are forever a child of God. Our Father is a good Father Who will never abandon you but will preserve you in the faith and never let you go. 

If you are not certain about your salvation, time is getting very late. Don’t take the chance of missing out on God. Prophetically, the current “Age of Grace” where God is giving people time to turn to Him for forgiveness is almost over. When it ends, it will be too late. God’s judgment is coming. Those who are not saved will be separated from God for all eternity. Don’t take chances with God. Don’t play with Him. Take Him seriously.

If you are not 100% sure you are saved, don’t put it off any longer. 

Making Sure You Are Saved Is As Easy As ABC

Admit to God that you have sinned.

Believe that Jesus, God’s Son, died to pay for
your sins 100%, was buried and rose from the dead.

Call upon Jesus and ask Him to forgive you and save you.

If you make that decision to call upon Him, God gives you this assurance:

“For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13 KJV)

If you are still not sure, I’ll include a link to a video I did called, “What is the Gospel (in 6 Words)?”

Thank you for watching.


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