Our son was (sincerely) asking if a person can’t lose their salvation, why can’t they live however they choose, especially if they “like the way they are.” He is heavily influenced by the world.
Thank you for this thought provoking question. Young people often wonder about this. It’s a fair question and there is a biblical answer. Actually, two answers come to mind.
It is true that eternal life is eternal. It is impossible to have eternal life for a little while. Jesus is that eternal life (1 John 1:2). He said, “I will never leave you” (Heb. 13:5). On this basis some wonder why the need to live for God?
A similar question is asked after Paul lays out salvation absolutely free by faith in the first five chapters of Romans, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” (Rom. 6:1). If salvation is free and eternal, why not live as you please? Why not continue in sin if it’s all going to work out in the end? But this is an entirely wrong conclusion.
Paul counters, “God forbid. (Lit. May it never be!) How shall we, that are dead to sin [who have died to indwelling sin], live any longer therein?” (Rom. 6:2). As Romans six unfolds, Paul counters the wrong conclusion with biblical logic.
When we believed on Jesus as Savior, we were baptized (placed into) Christ. When we were placed into Christ, we were placed into His history. Not only did we receive a new future (destiny), we received a new past! When we were placed into Christ’s history, we were placed into His death and resurrection.
The essence of death is separation. In physical death, the soul separates from the body, but death with Christ is not speaking of either our soul or body. It speaks of our human spirit which is labeled as our “old man.”
“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed (or canceled out), that henceforth we should not serve [indwelling] sin” (Rom. 6:6). The part of us that died with Christ is obviously neither soul nor body. Therefore, the old man refers to our spirit which in the unregenerate condition is joined not to sins (plural) but to sin that dwells in us (the indwelling sin noted in Romans 7:17, 20) and is personified as one who is served (Rom. 6:6). The point is that our old man was shackled to this old master of indwelling sin. We couldn’t get away. So Jesus joined our sin on the cross, and “He died unto sin once” (Rom. 6:10).
When we were placed into Christ, and, therefore, His death—we died to sin. We were at that moment separated from indwelling sin as a master. We were unshackled as the cross came in like a knife and cut through the bonds to indwelling sin. We were set free! All of this was “that henceforth we should not serve [indwelling] sin. For he that is dead [who has died] is freed from sin” (Rom. 6:6b-7). We have been liberated from forced slavery to indwelling sin. Why serve one who is no longer our master?
Not only that, but we were raised with Christ a new man. This new creation is “God’s seed” or literally God’s nature implanted into us (2 Cor. 5:17; 1 John 3:9). That nature is righteous and holy (Eph. 4:24). This nature of God in us is the real us! That’s why we are called saints (holy ones) 63 times in the New Testament. There had to be a part of us made holy so the Holy Spirit could move in as the new leader.
The first reason for a believer not continuing in a life of sin is this glorious provision of being severed from indwelling sin and being joined to the indwelling Jesus. However, Jesus does not function like the old master who kept us enslaved. Jesus does not force us. He will allow us to serve the old master if we so choose, but it’s no longer forced slavery. Now, it’s voluntary service. Why doesn’t Jesus force us? He doesn’t want us to be mechanical like robots. He wants a love relationship. Amazing!
Beyond justification opening the way for sanctification, the second reason for not continuing a life of sin is the Judgment Seat of Christ where each one of us will “appear” which means to be made manifest (2 Cor. 5:10). Only God meets the standard of God. That is why we need imputed righteousness in justification and imparted righteousness in sanctification. Here, the two reasons for living for Jesus come together.
The emphasis of being made manifest is that how much of our life was not Christ but us and how much was not us but Christ will be made apparent. That which was energized by the divine life will receive rewards (1 Cor. 3:11-14). Without the divine dynamic, we will suffer loss. “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire (1 Cor. 3:15).
This loss is far more significant than many may realize. How you fare at the Judgment Seat affects your place and usefulness in the coming kingdom. That thousand years of His reign on earth is far longer than the current vapor of our life.
If we focus on Jesus as our victory and by faith access His victorious life, we experience Jesus. He in us will pass the fires of the Judgment Seat as the gold, silver and precious stones.
The bottom line is that your son, as is true for each one of us, needs to experience Jesus. Experiencing Jesus makes Christianity come alive in the present tense. This reality of life again experientially reveals the better way than the world’s way.
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