Why Your Faith Is Secure, Part 2:
It is Based upon a Life-Changing Experience with God
by Steve Lemke, Provost, Professor of Philosophy and Ethics, McFarland Chair of Theology, and Director of the Baptist Center for Theology and Ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
The previous article in this series is “Salvation is of God, Not of Us.”
Can you lose your salvation? This is the second in a series of articles that show that the Bible affirms that once you are genuinely saved, you are saved forever. In the previous article, we saw that we cannot lose our salvation because salvation is simply not ours to lose. It is God who took the initiative in our salvation and who accomplished our salvation, not we ourselves. We did not earn or deserve our salvation; it is God who provided it for us.
The second reason that we can know the assurance of our salvation is that it is based upon a life-changing experience with God. In Ephesians 1, even as the Apostle Paul is talking about God choosing us from the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4) and predestining us (Eph. 1:5, 11), just verses later he also speaks of the role of a believer’s faith response to God.
Paul speaks first of his own life-changing conversion experience and that of the other early Christians. He said that in response to God’s initiative in salvation, “that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:12, NKJV). Perhaps as he wrote these words, Paul was reflecting back on his own dramatic salvation experience on the Damascus Road. Saul the persecutor of the church became Paul the apostle. Paul’s testimony of this experience is so pivotal to him that the entire account is repeated three times in Scripture (Acts 9:1-31, 22:1-22, 26:2-23). Paul’s confidence in his own salvation was based in part in his absolute assurance that the experience he had with the risen Christ on the Damascus Road was real and genuine. You simply could not have convinced the Apostle Paul that this dramatic, life-changing experience was a dream, illusion, mirage, or hallucination. He knew it was real, and it changed his life. As he came to know the other early apostles and believers in the Jerusalem church whose lives had also been dramatically transformed, he had confidence in the genuineness of their salvation as well. Whenever any doubts arose about his own salvation, all he had to do was remember the reality of his own salvation experience, and remind himself, ”I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Tim. 2:12, NKJV).