God’s grace, that which is freely given to us, His unmerited favor, bestowed on those who are saved.. indeed, it is by grace we are saved through faith in the Lord Jesus, by believing what He did for us on Calvary’s cross, in shedding His precious blood for our sins. We are not saved by works, although our good works after we are saved are evidence of our salvation, but this is not the same as salvation by works. Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
But we are imperfect people, and as such, it is so easy to step away from fellowship with our heavenly Father, because even though we are saved, we still have the temptations of the evil one to face on a daily basis. And so this is how we step away:
1. Desire – our mind is the battlefield of our desires. If we court any desire that takes us out of the will of God, we are in danger of stepping away. Better to “….bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
2. Decision – taking the short view of life, thinking about what we will get now, and leaving behind accountability
3. Deception – when we step away we are deceived into thinking we can do it better ourselves, surely a tool of the devil.
4. Departed – and suddenly we are away from the will of God for our lives, and there is distance between us and walking in fellowship with the Father. We are in the same position as the prodigal son was in when we took his inheritance and left on his own.
It is at this point that the subject of eternal security comes up, for there are those who say that when you step away from the Lord, you lose your salvation, but when you are saved by grace, you are made part of the body of Christ. Can you be cast out of the body? What was the outcome of the prodigal son? and what happens to us when we are out of fellowship with God?
1. Defeat – there is no contentment, no peace, no joy, no love, none of the fruit of the Spirit.
2. Despair – our hearts are grieved, we suffer guilt, remorse, we feel just as the prodigal son did just before he came to the end of himself.
3. Desperation – we recognize our separation from the Father, and we are desperate to be close to him again. Desperation is the step to bring us back to God, it is our assurance of our salvation, for if we were not saved, we would not feel this desperation, we would never look back. We repent of the deed or deeds that took us out of fellowship, and greatly desire to walk with Him again.
4. Restoration – our loving Heavenly Father is there, waiting with open arms as it were, ready to receive his wayward child who is sadder but wiser. The Lord is willing to restore us to fellowship with Him. Repentance restores us because of His grace, and not because of our performance. Grace doesn’t stand with its arms folded saying “See, I told you so”, no, Grace is always watching for us, and embraces us, and brings us back into right relationship with the one who loves us.
Our sin penalty was paid once for all on the cross of Calvary. Our sins are forgiven, not based on our works, but based on the precious shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Praise the Lord that he loves us so much, that He chastens us, and brings us to that point of reaching the end of ourselves.
this study is based on notes made by myself from a sermon preached at Hilltop Gospel Chapel in White Rock BC years ago.