© Original content written by James R. Carlson
Most people in the Christian Church are familiar with the question, “Can you lose your salvation?” The answer requires research into the history of Christian theology that goes back 400 years. From 13 November 1618 – 9 May 1619, a meeting was held in Holland over theological issues that continue to affect us today. The questions raised then are the source of a heated debate today. While many argue a simple binary of Yes or No, the truth is found in a theological doctrine called, Sanctification by Grace.
Your Sanctification is your Preservation. Many people are familiar with the ideas of “Let go and let God”; “Trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey.” Sanctification by Grace, also called Sanctification by the Spirit (Holy Spirit), means we grow in the goodness and grace of God. This process of maturing in Christ means we surrender our righteousness, submit to the righteousness of God, and follow the leadership of the Spirit in our day to day life. This process of Sanctification, means we are maturing in God’s righteousness. And it is this life lived by faith in Christ that is preserved by God, not ourselves.
Problems arise when we seek to establish ourselves in our own goodness. We witness the failure of our efforts and the depravity of our human nature, which is sin. Surrendering to God’s goodness requires an act of faith in Christ where we abandon our own goodness and surrender to God’ goodness. Many of us in our Christian lives understand that we are led to the end of our own ability to do good things, so that we may be raised by the Spirit of God into His goodness to do good things. This cycle of life-death-new life is a process that comes easy to some and hard to others. When it gets hard, people suffer needlessly.
Some people fight with everything they have to be good and get better in their own ability. They never realize that they have to surrender their goodness to God’s ability. It is like hanging on to the end of a rope for dear life when the ground is only inches below our feet; just let go and trust that God will be there to catch you. We need to trust God, in His goodness, that he will help us live a life apart from sin, not by our strength but by His. When we are weak, He is strong. When we refuse to die the death to self, we linger in our own weakness and fail to receive God’s grace to grow in His goodness. Such is the problem of scrupulosity – the fear of losing one’s salvation because our lives still have sin in them.
I wrote a book called Scrupulosity showing my own personal journey to surrender. I also present a journey to the answer that provides a theological solution to scrupulosity. Sanctification by the Spirit is the answer to this 400-year-old problem. All one needs to do is trust God for their growth in Christ. Allow God to bring you to the end of your self and learn to lean on God’s goodness and grace for your Christian growth and preservation. Truly God loves you. If Jesus died to pay for your sins, he’s still dying to bring you into a life of fellowship with Him by the leadership of His Holy Spirit. Lean on God; He won’t let you down.
God, I have trusted Jesus for my salvation. Now I want to trust in Him for my sanctification. I know you are working in my life by the leadership of your Holy Spirit. I surrender my life to your leadership. I surrender my goodness to follow yours. I thank you for your love and I know that I can trust you each and every day. You are a good God. And I thank you that you are a loving Father. I surrender my all to you. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.