Questions About Salvation: The TOP 100 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Salvation
Have Questions, Find Answers on Otakada.org – Life After Salvation – Daily, people turn to the Internet to find answers to their questions about spiritual matters. Topics related to spirituality are the second-most searched subjects online. Sadly, websites that present false teachings far outnumber those that proclaim the truth of God’s Word. We will provide answers as the Holy Spirit leads us from a biblical perspective. You will also need to pray to secure answers to any question you may have because one of the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to lead us into all truth – John 16:13. Today, we look at Questions About Life after Salvation and questions that relate to this with biblical answers.. Enjoy
What are some of the signs of genuine saving faith?
What is sanctification? What is the definition of Christian sanctification?
Why is faith without works dead?
What does it mean that good works are the result of salvation?
Do Christians have to keep asking for forgiveness for their sins?
Will God continue to forgive me if I commit the same sin over and over again?
Is eternal security a “license” to sin? Is a backsliding Christian still saved?
Question: What are some of the signs of genuine saving faith?
Answer: This is one of the most important questions in the Christian life. Many believers doubt their salvation because they don’t see signs of genuine faith in their lives. There are those who say we should never doubt our decision to follow Christ, but the Bible encourages us to examine ourselves to see if we are truly “in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Thankfully, God has given us ample instruction for how we can know for sure that we have eternal life. The first epistle of John was actually written for that purpose, as stated in 1 John 5:13, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”
There are a series of tests in 1 John that we can use to examine ourselves and our faith. As we look at them, remember that no one will perfectly fulfill all of them all the time, but they should reveal a consistent trend that characterizes our lives as we grow in grace.
1. Do you enjoy having fellowship with Christ and His redeemed people (1 John 1:3)?
2. Would people say you walk in the light, or walk in the darkness (1 John 1:6-7)?
Do you admit and confess your sin (1 John 1:8)?
Are you obedient to God’s Word (1 John 2:3-5)?
Does your life indicate you love God rather than the world (1 John 2:15)? Is your life characterized by doing “what is right” (1 John 2:29)?
Do you seek to maintain a pure life (1 John 3:3)?
Do you see a decreasing pattern of sin in your life (1 John 3:5-6)?
Do you demonstrate love for other Christians (1 John 3:14)?
Do you “walk the walk,” versus just “talking the talk” (1 John 3:18-19)?
Do you maintain a clear conscience (1 John 3:21)?
Do you experience victory in your Christian walk (1 John 5:4)?
If you are able to truthfully answer “Yes” to these questions (or to a majority of them, while working on the others), then your life is bearing the fruit of true salvation. Jesus said that it is by our fruit that we are known as His disciples (Matthew 7:20). Fruitless branches—professing believers who do not display the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) are cut off and thrown into the fire (John 15:2). A genuine faith is one that not only believes in God (the demons themselves do that—James 2:19) but also confesses sin and obeys Christ’s commands. Remember, we are saved by grace through faith, not by our works (Ephesians 2:8-9), but our works should display the reality of our salvation (James 2:17-18). Genuine saving faith will always produce works; a faith that is perpetually without works is no faith at all and saves no one.
In addition to these confirmations, we need to remember God’s promises and the reality of the war we are in. Satan is a formidable enemy of our souls. When we turn to Christ, Satan will look for every opportunity to deceive and defeat us. He will try to convince us that we are unworthy failures or that God has given up on us. When we are in Christ, we have the assurance that we are kept by Him. Jesus Himself prayed for us in John 17:11: ’’Protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one.” Again in verse 15, He prayed, “Protect them from the evil one.” In John 10:27-29, Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” If you hear and obey the voice of Jesus, then you are one of His sheep, and He will never let you go. Jesus gave a wonderful word picture here of Christians securely held within His loving hands, with the Father’s almighty hands wrapped around His, giving us a double
assurance of eternal security.
Question: What is sanctification? What is the definition of Christian sanctification?
Answer: To sanctify something is to set it apart. In theology, sanctification is a state of separation unto God. All believers enter into this state at the moment of salvation: “But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30 NKJV). This is a once-and-forever separation from the world; we are connected with Christ (Hebrews 10:10).
“Sanctification” in the Bible can also refer to the practical experience of this separation unto God. It is the effect of obedience to the Word of God, and we should pursue it earnestly (1 Peter 1:15; Hebrews 12:14). As the Lord prayed in John 17, sanctification sets apart believers for a purpose: “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified” (verses 18-19). Christ’s sanctification is the pattern and power for our own. The sending and the sanctifying are inseparable. On this account believers are called “saints” or “sanctified ones.” Before we were saved, our behavior bore witness to separation from God; now our behavior should bear witness to separation from the world.
There is one more meaning that the word sanctification carries in Scripture. Paul prays in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul also writes in Colossians of “the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel” (Colossians 1:5). He later speaks of Christ Himself as “the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27) and then mentions that, “when Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:4). This glorified state in heaven will be our ultimate separation from sin, a total sanctification in every respect. “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).
To summarize, sanctification is synonymous with “separation”—first, a once- for-all, positional separation unto Christ at our salvation; second, a practical, progressive holiness in a believer’s life while awaiting the return of Christ; and, finally, a separation forever from sin when we reach heaven.
Question: Why is faith without works dead?
Answer: In his epistle, James makes the statement, “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead” (James 2:26 NASB). Faith without works is dead faith because a lack of works reveals an unchanged life or a spiritually dead heart. There are many Scriptures that make it clear that true saving faith will result in a transformed life, which is demonstrated by the “works” we do. How we live reveals what we believe and whether the faith we profess to have is a living faith.
James 2:14-26 is sometimes taken out of context in an attempt to create a works-based system of righteousness, but that is contrary to many other Scriptures. James is not saying that our works make us righteous before God; instead, he is making it clear that good works demonstrate real saving faith. Works are not the cause of salvation; works are the evidence of salvation. The person who claims to be a Christian but lives in willful disobedience to Christ with a life that shows no good works has a false or dead faith and is not saved. James is clearly making a contrast between two different types of faith—true faith that saves and false faith that is dead.
Many profess to be Christians, but their lives and their priorities indicate otherwise. Jesus put it this way: “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”’ (Matthew 7:16-23).
Notice that the message of Jesus is the same as the message of James. Obedience to God is the mark of true saving faith. James uses the examples of Abraham and Rahab as people who, in faith, produced the type of works that demonstrate salvation. Saying we believe in Jesus does not save us, nor does performing religious service. What saves us is faith made evident by ongoing obedience to God.
Misunderstanding the relationship of faith and works comes from a misunderstanding of what the Bible teaches about salvation. There are really two errors in regard to works and faith. The first error is the gospel of “easy
believism.” This error says that one can “make a decision for Christ” or “pray a prayer of salvation,” and based upon that profession, salvation occurs. This is also called “decisional regeneration” and is dangerous and deceptive. Often those who advocate this view of salvation say that, once a person has prayed the “sinners’ prayer” or made a profession of faith, he is saved regardless of how he lives afterward. Those who live as “carnal Christians” excuse their ungodly lifestyles and assume they’re “safe” because they made a profession of faith in Christ. Yet, as we can see in James and other passages, an empty profession of faith that is not followed by a life of obedience to Christ is in reality a dead faith that does not save.
The other error in regard to works and faith is to make works part of what justifies us before God. The mixture of works and faith creates a system of righteousness based on human effort, and this is totally contrary to what Scripture teaches. Romans 4:5 says, “To the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.” There is no conflict between that and James’ statement that “faith without works is dead.” We are justified by faith, and good works come from that faith. The works that follow salvation do not make us righteous before God; they simply flow from a heart that has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit.
When the Holy Spirit has regenerated us, our new life will be evident by the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and a desire to obey and glorify God. Christians belong to Christ, and as His sheep they hear His voice and follow Him (John 10:26-30).
God sees the heart. An empty profession of faith cannot save. There has been no change of heart, as evidenced by a lack of good works. It is a dead faith that will cause Christ to say, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Matthew 7:23).
Question: What does it mean that good works are the result of salvation?
Answer: Ephesians 2:8-9 plainly states that we are not saved by good works. In fact, before we are saved, our works are done in the flesh and cannot please God; even our most “righteous” deeds fall far short of God’s glory (see Romans 3:20 and Isaiah 64:6). We can be saved only because God is gracious and merciful and has designed a way for us to be declared righteous (Psalm 86:5; Ephesians 2:4-5). When Jesus became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), we inherited His righteousness. Salvation is a divine exchange: our tattered rags of self-effort for the perfection of Christ. Because His death and resurrection paid
the price for our evil deeds, we can be declared perfect before God (Romans 5:1). We are told to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” like a flawless garment (Romans 13:14).
At salvation, the Holy Spirit moves into the repentant heart (Acts 2:38). Self is no longer the uncontested lord of our lives. Jesus is now the boss. That’s what it means to say that Jesus is “Lord” (Romans 10:9; Colossians 2:6). We were once headed south; we are now headed north. Everything is changed. We begin to view life from God’s perspective, not our own—as John Newton wrote, “I once was lost but now am found, was blind, but now I see.”
The sins we once committed without thought now bring conviction. To know God is to see sin the way He sees it. First John 3:9 says, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.” Instead of sin, the born-again Christian produces “fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8). Salvation enables us to live “by the Spirit” and so truly perform good works (Galatians 5:16).
Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” God’s goal in saving us was not only to rescue us from hell, but also that we would reflect His character and goodness to the world. God delights to see us becoming more like His Son (Romans 8:29). We were created in God’s image. Sin marred that image. When God bought us back for Himself, it was to restore His image in us and free us to become all we were created to be. When the Holy Spirit comes to live inside us, He prompts us to do things that glorify God (John 14:26). Our desire to please God grows as our understanding of Him grows. That desire to please God results in good works.
It is biblically inconsistent to say that someone has been saved but has not changed. Many people go through the outward motions of giving their lives to Christ, but no lifestyle change follows. That is not real salvation, but is a “dead” faith (James 2:26). When you walk into a dark room and flip the switch, you expect light. If no light appears, you rightly assume something is wrong. It would be logically inconsistent to say that the light is on when the room is still pitch black. Light naturally dispels darkness. When a dark heart receives the light of salvation, it is illuminated (John 12:46)—priorities change, desires change, outlooks change. Life is seen clearly for the first time. If the darkness of sin continues, we can rightly assume no light came on.
To use another biblical analogy, God wants to produce fruit in our lives (see Galatians 5:22-23). He is the Vinedresser, Jesus is the Vine, and we are the
branches. The branches are naturally attached to the vine; from the vine they get their support, their ability to produce fruit, and their very life. Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). That is the purpose of the vineyard—to produce “much fruit.” Good works follow salvation.
So, although our good works cannot save us, when we are saved, we will produce good works. Just as a baby will grow after birth, so a believer will grow after the new birth. As a child grows, he begins to look more and more like his parents. In the same way, after salvation, we grow, and we begin to look more and more like our Heavenly Father. This is only possible as we abide in Him and allow Him to reproduce His character in us (John 15:4).
Question: Do Christians have to keep asking for forgiveness for their sins?
Answer: Some common questions are “what happens if I sin and then I die before I have an opportunity to confess that sin to God?” and “what happens if I commit a sin, but then forget about it and never remember to confess it to God?” Both of these questions are based on a faulty assumption. Salvation is not a matter of believers trying to confess and repent from every sin they commit before they die. Salvation is not based on whether a Christian has confessed and repented of every sin. Yes, we should confess our sins to God as soon as we are aware that we have sinned. However, we do not constantly need to be asking God for forgiveness. When we place our faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, all of our sins are forgiven. That includes past, present, and future, big or small. Believers do not have to keep asking for forgiveness or repenting in order to have their sins forgiven. Jesus died to pay the penalty for all of our sins, and when they are forgiven, they are all forgiven (Colossians 1:13-14; Acts 10:43).
First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” This verse does seem to indicate that somehow forgiveness is dependent on our confessing our sins to God. How does this work if all of our sins are forgiven the moment we receive Christ as Savior? It seems that what the apostle John is describing here is “relational” forgiveness. All of our sins are forgiven positionally the moment we receive Christ as Savior. This positional forgiveness guarantees our salvation and promise of an eternal home in heaven. When we stand before God after death, God will not deny us entrance into heaven because of our sins. That is positional forgiveness.
The concept of relational forgiveness is based on the fact that, when we sin,
we offend God and grieve His Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). While God has ultimately forgiven us of the sins we commit, they still result in a blocking of or hindrance to our relationship with God. A young boy who sins against his father is not cast out of the family. A godly father will forgive his children unconditionally. At the same time, a good relationship between father and son cannot be achieved until the relationship is restored. This can only occur when a child confesses his mistakes to his father and apologizes. That is why we confess our sins to God— not to maintain our salvation, but to return to close fellowship with the God who loves us and has already forgiven us.
Question: Will God continue to forgive me if I commit the same sin over and over again?
Answer: To answer this question, we are going to look at two powerful passages of Scripture. The first is found in Psalms: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). One of the most effective tricks Satan plays on Christians is to convince us that our sins aren’t really forgiven, despite the promise of God’s Word. If we have truly received Jesus by faith and still have an uneasy feeling that we aren’t forgiven, we may be under demonic attack. Satan is the father of lies and loves to plant seeds of doubt in our minds about the reality of our salvation. Satan is also an accuser and loves to remind us of our past transgressions, which he uses to “prove” that God couldn’t possibly forgive or restore us. The devil’s attacks make it a real challenge to simply rest in the promises of God and trust His love.
Psalm 103 tells us that God not only forgives our sins but also removes them completely from His presence. This is a profound fact of grace! We have trouble grasping such grace, which is why it is so easy for us to worry about forgiveness instead of just accepting it. The key is simply giving up our doubts and our feelings of guilt and resting in God’s promise of forgiveness.
Another passage is 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” What a wonderful promise! God forgives His children when they sin if they come to Him in an attitude of repentance. God’s grace is so great that, even when we stumble, we can still be forgiven.
In Matthew 18:21-22 we read, “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’” Peter was probably thinking that he was being generous. Rather than repay a person’s offense with equal retribution, Peter suggested giving the
brother some leeway; say, up to seven times. Forgiveness would run out by the eighth offense. But Christ challenged the rules of Peter’s suggested economy of grace by saying that forgiveness is infinite for those who truly seek it. This is possible only because of the infinite grace of God, based on the shed blood of Christ on the cross. Because of Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice, we can always be cleansed after we sin if we humbly seek forgiveness.
We must note that it is not biblical for a saved person to sin habitually and continually (1 John 3:8-9). That is why Paul admonishes, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5). As Christians, we may stumble, but we will not live a lifestyle of continual, unrepentant sin. All of us have weaknesses and can fall into sin. Even the apostle Paul did what he didn’t want to do because of the sin at work in his body (Romans 7:15). The response of the believer is to hate the sin, repent of it, and ask for divine grace to overcome it (Romans 7:24-25). Even when our faith grows weak and we deny our Lord in word or in life, forgiveness is available (see Luke 22:32).
Satan likes to suggest that there is no hope, no possibility that we can be forgiven, healed, and restored. He tries to make us feel trapped by guilt so we no longer feel worthy of God’s forgiveness. But when were we ever worthy of God’s grace? By definition, God’s grace is extended to the unworthy. God loves us, forgave us, and chose us to be in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4-6), not because of anything we did, but “in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:12). There is no place we can go where God’s grace cannot reach, and there is no depth to which we can sink from which God cannot pull us out. His grace is greater than all of our sin.
Whether we are just starting to wander off course or we are already sinking and drowning in our sin, grace is available. “Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon” (Isaiah 55:7).
Question: Is eternal security a “license” to sin?
Answer: The most frequent objection to the doctrine of eternal security is that it supposedly allows people to live any way they want and still be saved. While this may be “technically” true, it does not reflect the reality of salvation. A person who has truly been redeemed by Jesus Christ will not live a life characterized by continuous, willful sin. We must draw a distinction between
how a Christian should live and what a person must do in order to receive salvation.
The Bible is clear that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 14:6). The moment a person truly believes in Jesus Christ, he or she is saved and secure in that salvation. Salvation is not gained by faith but then maintained by works. The apostle Paul addresses this issue in Galatians 3:3 when he asks, “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” If we are saved by faith, our salvation is also maintained and secured by faith. We cannot earn our own salvation. Therefore, neither can we earn the maintenance of our salvation. It is God who maintains our salvation (Jude 24). God’s hand holds us firmly in His grasp (John 10:28-29). God’s love is so strong that nothing and no one can separate us from Him (Romans 8:38-39).
Any denial of eternal security is, in its essence, a belief that we must maintain our own salvation by our own good works and efforts. This is completely antithetical to salvation by grace. We are saved because of Christ’s merits, not our own (Romans 5:6-11). To claim that we must obey God’s Word or live a godly life to maintain our salvation is saying that Jesus’ death was not sufficient to pay the penalty for our sins. However, Jesus’ death was absolutely sufficient to pay for all of our sins—past, present, and future, pre-salvation and post salvation (Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21).
Does this mean that a Christian can live any way he wants and still be saved? This is essentially a hypothetical question, because the Bible makes it clear that a true Christian will not live “any way he wants.” Christians are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). Christians demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), not the acts of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). First John 3:6- 9 clearly states that a true Christian will not live in continual sin. In response to the accusation that grace promotes sin, the apostle Paul declared, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:1-2).
Eternal security is not a license to sin. Rather, it is the assurance of knowing that God keeps His Word and that His love is guaranteed for those who trust in Christ. Understanding God’s tremendous gift of salvation motivates us not to sin. How could anyone, knowing the price Jesus Christ paid for us, choose a life of continual, presumptuous sin (Romans 6:15-23)? How could anyone who understands God’s unconditional love for those who believe take that love and throw it back in God’s face? Such a person is demonstrating not that eternal security has given him a license to sin, but that he has never truly experienced
salvation through Jesus Christ. “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him” (1 John 3:6).
Question: Is a backsliding Christian still saved?
Answer: This question has been debated endlessly over the years. To backslide is to relapse into sin. The word backslider or backsliding does not appear in the New Testament and is used in the Old Testament primarily when speaking of Israel. The Jews, though they were God’s chosen people, continually turned their backs on Him and rebelled against His Word (Jeremiah 8:9). Backsliding is one reason why the sacrifices for sin were continual—their relationship with God continually needed to be restored (Hebrews 10:11). The Christian, however, has availed himself of the perfect, once-for-all sacrifice of Christ and needs no further sacrifice for his sin (Hebrews 10:10). God Himself has obtained our salvation for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), and because we are saved by Him, a true Christian cannot backslide or fall away so as not to return.
Christians do sin (1 John 1:8), but the Christian life will not be characterized by a life of sin. Believers are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17), and we have the Holy Spirit in us who produces good fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). Because of the complete sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice, Christians are forgiven no matter how many times they sin, but, at the same time, a Christian doesn’t want to see how many times he can sin! The Christian life is a changed life. Christians should live progressively more holy lives as they grow closer to God and more like Christ. We should have serious doubts about a person who claims to be a believer yet lives a life that says otherwise (see Luke 3:8). So, a true Christian who falls back into sin temporarily is still saved—he has not lost his salvation (John 10:28); however, a person who lives a life controlled by sin is giving proof that he is not truly a Christian.
What about a person who denies Christ? The Bible tells us that, if a person denies Christ, he never truly knew Christ to begin with. ’’They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us” (1 John 2:19). Those who belong to Christ remain with Christ. Those who renounce their faith never had it to begin with. Those who turn their backs on Christ and reject the faith they once claimed to possess are not “backsliding”; they are finally showing that they did not posses a saving faith in the first place. “Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself”
(2 Timothy 2:11-13)
Links to Other Q and A on Salvation
Top Questions About the Plan of Salvation with Biblical Answers
Top Questions About Jesus and Salvation with Biblical Answers
Top Questions About Who Can Be Saved with Biblical Answers
Top Questions About Assurance of Salvation with Biblical Answers
Top Questions About Salvation and Works with Biblical Answers
Top Questions About Salvation Terminology with Biblical Answers
Top Questions About Life After Salvation with Biblical Answers
Top Questions About Election and Predestination with Biblical Answers
Top Questions About Salvation and the Old Testament with Biblical Answers
Top Miscellaneous Questions About Salvation with Biblical Answers