How Can I Stay Saved?
Naturally, you won’t want to lose something this good. Happily, staying saved is not any harder than getting saved in the first place. It comes down to a little bit of you (your will) and a whole lot of God (His grace). Here is where the Salvation Basics provide immense and comforting illumination…
Don’t Let Go of Who You’ve Been Given!
The key to staying saved is staying connected to Jesus! This should be evident, since it is Jesus who saves us. He has a really good grip on us and that is the most important factor—no power can “snatch” us out of His Hand. However, we too need to exercise our grip on grace and here's why: Free will remains in play. God had to work through our free will to get us to accept His salvation. Just as He wants to save everyone, but can only save those who freely choose to let Him do it, so too He wants to keep everyone saved, but we have to freely choose to let Him do that as well.
Consider the main New Testament description of our salvation, our “key” for understanding the basics:
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, that no one would boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 WEB
This powerful statement declares to us the unchanging basis of our salvation, binding together salvation, God’s grace and ourselves. Even so, this golden chain of salvation has a “weak link” in it. First, let’s examine the three unbreakable parts of the chain:
1. Salvation is God's idea and His passionate, unchanging desire for all of us. The Father chose us to be saved from before the worlds began. In His love for us He sent Jesus to the cross. Jesus fully accomplished all that was necessary for us to be saved through His death and resurrection. Nothing can change this.
2. Grace is God's eternal nature. He is always full of compassion, love, understanding and mercy for us. By His mercy-filled heart He made a way to cover our sins through the atoning death of His Son. This is His unending gift of grace to every one of us. You cannot sin a sin that is not already forgiven by God and covered with the Blood of Jesus. Nothing can change this.
3. Saving faith is part of the free gift of salvation that He has prepared for us. Faith doesn't save us—grace does. Grace is the Father's love. Grace is Jesus' sacrifice. Grace is the gift of the Spirit. When we seek Him to be saved, grace also provides a "gift of faith" in what Jesus has done. God gives this to us without "take backs"! You may not always have enough faith, trust and belief to resist sin or be confident about God's love for you, but you always have the gift of faith inside of you reminding you that Jesus is Savior and Lord. Nothing can change this.
The only thing that can possibly change is our will. Our freedom to choose is as real as it is deadly. We could choose life or death before we encountered Jesus and we can still choose life or death now that we know Him. It was choosing to trust God as our Savior that got us saved in the first place. Consistently choosing against trusting our lives to God and His way of saving us, is where the possibility of losing salvation comes in.
By God’s own decree the free gift cannot be forced upon anyone. He has given the power to choose life or death to us. No matter how desperately everyone needs His salvation, God does not force saving faith upon them. This is the enormity of the free will issue: Not all will be saved. Why? Because of their sins? Never! Jesus' death fully atoned for everyone's sins! Because God doesn't want them saved? Impossible! The Father doesn't want anyone to be lost!
The Crucial Role of Our Will
The heart-breaking tragedy is that people are going to hell every day whose sins are fully atoned for by Jesus and who are fully loved and desired by Father God. No one has to go to hell! However, if we use our free will to reject the only One who can save us from the hell our sins deserve, where else is there for us to go? That's how powerful free will is in the hands of an unbeliever! The lost can so "No!" to God and make it stick from here to eternity.
This relationship between our freedom of will and God’s grace-giving way of saving sinful humanity shows us the key to staying saved. First, let's use it in reverse: Can our sins "un-save" us? Never! Jesus' death has fully atoned for everyone's sins! Might God turn against us and "un-save" us? Impossible! The Father doesn't want anyone to be lost. If we can't lose our salvation due to our sins and if God is never going to turn against us, then what can possibly "un-save" us? That little word "through"!
We who are being saved have been given the gift of saving faith: We know who Jesus is (as Lord and Savior) and we know what He did for us. This is our opening to God. By the faith that came into us through the new birth, we are looking to Jesus, hoping in Him and trusting in Him to save us. We may be doing it very imperfectly, but even if our faith seems pathetically weak to us, God still sees that we want His salvation and are therefore giving Him permission to save us. Saving faith and all that the new birth make available to us cannot be taken from us. Even the gift of faith cannot be changed!
But we may choose not to let God's grace work through our faith to save us. If you are like me, you're saying "Never! I would never not want to be saved! I could never turn against God and Jesus like that!" I agree it seems impossible. But it is, nevertheless, a real danger. I believe that is why there are so many warnings in the New Testament, repeatedly calling us to persevere in faith and faithfulness. Keep in mind that the New Testament warnings were primarily given to Christian believers. For more on this see the next article, Can I lose salvation?
How could any believer turn against his own salvation? At the time of this writing I have been a Christian for thirty years and a priest for twenty. I have seen many believers fall into all kinds of terrible sins, yet turn from them and be restored by the almost unbelievable patience and grace of God. But I have also seen some be swallowed up by their sins, so that it has bent and twisted even their thinking and believing about God and Jesus.
I have also seen the terrible reality of people who have died in their sins—with their sins blazing red hot, so to speak—and with no apparent sign of repentance. This is a far cry from how most people live out their faith. It is remote, but it is real. Your faith may not seem to be working for you at times, but whatever you do, don't stop working your faith! So, if you are wondering, "How can I stay saved?", be sure that you keep calling on Jesus and doing your level best to cling to Him when the going gets rough.
The Miracle Key
The key to staying saved is calling on the Name of the Lord. The promise God gives us is universal and absolute no matter what condition we are in: All who call on His Name will be saved.
For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord [invoking Him as Lord] will be saved. Romans 10:13 AMP
So whatever else you do, be sure to call and keep on calling on His Name. What's the rule? No minimum or maximum is indicated in the text, but my rule has always been: Call as much as you need to, as often as you need to, for as long as you need to! Even though the promised help doesn’t always show up immediately with swords swinging, it always comes. Eventually, you will discover an increase of strength to resist the temptation. Eventually, you will find yourself moving through the trial towards the “other side.” Eventually, you will once again be floating in the river of peace, basking under an open heaven. Never quit! Never give up! Saving help will always come... when you call and keep calling on His Mighty Name.
But suppose I don't keep seeking Jesus, is it possible to lose my salvation?
Father, thank You that You always want to save me and will never reject me or forsake me. Thank You that saving me has been Your idea all along. You chose me to be saved before You created the worlds! Please keep forgiving my unbelief and working to increase my faith in the greatness of Your love for me and the steadfastness of Your promises to me.
Jesus, thank You for rescuing me by going to the cross and taking the punishment I deserved. You have covered all of my sins through Your death and resurrection. Please forgive me for those times when I'm afraid my sins aren't covered. As big as my sins are and as big as they sometimes feel, they are still nothing compared to Your sacrifice! Thank You for laying down Your life for me. Help me always to call on Your Name.
Holy Spirit, thank You that You have freely chosen to live within me. You are always working to keep my faith alive by reminding me to trust in the Father's love and to call on Jesus for help. You are with me even when I can't feel You. You are strengthening me even when I'm at my weakest. You are helping me hang on even when I feel like letting go. Never let me stop calling on the Name of the Lord!
On to the Next Question!
Can I lose salvation? Your enemy is a thief, but even Satan and his kingdom cannot steal salvation from you. That’s the good news. The “bad” news? God is not going to make you His slave—He wants your freedom even more than you do. He will not force you to stay saved. That choice is yours…
Scriptures and Foot Notes
 "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand." John 10:28
 These two scriptures have been given us by God to assure us that He wants everyone to be saved: This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:3-4 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1-2. See also Romans 5:15-17, 6:23 for more on salvation as “free gift.”
 We always have the power and the responsibility to choose between good and evil. Two things hinder us: We often don’t truly know what is right or we aren’t sufficiently motivated to do it. Even so, God does not excuse us from our moral duty: I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live. And may love the Lord your God, obey His voice, and cling to Him. Deuteronomy 30:19-20 AMP "how can I stay saved?" Love the Lord enought to listen to His voice and cling to Him. Why walk away from the One who wants to rescue you?
 1 Timothy 2:3-4; previously cited in note #2 above.
 For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Romans 3:22-24
 These are just a sample of the many warning texts. I will include more in the next article Can I lose salvation?: And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard. Colossians 1:21-23
"And you will be hated and detested by everybody for My name's sake, but he who patiently perseveres and endures to the end will be saved (made a partaker of the salvation by Christ, and delivered from spiritual death)." Mark 13:13 AMP