First I believe that Jesus paid the full price for my sins and for the sins of every man: past, present and future. My part as is every man’s part in the receiving of the gift of salvation is to first believe and then to follow Christ. Salvation has been paid in full by Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God. This gift that is paid for by Jesus, was meant to be accepted, unpackaged and worked out by each of us. We are all sinners, but His righteousness is gifted to us as part of this gift package. Some may want to call what I have and will describe a works salvation, but without works in the life of the believer there is no evidence of faith.
Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. James 2:18 KJV
So is Paul wrong when he says that salvation is by faith alone? No, for without Jesus and what He did for you, you can do nothing that will be accounted as righteousness.
Believing in this gift in our inner man is our first step in unpacking this gift given us by His grace. Making these things that are gifted to us a part of us by our doing is the work about which James speaks. You often hear that you cannot put the cart before the horse, well you cannot put works before the receiving and opening of the gift of salvation. That requires an understanding of what Jesus the Son of God did for you. And that requires the free will exercising of the gift of God that He has given to every man.
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Romans 12:3 KJV
The only difference that I can identify in scripture between the saved and the unsaved is ones belief vs. his unbelief. His gift of faith must be exercised toward his savior. But as we have seen belief is also proven by ones works or his fruit.
As to losing this great gift of salvation — first understand that God will not take it away. It has been given to you not to earn but to keep.
The simple answer then is yes we can abuse it, ignore it, or lose it; but losing salvation is not as simple as losing your car keys. The only sin that can cost you your salvation is the unpardonable sin. Paul says in agreement with what Jesus stated that If we (emphasis on we) because Paul includes himself in his we; if we deny Him He will deny us, so denying Christ is the end product of continually rejecting the Holy Spirit’s leading and teaching in ones life, and these actions surrounding God’s gift of His Holy Spirit in your life, or the non actions surrounding Him will become the basis for belief vs. unbelief, and thus losing vs. living in ones gift of salvation. Jesus stated that many will fall away during the time about which He was prophesying in Matthew 24.
As to Calvinistic or dispensational viewpoints, vs. Armenian views surrounding this subject, I believe that scripture teaches all men to have been eligible for a recording which took place before the foundation of the earth in what is called in scripture the book of life. Men were not created for hell. Scripture tells us all about this, but this does not mean that a man cannot be lost to hell. A study of scripture reveals that names are blotted out of the book of life. Most came to be blotted out because they never turn to Christ in belief during this lifetime. Scripture says that we are chosen in Him before the foundation of the earth. It is apparent that because God knows the end from the beginning, that the book of life was written for the purpose of showing God’s omniscience.
Being Chosen “in Him” coupled with accepting and abiding in Him avoids the problem of loss of or falling from belief in Him. Salvation is emphasized in scripture as being past, present, and future. I don’t consider myself to be working toward salvation, but instead to be trusting in Him and in the promises made to me by Him in the scriptures. By trusting in Him and not denying Him, He has saved us, He is saving us and He will save us. Jesus is the Word of God. I believe the written word, but when it didn’t make complete sense, I would pray and ask for guidance to be able to understand it. I still do.
The view of all of this was told somewhat differently when I was growing up in Dispensational theology, which requires a separation of Law and grace. The basis for a separation of law and Grace is done concerning ones view of Israel and the church. The dispensational focus is not on the separation of belief vs no belief which is really the scriptural basis for salvation, but on Israel vs the church.
Jesus on the other hand came to pay for and offer the new covenant which was prophesied through Israel’s prophets, and through which Covenant the Gentiles are also saved. Unbelieving Jews and Gentiles will miss this covenant. But the believing Jewish and Gentile remnants are ushered into this covenant, which was progressively a covenant made to establish Jesus’ EKKLESSIA His church — His called out ones. And within this Israel’s Covenant there is no more Jew or Gentile. There is no longer male nor female.
The thing many do not seem to understand, is the fact that the new covenant does not do away with the law. It is a better covenant in that God’s law is now being written on the hearts of believers. That’s the promise of the new covenant. There is a changed life in Jerimiah 31. It is a heart circumcision as Paul states in Romans. Israel in order to be saved must believe in the provider of this covenant, which was confirmed only in Christ Jesus, her maker and her redeemer (read Isa.54), and this in the same way that we who are born again Gentiles are changed. It is in the heart. Jews will and have been coming in through their belief, even as we are.
But prophetically a purged and remaining 1/3 of Israel’s population will become believers and thereby bring about Our Lord’s return at the end of the age (Hosea 5:15; Acts 3). Paul says that we believers are now one Jew and Gentile) in the commonwealth of Israel, one new man, one with the saints; Partakers of the covenants and promises that we at one time while in our unbelief were on the outside looking in upon. The New Covenant is Israel’s. The Messiah (Christ) is Israel’s. The Ekklesia is Israel’s. The one new man is Israel’s. And all are God’s, and believers in Him.
The new covenant is part of God’s progressive revelation of truth, it is still taking place in this age. Like Paul we must run our race, following the Holy Spirit’s teaching, correction etc. through His use of the scriptures and His promptings in our lives.
I have an assurance in Him that He will see us through to the end of our life or to the end of this age whichever comes first.
1 Chronicles 28:9 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever. (KJV)