A gracEmail subscriber writes: “Many years ago I accepted the Lord through baptism in a Church of Christ. Later, I became a member of a Baptist church. It has been a while since I have attended church, but that doesn’t mean I love the Lord any less. My question is, if someone accepted the Lord and later became a backslider, is their soul in jeopardy?”
* * *
We are saved because God is good to sinners who do not deserve it, but whom he forgives and makes his children anyway (Titus 3:3-7). God shows us his love, and justifies his grace to sinners, through the perfect doing and dying which Jesus did for us as our representative (1 John 4:9-10; Rom. 5:6-10). We enjoy God’s grace by trusting him for it, as we see God’s love revealed in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8-9). We obey God in response to his love for us as seen in Jesus Christ (Rom. 12:1). We participate in church because we are part of God’s family and family needs to be together, not living individually in isolation from one another (Heb. 10:25).
Those who truly have saving faith will come back to Christ when they temporarily wander away (John 6:38-40; 1 Pet. 1:5; Jude 24-25). The only people who can have assurance of salvation based on the gospel promise are those who at any given moment are trusting in Jesus for salvation (1 John 5:11-13). The Bible tells us that genuine faith (trust) will bear visible fruit in life (James 2:14-17). If we see no fruit in our lives, we may question whether our professions of faith are genuine and valid — and so may other people around us (2 Cor. 13:5; 2 Pet. 1:10).
If you want to do right, are sorry for sin, care about being in fellowship with God, and have a desire to serve him and to enjoy his company, then you are undoubtedly one of his people, for these are all signs of God’s Spirit and new life from above. God will show you what he wants you to do if you are willing to follow his leading. A Bible-teaching and Christ-loving church will be a great benefit and encouragement to you in that. And you need to be part of encouraging others in such a family of faith as well.