If you like Scripture then this article is for you. If you don’t like Scripture you may find it boring. Since Scripture is God’s Word to us, I trust all believers will be uplifted and fed by the truth found within these passages.
When I did a search on this topic I found some 100 related passages. Clearly I had to pare the list down for our purposes. I was a bit surprised to find exactly how many passages directly state, or clearly show the truth of the fact, that it is God who sustains our souls and not man. I was not surprised to find out God is the one who sustains, but I was surprised at the number of explicit passages.
God sustains our souls, God keeps us, God saves us, God predestines and elects us. Despite the popular belief that we have something to do with the keeping of our souls, that we have enough power as sinful man to undo what God has done, it is simply a faulty interpretation when compared to the whole counsel of God.
Ephesians 1:11, “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,”
Point: “obtained” is in the past tense, it is an act that has been completed. We have the inheritance, we don’t have it taken away by any outside force, including ourselves. The act was “predestined” by God for His purposes.
Romans 8:29, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”
Point: Again, those who are saved and “conformed to the image of his Son” have been predestined to this position. Does God “un-predestine” us? Can we “un-predestine” ourselves?” The answer is clearly,
Hebrews 1:3, “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,”
Point: Jesus is very God and is in full and absolute control of all. He purified us from our sins and then “sat down at the right hand” of God Almighty. This sitting down to rule and reign signifies an accomplished work, not a work that can be taken out of His rule and reign by us or any other force.
Psalm 139:1-4, “To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. …”
Point: God is clearly Omniscient, He knows all things from beginning to end. He knows our very actions. What would be the point or purpose to supposedly grant salvation to one only knowing later He would remove it?
1 Peter 1:23, “Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;”
Point: How does Peter describe the seed we have been born again by, “imperishable.” Through Jesus Christ, “the living and abiding word of God” our conversion experience, our being born again, is imperishable. For it were able to be removed from our souls it would need to be perishable, which the passage clearly states it is not.
Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Point: Most of us know this verse, or at least know of it, however, few truly comprehend it. We are saved “by grace…through faith…not of your own doing; it is a gift of God, not…works, so that no one may boast.” We are saved by grace, which is not from us. We are saved through faith, which is not of us. The nearest referent to “this” is “faith.” It is the “faith” that is being referred to as “not our own doing.” The very thing God requires of us, “faith,” He gives to us. Our salvation has nothing to do with our works, so how can our works have anything to do with losing such a precious gift from God?Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Point: “Crucified,” past tense. An already completed task. If we sustain our own soul, if we are the one who preserves our salvation, then we are crucifying Christ all over again. That is heretical for He cried out, “It is finished!” Once we are saved it is no longer “I” it is “Christ” living in us.
John 6:44, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.”
Point: Once we are drawn by the Father to Christ what happens? We will be raised up on the last day. A promise, a promise with no conditions.
Numbers 23:19, “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?”
Point: If God saves, we will remain saved. For He does not lie or change His mind. When He regenerates our heart and we belong to Him by the faith He has given us, He does not change His mind about the matter.
Colossians 1:13, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,”
Point: “delivered,” past tense. An accomplished act. “Transferred,” past tense. An accomplished act.
Galatians 3:13, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”
Point: “Redeemed,” past tense. We are redeemed from the curse of the law. He does not re-redeem.
Romans 5:1, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Point: “have been justified by faith,” again an accomplished, past tense act. This means we have peace with God through Jesus. How can anyone have peace if they must worry about losing the gift of salvation Christ paid for on the Cross and with His life?
John 6:37, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”
Point: Who does the giving/bringing? Us? Absolutely not, it is the Father. And when will Jesus cast them out? “Never.”
Psalm 55:4, “Behold, God is my helper. The Lord is the one who sustains my soul.”
Point: Well, I think it’s clear.
Well, believe it or not I am not one for using “proof texts” in this fashion. It is easy for them to be taken out of context and bent toward whatever view one is trying to suggest. However, most of these do directly deal with salvation, the soul, and who keeps or sustains them. Clearly it is God not man. Even the texts which one may be able to argue are not directly related still speak to the nature of God and His ways which logically leads to the position that we, or are works, in any way cannot “keep” our salvation, or that we can remove what God has accomplished through Christ. To believe such can happen is to place far too much power and ability in the hands of mankind, and not enough power and ability in the hands of an Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent God.
Featured Image: mountain by Steven Taschuk; CC 2.0
This was a guest post from Dr. Jeff Hagan.
Jeff is an ordained Christian minister with over 23 years of ministry experience. He has attended Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Luther Rice Seminary, Tyndale Seminary and a handful of other institutes as well. He has earned several degrees including the Doctor of Christian Education and the Doctor of Theology.