If I understand the gospel more today than I did yesterday, does that mean I’m not really saved?
How many times have you heard of someone claiming that they finally understand salvation and now are truly saved? How may times have you heard testimonies of people claiming that after years of serving God and knowing and believing the gospel, they finally realized that they didn't really believe they only thought they believed? How many times have you heard of someone making sure, or nailing it down, or getting it settled? And then they live with a new zeal and emotion and fervor…
Until… they gain a little more understanding of the gospel. Then the cycle repeats. Well I thought I was saved at 10 but when I was 20 I made sure I was saved because I had a better understanding of the gospel. And I thought I was really saved at 20 but now that I’m 30 (and have kids and know more about true love) I really, really understand why Jesus died, and I just am getting saved for sure this time I know it… etc, etc, etc, etc.
My salvation depends on my acceptance of the gospel, not the depth of my understanding of the gospel. If salvation was a simple matter such as 2+2=4 then I suppose you could require absolute understanding as a prerequisite to possession. But, salvation isn't 2+2=4. Salvation is the deliverance of fallen creatures from their sin by the gracious act of an infinite God humbling himself and becoming a human while still maintaining his divine nature so that he could as a human die and as deity forgive sin. That’s not as simple as 2+2. If you require people to fully understand that in order to be saved none will be saved. The human mind is incapable of completely comprehending a plan that has its origin in the mind of God. However, if you require people to accept that by faith then you can freely offer to every person alive salvation in Christ.
Imagine someone believing they are saved. They die and they go to heaven. They see the face of Jesus. As he welcomes them in he spreads open his arms and they see the wounds in his hands. They drop to their knees and with a glorified body and mind, for the first time, they truly understand and comprehend what happened at calvary so that their sin could be forgiven. They hang their head in humility and Jesus calmly lifts their head up and smiles on them. They tell Jesus that after all those years on earth believing the gospel message they now finally understand… And then Jesus proclaims “You mean you didn't fully understand the gospel until today?!?! I guess you weren't truly saved, depart from me.”
The above paragraph should settle the issue. If salvation depends on a complete understanding and realization of what Jesus suffered, every person to ever enter heaven would be cast out 1/1000th of a second after they entered the gates and saw his face.
Do you think Dylan Thompson understands a Steve Spurrier offensive system more today than he did when he first put on a Gamecock helmet? Yes. Does that mean he wasn’t really and truly a quarterback until that point? No.
Do you think Steve Jobs better understood mobile technology in 2007 when the iPhone was released than he did in 2001 when the iPod was released? Yes. Does that mean he wasn't really and truly a CEO until that point? No.
Do I understand marriage today a little more than I did in 2005? Yes. Does that mean Rachael hasn’t really and truly been my wife until now? No.
Do I know more about the gospel today than I did in 2001 when I knelt in my backyard and cried “Lord, I’m sorry. Please forgive me”? Yes. Does that mean these past 13 years that I haven’t really and truly believed the gospel? No.
Our (believers) knowledge of salvation isn't like a line graph with a point that starts when we are saved, then increases until we die, then flatlines for the rest of eternity. It’s more like a point that starts when we are saved, then increases until we die, then increases exponentially for the rest of eternity. And if that’s true, then I suppose that each “second” we are in a timeless, eternal heaven, salvation in Christ will be more overwhelming, more meaningful, and more inexhaustive than it was the “second” before.
So, the next time someone tries to convince you that you aren’t really saved because you know more about the gospel today than you did yesterday, here’s a reply:
“The fact that I know more about the gospel now than I did then when I first received Christ doesn't cause me to doubt his loving salvation. On the contrary, the fact that I know more about the gospel now than I did then when I first received Christ does nothing but constantly assure me of his loving salvation.”