The other day I taught a college Bible study that I help teach from time to time at a local college campus in my area. I preached on John 15:1-11 and decided to open up my message by discussing the difference between religion and the gospel. Religion is based on performance, the gospel is based on God’s grace. God’s grace to us is his unmerited favor, grace is a gift and thus grace cannot be earned. How could we possibly earn the favor of one who is perfect in holiness? In other words, what distinguishes the gospel from religion is the fact that the gospel is a free gift, one that cannot be earned. Salvation in Christ is in no way based on performance, it is based on God who has mercy (Romans 9:16).
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. -Ephesians 2:8-9
Salvation is God’s doing, it is His gracious gift to sinners who are “dead in trespasses and sins” and are by “nature, children of wrath” (Eph. 2:1, 3). Salvation is “not your own doing” otherwise we would have grounds for boasting before Almighty God. The fact that I cannot earn God’s favor by my performance is what makes the gospel such profoundly good news!
So when Canton Jones says, “I’m a stay saved” when people start cussing and when they try to cut him in line or get his order wrong at McDonald’s, every bone in my body wants to scream out to everyone who watches this video, THAT IS NOT THE GOSPEL!
Furthermore if salvation is God’s doing and He accomplishes it by grace, then it follows that only God can take it away. Grace that is conditional upon our performance is not grace. If we give up on the idea that God will persevere to the end those who He has saved by grace, then we are right back to a false gospel of works righteousness. If salvation is by grace how could we possibly lose it by works? Let’s hear from the Apostle Paul again:
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:38-39
I believe “I’m a stay saved,” but not because I don’t lose my temper or because I chose to turn the other cheek, no “I’m a stay saved” by the grace of God and not by any good work of my own. By His grace He saved me, by His grace He will keep me to the end.