Are we kept by grace?
Some question whether the teaching of Christians being kept by God’s grace is Biblical or not. Many despise the doctrine of "once saved, always saved" and reject the notion that any could be preserved in Christ. Preferring to believe that one can somehow fall from grace, there are those who teach if a person doesn’t live their life perfectly enough, he or she can lose their salvation and no longer be named as a child of God.
A Secular Comparison
In the Bible, being saved is intertwined with receiving the Spirit of adoption (Ref., Romans 8:15, Romans 8:23, Romans 9:4, Galatians 4:5, Ephesians 1:5). It is received, similar, in some ways, to what we know of adoption today.
Generally speaking, when children are adopted, they are chosen by their parents and become a family. In most families, there is nothing that child could do that would cause his parents to stop loving or caring for him, just as there is nothing a child of God could do that would cause Him to stop loving or caring for them.
He is the Good Shepherd. He is the one who stays when others leave: "The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine." (John 10:13,14)
God would never call someone His child one day, but not the next. If the Spirit of adoption we have received was ever true, then it is always true. We may change, but God never does – His grip holds strong even when ours doesn’t.
As the Apostle Peter had written in 1 Peter 1:5, we "are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."
Salvation in Christ
If you look up the word salvation, you will find that to be saved by grace and to be kept by grace are a lot alike. You can only be kept by grace if you are saved by grace, and you can only be saved by grace if you are kept by grace.
According to TheFreeDictionary.com, one definition of salvation is: "Preservation or deliverance from destruction, difficulty, or evil." So, to receive salvation in Christ is also to receive preservation in Christ, to be kept by Him.
When He was crucified, He paid for the sins of His people once and for all, as it is stated in Hebrews 10:10, "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."
He did it once and that was enough, and He did it for all of His people and all of their sins. And that was also enough.
Because salvation is in Christ – because of what He did, and not what anyone else did – verses such as Ephesians 2:8,9 should become more clear. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
Jesus Christ remains "the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2). It is through Him salvation is received, and it is through Him salvation is secured. All things begin and end with Him.
"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." (John 10:28)
Though we are saved and kept by the power of God’s grace, the sinful nature inside of us still exists.
To sin or even to backslide doesn’t mean that a Christian has fallen from grace, as it says in Psalms 37:24, "Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand." And in Psalms 145:14, "The LORD upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down."
We slip and stumble, and, yes, we fall flat on our faces at times, but a true child of God can never fall away completely.
Why? Because we are kept by grace, in the name and in the strength of God our Saviour.
"Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen." (Jude 1:24,25)