I participate in a Bible reading program with two other folks at my church in which we read one to two chapters a day, and exchange emails that reflect our comments on the reading.  We will complete reading and commenting on the New Testament by the end of 2021. 

I base the below four takeaways on my comments generated through this very beneficial reading program.  Of course, additional takeaways exist.

A Question: Does Reversion to Works-Based Salvation Indicate No Salvation in the First Place?

First, Galatians 5:2–5 (NASB95) reads:

2 Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. 4 You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.

This passage seems to imply that a person can lose their salvation if they revert to the law as the way to salvation. 

A passage like John 10:27–29 (NASB95) teaches that a believer’s salvation is secure:

27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

The same is true for Jude 24 (NASB95), which reads:

24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy,

Likewise for Romans 8:38–39 (NASB95):

38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The logical conclusion is that anyone who reverts to the law for salvation was an unbeliever in the first place.  The John MacArthur Study Bible (p. 1797, NKJV) agrees:

Those once exposed to the gracious truth of the gospel who turn their backs on Christ (Heb. 6:4-6) and seek to be justified by by the law are separated from Christ and lose all prospects of God’s gracious salvation.  Their desertion of Christ and the gospel ony proves that their faith was never genuine (cf. Luke 8:13, 14; 1 John 2:19).

A Believer Must Not be “Nice” When It Comes to Challenging Damning Heresy

Second, Paul was not a “nice little boy.”  He argued vigorously against wrong teaching about salvation.  Galatians 5:10 , 12 (NASB95) read [emphasis added]:

10 I have confidence in you in the Lord that you will adopt no other view; but the one who is disturbing you will bear his judgment, whoever he is.  …  12 I wish that those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves.

Along the lines of Paul’s strong language of Galatians 1:6–9 (NASB95):

6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!

Behavior is an Indicator of Spiritual Condition

Third, verses 19-21 list actions that can be indicators a person is an unbeliever.   Galatians 5:19–21 (NASB95) reads:

19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

This is a passage where the grammar of the verb prassō (the lexical form), which the NASB95 translates as “practice,” makes a difference.  It is used 38 times in the New Testament, and it means to carry out some activity.  The NASB95 translates prasso in the following ways:

πράσσω prassō; a prim. vb.; to do, practice:—act(1), acted(1), attend(1), collect(1), collected(1), committed(3), deeds*(1), do(7), does(1), doing(2), done(6), performing(1), practice(9), practiced(2), practices(1), practicing(1).

Thirteen of the usages are translated as practice or some form thereof.  Seventeen of the usages are translated as “do” or some form thereof. Thus, the interpretation of Galatians 5:19-21 can change depending upon how one translates prassō.

It is in the present tense and active voice.  The present tense is the verb tense where the writer portrays an action in process or a state of being with no assessment of the action’s completion.  The active voice is the grammatical voice that signifies that the subject is performing the verbal action or is in the state described by the verb.  The grammar seems to be the determinative factor in translating prassōn as “practices” rather than as “do.” 

As a Believer, I “belong to Christ”

Fourth, Galatians 5:24 (NASB95) reads:

24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

By writing Galatians 5:24, Paul taught that I “belong to Christ.”  This gives me great excitement and comfort!

If You are Not Sure You Are Saved

Wouldn’t it be great if you could hook yourself up to a “salvation meter” that would show you for certain your eternal destiny?   During my about 39 years of practicing patent law, I never ran across such a meter.  And while no such “for certain” meter exists, I believe my new book The Salvation Meter: Biblical Self-Diagnostic Tests to Examine Your Salvation and Spiritual Growth is an effective vehicle for people to conduct a personal examination of their standing with God. 

Against an explanation of the relevant biblical foundation using analytical skills I developed through my law practice, as well as through formal biblical training seminars, The Salvation Meter presents over thirty “tests of salvation” comprising detailed written interrogatories coupled with a unique Personal Salvation Assessment (PSA) to help a person self-diagnose their overall spiritual condition.  Although the PSA is not a “for certain” diagnosis, it provides a person with a sense of where they are headed for eternity so they can take appropriate action.

By using The Salvation Meter, self-deceived unbelievers can come to appreciate their lost condition.  They can then accept God’s gift of salvation and rejoice in the abundant life filled with new meaning and purpose now and for eternity.

By using The Salvation Meter, Christians who lack assurance of their salvation can gain full assurance.  Then they can throw away their “spiritual wobble board” and live the victorious life of a confident believer reaping the wonderful blessings of knowing they are God’s children.

You can find out more about The Salvation Meter, as well as see the great cover design by my Pastor, Josh Mangrum of Fairview Community Church (Fairview, Tennessee), by going to any one of the bookseller websites listed at the end of this email.

Christian Publisher Xulon Press: Author Steve Belsheim – Christian Publisher Xulon Press

Amazon: The Salvation Meter: Biblical Self-Diagnostic Tests to Examine Your Salvation and Spiritual Growth: Belsheim, Steve, Mangrum, Josh: 9781662828638: Books

Barnes & Noble: The Salvation Meter: Biblical Self-Diagnostic Tests to Examine Your Salvation and Spiritual Growth by Steve Belsheim | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble® (

Target: The Salvation Meter – By Steve Belsheim (paperback) : Target

Cokesbury: The Salvation Meter – Biblical Self-Diagnostic Tes | Cokesbury

The website for The Salvation Meter Book

Please note that I have launched a website The Salvation Meter – Biblical Self-Diagnostic Tests to Examine Your Salvation and Spiritual Growth by which I will continuously update the substantive content of The Salvation Meter with more extensive exegetical material, updated discussion, teaching aids, and the like. 

If You Know You are Not a Christian

If you are reading this post and are not a Christian, unless God intervenes, your eternal destination is hell.  But, your destiny can change. 

Today can be the day of your salvation.  Please see my blog ( for a description of how you can be saved and a more concise description at my ( ).


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