Salvation, the assurance that Jesus Christ provides to all who believe in Him (Acts 16:31), maintains that we are truly the “heirs” of God’s glory (Rom 8:17), His kingdom, and also the earthly benefits that go with being truly adopted by the Father. His sheep (John 10:27) are those with the legal jurisdiction to claim themselves as children of God (John 1:12, Gal 4:4-5), and as such we are predestined to this adoption (Eph 1:5). The instance of adoption occurs simultaneously with our conversion, regeneration and justification, and becomes the condition of the Christian life from that point forward. Our adoption is our renewal and reunion with our Creator (Col 3:10), allowing for a restoration of the relationship originally intended before the Fall, (Rom 5:8, 10) as well as liberty in Christ (Rom 8:14-16, Gal 3:10-11).
Adoption is an especially important aspect of salvation because it is a reminder that we did not choose Him but rather He chose us (John 15:16). Only those who are His chosen (the elect) will hear His voice and His call (John 10:27), and thus salvation, while perhaps available to all, will not be accessible to all. Only those who are actually subject to the calling – and thus “drawn” from the Father (John 6:44) will truly find it. Because none of us are righteous (Romans 3:9-11), salvation is not something we are able to even fully desire on our alone, much less, ensure it. The entire essence of salvation is that of divine initiative, as no one is even able to access it unless through Jesus (John 14:6) and it is certainly not obtainable through works or our will. This does not reject or nullify the concept of free will as God still allows us to choose to heed the call or not. But for those who are predestined to heed the call, they will be justified and glorified (Rom 8:30) by grace alone (Eph 2:8). Justification is absolutely unattainable by works.
Baptism (in the essence that we have been witness to in the Bible) is not a requirement, a mode of regeneration or the actual instance of salvation. It is rather the outward expression of that which has already taken place within the believer. It is an ordinance, proclaimed by the believer, as evidenced by his or her faith and knowledge of who Christ is, as a sign to all, declaring to whom the believer now belongs. True baptism does not occur without faith.
Nothing can separate a saved believer from God (Rom 8:31), and therefore I reject the notion that one can lose their salvation. The Scriptures specifically state that no one is able to snatch the believer out of Jesus’ grasp (John 10:27). The gift of the Holy Spirit that enters the believer upon salvation allows for divine perseverance throughout our walk, and the many examples in Scripture acting as warnings are to keep believers strong and on their posts – not lazy, but active in their walks with Christ (2 Peter 1:10). Clearly, Scripture shows us examples of temporary backslides, such as in the case with Peter, but a true falling from grace is not Biblically supported, whereas perseverance is. (The entire story of Job is an overwhelming reference for perseverance.) The gift of perseverance is truly one aspect displaying the certainty of salvation to those who receive it. And because of the grace of God, we are able to receive salvation in just one moment of our heart truly coming to Jesus (Luke 23:43). Although we may fall, Jesus has his eternal hand extended to ensure that we will never fall away once we heed the call.