Monday, April 30, 2012

Question: Is it possible for a Christian to lose their salvation?

Because of recent activity over the topic of eternal security, I felt compelled to write a post addressing the scriptural basis for eternal security. 

Question: Is it possible for a Christian to lose their salvation?

Before I go on to quote any scripture, I would like to point out that there are multiple logical fallacies about a Christian losing their salvation. There are several reasons why "losing your salvation" is irrational. #1 Why would Jesus, according to His foreknowledge, pay for all of your sins, past present and future (1 John 1:9), then take away His gift as a direct result of your committing them. Why would Jesus pay for all of your sins, but then lose you because you committed one of the same sins he forgave. #2 Our works played NO part in our salvation (Eph 2:4-10), so how will God then make works the reason to send us to Hell? It is irrationally redundant. These are the immediate logical fallacies I see with saying that one can lose their salvation.

Romans 8:38-39 says that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Salvation and Jesus is the ultimate manifestation of that love (Isaiah 63:8-9). There is nothing that hinders us from salvation, and nothing can then separate us from that.

Rom 11:29 Says that "the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable." His ultimate gift being salvation.

Philippians 1:6 "being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;" That is a promise stating that the regenerative work Christ has begun in us, He will finish. It isn't up to us...

Hebrews 7:25 "Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them." Christ Himself is praying for our salvation, and surely the Father will grant that prayer.

Romans 5:8-10 "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." Christ’s present ministry of prayer (Romans 8:34) allows us to stay saved, just like Christ’s past work allowed us to be saved in the first place. It is all on Jesus. 

John 10:28-29 States that "no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand." Jesus is speaking of His own sheep, clearly meaning believers. This is, however, limited to exterior sources for the loss of salvation. It does not specify that someone can lose their salvation as a result of their own actions. Jesus then says: "And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish," meaning eternal life. Believers do not perish. A sheep can be lost, but does not perish.

Mark 16:16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." Keywords: Will be saved. It's not optional or conditional. 

See that Ephesians 1:13-14 says that we are "sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory." Meaning that the Holy Spirit, which each believer is sealed with at the moment of salvation, is the "guarantee of our inheritance."

Furthermore, when someone becomes a Christian, they receive a new nature, (2 or 5:17) and the fact that humans had no say in our old nature, we have no influence over the new nature that God has given us, and what it fully and fundamentally implies. The regenerative work of Christ is proof for permanent salvation. Just like in our old nature, we were bound for Hell, and a slave to sin, and even if we went to church or did any "good" work, it did not affect that nature, our new nature in Christ is fundamentally unchangeable, regardless of our actions. A son of God (Christian) cannot change the fact they are children just like any father cannot change the fact he is a father. It is part of a born again Christian's very existence. 

Clearly there is a strong and unbreakable bond between a believer and Christ, the Father, and the holy spirit, and there is actual strong possession of Christ over His followers, and the salvation He gave them. Now, the question is if the already received gift of salvation is conditional upon the belief of the believer. Because, if by faith in the legitimacy of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ we are justified (Romans 3:28), then  once our justification has taken place, will the justification be revoked, or taken away by the same sins we were justified from? What??? It's not like God will charge us for sins we have already been justified for.

Through faith, by grace, in Jesus.

The roll of unbelief: The justification of our sins is only made valid by our own faith/belief. (Romans 3:28) It is unbelief that hinders our salvation. God has forgiven all sins, and only our faith is necessary for that justification to be made effective, but we resist. So, once we have believed, our sins are forgiven, the holy spirit indwells us and begins a regenerative work, among other things, but what if we stop believing? Will we be held accountable for those sins again? Certainly not, because God would not justify someone’s sins only to hold them accountable for the sin of unbelief later on in their walk. I cannot stress that point enough. Also, as I stated above, once a regenerative work has begun, Christ will follow through with it.

Our salvation does not depend on our weak grip to Christ, but on His strong and unbreakable grip on us. That is the beauty of it.

Now to examine the scripture that might support the loss of salvation.

Before I go on I would like to point out that there is a difference between knowing, and believing/having faith. There also is a difference between a Christians salvation, their faith, and their purpose/calling. 

Hebrews 6:4-9. (Read it) This was definitely the most compelling piece of scripture that might infer losing salvation. Clearly the book of Hebrews was written to, you guessed it, the Hebrew nation, and was primarily outlining who Jesus was in relation to Hebrew culture. That particular passage, once examined in context, is really a warning for the community to be careful they do not fall away from believing is Jesus Christ as the only payment of sins. When someone "falls away" from believing that Jesus alone can pay for sins, then it's almost like they are "crucifying" Him for their own shame. They point out and acknowledge that He suffered and died, but bring Him to open shame when say that His sacrifice alone cannot cleanse sin. Not only that, but in verse 9, the writer makes a clear distinction that he was not talking about salvation because he switches the subject to salvation. Context context context. 

Secondly, I found Hebrews 10:26-31, 39 to be used to say that salvation can be lost. It states that "if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries." First, it would be crucial to point out (like I did earlier) that being "saved" and "received the knowledge of truth" are not the same. Receiving the knowledge of truth is when someone accepts everything in the Bible, but doesn't necessarily put their faith in it. Once that is said, the rest of the passage makes much more sense. The writer is pointing out that those who keep living their sinful life after they are aware, refusing to repent, and know about the truth, await a far worse judgment, because they have "trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace." Not a nice thing to do at all. Clearly, this isn't even close to talking about loss of salvation. 

Peter 2:18-22. First off, this passage is about the deceptions of false teachers. Verse 20: "For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning." I really don't see how this relates to salvation. This scripture points out that if someone has escaped all the evil things that the world offers, and then falls into them, it will be worse for him now, than at first. Jesus actually had a parable about this (Matthew 12:43-45). It's a great and interesting read, pointing out that when a man’s life is cleansed, the sin/demons that used to own him, come back more powerfully and stronger. Satan wants to destroy what God has fixed, and so now that this guy earlier had a few problems, not has more. This passage has more to do with Christian walk than salvation. 

There are also several major sins that are specified in saying that people that practice such things "will not inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Cor 6:9, Gal 5:19) By this Paul states that people who are adulterer (Or anything else on the list) won't get to heaven, but believers are not identified in God's eyes by any of that. A Christian now has an identity before God which is not based on his own sin, but on the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

There are several other references, but I won't get into detail. If you have any other that you feel supports the idea that salvation can be lost, let me know.

Finally! One more point I would like to mention, that might be considered a cherry on top of my argument. Never in the Bible is a clear example of a born again Christian losing thier salvation. It just doesn't happen. I mean, we see people who were born again, and stay that way after they committed several sins (Peter, Thomas, the Corinthians), and people that were never really born again; but never is someone pointed out to have lost their salvation.

In conclusion, with all the major scriptures that seem to refer to loosing salvation cleared up, and more than compelling scriptural evidence for eternal security, I think it is more than fair to say that a true, born again, holy-spirit-indwelled Christian cannot lose their salvation under any circumstances.

I hope this post strengthened you in what you believe, and opened your eyes to what you thought was not there. If you saw that I quoted some scripture out of context, or followed a flawed line of reasoning, let me know.

Comments are appreciated. 

-Jerry Jr.


  1. I really liked it Jerry!.. I really enjoyed the part of "the roll of unbelief" because i think thats what comes up in convos of salvation a lot... on thing i would reconsider though it the inclusion of Mark 16:16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." because we can be saved without getting baptized.. i know its in one of the gospels but we clearly only have to accept Jesus to be saved.. it might confuse nonbelievers.. Thanks for sharing!! I REALLY enjoyed it!

  2. wow...thorough and biblically based...proud of you son.