Can a Christian Lose Their Salvation?
No, a Christian can not lose their salvation.
I have spent 30 years, assuring others of the doctrine "once saved, always saved". This doctrine is also known as "Eternal Security". This blog will help point you to the Bible verses which support it, so that you can know "the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding". (Philippians 4:7)
Eternal or Temporal?
Think about it, if eternal life was not eternal, it would be called "temporal life". John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life".
Eternal life and eternal security are the essence of the New Covenant. The authors of the New Covenant wanted to assure us that once we are saved, we are always saved. But unfortunately, there are many pastors, teachers and bloggers, who teach that this doctrine is erroneous and provides a false comfort and a deceitful feeling of security. Ugh.
For a Christian to lose their salvation, God would have to erase the mark on a Christian, withdraw His Spirit, cancel the deposit, break His promise, lie, revoke the guarantee, remove the gift, and keep His inheritance.
My wife and I were actually asked to leave a church we were members of, because the pastors were upset that we were telling church members that they were eternally secure. That was a very painful time for us. We were not trying to divide the church members and the staff, but were trying to help assure church members that Christ would never leave them, no matter what. Isn’t that what the Bible teaches us and what God wants us to know?
One of the main reasons that so many teach that you can lose your salvation, is because they do not have a full understanding of what salvation is. I have asked many people what their understanding of salvation is? Most of the time the response I heard most was "Jesus died for my sins". While this is an absolute truth, it is only half of the gospel.
We have a bigger problem than being a sinner in need of forgiveness, we are born spiritually dead, separated from God, in need of life. That happened the day that Adam and Eve disobeyed God's one and only command to Adam, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:16-17).
And guess what Adam and Eve did? Yep, they did exactly what God told Adam not to do. That day, the whole human race was given a spiritual death sentence.
What that means is that all of us were born into this world without the Spirit of God. That is our real problem. In 1 Corinthians 2:14 the Apostle Paul writes...
"The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit."
In Ephesians 2:1-3, Paul again writes....
"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath."
That is the bad news.
From Death to Life
The good news is that God had a plan all along to offer new life to all mankind. Jesus Christ not only took away the sins of the world but then rose from the dead and that anyone who believes in Him, shall not perish, but have eternal life.
Why did God raise Jesus from the dead? Good question. It was more than to just prove that Jesus was God. Jesus was raised from the dead to offer new life to the spiritually dead, which is everyone. The same Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, will raise us from the dead, when we put your faith in him (Romans 8:11). This offer of new spiritual life comes by faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe (John 3:16, John 3:36, John 6:40). Notice in John 3:16 the words "shall not perish". That means, if you believe in Jesus, you shall not perish spiritually, but have eternal life.
The Apostle Paul puts it this way..."If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9). The resurrection is more than just an Easter holiday we celebrate each year. It's through belief in the resurrection that guarantees us heaven one day.
One of my favorite verses to describe this transaction from spiritual death to spiritual life is John 5:24, "Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life."
Can it get anymore clearer than that?
Will God Ever Leave Us?
Once that transaction happens, God promises over and over, to never "leave us or forsake us" (Hebrews 13:5). We are then eternally saved. Based on God's promise, he will never leave us, once we are born again.
There are so many Scriptures, which mentions that once we are saved we are always saved. Why then, do so many pastors teach that once you are saved, you can lose it? Is it a control issue or something? Is it to keep us "in line" so that we sin less? Is it to make sure the church is funded and so they keep their jobs? Do they really think that God will change his mind on this and withdraw His Spirit from a born again child of God? Is God on a giant swivel chair in the sky? What's the deal?
The Apostle Paul wanted to assure us that losing your salvation was absolutely impossible. Paul spent the first five chapters of Romans, writing about man's condition of spiritual death, and God's solution of eternal life. In Romans 5:15-19, Paul contrasts 5 times, 5 different ways, what Adam brought to all mankind, and what Jesus offers to all mankind. Think he is trying to get his point across? Paul wants people to know their condition, so that they will come to Christ for his provision, and be saved by his resurrected life.
Paul writes the same repetitive way in Romans 6, and assures the Romans Christians that they have died to the sin of being "in Adam". This does not mean we have died to sinning. We all know that, right? We might have found victory in certain lifestyles, habits and thinking patterns, but we all still sin.
Paul mentions this 11 times in the following verses back to back to back....
Romans 6:2 "we died to sin"
Romans 6:6 "so that the body of sin would be rendered powerless"
Romans 6:7 "no longer a slave to sin"
Romans 6:7 "we died to sin"
Romans 6:11 "count yourselves dead to sin"
Romans 6:14 "for sin shall not be your master"
Romans 6:17 "you used to be slaves to sin"
Romans 6:18 "you have been set free from sin"
Romans 6:20 "when you were slaves to sin"
Romans 6:22 "you have been set free from sin"
Romans 8:2 "you have been set free from the law of sin and death"
These verses should seal the deal for a born again Christian. Will you ever be an unbeliever again? Will Jesus Christ ever leave you? Absolutely not! You have received the very life of Christ and have been marked by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13).
Bible Proof God Will Never Leave You
Here are some other verses, which mention that you can not lose your salvation.
Hebrews 7:25 "he is able to save completely"
Hebrews 13:5 "never will I leave you or forsake you"
Ephesians 1:13-14 "having believed you were sealed"
Ephesians 2:8 "For it is by grace you have been saved" (Past tense)
John 3:16 "you have eternal life and will not perish"
John 5:24 "you have crossed over from death to life and will not be judged"
John 6:37-40 "whoever comes to me I will never drive away, I shall lose none of them."
John 10:28 "No one can snatch them out of my hand"
John 10:29 "No one can snatch them out of my fathers hand"
John 11:25-26 "Who ever believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
1 Peter 1:4-5 "we have an inheritance which can never perish, spoil or fade."
2 Timothy 2:13 "if we are faithless, he will remain faithful"
Titus 1:2 "God does not lie..."
Romans 8:35-39 "nothing can separate us from the love of God"
Romans 11:29 "....for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable"
The 2 Things The Cross Does For Us
To further help Christians know that they can not lose their salvation, it is also important ask the question "Why did Jesus take away our sins"? Yes, Jesus died on the cross to forgive us completely and take away all our sins. But there is also a second reason Jesus died on the cross; so that the Spirit of God would never leave us, once we are saved. That is how the cross and the resurrection work together.
Questions to Consider:
1. What caused the Spirit of God to depart from Adam?
3. What is the only thing that could cause the Spirit of God to depart from you?
4. Where are your sins today?
5. Where your sins judged by God?
6. What was the verdict?
7. What was the penalty of your sins?
8. Who is the One who took it?
9. How much of it did he take? Some or all of it?
10. So then, what penalty for your sins is left for you?
Therefore, why can't the Spirit of God ever depart from you when you sin? Because all of your sins have been taken away! This is divine logic! The cause of spiritual death (Adam's disobedience) has been taken away by God. Even when we are disobedient, we are forgiven. That is because Jesus took away your sins once and for all (Colossians 2:13). Once you have the Spirit of God living in you, he will never leave you, for any reason. That is eternal security and why it’s good news.
What About The Book of Hebrews?
The Book of Hebrews was written to the Jews, who had been living under the Old Covenant, the law and the sacrificial system. There were some Jews who became born again, but there were many who were either on the fence with faith in Jesus Christ. The writer of Hebrews was warning those who had not accepted Christ, to not to drift away and ignore such a great salvation (Hebrews 2:1-3).
It's probably a good idea to first read the first 5 chapters of the Book of Hebrews. In chapter 5, you will see that here were those who were slow to learn about the salvation. Those people were not acquainted with the teaching about imputed righteousness and were still living on milk, not solid food. They had never changed their mind about faith in Jesus Christ, imputed righteousness and the complete forgiveness of sins.
In Hebrews 6:4, notice words tasted, shared, enlightened. Tasting is not swallowing or drinking. If you like something you taste, you then swallow it. You might be enlightened by something, but not accept it. That is why it is impossible for them to return to repentance because they never repented and were born again. Have you ever noticed that you can't go back to where you have never been? If you have never been to Boston, can you go back to Boston? These unbelieving Hebrews were crucifying the grace of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. The author of Hebrews then says "Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation" (Hebrews 6:9).
"If we deliberately keep on sinning after receiving the knowledge of truth, no sacrifice for sin is left". The sinning here refers to unbelief, after receiving the knowledge of truth. They rejected the truth about Jesus. Again, they heard, they shared, they were enlightened and they tasted. But they did not swallow or drink the knowledge of truth. These unbelieving Hebrews had insulted the Spirit of Grace. There was no sacrifice for them left and they were in danger of the fire of hell.
Pastors and teachers also use the lives and testimonies and lives of others to say "You know Pastor Billy? he walked away from God, and therefore, we Christians can lose our salvation." Huh? Since when do we base our theology on other people's lives, instead of the scriptures?
"We accept human testimony, but God's testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:9-12).
We should rely on the testimony of Jesus and the Word of God and nothing else.
I am praying that this blog will help you know you are eternally secure in Christ and know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Christ will never leave you. No matter what.
One suggestion is to read Classic Christianity by Bob George. This is hands down, the single best book about the God, Jesus Christ and the Bible. Your life will never be the same after you read this book. Think about getting the study guide too.