This is something I thought I figured out years ago. I was settled in my heart with what I believed. We’ve been discussing this in our Sunday School class and I find myself rethinking my position. (And I was in agreement with our church’s position.)
Let me clarify the question before I get started on the post. The question is once a person is a Christian (has accepted Christ) can he lose his salvation?
Salvation is Believing in Jesus - “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him." (John 3:36)
Not Saved by Works - “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2: 8-9)
Salvation is a Free Gift from God – There’s nothing we can do to earn our salvation and nothing we can do to keep it. - “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23)
If you could lose your salvation then he didn’t give you eternal life – that in itself describes something that never ends.
Salvation happens at a point in time – not a process. “For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)
When you accept Christ, you become a child of God. (1 John 3:2 and Romans 8:15)
Nothing can separate us from our Father. Nothing can “undo” your spiritual birth. It is the difference between relationship and fellowship. You can turn your back on your parents and never talk to them again but they will still be your parents. You will be out of “fellowship” with them but the relationship is still intact. The same is true with your heavenly Father.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8: 38-39)
“My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand.” (John 10:29)
Jesus will never leave us - “"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." (Hebrew 13:5) How could Jesus make this claim if there was a possibility that you could lose your salvation?
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20
When the Bible talks about eternal life, it talks about it in the present tense - something we already have. If we could lose it, how could we already have it? If we had to do anything to keep it, how could we already have it?
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life" (John 3:36)
“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13)
“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24)
That all sounds really convincing but what about the person who turns his back on Christ after believing. He will lose rewards in heaven but he will be saved. (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)
Even if we choose not to believe, we are already a child of God. “if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13)
If salvation is a free gift from God and I know that God will never take it back, can I give it back? What if I turn my back on God? I was reading Hebrews 6:4-6 and started to struggle with these Scriptures but I think I have come to a conclusion that makes sense to me.
“It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.” (Hebrews 6:4-6)
This is actually throwing out a hypothetical situation. It says if they fall away. It doesn’t say when they fall away. It says if we could lose our salvation then Jesus would have to die all over again for us to get it back. That’s not only impossible but also ridiculous. He dies once for all.
Can you lose your salvation from sin in your life? If so, what kind of sin and how much sin? There’s no verse in the Bible that tells us. We are told that if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness – this implies that all sin can be forgiven as there were no conditions placed on this promise. Hebrews chapter 12 tells us that all Christians sin. It states that instead of a loss of salvation, sin brings God’s chastening. He disciplines us as a father would his children.
If a Christian is once saved, always saved, should he care about how he leads his life? Does it matter how he lives? Paul addressed this issue in Romans chapter 6. We would never say, so ahead and sin because after all you accepted Christ and are saved. If you are not willing to live for Christ, how can you say that you were sincere when you asked Him to save you?
In 2 Corinthians 13:5, Paul tells us to “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.” Were you sincere, did you really commit your life to Christ. If you did, it will be evidenced by a changed life.
Our security rests in God’s unchanging love and grace and the sufficiency of Christ’s death on the cross to pay for our sins.
Let me close with Romans 5:8-10
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”
Paul uses past tense verbs – have been justified and have been reconciled. You can’t undo it – it’s a done deal.
I think I have just re-convinced myself of my original position.
I welcome your thoughts.