Can I Lose My Salvation?
Can a Christian, a follower of Christ, lose their salvation? That’s the question we will attempt to answer.
Can I Lose My Salvation?
When I first became a believer I attended a faith community that taught: “Once Saved, Always Saved.” The impression that I was left with is that it really didn’t matter how I lived my life, since I asked God to save me, said the sinner’s prayer, and underwent the ritual of baptism, my eternity was secure. My sins, past, present, and future have all been dealt with at the Cross. When God considers me, everything is filtered through the righteousness of Christ. When I first entered into a right relationship with God that event guarantees I am eternally secure.
I want you to know that within the practice of Christianity in America, this is the predominant thought after all these ideas are all solidly based on scripture. Jesus speaking about the gift He gives to his disciples said:
John 10:28-30 (NIV)
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."
The Apostle Paul tells the faith community that was located in Rome that nothing can separate them from the love of God.
Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)
I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 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.
There are many more scriptural supports for believing in eternal security. You will find a list in your bulletin: John 10:27-30, 1 Corinthians 3:15. Ephesians 4:30. Romans 8:35-39. Philippians 1:6, 1 John 2:19, John 5:24. And 1John 3:9
If you are deep in this camp and someone, someone respected, say an elder in the faith community, the deacon, the pastor starts behaving in a manner that is inconsistent with discipleship, goes off the deep end and starts living like a pagan, the conclusion you must draw is that this individual was never Saved in the first place. Someone who continues to willingly and blatantly lives in sin has not truly accepted Christ (1 John 2:19; 1 John 3:6; James 1:26). Therefore they must never have been saved in the first place.
Before we proceed I want you to know I really like the teaching of “once saved, always saved.” There is great comfort in the thought that a good eternity is secure. That there is nothing that I can do that will mess that up. I pray that this doctrine is correct because then I am going to make it into life eternal. I consider that a miracle.
The other thing I like about this doctrine is that the scripture cited convince me that I really have to try hard to lose my salvation.
Oh, that just tipped you off that my answer to the question—Can I lose my salvation? I believe that the answer is yes, it's not easy to do so, but it is a possibility. This, of course, is the minority report.
Salvation is all about relationships. Everything rises and falls on relationships.
Salvation is about reconciliation, ending the estrangement between God and yourself. Relationships are never static, they are dynamic, they change, hopefully growing more intimate, more secure, over time. But that’s not always the case. All we have to do is recall any relationship in our life that crashed and burned to know this is true.
Free will, means you get to make choices. Those choices have rewards and they have consequences. God will never take you right to choose away from you.
For a relationship to work, it takes two. One-sided relationships are really not right relationships, something isn’t working correctly if only one person is invested in the relationship.
Entering into a right relationship with God requires a commitment on our part to be a disciple of Jesus. The commitment requires fidelity. There are what we can call the “if” verses in scripture that give us a glimpse of our part of a saving relationship.
1 John 1:7 (NIV)
“…if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
1 John 2:24 (NIV)
See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father.
Hebrews 10:38-39 (NIV)
But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him." But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed but of those who believe and are saved.
John 15:6 (NIV)
If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
In your bulletin, you will find a list of other “if” verses.
John 15:6, John 8:51, 2 Peter 1:10, Hebrews 10:26, Hebrews 10:26, 1 John 2:15, John 15:14, Romans 8:13, Romans 11:22
The “if” verses indicate that good things happen if we do have a heart that seeks to stay true to God, and that bad things happen if we continually disregard God’s will and way instead doing our own thing.
Hebrews 3:14 (NIV)
We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.
These conditional “if” verses mean we are to continue in the faith, continue in our intent to love the Lord Our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength (Matthew 22:37) and while you are attempting to do this, Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39).
One flagrant violation of the law of love does not result in expulsion from the Kingdom. When there is a violation the Holy Spirit convicts the believer of behaviors done or are committing, that are sin. Sin is that activity which harms relationship. When we hold on to the intent to love, to obey, to be a person who keeps his or her vows and commitments, we agree with God that what we are doing is wrong and then strive to change our ways.
1 John 1:9 (NIV)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
It is when we refuse to confess our sins, that’s when we enter the danger zone. When we continue to indulge our unrighteous desires, no longer thinking it matters to God, that’s when we start slipping away. Basically when we no longer care, when we ignore the conviction of the Holy Spirit, is when we are headed for trouble of our own making.
Hebrews 2:1-3 (NIV)
We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?
Don’t drift. When the Holy Spirit’s conviction of wrongdoing or wrong being has departed, and you no longer feel ashamed, no longer want to change, you’re drifting away. You cannot lose your salvation over one immoral act, one sin, in one deviation from the path of righteousness, but when this becomes the way you are determined to live, you’re in danger of losing your salvation.
One disregard for the law of love does not result in losing your salvation, there is a process involved. A temptation arises. The Spirit of God gives you warning. The warning is ignored egoism asserts itself. The Spirit warns again, usually with a more intense warning. The warning is ignored, faith in God’s way being your only way is weakened and a hardening of the heart begins to occur (Hebrews 3:12-15). The desire for the temptation grows, before long you surrender to the temptation doing what you know ought not to be done. Then through persistent disobedience (Hebrews 3 16-19), your ongoing indulgence and the careless presumption (Hebrews 4:1-12) in the grace of God, a presumption of forgetting the justice of God, egoism spreads, leading to denial of God authority and apostasy (Hebrews 6:4-6, 2 Peter 2:20-22). Apostasy is falling away. If you stay away, you will lose your salvation. (God, Man & Salvation, 271)
Don’t confuse temptation with actual sin. I have yet to find a scripture that might suggest that we are free of temptation in this life.
It's not easy to lose your salvation. You have to work at it. You have to fully neglect your salvation, which is a relationship with God. But if you are willfully continuing to sin, making the choice to do so fully knowing that this is not the will of God concerning you, you are on the road to perdition.
Even though there is a substantial case now to support the position that a person can lose their salvation there’s one more observation concerning this possibility
1 Timothy 4:1 (NIV)
The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
Abandoning the faith is like filing for a divorce. You are basically saying I am done with this relationship and I want something different.
Egoism is what is taught by deceiving spirits and demons. Do your own thing. Be your own authority. Be your own God. Egoism is about doing your own will, regardless of what God desires. Egoism not dealt with can lead to an individual abandoning the faith.
Saints also abandon the faith when God doesn’t do what they expect. God didn’t protect, provide, heal, and they felt betrayed, that they feel that they have been lied to, that what they considered to be promises in the scripture were not kept. So they quit. They denounce the faith and walk away. Can such a person return to faith, return to a right relationship with God? It’s my hope that the Jesus story of the prodigal son trumps the simple reading of Hebrews 6:4-8 which says no they cannot.
Though I wish it were not true, it seems there is scriptural support that favors the idea that a believer can lose their salvation. It’s not easy; God will fight to win you back. But a lost salvation, a ruined relationship with God, is a possibility.
Lose My Soul TobyMac
When you make the 7 habits of a disciple your life practice: reading and studying the Bible, Prayer, Fellowship, Service, Worship, Obedience, and Contemplation, these requests for an encounter with God help keep you from drifting away.
Yes you can lose your salvation but there is no need to live in constant fear of losing it; a believer’s relationship with God is not as though they were walking a tightrope over the pit of hell where one bad thought or one bad word would result in their falling out of grace and into the fires of eternal punishment. No, you must choose to walk away from faith, denouncing your belief through your actions.
Believe that gospel, submit to God’s authority, obey His commands, live a life of love, and there is no need to worry about destroying your relationship with God.
Revelation 3:5-6 (NCV)
Those who win the victory will be dressed in white clothes like them. And I will not erase their names from the book of life, but I will say they belong to me before my Father and before his angels. Everyone who has ears should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.