CAN I LOSE MY SALVATION? IS JESUS COMING BACK A SECOND TIME TO ATONE FOR MY SIN?
Being a new Christian, you are now a follower of Jesus. You want to walk the way God wants you to walk and you no longer want to fall and sin. But suddenly it happens, your first temptation drives you to your knees. What happens next? Will God turn His back on me? Then this question: If I sin, can I lose my salvation? If I am struggling with various lusts and temptations, will I lose eternal life? There are new believers whom after accepting Jesus Christ, they begin to doubt their salvation or whether they are really born again. Other seasoned believers due to various troubling circumstances in their lives begin to wonder if they can lose their position or relationship in Christ Jesus. Some of these questions can cause confusion in believer’s lives. There are probably some who live in fear that their salvation may be lost, either by their own negligence, or giving into momentary temptation.
Most believers, if they’re honest, have probably had moments of doubt about their salvation at some point in their spiritual journey. After all, we’ve all entertained thoughts and have committed acts that we knew were displeasing to God. We’ve all experienced that sense of remorse and sometimes question the reality of our salvation afterwards. As a new believer, I know I was one of them that had doubts now and again in my own spiritual journey. Now, why these doubts? Why do we even entertain these thoughts? Well, behind this false narrative, the notion that you can lose your salvation, is not a thought from God but from God’s adversary, Satan. We have all heard Satan’s lying, tempting, deceitful voice in our hearts and consciences. The view that you and I could lose the salvation we received from God through Christ is built upon a lie from Satan. This is the first thing we need to remember as it pertains to our salvation and eternal security in Christ. Satan, the accuser, desires to remind believers of their sins and their unworthiness of a place in God’s family and in this way, sow seeds of doubt regarding salvation and eternal security into believer’s hearts and minds. Satan wants to make believers fear for their salvation and forget God’s love and faithfulness. This lie is meant to subdue us from experiencing all that God has for us, from accomplishing the work God has prepared in advance for us to do, and from fulfilling the Great Commission.
CAN A SAVED PERSON EVER LOSE THEIR SALVATION?
The answer to that question is an emphatic “No.” Salvation is an eternal transaction between the sinner and God. No one who is born again of the spirit can ever become unborn. In fact, the Bible teaches the security of the saved, not the insecurity.
Look, when it comes to salvation, when we believe the gospel and repent of our sins, we “are sealed with the promised Holy Spirit who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession (Eph. 1:13-14).” These promises are not based on anything that we do; they are based on what Christ did. It tells us in John 3:36: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.” Jesus later adds, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand (John 10:28).” Again, it is God (NOT US) who makes us stand firm in Christ. Since obtaining salvation did not depend on anything you did, keeping it does not depend on anything you do: then also, losing it can’t occur because of anything you do. For this reason, and other verses I will put forward, I certainly don’t believe that we can lose our salvation. How can we? Here are a number of verses that prove why a true believer can never lose their salvation:
CAN ANY THING SEPERATE US FROM THE LOVE OF GOD?
– “Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:39).”
CAN A NEW CREATION BE UN-CREATED? – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Cor. 5:17).”
CAN ANYONE BE UN-BORN? – “But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12-13).”
CAN WE BE UN-DECLARED RIGHTEOUS? – “We have been justified (just as if I never sinned) through faith…. (Rom. 5:1).”
CAN THE GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE PROVE TO BE TEMPORARY? – “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, whoever believes in Him shall never perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).”
CAN THE IRREVOCABLE BE MADE REVOCABLE? – “For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable (Rom. 11:28).”
CAN THE SOVEREIGN CHAIN OF SALVATION BE BROKEN? – “To those He predestined, he also called; to those He called, He also justified; to those He justified, He also glorified (Rom. 8:30).”
CAN GOD BREAK HIS WORD AND BE PROVEN UNWORTHY? – “I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is capable to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day (Christ’s second coming) (2 Tim. 1:12).”
WILL GOD LIE AND BREAK HIS PROMISES TO YOU REGARDING YOUR ETERNAL LIFE? – “…. in the hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began (Titus 1:2).”
WILL GOD NOT KEEP US FROM FALLING? – “To Him who is able to keep you from falling… (Jude 24).” The idea here is that He is the one who keeps us from falling, we are not keeping ourselves.
QUESTIONS: Can something eternal be temporary? No! Eternal means everlasting and everlasting means forever and not until the next time you sin. So how can you lose something (salvation) if it is eternal? You can’t and don’t let the devil deceive you. There is no such thing as temporary, eternal life.
If someone believes salvation can be lost, then there is a number of questions that must be asked: What sin or sins would cause me to lose my salvation? How do I know when I’ve lost my salvation? If I lose my salvation, how can I get it back? Is Jesus going to come back a second time to atone for my sins? You see, if we could lose our salvation then no could know from moment to moment whether they are saved or not. Also, if we can lose our salvation because we have sinned then no one could be saved, and Christ Jesus died in vain. This is why this notion that we can lose our salvation is complete nonsense. These are unsettling thoughts coming from Satan.
MAKING GOD A LIAR
Believers are Justified when they are Born Again and are placed into the body of Christ, the eternal Savior, who purchases believers with eternal redemption (Rev. 22: 13), with eternal salvation (Heb. 9:12), and gives the believer eternal life (Heb. 5:9), and they shall “never” perish (Jn. 10:28). Clearly one cannot lose this “eternal salvation,” bought with “eternal redemption,” and given “eternal life” to “never” perish. To believe that anyone can lose salvation makes God a liar. But that is what the devil is attempting to do here – bringing doubt in believer’s minds.
A believer has eternal security whether they know it or not, since they are kept by the power of God. Recognition of this fact should give the believer assurance. Concerning believers 1 Peter 1:5 states, “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” Clearly believers are kept by God’s power and not by anything believers can do on their own.
Assurance of salvation is the absolute conviction of a believer that they are in present possession of a salvation, in which they will be eternally kept. One should note that believers’ assurance does not rest upon sanctification, which is progressive, but on justification which occurs once and for all at the moment of a person’s belief in our Lord and Savior. It is also very important to understand that our assurance (eternal life) does not rest upon our works, but upon faith in Jesus Christ alone. A lack of assurance can usually be traced to Satan and the doubt that he puts in a person’s mind when he accuses you of not being a good Christian because you sin.
The keeping of our salvation is not in our hands – it’s in God’s hands. If keeping your salvation depended upon you, you would most likely lose it within a day. Our sin nature and propensity to sin is just that real. And if you could lose it, you would. If keeping your salvation depended on you, then you would have the power to undo what Christ did at the Cross and we know that can’t happen. If you could lose your salvation, then Jesus’ death on the cross was a good attempt but it didn’t actually save anyone. If you can lose your salvation, then God the Father lied to the Son. Why? For God, the Father, gave to the Son a particular number for eternal life (Jn 17:2, 9) and we know that all that God gave to the Son will be saved – God does not lie.
LICENSE TO SIN
The most frequent objection to the doctrine of eternal security is that it supposedly promotes the idea that believers can live anyway that they want to, and still be saved – license to sin. Eternal security is not a “license” to sin. Rather, it is the security of knowing that God’s love is guaranteed for those who trust in Christ. Knowing and understanding God’s tremendous gift of salvation accomplishes the opposite of giving a “license” to sin. How could any true believer knowing the price Jesus Christ paid for us, go on deliberately to live a life of sin (Rom. 6:15 – 23)? How could anyone who understands God’s unconditional and guaranteed love for those who believe, take that love and throw it back in God’s face? Such a person who habitually and continually sins is a person demonstrating not that eternal security has given him or her a license to sin, but rather that he or she has not truly experienced salvation through Jesus Christ. They are professors who profess to know Christ but do not possess Christ with the Holy Spirit dwelling in them – they are unbelievers. Scripture makes this clear: “No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or know Him (1 John 3:6).” Also, in a similar response to the accusation that grace promotes sin, the apostle Paul declared, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer (Rom. 6:1-2)?”
I’m sure most of you have heard of the phrase, “Once saved, always saved.” Although it is biblically correct however, the weakness of this phrase has been in its historical usage. Many people use this to mean something like this: If you once walked to the front at the end of an evangelistic meeting (altar call) and repeated a sinner’s prayer, then it does not matter how you live afterwards, you will still get to heaven. I want to assure you that such an understanding is false and dangerous. It really matters how you live after coming to Christ. The Bible argues again and again that the life you live after you profess Christ as your Lord and Savior is what proves whether you are saved or not (the fruit of the Spirit in us).
First John was written so that those who believe in Jesus may know that they have eternal life (v. 13). John’s arguments are along the lines that if you are saved it will show in the way you now live, in relationship to sin. For instance, John writes, “Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as He is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil (unbeliever), for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God (3:7-9).”
THEY WERE NOT OF US – PROFESSORS NOT POSSESSORS
What about Christians who live a sinful, unrepentant lifestyle? What about Christians who have abandoned or rejected the faith and deny Christ? The problem with these objections is the assumption that everyone who calls themselves a “Christian” has been born again. Just because a person joins the church and gets baptized doesn’t mean he or she is eternally secure because he or she may not be saved. Many people look like Christians (tares) and act like Christians, but they’ve never been saved. In fact, there are around a billion churchgoers today, calling themselves Christian, who belong to this huge man-made religion who profess Christ but do not possess Christ – not born again with the spirit of God living in them. They believe they are saved by faith plus works, that tradition is on par with God’s word, that their priests can mediate between God and man, and that their Pope is Christ’s holy representative on earth. Then, what about the Reformation churches that broke away from Rome but still carry some of its false doctrines? What about the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-Day Adventists, and others, numbering in the millions who also call themselves Christians but promote a different gospel than what Christ Jesus had taught?
There is an interesting verse in Matthew 7:22 that specifically addresses these professing Christians – religious but lost. Jesus is talking about the final judgement and says to these people: “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in your name? And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’?” The Bible says that anyone who departs the faith is demonstrating that they were never truly a believer in the first place (1 John 2:19). They may have been religious, they may have put on a good show, but they were never born again by the power of God. For it is written: “By their fruit you will recognize them (Matt. 7:16).” The redeemed of God belong “to Him who is raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit of God (Rom. 7:4).”
Both Titus 1:16 and James 2:14 conclude that many people say that they know God but deny Him by their lifestyle. Scripture suggests in 1 John 2:19 that those who acknowledge Christ initially, but denying Him later, are not saved to begin with: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us.” So, the real question therefore is not whether someone can lose their salvation but was that person really saved to begin with? Well, judging by what we have seen and read in Scripture we can only conclude that they were never saved from the start. You see, while “once saved, always saved” is true from God’s perspective, but man only looks at the outward appearance and thus cannot always accurately assess who is really saved in the first place. These professing Christians are the “tares of the field” that Jesus alluded to in the parable of the “Wheat and the Tares” (Matt. 13). When Jesus comes back, He sends out His ministering angels to go and separate the wheat (believers) from the tares, to gather the tares (professing Christians) and cast them in the furnace of fire (Matt. 13:40-42).
FALSE BIBLICAL TEACHING
When discussing a believer’s eternal security in Christ you will find someone in the back of the Bible study class that will shout out: “But what about Hebrews 6:4-6?” Which says, “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since the crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.”
Does Hebrews 6:4-6 prove that a person can lose their salvation?
No! These verses refer to professors, not possessors. Those referred to were enlightened, they tasted, they were convicted by the Holy Spirit, but they fell anyway because they had never been saved in the first place. Hebrews 6:9 makes this very clear when the writer says: “But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation…..” This proves to me that these people never really had a born-again experience. They are professors (unbelievers).
Actually, these verses show that it is impossible for a saved person to lose their salvation. In Hebrews 6:6, it says that it is impossible “if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance.” In other words, if a person were saved and then lost it, it would be impossible for that person ever to be saved a second time. If that was the case, then no one on earth would be saved because every believer will go off track and commit sins during your life on earth and I can guarantee you that Jesus is not coming back a second time to atone for your sins – He did it once and said, “It is finished.” No, the “falling away” is from the knowledge of the truth, not personal possession of it (again, professors vs possessors).
It’s all about apostasy. Apostasy is not the same as the unpardonable sin mentioned in the Gospels. Their deliberate departure indicated that they have never been truly born again. “They went out from us but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us….. (1 John 2:19).”
Satan uses these verses to unsettle believers, thinking that they can lose their salvation if they succumb to sin. They may fear that they have fallen away from Christ and that there is no hope for restoration. They worry that they have drifted beyond redemption. The fact that they are even concerned about it is conclusive evidence that they are not apostates. An apostate would not have any such fears. He would brazenly repudiate Christ. Still worried about losing your salvation. Rest assured it’s not going to happen.
Another verse that confused believers like to bring up regarding losing one’s salvation is Hebrews 10:26-27 that says, “For if we sin wilfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgement, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.” Here again, Satan has used this Scripture to torment many in the thought that there is no hope for them, and that they will be eternally damned because they committed an act of wilful sin. However, this verse does not pertain in any way to born again believers. Here the writer of Hebrews introduces a grim warning. As in previous cases, it is a warning against apostasy which is defined here as sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of truth. Those who profess to be Christians for a while, identify themselves with a local church, but then deliberately turn away from Christ. Like Judas, the person has heard the gospel. He knows the way to salvation. He even pretended to receive it but then he deliberately repudiates. For such a person there no longer remains a sacrifice for sin. He has decisively and conclusively rejected the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ Jesus. Therefore, God has no other way of salvation to offer him. Nothing remains but a certain fearful expectation of judgement. There is no hope of escape. It is impossible to renew the apostate to repentance. “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened and tasted the good word of God….. If they fall away, to renew them again to repentance (Hebrews 6:4-6).”
Once again, it is impossible to renew the apostate to repentance. He has knowingly and willingly cut himself off from God’s grace in Christ and for that he will receive severe punishment and experience God’s wrath. These verses are talking to unbelievers, those who heard but refused to believe. The Bible teaches that the blood of Christ is precious; it is the nearest thing to the heart of God. If a person rejects the truth of Christ’s death for sin, there is no other sacrifice for sin available, no other way to come to God whereby a person can be saved. Only judgement remains.
Once we come to Christ and are saved how can we lose our salvation? What could possibly make us lose our salvation? Sin? As believers we sin on a nearly daily basis through thought, deed, or action. That’s a fact and if you don’t acknowledge that then you are calling God a liar (1 John 1:10). So, what happens when we sin? Is Jesus going to come back a second time to deal with our sin issue? No! He’s already done that and cried out from the cross, “It Is Finished.” Christ Jesus came down from heaven to take away all the sins of the entire world – past, present, and future sins never to be remembered again.
If our salvation was based on us keeping it, we would have lost it long ago, but God never changes. Therefore, the salvation we received from Him never changes. Christ has promised: “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and him who comes to Me I shall by no means cast out (John 6:37).” Isn’t that reassuring – God always keeps His promises.
God has done and said so much to give His people assurance and security. It is an assault on His integrity to say that we can lose our salvation. When we come to Jesus in faith and accept Him as our Lord and Savior, and the moment we do that the Holy Spirit of God comes to dwell in us for all eternity – We become “Children of God.” We can never again be “children of wrath” once we have been indwelt by God’s Spirit. (1 John 3:1-3). John nails this down with this statement: “I write this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life (1 John 5:13).” Scripture can’t be any clearer than this regarding the subject of eternal security. Once you are saved, you are His. He is yours and no one can snatch you out of His hand (John 10:29). Look, all kinds of things try to snatch us from His hands – sin, the world, Satan, etc. But it is impossible for us to be snatched away. No one and nothing is stronger than God. Even if we try to remove ourselves from His hands, He will never let us go. Jesus said, “I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).” Are you greater than Jesus? If He is not going to leave you, how can you leave Him. It makes no sense! He’s with you for all eternity, it’s as simple as that and don’t let Satan put those negative and fearful thoughts into your head.
So as a result, when people come to know Christ as their Savior, they are brought into a relationship with God that guarantees their eternal security. Jude 24 declares, “To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy.” God’s power is able to keep the believer from falling! It is up to Him not us, to present us before His glorious presence. Our eternal security is a result of God keeping us, not us trying to maintain our own salvation. Isn’t that great news!
F/B – Signs Of Our Times
www.UnderstandingThe Signs Of Our Times.com
Transforming Power; The Work of God on Behalf of Man
Lian Muan Kim –
Koinonia Baptist Seminary