Can a Person Lose Their Salvation

Is salvation eternally secure?

     It’s time to throw your hat into the discussion that I am not going to answer for you. I’ll present both sides of the eternal security debate. I want to present both sides briefly and as accurately as possible. Then, let’s see which side has the best evidence. I may go beyond my personal opinion for the sake of representing that side of the argument. This issue is important because it changes the way we might share with a person that is not focused on Christ and seem to have been focused on Christ in the past.

    First, the side that says you cannot lose your salvation once you really have it. This would be all Calvinists, and even a lot of non Calvinist. This belief that your salvation is eternally secure is based on the fact that it is God that holds it, and God is faithful. John 6:37 says everyone the Father gives me (Jesus) will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never cast out. This verse does not seem to leave open the possibility that there’s anything we can do after being a child of God to lose that gift. Certainly Jesus is capable of keeping us once we believe in Him.
     John 10:27, 28 says my sheep hear my voice, I know them and they follow me. I give any turn a life and they will never parish. Ever! No one will snatch them out of my hand. If our salvation is based on the goodness of God, rather than the goodness of us, then we have confidence that he is able to keep us. This is the promise in this verse. To say that God is not able to assure that we stay within the fold is to doubt God’s faithfulness, which is against His character (2 Tim 2:13).
     First John 2:19 says they went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. However, they went out so that it might be made clear that none of them belong to us. This verse indicates to us the person that has turned their back on God does so because they never really belonged to God. If they truly had belonged to God, they would not have turned and rejected the Apostles’ message for the sake of spreading a false message. You know a person is saved because of the continuing fruit that is exhibited in their life.
     Romans 8:38, 39 says “for I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels no rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!” Notice, “no other created thing” in that verse. Humans are a created thing. Therefore humans don’t even have the power to separate themselves from the love of God.
     Finally, the eternal security of the believer is based on the goodness of God and not on man’s effort. Jude verse 24 says that God is the one that is able to keep us from falling and present us faultless before God. Since God is faithful our salvation is secure.

     Now to present the position that you can lose your salvation.
     It is true that God is always faithful, but people are not always faithful. We agree that God, given His love and faithfulness, will not lose a person that is saved. In other words he will not forsake them. But it is possible that somebody that once desired God now does not desire God, so they have walked away from him. This doesn’t mean that we maintain our salvation by our works, but that the continuing in faith is necessary to maintain salvation. Works will be a sign that follows faith and salvation. If a person does not continue in good works it may be a sign that they are not continuing in faith.
     John 8:31 says that if you continue in Jesus’ word then you are really his disciples. Being a disciple of Jesus is more than just a one time salvation decision, it means continuing in that decision. Consequently, the reverse of that verse would indicate that if you do not continue in His Word then you are not a disciple. Can you be saved and not be a disciple?
     Colossians 1:22-23 says that Jesus is able to present us blameless to the Father IF we continue in faith and the hope that was preached in the gospel. This indicates the fact that a continual decision is necessary to have salvation, and not just a 1 time momentary decision.
    In Matthew 10:22, 24:13 Jesus is talking about the persecutions that will come upon the believers. He says that whoever ensures till the end will be saved. So salvation is not and instantaneous event but a continuing event. We cannot trust a quick 1 time decision to save us; we need to endure and continue to fulfill the process of that decision.
     Now, finally, we come to Hebrews 6:4-6 . Those that believe that the current believer can never lose their Salvation will say that this verse does not indicate that such people were ever saved in the first place. Let’s look at the verse carefully to see if that’s true. Count the number of clues that indicate that such a person is a real Christian. The verse says “it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again to repentance…” There are no less than 5 indicators that this person that this verse refers to was a real Christian. How can a person be a partaker of the Holy Ghost without being a saved Christian? Notice also in verse 6, it says “if they shall fall away”. How can a person that is already unsaved fall away. This term can only make sense if the person what is at one time a saved Christian. Then notice it says “restore them AGAIN to repentance”. This clearly indicates that they have been a repentant person in the past, but currently refuse that repentance.
     In these cases the latter (fallen away) state is worse than the first. 2 Peter 2:21 says it would have been better for them not to have “known the way of righteousness then after knowing it, to turn from the Holy commandment delivered to them”. Knowing the way of righteousness is a synonym for being a Christian. How can the latter end be worse if they are still saved? So we see that Peter, along with John, Paul, and Jesus all taught the possibility of being saved then becoming unsaved.

     Which side has the better evidence? Your input on this dispute is welcome. Only respectful comments will be accepted.


2 thoughts on “Can a Person Lose Their Salvation

  1. Dear Beready315,
    You ask which side has better evidence. This is the wrong question in my opinion. I have pondered this very thing early in my walk with the LORD.

    I remember being told by the following of loosers of Salvation(Arminian) that I could just loose salvation anytime I sinned. I was left with the option of always saying the sinners prayer every time I fell. At times laying down telling the LORD “Why should I talk to You? You cant hear me my sin separates me from you.” I kept screwing up! Every little thing I did wrong I thought I lost my salvation.

    I also recall the numbing feeling of the Calvinist view sitting at a church full of good church going folk (whom I love)sitting in disbelief because a member of the church who hadn’t attended since being a child or had any lifestyle showing God in their life who said the sinners prayer at age of 8 and was baptized in there baptistry was glorified as a marvelous Christian. The issue was the person was dead and committed suicide. I couldn’t fathom this once saved always saved side. How could a person who had hope in Christ if they were truly saved have no hope and kill themselves. It just didn’t add up.

    I do not support either side. I look at both those sides of this debate and it just is a bunch of picking and choosing of the scriptures. Can’t we take all the Word of God and put it together in a balance? All His scripture is valuable each and every verse matters.

    When I’m down brother come to me and tell me how the LORD says no one can snatch me out of His hand.

    When I am backsliding from the ways of God willfully sinning and not communing with Him. Please show me the other scriptures to bring me to repentance to help restore me to the faith.

    So in conclusion neither side has better evidence to me. It is about taking the whole word of God in context.


  2. Lutherans DO believe that a person can make a Decision for Christ

    Lutherans believe that one CAN make a decision for Christ…but it is AFTER God has saved him!

    We believe that God gives the free gift of salvation without any assistance or even any cooperation of the sinner. In this way salvation really and truly is FREE! God lays the gift of faith and salvation into your “lap” and you believe and repent. We do not believe that there is any decision making in any of these actions. We view the believing and repenting as reflexive REACTIONS. When a doctor strikes your knee with a reflex hammer, your conscious brain is not required to make a decision for your knee to reflexively jerk forward.

    Now that the new Christian has the free gift of salvation, he does have a free will in spiritual matters, where before salvation he did not. The believer can choose to reject Christ, turn from him, and live a life of willful ongoing sin two seconds after his salvation or forty years later…and when he dies he will most likely wake up in hell.

    Lutherans do NOT believe in eternal security. Our salvation in not dependent on how many good deeds we do, but a willful rejection of Christ (eg. converting to Islam or becoming an agnostic or atheist) or choosing to live in ongoing, willful sin, can cause the Holy Spirit to leave a believer as happened with King Saul in the OT. If the Holy Spirit leaves the one time believer, he is no longer saved, if he dies without repenting and returning to Christ, he will go to hell.

    Human beings DO have the opportunity to make a decision for or against Christ AFTER they are saved…they do NOT have the ability to make a decision FOR Christ before they are saved.

    So Lutherans and Baptists/evangelicals actually end up at the same place: a person CAN make a decision for Christ, we just disagree when the decision can occur. It is this point of disagreement that precludes Baptists and many evangelicals from accepting infant baptism. You require a decision before salvation. You are absolutely correct, infants cannot make decisions…but infants can REFLEXIVELY believe and repent, in the same manner an adult reflexively believes and repents, at the moment that God quickens his spiritually dead soul. This quickening and reflexive believing and repenting will ONLY happen to the Elect. This is why Lutherans do not run everyone in the neighborhood through the baptismal waters.

    Luther, Baptists, and Evangelicals

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