Can A Christian Lose Their Salvation
“Why, if I believed what some preach about the temporary, trumpery salvation which only lasts for a time, I would scarcely be at all grateful for it; but when I know that those whom God saves He saves with an everlasting salvation, when I know that He gives to them an everlasting righteousness, when I know that He settles them on an everlasting foundation of everlasting love, and that He will bring them to His everlasting kingdom, oh, then I do wonder, and I am astonished that such a blessing as this should ever have been given to me!” Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Can A Person Lose Their Salvation?
The question of whether or not a person can lose their salvation has been debated throughout church history. Those who adopt an Arminian view of salvation would say that, yes, a person can lose their salvation, whereas those who adhere to Calvinistic Theology would argue that one cannot lose his/her salvation (this doctrine is known as the doctrine of the Perseverance of the saint).
Though the question asked is whether or not a person can lose 'their' salvation, it's worth noting that at the end of the day it's not our salvation but God's. God is the one who planned salvation from all eternity, accomplished it on the cross and applies it to us. He is also the one who works in us to produce good works (Phil. 2:12-13). He is the one who gave us eternal life (cf. John 10:28) when we were dead in our sins (Eph. 2:1-3).
Perseverance of the saints
A person cannot lose their salvation because our salvation is not dependent on our strength to keep it, but the strength of an omnipotent God. God is the one who works salvation in us from start to end (Phil. 1:6). Our Lord said it this way:
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand.” (John 10:27-29)
“An analogy of God’s work of preservation may be seen in the image of a father holding onto his small child’s hand as they walk together. In the Arminian view the safety of the child rests in the strength of the child’s grip on the father’s hand. If the child lets go he will perish. In the Calvinist view the safety of the child rests in the strength of the father’s grip on the child. If the child’s grip fails, the father’s grip holds firm. The arm of the Lord does not wax short.” R.C. Sproul
The Bible describes salvation in three tenses: past tense (justification), present tense (sanctification) and future tense (glorification). The amazing thing is that in Romans 8:29-30 all three tense are tied together and said as if they were all in the past tense:
“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” (Romans 8:29-30)
What this means is that in God's mind we are already assured of our glorification even though we are not yet glorified. Let's just look at other passages that talk about the perseverance of believers:
“And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me.” (Jeremiah 32:40)
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1)
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39).
What about those who fall away?
So what about all those passages that talk about people 'falling away'? Fortunately for us the apostle John gives us an answer:
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.” (1 John 2:19).
So yes people do fall away, but in doing so they show that they were never saved in the first place (2 Peter 2:22). Those who are truly saved will endure to the end (Matt. 10:22).
So shall we go on sinning?
Please note, we are not saying a person can go on sinning since they can't lose their salvation. Those who have truly been washed by the blood of Jesus Christ cannot live in sin (1 John 3:9), not out of a fear of losing their salvation, but because they have died to sin (Rom 6:1-2) and are alive in Christ Jesus.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself if you think that true Christians can lose their salvation:
1. If we can lose our salvation, what is that things that separates us from the love of God?
2. If sin can separate us from God's love, how much sin does it take?
3. Do you believe God is the one holding you in your salvation or the other way around?
4. If you are saved, what's the reason you still stand at this hour?
5. If you can lose your salvation, what are you doing to keep it?
“If ever it should come to pass, that sheep of Christ might fall away, my fickle, feeble soul, alas! Would fall a thousand times a day.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Those who are truly saved and are trusting in Christ alone cannot lose their salvation
Soli Deo Gloria