Can salvation be lost?
By S. Michael Houdmann, Got Questions Ministries
It continues to blow my mind how many Christians believe salvation can be lost. What surprises me even more is the vehemence with which people will cling to the idea. The issue is covered quite thoroughly on GotQuestions.org (see the links at the bottom of this post). So, there is no need to re-cover every aspect of this debate. But, here are a few points I think are worth emphasizing, based on recent conversations with salvation "lost and found" individuals.
Point One: The loss of salvation in Hebrews — you can't get it back!
The most popular verses people who believe salvation can be lost will point to are Hebrews 6:4-6 and Hebrews 10:26-29. What they fail to understand, or admit, is that if these passages teach that salvation can be lost, they also teach that salvation, once lost, can never be regained. Hebrews 6:4-6 says that, "it is impossible...to renew them again to repentance." Hebrews 10:26 says, "if we go on sinning...there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins." I have yet to meet someone who believes that salvation can be lost who also believes it cannot be regained. But, that is the clear implication of these Hebrews passages. What part of "impossible" do they not understand?
Point Two: The loss of salvation — when is it lost and how can it be regained?
It would seem to me, that if our salvation was at risk due to sins we commit, the Bible would give very clear and explicit details as to what sins result in the loss of salvation. There would have to be a breakdown of which sins need to be confessed and repented of, and which sins result in salvation being lost and require a person to get re-saved. But, there is no such list.
The Bible nowhere describes anyone getting re-saved. The Bible nowhere teaches how to get re-saved. The Bible nowhere outlines under what circumstances a person needs to be re-saved. Don't you think, with as important as these would be if salvation could be lost, that the Bible would give explicitly clear instructions?
Salvation "lost and found" individuals insist that grievous sins and apostasy result in salvation being lost. But, who gets to define which sins are grievous (Matthew 5:21-28)? And, what degree of apostasy is required? Is salvation lost due to doubt / lack of faith, or does it require an actual denial of faith?
The complete absence of what would be crucially important instructions could salvation be lost is, in fact, powerful evidence that salvation cannot be lost.
Point Three: The loss of salvation — it is not yours to lose!
Despite them having an inadequate understanding of just how great the salvation is that God provides through Jesus Christ, I believe many people who believe salvation can be lost are truly saved. At the same time, believing that salvation can be lost is dangerously close to believing that salvation is in our hands, that it depends on us. Often, the belief that salvation can be lost stems from a misunderstanding of how you received it in the first place.
If you can't earn it by good works and obedience, how can we say we have to maintain it through good works and obedience? If there was absolutely nothing we could do to earn it, how can we say there is something we must do to preserve it? If our salvation was accomplished solely by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, His wondrous, perfect, and complete work, how in the world could finalizing it depend on us?
If salvation depended on us, it could be lost. If salvation was reliant on us holding on to God's hand, it would be at risk. Thankfully, salvation does not depend on us.
"I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will 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." (John 10:28-29)
So, unless you are somehow not included in the "all" that the Father is greater than, not even you can snatch yourself out of His hand.
Can a Christian lose salvation?
Once saved always saved?
Eternal security — is it biblical?
Is eternal security a "license" to sin
Can a Christian "give back" salvation?
If our salvation is eternally secure, why does the Bible warn so strongly against apostasy?
Once saved always saved?
Image Credit: Spyros Papaspyropoulos; "Pondering old man"; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Salvation | Biblical-Truth | Controversial-Issues | False-Teaching | Theological-Beliefs
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