Can You Lose Your Salvation? {True Christianity 1}

The issue of whether or not a born-again Christian can lose his/her salvation is an important issue that most of us wonder about. Some say that yes, you can, because God’s Word seems to indicate that there are certain conditions/criteria we must meet in order to preserve our salvation. Others (myself included) say that no, a TRUE believer (having experienced a GENUINE conversion of the heart) can NOT lose the salvation that God freely granted. While I do think that the topic of HOW we become saved in the first place is of much greater significance, it seems appropriate that we as believers try to understand to our best ability what God’s Word teaches on the durability of that salvation. Can you lose your salvation? Please allow me to share what I think about this, as a way of clarifying my position. I am not trying to pressure others to think exactly the same way that I do. I realize that though there is ONLY ONE OBJECTIVE TRUTH, we are merely humans after all, and are doing our best to try to understand WHAT that one truth is. In other words, we sometimes have a hard time deciphering the Bible. If you don’t agree with me, that’s okay. Maybe there will come a point at which I myself will change my mind on this, who knows? I GREATLY appreciate the comments I have already received on this topic! I am deeply thankful for your honesty, sincerity, and boldness in approaching this topic through your comments. I carefully and prayerfully consider ALL of your replies, even though I may not always be able to respond to each and every one of them (though I try to). Please, continue to post your thoughts, even if you think I won’t agree; what sort of person would I be if I was so fragile I couldn’t tolerate a little healthy “controversy”? I truly want to know what you think, and value your input very, very much. Thank you!

To start off with, let’s look at these verses from Romans 8:29-30.

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”

Here are the key words:

FOREKNOW→PREDESTINATE→CALLED→JUSTIFIED→GLORIFIED

This is the “unbroken chain” I mentioned earlier, in a couple of my comments. There is a direct progression from one state to the next, with no breaks in between. Note the use of the word, “also.” For example: “For whom he did foreknow, he ALSO did predestinate … Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he ALSO called: and whom he called, them he ALSO justified: and whom he justified, them he ALSO glorified.” “Also” seems to indicate that the action which directly follows the previous action undoubtedly and naturally accompanies it.

Additionally, God doesn’t predestine people to hell contrary to their wishes: He FOREKNOWS them first (notice that “foreknow” is first in the list, before “predestinate”). He gives all of us freewill, and He knows beforehand how we will choose to respond to the gospel. Based upon His foreknowledge, He follows up with the rest of the “blueprint.” There is a certain mystery in this, because though we have free will, God also makes it clear to us that “No man can come to me [Jesus], except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” John 6:44. Perhaps, God is able to see the small seed of willingness to accept the truth already present in our hearts, and then waters that seed, and causes it to grow, as He draws us to Jesus.

Next, is the issue of our works. Let’s look at a few verses about this:

 “…every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

1 Corinthians 3:8-15

According to this passage, our foundation is Jesus Christ, and no other. Our salvation is based upon faith in Jesus Christ. That’s it. There’s only one Way, Truth, and Life; no man comes to the Father except through Jesus Christ (John 14:6). However, what each Christian builds upon that foundation is what is in question here. As it says near the end: “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” Our salvation is not being contested, but our works are. How are we building upon the foundation of our salvation? With worthless deeds? Or with lasting deeds? Are we seeking the kingdom of God? Or are we seeking after our own make-believe kingdoms? Yes, the works of each Christian will be carefully examined on “the day.” However, whether our works have been bad or good does not affect our salvation; it affects our REWARDS: “If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.” Some folks, on that day, will not get the rewards they had expected to get. They will see that their worldly endeavors were just as fragile and flimsy as wood, hay, and stubble are as building materials. Other folks, on that day, will get the refreshment of seeing their hard work validated. Their good deeds are like gold, silver, and precious stones. Durable, lasting, and timeless.

To continue:

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of 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 unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.”

Hebrews 6:4-9

If you keep reading down through this chapter in Hebrews, you will also see mention of patiently enduring, and then obtaining the promise (vv. 12, 15). Here’s what seems clear to me: if we are true followers of Christ, we WILL endure. Because we are connected to the Vine, His life flows through us, and sustains us even through times of weakness and temporary distancing. I think back to my own life; I went on a short detour for a time during which I sinned and grieved my Father’s heart. But did I come back? Yes, I did! So, I clearly will not be counted among those of whom it is said, “If they shall fall away [it is impossible] to renew them again unto repentance,” because I WAS renewed again unto repentance. I believe the above passage from Hebrews is referring to those who have made a superficial, emotional, fake commitment to religion. They heard the Word of God preached. They saw the hand of God move. They may have even witnessed God performing miracles in answer to prayer. BUT, their hearts were BAD SOIL. They put Christ to shame again, when they rejected Him even after they knew the truth, and had experienced His goodness toward them time and time again. They reviled and rejected Him eventually, because they never were His to start out with. They had only “tasted the heavenly gift,” but it hadn’t made it’s way to their stomachs. They were made “partakers of the Holy Ghost”–they had experienced something of His power and goodness in their lives, but they hadn’t received the fullness of His presence within their hearts. It’s like they took a little bite, just to see if they were going to like the food, and then spit it right back out. “Blah, I don’t like this yucky stuff!”

Isn’t it apparent that the plant which bears thorns and briers is no good at the core? A good plant doesn’t bear bad fruit, right? A good plant might experience dry spells, and might need the vine dresser’s help to produce more bountiful fruit (through the means of pruning), but though it is in the process of growing and becoming stronger, it is still good. True Christians are caught in the middle of a battle between spirit and flesh. This battle is fierce, and the Christian finds himself/herself struggling to walk in the spirit, in order to not fulfill the desires of the flesh (Romans 7 & 8). When we listen to the WORD OF GOD, and OBEY IT, we are walking in the Spirit. Will we always obey perfectly? No. When we fall down, we must get up again. But there is hope, in that God is always with us, stabilizing us through the guidance of His hand. He WILL sustain us, even in our weaknesses, and perform that which He has promised to those that believe: He will give us eternal life.

“And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

John 6:39-40

 

 

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7 thoughts on “Can You Lose Your Salvation? {True Christianity 1}

  1. Dear Jessica,
    Thank you so much for this post. Today, I gave thanks to God to grant me such an open-minded, god-fearing friend. I have longed for having a dialogue regarding this salvation issue with someone who is also serious about this. This issue is, for me, much more important than today’s dinner menu or something. Jessica, please excuse me because it’s going to be a long comment!!

    <I realize that though there is ONLY ONE OBJECTIVE TRUTH, we are merely humans after all, and are doing our best to try to understand WHAT that one truth is. In other words, we sometimes have a hard time deciphering the Bible.

    I totally agree with you, Jessica.

    <Additionally, God doesn’t predestine people to hell contrary to their wishes: He FOREKNOWS them first (notice that “foreknow” is first in the list, before “predestinate”). He gives all of us freewill, and He knows beforehand how we will choose to respond to the gospel.

    Thank you for responding to my previous question. I did not notice that “foreknow” was written before “predentinate”. That’s a good point.

    <However, whether our works have been bad or good does not affect our salvation; it affects our REWARDS:

    Regarding this, I have a question. Yes, our work PRIOR TO our conversion did not affect our salvation. This is so clear from the Book of Romans, Ephesians etc that we were saved by His grace.

    However, Paul also wrote to the believers in Rome, saying that, “eternal life to those who by patient continuance in DOING GOOD seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but OBEY UNRIGHTEOUSNESS—indignation and wrath. “ (Rom 2:7-8)

    Here, there is a contrast: Eternal life VS Indignation and wrath. It seems to me that having eternal life means “salvation” and not having eternal life means “to perish”.

    Also, if our work on this earth (after we were saved) does not affect our salvation, why did Jesus say things like Matthew 25:31-46?

    Why were the latter people (v 41-45) cast away into “everlasting punishment (v.46)”? The verses clearly say because of their unmerciful work while they were on this earth. They did not feed the poor, they did not care for the sick people etc,, Were these people believers? Yes, because they called Jesus, “Lord (v.44)”. (“no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.” I Cor 12:3). Those people were like believers who called Jesus “Lord, Lord!”, but were rejected by Him (Matt 7: 21-23) because they practiced lawless actions while they were on this earth.

    That’s why, I believe, He says, “For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God.” (Rom 11: 21-22)

    Also, “,,work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Phil 2: 12 b). If our salvation is guaranteed, how is it possible the Holy Spirit dictated verses like this?

    Jesus Himself said to us, “STRIVE to enter the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” (Luke 13:24) Again, if our salvation is guaranteed and cannot be lost, why did He say such a thing? I mean, why did He have to say such a thing? For me, it doesn’t make sense. How about you?

    And most of all, Jesus Himself declared to us, “if anyone does not abide in Me, he IS CAST OUT as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into fire, and they are burned.” (John 15:6)

    Also, when we read the first three chapters of Revelation, we see that these letters were written to the believers in Asia Minor.

    “Behold, I am coming quickly! HOLD FAST what you have, that no one may take your crown.” (Rev 3:11)

    If our salvation is guaranteed, we don’t need to hold fast, because whether we hold it fast or not, we will be saved anyway. Isn’t it true?

    Again, Jesus said, “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end WILL BE SAVED (in Greek; future tense).” (Matt 10:22)

    These are the points which I have struggled with, Jessica. Also, how can we discern that those “partakers of the Holy Spirit (Heb 6:4)” were not born-again Christians before? Many commentators say they were not true Christians from the beginning but I wonder how they knew those believers were true believers or not. How could one fake Christian be a “partaker of the Holy Spirit”? Just like the I Cor 11 on Head covering, I think these verses can be read simply and literally. What do you think?

    Oh, Jessica, please continue to be my friend!! I hope you didn’t feel offended by my sayings! If you did, I am terribly sorry. Please feel free to give me feedback. I will consider your sayings seriously.

    With love, Kinuko

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    • Dear Kinuko,
      I was very pleased to receive your thoughtful and sincere comment! Of course you don’t offend me at all! One of the marks of true friendship, I think, is that we don’t get offended when the other person has a different opinion. It’s okay to not see every single thing eye-to-eye! So don’t worry; I still consider you to be my very, very good friend! Even more so, because you have been confident and bold enough to approach me with your true beliefs. I appreciate your honesty and forthrightness very much.

      Now, as to your observations. Please allow me to re-study the verses that you have referenced before I reply to you. Then, I will come back, and post my own thoughts about their meaning, for the sake of further discussion.

      In one of my previous posts, “You Just Took That Out of Context!” I made a statement, and said, “Above all, don’t argue with me.” Well, I didn’t mean I don’t want to talk with other people about controversial issues. Obviously, I’m very open to a calm, respectful conversation regarding these “hot” topics! What I was referring to, was the kind of mean, bullying, ornery, shouting (or hard typing) that some folks have a tendency to engage in. Some people don’t care to listen to what the other person thinks; all they want to do is shout them down and prove them wrong. In this sad case, truth isn’t the main object, just putting the other person in his/her place, and basically making them feel like an idiot. THAT’S the kind of arguing I was referring to in that particular article. Perhaps because of that statement, you thought I might not appreciate any comments contrary to my own opinions. Not the case at all! PLEASE feel free to share your beliefs, even if you don’t think that I will see things the same way. I respect your opinion, and care about what you have to say, and truly want to hear what you have to offer towards understanding this topic better. I myself, have struggled much with this issue. I welcome all your observations. Please, do share!

      Your friend,
      Jessica

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  2. I think those who stay in God by holy spirit never lose their salvation.
    This issue is also the problem of question ‘Who is real believer?’
    ‘What salvation really means?. Our nature is sinner whom should be punished can never obey God. I think ‘true Christ believer’ is those whom are valued by God as true one.

    Your post and Kinuko’s true answer gave me opportunity to ponder
    this impportant issue.(Kinuko also share about this on her Japanese blog.) When I was young,I was also struggled by this.
    I know many christians have various opinions on that.

    Thank you for sharing this sesitive issue. I feel that you are brave and open-minded.God bless!

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  3. Please allow me to express my thoughts. Jesus talks about the Word reaching people as seeds reach the ground. Stony ground–seed doesn’t germinate. Person hears the word but it doesn’t touch them and Satan takes it away. Second type of soil is shallow. The Word brings joy to a person. The individual shows signs of faith, they get involved into church, Christian groups, Bible studies (ect). But as soon as hardship come–their faith dies. They say that they are not believers any longer. The third type: seed falls into soil starts to grow, but gets chocked with thorns and thistles. Person hears the word, but it doesn’t take a deep root. Therefore their believe gets choked by worries, things of this world. The forth seed falls into fertile soul, develops root and growth into a great plant. This is genuine faith, which takes root and grows and becomes evident. We have to strive because it’s evidence of our faith, also the world is watching us, by striving we show them our genuine faith. As for ‘entering through the narrow gate’ it(narrow gate) only provides you with one option, one direction, one way. Wide road has many lanes: just like this world has many false religions. Many people reject Christ because they find Salvation by faith preposterous concept. People trying to find the road to Salvation, but once they find it, some get disappointed and refuse to accept Christ.

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  4. Dear Sanae and Irina (dearest sisters in Christ!),
    I read both of your replies with much gratefulness to have such deep-thinking, wise ladies as friends! I read your comments carefully, and deeply appreciate that you have taken the time to add your own perspectives on this topic! I feel so blessed to receive your helpful and insightful comments on my blog! What you have written has given me much food-for-thought, and I am going to incorporate your good points into my next post.
    Thank you!
    Jessica

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  5. Reductio ad absurdium is one way of interpreting Hebrews 6:4-6. It is one that I subscribe to. It is a form of argument that uses logic to show the absurdity of a statement. Here it is being shown the logical conclusion that one can lose their salvation is absurd by showing that regaining or renewing ones salvation would bring one to an absurd act of having to crucify again to themselves the Son of God and there by making a mock of Jesus Christ because if one must regain salvation again than Jesus Christ obviously didn’t do a good enough job redeeming and paying off the sin debt the first time. So Paul writes on that he has already persuaded them of their certain salvation by faith because of his earlier writings reminding them that they are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise from the moment they believed and so on. The fact is that we have not been taught the fine forms of logical arguments and so this verse gets twisted often. Grace and peace.

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    • Thank you for your very instructive reply! I hadn’t considered the “reductio ad absurdium” viewpoint before. It does seem to make sense, doesn’t it. I have so much more to add, but I’m planning on writing another post regarding the Hebrews 6:4-6 passage. If I tried now, it would be a very long comment indeed! Thanks again–you’ve given me some food for thought!
      Jessica

      Liked by 1 person

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