Followup: Can Christians Lose Their Salvation?

Posted on June 4, 2021

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By David Ettinger

A few days ago I posted a blog titled, “Can Christians Lose Their Salvation?” My position was no, and several readers agreed. And several readers didn’t agree, believing, yes, Christians can lose their salvation.

The blog inspired fantastic comments (on WordPress and Facebook) on both sides of the issue, and everyone who commented is a longtime Christian who has had a strong walk with the Lord. I found EVERY comment to be informative, thoughtful, and believe it would be great to assemble them here.

Since just about all the commenters are identified by name on both platforms, I’ll use their first names here. The comments begin with those believing that yes, salvation can be lost, followed by the no,-salvation-can’t-be-lost side.

Yes, Believers Can Lose Their Salvation

Alina
“I actually have been thinking a lot about it lately, especially while reading Hebrews – it has more verses about people falling away, but also in other places … so my take on it is: Yes, we are saved by faith.

“However, faith is a) living (active, shown through works), b) continuous. So not something that happened once when I prayed a sinner’s prayer, but something I continually hold on to. If however I stop holding on and turn away, it’s saving faith no more.

“Hebrews 2:1 (we-believers); 3:12-13 (if we hold to the end); 6:11-12, 10:23-29 (was sanctified); Romans 11:20-23 (provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off). 2 Peter 2:20-21 (after they have escaped … they turn back). Matthew 24:9-13, but mostly 13.”

Robbie
“A ‘Christian’ is sealed in the Book of Life. But the question is, Is their name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life? This topic is ambiguous because it can be debated equally on each side by Scripture. Therefore, it is best to live a righteous and holy lifestyle.”

Victor
“Nothing can separate us from the love of God. If we are saved, not even Satan himself can ‘unsave’ us. But we can repudiate our salvation, if we come to the point of denying all we believe about Christ.”

Bruce
“Interesting topic and it is one I have wrestled with over the years. I understand your logic about having tasted, etc., and having some understanding on what you are walking away from. There are other Scripture verses that also come to mind, such as Matthew 24:13, which we also find in Revelation 2:11 and Revelation 3:11, inferring that holding fast is a prerequisite.

“Hebrews 6:4-6 talks about having shared in the Holy Spirit, which would appear to me to be being born again. The reason why someone who believes is not condemned is because they ARE in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1), but if you remove yourself from Him, that cannot be undone. I would like to agree with you, but I think it is possible to lose your salvation.

“As long as we keep our faith, God will keep us, but if we walk away, I don’t think He will violate our will. Romans 8:37-39 is in play as long as we keep the faith (Hebrews 3:11), like Paul did (2 Timothy 4:7). But I could be wrong.

“There is one additional Scripture verse I would like you to consider: “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not BLOT OUT his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels” (Revelation 3:5). Note that in order to have one’s name in the Book of Life, one would have to be a true believer, and if he overcomes (endures to the end, keeps the faith), his name is NOT blotted out of the Book of Life.”

Vickie
“One of our pastors once told us that no one can take us out of the Father’s hand, but we can choose to jump ourselves. Bad choice, but it is available to us if we choose earthly pleasures over the eternal promises.”

Lisa Beth
“After searching the scriptures, I no longer believe ‘once saved, always saved.’ Outlining the scriptures would make my comment a post here.

“The Old Testament reveals much of God’s heart, often decreeing promises fulfilled for those whose hearts strive to walk right, ‘… but if you turn away … (destruction).’  ‘… if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.’

“Well, people will say, ‘That’s the Old Covenant.’ But does God’s character change? Is He not the same God? Portraying Himself as the “true vine” and we as the branches, why would He declare, ‘If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are thrown into the fire and burned.’ Obviously, those ‘branches’ were part of Christ, they were attached to the vine but did not remain.

“That Paul admonishes us to ‘work out your salvation with fear and trembling’ is antithetical to the smugness of ‘once saved, always saved.’ Why the warnings about falling away? Why the warnings about befriending the world? James talks about those who do become an enemy of God. He’s talking to believers. Why the dire warnings to the churches in Revelation? What’s the threat if we’re eternally secure?

“We are the ‘bride of Christ,’ but adultery breaks the binds of marriage. If we willfully turn away, has God somehow changed who He is and is powerless to act?

“I don’t want to take any more space here. The mantra ‘once saved, always saved’ has emphasized verses, downplayed others, and interpreted Scripture to fit that mold. ‘If we disown Him, He will disown us’ (2 Timothy 2:12).”

No, Can’t Lose Salvation

Craig
“This is a difficult topic indeed, and one which I have seen believers go to loggerheads over.

“As a young believer still discovering biblical truth, I had a dim view of the ‘once saved, always saved’” doctrine, because in my experience I saw it thrown around by folks who appeared to be rank hypocrites, and yet were sure their ticket was punched and they were Heaven-bound because of having made a public profession and having been baptized, despite living a self-centered and self-serving lifestyle.

“I jumped to the conclusion that it was a doctrine that promoted and protected hypocrisy and nothing more. That, combined with the all-too-common experience of seeing others who had appeared to be genuine believers walk away from the faith, ensured it would take me a while to get a better grasp on what I now consider to be the truth.

“The biblical truth, as I understand it now, exalts Christ and glorifies Him far more than my previous understanding, seems to more fully conform to a plain reading of the Scriptures, and truly allows me to trust and rest in Him, and indeed love Him far more than I could before.”

Mandy
“I hold to the perseverance of the saints in which God will keep His people from falling away, He will help them endure to the end. If we can lose our salvation, then we have to be responsible for continually saving ourselves.

“We obey God because we love Him, not because we are afraid of being sent to Hell. Those who fall away were never saved. If we are to keep our faith to keep salvation, that’s works-based and we are trusting in ourselves and not relying and depending on God alone to help see us through to the day of completion/salvation.

“The verses in Hebrews and Revelation aren’t easy verses, I can see why people say you can lose your salvation; however, it goes against the Person and Work of God to lose someone who is in His Hand.”

Tom
“I’m with you. I believe Scripture teaches eternal security. If a person is genuinely reborn in Christ, can they become “unborn”? Since no believer is perfect, at what point does a believer lose salvation?

“There are Scriptures that speak of apostasy, but those refer to the disingenuous Judas tares. It occurs to me that people who believe a Christian can lose their salvation are relying on their good works/obedience as the basis of their salvation, although they will deny it.”

Brian
“If you can lose your salvation, your salvation depends on you. That should be sufficient to scare the pants off anyone. Falling away results in loss of rewards, not loss of justification.”

Anne
“I can’t imagine that anyone in their right mind would knowingly turn their back on Christ, having truly experienced His love. I guess that’s a good argument for the ‘never-saved-in-the-first-place’ position.”

Doug
“I believe that once you understand the nature of salvation it is clear that it can’t be lost. Jesus said, “Ye must be born again.” Salvation isn’t a possession, it is a conversion. Alina [who commented earlier] mentioned Hebrews 3:12 & 13 which in context is speaking of unbelievers. They never entered into God’s rest (v. 11).

“They had an evil heart of unbelief (v. 12). They could not enter into God’s rest because of unbelief (vss. 18-19). Hebrews 6 is very clearly a hypothetical saying that if you could lose salvation, it would be impossible to be renewed (v. 6).

“The point of Hebrews 6 is God’s faithfulness (vv. 13-18). Salvation is the circumcision made without hands and the operation of God (Colossians 2:11-12). Once born again, you can never be unborn.”

Alina Replying to Doug
“Hebrews 6 is only hypothetical if you come with a preconceived notion that you disagree with its premise. I don’t see a reason for it to be hypothetical. It says ‘in the case of those …’, therefore there must’ve been such a case. There is also the opposite case in verses 9-12, where they have an assurance of their salvation because they continue to show their faith through their actions.”

Doug Replying to Alina
“That thought continues, and then the writer says at the beginning of chapter 3, ‘Wherefore holy brethren …’ Now, I could make an argument that the writer, who I believe is Paul, is simply referring to his Jewish brethren, not necessarily Christian brethren. But that really doesn’t matter because now he begins to make an analogy to Moses and the nation of Israel wandering for 40 years in the wilderness, and the fact that many did not enter into God’s rest because of unbelief.

“Chapter 4 verses 1 and 2 then clarifies it: ‘Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.’

“He is not talking about people that get saved and then lose it. These are people that never committed to saving faith so that they would be converted.”

Anything to Add?
Great comments on both sides of the issue, don’t you agree? If you care to continue to conversation, please do so below in the comments section!