Can you lose your salvation is a troubling question for many Christians?
Throughout church history, many have taught that you can lose your salvation. This is a hot topic today as well with some denominations very adamant that your salvation can be lost.
The reasons they give are committing overt sin like drugs, alcohol, fornication, adultery or just plain rebellion. I admit, those actions are bad, but will they cause a true Christian to lose their salvation?
Is Salvation Earned or a Gift from God?
A simple study of the scriptures pertaining to how you are saved, reveals that doing good or bad is not part of the salvation requirements.
“Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) … For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” – Ephesians 2:5, 8-9 KJV
Salvation comes to believers in this present dispensation of grace via the grace of God, His unmerited favor. God grants salvation based on our faith, and faith alone, not on our works, our good deeds. We will never be good enough to earn acceptance by God on our own merit.
We are under grace today and grace cancels works. Grace is unmerited favor and works is earned favor. You can’t have both in operation at the same time.
Salvation by Grace or Works?
Herein lies part of the problem. Looking at Israel under the Law of Moses prior to the church age, their program for salvation was to have faith in God and keep the commandments of the law. Jesus told the rich man the following.
“And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” – Mat 19:17 KJV
Jesus told this man that for him to inherit eternal life he must “keep the commandments.” Keeping the commandments as a means of salvation is a faith plus works-based program.
That is the program Israel was under from the time of Moses receiving the Law on Mount Sinai after the exodus from Egypt until after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Can you lose your salvation under a works based program? Sure, you can lose your salvation simply by not doing the required works, not keeping the commandments.
Keep the Commandments? Really?
Look up the phrase “keep the commandments” in you favorite Bible software. It’s used over 200 times in the King James Bible. Beginning in Deuteronomy chapter four through Revelation chapter 14.
“Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” – Rev 14:12 KJV
The phrase “keep his commandments” is used over 140 times. The apostle John spoke of this frequently, here are some familiar examples.
“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” – 1Jo 2:3 KJV
“And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” – 1Jo 3:22 KJV
“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” – 1Jo 5:2-3 KJV
It’s quite clear that John stresses the works of the law, the keeping of the commandments, as part of the salvation process. John is an apostle to Israel, so it is fitting that he would write as one under the law of Moses.
But Saul of Tarsus, our apostle Paul, was given a new program and a new gospel based on grace, not the keeping of the commandments of the law of Moses.
Paul’s primary audience during his years of preaching the gospel of grace was Gentiles. Gentiles were never given the law of Moses as that was only for Israel.
So. God cannot hold Gentiles responsible for keeping a law they never received. Therefore, God’s program for Gentiles is grace. And that is the current program for salvation in this present church age.
Salvation, a gift that cannot be returned.
We all know what a gift is. It’s something you did not purchase. It’s free and many time undeserved. So is the gift of salvation from God in this present church age. Our salvation is a free gift based upon God’s grace, not our own merit.
We all should be very grateful for that because if salvation were based on merit, none of us would measure up to God’s standards. We are all sinners saved by GRACE.
And we don’t know exactly how this gift of salvation by grace was delivered. We can’t put our hands on it either. We just know that once I was lost but now I’m saved.
Our salvation is a gift that cannot be returned. God is not an Indian-giver. He does not expect something of equal value in return as there is nothing as valuable as your salvation. Not does God ever take His gift back. The word states:
“For the gifts and calling of God [are] without repentance.” – Rom 11:29 KJV
Our salvation is a gift from God. It cannot be returned, lost or stolen. We are sealed against all such issues.
Can you lose your salvationbeing a free gift? No, you didn’t earn it by doing works, so you cannot lose it by not doing works. It’s a free gift from God.
Sealed by the Spirit.
When you were saved, you were sealed by the Holy Spirit. This seal is not something you can remove. It exists in the spirit realm and we cannot access it. In fact, the sealing may not be simply a seal or mark, but the Holy Spirit himself since He dwell in us, we are His temple.
“Now he which establishes us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, [is] God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” – 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 KJV
“In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,” – Ephesians 1:13 KJV
“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” – Ephesians 4:30 KJV
As you can read, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit here on earth until a specific time called the “day of redemption.” The day of redemption if for believers during the Church age with reference to the redemption of the body.
Sealed until the Rapture.
“And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body.” – Romans 8:23 KJV
The redemption of our body comes at the Rapture of the church when we receive new glorified bodies along with the resurrected believers. Presently our soul has been redeemed by the blood of Christ and our spirit made anew, we are a new creation in Christ.
But our physical body continues to age, wrinkle, get sick and hurt. Our bodies have yet to be redeemed. The redemption of the body happens at the rapture.
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” – 1Co 15:51-52 KJV
All that go in the rapture finally receive their glorified bodies fit for eternity. Another great aspect of the redemption of the body is that our fallen, sinful, human nature will be gone, replaced by godly nature.
The dead in Christ are resurrected with a new glorified body fit for heaven and eternity. Those alive at the rapture are immediately changed from mortal to immortal.
“For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where [is] thy sting? O grave, where [is] thy victory?” – 1Co 15:53-55 KJV
The corruptible, the dead in Christ whose earthly bodies have decomposed, will put on a new incorruptible body, a glorified body. The mortal, those living at the rapture, will be changed to an immortal, glorified body.
The resurrected dead will proclaim, “O grave, where is thy victory?” They have overcome the grave through their resurrection, never to die again.
The changed living will proclaim, “O death, where is thy sting?” They have cheated death and will never feel the sting of death. Praise God.
- Can You Lose Your Salvation?
- We are saved by the grace of God. His grace alone saves us through our faith.
- We are not saved by our good works because they will never be good enough to please God as He is Holy and perfect.
- We are sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of the Rapture.
- Our salvation is eternally secure as we did not earn it, it was a gift from God to us.
So, can you lose your salvation? The straight answer is NO!
Salvation Passages from Hebrews?
However, some say the Bible does support the concept of losing your salvation. They refer to Hebrews Ch. 6 as their proof text.
“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.” – Heb 6:4-6 KJV
First let’s state the obvious: The Book is written to Hebrews.
Let me explain. The intended audience of the book of Hebrews was and is the Jews, Israel. No one would write a book to the church or Gentiles and name it Hebrews.
The book is not written to Hebrew Christians as there is no such person. In the church, the body of Christ there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile.
Also, the book is not for those Jews that were “almost persuaded.” The problem with being “almost persuaded” is that those Jews were never actually saved. They came close but did not fully commit to Christ.
If that be so, then how could they “crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh” if they had not been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ originally. To put Jesus Christ to “an open shame” could not be done by someone seeking original salvation.
The audience of Hebrews.
The book of Hebrews was written to Jews under the law of Moses. A Jew under the law can lose their salvation if they to not continue to keep the commandments. Remember what Jesus said to the rich man. Jews were under a faith plus works performance program from God.
Salvation for a Jew meant keeping the righteous works of the law for their entire life. A Jew could fall away into iniquity, and if he died in that state he would not be saved.
But now you are under grace, not the law of Moses. We are saved the moment we trust in Jesus for forgiveness of sin.
The only remaining application of the book of Hebrews for doctrine is the coming 7-year Tribulation wherein Israel is back under the Law of Moses. During that time they must have faith in Jesus Christ and keep the commandments to be saved.
If a Jew falls away or takes the mark of the beast he is doomed.
The chapters in Hebrews that speak to falling away and losing salvation do not apply to us today in the church age of grace. They will apply to Israel during the Tribulation.
To understand the book of Hebrews rightly divided, watch the video at the end.
But what if a Christian sins?
Let’s face it, none of us are perfect. We all fall short of God’s perfect holiness. But does that affect our salvation?
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in [his] body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” – 2Co 5:10 KJV
The judgment seat of Christ is for believers only. There our deeds will be examined whether “good or bad.” This judgment is for rewards not salvation. If your deeds are bad then you lose reward, not your salvation.
“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.” – 1Co 3:11-13 KJV
Our works will be tried by fire. The good will remain but the bad will be consumed by fire, the word of the Lord.
“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.” – 1Co 3:14-15 KJV
Your salvation is not contingent on you doing good works or keeping the commandments of the law of Moses. It’s based on God’s grace and your faith. Have you trusted in Jesus Christ for your salvation and forgiveness of sin? Have you surrendered you life to Him? If so, then you are saved and nothing can change that. You are in Christ. Christ is in you. You are sealed by the Holy Spirit. You will go up in the rapture. It’s a done deal.
So, can you lose your salvation based on Hebrews Ch. 6 or bad behavior? No, you are secure in Christ and have eternal life right now. There are many verses that promise eternal life when we believe. Let’s look at a few.
“For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 6:23 KJV
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” – Eph 2:8-9 KJV
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” – 1Co 15:1-4 KJV
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” – Tit 3:5 KJV
It’s clear from these scriptures and many others that you receive eternal life the moment you believe and trust in Christ. Eternal life is not something you work for or look for at some time in the future. All true believers in Jesus Christ have eternal life now. I hope this article has helped clear up any thoughts that you might lose your salvation. You cannot!
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