#TalkingThursday – If you don’t talk about Jesus who will?
It’s the number one, non stop question on everyone’s ask.fm these days, can a christian lose their salvation? is the answer to this a simple yes or no? or is it another one of those “it’s complicated” christian things that everyone hates to hear?!
Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest America says, the question isn’t can I lose my salvation, rather it’s was I truly saved in the first place? The question should constantly be asked in the positive not in the negative. We don’t live by works, as long as we check our hearts daily and know that we are right with God, no contrary spirit can deceive us into believing that we’ve lost our salvation.
Of course, that’s just the short of it. If you’re looking for the long answers, i’ve taken the time to gather them for you from various different sources.
(All biblical and trustworthy of course!)
There are different positions on this issue.
One is that it is possible to lose your salvation but only if you want to. In other words, having been set free from sin, the person is then able, by an act of will, to deny the Lord and desire not to be a part of Him any longer.
Another states that it is possible to lose your salvation if you sin too much. Then you need to go and confess your sin and get saved again. This has obvious problems because it could lead to someone trusting in his works and God’s grace to be saved.
Another position states that it is not possible at all to lose your salvation because Jesus has redeemed you and you are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). Since attaining salvation did not depend on anything you did, keeping it does not depend on anything you do; then also, losing it can’t occur because of anything you do.
It is important to base the answers on this question about salvation on the scriptures that have an eternal perspective on them. Bible says, on the day of judgment Jesus will say to some people, “I never knew you”; (Matt. 7:21-23). They were never known; that is, they were never saved although they appeared from the human perspective to be saved.
Jesus says that His sheep will “never perish but have eternal life,” (John 10:28). How can eternal life be eternal if it can be lost, particularly when Jesus said that they will never perish? If they will never perish, then they can’t lose their salvation.
Whether or not you can lose your salvation is important because if someone believes he can lose his salvation, he might fall into the error of trying to keep his salvation by what he does or does not do. In other words, if a person can lose his salvation, then what list of things must he do and not do in order to keep it? If there is such a list,
(and you can see one here lol) then the person is guilty of achieving salvation by keeping the law unfortunately this contradicts Romans 3:28 and Romans 4:1-5.
The proper understanding of salvation is that works play no part in it (Romans 4:5). It is a free gift (Romans 6:23) that is received by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). Once we are saved, we are to live a holy life (1 Thessalonians 4:7).
A common accusation made against the position of eternal security in Christ is that it becomes a license to sin. The problem with this accusation is that it ignores God’s active regeneration in us. In other words, critics ignore the fact that God changes the sinner. He makes us born again, and we are made new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17). As new creatures, we have God living in us (John 14:23); and, therefore, we cannot abide in sin: Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. (1 John 3:9).
So, the teaching that we cannot lose our salvation is not a license to sin.
The controversy surrounding this issue starts with these verses:
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
— Hebrews 6: 4-6 (NKJV)
Interpretations of this verse:
- Some commentators see this verse as a reference to the unpardonable sin (see Matthew 12:31, 32). Since 1 John 1:9 promises that God will forgive our sins if we confess them, then the unpardonable sin must be the sin we refuse to confess: blaspheming or speaking evil against the Holy Spirit. When you reject Christ, insult God’s grace or rubbish what was done on the cross through the Holy Spirit (Hebrew 10:29).
Look at the life of King Saul. After Samuel anointed him king, the Holy Spirit came on him and worked mightily in him then Saul grew proud and began to defy God. First, God decreed that Saul’s royal line wouldn’t endure (1 Samuel 13:14). After Saul continued to reject God, God rejected Saul (1 Samuel 15:26) and directed Samuel to anoint David king. Eventually, Saul had rejected God so consistently that God stopped answering him (see 1 Samuel 28:6). In the last occasion which Saul tried to inquire of the Lord, it wasn’t out of a heart of repentance; Saul was simply trying to save himself from the Philistines.
Like Saul, if we persistently reject God—even if we once were saved—there will come a time when God respects our freedom of choice and the Holy Spirit stops drawing us. That is the unpardonable sin. It isn’t that God refuses to forgive it, it’s that we refuse to repent from it. (By the way, anyone who wonders whether they’ve committed the unpardonable sin hasn’t done so. Those who have committed the sin have no desire or concern for the things of God since the Holy Spirit has left them.)
According to this view, when the writer of Hebrews refers to falling away in Hebrews 6:6, he’s referring to those who have persistently turned their backs on God, thus committing the unpardonable sin.
2. Another angle on interpreting this passage is illustrated by the alternate translation of the word “because” in verse 6 as given in the NIV’s footnote on that verse. If we use the alternate reading and swap “while” for “because,” then the verse would read, “if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, while to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.” So we can’t be brought back to repentance while we’re crucifying Jesus all over again.
In other words, our text is describing those who are continually crucifying Christ by their falling away. According to the unpardonable sin view, this makes sense. Those who have persistently rejected Christ are obviously crucifying Him again and subjecting Him to disgrace.
The reason there is a debate is because the scriptures teach that salvation is a gift from God that cannot be earned, but they also offer warnings about falling away. There’s something Pastor Shane Idleman describes as a healthy tension between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility.
The argument is that salvation cannot be lost, as in losing your car keys, but that it can be left, as in walking away from it. This may be why Jesus spoke of the man who said in his heart my master delays His coming; therefore, I will turn from living a godly life. When the master returned unexpectedly, the servant was banished because he chose to turn from what he knew to be right. (Luke 12:45 -47)
Another argument is that some of those passages concerning salvation are dealing with people who never fully surrendered to Christ. As a result, they fell away. They heard the gospel, but never fully embraced it and turned from their sins; they only had ‘intellectual’ knowledge of salvation. This view supports the short answer that the real question isn’t, “Can a person lose their salvation” but “Was the person really saved to begin with?”
1 John 2:19 suggests that those who acknowledge Christ initially, but deny Him later, are not saved to begin with: “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.”
When it comes to salvation, we all agree that God gets all the glory and all the credit. Salvation is His work. We are never outside of His sovereignty and control: “It is God who makes us stand firm in Christ” (Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. – 2 Corinthians 1:21) We know that nothing can separate us from God, (Romans 8:38-39) but we should never ignore the strong warnings about turning from Him. Our salvation is guaranteed based on the assurances found in Scripture, but still we also must “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).
Returning to the issue of Hebrews 6:4-6 Pastor Shane says
“Based on my understanding of terms such as “enlightened,” “tasted,” and “shared,” they are not necessarily words linked to salvation. Judas Iscariot was enlightened—he knew a great deal. He also tasted and partook of the ministry of Christ, but we all know his fate. When he fell away, repentance was elusive. His fate was sealed. However, this verse should force all Christians to take inventory.”
Can we therefore view this verse as a warning about falling away instead of a verse which speaks to salvation in the eternal sense? Well, here’s that answer everyone hates to hear It’s Complicated.
Most, If not all, of what the Bible says happens to us when we receive Christ would be invalidated if salvation could be lost. Salvation is the gift of God, and God’s gifts are “irrevocable” (Romans 11:29) but again the objections remain:
What about Christians who live in a sinful, unrepentant lifestyle? & Christians who reject the faith and deny Christ?
Within these objections lie the assumption that everyone who calls himself a “Christian” has actually been born again. We already know that the Bible declares that a true Christian will not live a state of continual, unrepentant sin (1 John 3:6). The Bible also says anyone who departs the faith is demonstrating that he was never truly a Christian (1 John 2:19). He may have been religious, he may have put on a good show, but he was never born again by the power of God. “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:16).
The important thing on salvation is our fruit because our lives say a lot about our relationship with God. At this final stage the long answer begins to reach the same conclusion as the short answer, we must examine our hearts.
2 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.”
“When people find that after being in the church for years they are not making much progress, they ought to examine themselves and wonder whether they have been truly converted.” — A.W. Tozer
God maintains the salvation He has given us through our relationship and fellowship with the Holy Spirit. The Good Shepherd searches for the lost sheep, and, “when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home” (Luke 15:5–6).
*All scripture references were made in NKJV unless specified otherwise.