Can you lose your salvation? The question is phrased incorrectly. The question should be “can you fall away from the faith?” The biblical answer is yes, you can fall away from the faith.
Can we know we are going to heaven? The biblical answer to that questions is yes we can know we are going to heaven. The cross is an accomplished fact. Jesus died for our sins. It is finished.
It’s a matter of faith . . .
Ephesians 2:8-9 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 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
Matthew 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
Galatians 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
Romans 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
“Eternal security” or “once saved always saved” teachers will often ask the question “what particular sin can cause someone to “lose their salvation.” The biblical response to that question is that when faith fails and love grows cold a person will fall into their old sinful lifestyle. It’s not a matter of a believer stumbling, falling into sin, and then repenting. It’s a matter of falling away from the faith entirely and falling back into their old sinful lifestyle. There is no security in sin. Repentance is not a one time act.
In the parable of the sower, Jesus taught that there would be those who would believe only for awhile and endure only for a time. He said some would fall away.
Luke 8:13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation FALL AWAY.
FALL AWAY – “aphistemi” – to remove, i.e. (actively) instigate to revolt; usually (reflexively) to desist, desert, etc.: depart, draw (fall) away, refrain, withdraw self.
Jesus spoke of continuing in His word.
John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye CONTINUE in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
CONTINUE – “meno” – a primary verb; to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy):–abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry.
Consider also . . .
2 Peter 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the KNOWLEDGE of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
KNOWLEDGE – “epignosis” – recognition, i.e. (by implication) full discernment, acknowledgment.
2 Peter 2:21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to TURN from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
TURN – “epistrepho” – to revert (literally, figuratively or morally): come (go) again, convert, (re-)turn (about, again).
2 Peter 2:22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was WASHED to her wallowing in the mire.
WASHED – “louo” – a primary verb 3068; to bathe (the whole person; whereas 3538 means to wet a part only, and 4150 to wash, cleanse garments exclusively): wash.
2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have KEPT the faith:
KEPT – “tereo” – from teros (a watch; perhaps akin to 2334); to guard (from loss or injury, properly, by keeping the eye upon;
Knowledge of danger helps us avoid danger, and keeps us safe. Knowledge of danger is like a fence around a rooftop patio, it keeps us safe, it keeps us from falling. Knowing you are going to heaven, and the doctrine of falling away from the faith, are not contradictory doctrines, they are two sides of the same coin. Our assurance should not be threatened by this doctrine, it should be strengthened. Why? Because those that teach that repentance is a one time act, that there is security in sin, or that a believers can never make shipwreck of their faith, are not teaching “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” Jude 1:3 and there can be no security in that.
1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
Don’t let anyone or anything steal your faith! And don’t let anyone tell you that because you reject the unbiblical “eternal security” teaching that you do not have assurance of salvation. I pray that the Lord, through the Holy Spirit and the Word, would give all His children discernment concerning this doctrine.
See also . . .
1. pjmiller // Aug 30th 2007
It flies in the face of those teachings which say we cannot fall away from the faith: which are wrong. I’ve never understood why a believer can deny it’s possible to fall away when the Word itself warns us numerous times to “beware” . . .Even the believers who deny this as a possibility, will still tell you they are aware of the apostasy . . . “the falling away” from the one true faith going on today . . . but cannot explain, when asked, just what are those falling away today, falling away from? lol
As I’ve tried to point out, I [or you] can’t fall off a chair unless we’re first sitting upon it. Well it’s the same with being in the faith or falling away from it.
“Well if a person falls away, then they were never a Christian to begin with.” I’ve heard that argument too, though it never made any sense to me whatsoever.
2. Cathy // Aug 31st 2007
It’s funny that you should use the chair analogy. My husband has used it. You can’t fall off a chair unless you’re first sitting on it.
3. Cathy // Aug 31st 2007
I want to answer the question posed by a self described zealous but young and unknowledgeable believer. If you are born again you are saved now, and can have assurance now, that heaven will be your eternal home. You don’t have to wait until you die for assurance. Salvation is a gift that cannot be earned, and good “fruit” will be the evidence of genuine repentance.
4. pjmiller // Aug 31st 2007
AHA! Did they understand your husband using the chair example? For some reason, it doesn’t seem to get through to the ones I’ve used it on.
Amen on your post above on having assurance. Salvation is indeed a gift which cannot be earned by any work on our part. But it’s not to be ‘handled’ afterwards lightly . . . We must continue to abide in Christ.
“Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.” (Romans 11:22)
Notice that little word “if” . . . IF thou CONTINUE . . .
The continuing part comes by our continued abiding in Him . . . At the time of our salvation God does not remove our free-will. We can walk away, turning our back on God. The prodigal son did this . . . And at his returning to his “Father” his father said:
“For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” (Luke 15:24)
He had been “alive” and had the assurance while abiding with his father . . . But here we see his father proclaim that while away he was both “dead and lost”
5. Cathy // Aug 31st 2007
Yes, “if we continue” and “free will” are key words in understanding this doctrine.
6. catechismatic95 // Sep 4th 2007
This is very interesting … I’m glad I stumbled upon this website. I, too believe that there is more comfort knowing you can “fall away.” Most calvinists would say, “Well if a person falls away, then they were never a Christian to begin with.” How terrible a doctrine, that means I can never be sure whether I am a Christian or not, but if we fall away, then we know of the Rejoicing Shepherd who seeks after the lost sheep. It all ties together with their concept of limited atonement and double predestination.
As a Lutheran, I do believe we have some fundamentally huge differences, but I am glad to know we can agree on this.
7. Cathy // Sep 4th 2007
Thank you for your comment.
I agree, “how terrible a doctrine.” I do not adhere to Calvinistic teaching. I believe Calvinism propagates serious error.
8. geniusadvice // Sep 5th 2007