By: Dr. Hank Lindstrom
Can a person who has been saved lose his salvation? This question has been a perplexing question to many. Maybe you have been questioning the genuineness of your salvation. Are you really saved? Are you really sure?
Although the phrase “eternal security” does not occur in the Bible, phrases that are equivalent do occur. Phrases such as everlasting life, eternal life, eternal salvation, eternal inheritance, eternal redemption, etc. occur dozens and dozens of times throughout the Bible.
Eternal security is not a separate doctrine from that of eternal life or eternal salvation. It is one and the same. In fact, the only salvation God offers to mankind is eternal. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).”
God does not offer probation, but He offers salvation. God does not offer a trial period, but rather, offers to completely save and give eternal life to anyone who responds to His invitation to trust Jesus Christ as his or her only hope of heaven.
Consider the alternative, that you could lose your salvation. By virtue of the fact that you could lose it, would mean that keeping salvation would depend upon your efforts or actions to keep it. In other words, a person who says that he can lose his salvation for whatever reason is in reality saying that he is trusting in human works to save him. Look at Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace (mercy) are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.” Salvation is not of works and therefore a person who is trusting in his works is not and will not be saved. What are we saying? Plainly stated: a person who says he can lose his salvation is not saved. Or he is thoroughly confused and lacks assurance of salvation.
If you are not saved forever, then you are not saved. Let me say it again. If you are not saved forever, then you are not saved.
Salvation, as taught in the Bible, is a present possession, received at the time of the new birth or acceptance of Christ as one’s personal Savior, and is kept secure or eternal by God’s power. Consider such references as John 3:16; John 3:36; John 5:24; John 10:28; Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 10:10; Hebrews 10:14; I Peter 1:4-5.
Jesus Christ made the promise in John 6:37 that He would never cast out anyone who had trusted Him as Savior for any reason. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me, and him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.” He meant exactly that. There is no circumstance or instance that would cause Christ to cast a saved person aside.
Some have said to me, “Okay, Christ won’t cast me out, but I can cast myself out.” This is impossible. Read with me John 6:39 where Jesus said, “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that all which he hath given, I should lose nothing but should raise it up again at the last day.” Jesus promises that He will never lose anyone who has come to him for salvation and that this is the Father’s will.
If any one saved person were ever lost, then Jesus Christ would be a liar because, He said in John 6:39 that He would not lose one. If just one saved person in all of history were lost, then Jesus Christ would be a liar.
Praise the Lord that Jesus Christ is a Savior who will deliver on what He has promised. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath (possesses now) eternal life (John 6:47).” Jesus Christ promises eternal life as a present possession to all those who believe (trust) in Him.
The heart of all the misunderstanding concerning this subject is the fact that human works or merit have zero to do with salvation. Many Scriptures make it so clear that we are saved by faith and not by works. For example: John 3:18; Romans 3:24-28; Romans 4;5; Ephesians 2:8-9 and so on.
In addition to this, there are many clear Scriptures which teach that anyone who is trusting in works (church membership, baptism, confirmation, living the Christian life, etc.) in addition to faith in Christ will not be saved (Romans 11:6; and Galatians 5:2-4). Thus we are to trust in Christ only to be saved.
The work of salvation was finished on the cross by Jesus Christ himself (Hebrews 1:3). If we want to be saved, then we must believe that Jesus Christ finished the work of salvation on the cross, and receive it as God’s free gift (Romans 6:23).
“I know that whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever: nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him (Ecclesiastes 3:14).” (See also Romans 8:38-39.)
After we are saved, we should live for Christ out of love and gratitude for all He has done for us. We will be rewarded for faithful service or suffer the loss of rewards for not serving the Lord, but we will be eternally saved (Corinthians 3:11-15). Also, if we live in rebellion we will still be saved, but God will chasten us in this life and might take us home to heaven prematurely. (See Hebrews 12:6-8; Corinthians 11:30-32.)
Salvation is by grace through faith. It is a free gift, and is wholly without works (Romans 3:27-28; 4:1-8; 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9). The divine order is first salvation, then works (Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 3:5-8).
“Blessed Assurance” is a favorite hymn of many who claim to be saved. But it is only wishful thinking to those who believe they can be saved today and lost tomorrow.
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).” A saved person can know and be absolutely assured of his or her salvation. Nothing can undo what God has finished (Ecclesiastes 3:14).
“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life (I John 5:13).”