An unsaved coworker starts showing interest in your faith. They begin asking you questions about Jesus and what it means to be a Christian. They attend church with you a few times and decide to be baptized.
This person makes great strides in their faith. But after a while, their enthusiasm wanes. They revert to their old sinful lifestyle and make excuses not to come to church. It seems like Jesus doesn’t matter to them anymore.
Someone else is raised in the church. They are baptized at a young age and learn the truth about Jesus. But as they enter adulthood, they begin making choices that reflect the world’s values rather than Christ’s. Their childhood faith seems to be nothing more than a trophy on the shelf.
These scenarios are pretty common. We all know people who seem to have lost their salvation. Whether it’s caused by hardship, temptation, deception, or a lack of integration, we fear for those who seem to have abandoned their faith.
But can this happen? Is it possible for a Christian to lose their salvation? Are we in danger of losing ours? This is an ancient question that cannot be answered quickly.
A Flawed Trend
We must take the right approach to answering this question. As Christians, we tend to bicker over matters of salvation. We would rather divide than unite. And we would rather have a closed-minded debate than an open-minded discussion.
There are many terms associated with this question. They include “eternal security,” “assurance of salvation,” “perseverance of the saints,” and “once saved always saved.” These are fighting words in the Christian church. When we hear them, we take off our gloves and raise our fists.
This “debate” can get heated very quickly. We get so caught up defending our position that we refuse to listen to each other. Some Christians seem more passionate about people losing their salvation than they are about people being saved to begin with!
So how about we avoid fighting words and forget about the debate? Instead, let’s take an honest look at what the Bible says about the certainty of our salvation.
What the Bible Says
Interestingly, the Bible uses none of the fighting words listed above. But it does clearly teach that we can be confident in our salvation. Specifically, we know that:
We have eternal life
Jesus says, “I give my sheep eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand…no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:28-29).
Paul says when you believed the gospel, “You were marked in Christ with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance” (Ephesians 1:13-14).
John says to his readers, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).
We will overcome
John says, “Everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).
Paul promises that nothing can interfere with our salvation: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:28, 37).
What It Means For Us
When God saves you, He also seals you. He gives you eternal life and nothing can separate you from Him. He wants us to walk before Him boldly, knowing that we are His.
Some fear that this confidence will be used as justification for sin. Paul addresses this by asking, “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:1-2).
We do not express our confidence by saying, “I’m saved no matter what! I can do whatever I want!” Rather, we express it by living a life that pleases God by the power of His Spirit. Being saved does not free you to do whatever you want; it frees you to do whatever God wants.
(I will write more about this topic over the next few months. If you would like to automatically receive new posts, feel free to subscribe via e-mail!)
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