Can You Lose Your Salvation?

Can you lose your salvation and become unsaved? When I first began writing about the gospel of grace this was a subject few people spoke about. It was too contentious, too uncertain, too hard.

So one summer I set out to read every single scripture on the subject. Turns out there are about 300. About half of them say you can’t lose your salvation, while the other half seem to suggest you can.

At first glance, these two groups of scriptures seemed to be in conflict with one another. One group was full of God’s unconditional promises; the other was full of conditional statements.

But when I read these scriptures through Jesus-glasses, I found not one scripture that said you can lose your salvation. Although there are bad consequences to straying or falling from grace, having your Father unchild you is not one of them.

(If this is news to you, I recommend reading this list of the top 12 promises regarding your eternal security. You will be encouraged!)

Can you lose your salvation? No. Not a chance. God’s Word is crystal clear.

So why do people worry that they can? They worry because they don’t know what makes the new covenant new. They confuse the “we wills” of the old covenant with the “he wills” of the new. They believe that Jesus saves them, but they don’t know that Jesus also keeps them. They worry they can undo what they never wrought in the first place. They fear they can compel God to do what he said he wouldn’t.

There will always be some who say you may be lost at the end. (I call them insecurity preachers because their anxious and fear-filled messages are designed to dislodge you from your secure position.) But those who say such things make one of two bad assumptions:

Bad assumption #1: Salvation starts later (you’re not saved yet)

Yet the Bible says those in Christ have been made new. New life is now, not tomorrow. Sure, we are waiting for the redemption of bodies, when that which is perishable puts on immortality. But you are not your body and in Christ you are saved now. Today is the day of salvation.

Bad assumption #2: Salvation is not forever (you can lose it)

Is it possible to lose the gift of salvation? The insecurity preachers say yes. “Your salvation is temporary, on probation.” But that’s not what the Bible says.

And having been perfected, Jesus became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey him (Heb 5:9)

If you are saved now, you are saved eternally. Jesus doesn’t do partial salvations or temporary salvations or trial salvations. He only authors eternal salvations.

Incidentally, the original word for eternal is sometimes translated as forever or everlasting. Your eternal salvation is forever and everlasting. Capiche? You are saved forever and ever and ever. Good news, no?

Because Jesus’ blood obtained an eternal redemption (Heb 9:12), you have an eternal inheritance (Heb 9:15), guaranteed by an eternal covenant (Heb 13:20), resulting in eternal life (John 3:16) and a welcome into the eternal kingdom (2 Pet 1:11) by the eternal God (Rom 16:26).

Which is why the eternal gospel (Rev 14:6) gives us eternal comfort (2 Thess 2:16).

There are hundreds of scriptures proving your salvation is secure, but I will leave you with just one:

I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. (John 5:24)

Those who preach insecurity make one of two assumptions, and Jesus demolishes both of them here. “He has crossed over from death to life.” There goes assumption #1. New life is not something you experience in the sweet by and by, but something to enjoy today.

“Whoever hears and believes has eternal life and will not be condemned.” And there goes assumption #2. If you believe, you will never be condemned. One with the Lord you simply cannot lose your salvation.

“But what if I stop believing?” You will no longer enjoy eternal life, but you won’t lose eternal life. If you could lose it, it wouldn’t be eternal, would it?

I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13)

Your salvation is not something to wonder or worry about. John writes, and so do I, so that you may know with certainty that, in Christ, you have eternal life.

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9 Comments on Can You Lose Your Salvation?

  1. Momzilla, by way of analogy, if you are taking medication against an illness and you are at the same time required to avoid certain lifestyles that can predispose you further to that illness, would you then conclude that the medication is INSUFFICIENT or UNNECESSARY because of the requirement enjoined on you to give up or refrain from that lifestyle??? This wouldn’t make sense and unfortunately this is what the eternal-security theory has been propounding over the years regarding Christ’s redemption and our calling as Christians to renounce sin.

    That we are supposed to obey our Lord’s commandments and avoid sin doesn’t in any way nullify or detract from His redemptive power and grace to save us.

    Eternal-security view is very problematic to the Bible as a whole as it simply doesn’t lend itself to interpreting scriptural passages meaningfully and coherently.

    • The analogy falls flat when I apply this one pertinent question. Who holds the keys to your salvation and the gates of heaven? If the answer is anything other than “Jesus” congratulations you believe the gospel of me-myself-and-I. Our obedience and sin avoidance does nullify Jesus redemption of us IF those factors are what ultimately save us. 😦
      A whole scripture picture of salvation shows it is a free gift, not wages earned through right living. We do not win salvation and heaven because we are good obedient children. That is merit based salvation something we have to prove we are worthy to receive/retain.
      “Not of works lest any man could boast”. If we stay saved and go to heaven based upon our ability to obey and avoid sin we have a lot to boast about as it is by our own might that we make is successfully to the end. The flesh hates submitting the finished work of Jesus. It fights with everything it has in order to stay a part of its salvation. This laying down of self(the flesh) under the supremacy of Jesus suffering, death, burial and resurrection is one of the hardest thing we are called to do. Eternal security never has denied that we should obey, avoid sin or live right in every way that we can. What is different is the reason why we do such things. We do them because we should and have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit not because we are scared of hell.

      • Sorry Momzilla but you totally failed to dismiss my analogy. Instead of addressing it, you just sidestepped it by going along a track of argument that didn’t do justice to the question I raised.

        To quote you in your previous submission:” If salvation (or our ability to keep it) and heaven are based on our sin avoidance we do not need Jesus as His death does absolutely nothing for us ……. ”
        If my analogy is to be premised on your argument, then it would go like this:” If physical healing from sickness is based on our avoidance of certain predisposing lifestyles, then we do not need medication/treatment as its application does nothing for us ……… ”
        Is such reasoning tenable????? If for example you are to abstain from alcohol in treating a liver problem, how does that abstinence nullify the sufficiency or potency of the treatment being applied to the disease??? Such reasoning doesn’t hold up at all.

        Another example, if Adam our first parent was strictly required by God not to eat from the forbidden tree under pain of punishment such as death, would you infer that such obedience demanded from Adam nullified the gift of life God gave him (in breathing into dust to create a living soul)??? By imposing such law on our parents, was God’s offer of life from the beginning a free gift or not???
        By pondering over these deeply, one realizes that this eternal-security claim that obedience nullifies is nothing but an absolute fallacy.

      • momzilla76 // October 13, 2018 at 4:59 am //

        If Jesus sacrifice is the medicine but I cannot attain wellness(eternal life) without abstaining from sin(alcohol) then the medicine is worthless unless I avoid alcohol. Thus I am treated(aka saved) via my abstaining form alcohol not from the medicine. The key deciding factor of whether I can obtain and retain eternal life is my actions. If scripture portrayed Jesus as the assistant to our earning and deserving eternal life then your argument would be very valid. However that is not how Jesus nor eternal life are described. Not of works, gift, freely given, imputed, ect. All from contextually accurate scripture passages.
        No Adam’s life was not a free gift. It was given with the condition that he not eat of the tree. That is a conditional offer not a free gift. Let’s say I win a car in a contest only to be told that I must make monthly payments to keep it. Is that car still a free gift? It ended up being an earned thing no longer free. Something cannot be free and cost $5 a month at the same time. 2 Timothy 1:9 and Titus 3:3-8 both tell us that we are not saved by our works, even the righteous ones.
        A zeal for holy living is good only if it does not exchange the Savior for the saved one as the key to eternal life.

      • momzilla76 // October 13, 2018 at 5:08 am //

        Let me clarify that I think obedience and avoiding sin are good, Christ honoring things that all believers should do. Our children do not obey us and be good so they can stay in the family. They learn to do those things because that is what we expect of them. Can you imagine? “I’m sorry Sally but you sassed your momma. You are no longer welcome in this house. Out you go!”

  2. you analogy is interesting, but i’m not sure how it compares to the fact that Paul explains salvation, not of a healing of a sick body, but the complete death of the old body and the birth (by God) of a new nature…..

  3. I don’t think eternal-security teachers are saying obedience nullifies the security….
    to clarify, obedience is a goal both the eternal-security and the non eternal Security groups would both approve. The difference comes in the motivations.
    Is the motivation to obey coming from the new nature born of God and longing to walk in his ways in delight (‘Abba’) or is it a spirit of fear and insecurity, if I fail, I will be cast aside….never good enough striving?

  4. Hello Paul, I don’t know if this is right place to post this question, but….there is a Christian universalist who has a book that I read. Many are saying EVERYBODY gets punishment and chastening after death. This fellow wrote: “Judgment (according to deeds) is an important step in our correction and transformation, as it teaches us the gravity of our sins through experiencing the same pain we have inflicted on others. Its extent, however, depends on how merciful we have been to others and the attitude of our hearts. In itself, judgment (according to deeds) cannot fully satisfy justice in this life, as it does not undo or heal the pain our sins have caused others. Christ alone can do that. He is our Comforter, Advocate, Healer, Friend, Redeemer and Lord our Savior! Only when God’s just recompense is followed with reconciliation, with God and with each other, is justice fully realized and the Father satisfied and pleased. Thus God’s just recompense (the Lex Talionis) is merely the first stage in the process of attaining justice—reconciliation is its culmination.” Even after Jesus there’s STILL punishment or “chastening”? I can’t understand this, would you comment on this?

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