Can You Lose Your Salvation?

Can you lose your salvation and become unsaved?

When I first began writing about the gospel of grace few people asked this question. 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 seem to be in conflict with one another. One group is full of God’s unconditional promises; the other is 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.)

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.


You are saved forever and ever and ever!

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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27 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?

  5. Aaron Kren // March 15, 2019 at 5:43 am // Reply

    Question: Do you think a newborn baby is eternally saved? If so, then a person who is eternally saved can become lost. If you don’t think a baby is eternally saved, will they go to heaven if they die as a newborn? Or won’t they?

    I’m not trying to hit you with a gotcha question – it’s just something I thought of as I was pondering this topic.

  6. Heb 6:4-6. You can’t “accidentally” lose salvation. You have to give it up, after being baptized in the Spirit.

  7. John Cheeseman // July 6, 2019 at 5:54 pm // Reply

    Hebrews 5:9 says, in part,… eternal salvation to all who obey him. That “all who obey him” part is the part that makes it seem conditional. Would you care to explain?

  8. Can’t you reject your salvation though?

  9. Joseph Andrade // August 17, 2020 at 12:57 am // Reply

    Dear Paul, what is hyper grace?
    Does salvation gives permission or license to someone to live in sin? if a person accepts Jesus Christ as his Lord and savior, get baptized and still continues to live in sin I believe that person has not really been saved. What do you say about this?

    • Hi Joseph, I have written several articles answering your questions. You can find them in the Archives>Subject Index under the entries for hypergrace and sin. Thanks.

  10. You forgot “Everlasting Righteousness” of Daniel 9:24…😉😉

  11. Johnny Harry // October 19, 2020 at 3:17 am // Reply

    I agree John 5:24 is a powerful scripture.Jesus said: they who hear my word & believe on him who sent me have everlasting life & shall not come into condemnation but are passed from death unto life. But what if we stop hearing his word & stop believing on him who sent him? We stop confessing with our mouth the Lord Jesus & believing in our heart that God has raised him from the dead? Can we do that? Many have that testimony. It’s called apostasy. But here’s the thing. Satan can’t rob us of our salvation & God will never withdraw it, the question that remains is “can we discard it”? All we need do is keep on believing. No sin will cause God to reject us & Satan can’t rob us of our salvation. Apostasy is a believer choosing to sit on the throne of their own life, renouncing their faith in Jesus. If there is no such thing as “apostasy” then we can’t lose our salvation, if there is such a thing then we can, but it’s the only thing. I believe there is such a thing as apostasy & I feel perfectly secure.

    • The concept of someone losing their salvation no longer has any grounds to me. The whole question of ‘can you lose it’ just fails to have any place for application when the connection between God and his creation is no longer viewed through a legal framework of thought – which I believe is the point of “Christ is the end of the law”. In Jesus, God is revealed to not be who we had always thought he was. Our old fallen, dead, sin twisted, alienated minds, corrupt to the point of not even being able to perceive the truth of God was accommodated by our loving Father by relating to us in a way that we could grasp, as to not totally lose us to our own self destruction. That’s the Old Testament. The Law was given to our Flesh to lead us to Christ. Now… in Christ… living by the Spirit… we can let go of seeing our Father as though everything is contained within a system obligated to operate according to ordained rules. We can instead start to discover who we really are and walk in the RELATIONSHIP God has always had with his creation – awash in Love, and purposed towards goodness.
      To me, Salvation is not so much something we gain or lose (like a gift sitting under a tree that we either get up and go obtain with the option of then throwing it away or don’t go get at all), rather it is the Jesus based reality that we participate in or don’t participate in according to what we believe – it’s joining in on Jesus’ relationship with his Father that he is sharing with us all the time whether we know it, believe it, or like it or not. As our beliefs change over time as well as oscillate within any given day, it follows that the level at which we ‘live out our salvation’ is in a constant state of fluctuation.

  12. Thank you brother Paul

  13. Its so evil from preachers who are insecure about salvation because they simply want to control with fear theyr flock…i got thatkind of judgment 10 years till i ended in heavy depression and suicidal thoughts…quitted church till Gods Grace revealed my eyes again.Thatkind of preachers should be jailed because they produce pure death to the people.Paul You are shining in His Grace and also Joseph Prince teaching about it very clear!

  14. Are you willing to be responsible and have the people’s life and blood over your head if your teaching cause them to go to hell because you said they will never lose their salvation?

    • Are you willing to stand before a holy God and explain why you threatened his children with eternal damnation? Are you prepared to explain to God why you dismissed his many promises regarding the believer’s security, essentially calling him an untrustworthy liar?

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