For more than a year, I wondered if it was possible to lose your salvation based on different arguments I heard. I listened to both sides and would believe one for a while then go to the other camp. While I was studying the different religions that changed the gospels, I noticed one underlying theme: You must do something yourself in order to be saved. Jesus went to the cross to offer salvation, but somehow we have to do something so we don’t lose it.
Can you lose your salvation? – No.
“10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. 11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 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 5:10-13
The Book of 1 John was written so that we may KNOW we have eternal life. The whole point of knowing is to be assured of something. This is the eternal security of the Believer. If we cannot be sure of our salvation, how can we help unbelievers understand that they can trust Christ?
Let me simplify this a bit. Jesus acknowledged that we were born in the natural, but then He said we must be born again. Note the response of Nicodemus. “3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” – John 3:3-4
– Can a man return to his mother’s womb and be born again? No. You had no choice in the process of being born. Nobody consulted you to ask you how you felt about the opportunity to live. Once you are born, that’s it. You don’t get a do-over. If my children decide one day that they no longer want me to be their mother, tough cookies! They don’t get to be “unborn” nor do they get to start over by growing in someone else’s womb. Forever and all time, I am their natural mother, and there isn’t a single thing they can do about it.
– When we believe on Christ, we are born again. Just as we did nothing to birth ourselves in the natural, we do nothing to birth ourselves in the spiritual. There is nothing to suggest that we are “unborn again.” We are given the seed of God which is in us (1 John 3:9). We are adopted into the family of God (Rom 8:15, “4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” – Eph 5:4-6). When an adoption takes place, that parent takes on the responsibility for that child as if he were his own. In fact, there tend to be more rules in place to keep the parents from abandoning that child. You don’t get to return the child in exchange for another one. One of the reasons is because the child was chosen. The parents decided and effectively said, “That’s the one I want to rear, care for, and to be a permanent part of my family.”
What does “SAVE” mean?
1. to rescue from danger or possible harm, injury, or loss: to save someone from drowning.
2. to keep safe, intact, or unhurt; safeguard; preserve: God save the king.
3. to keep from being lost: to save the game.
“10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” – Luke 19:10
Save is σῴζω (sōzō)
1) to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction
a) one (from injury or peril)
1) to save a suffering one (from perishing), i.e. one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health
1) to preserve one who is in danger of destruction, to save or rescue
b) to save in the technical biblical sense
a) to deliver from the penalties of the Messianic judgment
b) to save from the evils which obstruct the reception of the Messianic deliverance
So we aren’t just “saved.” We’re also “being saved.” We are rescued and kept from danger and destruction. Picture an EMT worker that has arrived to the scene of an accident. The victim is bleeding from different parts of his body and is suffering from a heart attack. The EMT worker proceeds to administer CPR and gets this man’s heart working again…and then leaves him in the middle of the street. Did the worker save his life? Yes. Is the man still in danger? Yes. He’s still unconscious, lying in the middle of the street, and bleeding to death. The EMT is the only person that has the medical know-how to save this man. Once he decided to help this man, he took on the responsibility of making sure he was not only saved but that he was also being saved. The victim is still in danger, and the EMT must keep him alive, treat his wounds to keep him from dying, and continue caring for him or deliver him to the hospital where he can continue to receive care until he has decently recovered.
In a similar manner, Jesus has saved from the pits of hell by His sacrifice, but He also keeps us by His Spirit. Jesus has told us He will preserve those who are His. “37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” – John 6:37-39
“16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” – John 14:16-17 Only one who is born of the Spirit can receive the Spirit. The Spirit is the Promise given to us sent by the Father. He reminds us of what Jesus taught. The Holy Spirit seals us. “30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” – Eph 4:30
Seal – sphragizō – From σφραγίς (G4973)
1) to set a seal upon, mark with a seal, to seal
a) for security: from Satan
b) since things sealed up are concealed (as the contents of a letter), to hide, keep in silence, keep secret
c) in order to mark a person or a thing
1) to set a mark upon by the impress of a seal or a stamp
2) angels are said to be sealed by God
d) in order to prove, confirm, or attest a thing
1) to confirm authenticate, place beyond doubt
a) of a written document
b) to prove one’s testimony to a person that he is what he professes to be
Jesus is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. When a king places his seal on something, can anyone undo what he has said/decreed/ordered? Let’s look at an example in the Bible. “7 Then the king Ahasuerus said unto Esther the queen and to Mordecai the Jew, Behold, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and him they have hanged upon the gallows, because he laid his hand upon the Jews. 8 Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s ring: for the writing which is written in the king’s name, and sealed with the king’s ring, may no man reverse.” – Esther 8:7-8
“26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. 27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. 28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” – John 6:26-29
We tell people God will open doors no one can shut and shut doors no one can open (Rev 3:7-8), will understand the Holy Spirit seals us until the day of redemption, understand that only Jesus can open/break Heavenly seals (Rev 5), but we still question if we can lose our salvation.
When we look at the definitions of seal/sealed, we see that God marks those who are His own (we have His seed in us). We are secured from satan. The seal affirms or attests to the truth of God that His testimony is true. Basically, the Holy Spirit is our security.
I once heard it put like this. When you go to purchase a house, you put down a good faith down payment to tell the seller that you are serious about buying the house. In fact, you are so serious about this purchase that if you do not return with the remainder of the money, the seller can then keep the house AND the money given. In a similar fashion, when God gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit with Him indwelling us. He has put down His good faith promise. For God to then not continue on His promise to save us would then require Him to forfeit the Holy Ghost Whom He pledged. Basically, God would have to cease being God because part of Him is now lost with the person who is not saved. Since that is not going to happen, God is going to ensure those He saves are eternally secure.
“6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” – Phil 1:6
Well, let’s ask these questions: How do we get salvation? How are we saved?
“29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” – Acts 16:29-31
We repent for our trespasses against God and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
How can we believe and come to Christ if we are dead in our sins? – “44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” – John 6:44
The only way we will turn to God is if God, Himself, draws us to Him. We can’t just decide we’re going to stop living in sin and turn to God if God does not breathe life into us because we are dead in sins, and dead people don’t make those decisions.
Do we have to earn our salvation? Do we need to impress God somehow? – “8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.” – Eph 2:8-9
Salvation is a gift. If we must do something to get salvation, it’s not a gift. Salvation is of the Lord and the Lord alone (Psalm 3:8). He loved us enough to die for us while we were yet sinners and living in opposition to Him (Romans 5:8). When you give your children gifts, do you make them jump through hoops to get it? If we have to “do” something to earn or be found worthy of salvation, then we are saying the Jesus’s death on the cross was not enough. We’re claiming Jesus needs our help to save ourselves. God saved us and will preserve us (Jude 1) so that we endure to the end.
Why do people think Christians can become “unsaved”?
This is from looking at passages that tell us that we must remain in Christ. There are those that fell away from grace and forsook Christians. They use examples like Judas Iscariot as an example of a Christian turned reprobate.
Let’s look at what the Bible says.
- “18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” – 1 John 2:18-19
– John, the Apostle, is telling us that even though people may have professed Christianity, walked with us, ate with us, and taught with us, they were not truly “with” us. They were never Christian. Believers are new creatures in Christ. Our Father will not lose us (see Mat 18:11-14 the shepherd looking for lost sheep).
2. “21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” – Matt 7:21-23
– Jesus is not talking about atheists or those practicing other religions. He is saying that not everyone who claims without hesitation to be a follower of Christ is getting into Heaven. Notice that Jesus says “I NEVER knew you” – not “I knew you for a while before you turned your back on me” or “I knew you a while back but forgot your name.” This tells us that those who walk away were NEVER Believers. Verse 22 shows us that they can fake the funk, blend in (see parable of wheat & tares Matt 13), say all the clichés, and look the part, but they resisted the Holy Spirit and were never converted.
3. This is taken from the website to be cited at the end of this section.
Hebrews 6:4-6 is the most famous “proof” that eternal security does not exist. Here it is:
It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace. (Hebrews 6:4-6)
Once again, we must ask the question of whether these people are believers or unbelievers. Let’s look at their characteristics. First, at one point they had been enlightened about the gospel. Although they knew what is was, the text does not tells us that they ever accepted Jesus as their Lord. Next, they have “tasted the heavenly gift,” that is the Lord Jesus. Tasting is quite a telling word. In the Greek, it means to sample or try out some food.53 It doesn’t mean to consume the meal. In fact, it suggests that they never made that commitment. They also “shared in the Holy Spirit.” This description is also unusual. A true believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit,54 not merely “sharing” or “partaking” of the Spirit. However, the Holy Spirit is not just active in the life of a believer, but also convicts the unbeliever of “sin and righteousness and judgment.”55 Therefore, it is entirely consistent with the Holy Spirit working within the life of an unbeliever who is considering a response to the gospel. Third, these people “tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age.” Again, tasting the word of God is not the same as living the word of God. So, the people who are being described in the passage are those who have been associated with a Christian fellowship, but have fallen away. However, the falling away is not merely a passive thing, but they are “subjecting Him [Jesus] to public disgrace,” indicating an active rejection of the gospel. Finally, verse 9 indicates that the above passage does not refer to those who have been saved, saying, “we are confident of better things in your case–things that accompany salvation.”56 This verse mentions “things that accompany salvation,” not things that result in salvation. In addition, verses 4-6 refer to “they” whereas verse 9 refers to “your,” indicating that the verses are referring to different groups of people.
Hebrews 10:26 says, “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left.”57 Again, we must ask the question whether this verse is talking about a believer or a non-believer. The first big hint is that the verse is about people who “deliberately keep on sinning.” This does not describe the typical behavior of a believer. Yes, believers sin, but do not live in a state of continual sin. In addition, verse 27 describes these people as “enemies of God,” which definitely does not describe believers, who are children of God. These people are described as having “received the knowledge of the truth” of the gospel. However, it does not say that they ever accept the truth and put into effect in their own lives. Hundreds of atheists have written me at this site and have “received the knowledge of the truth,” although very few have actually become Christians. Here, the author is suggesting that if a person receives the knowledge of the truth of the gospel, but rejects it and keeps on sinning, he is lost and cannot be saved, since he has rejected Jesus’ sacrifice for sins.” (eternal security)
What about if I sin and don’t confess it all before I die? Can’t I sin and become lost? Does that mean I can do anything and stay saved?
“4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. 5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” – 1 John 1:4-7
– When God’s seed is in us, we desire to please Him and strive to NOT sin. We put on the mind of Christ and seek to crucify our flesh daily because it wars with the spirit. 1 John1 & 2 show us that we will sin, but this is something that will happen because we are still in our flesh. We are not planning to sin. The difference is between “sin” and “sinneth.” As I understand, sinneth is to live in purposeful, unrepentant sin. You know what the Word of God says, but you are content to live in disobedience. If you are not chastened by God, then there is a serious problem because He disciplines His children. We do not have freedom to live according to our flesh because we have been bought with a price, and we do not belong to ourselves. You cannot follow darkness and light at the same time. You cannot be a child of satan and a child of God at the same time.
– The Blood of Jesus cleans us from ALL sin (past, present, and future). Jesus is our Advocate. We are responsible for repenting for sins, but there is no way for us to know the moment we will die and confess everything (thoughts, words, deeds) so we will be sinless at death. We are not perfected, but we strive for perfection.
What about Judas Iscariot? He was an apostle, so he must’ve lost his salvation.
The assumption is that Jesus saved Judas Iscariot but that he chose to reject the salvation he had. The problem with that view is that there are numerous examples of God using wicked people to accomplish His plan who saw the works of God (as did the people living with and near Jesus) and still chose to reject God.
Pharoah – God hardened his heart at times to prove his power. God performed miracle after miracle, but it is not recorded that Pharoah ever admitted his sins and declared God is the true God.
Jezebel & Ahab heard or witnessed fire from Heaven, 3 ½ years of drought and knew of reports of God in Israel, yet they still chose to kill the prophets and worship baal.
Nebuchadnezzar had dreams interpreted by Daniel even including his own future punishment if he exalted himself above God. He had to be brought to eating grass before he humbled himself.
Pharisees & Sadducees heard and witnessed Jesus healing people and raising them from the dead, yet they hardened their hearts and refused to acknowledge Him.
It is recorded that disciples that followed Jesus or those who wanted to be disciples left after He stopped feeding them and informed them of the difficulties that would come to those who walked after Him.
Let’s see what the Bible says about Judas Iscariot.
1) “2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.” – Matt 10:2-4
2) “13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; 14 Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, 15 Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, 16 And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.” – Luke 6:13-16
3) “3 Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. 4 And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them.” – Luke 22:3-4
4) “4 Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, 5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.” – John 12:4-6
5) “70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? 71 He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.” – John 6:70-71
6) “9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. 10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. 11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” – John 17:9-12
7) “63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. 65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.” – John 6:63-65
Judas Iscariot is called a thief, a traitor, a betrayer, a non-believer, a devil, and the son of perdition. Is that the description of a child of God or a child of the devil? There is not one positive description of Judas Iscariot found in the Bible. Jesus knew he didn’t believe. Jesus told us there would be false apostles – Judas Iscariot was the first one. He knew “of” Jesus and knew He performed miracles. He may have done some himself (really doesn’t specify who did what when they went out but that miracles happened). Judas I. may have gotten some pull by associating with Jesus while the crowd loved Him. In any case, he was never converted because he refused to believe. Even after betraying Jesus, Judas I. was unrepentant. He was remorseful but did not repent to God for his sins (metanoeō). He repented “himself” (metamelomai).
– [See Definition for metamellomai G3338 (Currently Viewing)
See Definition for metanoeo G3340
The distinction often given between these is; G3338 refers to an emotional change, G3340 to an change of choice, G3338 has reference to particulars, G3340 to the entire life, G3338 signifies nothing but regret even amounting to remorse, G3340 that reversal of moral purpose known as repentance; does not seem to be sustained by usage. But that G3340 is the fuller and nobler term, expressive of moral action and issues, is indicated not only by its derivation, but by the greater frequency of its use and by the fact it is often used in the imperative.]
Based on the fruit evident in the life of Judas, the description of him in the Bible, and the names Jesus called him because Jesus actually knew the heart of Judas I., I think we can conclude that Judas Iscariot was never saved. Since he was never saved, he could not lose what he never had.
What about Rev 3:5?
“5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”
Many people look at this verse and say that we must overcome in order for our names to not be blotted out. What many don’t see is that it takes salvation out of the Lord’s hands and puts it into our own. People state that “other” people can’t remove us from Christ, but we can remove ourselves.
Question: When do we ever see God removed from His position involuntarily?
At no point is God ever forcibly moved from His seat. If the strongest devils can’t move God, what makes people believe that a person who is born again, has a NEW spiritual nature, has the Father guiding His life, Jesus interceding for him, and has the Holy Spirit living inside him able to tell God He has to get out of his life? Since when does God take orders from children?
Answer: God cannot be ousted from His position. He may step back and allow us to learn the hard way, but He isn’t giving up His position.
So, who is the person who overcomes? The Apostle John wrote Revelation and the Books of John and explains who the overcomer is. He clearly states that the person who overcomes is the one who Believes on Jesus.
“4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” – 1 John 5:4-5
When we read Rev 3:5, it shouldn’t be with fear that we must find a way to keep from losing salvation because that is our works saving us or contributing to our salvation. Instead, we need to look at the passage as a promise that our names will not be removed because we believe on Christ. This is that to which we look forward to hearing because the Lord will keep us. We are overcomers because we believe, and we will be presented to God in white rainment because we believe and are saved.
This is the perseverance of the saints under the doctrine of eternal security. It is God Who saves, God Who will keep us safe, and God Who will give us the heart and endurance to persevere until the end. We did not earn our salvation nor will God take back His gift of salvation with the seal of the Holy Ghost. He chose us to be His, called us out from the world, made us His children, chose to give us His Spirit, and will keep us safe until we are in Heaven with Him.
“23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch. 24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. 25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. 26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” – John 10:23-29
– (No man…not even myself.)
Oh, To Be Kept – James Cleveland
“Oh, to be kept by Jesus!
Lord, at Thy feet I fall
I would be nothing, nothing, nothing
Thou shalt be my all in all!”