Can You Lose Your Salvation?
- Friday, December 12, 2008
I realize there's a spectrum of views on this issue, and not everyone will agree with my interpretation of Scripture. And that is okay. But I hope we will all think about this subject deeply and study it exhaustively for ourselves, until we know where we stand. But I base my belief about this on my thorough study of the entire Bible and not just a few isolated Scriptures.
First of all, I do not believe one can "lose" their salvation per se. It's true that no one can "snatch me out of my Father's hand." I also believe that only grace saves. I no more have power to save myself than I could swim across the Pacific. The forgiveness of my sins bridging the gap to favor with God for eternity is only dependent upon Christ's finished work at Calvary through His blood.
But therein, I have a part—a responsibility to respond, hence the first step of life-saving belief. And beyond that, I have the responsibility of remaining faithful to the end, exerting my free will to love God with all my heart, shown by obedience (John 14:21), and to stay in continuous fellowship with Him. The balance of grace and works appears to be a holy tension that cannot be separated. While He will not leave me or go back on His covenant with me (if we are faithless, he will remain faithful—2 Timothy 2:13), it appears that I can choose to end my agreement with Him (if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us—vs. 2:12).
Consider these additional passages of Scripture:
Conditional promises: "So you must remain faithful to what you have been taught from the beginning. If you do, you will continue to live in fellowship with the Son and with the Father (1 John 2:24, emphasis mine)." And, "For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ (Hebrews 3:14)."
Esau traded his birthright: "Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau. He traded his birthright as the oldest son for a single meal. And afterward, when he wanted his father's blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he wept bitter tears." Hebrews 12:16-17
The son left his spiritual home: "We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found (Luke 15:24)." This famous passage about the prodigal son has some interesting Greek translations. The word for son is Hulos, which can mean literal offspring as well as a son of Abraham. And the words for dead (Nekros) and lost (Apollumi) carry the metaphor of spiritually dead and sentenced to hell. This son, not a foreigner or someone outside the family, rebelliously left his father's house and brought upon himself a condition of being spiritually dead. While this metaphor was spoken about God's son Israel in the big picture, it is also warning to individuals.
The Israelites forfeited the Promised Land: God made a promise to Israel, His "chosen son," of bringing them into the Promised Land, but all of His promises to them were conditional upon their faithfulness and obedience. Their stubborn unbelief and rebellion kept a whole generation out of the Promised Land—their ordained inheritance. As we look ahead to our "Promised Land" of eternal life, the implications seem clear.
Judas sold Jesus: Judas was one of Jesus' chosen twelve. He was completely one of the family members in the inner circle of trust. He walked with Jesus, ate with Jesus, traveled with Jesus, lived with Jesus, was chosen by Jesus. How could Judas not have believed in Jesus at least at one time? He saw all the miracles with his own eyes. Yet Judas sold Jesus for thirty pieces of silver and sealed his fate.
The banished servant: "Who is a faithful, sensible servant, to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his household and feeding his family? If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. I assure you, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. But if the servant is evil and thinks, 'My master won't be back for a while,' and begins oppressing the other servants, partying, and getting drunk - well, the master will return unannounced and unexpected. He will tear the servant apart and banish him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth… (Matthew 24:45-51)."
Recently on Spiritual Life
Have something to say about this article? Leave your comment via Facebook below!
Listen to Your Favorite Pastors
Add Crosswalk.com content to your siteBrowse available content