Can a Christian lose their salvation?
The first Tuesday of every month, I meet together with an old friend to catch up with each other’s lives, and the last time we met, the topic of ‘Can a Christian lose their salvation’ came up. It’s interesting how often this topic comes up in conversations I have. Fortunately for us, the Bible has a lot to say on the topic.
The short answer to this question is a resounding No. For those who have received Christ as Lord and Savior, eternity with Him awaits. John makes this super clear when he writes, “to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…” As if to emphasize the point, John follows that up with, ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
Could it be any clearer? There’s a couple of interesting Biblical notes to make here about this ‘salvation,’ or Jesus saving us from the penalty we deserve and allowing us to come into God’s presence and have an eternity with God.
- We can’t earn it
There are several passages within the New Testament that give us assurance that this gift of eternal salvation is just that: It’s a gift. Paul starts us off in Ephesians 2 when he writes, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.’ There are many in this world who believe that if they are simply ‘good enough’ they will get into heaven for eternity, but that’s clearly not the case. Paul continues his teaching on this topic in Titus 3 when he writes that ‘he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit…”
2. Once we’ve received Christ, this promise of eternity is rock solid
It should be very reassuring to the Christian walking daily with Christ that we can go about our days knowing that the Love that Jesus has for us will never wane. Paul makes this abundantly clear in Romans 8, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
But Your Conversion must be authentic
Studying the Bible on the topic of whether a Christian can lose their salvation seems like an ‘open and closed’ case. But then as we keep investigating, Jesus throws the proverbial ‘monkey wrench’ into our study of this topic. Read what Jesus said as recorded in Matthew 7:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”
There are a couple of key things in this passage, which has been called by many the scariest passage in the Bible, that we should pay close attention to. We see people calling to Jesus, ‘Lord, Lord,’ presumably during their last day, asking for entry to the kingdom of heaven. It is only those who ‘do the will of my Father’ that actually gain entry.
Doing the Father’s Will
Being able to do God’s will means that we must have a relationship where communication takes place and I turn to is John 15:4-8. I’d encourage you to do some study of this passage here, but if you want to know God’s will, and begin seeing God work through you, abiding in Him and allowing Him to abide in you is primary.
We can’t just say some words, then go to Heaven
One thing that comes through clearly through a study on this topic is that as you ‘receive and believe’ your conversion needs to be real and authentic, and the life change (every good tree bears good fruit) needs to be real. John makes this really clear in 1 John 3, “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.” For those who are ‘in Christ,’ they will want to abide in Him, and those who abide in Him cannot continue to live a sinful, unrepentant lifestyle nor will they reject the faith and deny Christ. 1 John is clear that those who go on sinning are not known by Christ, and He says to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
So can a Christian lose their salvation? There is no way! But for those who have not allowed Christ to be in the #1 spot in their lives, eternal salvation was never theirs to have, and I would remind them of the wise words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 13, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!”
 John 1:12
 John 10:27-28
 Ephesians 2:8-9
 Titus 3:5-7
 Romans 8:38-39
 Matthew 7:21-23
 John 1:12
 1 John 3:6
 2 Corinthians 13:5