There are two schools of thought within the Christian community regarding salvation. One maintains that a person can actually lose his/her salvation while the other maintains that once a person is truly saved, he/she can never be lost again. A central passage that seems to fuel this divide is found in the Book of Hebrews where the author is addressing professing Jewish Christians. “4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.” (Hebrews 6:4-6)
To many this clearly implies that one can lose his or her salvation. This premise is based on the concept that everyone who professes salvation is actually saved, but this is not the case for only God Himself knows who among us is truly saved, that is who has been truly re-born in spirit. Those who have once been enlightened are those who have been exposed to the plain and undeniable work of Jesus on the cross – that is the gospel. To have tasted the heavenly gift and made partakers of the Holy Spirit means they have felt the convicting work of the Holy Spirit upon their soul and the taste of religion is sweet upon their lips. To have tasted the word of God and the powers of the age to come means they may enjoy the pleasantries of hearing God’s word, but they do not internalize it within their own soul.
In the modern era, they are referred to as what – hypocrites. Those who have been exposed to the way, the truth, and the life never having fully died to self and surrender their life to Christ are the ones who fall away. It is not that they fall away from the faith and lose their salvation, but rather they never truly committed themselves to Christ to begin with – they were simply going through the motions of religion. Hey, you cannot lose what you never had to begin with - right? The bible clearly states that people such as this cannot be brought again to the point of repentance. This is likely because their hearts have become so hardened that they no longer hear the tender calling of the Lord and I would venture to say that each one of us knows of someone in our life that fits this category.
Sadly, there are those who will continue to believe that salvation can be lost, but what does it mean to be saved? It means to be born again and do not take my word for it, let us consult scripture and what better authority to confer than Jesus Himself.
Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) and note Jesus did not say you must be born again repeatedly, but be born again as in a one-time spiritual transformation. Nicodemus who is bewildered by this says, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” (John 3:4)
Nicodemus points out that no one can re-enter his/her mother’s womb to be physically unborn and then born again, which we know to be quite true. In this same line of thinking neither can one who has been spiritually reborn into a true relationship with Christ be unborn.
John 10:27- 28 - “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.”
As his disciples, Jesus said no one would ever snatch us out of His hand. However, if someone were to lose his/her salvation, would this not imply that he/she was in effect snatched from His hand by the forces of evil?
Philippians 1:6 - “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
As disciples of Christ, Paul tells us that the Lord has begun a good work in us and one He will continue to perfect until His return. However, if someone were to lose his/her salvation, would this not imply that the work that Jesus had begun will now go unfinished?
Ephesians 4:4-5 - “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”
As Disciples of Christ, we are commanded to undergo baptism. However, if one were to lose his/her salvation, would this not imply that such a person would have to be reborn again and again and baptized again and again? It would seem that the thought one losing his/her salvation stands in conflict with scripture and thereby is a fallacy because anything that contradicts or conflicts with scripture is in error.
However, the thought of one never having been saved, that a person was never truly reborn, is not in conflict with scripture. I say this because in him/her no good work will have begun, his/her hand was never given in to Jesus’ grasp, and he/she simply got wet during baptism.
Now let us be clear in that there are people who have been truly reborn and yet, have strayed away from the Lord, but they are no less saved now than the day they accepted Christ. You see this is where Satan comes in telling them they have lost their salvation and that there is absolutely no hope for them in getting it back. Believing the devil’s lie these brothers and sisters enter in to what some might call an arrested state of spiritual development. They no longer proclaim the gospel to others because of their own sense of hopelessness and you see this pleases Satan to no end.
In other words, the devil cannot un-save anyone who has been truly born again and so his strategy is to prevent a strayed person from going forth and making disciples of others. It is not the soul of one truly saved that Satan is after, but rather the many soles of those yet lost in darkness. Souls that a person of God, even one who has strayed away, can influence on a spiritual level. Dear brother/sister, the idea that we can lose our salvation in Christ is but one of the many devastating weapons in Satan’s arsenal. Christians all over the world are becoming victims to this evil deception each day. I believe that if it were so, being we could lose our salvation, Jesus would have taught this with an equal sense of urgency as receiving salvation.
There may be two schools of thought on this subject, but there is only one truth and that is once someone is truly born again, saved by the redemptive work of Jesus on the cross, their salvation is eternal. How do we know if we are truly saved and have eternal life?
John puts it this way, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13)
Dear friend, if you have found yourself seeking answers that the world cannot answer, put your trust in the risen Lord for He will never forsake you or let anyone or anything snatch you from His grasp and how do I do this you ask? You can speak to a Christian friend or contact your local bible-believing bible-preaching church and tell them you want to give your life to Christ.
Rejoice in your salvation dear brother/sister and the next time Satan tries to pull you down about your past, you remind him of his future, which is 1000 years in the abyss and ultimately the Lake of Fire! As for those who are truly saved we will be in paradise for all eternity in the presence of our Lord – HALLELUJAH! Have a blessed week!
About the Author: I am an aspiring pastor and dedicated servant of God in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with all the world. I write weekly devotions in the hope of inspiring other fellow believers as well as leading those who are yet lost in darkness to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. You can find me on the web at http://thoughtof-theweek.blogspot.com