Eternal Security · Forgiveness · Salvation

Can I Lose My Salvation?

One question I often get from people is, “Can I lose my salvation?” There are several reasons that people ask this. First, some Protestant denominations  teach that you could lose your salvation. Not many of them, but enough that this becomes a question within Christianity.

The second reason that people may think that they could lose their salvation is  because people understand that Christians often live by a certain code of ethics.  If someone breaks that code of ethics on a large scale, they may believe that they have lost their  salvation.

Now there are many aspects to this conversation. We could talk about backsliding. A discussion could be had between “bigger sins“ versus “smaller sins.” We can talk about a lifestyle that is inconsistent  with Christianity versus just making sinful mistakes on occasion, but I would like to stick to the topic here.

For us to talk about losing our salvation, we must first define salvation. Salvation is the free gift of God through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross to pay for our sins.  Jesus came to earth as a human, but still having His full deity as God and lived a sinless life, was crucified on the cross, died, and rose again conquering death. He was our substitute and paid for our sin.  If we put our faith and trust in him for salvation, to believe His death paid for our sins on the cross, we will be saved from our sins and be with God in Heaven for eternity.

So what is eternal security? Eternal security is the theological term that once you have been saved by Jesus you cannot lose your salvation.   Because Jesus buys you through the crucifixion, he does not sell you back. He does not lose the receipt.

The question is, is this theology true just because it sounds logical or nice? Or is there scripture to back this theology up?

There are two passages that I would like to look at. In the first, apostle Paul tells us that when we are  we are sealed by the Holy Spirit when we were saved.

This seal is a lot better than any postal carrier. He never drops us in the rain, or shreds us in the mail processing machine.  Once something is sealed by God, it is sealed for good. Ephesians 1:13-14 talks about how the Holy Spirit sealed us. It says, “In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of His glory.”

There are two words used in this passage that accompany the word “sealed.” The first one is “promise” and the second one is “guarantee.” Both of these words have to do with the fact that once you have salvation no one can take it away from you. Since the Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity and is God, He cannot lie. If He says He’s going to do something,  He’s going to do it. If He’s guaranteeing something, He is not going to go back on that guarantee. It is permanent and eternal.

Salvation  in this passage may seem as if it is a two step process. Here’s what the apostle Paul is saying. It is not separate but two sides of the same coin. The first side of the coin  is that you receive your ticket if you will. That’s the document that says I promise that salvation will be given to this person. The second side is once we have received it, it’s been redeemed to you for  eternal heaven. 

Imagine your boss gave you a bonus vacation. If I give you a document saying that you have one vacation at work you say I have a vacation. But the full experience of that vacation  wouldn’t happen until you actually went on vacation. It is the same thing here. Once we get to heaven, the Holy Spirit takes the baton of salvation off to God the Father – the only one who can break the seal and the purpose of being – to let us into His perfect eternal kingdom

A second reason to believe that once you are saved you are always saved with eternal security is the passage that says no one can steal you from God. John 10:28 says,  “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” No one, not even you, can steal you away from God. If you are His you are His.

So practically what can we do with this information? There are two responses. The first is that  if you have sinned greatly, but also put your faith in Christ in Jesus‘s sacrificial work on the cross to save you, then you don’t need to get “saved again.“ What you need to do is repent of this sin, John 1:9 says if we repent. God will forgive.

The second is that we can glory in the fact that our redeemer never breaks His promise. I remember one time having a conversation with someone  who came from a denomination that taught you could lose your salvation. Once I opened up the scripture to him,  they wept in my office. They did not weep because they were upset, but because of understand what they were relieved. They wept because  they finally realized that even after salvation, if they sinned, God had not rejected them. They could come right back to God, because they were His child.

While God is not happy with our sin, He does  not toss us away when we sin. He was not calling them back to salvation again, He was reminding them who they were in Jesus already.  He was already their parent. He never rejected them, but was there the entire time with open arms just waiting for them to come back again.

Are you putting your trust in Jesus for salvation? Has there ever been a time in your life that you felt you were not saved even though you believe in Jesus for salvation? Are there any other passages you can think about that would direct you to the idea that you are a believer in Christ?

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