Can We Lose Our Salvation?
Time and time again we seen in Scripture that as genuine believers we are eternally secured. Meaning, once we are saved by God’s grace, it is that same grace that will keep us. Jesus didn’t do half the work on the cross. His work on the cross was complete, total, and finished. And this is the beautiful hope of every believer.
Scripture teaches us the moment we repent of our sins and trust in Jesus Christ, our salvation is irrevocable. This essential doctrine is called eternal security. Once we have been saved from sin by grace through faith, we are eternally secured. We cannot be ripped or torn away from God, because nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow--not even the powers of hell--can separate us from God's love (Romans 8:38).
The Doctrine of Perseverance teaches us it is God who works in us to keep us. If left to our own (and our own works), we would walk away from God. But the marvelous truth is we are not left to our own.
What happens to our relationship with God when we sin?
Will we still sin? Yes. But our relationship with God does not change. However, our fellowship with God does. Sin breaks our fellowship with God. We will feel distant from God, and in our sin, we will isolate ourselves from God and find even our prayer life is greatly affected.
John 1:12-13 tells us, "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." As believers, we are children of God, and we have a secured relationship with Him. But we are not close to God when we sin, and that’s our broken fellowship.
Because sin is still presently working in our lives, our closeness with God will change, and we should never be okay with that. As a Christian, our lives should demonstrate a change of heart. We should be living as new creatures who have been set free from sin.
Although our sin hurts our fellowship with God, our relationship with Him is eternal and unchanging.
Romans 8:1 says if we are in Christ, we will not face condemnation. This means we will not be punished for our sins, because Christ has already paid for the sins of all His people. This should be a comfort to us all who believe in Him. God’s love for us is everlasting (Jeremiah 31:3). This means it is eternal.
So, the only way would lose our salvation is if God stopped loving us, but Scripture clearly tells us that is impossible! John MacArthur said it best, “If we could lose our salvation, we would.”
The belief we can lose our salvation carries so many implications.
Firstly, this belief teaches that although we receive eternal life by grace, it is by our works that we keep it. Galatians 3:2-3 poses these interesting questions:
"Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?"
It results in a works-based salvation, and Ephesians 2:9 condemns this teaching. Our greatest hope as a Christian is that Jesus did all the work, and we did nothing to be saved.
Secondly, this belief also teaches God would give us the gift of eternal life, then change His mind, which is contrary to what we read in Romans 11:29: "for God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn." It teaches God would impose punishment for one sinner twice. However, 1 Peter 3:18 tell us that Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but He died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but He was raised to life in the Spirit.
Lastly, this belief teaches us that although Christ died for sin, His death is inadequate to pay for all sins, but 1 John 1:7 tells us, "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin."
Beloved, if you have placed your faith in Christ alone, take God at His Word and stand secure in the promise that through your faith, God is protecting you by His power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see (1 Peter 1:5).
Eternal Security by Ligonier Ministries
Can a Christian Lose Their Salvation? by R.C. Sproul
Carmen Miller is the founder of Whole Magazine and Sola Gratia Co. She is a city girl at heart who spent most of her life chasing empty substitutes for Jesus. She tried to find her worth in things and people, only leaving her emptier. Spending most of her life entangled in sin, Carmen experienced much brokenness from teen pregnancy, domestic violence, and infidelity. Today, she is committed to leading other broken women to wholeness through the Gospel and equipping them with the tools to walk with God for a lifetime. Carmen lives in Dallas, Texas, with her handsome husband and eight-year-old twins who keep her on her toes daily.