“Can a Christian lose salvation?” This is one of the most frequently asked questions among Christians (and has been discussed by many). In light of God’s power and promise, the biblical answer is clear: “No.” But the discussion does not end there.
The following question usually arises: What about Christians who remain in sin and eventually reject the faith and deny Christ? To address this intricacy, let’s first focus on the word “salvation.”
1. It is given freely out of the giver’s generosity
2. It can be accepted or rejected
3. It demands a responsibility.
All this means:
1. Salvation is given by God’s grace, not earned by human merits (Ephesians 2:8-9)
2. This love gift from God can be accepted by faith or rejected by pride (Hebrews 3:14-15)
3. The gift of salvation should not be taken for granted — it is true that Christians do not need to work for salvation, however, as Paul said, we have to work out salvation with deep reverence and fear (Philippians 2:12).
How can Christians work out salvation? The following verse gives the immediate answer, “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” (Philippians 2:13).
Clearly, it is the work of God through His Spirit in us that enables and empowers us to work out salvation, producing the fruits of righteousness for God’s glory.
A Truly Born-Again Christian Cannot Lose Salvation
Jesus emphasizes the importance of the new (spiritual) birth for every believer (John 3:3), which is evidenced by the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5).
The moment we receive Christ as our personal Savior, we become the children of God in an eternal relationship with the heavenly Father which reveals that we were born of God in the first place (John 1:12-13).
Nothing Can Separate the Truly Born-Again Christians from God’s Love
Paul declares that God’s gifts, including salvation, are “irrevocable” (Romans 11:29) and God does not lie concerning His promise of eternal life (Titus 1:2). This means that God is able to complete the good work He has started in every believer (Philippians 1:6).
Further, Paul also boldly proclaims this greatest promise in the Bible on this subject:
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).
In fact, Paul himself has experienced the unfailing love of God as evidenced by his life’s radical transformation in Christ (1 Timothy 1:15).
What about the Unfaithful Christian?
The Bible reveals that: A true Christian will not continue to live in a sinful, unrepentant lifestyle (1 John 3:6), those who depart from the faith had never really been true Christ-followers from the start (1 John 2:19).
The free gift of salvation is not a license to sin, but it is a license to serve one another humbly in love (Galatians 5:13). Salvation is a permission, not to gratify the desires of the flesh, but to satisfy the desires of the Spirit (Galatians 5:16).
Those who belong to Christ are to persevere in faith and remain faithful to the end, as it is written, “For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.” (Hebrews 3:14).
Why Does This Matter?
The full assurance of our salvation is the evidence of God’s goodness and faithfulness. God is good in that His redemptive plan has been made clear (salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone). God is faithful in that His promise of salvation has been made secure (nothing can revoke the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus).
From start to end, the Triune God has worked in all things for the good of those who love Him and who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Salvation is made possible by God’s grace through Christ’s work of redemption and made secure by the Holy Spirit’s work of sanctification.
This truth should lead us to worship and adoration to Him alone. May we continue to grow in the knowledge and love of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. “Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into His glorious presence without a single fault.
All glory to Him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are His before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen” (Jude 24-25).
©iStock/Getty Images Plus/undefined
Philip Wijaya is presently a graduate research student at the University of British Columbia living in Vancouver, Canada with his wife, Sandra. His interest in science and faith in God has encouraged him to write in a blog (philipwijaya.com), with a hope of better understanding the truths in the Bible in relation to scientific views and discoveries. Besides research and study, he also enjoys sports, music, and traveling.