CAN TRUE CHRISTIANS LOSE THEIR SALVATION?
True Christians at the outset cannot lose their salvation! Now the question needs our undivided attention. 'True Christians' can be true only if their behaviour corresponds to what is expected and obligated in the Bible. A Christian can be found 'true' only if s/he lives in the parameters set in the Word of God and also if s/he lives in the premises of God's perfect and good Will. Salvation is evidenced by continuing in faith to the end (Heb. 3:14). But the profound verse which is vital concerning Salvation is John 10:28-29. Jesus says, "I give them (sheep) eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father's hand." The Greek construction in John 10:28 is a strong denial that the sheep (believer in Christ) will ever perish. The sheep's security is in the power of the Shepherd, who will let no one take them from Him unless and until a believer chooses to change ownership from God to other gods (Exo. 32:31-33).
Vivek Arunkumar Gundimi, Bangalore
True Christians are "confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in us, will perform it until day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6); and, further believe they "are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Pet. 1:5), and, not by their own good works. Nevertheless, as stated by D. Davidson, "We ought to be extremely solicitous for the salvation of our souls, and never dare to imagine that, because Christ has died for our sins, we shall be saved without that holiness of heart and life which are the fruits of the Spirit in all them that believe" (Phil. 2:12-13).
Anyway, "God maintains true believers in full salvation" and, therefore, they shall not lose their salvation. God gives them the assurance and certainty of salvation even as "they wash their robes" (Rev. 22:14) in the blood of Christ and cleanse the stains of their post-conversion sins, knowing well that "According to His own mercy He saved us through the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit" (Tit. 3:5). "Now unto Him that is able to keep (such) from falling... to the only wise God and Saviour be glory, now and forever. Amen" (Jude 24, 25)
Joaozinho da S. F. A. Martins, Goa
Contemporary teachings on salvation lead even ardent Christians into deception. See a few: 1) No one can snatch My people either from My hand or from My Father’s, (Jn.10:28,29), provided they hear & listen to My voice and follow Me, and I know them (v27). If the believer is adamant to sneak away, by their nature, the Father and the Son won't stop him. 2) The believers are His possession, redeemed & purchased by Him; and secured & sealed for the day of final deliverance (Eph.4:30). What if the believer wants himself to break the seal and come out? 3) It is the responsibility of the Father to fill heaven with 'souls' to the brim, as otherwise He would be defeated at the hands of Satan, His eternal enemy! 4) As the only intercessor for mankind, it is Jesus' responsibility to bring maximum 'souls' to the Father whether they qualify or not! 5) A believer is betrothed to Christ (2Cor.11:2), hence secure -- to be a chaste virgin until marriage. Beware, there is provision for divorce of an unchaste fiancée (Matt.1:19). 6) The believer's name has been written in the Book of Life; once written, will not be blotted. How is anybody sure of being in the Book? Remember, Jesus only revealed it to the disciples (Lk.10:20)? None knows it till the last, unless Jesus reveals. Also, unless one overcomes and is clothed in white garments, the person runs the risk of the name being blotted (Rev. 3:5). 7) The only difference between true Christians and the immoral, unjust Christians in heaven is, the former will be with God for ages, robed in white garments, whereas the latter 'without'! The real question is, how will one reach heaven sans white robes (Matt. 22:11 -13). 8) Punishment for disobedience by a born-again is forfeiture of the rewards promised in heaven. Is it really so? Then, God is encouraging His people to disobey Him, and go astray. Now the correct answer may be drawn.
Donald J Godfred, Secunderabad
The saga of tragedy and confrontation between God and Man started from the offence of defiance of the first commandment given by God. Subsequently, the number of commandments was increased to ten and so on. The man, who basically hated the control over him by God, started to defy God and as a result, the enmity escalated between God and Man and it is written that those sent by God to appease Man was either killed or beaten, beginning from the prophets and till Jesus Christ (I Thess.2:15). The expression of God's love in giving Jesus Christ on the cross ultimately removes all doubts regarding redemption of mankind from eternal death which the law could not attain through 'karma'.
The words "God so loved the world" in John 3:16 have a unique meaning which assures that the sacrifice made by Jesus has the value so that the redemption from sin stands operative. Further, "That is why we labour and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, and especially of those who believe" (1 Tim. 4:10)(NIV). In this verse, the words "saviour of all people," are significant enough to prove the power of salvation meted out to all mankind through Jesus Christ.
In the midst of all scriptural assurances of salvation which comes through Grace and not by works (Eph.2:8,9) and through the blood of Jesus (Heb.10:19,1 Pet. 1:2), the focus again revolves around works of law which never redeems any sin, no doubt, the gifts of 'good works' and 'holiness' shall be there in any believer as showered by Holy Spirit. The final reconciliation is done not by the works and sacrifices of man, but only by Jesus Christ, which is very much scriptural and one cannot jeopardise the salvation: "But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation" (Col.1:21-23, Rom.5:10, 2Cor. 5:18,19).
V. V. Mathews, Ahmedabad.
Christian is a Christian. He is one who has obtained salvation by believing in the Lord and following Him with his whole heart in truth and spirit, having secured the benefit of eternal life. No one can afford to lose this freely granted great gift. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." Only by denying faith and returning to the sinful way of life, one loses salvation. But repentance and forgiveness can bring it back.
Jacob Sahayam, Thiruvananthapuram
When we believe in Jesus, we pass from eternal death to eternal life. That can happen only once and only one way. Once washed in the blood, it is not possible to get washed off it! No one can trifle with the precious blood that way. Please look at the following scriptures: "You have faith in God, whose power will protect you until the last day" (1 Pet. 1:5 CEV). "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1).
Salvation is not given as a reward for our good behaviour -- something that can be taken away if we don't 'behave'. Our Lord had this to say about His sheep -- I give them eternal life, so that they will never be lost. No one can snatch them out of my hand (Jn. 10:28). Praying for His disciples, He says: "While I was with them, I kept them safe by the power You have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost, except the one who had to be lost, in fulfilment of the scriptures" (Jn. 17:12). Judas Iscariot was never saved in the first place and allowed his desires to place him in a position where Satan could manipulate him.
"Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draws back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him," God says (Heb. 10:38). It is possible for a believer to backslide, to neglect his spiritual growth and sanctification, but he doesn't 'lose' his salvation. There is no one as pathetic as the person who goes back to his old sinful ways after having tasted the heavenly gift, the goodness of the Word of God (Heb. 6:4-6). He has not been truly saved, never fully become Christian.
The eternal security of the believer is a beautiful, basic truth about salvation, but Bible teachers are reluctant to discuss this for the fear of encouraging worldliness. Such fears are unfounded, as God who chose us, put His Spirit in our hearts to guarantee we belong only to Him (2 Cor. 1:22).
Bernard Thangasamy, Andhra Pradesh
From the fallen state to attaining complete salvation ie. attaining the glorious body (Phil. 3:20-21), one passes through many stages. If he stumbles at any one stage, he misses the final goal too. Romans 6:12-13 talks of the possibility of living slave to sin even after the 'rebirth'; 6:16 confirms eternal death, if sin is the new master chosen. The believer then, shall not be complacent about his own life after regeneration (1 Cor. 4:4). The believer is also exhorted to be hard working to assure hope to the end; and warned against being indifferent to inherit the promises (Heb. 6: 11-12). Salvation of soul, which is the final goal of faith, will be revealed in the last time (1Pet. 1:9,5; 1Cor. 5:5). Believers who live to satisfy their flesh and lust, and show disrespect to the Lord's authority will, no doubt, be condemned (2Pet. 2:9,10). Jesus Himself warned that even devout Christians are likely to be deceived into practising blasphemy, instead of doing the Father's will; and finally, won't enter heaven (Matt. 24:24,7:21-22). Yes, the Saviour's hand is perpetually stretched towards man; but it is upto the man to reach & catch His hand to be pulled out, and follow Him to enter heaven. Jesus won't force-land and push us into heaven (Rev. 3:20-21). If salvation is so secure, why is there so much emphasis on the 'post born-again' holy life throughout the NT? It is argued that most Western Christians believe in the eternal security of salvation, while many Indian Christians don't buy this idea. The answer is: Their abusive life-style proves its fallacy. No doubt, the born-again who continues to indulge in filthy life will finally end up in the lake of fire.
Dominic Godfred, Secunderabad
In Ezekiel 18:24,26 the Sovereign Lord informs us that when a righteous man stops doing good and starts doing evil and then dies, he dies and loses his salvation because of his unfaithfulness and his sins. Bible gives us two vivid examples of David and his son Solomon who were the Lord's chosen. When David committed adultery, the Lord reprimanded him through Nathan the prophet (2Sam.12:1-15) and it was that time when David repented and prayed for forgiveness (Psa.51) asking God to give him again the joy that comes from salvation and make him willing to obey Him (v.12). This clearly indicates that disobedience to God and not repenting and confessing our sins makes true believers lose their salvation. But, we also do learn that David's genuine repentance restored him his joy of salvation again.
However, this was not true of Solomon who deliberately sinned against the LORD, though repeatedly confronted by Him. Solomon did not repent and therefore was rejected by the Lord. Thereafter, Solomon's life became miserable.
In Psalm 27:1 we read: "The Lord is my light and my salvation." Therefore, turning away from the Lord makes us lose our salvation. In 2 Peter 2:20-22, Peter speaks of believers losing their salvation due to their getting caught and conquered by corrupting forces of the world. Therefore, Philippians 2:12-13 informs us to keep on working with fear and trembling to complete our salvation, because God is always at work in us to make us willing and able to obey his own purpose.
Mallika Accountant, Mumbai