It has long been debated within the Christian Church. Can one lose their salvation? If so, what are we to make of Jesus’ words in John 10:28? - “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish . . . .” If the words of Jesus are true, does that mean we can do anything we choose and still dwell in the heavenly palace of the King?
To understand our eternal destiny in light of the Bible we must go back to the very beginning and examine salvation. After all, it is salvation that is being questioned. Are we saved once for all, or do we have a part in keeping it? The difference between our eternal destiny of Heaven or Hell relies not on what we can do or don’t do, but have we merely received the gift God has provided for us?
So what exactly is salvation according to the Bible? What is this gift of God? No, it’s not being saved from a car accident or a drowning accident. It’s not a matter of escaping an abusive relationship. It is a matter of being saved from a literal, fiery hell and placed into the family of God.
This can only be accomplished one way. Jesus said in John 14:6, “. . . I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Notice the closing phrase, “. . . no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” There is only one entrance into Heaven. There is only one door. The Door’s name is Jesus Christ (John 10:9). Baptism may be good, but it doesn’t save. Attempting to keep the Ten Commandments is commendable, but it’s not the door. Loving your neighbor is wonderful, but it won’t get you any closer to Heaven.
Perhaps the best-known verse in the entire Bible is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If we are to believe the words of Christ The Christian’s salvation is based solely on a gift – a gift that God gave. We neither pay for a gift nor work to earn it. We just accept it.
But what about the thought, if we accept it, can we also lose it? Scripture is clear on the matter although to many it seems to be confusing. You will need your Bible for this study as I will only mention the Scripture reference. Consider the following thoughts.
Your salvation has been purchased not only by the shed blood of Jesus on the cross but by the blood of God as well (Acts 20:28). Should not the blood of God be sufficient to not only purchase your salvation but also to keep it? Since my salvation was purchased, it belongs to the one who purchased it - Jesus Christ. It is His responsibility to keep track of His purchase, not mine, not yours.
We see in Hebrews 5:9 that Jesus Christ has become the author of eternal salvation. Eternal means without end. For someone who has truly come to Christ for salvation, they can know that it will last forever.
Philippians 1:6 assures us that He (Jesus) who began the work of salvation in us will continue until we are with Him in Heaven.
Jesus Himself tells us in John 6:39, 40 that the will of the Father is that those who have come to Jesus should have everlasting life. God’s will be done. There are no two ways about it.
We learn in Romans 8:15 that we are adopted into the family of God, and a family relationship exists. He is my Father and I am His child through adoption. Further, we are told in John 3:1-7 that we must born again. We were born once physically. Now, to have an everlasting relationship with the Father, we must be born again spiritually. I was born into this world as a Kovacic. Everything I am was given to me by my parents. I can hate them (which I don’t). I can turn my back on them (which I haven’t). I can even legally change my last name. But I’m still my father’s son. Nothing can change that. Neither can anything change my standing as a child of God.
John 6:37 is another clear verse on the issue of eternal security. We are told plainly that all who come to Christ will never be cast out. Why is it so hard for some to accept the simple teaching of the Bible?
We have the promise in Psalm 48:14 that God will be our God forever and will carry us our entire lifetime.
That beloved verse, John 3:16, is so important, not only as it discusses true salvation but as it speaks of the fact we cannot lose that salvation. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Time and time again in Scripture we are told that God has provided everlasting life, eternal life, for those that come to Him His way.
Paul mentions in Romans 8:38, 39 that “. . . neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Really, what’s left to separate us?
The Old Testament book of Psalms (Psalm 84:14) points us very clearly to the fact that God will not cast us off, nor forsake us – ever.
I John 2:25 gives us the promise of eternal life - “And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.”
The Apostle John goes on to explain in I John 5:13 that we can know that we have eternal life. The important word in this verse is, know. We can have absolute assurance that our salvation is secure. We can know.
Again, in I John 5:11, we find that God gives eternal life, and this eternal life is found in His Son, Jesus Christ. The eternal life is bound up in Jesus Christ, not us. It is not ours to lose or to keep. Peter tells us in Acts 4:12 that salvation is only found in Christ. Jesus Himself says that He is the only hope in John 14:6. Salvation is not about a religion. It is about a personal relationship with the God of the universe. Absolute truth does exist even if we choose to not believe it. Two plus two still equals four.
Moving on, the lesson we can learn from Acts 10:43 is that the Old Testament prophets taught that our sins could be forgiven. Our sins are either forgiven or they are not. I choose to believe the Bible.
I Peter 1:5 informs us that our salvation is kept by God. If I was to keep my salvation I would surely lose it. No question about it, but it is God’s keeping. What He died and resurrected for, He will keep. It simply isn’t my job.
There are many other Scriptures we could turn to, but I make this the last. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." (John 10:27-29). To think I can lose my salvation puts the emphasis back on me. What do I have to do to keep my salvation intact? The truth is there is nothing I can do. It is all about what Jesus did. Pride is the culprit here. If Jesus can save me (and He can – He did), then He certainly has the power to keep me.
Notice, first of all, in the above verses, the promise is only to His sheep. To be a sheep, you must be born again according to John 3:3. But if you are a sheep, if you truly belong to Jesus, you will never perish. You are safe in the hand of Jesus who is held by God the Father’s hand. That, my friend, is double security.
Why am I so bothered by the false doctrine that salvation can be lost? If I may be direct, one reason is because it is a false doctrine. I understand there are those who claim Scripture teaches we can lose our salvation, but honestly, the verses they claim are taken out of context. The false insecurity doctrine cheapens the precious blood of my Saviour. That is really what the problem is. Jesus died to secure eternal salvation for all who come to Him. To say I am responsible to keep it cheapens the sacrifice that was made.
Salvation is either eternal or it isn’t. If it isn’t then Jesus Himself lied over and over again (and He didn’t). Give Him all the glory for what He has done in your life. Don’t try to keep the glory for yourself.
If you have truly accepted God's only way of salvation, you can be sure you are eternally kept. If you are not sure how to go about claiming God's eternal salvation, please feel free to drop me an email. I'd love to get into more detail with you.