Christians often are put into much turmoil of soul over the issue of whether or not they can lose their salvation, become non-Christians, and thereby go to an eternity in hell. In engaging with this subject we have to follow one of the basis rules of bible study which is that the unclear texts must be understood in the light of the clear texts.
Let us initially go to the lips of our Saviour. He says in John 10:27-29 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” A double security is herein established. In the Saviour’s hand and in the Father’s hand and never to be removed. How secure is that!!!
Further, He says in John 5:24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” A Christian shows he has everlasting life by heeding God’s word and continually trusting the Saviour. Here is a true Christian and he can never come into judgement. Having been saved he is established in the sphere of God’s love and He will never be removed therefrom. Oh how precious this is.
Both these portions of the word refer to possessing everlasting life. We could never earn eternal life; it is all a gift. It is all through God’s workings. So we see the glorious chain of salvation in Romans 8:29 where we are found to be foreknown in eternity and glorified in eternity. And through His grace we came to Him in His good time and He says that the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out (John 6:37). We were not kept out and we will never be kicked out! How glorious is God’s grace.
And of course our experience of salvation started when we were born again. We received the new birth. With the birth came life; not physical life, but spiritual life and that life will never end. By giving us the new birth God began a great work and it is promised that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (see Phil. 1:6b). So for the believer who has been truly born again there is the assurance of the certainty of enjoying eternity in heaven.
At this point though we have to raise the issue of the difference between possession and profession. And this leads us to Matt. 7:21-23 where our Lord soberingly comments Not everyone who says to Me, `Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, `Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Many are like Judas, they appear to posses, but their profession is seen in the final analysis to be wanting and that leads to terrifying consequences. So we must as Paul says to the Corinthians, Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves (2 Cor. 13:5).
Notwithstanding the overwhelming clarity of the scriptures on the issue we have to be aware that there are difficult scriptures and some of these are:
- Hebrews 6:4-6. Here we have people who have come close to salvation. The have tasted the good things of God, but never “eaten”. They then turned away, because they were never born again.
- Hebrews 10:28-29. The thought here is very similar; no doubt the same people as in Heb. 6 are spoken of. They professed to have embraced the Lord and therefore were in outward appearances sanctified. But their turning away proved their profession to be false.
- Galatians 5:4. To fall from grace here is not to lose salvation, but to cease living in the realm where God wants us to live; that of grace. Paul is correcting them not damning them.
- Mark 3:29. No believer today can commit the unforgivable sin against the Holy Spirit. This is because scripture says that all of our sins are forgiven. You will cast all our sins Into the depths of the sea (Mic. 7:14) is how Micah speaks of the Lord’s workings.
Finally we need to consider the implications of a believer falling into sin. The first thing we note here is that a true Christian does not live a life which is dominated by sin. If he does he proves that he is not a believer at all. John makes this clear when he says in 1 John 3:9 whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.
However, very sadly, Christians do sin and we need to know how to respond to such an eventuality. The Christian who sins loses fellowship with God, but He does not lose his place in the family of God. So the Christian who sins needs to repent thereof and come back into fellowship with the LORD. However, his eternal security is NOT dependent upon his repentance rather it is dependent upon the Lord’s advocacy. So 1 John 2:1 says and if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. It is our Lord’s pleading for us which maintains our position in God’s family and His pleading always avails and never fails!
So once we are truly saved we are saved forever! How marvellous. Let us praise the LORD and give thanks to Him for all His mercies towards us.
(Taken from Feltham Evangelical Church Newsletter of October 2006)