Can a believer lose their salvation?
Is salvation maintained and kept by our works, as well as faith in Christ?
Is salvation temporary or permanent?
This is a very important issue a Christian can deal with after trusting in the Saviour for eternal life. After hearing the gospel of our salvation (Ephesians 1:13 “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,”) we hear the gospel, the word of truth, and believe that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose the third day.
Some people teach that once we are born again and saved and sealed, we have to free ourselves from sin and live our lives without any sin, or we will lose our salvation. However, we will show that this is a false teaching, as our salvation is completely based on faith in Christ and what he did for us.
To believe means to trust or to depend upon the Saviour who is Jesus Christ. We need faith, not works, when we hear that we need to be saved. We stop trusting or depending in our goodness or our religious deeds and only trust in Jesus Christ for salvation. This is repentance (please see our page on repentance for salvation for more information).
When we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ we are saved and given eternal life (John 3:15-18, Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 3:28, Romans 4:5, Galatians 2:16, Galatians 3:11, Philippians 3:9).
As it said above in Ephesians 1:13, after we hear and then believe we are “sealed with that holy Spirit of promise”. We have been sealed by God’s Spirit as it says again in Ephesians 4:30, “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”
The Bible says that we are sealed until the day of redemption, we cannot be unsealed. God has you, and nobody (including yourself) can undo what he has done. Philippians 1:6 says “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” and 1 Corinthians 1:8, “Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The day of Jesus Christ is when Christ shall come in the clouds with a shout to gather his elect (Matthew 24:31, Mark 13:27, 2 Peter 3:10).
When this day comes, our bodies shall be redeemed, Romans 8:23 “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”
So when that day comes when our Lord returns we shall be caught up and have a new body fashioned like unto his. In the mean time, he shall continue the good work performed in us until that day. He shall confirm us until that day so we may be blameless.
No individual can keep himself blameless on his own righteousness until Christ returns, it is God himself that began the work and it will be God who shall finish the work! Jonah 2:9, “…Salvation is of the Lord”.
Again, the Bible speaks of believers being sealed by the Holy Spirit in 2 Corinthians 1:22, “Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” By sealing us he gives us the earnest of the Spirit, this shows us we are his, and he is serious on his promise to us, Titus 1:2 “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;”.
God does not lie and wants us to know we have everlasting life and cannot lose it, 1 John 5:13 says “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
Everlasting life is life that lasts forever. It is a free gift from God to us through his Son. Jesus made the purchase (Acts 20:28, 1 Peter 1:18-19). We cannot save ourselves or keep ourselves saved. This is such an important word God uses in the Bible, “saved”. When we believe on the Lord Jesus we are saved, it does not say we are ‘safe’.
When we believe, we pass from death unto life as John 5:24 states, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
1 Peter 1:4-5 “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” Peter explains our inheritance is incorruptible, undefiled, doesn’t fade away and is reserved in heaven.
This inheritance spoken of is eternal, as we shall one day be joint heirs with Christ and inherit all things. Our inheritance is reserved and cannot be touched by us or anyone else. We are kept by God’s power by faith not works, it is not our own power that keeps us.
Jude 24 says, “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,”. God is the one who keeps us from falling and shall present us faultless before his throne, he shall do it with exceeding joy too. We cannot keep ourselves from falling.
We cannot lose what God purchased, what God has freely given and what he even keeps, God promised to give us eternal life and is not a liar so will not go back on what he said.
Nothing can separate us from the love of God, nothing. Romans 8:38-39: “For I am persuaded, 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.”
Death cannot separate us. Neither can life, that means what you do with this life you live can still not separate you. Angels cannot separate you, that includes devils and Satan. Other creatures including people cannot separate us from the love of God.
Jesus repeatedly preached that if you believe on him you hath everlasting life. How foolish and insulting is it to the Lord Jesus to say when we sin or do something wrong or stop following that you no longer have everlasting life.
Jesus said to a large multitude, he that believeth (present tense) hath (present tense) everlasting life (life that lasts forever, from that moment of salvation). John 6:47, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.”
The way to have everlasting life is by faith, not works. Ye must be born again, when we hear the word of God and believe we are then saved and the Holy Spirit brings our spirit to life and we are begotten as a son of God like Jesus himself and have been adopted. God performs this and we trust him.
How can your spirit be quickened (brought to life) then die if you sin in the flesh?
How can you be a child of God then no longer be a son if you don’t live a perfect life?
How can salvation be of faith then be of works?
Galatians 3:1-3 says, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”
Paul called the saints at Galatia foolish because someone deceived them and taught to obey the law as well as believe! They were bewitched and thought that after they were saved and began in the Spirit they had to be made perfect by the flesh. This is referring to what we do in our own goodness, our own works.
Romans 7:18, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” Paul said in his flesh dwells no good thing. We cannot please God by our works but rather by our faith (Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”)
Paul even says to the Philippians in chapter 3:4-8 “Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,”.
If any of them think they can trust in their flesh Paul said that he could more than they, he lists attributes and how he obeyed the law and was blameless but all of this is a loss to the knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord. He said he counted them dung that he may win Christ. Paul’s good works was compared to waste because in Christ alone is life.
We are always warned about false prophets creeping in unawares that lie in wait to deceive. This happened to the Galatians, as they had heretics preach another gospel to them that was different to what Paul and the disciples preached, so Paul said let them be accursed.
Adding works to the gospel corrupts it and changes it so it is no longer the pure message of good news from heaven to sinners that God did something for them that they can have life and not come into condemnation, but rather they teach it is what is done by sinners to equate themselves to the holy and righteous God in heaven through their own good works.
By adding works to the grace of God it is no longer of grace.
Romans 11:6, “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” The Bible is clear that it is either works OR grace, not both.
In Acts 15, men from Judea came and taught believers that they had to be circumcised or they cannot be saved. This is heresy as it adds works and if you are circumcised to earn salvation then Christ shall profit you nothing. If you try to obey the law of circumcision then you have to keep the whole law as well (Galatians 5:2-6).
This frustrates the grace of God because by adding works to the gospel it makes void the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. Galatians 2:21, “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” Jesus Christ died for nothing if we have to obey commandments to have his righteousness.
The Bible is clear that if you do not believe God has given us eternal life, then you make him a liar because it is through God’s record for us that we can know he will give us eternal life if we believe on his Son. 1 John 5:10-11 says, “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”
When God the Father sees you trust in his Son, he seals you with his Spirit. God is amazing and so is his grace that he has shed abroad to all men.
John 10:27-29, “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.”
Jesus Christ gives you eternal life, you shall never perish, nor shall any man pluck you out of his hand. Even if that is not good enough, he explains further and says no man is able to pluck you out of the Father’s hand either.
Remember, if you are saved then you must remember your life is already with Christ in heaven (Colossians 3:3, “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”) Your life is hid with Christ in God, nobody can pluck you out of his hand even if they could find you.
When I heard what the Bible said, I trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ. Before this, I never knew anything about the scriptures but when I heard I was condemned before God and deserve hell, I grabbed onto the Saviour by faith who I never had seen, heard or touched and he saved a sinner like me.
It still crossed my mind whether I could still end up in hell and I came across countless teachings, preachers, articles and videos that taught you can and will lose your salvation if you don’t live right or if you continue to sin. This is hypocrisy – they sin and continue to. If they are to be consistent they should preach that you must be perfect and you will be saved. This is what every other faith, sect, religion or cult teaches, that you must obey or you lose your salvation.
The most important thing to remember is that Jesus had to die to pay the penalty for our sin. If we forget this and try to bring about our own righteousness by living perfect lives, we are saying that Jesus shedding his blood for us was not enough. Galatians 2:21, “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”
We hope and pray you read this and find peace and comfort in the Saviour and his words. God is not the author of confusion, this is confusion if it were of works and grace. Remember the words of Jesus Christ in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee”. No matter what we do, once we are born again, we belong to Christ.
Please let us know if this helped you and if you did trust in the Lord to save you.