The OSAS Doctrine: can I lose my salvation?

Can someone who has accepted Christ as their personal Savior lose their salvation?

That question can easily be answered by asking another question…

Is God a liar?

If you answered yes to either of those questions then you have very little knowledge of the Scriptures.

The correct answer to both of the above questions is a resounding “no.”

“God is not a man, that he should lie…” – Numbers 23:19 (KJV)

The shall’s, shalt’s, and should not’s

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” – Romans 10:9-10 (KJV)

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” – Romans 10:13 (KJV)

“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.” – John 3:16 (KJV)

Notice the definite words used in the above Scriptures:

  • “thou shalt be saved”
  • “shall be saved”
  • “should not perish”

The Bible did NOT say:

  • “might be saved”
  • “hopefully be saved”
  • “if you’re lucky you won’t perish”
  • “if you never sin again you won’t perish”

The Scriptures are very clear that it is a certain thing. If a sinner accepts Christ as his personal Savior, he WILL be saved.

The Everlasting and Eternal Gift of Salvation

The words “everlasting” and “eternal” do not require a Webster’s dictionary to define. They both mean exactly what they say – “everlasting” meaning lasting forever, and “eternal” meaning never ending.

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 6:23 (KJV)

“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.” – John 3:16 (KJV)

Salvation is a gift that God gives unto everyone who believes in Him. That “salvation,” that “gift” that He freely extends to all who believe is eternal life, or “life that never ends.” It is everlasting life, or life that will last forever.

This is not speaking of a physical life here on earth, but a spiritual life. The Bible says in Hebrews 9:27 that “it is appointed unto men once to die” (the physical death). When our physical bodies die, our souls go on living forever in one of two places – Heaven or Hell.

Heaven is where God the Father resides, with God the Son on His right. Hell, we know, is an awful place created for the Devil and his angels.

Every individual that was ever born on this earth, save Jesus Christ, was born a sinner. We were all destined to spend eternity in Hell because of our sin. However, Christ made a way of escape for us. He left Heaven to die on a cruel cross in our place; He shed His precious blood and became the perfect Sacrifice needed to forever appease the wrath and judgment of God.

When the Bible speaks of salvation, it is speaking about the salvation of our souls. We obtain that salvation when we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. We ourselves are no longer required to pay the wages of our sin; we are accepting the payment Christ made when He shed His blood on the cross, and in turn Christ gives us the gift of Salvation – spending eternity with Him in Heaven.

Adopted and made sons of God

The Bible tells us that when we accept Christ as our Savior, we become a son of God. “Son” is a general term that also includes women – it means the same thing as the word “child” would mean.

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” – John 1:12 (KJV)

“Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” – Galatians 4:3-5

“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” – Ephesians 1:5-7

We’ve already established earlier the fact that God is not a liar (Numbers 23:19). So when we accept Christ as our Savior, the Bible says that we are adopted into His family and made His child.

Because God is eternal and will never die, we -as His children- will never be made an orphan (spiritually speaking). Nor will we ever be disowned by our father.

William R. Ramsay once wrote: “The Roman-Syrian Law-Book…where a formerly prevalent Greek law had persisted under the Roman Empire—well illustrates this passage of the Epistle. It actually lays down the principle that a man can never put away an adopted son, and that he cannot put away a real son without good ground. It is remarkable that the adopted son should have a stronger position than the son by birth, yet it was so.”

We have been adopted by the Lord Jesus Christ, and we cannot be disowned by Him. We can never be cast out or removed from His family. We are forever His child.

Sheep in the Shepherd’s hand

“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

The Bible says that no one will be about to “pluck” us out of Jesus’ hand or out of God the Father’s hand. No one is or ever will be a threat to our eternal security as believers – you cannot take away my salvation, I cannot take away my salvation, Satan cannot take away my salvation – NO ONE can take away our salvation. We are safe forever; we are saved forever!

Chastened but never forsaken

“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” – Hebrews 12:5-8

As Christians we will still sin because even though our soul has been saved, our flesh is still lost. We will receive a new body when we reach Heaven which will never know sin. Just as our earthly parents disciplined us as children when we did wrong, so our Heavenly Father will also discipline us when we sin. He will chastise us, but He will never forsake us.

If you are living in sin, rest assured that you will be chastened for it. If chastening never comes, then you should carefully consider whether or not you’ve accepted Christ as your personal Savior. Ask the Lord to convict you if you are still lost or to give you a peace beyond understanding if you are truly saved. He will do it.

Who are you trusting in?

Our salvation is not conditional upon us – what we do or do not do – once we accept Christ as our personal Savior. We are not trusting in our good works to keep us saved. We are not trusting in our faithfulness to the commandments of God to keep our soul Heaven-bound. We are trusting in the shed blood of Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross.

We are not saved because of anything we did. Therefore, we cannot lose our salvation because of anything we do.

“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.” – Philippians 1:6

We can rest confidently in the Word of God. He is not a liar. He is not an Indian-giver. An “Indian-giver” is defined in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary as “a person who gives something to another and then takes it back.” God does not give a gift only to change His mind about it a day or two later and take it back. He will do what He promised He would do. We need never fear the accusations of Satan once we accept Christ as our Savior. It is He Who began our salvation and it is He Who will complete it.

Jesus Christ is both the Author AND the finisher of our faith.

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:2

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Posted on October 9, 2012, in Doctrines of the Faith, Salvation and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. No fair! You asked a question, but didn’t give anybody the chance to answer! Ugh!

    • Haha! Welcome to the new “Doctrines of the Faith” series that will be taking place on the blog. There will be lots of questions asked that I will attempt to answer throughout the series. You are always welcome to share your thoughts though!

  2. To be fair, this wasn’t a “question of the day” post. Good post Heather!

    • Nor was it meant to be. QOTD posts are always posted on Mondays and will always have “Question of the day:” in the title of the post preceding the topic of the question. (like the QOTD post we had yesterday regarding predestination).

      This post was the first of many in the new series “Doctrines of the Faith” that will be featured on this blog.

  3. The Bible is clear that we have everlasting life. If it stopped, it would not be “everlasting” or “eternal.” God did not need my help to save me, nor does He need my help to keep me saved. I am safe in His hands.

    Some time ago, I was speaking with a man who believes that one can lose his salvation. I came to understand more of “why” he believed the way he did. I would argue that his reason is probably the same for many people who believe in losing salvation.

    The man was very passionate about the fact that people cannot be saved and live in sin. He despised the idea that one could say, “Oh, I’m saved,” while living like the Devil. He felt that people like me were teaching that belief. He felt the “everlasting life” crowd was teaching “1-2-3, repeat after me; go your way, you’ve been saved today.”

    He even asked me, “Do you believe somebody can live as they please and still be saved?”

    It struck me that his doctrine was coming from a zeal of defending God and His perfect salvation.

    I don’t admire his biblical error or any biblical error. I did, however, gain an understanding of where he was coming from.

    A person who believes you can lose your salvation would say, “That person was saved, but they lost it. You cannot possibly be saved and live in sin!” I agree with the latter part of that. Only, I believe the Bible teaces that person was never saved, regardless of his/her profession or religious experience. Salvation is not because of repeated words but through FAITH in Jesus Christ. I John 2:3-6 and I John 3:1-10 ought to be given careful and prayerful study and thought in these matters.

    I am not suggesting that Christians cannot backslide or become cold in their walk – far from it. Christians can and do sin (I John 1:9). I am stating that a believer cannot habitually live in sin without the conviction and chastening of the Spirit of God. If a man can enjoy sin as a style of life, can sit in church on Sunday while living for himself every other moment, gives no regard to God, and do it all without the correction of the Lord, then he was never saved.

    Good post, Heather! I appreciate the emphasis on everlasting life.

  4. OOOO… interesting. I have two questions (one I think you kind of already answered but I just wanted to check) also forgive me as I am in a cafe and don’t have my Bible to hand – I could use biblegateway but I prefer flipping through the familiar pages of my own Bible!

    1) If someone renounce faith in Christ turns completely in the other direction and decides that although they once accepted they now reject every idea of Christ – what happens to them?
    2) When you say ‘go to Heaven’ how do you understand that? Will we be whisked away somewhere else?

    Not traps – just genuinely interested!!

    • Nick, here’s a verse to consider:

      “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” – I John 2:19

      I’d like to suggest that regardless of however “religious” a person might have been, someone who has completely renounced Christ was never in Christ in the first place.

      • I agree with your comment, John.

        • Hmmm… that’s a bit more of a woolly answer than I was hoping for to be honest, not to mention borderline judgemental! Can you give me a bit more meat to chew on? Isn’t it a bit convenient to play the ‘oh well they can never have been a Christian in the first place’ card? How does John 15:6 fit in. Or 2 Peter 2:20-22?

          John the verse you quoted seems to be taken a bit out of context – isn’t John writing about the ‘last hour’ and ‘antichrists’ here? That’s what it seems to be when you look at the surrounding verses – i’m not sure that the verse fits with the argument you then put forward!

          I’m not trying to play devil’s advocate, just really interested. Not often we get to discuss such things and I am wanting to firm up my stance! I guess I worry about the once saved always saved thing leading to cheap grace etc… What if the prodigal son hadn’t returned home? He had known the fathers love but ended up in a pig sty? What if he had chosen to remain there as many these days do?

          Regarding Heaven I understand what you mean in that sense and I am not asking about an in-between more about what you perceive heaven to be. Especially in light of the new heaven new earth revelation talks of, so essentially do you think we get whisked to some other destination and how that falls inline with the new creation and everything in creation being bought into unity under Christ!? Hope that makes more sense – look forward to the ongoing discussion!

          • The verse before it suggests that the “last time” was about 1,900 years ago. And the spirit of antichrist is still here. Notice “antichrist” is not capitalized; that means it is not referring to THE Antichrist which is mentioned in the book of Revelation.

            I John is actually a book that is primarily focused on proofs of true conversion. It is summed up in I John 5:13.

            “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.”

            “These things” that he’s referring to is this epistle that John wrote. He wrote this book so that Christians could know that they are truly in the faith. So then, it is only natural that the Bible may judge the fruits of a person’s life to see whether or not they were ever truly saved. Jesus said several times in Matthew 7 that you will know them by their fruits. This of course was directly speaking of false prophets, but the principle is very much in tact. The fruits of a person’s life will give evidence to what kind of person they are (saved or unsaved). II Corinthians 5:17 tells us that “if any man be in Christ, he IS a new creature”. Any man who truly has Christ will show a whole new set of fruits naturally that will be quite a difference from the old man.

            You also mentioned the prodigal son. That is not a picture of a young man who lost his salvation, but a young man who never had it but in the end realized his need and repented unto salvation. You have to look at the whole picture of the parable. It is actually the third of three parables in a set; all of which speak the same truth. The audience for this parable was primarily two groups: the publicans and sinners (those that knew they were lost) and the pharisees and scribes (those who believed themselves righteous but were clearly condemned by Christ throughout the gospel records). Each party is represented in each of these three parables. The first parable is the lost sheep. The sheep that was lost and wandered off was the publicans and sinners that was in need of being found, whereas the 99 sheep that stayed put (pharisees and scribes) had no need of being found. Luke 15:7 gives the lesson of the parable. Joy will be in heaven over one sinner that repents rather than the 99 people that needed no repentance because they were self rigtheous. Parable number two is the lost coin. The coin that was lost represents the publicans and sinners. The unmentioned possessions that were not lost represent the pharisees and scribes. Again, the meaning of the parable was given in Luke 15:10. There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents. Then we immediately go into the third parable of the set, the Prodigal Son. The same two groups are pictured. The prodigal was the publicans and sinners that understood his condition of sin and repented, coming to the father for salvation. The brother that stayed home represents the pharisees and scribes who got angry because they did not receive credit for doing what was right all along. The brother was just a lost, though he did what was right (lost religious person today).

            I said all that about the parable to say this. The prodigal had only one of two options. he could stay where he was (in sin) or he could repent and return to his father. We are all God’s children by creation, but not all His in redemption as mankind has the free will to choose to reject Christ.

            You need not worry about the once saved always saved crowd who lives life as if they were lost. If God did not change them (even if the change was misery in the sin they once enjoyed just as Lot vexed his righteous soul), then they don’t have Christ in them. The Bible says any man that is in Christ IS a new creature. There is no maybe about it. True conversion will ALWAYS bring about some change either in the life or in the heart of the believer. If that is not true, then God is the greatest liar of all time. And, I’m not bold or dumb enough to suggest that.

    • Nick –

      My answer to your first question is exactly what John said.

      as for your second question — I’m not sure exactly what you’re asking. Heaven is the Christians destination after death. There’s no inbetween.

      “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” – II COR. 5:8 (KJV)

  5. Amen and AMEN!

    I have been a blood-bought, adopted child of God since 8th June 1958 when He changed my life completely and gave me a new life, filled with His presence, peace and joy. In those 54 years He has been my Father; my Teacher and Guide; my Provider and Sustainer; my Challenger and Convicter; my Enabler and Strength; my Ecourager and Comforter . . . the list would be endless, but He has ALWAYS held me tightly, drawing me back to Himself whenever I tended to stray. He will NEVER let me go, because I am His. I belong to Him, bought with an enormous cost.

  6. Yes yes yes John I understand all that, and I agree with most of what Heather has posted, but my leaning is toward believe that the only person who can take away your salvation is you, and so far I remain unconvinced otherwise.

    Let’s start with the parable, we know Jesus spoke in parables to give multiple truths. I believe and have heard preached that the prodigal can be a person as you describe but can also be a Christian who has, for desperate want of a better term, backsliden. I can choose to, and frequently do, wallow in the pig sty rather than approach my Father. Does this make me any less of a Christian? Of course not. Does this mean that I haven’t experienced the forgiveness and healing of Jesus? Of course not. It just means I can be pigheaded and ignorant (and possibly more honest than some) and I think Jesus has grace enough for that. My issue occurs if when in the pig sty I suddenly say – do you know what? This is a load of old rubbish and I am not ever going back to my fathers house! He can forget it! Why didn’t he come and get me if he cares so much?!

    Moving further on in 1 John 2 we see in verse 24: ‘See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is what he promised us—even eternal life.’

    Why would we need to take responsibility to see that it remains in us if ultimately it doesn’t matter?

    It’s all very good and well making judgements on people’s Christianity after the event but it’s not so easy in experience. I know people who I honestly believe made true commitments and had their lives changed who have now walked away. I can’t honestly say that they didn’t make a real commitment and I can’t say that I’m convinced about where they will end up eternally. After all 2 Peter 2:20-22 says it will be worse for them!

    Where does free will fit in all this? Do we give that up when we become a Christian? If not then surely that makes God worse than a liar if He forces something on us we don’t want, as good as that thing might be?

  7. Nick, if a man can lose his salvation by sinning, then there isn’t a single one of us who will ever get to heaven. If you only understood how wicked and vile we are, you couldn’t possibly believe that. Just take one commandment of God for example. Love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Not one of us keeps this as none of us have ever loved God as He deserves to be loved. If any one thing ever attracts the least bit of affection away from God, then we are guilty of idolatry. If there are only some sins or certain sins that you can lose your salvation for, who draws that line? You? Society? God? This is basically saying you believe God can tolerate “some” sin. That is simply not true. All sins have been forgiven, past, present, and future. It matters not what a person does after he receives Christ. But, a person who has truly received Christ cannot stay in sin without God’s chastening, nor can they truly enjoy their sin anymore.

    I’ve heard the prodigal preached in the way you described, and it is not consistent with what Christ has been saying. You really have to ignore everything else in order to keep that interpretation. The lessons of the first two parables would then be that heaven rejoices over a Christian who “gets right” rather than a sinner that comes to repentance.

    You said,

    “Moving further on in 1 John 2 we see in verse 24: ‘See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is what he promised us—even eternal life.’

    Why would we need to take responsibility to see that it remains in us if ultimately it doesn’t matter?”

    It is a proof of salvation. If you are abiding in Christ, then you will as a natural by-product continue in Christ. It is only natural for a truly converted person to, as a lifestyle, continue in Christ. Will we mess up? Yes. Will we go back to sin? More than we would want. But, the difference is, a person who is in Christ cannot help but continuing in Christ. It has nothing to do with losing your salvation. Why would we need to take responsibility to see that it remains in us? Because being in close fellowship with God is our source of power and wisdom. We have a free will, and we are not to use that free will to dive into sin, though we have the ability. The encouragement is to keep close the gospel which we heard and received. If we keep this close, our fellowship will be strong with Him. Read chapter 1 to get a full picture of what John is saying under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

    With all that said, how can we lose our own salvation? I’d like some Bible in context to back up what you’re saying. My studies of the scriptures have shown me that a man cannot lose his salvation.

    • John, I have categorically never claimed a man could lose his salvation by sinning, to be frank I am not sure where you got that from. As I have said multiple times I am talking about someone who became a Christian and a genuine one at that, and then for whatever reason renounces that. As I said earlier I don’t believe the answer is just to say ‘they were never a Christian in the first place.’

      Regarding the lost parables, it’s very interest to contrast the lost items. First we have a sheep. An animal. Incapable of making an informed choice. The shepherd comes after the sheep and the sheep has no real choice in the matter. It’s going back to the pen whether it wants to or not. The coin is an inanimate object, again with no sense of choice in the matter. Once it is found it’s going back in the wallet no choose. To me these are more about the finder’s pursuit of the object rather than the nature of the object itself. Then we come to the son. The only one of the three lost things that has a choice. Interestingly we don’t know which choice the older son makes, as the story ends with him still outside the party. How is the fact that God is open to either son returning (in both interpretations) inconsistent with what Jesus is saying?

      I have no problem with people returning to God my question is if they choose not too.

      As far as scripture you have only responded to two of the scriptures I have posted so I’d rather see your response to them first if that’s ok? To remind you the first was John 15:6 the second 2 Peter 2:20-22.

      I have read 1 John and it still seems that you are somewhat forcing what you want it to say when it could be interpreted either way. What you have written about the verse I quoted doesn’t fully make sense. As John says ‘See to it that you’ seems that there is an emphasis on a person’s responsibility to ‘work out their salvation with fear and trembling!’

      The viewpoint you are presenting that noone can lose their salvation is open to huge abuse – what’s the point of discipleship? Just get people to confess and then move on!

  8. Ok, you are saying then that a man can choose to renounce Christ and lose his salvation that way. Gotcha. As to your passages:

    John 15:6 can best be understood in the context of verse 5. The branches that bring forth much fruit are the ones that are abiding in Christ AND Christ is abiding in them. Without Christ, the branches cannot bear fruit. The ones that bear no fruit are cast into the fire. The ones that cannot bear fruit cannot do so because they are not in Christ and Christ is not in them. The passage is saying those who do not have Christ cannot bear fruit. The opposite is true. Those who are in Christ will naturally bear fruit. It is as Christ said in Matthew 7; you will know them by their fruit. Fruit is not something that the branch has to try to produce, they merely bear it as a by-product of abiding in the vine. I don’t see this as showing a person can lose their salvation.

    2 Peter 2:20-22, if I take it with the viewpoint that it is talking about losing your salvation, it has to do with those returning to their sinful way and thus lose their salvation. I believe this interpretation to be inconsistent with the rest of the Bible’s teachings. It is, rather, talking about those who turn over a new leaf, become religious for a time, but cannot sustain the lifestyle because they do not possess the life-changing power of Christ. Sinful desires cannot simply be overcome by reformation. That is why they become entangled back in it again. I John 2:3-5 shows us that we can know that we truly know Christ as our savior because we, as a lifestyle keep his commandments. It is the new nature that is put in the life of a person who truly knows Christ.

    I am in no way saying a person who is saved can do whatever they want. That is a lie. A person who is truly saved will naturally desire to live a lifestyle to please Christ, else they are absolutely miserable in their sin. Lot was saved, but we know the Bible says he vexed his righteous soul. He was miserable in his sin. He couldn’t enjoy it as a lost person would. A man who can live in sin without any restraint or correction from the Holy Spirit is not a child of God. Who he loves, he chastens (Hebrews 12:6). If you want to have a more in depth conversation about this real time, I would be glad for you to add me on facebook, or we can continue this here. Either way, let us both agree that what the Bible teaches, we will follow. If you have Bible verses that would back up your view, I would be glad to change my views to match the scriptures.

  9. Hi there…peace to all!
    I’d like to weigh in here, as I think I can add a little bit more to think about.

    This is my first comment to your blog, Heather, and I’d like to begin by saying first thanks for a great blog that is true to the solid fundamentals of our faith. It’s refreshing, and encouraging to see a young person who’s so well grounded when so many are being enticed with the false doctrine that’s out there these days.

    I am in agreement with Nick, and I think that John is maybe misunderstanding what he’s saying. Correct me if I’m wrong Nick, but I think you’re saying that a true believer cannot and will not LOSE their salvation, however a true believer can, it seems from scripture, even the 2 Peter passage, FORFEIT the gift of salvation.

    “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.” (2:20-21)

    I find it difficult to honestly come to any other interpretation other than this passage is talking about a true, bought and paid for believer.

    Consider also Hebrews 6:4-6:
    “…it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”

    Again, talking about a believer. After all, how can one be a “partaker of the Holy Ghost” without being born again?

    Notice also that, for this person, there is no returning. Once the gift if forfeited, that’s it!

    I work with a fellow I consider a brother in Christ who believes you CAN lose your salvation by sinning. He believes that if a true believer happens to have an evil thought, and at that moment gets in a terrible car accident and dies, he’s lost. That’s not what I (or Nick I think as well) believe at all! I believe and agree with you regarding all the stuff you’ve said about the conviction of sin and repentence; meaning a true believer CANNOT continue in a lifestyle of sin. If they do it is an indicator of the possibility of never having been saved.

    I don’t know why some one would wish to throw away or forfeit the unspeakable gift, but I believe the Scriptures allow for that possibility…

    • Mike –

      first of all, thank you for visiting Grow Up! and for getting involved in the discussion here — you’re welcome anytime!

      next, I’m not going to comment on everything that you wrote. I just want to touch on one point that you made. You said:

      “Correct me if I’m wrong Nick, but I think you’re saying that a true believer cannot and will not LOSE their salvation, however a true believer can, it seems from scripture, even the 2 Peter passage, FORFEIT the gift of salvation.”

      I thought maybe I was unaware of some other meaning of the word “forfeit” so I googled it just to double-check. Sure enough, I found it meant exactly what I thought it did…
      ————————————–
      for·feit /ˈfôrfit/ —

      Verb: Lose or be deprived of (property or a right or privilege) as a penalty for wrongdoing.

      Noun: A fine or penalty for wrongdoing or for a breach of the rules in a club or game.

      Adjective: Lost or surrendered as a penalty for wrongdoing or neglect: “the lands which he had acquired were automatically forfeit”.

      Synonyms: verb. lose
      noun. fine – forfeiture – penalty – mulct – pledge
      ————————————–

      So in essence, your above statement could be read:

      “Correct me if I’m wrong Nick, but I think you’re saying that a true believer cannot and will not LOSE their salvation, however a true believer can, it seems from scripture, even the 2 Peter passage, LOSE the gift of salvation.”

      This brings us right back to square one. *sigh* It’s a vicious circle, isn’t it?
      Not to mention, your sentence contradicts itself. (I guess my “not to mention” sentence contradicts itself to since I did indeed mention it.)

      I think it’s important to remember where our salvation originates from: Jesus Christ. There was nothing we could do to merit salvation on our own. Therefore, if we are not saved by anything we have done, then we cannot be saved by anything that we do.

      To say that we play some part in keeping our salvation is to take our faith out of the completed work of Christ and place it in ourselves.

      My salvation is from God. It is of God. It is promised by God. and it is kept by God.

      Remembering and reclaiming again Philippians 1:6!

  10. Mike, you said,

    “Consider also Hebrews 6:4-6:
    ‘…it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.’

    Again, talking about a believer. After all, how can one be a “partaker of the Holy Ghost” without being born again?”

    Yes, this is talking about saved people. But, there are a few problems I have with that interpretation. It isn’t talking about apostatizing (or renouncing as Nick put it). If that was the case, the apostle Peter who denied Christ would have fallen under the category of impossibility to be saved again or “renewed unto repentance”. He was clearly filled with the Holy Spirit of God at Pentecost and used mightily, a task he could not have done if he were unsaved because of his public renouncement and thus “forfeit of the gift”. The Greek word for apostasy is derived from “apostasia” meaning to turn away or a falling away. The Greek word used for “fall away” here is completely different. It is “parapesontas” which carries the idea of falling away from a standard or going astray. This simply means, in the context of the book of Hebrews as later described, that one who is truly saved and falls into sin cannot repent unto salvation again because he has no need to since Christ has made the payment for sin “once for all”. There was no need to re-crucify Christ since His work is a permanent thing.

    You guys keep saying that you can forfeit your salvation. If not by sin or apostasy (which is the sin of unbelief), then how? All things that are not of faith is sin. (Romans 14:23)

    One last note, I see no difference between the idea of forfeiting salvation and losing it. Both of which requires some action or lack of action on the part of the believer to reverse the status of born again. Neither of which I believe is possible for a man to undo.

    • John firstly an apology – having reread some of my comments they are a bit blunt and could be taken as rude – not my intention! I blame lack of sleep and not enough time to reread them! I think also it’s because I am genuinely interested in the subject and actually would love to be convinced that what you are putting forward is correct – it would be so much easier! So much more comforting! Unfortunately at this juncture I simply am not convinced by your argument which still seems to be heading in the ‘they were never really true Christians in the first place’ direction.

      Mike! Thank you for putting it more succinctly and politely than I managed! And for remember the Hebrews passage – I was trying to find that one!

      John if apostasy is the sin of unbelief then I don’t think it is necessarily the same as renouncing. I can envisage a situation where someone chooses not to follow Christ anymore because of some perceived injustice in their life. CS Lewis put it like this “Not that I am (I think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I dread is not ‘So there’s no God after all,’ but ‘So this is what God’s really like. Deceive yourself no longer.”

      But I do think some simply decide they have been deceived all this time and now they will live their own way. To use some real life examples – I am a youth worker and see young people make life changing decisions all the time. I see them accept Jesus and totally change the way they live. And then I watch them go to University. In fact I no longer watch I actively visit and keep in touch with them, make sure they are plugged into a church. Why? Because I have seen a few of the brightest sparks in the youth club, who I have no doubt made commitments to Christ and were saved, walk away. Including a worship leader and a pastors child. I cannot conclude, having known them, taught them and baptised them, that they were never real Christians. I’d love to think that they are still saved, but what I see from their lives now worries me.

      Now maybe I am more sensitive to this than most having seen it and because of the work I do. Maybe it is rare. Again let’s be clear I am talking about the Christian who chooses, through unbelief or wrong belief or simply not caring anymore, to walk away from their Christian life, their intention being never to return.

      A quick word on the Peter thing – i’m not sure i’d class that with what I am talking about. To me Peter was scared and embarrassed to be known as Jesus disciple, there was instantly a regret and sadness when he realised what had happened. I don’t think this was unbelief or the type of renouncement I am getting at. Peter simple acted out of what he believed was best for his survival. Jesus knew Peter and loved him, and had prayed for him – Satan has asked to sift you… I don’t think I’d include this momentary lapse in what I am getting at which is a complete turn around from the Christian walk.

  11. I’m sorry, I should clarify. I was not talking about THE sin of unbelief, but rather a sin that falls under the category of unbelief, which is still a sin. Therefore, I deducted that the forfeiture or loss of salvation is by sin, even if it is only a sin under the category of unbelief.

    As far as the Peter scenario, yes, I can see what you’re saying and perhaps it is a bit different. What Peter had was the “falling away” mentioned in Hebrews 6, not what we would consider apostasy.

    I too have been a youth pastor and am now a senior pastor and have seen the very same thing. As a matter of fact, my wife was very religious and thought herself to be saved for 16 years before she came to know Christ as her savior. And, oh what a difference was made in her “inner man”. My mother was the same way; she was religious and very devout for 26 years before truly coming to know Christ. What I have found working with people, is that they often make a good decision to get something right. Many times it is built on emotion and not on true work of the Holy Spirit (which can sometimes look a lot alike). The decisions sometimes lasts for years, sometimes only a few days. It results in failure because they never had Christ. Another scenario I see is this: a true Christian under the leading of the Holy Spirit does indeed make a commitment to God, and by his power, does exhibit true change. Then, they backslide, and maybe even make outrageous claims such as not believing in God. They become miserable because they cannot enjoy their sin that they desire in the flesh so much. This is similar to what Lot exhibited in his life. The Bible says he vexed his righteous soul. He was not living as a believer at all, as a matter of fact, his family mocked him when he tried to warn them of God’s wrath. But, Lot never lost/forfeited his salvation. I have talked to quite a few of these people that renounced all they believed, and very adamantly. Years later, they admit they always knew they were wrong and that they still believed in God. Others never had salvation and got sick of playing the game.

    Bottom line is, thought the stories are all different, the end result seems to show that true conversion will bring about lasting change, even if the change is only misery from the chastening because of their stubbornness and desire to stay in sin.

    • Ok. Well I think it’s time for me to bow out of this conversation! We seem to be getting more into semantics about what words mean in verses we slightly disagree in the interpretation on. I’m ok with that. It’s only a small disagreement. I, as you, remain open to being challenged by the scripture! Cheers!

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