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Among the Bible-believing Christians there are two groups which hold views totally opposed to each other concerning salvation. One group claims, "Once saved, always safe!" The other group asserts, "Only those who endure till the end will be saved!" This issue has been responsible to throw believers to opposite camps resulting in bitter fights. What does the Bible say concerning this matter? There are Scripture texts to support each view, if they are taken in isolation. Here are a few sample texts in support of "eternal security." Philippians 1:6, "God who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." John 10:27-29, "I give My sheep 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." John 17:12, "Father, those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition." Romans 8:30, "Whom God predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified." Some of the favourite texts of the other group are these: Mt 24:13, "He who endures to the end shall be saved." 1 Cor 10:5,12, "With most of our fathers God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness... Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall." Heb 10:38, "Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him." These are the two theological streams in Christendom. The first view was advocated by John Calvin (1509-1564), a French Reformer. He said, "Salvation is not gained by our merit; so it cannot be lost by our demerit." His favourite text was Ephesians 2:8,9. In other words, Calvin emphasized God's part in our salvation. As a reaction to Calvinism, Jacob Arminius (1560-1609), a Dutch Theologian, emphasized man's part in salvation. Among his favourite texts was Philippians 2:12, "Work out your own salvation." Calvinism overemphasizes God's sovereignty and Arminianism man's responsibility. I believe that these are simply two sides of the same coin. The Bible is neither Calvinistic not Arminian! It beautifully balances both these views as the following passages confirm— Phil 2:12,13, "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." Jer 32:40, "I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me." Hos 10:12, "We are to "sow" righteousness, and God will "shower" righteousness on us. We are not saved by "works" (Eph 2:8,9), but we must "strive" to enter through the narrow gate (Lk 13:23,24). No condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, but they must walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (Rom 8:1). Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith, but we must be patient and consistent runners (Heb 12:1,2). Some more references to show how God's sovereignity and man's responsibility must be balanced: Lev 20:7,8; Rom 6:11-14; Col 3:9,10,5,8; 1 Pet 2:9-11; 2 Cor 6:18 & 7:1; 1 Jn 3:2,3; 1 Jn 5:18; 1 Thess 5:22,23; etc. Now coming to our question: "Can we lose our salvation?" The wholesome teaching of the Bible does not give the answer as "yes" or "no." On the other hand, the Bible teaches that having been saved through grace, we must deny all ungodliness and walk in obedience to God's Word and stay prepared always for the Return of Christ (Tit 2:11-13). Any hairsplitting of this issue will only destroy the unity of the Body of Christ and damage our spiritual wellbeing. Without God I cannot; without me He will not!
I believe in eternal security, when Jesus was nailed to the cross, it was for past, present and future sins. If we could lose our salvation, then that would mean that every time we sin, and we do sin even if we are saved; Jesus would have to be nailed to the cross each time for each person's sin. In that case, Jesus never would get off the cross and not have victory over the grave and death. So that would make Jesus a liar and we all know that Jesus cannot lie. Once saved always saved.
To say that you can lose your salvation would indicate that you did something to gain it; Scripture clearly teaches the opposite, for ye are saved by Grace, Eph 2:8.. Therefore, the doctrine of losing your salvation would also indicate that God is powerful enough to save us from our sins, but not powerful enough to keep us saved from our sins and we all understand that's not true. Simply put: "What God has ordained, He will sustain."
Yes. While it is true that we are saved by grace (Eph 2:8,9) and can do absolutely nothing to earn salvation.......once saved we must do our part to "remain in the vine". Jesus said that apart from Him we would become dead branches which He would 'cut off' and throw in the fire. That's one way to say you will go to hell. There are many references in the other answers above to Revelation 3:5 where Jesus says he will not erase someone's name in the Book Of Life IF they remain obedient to Him. Also Php 2:12 says to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Then there's Ezekiel 33:12-16 which is plain English. It says you will lose your salvation if you turn and do wicked and the wicked will receive salvation if they turn and do good. Also see Rev 21:27 about only those whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life will enter heaven. Many more verses in the Bible about actually LOSING your salvation. Some people will argue that they never had salvation to begin with. This is NOT in agreement with what scripture has to say.
At a bible study I once attended the parable of the Ten Virgins was cited by the pastor as an example of biblical proof that a person indeed can lose his salvation. His contention was that the virgins represented the bride of Christ namely the church and the oil the holy spirit. As we know some didn't bring enough and left to buy more at which time the bride took those that had enough oil but the others missed out and were lost. The argument goes the oil represents the holy spirit so they all must have been "born again" yet they were lost. Therefore it proves Christians do fall away and are eternally lost, God doesn't want it, because he's a good God, a God of love, but because he never interferes with our free-will we remove ourselves from his will and blessing. In this case scenario God is paralysed to save owing to his law of free-will non intervention? Sort of impotent. Instead of being mighty to save, against the individual desire of his children he is powerless to act, so he said. But I thought it contradicts much of scripture that relates to God and his Father image, discipline is good, healing on the Sabbath the same, so why would God write a law of restraint against himself to protect his wayward children against a mighty foe (the devil) and not do good. Of course he has the right to act and does act against our "at times" foolish free-will. I asked the Lord about the parable being used in this non-contextual manner and I'm sure he showed me a pivotal verse that gave me the correct interpretation. In Matt 24:12, Jesus or the Father replies, "I tell you the truth I don't know you,.... in other scripture Jesus says, I know my sheep, I give them eternal life, they shall never perish! So his sheep don't perish! If that's the case then, I think verse 12 for clarity sake should read, "I never knew you", so what we have here are the weeds or tares that never did possessed eternal life or the spirit, and not at all a case for the preachers of eternal insecurity. In this case the oil in the parable is just that, "oil for light", some might what to read spiritual meaning into that but the end result confuses and contradicts vast bodies of scripture and denies the spirit being with us always. Sounds Roman Catholic the failure of the spirit, that's their stuff. Revelation 22:19 was also sighted as evidence of now God ejecting his ex-sheep, which was sort of opposite to what they claimed his attitude was with the virgin parable. There it was a loving God hamstrung by his own law of non-intervention, now we just have God overturning his perfect will by blotting out those names he blessed, alluding to irrational behaviour by the deity? This interpretation is demonic and obscene. This scripture of Rev 22:19 is against those false shepherds that twist the word of God and thereby deny the Father and the Son. Just like that of the parable of the Ten Virgins, denying the protection of the Father and his eternal promises can only mean that their proclaimed expectation of eternal life will be rejected, and that God has already rejected these false prophets and shepherds, their's is a sin of arrogant presumption, so the scripture speaks of God denying what they proclaim and expect for themselves. The words If anyone adds to or takes away makes obvious we are taking about those that claim knowledge and insight here, the so called leaders that bully the people of God. Warning.......God is not amused! That's what I told that pastor, he didn't listen, oh well!
No, a believers name can never be blotted out of the book of life. When we were born into this world, our name was written in His book, When we believed on Jesus as the way of salvation, we were born again by the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13. Hebrews 13:5 says he will never leave us or forsake us. John 6:37 says, He will never cast us out. Once our name is written in the lambs book of life we have eternal life. John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on His name. First John 5:13 I have written these things unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know ye have eternal life. All of our sins are paid for and we are given His righteousness. Romans 4:6-8 First Corinthians 15:1-4. We are given eternal life the minute we trust Jesus as our savior. Romans 6:23 and Ephesians 2:8-9 Salvation is a free gift to all that believe on Jesus as the only way to be saved. It is Jesus plus nothing. Not Jesus plus works, or Jesus plus baptism, but Jesus plus nothing. No, a born into the family of God by faith alone sinner can never be lost John 6:39. It would be impossible according to scripture. John 5:24 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 judgement, but is passed from death unto life. Amazing grace, Jesus paid it all and we paid 0, It is free.
Matthew 7:23 "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Notice He didn't say, "I DON'T know you." He said, "I NEVER knew you." If Jesus used to know me, then He can't say, "I never knew you", or He'd be a liar. This verse says that if Jesus ever knew me, then He will always know me. 1 John 2:19 "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." In other words, once I am truly saved, I will not want to fall away. If I do fall away, if proves, according to 1 John 2:19, that I was never saved. Jesus would then say to me, "I never knew you". Do I have a relationship with Jesus. The word know is very intimate, sometimes used for sexual intimacy. Do I have an intimate relationship with Jesus. Or do I have a relationship with prayer, worship, bible study, church, other Christians, etc. Does Jesus know me. If He ever knew me, then He will not say, "Depart from Me".
God is love! (1 John 4:8) But God does not force anyone to love Him. He promised that when we come to Him, He will never turn us away. Yet it is against the very nature of God to force us to stay with Him if we tire, just as Lucifer grew tired of Heaven. If we abide in Him, God will never let go of us (1 John 5:13) but we are always free to let go of Him, to stop abiding whenever we please. Faithfulness in a marriage requires commitment on both parties. Imagine a wife who wants out of a marriage being told by her husband that he will never let her go, that she said "for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part." If we lose the choice to walk away from God, we are no longer freely serving Him, and we become hostages. God does not take hostages! (John 15:5-7) But once we accepted Jesus into our life, is it possible to fall away? Consider Jesus’ parable of the sower, which describes the gospel seed being spread on different types of soil (Matt 13:5, 6). If the seed “immediately sprang up,” it means these people welcomed it into their hearts. They believed what they heard, and the seed sprouted. Thus, if it “withered away,” something that was once living had died. That means some people who have received salvation at some point lost it because they did not grow deeper roots in Christ. A Bible example of someone who was chosen by God and even Spirit-filled, but then fell away was King Saul. He was chosen by God and at first Saul was filled with the Spirit and even prophesied - but he allowed pride to spring up in his heart, grieved away the Holy Spirit, and then lost his salvation. Judas was one of Jesus’ twelve disciples. When Christ sent him out to preach the gospel (along with seventy others), they all came back to report, “Even the demons are subject to us in Your name” (Luke 10:17). Judas was certainly among this group who Christ used to witness to others. Initially Judas intentions were good, yet he eventually allowed his own opinions to guide him more than the teachings of Jesus. Slowly he began to resist the Savior’s plans and he eventually fell away (John 13:27). Stories of people like Judas, Saul, Balaam, and others are given to us “as examples (1 Cor 10:11) so that we would not follow in their ways. Jesus makes it clear in His message to the church of Sardis that if the people did not repent and turn from their bad behavior, they would lose salvation (Rev 3:5). The doctrine of eternal security is dangerous because it gives people a false sense of security. The Bible tells that ongoing faith is the condition for our salvation. If we do not hold fast, we are believing in vain (1 Cor 15:1, 2; 1 John 2:3-6). By remaining in Jesus, we know that we are God’s children and that He will finish what He began in our life (Phil 1:6; Heb 12:2). We can have the assurance of salvation if we keep our eyes on Christ and hold fast to His Word.
Revelation 3:5: "All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine." "All who are victorious"... isn't that phrase connoting an individual's free choice action, in this case of "victory"? Being victorious is an individual effort to be so; it takes courage and effort; it connotes "from the person"; "you need to fight" = "fear and trembling"! In as much as I like to think, "I am saved no matter what" (after confessing my sins to Christ and surrendering my life to Him), I do have reservations as to the "once saved aways saved" theology. In all Scriptural examples there is one thing that troubles me: Why would an all knowing God would have the need to "assure" his subjects of "not erasing" (blotting out, etc.) their names from the Book in the first place, if this was, in fact, impossible? If "I never knew you,” and other scriptures connote unbelievers, then their names were never written in any book! [Isn't God sure, isn't He omniscient?] Lastly I think that "predestined,” "before the beginning of the world," and other scriptures that refer to "eternal security" don’t have to do with our choices we will make; rather it has to do with the consequences of those choices; those are the ones that "predestined" your final destiny.
Man cannot have his salvation taken away. He cannot be plucked out of the hand of God. But he can walk out of the hand of God and he can turn from his salvation. Man can live without sinning. He starts learning when first saved. When saved he starts living in the spirit and not in the flesh. Roman's 8:9-10:  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. Matthew 5:48: Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father which is in heaven is perfect. The Bible does not speak in metaphors. God's word is TRUTH. Therefore he must say what he means and mean what he says. I also don't believe there will be filth or fools in heaven. Proverbs 26:11: As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly. To return to habitual sin is to be as the dog returning to its vomit and the cleansed pig returning to wallow in the mire.
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