Can I lose my salvation? Is the doctrine of “once saved always saved” true? Every young Christian has had that twinge of questioning, “Did I ‘blow it’ with God? Am I STILL saved?” Salvation is such a precious gift, and, truth be known, we, as fallible humans DON’T “deserve” such an amazing gift! To realize that is to just be honest with ourselves once we know the awesomeness and wonder of a truly Holy God! And, of course, the amazing LACK of holiness we have as mere humans. Thank God, our righteousness is not in ourselves, it is Jesus’ righteousness that we stand in! (2 Cor. 5:21) However, it is no wonder that young Christians are perplexed by these concerns! The bottom line is this: no, we DON’T deserve what God has provided to us through His Son, Jesus! But, thank God, we don’t go by what we deserve, we go by His Word! God’s Word tells us that it was God’s own decision to send His Son to redeem us, and that salvation is a free gift that He gives to us… all we need do is receive that gift. He evens gives us the faith as a gift to receive Him by hearing the Word preached to us:
Eph 2:8, 9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Rom 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
We hear the Gospel preached, faith comes (from God as a gift to us) and we accept His Son as our Lord and Savior.
Rom 10:9, 10 “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.”
This word “saved” is “soteria” in the Greek, and means “saved, delivered, healed, protected and made whole spirit, soul, body, financially and socially!” Salavation is powerful and all encompassing! We are “saved to the uttermost!”
Heb 7:25 “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
The Greek word translated “uttermost” here is “panteles” which literally means “full ended, that is, entire!” So we have a powerful, God given salvation, that He has provided the means to receive that salvation. So, back to our question, is this salvation powerful enough to “stick?” That is, can we lose our salvation easily, can it just “slide away?” I would say no, we can’t lose it easily, or it wouldn’t be all encompassing, powerful and “full ended,” however, choosing to receive salvation is just that, a choice. Can someone or something “rip away” our salvation? No! Check this scripture out:
Rom 8:35 – 39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 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.”
Who can separate us from the Love of God? (And, God IS Love according to 1 John 4:8) So, we could say it this way… who can separate us from God? No outside power can! No force… “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.” No creature… certainly not satan! No one outside of us can separate us from God. BUT, we CAN separate ourselves from God. It is still our decision. We decided to love Him, and follow Him, and we COULD decide to leave Him, and forsake Him. It would be the most mind bogglingly stupid decision we could make, but we could. Now, would we? Could we, really do that? Again, what does the Bible have to say?
Heb 6:4 – 6 “For 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.”
This passage would seem to indicate that one COULD make this decision, and that once having done so, one could NEVER come again to repentance. That would be it, “send your saddle home, you are done.” But, before you get too excited… let’s look at the whole passage, in context!
Heb 6:1 – 9 “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit. For 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. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.”
Notice what He says, (paraphrasing) “Let us as believers leave behind the first principles of the basic teachings we have all already learned, which are: the doctrine of repentance, all the teaching concerning faith and how it works, the doctrines involving all the types of baptisms (into the Body of Christ, water baptism, the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, baptism by fire, etc.), all the teachings concerning what occurs when we lay hands on people (in ordination, laying on of hands for healing, ordination, etc.,) and all the teachings surrounding the resurrection of the dead, eternal judgment, the end times, etc. Let’s leave ALL THAT aside since it is basic teaching and proceed to “advanced teaching.” Think about it folks! What else is there that is not covered in that list that “typical” church folks are hearing? Is ANYONE teaching anything beyond the “first principles?” Even Paul, (yes, I believe Paul wrote the Book of Hebrews) says here that “this we do…” meaning leaving behind these first principles to proceed to advanced teaching… “IF GOD PERMIT.” Am I just “making this up?” Let’s look at this verse from the Amplified Bible:
Heb 6:1 “THEREFORE LET us go on and get past the elementary stage in the teachings and doctrine of Christ (the Messiah), advancing steadily toward the completeness and perfection that belong to spiritual maturity. Let us not again be laying the foundation of repentance and abandonment of dead works (dead formalism) and of the faith [by which you turned] to God, With teachings about purifying, the laying on of hands, the resurrection from the dead, and eternal judgment and punishment. [These are all matters of which you should have been fully aware long, long ago.] If indeed God permits, we will [now] proceed [to advanced teaching].”
“If indeed God permits, we will now proceed to advanced teaching.” So, most of what we know, are the first principles, NOT advanced teaching. Why is this important? Well, notice what the next verse says in the Amplified:
Heb 6:4 – 6 “For it is impossible [to restore and bring again to repentance] those who have been once for all enlightened, who have consciously tasted the heavenly gift and have become sharers of the Holy Spirit, And have felt how good the Word of God is and the mighty powers of the age and world to come, If they then deviate from the faith and turn away from their allegiance–[it is impossible] to bring them back to repentance, for (because, while, as long as) they nail upon the cross the Son of God afresh [as far as they are concerned] and are holding [Him] up to contempt and shame and public disgrace.”
The bottom line is… one who is not a babe in Christ, one who is mature, one who has left the basic teachings of Christ and has proceeded on to advanced teaching, one who has “tasted the heavenly gift, and become sharers in the Holy Spirit;” they have “have felt how good the Word of God is and the mighty powers of the age and world to come.” basically, they have operated proficiently in the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, they are personally led by the Spirit… if THEY THEN “turn away their allegiance” and reject God at this level… then it is impossible for them to come back. But it is not something done when they are not in their right mind, nor when they are deceived, it is when they make a clear, conscious, choice to reject their salvation, by decision, on purpose… clear of mind and fully knowing what it means to do so. These can not return!
Have any done so? I would say, yes, or God wouldn’t have mentioned it in His Word. Does it happen often? No! I do not believe so. No, God’s salvation is not “wishy-washy,” or that easy to reject and “throw off.” We are not talking about something a young Christian could do… remember, it is only possible for one who is mature in the faith, who understands all the ramifications in doing this.
But, the bottom line is, if God provides freedom of choice to receive, He must also provide freedom of choice to reject. That is tough… but it is true.
So, back to our young Christian asking this question… “Did I “blow it?” I had a mentor as a young Christian that gave me this answer to that question: “Do you still care if you are saved?” “Of course,” I said, “Yes; that is why I am asking!” “Then,” he said, “you ARE still saved, because if you understood all the things in that list (after showing me the scriptures I have shown you) and if you had experienced all the powers of the world to come, and had rejected God by decision… you wouldn’t care about the things of God… you wouldn’t ‘wonder,’ you would KNOW that you were no longer saved.” Wow. The wisdom of that, the simplicity of it, it just “seemeth right unto me.” So, do YOU still care? Then, the Holy Spirit is still in there, dealing with you! You are a child of God! Now, as Brother Kenneth Copeland says, “Don’t run away from God when you sin, run TO Him!” Repeat, and confess your sin, as the Word of God says:
1 John 1:9 – 10 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness! Our close fellowship with Him can be restored! You have not “fallen from grace!” G-R-A-C-E is “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense!” We have Grace, we have Favor with God… we are saved to the uttermost!!!