Challenging Questions People Ask
Lesson 3 w/AnswersThe Security of the Believer
We continue our study, "Challenging Questions People Ask." This lesson’s question is one that I always look forward to addressing, as I’m sure that it’s something many of us may have one-time wondered, or even asked. This question is, "Can I lose my salvation?" It is a question that I have been asked many times, and normally the person asking it is a new, or relatively new, Christian.
The impetus for this question follows this logic: Once we accept Christ—and come to know and appreciate the priceless gift of eternal life and what it is like living in God’s presence with Christ as our Shepherd—we also realize that it’s something that we never want to lose.
I believe that in our early days of growing in Christ, the concept of "once saved, always saved" can be adversely affected—either by the behavior of people whom we hold in high esteem (as "mature" Christians) or even by our own behavior (when that behavior runs counter to God’s will). It is almost impossible to quantify the impact on a new believer’s life when a respected Christian does something, or behaves in a way, that is clearly not Christian. As well, we ourselves begin to doubt our own salvation when we discover that we are still sinners and continue to sin in ways that are unpleasing to God. Both of these circumstances cause us to doubt our salvation, and/or that of others.
So now let’s take a look at this question, "Can I lose my salvation?" and see how God’s Word speaks to us about our salvation, and if there is something or some things, that we can do that would cause us to lose our gift of eternal life with Christ.
- Let’s first consider the motivation behind the question. That is, what would make someone even ask the question? What would make you believe that a person could lose their salvation?
- ANSWER 1: In many cases, one of the fundamental drivers behind the question is when the adverse behavior of someone whom we regard as a "Christian" causes us to wonder if that person can still be saved after doing something or saying something like that.
- ANSWER 2: In other cases, the motivation behind the question is based on our own doubt about ourselves. When elements of man’s sinful nature manifest themselves in our behavior, we begin to wonder how we can possibly be saved. Or we begin believing that there are levels of sin, i.e., that some sins are greater or lesser than others, and that if we commit what we believe is a "great sin" against God, then we must have either (1) lost our salvation or (2) we were never saved in the first place.
- Now suppose for a moment that the question of losing one’s salvation is being asked because someone doubts that they are actually saved. Perhaps, for whatever reason, they do not feel worthy; or maybe the new life in Christ isn’t what they imagined it to be. In these scenarios, even though they have accepted Christ and repented of their sins, they are still unsure whether they are really saved. After all it must take more than a confession of sin and God’s great grace to save them. Read 1 John 5:13 and note what it specifically tells us regarding this frame of mind?
- ANSWER: God’s Word is in fact written so that we may KNOW that we are saved. It is a certainty; we can base it completely on God’s faithfulness and His written Word, the Holy Bible.
- Now consider John 3:16—the oft-quoted verse on salvation. What does it say about those who believe? Does it say that only those who believe in a certain way, or come from a certain walk, or have a certain experience can be saved? Who does it say is saved, for how long are they saved, and who saved them?
- ANSWER 1: "Whosoever believes" shall be saved, i.e., all who believe are saved.
- ANSWER 2: Salvation = eternal life. The believer is saved for eternity.
- ANSWER 3: God does the saving. Nothing we do beyond repenting of our sins brings our salvation—only God and faith that Jesus is the one-and-only Son of God who came to die on a cross for us.
- It is important to note this far into our study that there is nothing beyond repentance and believing on Jesus as the Christ that saves us. No act or religious practice (e.g., fasting, etc.) results in us being saved—only God’s great love for us and Jesus’ divine sacrifice for us. Now consider specific examples of acts or deeds that you would consider grounds for someone losing their salvation. List them.
- ANSWER: Typically here people will list things like murder, stealing, being dishonest, lying, cheating, or causing another believer to stumble as reasons that a person could lose their salvation. Suicide is another typical response. None are true.
- Assume for a moment that when you answered question 4 above, you listed murder as a reason that a believer would lose their salvation, or perhaps cheating with another man’s wife. Based on those criteria, would you say then that King David lost his salvation?
- ANSWER: No; in fact, he was one whom God loved very much.
- Alternatively, perhaps you listed the reason that someone would lose their salvation was behavior that caused another person to stumble. Or perhaps the person did something that was directly counter to God’s will. Then, using these benchmarks, do you consider that Abraham, Moses, Peter and others in the Bible lost their salvation?
- ANSWER: Of course not.
- Or maybe you listed as an example a believer who lived a life of carnal pleasure and did not do the things that were pleasing to God—even though he or she was a believer. Then do you believe that Lot lost his eternal home? Here was a man who not only loved the carnal life but even offered his daughters to a rioting crowd outside his door who wanted him to throw the angels who had come to warn Lot of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah out to them. Did God still love him and save him from that destruction along with his family?
- ANSWER: Of course He did.
- At the core, when we begin to think that someone can lose their salvation by specific sins that they commit, then we are focusing on works, not grace. We thus believe that our works are what keep us saved, and when those whose works aren’t in fact righteous, then we have lost their eternal hope. This is the wrong focus. What does Ephesians 2:8 tell us about this type of thinking?
- ANSWER: We are saved by God’s grace, and not by our works.
- Please take the time to consider just how firm and solid our salvation is by pondering the following verses:
- Psalm 37:23
- Psalm 138:8
- Jeremiah 32:40
- John 5:24
- John 6:37
- John 6:39-40
- John 6:68-69
- John 10:27-30
- John 16:27
- John 16:29-33
- John 17:8
- John 17:11
- Acts 1:3
- Romans 4:8-9
- Romans 4:20-22
- Romans 5:1-5
- Romans 8:15-17
- Romans 8:28-30
- Romans 8:33-35
- Romans 8:37-39
- 1 Corinthians 1:8-9
- 2 Corinthians 1:21-22
- Galatians 4:6
- Ephesians 1:4-5
- Ephesians 4:30
- Philippians 1:6
- Philippians 2:12-13
- Colossians 2:2
- 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
- 2 Timothy 1:12
- 2 Timothy 4:18
- Hebrews 6:11
- Hebrews 7:24-25
- Hebrews 10:22-23
- Hebrews 11:1
- 1 Peter 1:3-5
- 1 Peter 5:10
- 1 John 2:1-2
- 1 John 3:9
- 1 John 3:14
- 1 John 3:18-19
- 1 John 4:13
- 1 John 5:10-11
- 1 John 5:13
- 1 John 5:18
- Jude 1:1
- Jude 1:24
Early in my walk with Christ when I realized that I wanted nothing greater than to know more and more about the God who saved me and Jesus who died for me, I began studying the Bible in earnest. Fortunately at the same time, a wise pastor warned me of people who form their theology, their belief system, on one or two verses in the Bible taken out of context. I pray that this lesson has provided you some of the overwhelming evidence and assurances contained in God’s Word that we are indeed saved, and saved forever. No one can take us out of God’s hands, nothing, no one, ever.
Many years ago in response to this question from my sister, I wrote a piece for her on this subject. It contains all of the scripture above included verse-by-verse within it. Again, I encourage you to take the time to look up all of the references listed above. However, if you can’t, or if you would like to see what it’s like to read each of these verses continuously taken from God’s Word, I have provided a copy of it in the "Security of the Believer" link below. I can assure you that it will fill your life once again with hope and joy as you come to realize that we are indeed saved by His great grace for an eternity—and nothing can rob us of that promise.
PDF resource: "Security of the Believer" Letter to My Sister.
We may stumble and fall, and we may sin greatly in both God’s and man’s eyes, but we were sinners before God saved us and He loved us then. So imagine how much more He loves us now as one of His children. He has much in store for us in the eternity to come and wants to reassure us through His word and His actions that we are His and His forever. Hallelujah!
Pass the word: God loves you, He sent His Only Son to die for you, and He is preparing a place for you for all eternity!
Have a great week everyone, and thanks for studying with us.