Can a believer lose salvation?

Some believers think that they can lose salvation by their bad deeds.

If that is the case then salvation must also be attained by good deeds.

But did we receive salvation based on our good deeds? Of course not!

Therefore, it is impossible to lose salvation by any bad deeds.

If we believe that we can lose salvation by our sins then we may be unknowingly trusting in the false gospel of works-based salvation.

However, a believer should not walk in sin but repent and love one another.

Believers have passed out from death to life and will not be judged (John 5:24).

Once we are born-again, there is no more judgment or death for the believer.

We have eternal and never-ending life (1st John 5:13, John 3:16).

Salvation is not temporal. It is everlasting and eternal.

Jesus will never cast us away and He will never leave us or forsake us.

John 6:37 “All those whom the Father gives me will come to me. He who comes to me I will in no way throw out.”

John 6:39-40 “This is the will of my Father who sent me, that of all he has given to me I should lose nothing, but should raise him up at the last day. This is the will of the one who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son, and believes in him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

But what about Hebrews and the deliberate willful sin that brings judgment?

Hebrews 10:26 says that if anyone deliberately sinned then there is no more sacrifice but only judgment. Hebrews 6:4 warned people about losing salvation if they fell away – they would be crucifying Christ all over again.

What is this deliberate sin?

The context clearly identifies it in the same chapter:

Hebrews 10:26-31 “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a fierceness of fire which will devour the adversaries. A man who disregards Moses’ law dies without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment do you think he will be judged worthy of who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance belongs to me. I will repay,” says the Lord. Again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

If we read those verses in isolation then we assume that the willful sin is a bad deed that results in losing salvation. But let’s read the rest of the chapter to find the truth:

Hebrews 10:32-38 “But remember the former days, in which, after you were enlightened, you endured a great struggle with sufferings; partly, being exposed to both reproaches and oppressions; and partly, becoming partakers with those who were treated so. For you both had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your possessions, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and an enduring one in the heavens. Therefore don’t throw away your boldness, which has a great reward. For you need endurance so that, having done the will of God, you may receive the promise. “In a very little while,  he who comes will come, and will not wait. But the righteous will live by faith. If he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.”

Looking at the clear context, the “deliberate sin” is willful unbelief and rejection of Christ. It is about the person who rejects Christ because of various reasons (persecution, deception, etc.).

The context tells us that the righteous live by faith – i.e., we become righteous by faith in Jesus Christ. Therefore, the willful sin is unbelief. If people do not believe in Jesus then they can only expect the final judgment of the raging fire (Revelation 20:15).

The warnings were talking about a person who did not believe in Jesus.

They have insulted the grace of God and the Holy Spirit by not believing in Jesus.

But the writer was confident that the true believers will not fall away.

Hebrews 10:39 “But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the saving of the soul.”

He also tells the believer that our sins will never be remembered anymore in the new covenant because faith in Christ has forgiven us eternally (Hebrews 10:9-18).

If faith in Christ forgave our sins, then what is the sin that results in condemnation?

It is the opposite of faith – it is unbelief.

Therefore the “willful sin” is the sin of unbelief addressed to those who rejected Christ.

We see the same warning written here:

Hebrews 6:1-15,18-19 “Therefore leaving the teaching of the first principles of Christ, let’s press on to perfection—not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works, of faith toward God, of the teaching of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. This will we do, if God permits. For concerning those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then fell away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance; seeing they crucify the Son of God for themselves again, and put him to open shame. For the land which has drunk the rain that comes often on it and produces a crop suitable for them for whose sake it is also tilled, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and thistles, it is rejected and near being cursed, whose end is to be burned. But, beloved, we are persuaded of better things for you, and things that accompany salvation, even though we speak like this. For God is not unrighteous, so as to forget your work and the labor of love which you showed toward his name, in that you served the saints, and still do serve them.  We desire that each one of you may show the same diligence to the fullness of hope even to the end,  that you won’t be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and perseverance inherited the promises.  For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he could swear by no one greater, he swore by himself,  saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” Thus, having patiently endured, he obtained the promise. … that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have a strong encouragement, who have fled for refuge to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and entering into that which is within the veil.”

The writer told the Israelites that they had learned about the foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ – repentance and faith in God, baptism, laying of hands to receive the Holy Spirit, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

They had seen Christ, the Apostles, and the power of the Holy Spirit in the 1st Century.

Some of them were turning back to the Old Covenant religion.

They were not truly born-again but were still under the law.

There was still time for them to be saved by faith.

If someone permanently and consistently rejected Christ until the end of their lives, then there was no salvation for them. It’s because they were never born-again.

He was confident that the believers would receive salvation by persevering through faith in God’s promises. God is faithful in saving the believers even if we stumble in faith temporarily and return to Him. God does not lie.

Abraham struggled in faith but God was faithful in giving him the promises.

So how much more will we receive salvation in Christ if we believe!

Paul also warned the people who were turning to unbelief (by trusting in the law and false doctrines instead of Christ).

Galatians 5:1-10 “Stand firm therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and don’t be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Behold, I, Paul, tell you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing. Yes, I testify again to every man who receives circumcision that he is a debtor to do the whole law. You are alienated from Christ, you who desire to be justified by the law. You have fallen away from grace. For we, through the Spirit, by faith wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision amounts to anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith working through love. You were running well! Who interfered with you that you should not obey the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little yeast grows through the whole lump. I have confidence toward you in the Lord that you will think no other way. But he who troubles you will bear his judgment, whoever he is.”

Those who trust in their works or other gods have fallen away from Christ (grace).

If a person persisted in unbelief till the end of his life then he was probably not born-again at all. Paul was confident that the true believers would be restored back to faith if they had stumbled in unbelief.

Peter also spoke about some people in the Church who had permanently rejected the holy commandment of believing in Jesus Christ (1st John 3:23). They were deceivers who claimed to be believers but were enjoying sin because they were not truly born-again.

2nd Peter 2:20-22 “For if, after they have escaped the defilement of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in it and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb, “The dog turns to his own vomit again,” and “the sow that has washed to wallowing in the mire.”

He exhorted the people in the Church to believe in Christ till the end, and then we will be holy, blameless, and without defect on judgment day.

2nd Peter 3:13-18 “But, according to his promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, seeing that you look for these things, be diligent to be found in peace, without defect and blameless in his sight. Regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given to him, wrote to you, as also in all of his letters, speaking in them of these things. In those, there are some things that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unsettled twist, as they also do to the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing these things beforehand, beware, lest being carried away with the error of the wicked, you fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.”

Peter said that every believer has all things pertaining to life and godliness!

We are partakers of God’s divine nature. A believer is called to grow and mature in Christ bearing the fruit of the Spirit. The true believer will not lose salvation.

2nd Peter 1:1-11 “… Grace to you and peace be multiplied in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, seeing that his divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and virtue, by which he has granted to us his precious and exceedingly great promises; that through these you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world by lust. Yes, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence; and in moral excellence, knowledge; and in knowledge, self-control; and in self-control perseverance; and in perseverance godliness; and in godliness brotherly affection; and in brotherly affection, love. For if these things are yours and abound, they make you to not be idle or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is blind, seeing only what is near, having forgotten the cleansing from his old sins. Therefore, brothers, be more diligent to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never stumble. For thus you will be richly supplied with the entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

God promises the believer that He will never leave or forsake us. He is faithful and will help us in our struggles. He will help us remain in the faith till the end.

Hebrews 13:5 “Be free from the love of money, content with such things as you have, for he has said, “I will in no way leave you, neither will I in any way forsake you

God and Jesus will make sure that nobody can snatch us away.

John 10:27-30 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give eternal life to them. They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father who has given them to me is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

No power on earth or in heaven can take away our salvation (love of God) because Jesus intercedes for us in heaven that our faith will not fail. His prayer for us will not fail.

Romans 8:34,37-39 “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, yes rather, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. … No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from God’s love which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Luke 22:31-32 “The Lord said, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan asked to have all of you, that he might sift you as wheat, but I prayed for you, that your faith wouldn’t fail. You, when once you have turned again, establish your brothers.”

The true believer will endure in faith until the end to be saved. The Holy Spirit is our comforter who helps us in this journey to heaven. Jesus is praying for us.

Matthew 24:13 “But he who endures to the end will be saved.”

God is guarding our salvation in heaven through faith in Christ.

1st Peter 1:5 “who by the power of God are guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

Jude 1:1 “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ:”

God does not take away the gift of salvation. He has given us the guarantee by the seal of the Holy Spirit living in believers (Ephesians 1:13-14).

Romans 11:29 “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”

The true believer will keep on believing in Jesus until the end (Hebrews 12:1-3).

Colossians 1:23-24 “yet now he has reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and without defect and blameless before him, if it is so that you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the Good News which you heard, which is being proclaimed in all creation under heaven, of which I, Paul, was made a servant.”

1st Corinthians 15:1-2 “Now I declare to you, brothers, the Good News which I preached to you, which also you received, in which you also stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold firmly the word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.”

Jesus said that if we believe (keep His word) then we will not die (spiritually) but live forever in heaven.

John 8:51 “Most certainly, I tell you, if a person keeps my word, he will never see death.”

John 11:25-26 “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will still live, even if he dies. Whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?””

A believer cannot lose salvation if he stumbles. This is because salvation is not like a keychain that you have misplaced. It is not so fragile or lightweight.

A believer does not lose salvation if he has doubts in his faith.

The warnings in the scriptures are for people who willfully renounce Christ and consistently reject His salvation without any remorse until the end of their lives.

They turned back on the righteousness of faith.

They stubbornly walk in apostasy (unbelief). They were never born-again.

Hebrews 3:12-13, 4:1-3, 14-16 “Beware, brothers, lest perhaps there might be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God; but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called “today”, lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin….“Let’s fear therefore, lest perhaps anyone of you should seem to have come short of a promise of entering into his rest. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, even as they also did, but the word they heard didn’t profit them, because it wasn’t mixed with faith by those who heard. For we who have believed do enter into that rest,…Having then a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let’s hold tightly to our confession. For we don’t have a high priest who can’t be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but one who has been in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin. Let’s therefore draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace for help in time of need.”

If we are struggling with faith, let us approach our merciful Lord Jesus to help us.

He will never deny us even if we stumble in faith.

2nd Timothy 2:11-13 “This saying is trustworthy:

‘For if we died with him, we will also live with him.
If we endure, we will also reign with him. If we deny him, he also will deny us.
If we are faithless, he remains faithful; for he can’t deny himself.’”

If a believer stumbles in faith and even temporarily denies Christ, then the Lord will restore us back to faith.

Jesus always finds the lost sheep (Luke 15:3-6) and rejoices when we believe.

I believe that if a person is truly born-again, then he cannot lose salvation.

God is faithful and will keep us blameless till the end.

He will finish the work He began.1st Corinthians 1:7-9 “so that you come behind in no gift; waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ; who will also CONFIRM you until the end, BLAMELESS in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is FAITHFUL, through whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.”

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