Can I Lose My Salvation?

Willful and unrepentant rebellion always assures separation from God, and ultimately incurs his wrath.

Todd Beal

There is a certain element to the doctrine of “eternal security” that strikes accord with me, but I don’t believe the scriptures ever intended the barebones view established by the Calvinist doctrine (the P in TULIP). Specifically, Calvinist-oriented Baptists will argue themselves blue in the face, saying that if a person is truly saved, no sin whatsoever will damn them to hell (even if dying without repenting), an assertion that is simply not Biblical. One could randomly open the Bible to just about any passage (Old Testament or New Testament) and find a scripture that flatly negates their claim.

On the other hand, I think that overly identifying with the sin nature oftentimes lies at the heart of rejecting eternal-security. Let me explain.

Just as a long-time prisoner is fearful of life beyond walls, I sense that many Christians who oppose this doctrine are scared of a spiritual freedom devoid of rules and regulations (as were the Pharisees in Jesus’ day). They spend more time worrying about not sinning than on deepening their relationship with God. Sure, no one can fault them for trying to guard against sinning, but when that takes precedence over living a rich and power-filled Christian life, spiritual freedom necessarily takes a back seat. Jesus fulfilled the law when he died on the cross, meaning he is the living embodiment of the law. So when Jesus, God, takes up residence in our heart, he empowers us to live up to the law because we then live through him. But, just as Peter sank and began to drown when he took his eyes off Jesus, so too do those individuals who put more stock in the power of sin than on Jesus’ power to keep them from that sin.

In other words, aside from the fact that across-the-board “eternal security” is not scriptural, the people who most adamantly reject it, often do so from a heart that doubts God’s power to keep them from sin, relying instead on rules and regulations, the very thing that takes their eyes off Jesus. I believe the key to understanding this whole issue is to first understand that faith alone, God-given faith, empowers the heart, mind, and will to live free of rules, regulations, restriction, and sin, if we only believe, not doubt, the assurance of that faith. The moment we stop submitting to Christ, is the very moment we start focusing on sin at the expense of spiritual power.

Once again, I know there is a certain aspect of “eternal security” that is scriptural, but it is not an across the board free pass to give our sin-nature free-reign. In the end, I don’t believe it is the sin itself that negates one’s salvation, but instead the state of heart that does the sinning. Willful and unrepentant rebellion always assures separation from God, and ultimately incurs his wrath. This was the downfall of Lucifer, the one who knows, and once gloried in, absolute truth but tossed it away for his own arrogant pride against God.

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About Todd Beal

I love truth and its facts. I love thought-provoking conversations that give both the other person and me a better understanding of a particular topic. I love to find answers to life-long questions; answers that let me see things for what they are instead of what they seem to be. I truly enjoy being in the midst of a group of people where all individuals are joining in, where everybody is enjoying the company of each other. I relax in the company of individuals who are competent yet humble. I like to catch myself doing or saying something ridiculous and then laugh my head off. I enjoy my church and being involved.
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13 Responses to Can I Lose My Salvation?

  1. Lance Ponder says:

    Great post. It is all about focus. If we focus on self instead of God, even if the reason seems as virtuous as avoiding sin and rebellion, we are in fact in rebellion which is itself sin. Herein lies the great paradox and the lie is revealed.

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  2. Indeed the P in the so-called TULIP, means just that…the Perseverance of the Saint, not perfection from sin of course, but one that enjoys the overall victory of Christ in salvation! (1 Cor.15: 57-58)

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  3. Todd Beal says:

    Everyone,

    I inadvertently omitted the last paragraph of the elaboration; it is now present. I apologize for any confusion.

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  4. I agree it’s possible for even the elect to fall (though that may beg the question, were they REALLY elect if they fell?-interesting.) In my own tradition, the requirements for salvation are always followed-up with an injunction to “endure to the end”. Promises of “eternal security” might be enticing to human nature (as were the indulgences sold during the middle ages), but they run counter to what I believe to be the purpose of mortality – to prove our obedience and accept God’s plan for us and Christ’s sacrifice. To believe at any time that we are “free to sin” seems a mockery of that sacrifice and more like the pipe-dream of the unrepentant sinner who seeks salvation in signs and confessions alone.

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    • That’s the point to the “Elect” and election, they persevere.. but only in the ‘Doctrines of Grace’, but even there, is no perfection!

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    • Todd Beal says:

      Michael,

      | To believe at any time that we are “free to sin” seems a mockery of that sacrifice and more like the pipe-dream of the unrepentant sinner who seeks salvation in signs and confessions alone. |

      Absolutely.

      | I agree it’s possible for even the elect to fall (though that may beg the question, were they REALLY elect if they fell?-interesting.) In my own tradition, the requirements for salvation are always followed-up with an injunction to “endure to the end”. |

      Fr. Robert and I had a very good conversation on his blog concerning this very topic: see his post, Apostasy in the Church, Gal.1:6-7. The conversation addresses whether someone can or cannot lose his salvation. I really appreciated Fr. Robert’s insight into this hotly debated topic, including the spirit in which he engaged me. It is truly worth the read.

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  5. Hi Todd
    I certainly believe in eternal security. I didn’t save myself or have anything to do with my salvation. I was spiritually dead. Neither is it possible for me to “keep” myself saved. I live only because He lives in me and draws me back to Himself whenever I stray.

    I think the problem arises when speaking of “someone else” for we can never say with absolute certainty that someone is or isn’t born again. There are only two people who can know with certainty whether or not I am an adopted child of God and will spend eternity with my Redeemer. Those two are myself and my God. My husband, my family, my best friends, all who know me well can be “almost” certain. They can see the way I live in dependence on my God, but I am the ONLY one who knows my real position in Christ.

    I have to admit that there are many who made professions of faith who seem to have abandoned that faith – but did they have a true relationship in the first place? We cannot say.

    There are also those who profess a relationship with the living Christ but their lives show no evidence. Maybe they believe (as those Paul wrote to in Romans 6) that the greater sin brings greater grace – antinomianism – but Paul decries such a belief.

    I have known people who have “backslidden” and after some time have been drawn back into the fold. They testify of how the Lord kept working in their lives and of how they resisted Him, until finally they were brought low and responded.

    When we look at other people we can conclude all sorts of wrong ideas and wrong theologies. When we depend only on the clear teaching of the Word of God we stand on solid ground. I KNOW my position in Christ. I KNOW that no matter what, He WILL keep me and present me faultless before the throne. This does not in any way shape or form lead me to believe I can live how I want to, but on the contrary, keeps me dependent on Him.

    Angela

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    • Todd Beal says:

      Angela,

      Thank you for this very well-explained perspective. I know this is a very touchy subject amongst believers but I had to address it and will do so in the future. As you so clearly laid out, one’s state of heart determines one’s relationship with God. It is for this reason I believe (with all my heart) that even those individuals in other religions to whom God has revealed himself will make it to heaven, providing they accept him into their heart and are obeying and loving him as best they know how. Religious political correctness is the least of God’s concerns. God cares about one thing, a submissive, loving, repentant heart toward him. It is so important that for this reason we share our spiritual knowledge with all who care to listen and take it to heart. Believers across the globe hunger for spiritual truth.

      Thank you for your living testimony Angela. I don’t doubt for a second your love for Jesus.

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  6. Pingback: What Happens If I Sin? | Truth Behind Reality

  7. Btw, Todd, if you were the one that asked if J.B. Stoney was a Calvinist? It is generally put (at least with the early PB’s or “Brethren” (most here were what is known as the “Exclusive Brethren” -closed communion). But they were mostly theologically “Calvinists, preaching free grace”! And they don’t or didn’t in that day, define themselves by the so-called Five Points or TULIP! But JND, or Mr. Darby surely loved the Anglican Article XVII, Of Predestination and Election. But being the great “Biblicist” he was, he did not use it much, at least to fully express the biblical mystery here! But he did state it was one of the greatest “English” theological definitions!

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