Seth Udinski, FISM News
My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. – John 10:27-28
Theologians, pastors, and lay Christians have wrestled with the doctrine of preservation for hundreds of years. Can a Christian lose their salvation? Can someone truly be born again, only to fall away later in life? Let’s explore the biblical answers to these questions, and the eternal encouragement we get from them.
Some will argue that a person can lose their salvation. They point to passages such as Hebrews 6, which speaks of those who “tasted of the Holy Spirit” but ultimately reject the Holy Spirit. They point to figures in the Bible such as Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples. This man walked with Jesus, witnessed His miracles, and heard His teaching, yet he was ultimately overcome by Satan and betrayed Jesus for a few coins. They point to pastors who renounce their faith after years of biblical faithfulness. They argue that we must be extra vigilant to make sure that we have not fallen away, because any of us can at any moment.
Brothers and sisters, these arguments may contain strands of truth, but this is not the biblical answer. Let me share words of comfort for your eternal soul. A Christian cannot lose their salvation. How can we be sure of this?
We turn to the testimony of scripture. How many countless figures in the Bible committed horrid sins, yet God not only spared them in the end, but also used them for great things in His kingdom? God preserved every single one of those who belonged to Him. Abraham was a coward and liar, yet God redeemed him. David was a murderer and an adulterer, yet God redeemed him. The people of Israel rebelled constantly, and God constantly saved them. Peter denied his Lord three times. Paul murdered Christians and bragged about it. All of them, like sheep, have turned away from the voice of their Master. But what does the Master say?
No one will snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:28)
This is the will of him who sent me: that I should lose none of those he has given me but should raise them up on the last day. (John 6:39)
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, 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 the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)”
Dear friend, to quote the loving but harshly true words of Pastor John MacArthur, “If you could lose your salvation, you would lose your salvation.” In and of yourself, you have no eternal security. You cannot hold onto Christ, but praise God, He holds onto you. In Christ, you have complete security. You cannot lose what you first did not earn. Once you are saved, you are always and forever saved.
The logical explanation for those who appear to fall away is that, sadly, they were never saved. Their conversion was false; they were wolves in sheep’s skin. But in Christ, there is no chance to fall away. In Christ, your eternity is secure.
So do not live in fear, and do not use your security as an excuse to sin. Live in complete obedience and surrender to the God who saved you, knowing He will carry to completion the good work He began in you.