Hi, my name is Erica. First I want to tell you I have huge respect for you and what you do. I have been struggling with a question about salvation. I am without a doubt saved and do my very best to stay in God’s will, but I wonder is there a way to lose salvation? I was taught that it is impossible, however as I read the scripture (with very little ability to research), it seems like it can be lost. Can you help shine some light on this for me? Thanks a ton
Hello Erica! Thank you so much for your encouragement and for blessing me today.
Let’s think through this question together. I promise I’m not being sarcastic at all.
Question: Can I lose my salvation?
But then let’s ask, What is salvation? A thing I obtain? Something I hold? An intangible factoid? A conceptual piece of knowledge? A feeling of assurance?
And what do we mean by lose? Like the way we lose a wallet or my job or my mind?
I think many of us feel about salvation the same way we do some kind of shiny precious trophy — “This is my precious and I have to hold it for dear life.”
But maybe this premise is actually wrong. I don’t think salvation is like a toy we can keep or lose — because the author of our salvation is the very one who does the holding. Salvation is not so much a thing as it is about a story and a person. We get it backwards: we don’t so much have God as God has us. It sounds like a cute preacher thing to say, but let’s not confuse “cute” for “untrue.” It’s completely true.
I know we can read verses like Hebrews 6:4-6 and feel like salvation is “lose-able.” But in the context of the entire Bible, we need to balance these verses within the scope of God’s Narrative. Once God calls us and we respond, we belong to Him from eternity past to eternity future (John 10:28). Like God told Moses, “Is the Lord’s arm too short?” (Numbers 11:23).
If you ask me to explain how both can be true — that we choose God as God chooses us — my head might explode, or it would have to be the size of the universe to understand. All I know is: once we’re adopted, it’s a done deal.
Any Bible passage that talks about “losing salvation” (this phrase never shows up) is talking about those who have never had it. I believe 1 John 2:19 makes that pretty clear.
As for you: The very fact that you are desiring to stay within God’s Will already shows you are saved, forever. The problem is when Christians judge too quickly and say, “He just stopped caring about Jesus and started sinning like crazy, so I don’t think he was really saved.”
But do we know what he’s really going through? Even if he’s numb to God, I bet it bothers him that it doesn’t bother him — and that means somewhere in his heart, he still believes. Even a person who has committed suicide, crying out for mercy in their regret, can be saved at the end. I don’t judge those things so I can’t say it with certainty, but I do believe in a God who sees through the vast complexities of our heart to what we really desire.
There will be days when you don’t feel very confident in God’s Promises. You won’t feel the assurance that you see in other Christians. It won’t always be an on-fire super-spiritual rock show. And that’s okay.
What’s important is that even a tiny scrap of weak faith continues to trust in the singular promises of God, who has conquered all our rebellion and pain and iniquity through the certain gift of His Son. And we should be absolutely thankful when we do have confidence, because it’s a blessed moment when we can totally rest in the comfort of God’s goodness. Either way, He keeps His Word. Either way, history has already proven His love by the cross.
“If you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.”
— C.S. Lewis
11 Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
12 if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
13 if we are faithless,
he will remain faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.
— 2 Timothy 2:11-13