Do I think I Can Lose My Salvation? …

The discussion of this topic usually begins with this question, “Are You saying that we can lose our Salvation””, or “Do you wonder from moment to moment whether or not you are still saved? or some other variation of this thought.

I am happy to answer an emphatic “No” .

No I do not think I can lose my salvation, and No I do not wonder from day to day whether or not I am still saved.

My first spiritual crisis after being born again, was about the security of my salvation. I have an incredibly tender conscience, in fact I think I have what theologians used to call an “over scrupulous conscience”.

I constantly battled with the issue of security, or whether or not I had truly been saved. I feared Hell and judgment, and compared myself unfavorably to the godly saints at my first church experience, a little Assembly of God in Ames, Iowa.

I knew well the pollution of my own heart, and the dark battles I constantly fought with the sin in my members, and constantly answered every “altar call” I could to shake the guilt, begging God to save and forgive me.

I gravitated towards every Bible verse which was a warning, or a threatening against apostates, sure that the LORD had led me to see them, so that I could know I was damned. I was a real mess.

Eventually it was revealed to me, by the Holy Ghost, and by wise brothers in Christ, to plead the very promises of God, out loud if I had to. I took to writing precious promises such as Romans 5:1, Romans 8:1-4, 2 Corinthians 5:21, and of course 1 John 1:9 , and claiming them as my own whenever these mental and spiritual storms raged.

I can relate to the stories about Jesus calming the storm at sea, for I have experienced this in my heart time and again, on this issue of Salvation and assurance. The Word of God calmed my soul and gave me faith to go on in faith.

My faith had to be rooted in something surer than a date on the calendar, or an experience at an altar. I had to dig deep and allow myself to be rooted in these “great and precious promises” of God , purchased and backed by the blood of Jesus.

In answer to your question , no I do not think I can lose my salvation, Salvation is a spiritual reality, a transaction between the Saviour and we sinners, it is unbreakable, and no one can take me out of his hand. I can lose my car keys but never my salvation.

In fact Salvation is likened to a marriage.

Marriage, as ordained by God, points to Salvation. The first couple points to the final couple, for the Bible is bookended by two marriages. The man who had a scar in his side, in the garden of Eden was presented with the bride, taken out of his side. He could see through the ages, that his wedding pointed to another man with a hole in his side, being presented with the ultimate Bride, at the marriage supper of the Lamb, the ground of all everlasting joy and happiness.

When a married couple has a fight, they do not “lose their marriage”. Their marriage is surer than that, it is a spiritual reality which cannot be broken.

Thus I think the question “Can we lose our salvation?” is definitely not the right question.

The real question is , Do you believe that we can apostasize ? Or in the marriage analogy, “Is Divorce ever a possibility?”. God hates Divorce, but knows it is a realty, He knows people turn away from each other all the time, even though they once made solemn vows.

God knows also that people who cannot be jerked out of his hand, turn their backs on God, as an act of defiant will, all the time. No one can remove them, but they can remove themselves. This is why there are so many warnings against apostasy in the New Testament, warnings which have teeth, real and everlasting sanctions.

The New Testament has quite a few of them, warning Christians to remain in faith, hold fast the good confession, and abide in Christ. It takes quite a bit of gymnastics to re arrange warnings so clear as this one in Hebrews, (given to confessing Christians),

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,  And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,  If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:  But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. ( Hebrews 6:4-8)

I don’t believe I can ‘lose’ my salvation, but I do believe in the possibility of apostasy, otherwise why would God warn of it? Only Christians can be said to have ‘been enlightened’, and to have tasted the heavenly gift, partaking of the Holy Ghost. It is apostasy that is being warned against here, not ‘losing’ salvation.

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20 Responses to Do I think I Can Lose My Salvation? …

  1. Tim says:

    I have heard it said that all of Jesus’ warnings about hell in scripture are addressed to those who were following him (or to the religious leaders). They were never given as warnings (or threats) to sinners in general.

  2. Jeanne says:

    Thank you, Pastor Bill. Your comments reflect what I have thought as well, and there are so many Scriptures that warn against apostasy, as you said. You can’t fall away from something you were never a part of.

    • Tim says:

      You can’t fall away from something you were never a part of.

      But you can choose to leave something you are part of.

      Falling away doesn’t happen by accident, but it can happen by willful neglect or purposeful decision.

  3. Deemar says:

    That exact verse from Hebrews, was the same one that popped out at me about 15 yrs ago and sent me into deeper searching. I know what “I would rather believe” (OSAS)… but, it is more important to believe what is TRUE.

    The verse you have pointed out is written to believers, and about believers. You are so correct that it takes much twisting of God’s Word to change the clear warning here, again, written “to believers”. God doesn’t warn for no reason. And the warnings are numerous!! Once you begin to really search, you can see them everywhere!

    Our God is a loving and merciful God, and He does not desire to see ANYONE perish, much less His dear children! These warnings are a GIFT from Him – to be heeded… just like a loving (human) parent warns his child about physical dangers in order to keep them safe… and so much more are these spiritual warnings to be taken heed to.

    This accusation has come to me: “Then you don’t really believe God has paid the price for you – you don’t believe in His ‘keeping’ power! You are relying on your works to save you!” Oh, this is VERY far from the case once this issue is TRULY understood through the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus HAS paid the FULL price, and He DOES keep His children who rely on HIS sacrifice and NOT their own merit… as long as we ABIDE/REMAIN “in Him”. He is the Vine – outside of Him there is no Life.
    Also read Romans 11:17-22! Again, written to “believers”.

    I also think of Jesus as “The Ark” of our salvation… We are SAFE as long as we remain in The Ark! The Ark provides EVERYTHING WE NEED. The Ark is Perfect! The Ark will NEVER sink or fail us! But…. Can we “jump ship” and try swimming for our lives? Yes, but He warns us against that, for there is no turning back once we get to that point of fully choosing to depart from the ONLY TRUE Safety that we were once a partaker in. Very sobering. This thought causes me to CLING to Jesus more than ever.

    • rlvan says:

      I recently heard someone with a fairly large following teach OSAS by stating “That which can’t be obtained by works can’t be lost by works” and I’ve heard a few other well-known teachers teach it. I have to admit it is a slick argument which I in no way believe because of the examples shown in these posts but it’s very ear tickling, isn’t it?

      • Deemar says:

        Yes, I have also heard that argument!!
        Hope this helps….

        The key word here is “works”…
        It is not a “work” to choose to REMAIN/ABIDE “in Jesus”….
        It is a command for believers specifically!

        Also, I love how they say we do not get saved by works, which is true, but then they neglect to admit that our “choosing to love Jesus” in the first place is not “a work”, but it is NECESSARY free-will CHOICE for our salvation! Right, we weren’t saved by works (loving Truth/Jesus), and we do not keep our salvation by works… but rather CONTINUING in our love for Truth/Jesus!! It is the same issue on BOTH sides… before salvation we must CHOOSE HIM, and afterward, we must CONTINUE CHOOSING/REMAINING-IN HIM.

        And we are warned about “falling away” or becoming “shipwrecked” in our faith (not arriving at the destination due to our own fault, not the Lord’s).
        Abiding “in Jesus”, who is the Vine, is not “a work” as they claim but a state of our being Alive “in Him” or not.

        Unbelievers cannot “remain” in what they aren’t in…this is not a command for them, but for us; we are commanded to remain “in Him”. If it were not possible to turn away, then the LORD would just have said “you WILL remain in Him”.
        remain “in Him”, abide “in Him”, endure to the end, persevere, overcome (read the letters to the churches (believers) in Revelation…. all these commands are not “givens” for us – they are commands to be obeyed by CHOICE as we LOVE Him (Who first loved us!) more than our very lives.

        Holy Spirit, open our ears to hear Your Truth, amen

  4. standingfirm says:

    Wonderful teaching!! And Deemar, have you ever thought about teaching the word of God? The way you speak God’s truth here is absolutely beautiful and very heart touching. I will be thrilled to spend eternity with such precious people as we all cast our crowns at His feet.


  5. Very clear interpretation, well thought out and articulate. On a subject that is as divisive as the timing of the rapture.

  6. KT says:

    Some helpful links to help define the discussion……………….at the first site there is a study and it is stated very well, salvation is by faith it cannot be earned, returned, or lost but by contrast discipleship is by works it is either rejected, neglected, or maintained. KT

  7. The only justification given by Jesus for divorce was unfaithfulness. Adultery. The question is: how can a Christian a be unfaithful to God? What is spiritual adultery? And why was this the main sin that broke God’s heart according to the Old Testament prophets? Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for it. James said that if we commit this sin we will be enemies of God. So what is this spiritual sin that causes separation and divorce from God?

  8. Well put. It cannot be said that a rejection of unconditional once saved always saved automatically means that you cannot be secure in your salvation. I personally am convinced that my security is not in a doctrine that that it is impossible for me to fall away, neither is it in a doctrine that I must hold on as tight as I can. My security is in the person of Jesus Christ and I trust Him to keep me with present continuous faith.

  9. Hope says:

    Pastor Bill,
    For many years I lived a back-slidden life. I walked away from my A/G upbringing as soon as I left my parent’s house. During those years, I knew that if I died, I would not go to Heaven. Even so, deep in my heart, I still had a reverence for the things of God. I didn’t try to twist the Scripture to fit my lifestyle. I knew I was wrong.
    When I came back to the Lord, it was as if the Father met the Prodigal on the road. He accepted me back fully and made me whole again.
    I think that that’s the difference… Apostasy comes from twisting the Scripture to justify our sin that we are unwilling to turn from. Prodigals believe God’s Word even through they’ve walked away, so God accepts them back as His own when they repent of their sins.

  10. KT says:

    Assurance Made Simple

    What does it mean to be assured of my salvation?” That’s a question I often get asked. People want to have assurance, but they’re often confused about it. What is assurance? How can you have it? What is it based on? And is there a difference between genuine and false assurance? If so, what?

    These are all important questions that require clear thinking. I find it helpful to think about assurance in terms of a simple syllogism.

    Assurance Is a Belief

    To begin, assurance of salvation is not a feeling, emotion, or experience, but a belief. Specifically, it is the belief that, “I have everlasting life.”

    If you are persuaded that you have everlasting life, then you have assurance. That’s what it is. That’s all it is.

    Simple, right?

    Of course, you don’t need to believe those exact words to have assurance. Instead, you could believe, “I will go to heaven when I die,” or “I will spend forever with God,” or “I am saved” or the equivalent. If you believed any of those propositions, you would be assured of your salvation.

    The big question is, how do you reach the conclusion that you have everlasting life? What is it based on?

    That’s where the syllogism comes in.

    A Simple Deduction

    Do you remember studying simple logic in high school? The first thing you might have learned was the deductive syllogism. Here’s a classic example:

    All men are mortal.

    Socrates is a man.

    Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

    You take one premise (e.g., “All men are mortal”), add a second (e.g., “Socrates is a man”), and then draw the necessary conclusion (e.g., “Socrates is mortal”). It’s the simplest form of logical thinking, the kind we use every day, often without realizing it.

    You can think about assurance as a deductive syllogism where the conclusion is, “Therefore, I have everlasting life.” But what are the premises that conclusion is based on?

    The Practical Syllogism

    When it comes to assurance, Calvinist and Arminian theologians teach the so-called practical syllogism. Their syllogism is “practical” because it bases assurance on your practical behavior.

    Here’s how it works.

    The first premise of the practical syllogism is some standard of behavior that regenerate people are expected to live up to.

    The second premise comes from observing your behavior to see if you have met the standard.

    You then draw the appropriate conclusion based on those premises. Usually they look for negative behavior. For example,

    Regenerate people do not commit adultery.

    I commit adultery.

    Therefore, I am not regenerate.

    The problem is, there are usually many different standards of being regenerate, and even if you live up to one, chances are you’ll fail in another. You might not commit adultery, but do you get angry, jealous, doubtful, envious, or covetous?

    How do you know if you’re really regenerate with such mixed results?

    You don’t.

    And what’s worse, even if you meet a standard now, there’s no guarantee you will in the future. You don’t know what the future holds. You might end up committing adultery. In which case, that would prove you weren’t really regenerate to begin with.

    In other words, the practical syllogism is never grounds for assurance of salvation. If anything, it is grounds for doubting your salvation.

    The Assurance syllogism

    By contrast, consider what I’m calling the assurance syllogism. It’s based on faith in Jesus’ promise, not on observing our standards of behavior. We can see it at work in John 11:25-27, where Jesus spoke to Martha about the message of life.

    Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

    Throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus had several ways of presenting the promise of life. In this case He told Martha that whoever believes in Him “will never die.”

    Of course, if you can never die, that means you have everlasting life, which is the term Jesus most often uses (cf. John 3:16, 36; 5:24; 6:35).

    Let’s take that promise as the first premise in our syllogism.

    Now what’s the second premise?

    The Second Premise

    Next, Jesus asked Martha a simple question—“Do you believe this?” This is the question everyone must answer when presented with Jesus’ message of life. Do you believe it?

    Martha could have given three different answers: “I don’t believe,” or “I don’t know if I believe,” or “I do believe.” Each answer can be taken as the second premise in our syllogism. And each would lead to a different conclusion.

    Let’s consider each one in turn.

    Three Possibilities

    Let’s imagine that Martha answered, “I don’t believe.” What conclusion would she come to?

    Whoever believes in Jesus has everlasting life.

    I don’t believe.

    Therefore, I don’t have everlasting life.

    If Martha concluded, “I don’t have everlasting life,” she would obviously not have assurance of salvation. At least, not based on Jesus’ promise. She might have assurance based on other grounds (a possibility I’ll discuss later), but it would not be based on believing Jesus’ promise of life.

    Many people have that same problem today. They lack assurance because while they may believe different facts about Jesus, they don’t believe in His promise of life.

    Of course, Martha could have answered, “I don’t know if I believe.” That would have led her to this conclusion:

    Whoever believes in Jesus has everlasting life.

    I don’t know if I believe.

    Therefore, I don’t know if I have everlasting life.

    Of course, if you don’t know you have everlasting life, then you lack assurance.

    (And notice that whether you disbelieve or doubt Jesus’ promise the result is the same—no assurance).

    But what did Martha actually answer? “Yes, Lord, I believe.” She believed what He said! She had faith in Him. She believed Jesus was the Messiah who would guarantee her everlasting life simply by believing in Him for it. As soon as Martha gave that answer, she could conclude:

    Whoever believes in Jesus has everlasting life.

    I believe.

    Therefore, I have everlasting life.

    By believing that by believing in Jesus she would never die, Martha would have been assured of her salvation. She would be sure she’d never die.

    That’s the assurance syllogism in a nutshell.

    Unlike the practical syllogism it is based on faith in Jesus’ promise, not on our works.

    If you believe Jesus’ promise, you should reach the same conclusion, and be sure of your salvation.

    The Essence of Saving Faith

    If you’re not sure of your salvation, but claim to believe in Jesus’ promise, maybe you don’t really understand what Jesus said.

    The Lord promised that everlasting life is the present possession of believers. “He who believes has everlasting life,” the Lord said (John 6:46, emphasis added). Has. That’s present tense.

    So, if you consider yourself a believer, and you know that Jesus gives everlasting life as a present possession to believers, what do you have?

    If you believe Jesus’ promise, you know you have everlasting life right now, as a present possession, because that’s what you’re believing in Him for.

    In other words, you cannot believe Jesus’ promise without being sure of your salvation.

    Assurance is of the essence of saving faith.

    For example, imagine if I promised you, “I just put $100 in your pocket.” Now, are you sure you have $100 in your pocket? Well it depends on whether you believe me or not. If you believe me, you’ll be sure. If you don’t, you won’t.

    Likewise, with assurance of salvation. If you believe Jesus, you’ll be sure. If you don’t, you won’t.

    Now, if Jesus had promised that believers could only have the possibility of gaining everlasting life sometime in the future, then lack of assurance would be built into His promise. You could hope you’d be saved, but you couldn’t be sure of it. Given that kind of promise, assurance wouldn’t be the essence of saving faith.

    But the fact is assurance is built into Jesus’ promise. The Lord said that believers have everlasting life (John 3:16, 36; 5:24). If you consider yourself a believer who has faith in that promise, then you must believe you have everlasting life as a present possession. And if you believe that, you have assurance.

    False Assurance

    Of course, not everyone who believes “I have everlasting life” actually has it. There is such a thing as false assurance. There are many people—millions and billions—who think they are going to spend eternity with God, but who aren’t born again.

    So what’s the difference between genuine assurance and false assurance?

    Once again, if you think in terms of a simple syllogism, the difference is obvious. While genuine assurance is based on believing a true premise (i.e., Jesus’ promise of everlasting life), false assurance is based on believing a false premise. Here are some examples of what I mean.

    First, false assurance can come from believing in a false god. So, for example, a Muslim might reason like this:

    Allah will save those who die in jihad.

    I will die in jihad.

    Therefore, I will be saved.

    A Muslim who believes that may have assurance of salvation, but it would be false assurance because Allah does not exist and no one will be saved by murdering people.

    Second, false assurance can come from believing a false gospel. For example:

    God will save everyone who is baptized as a child.

    I was baptized as a child.

    Therefore, I will be saved.

    People who believe in salvation by works often have assurance of salvation, but it is false assurance because no one is saved on the basis of works (Rom 3:20; Gal 2:16).

    Third, false assurance can be based on mystical experiences. For example:

    Whoever has felt a burning in the bosom is saved.

    I felt a burning in my bosom.

    Therefore, I am saved.

    If someone’s assurance is based on a mystical experience, it would be false assurance, because the Bible does not base assurance on fleeting experiences and emotions.

    In order for a conclusion to be true, the premises must be true. In the case of assurance, the only genuine basis to conclude that you have everlasting life, is to believe in Jesus’ promise.


    What does it mean to be assured of your salvation? It simply means believing, “I have everlasting life.” If you believe that, then you have assurance. And if you believe that based on Jesus’ promise of everlasting life, your assurance is genuine.

    If you’re doubting your salvation, it’s probably because you don’t understand Jesus’ promise, or you don’t believe it. In which case, I suggest you read over the promise of life and think of it as a simple syllogism.

    Jesus promised everlasting life as a present possession to believers. If you believe that, then what do you have right now?

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