Short answer: No, a Christian cannot lose their salvation. Read on to find out why.
Ephesians 2:8 makes it clear that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ Jesus alone.
So, what has separated us from God?
Our sin has separated us from God (cf. Isaiah 59:2). In fact, our sins have killed us spiritually once and for all (Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:1), are continually bringing us death (Romans 6:23) and will ultimately one day be the reason that we are cast into Hell if we have never trusted Christ (John 3:36).
What are Christians saved from?
If sin has separated us from God and killed us spiritually, then God must deal with sin before we can be saved. When Jesus said “It is finished” (John 19:30), the power of sin was broken and Jesus opened the door of salvation for all who would believe in Him. Personally, when the Spirit of God gives us a new heart and a new mind (Ezekiel 36:26), then sin no longer has dominion over us (Romans 6:14). Our chains are gone and we’ve been set free! We have also been eternally sealed with the Holy Spirit, who is “the guarantee” of the reality of our salvation (Ephesians 1:14).
If we have been delivered from our sin, can sin separate us any longer?
To say that any sin can separate us from God AFTER we have trusted in Christ and been sealed with the Holy Spirit goes against the entire counsel of God’s Word (just take Romans 8:39 as an example). It also says that our disobedience is more powerful than the cleansing blood of Jesus. There is no solid, biblical argument that would be in favor of this position.
So, why do some passages make it sound like you CAN lose your salvation?
Many Christians are perplexed by verses like Romans 11:22 and Hebrews 6:4-6 that seem to indicate some can lose their salvation. These passages are where we get terms like “fallen from grace” (Hebrews 4:6) or being “cut off” from Christ (Romans 11:22). However, if all Scripture is truly “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16), then that means it is without contradiction. Therefore, these passages CANNOT be teaching that one can lose their salvation.
These passages should, however, be viewed as a warning to the reality of spiritual deception. From Jesus speaking about false prophets (Matthew 7) or His parables in Matthew 13 concerning the “tares among the wheat” (Matthew 13:24-30) and the different kinds of soils (Matthew 13:1-9) to James talking about works being the evidence of true faith (James 2:14-17), Scripture makes it very clear that there are some who have professed Christ with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him (Matthew 15:7-9). These people speak the language of Christians (officially called “Christianese”) and know how to go through the motions, but the foundation of their faith is not Jesus, it is something damnably different.
Here a few mind-blowing facts about Christian obedience:
- A Christian’s obedience is initially caused by the Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 36:27 >> especially note the phrase “cause you to walk in obedience”
- A Christian’s obedience is fueled by the individual’s communion with Christ in the Word of God (Romans 12:1-2; Psalm 119:9, 11)
- A Christian’s obedience is the evidence of the fullness of the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-19; Galatians 5:22) and true salvation (Philippians 2:12-13; James 1:22).
- A Christian’s obedience is never perfect (Romans 7:22-23), but will be perfect when we get to Heaven where we are delivered from the presence of sin.
- Since a Christian does not earn salvation by their obedience, they cannot lose their salvation by their disobedience.
Brothers and sisters, let us rejoice in the fact that Jesus has finished the work on our behalf and never doubt the sufficiency of His provision or exalt our own power in light of His grace.