One of the most important discussions I have with people has to do with the concern about their salvation. Many people believe that they can lose salvation, or have it taken away, depending on how they live, what sins they may commit, or what good things they never do.
In this post, I’d like simply to show the Scriptures most frequently used to support their beliefs, emphasize a phrase or two, and give some questions I’ve been asked.
For those who believe “once saved, always saved”, these passages can be troublesome and are often called “problem passages”. In the following posts, we’ll explore them a little further and see if they accurately represent the teaching of the rest of the Scriptures.
But false prophets arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. These false teachers will infiltrate your midst with destructive heresies, even to the point of denying the Master who bought them. As a result, they will bring swift destruction on themselves. 2 Peter 2:1 Does this mean that I could deny God and lose my salvation?
Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel that I preached to you, that you received and on which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message I preached to you– unless you believed in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:1-2 What if I don’t hold firmly to the message?
You who are trying to be declared righteous by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace! Galatians 5:4 I can fall away from grace if I return to my old ways?
So I do not run uncertainly or box like one who hits only air. Instead I subdue my body and make it my slave, so that after preaching to others I myself will not be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:26-27 Could I be disqualified?
“I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me– and I in him– bears much fruit, because apart from me you can accomplish nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is thrown out like a branch, and dries up; and such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and are burned up.” John 15:5-6 If a person doesn’t remain in Jesus, he is sent to hell? How can I be sure that I am “remaining”?
For if God did not spare the natural branches, perhaps he will not spare you. Notice therefore the kindness and harshness of God– harshness toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness toward you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. Romans 11:21-22 Again, how do I know if I have continued enough to be spared and not cut off?
For it is impossible in the case of those who have once been enlightened, tasted the heavenly gift, become partakers of the Holy Spirit, tasted the good word of God and the miracles of the coming age, and then have committed apostasy, to renew them again to repentance, since they are crucifying the Son of God for themselves all over again and holding him up to contempt. Hebrews 6:4-6 What if I left the church for a long time and lived a sinful life? Is that apostasy? Is it impossible for me to be saved?
For if we deliberately keep on sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth, no further sacrifice for sins is left for us, but only a certain fearful expectation of judgment and a fury of fire that will consume God’s enemies. Hebrews 10:26-27 But I thought we would never stop sinning until we got to Heaven. How are we supposed to be perfect after we’re saved?
I testify to the one who hears the words of the prophecy contained in this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes away from the words of this book of prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book. Revelation 22:18-19 What if I have misquoted the Bible to someone – does that count as adding or taking away? Is that big enough to lose my salvation over?
Stay tuned, and we will study these and the rest of the Scriptures together.