For those who don't want the long drawn out study, here is my short answer:
Q: Can you lose your salvation?
A: No. Jesus paid the price that you never could, which covered your past, present, and future from all sin. You cannot lose your salvation; you cannot behave or think badly enough to lose it by failure or sin. John 10:27-30 NKJV
Caveat: In very rare circumstances, someone who was very close to Jesus, Baptized in the Holy Spirit, living a life bathed in the miraculous... can, by an act of their will, choose to reject Jesus to the point that they cannot be brought back to repentance. In essence, this person says "To Heck with Jesus, and everything he stands for." This person is not an atheist, he is like Satan himself, who knows God and Jesus intimately and willfully chose to reject the authority of God and walk away forever. If this was you; you wouldn't care what the answer to this question is because you wouldn't WANT to be saved; neither would you be afraid of loosing your salvation. It's not that this person cannot be saved, or lost their salvation... it's that this person rejected their salvation and declined it knowing full well what they were doing. This person did not accidentally do it. They can be saved, but they refuse to be brought to repentance. Hebrews 6:1-10 NKJVIf you care about your salvation, if you are afraid of not going to heaven... you are NOT the person described in the caveat above. All you need to do is believe that Jesus died for you, and ask Him to be our Lord.
* If you want a more detailed answer to this question, I have outlined it at the last of the five points studied below.
Since the 1,600's, people have been taking sides in the Calvin/Arminian Debate.
Reading over the Five Points of both arguments, I'm inclined to disagree with certain points on both sides based on incorrect definitions. I'd like to take a close look at these five points, define them, and explore them.
- Free Will vs God's Sovereignty
- Election: Conditional vs Unconditional
- Universal Redemption vs Specific Redemption
- Holy Spirit's Calling: Resistible or Irresistible?
- Salvation Can Be Lost: Yes or No?
- But what about the "Unpardonable Sin"?
Now, for the deeper dive look at this topic.
Free Will vs God's Sovereignty
God was not interested in robots, He was interested in a family with real (mutual) Love. Again, and again he presents people with choice. In Deut 30:19; we see Him say "I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live..." God gives us choice, tells us which choice is the one that bears Life and Death, and then suggests we choose Life. But He refuses to make that choice for us.
Why is there evil in the world? Why do bad things happen? How can a Good God let bad things happen?
It is the element of Free Will that the entire story of the history of the world is based on. There would be no evil without free will. Men Do Evil; therefore, if God was controlling the acts and decision of man, it would mean that God was evil because he was making them do evil. Men often blame God for evil; they call a storm an "Act of God".
Now, God has all power, all knowledge, and ultimately controls and influences the outcomes of world events, as well as some personal ones. As Father, he is keenly interested in the smallest moment of your day. He is willing to use His power to see that you get a particular type of food for your lunch one day, just because He loves you! One only need read the end of the book of Job to catch a glimpse of the power and mind of God.
However, He chooses to intervene in a person's life up to, but not including, their free will decision. He will not intervene if you asked him not to, or didn't invite Him to be a part. The only instance I see where God interrupts a person's free will is when He does so to prevent them from acting upon another's. Even then, I only see that happening when there is a human intercessor making the request (Ezekiel 22:30), or where He is engaged in an active (two-way) relationship with that person He is protecting.
- God is Sovereign; and He made a Sovereign choice to limit Himself at Man's Free Will.
Election: Conditional vs Unconditional
Both Calvin and Arminian camps assume that God "Elected Certain Individuals"; however, come to different conclusions as to why/how this process took place. I reject the idea that he chose/elected certain individuals at all.
There are plenty of scriptures that speak of God's Election of certain people. What is that about?
1 Peter 1:2 references this when he says "...To the pilgrims of the Dispersion... elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father..." So what does this mean?
It means that God is outside of time and space. It's not just that he was with Abraham 1,000's of years ago. He is with him 1,000's of years ago right this very moment; even as He is with you now, and is with you 1,000 years from now (in heaven).
Right this moment, God is having a conversation with you next week. He transcends time. God knows all. Therefore, of course God knew who would reject Him. That doesn't mean He made their choice for them. It also doesn't mean that He would not gladly take them in if they were to change their mind and make a new choice for Him (Saul to Paul).
The word "elect" refers to someone who was the recipient of choice. I elect Bob to be president (I cast my vote for him). God's choice was for all mankind to be saved, and therefore he chose us. But he leaves the choice in our hands. He presented us with a ballot "Life" or "Death". For those who voted for LIFE, they elected LIFE.
I elected to accept that gift. I am the elect.
- The fact is that God's Choice/Election is for all men to be saved. All were chosen, and those who elected to respond are the elect.
Universal Redemption vs Specific Redemption
Jesus stated, (John 12:47-48) that He did not come to judge the world, but to save it; and those would be judged would not be judged for sin, but for rejecting Jesus.
Paul stated that Jesus came to save sinners (1 Tim 1:15), implying ALL sinners. Peter (2 Peter 3:9) informed us that the Lord is not delaying his promise; but he is waiting until more come into the fold. He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (LIFE). That settles forever any question of God's will in Salvation. God's will is that all men be saved.
There can be no doubt that the very idea that God would choose some to be saved and some to be damned is from the pit of hell itself. God saved the world. John 3 makes it clear that Jesus came to save the whole world; and that the state of the saved depends on the choice of the person to believe (accept) or not believe (reject) that offer.
1 Corinthians 1:21 NKJV
21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
- God's choice is for everyone to be saved; and, Man must choose.
Holy Spirit's Calling: Resistible or Irresistible?
So this is a simple question:
Can you resist HolySpirit?
There may be at least 17 scriptures that say you can (here). Ephesians 4 tells us that we can Grieve HolySpirit. Acts 7:51 tells us that we can resist HolySpirit. This very question takes us back to the free will question. Do we have free will, or are we just robots with "apparent free will"? If you read the section above, Free Will is Free Will. Period.
- Yes, HolySpirit can be resisted.
Salvation Can Be Lost: Yes or No?
In Foundations of Freedom, by Gateway Church Southlake TX, this topic is covered in some very interesting ways. I suggest you take time and watch these courses on their website (here). In the Garden of Eden, mankind was presented with two choices "LIFE" vs .... if you thought I was going to say "DEATH"... not quite.
Life vs Knowledge
We are the branches, HE is the vine (John 15:15). Life is not defined as breathing air and beating heart. In fact, if you are a believer in Jesus, and your body stops breathing air and pumping blood, you will experience LIFE on a deeper level than you ever could have imagined. Life is the essence of God. God is LIFE. It is his Spirit, flowing in and through us, like power from a socket through a cord, that makes LIFE. Yes, this LIFE impacts the physical world, but it is not physical in nature.
When Adam ate the fruit of Knowledge, he died. Instantly, not 900 years later, instantly. He disconnected from LIFE, and connected instead to Knowledge. When you are connected to LIFE you don't have to learn something, you need only start to form the question, and you know the answer instantly. You don't have to work out the equation, you know the answer and solution. It comes to you, through LIFE.
When Adam connected to Knowledge, he was forced to survive on his physical senses, and ability to reason. This is why human systems don't function perfectly. We build them from our limited perspective and reasoning.
Religion = Knowledge
Religion - Man makes systems of rules and ideas about God based on his reasoning and experience. Religion is about knowledge. Do X,Y, and Z. Don't do A, B, and C. We assume that knowledge of bad makes us do bad things. So we assume that a better knowledge of good will help us do good things. This is why the world, especially secularists, are so intense about education. They assume that if we could only give people better knowledge it would prevent and reduce crime (doing bad).
Hitler was surrounded by scientists who had knowledge. Some of the worst regimes in the world have leaders with PhD's. Better knowledge will never equal better behavior, only more advanced versions of bad behavior.
Jesus = LIFE
When Jesus took the law "you shall not murder", and expanded that to say "if you hate your brother you are guilty of murder"... He was not trying to get us to a higher level of performance. He was not attempting to say "you aren't doing it good enough, here's more rules", or "Here's a better knowledge of good".
Jesus did not come to give us a better knowledge of good.
Jesus came (John 10:10) to give LIFE and LIFE more abundantly! Jesus came to restore the problem caused by Adam. Jesus came to disconnect us from our knowledge (reason and experience based decisions) and reconnect us to LIFE.
What's the point? How does this connect to "Can I loose my salvation?"
At the heart of a question like "Can I loose my salvation?" is a deeper question; "Can I behave or think badly enough to lose my salvation?" The answer is no. Sin was never about your behavior or thoughts to begin with. Your behavior and thoughts were a symptom of sin, which was a result of being connected to Knowledge and disconnected from LIFE.
Once you are connected to LIFE, you cannot accidentally loose that LIFE. When Jesus said he came to give us LIFE and LIFE more abundantly... He was cluing us in to another secret. Life can be had in differing quantities.
LIFE: A little dab will do ya!
Just a little dab of LIFE will re-create your human spirit, cause you to be born again, and you are (right then - feel it or not) saved. You can get more LIFE and may experience a "Baptism in the HolySpirit". You can keep connecting to life and keep getting that baptism several times a day if you need. You keep filling up, like a tree drinking water from a stream.
The more life you have flowing through you, the more your behavior and thoughts will be "auto-corrected", like a spell checker for your soul. If you are dissatisfied with your current behavior or thoughts... stop trying to change them. Just spend your time connecting to LIFE himself, and they will change as a by-product.
It is possible for someone to be rebellious and still saved (in fact if we are to be honest, as long as we live on this version of earth we are all rebellious to varying degrees).
Can I be living in sin, alcoholism, sexual addition, same-sex relationships, etc... and still be saved?
But the more you connect with LIFE the more you will find yourself disconnecting from the things the LIFE did not give you.
You cannot behave or think badly enough to "lose your salvation". Jesus' LOVE is unconditional. His offer to give LIFE to anyone who asks for it is open and free. He did not ask you to change before coming to him, and He does not ask you to change after coming to Him. He does promise that as you connect to him, whatever change you require will happen as a result and by-product of connecting to His LIFE (not through your effort = religion).
John 10:27-30 NKJV
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. 30 I and My Father are one."
Gateway Church (Southlake TX) Position Paper on Salvation.
Can I Lose My Salvation?
No believer can presume on God’s grace or His goodness by choosing to live after himself or his own desires. After all Christ did for us, we are encouraged and admonished to passionately pursue Him and to bear much fruit (John 15:8). For those who have received Christ and who evidence the Holy Spirit’s fruit in their life, we affirm that their salvation is eternally secure.
- You cannot lose your salvation; you cannot behave or think badly enough to lose it by failure or sin. John 10:27-30 NKJV
But what about the "Unpardonable Sin"?
There is a great article on this by ChristianAnswers.net (here). In Mark 3:22-30 and Matthew 12:31-32, Jesus stated: "Whoever blasphemes against the HolySpirit cannot be forgiven.What does this mean?
Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees (religious people who, as usual, missed the point God was making to them), and they claimed that that Jesus was doing His works as an agent of Satan. In other words, they rejected Jesus. In Hebrews 6, we see concept this outlined again in more detail:
Hebrews 6:1-10 NKJV
4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. 7 For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; 8 but if it bears thorns and briars, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned. 9 But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. 10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
The religious leaders of Jesus' day should have known, better than anyone, that Jesus was the promised one. They rejected Him. Since Jesus is the only way to salvation, they rejected salvation. They chose to stand before God on the merits of their own behavior and thoughts rather than on Jesus' finished work.
Today, in very rare circumstances, someone who was very close to God, Jesus, Baptized in the Holy Spirit, living a life bathed in the miraculous... can, by an act of their will, choose to reject Jesus to the point that they cannot be brought back to repentance.
In essence, this person says "To Heck with Jesus, and everything he stands for."
This person is not an atheist, he is like Satan himself, who knows God and Jesus intimately and willfully chooses to reject the authority of God and walk away forever.
If this was you; you wouldn't care what the answer to "can I lose my salvation?" because you wouldn't WANT to be saved; neither would you be afraid of loosing your salvation.
It's not that this person cannot be saved, or lost their salvation... it's that this person rejected their salvation and declined it knowing full well what they were doing. This person did not accidentally do it. They can be saved, but they refuse to be brought to repentance. Hebrews 6:1-10 NKJV
This person does this rejecting with full knowledge of what they are doing, not by accident. This is a purposeful choice on their end.
- You cannot lose you salvation. Period. You can choose (knowingly not accidentally) to reject Jesus.
So now that we've settled that, you can #BeStillBeLed?
More about BeStillBeLed <here>
And now I leave you with a question:
Hit me up on Twitter @DarrellWolfe or on Google +DarrellWolfe