Question:

Hello, 

I have a question regarding salvation. My friends and I have been discussing if one can lose their salvation. Reading verses like John 10:28 and Jonah 2:9, etc. it can be understood that you can't lose your salvation. It's eternal, a free gift paid for by Christ's ultimate sacrifice on the cross for our sins. Once God grants you this blessing you can't take it away and God won't take it away, its eternal. 

My question is, if someone is baptized into Christ and since turned away from God, rejected the Son and chose a sinful, earthly life, also having stopped believing in Christ's and his sacrifice, love, and mercy would that invoke God's wrath? 

Would that person still be saved from hell if they were to die rejecting Christ post-baptism?

Is that even possible for someone to having once accepted Christ, reject their faith and belief in him? (My friend doesn't think so)

In the Bible it says that Christ, like in the story of Peter walking on water, will always be there to catch you should you fall, fail him or turn away. His love and mercy is always there for us, as is his sacrifice for our sins that also means salvation. 

So if salvation can never leave someone who has accepted Christ then so its then understood that someone who once accepted Christ in baptism, and now turns away has the chance to come back to Christ as their salvation is awaiting them? But if they don't then what? What if they never come back even after accepting Christ once? I don't think someone can be as far lost as they were before Christ if they are baptized right? 

Sorry for the confusing hypotheticals, it probably complicates things more so than it really should. God's word is plain and clear yet it astonishes me how its so easy to over-think it, over-analyze it and not understand it.

I have read so many Scriptures and and trying to digest all the information and what it is God is telling us. Yet I'm still so curious. The long and short of it is:

If you accept Christ in baptism and once believed in him (meaning you were given the gift of salvation via his sacrifice upon the cross) then turn and reject him, reject your faith and belief in him and die living in sin and rejecting the Son, are you then still guaranteed salvation? Especially if it and Christ didn't go anywhere? Is that even possible? Should it matter to think about all this?

I know none of us are deserving of heaven. It's not by works or good deeds, but only in Christ's mercy, love and having faith in him, belief that he is who he says he is and knowing what he did for our sins can someone in the end be saved and their name written into the book of life. If you accept this once then reject it and die are you no longer saved?

Salvation is an amazing thing, a blessing we don't deserve. God's glory is truly magnificent and the more I dig deeper into his word the more I begin to see the light and truth in it, the more I begin to see God working in my life. I am a very curious learner and seek to understand everything I can about what I don't know to the extent that God allows me to. I pray for understanding and an open mind and heart for learning and that God never stop teaching me new lessons. That's why I emailed you today. I know that everything I want or need to know is in the bible, I just have a hard time understanding it sometimes, mostly because I over think it, trying to know it to the fullest extent. I don't know if that's wrong in God's eyes or not, but I do know that regardless digging deeper has grown my faith walk and how I see life. God is amazing. 

Any response or answer you may or can provide God willing would be appreciated! I love learning new things and understanding things that confuse me (ha ha). God granted me curiosity so that I may never stop learning. I won't stop now.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and responding if you can. I appreciate it. I hope it isn't too confusing of an email! Anyway thank you and have a blessed day!


Answer:

Jonah 2:9 asserts: "Salvation is of the LORD." This does not say that the salvation is permanent, only that the source of salvation comes from God.

"And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 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" (John 10:28-29).

Jesus' assertion is that no one can make you lose your salvation. No one can make you walk away from God. However, this doesn't mean you won't ever choose to abandon God.

You are correct that Jesus died to bring salvation, but what you have skipped over is that Christ's death brought salvation to everybody. "For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again" (II Corinthians 5:14-15). The fact that Christ bought salvation with his own blood does not mean all people are permanently saved.

Can someone saved fall away? The writer of Hebrews said so. "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 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" (Hebrews 6:4-6). Notice the phrases:

  • who were once enlightened
  • have tasted the heavenly gift
  • have become partakers of the Holy Spirit
  • have tasted the good word of God
  • have tasted the powers of the age to come

The he said "to renew them again to repentance." By the way, this passage is not saying the person cannot come back. Like the one in John 10:28-29, it is saying that I as a Christian cannot convince a person who has left to return, but it does not eliminate the possibility that the person decides to come back on his own.

Can a person be caught up in sin, die in sin and still enter heaven? Paul is clear about this: "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 6:9-10). Being in sin is incompatible with being a Christian. "You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother" (I John 3:5-10). It does not mean Christians don't sin. I John 1:8-2:1 makes it clear that sin happens to all of us. But a Christian does not make a practice of sinning, it is not a part of his lifestyle.

Yes, Jesus is there, willing to receive back the erring Christian, but it is dependent on the erring Christian returning to him. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9). Notice the conditional at the start of this assurance.

But if an erring Christian does not turn back to God, his salvation can be lost. "Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it" (Hebrews 4:1). Even the apostle Paul understood the possibility of being lost. It becomes a motivation to work at remaining faithful. "Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified" (I Corinthians 9:26-27).

In your view, there is no need for a Christian to avoid sin. In fact, once a Christian becomes saved, your view allows him to follow both God and Mammon -- a direct contradiction of what Jesus said. "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon" (Matthew 6:24).

Even your view of what constitutes salvation is short of what the Scriptures actually state. See:

However, you are correct that God does want you to dig deep and understand His word. "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). I just don't think you've dug deep enough yet.

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (II Timothy 2:15).