Can a Christian lose his salvation by living a sinful life?
Can a Christian lose his salvation by losing his faith?
We lose our salvation when we lose our faith
If salvation is through faith, isn’t it logical that a Christian can lose his salvation by losing that faith which he had in Jesus Christ.
1 Cor 15:1-2 1 Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. (NIV)
1 Jn 5:13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. (HNV)
2 Tim 2:12 if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; (NIV)
Heb 2:1-3 1 We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. (NIV)
Can a Christian lose his salvation by sinning?
A Christian cannot lose his salvation by sinning for the same reason he did not gained his salvation by his good works.
Rom 3:2022 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. 21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, (NIV)
Although a Christian may continue to sin, he is considered a righteous person in God’s sight. This is because our spiritual position is different from our daily practice. The best illustration to show the difference between position and practice is in God’s response to the Israelites. In Numbers 23:21, God said that He “has not observed iniquity in Jacob, nor has He seen wickedness in Israel”. How could that be? Since Israel’s exodus from Egypt, they have not stopped sinning against God. They complained to God when they reached the Red Sea (Exodus 14:1012), when the water was bitter (Exodus 15:2326), when there was a shortage of food (Exodus 16:113) and when they had no water (Exodus 17:17). God could react this way towards the Israelites because their spiritual position and their daily practice were different. We may continue to sin after becoming a Christian but God sees in us only the righteousness of his Son Jesus Christ.
If we can only keep our salvation if we lead a good life, then we are saying that salvation is something we deserve and is not by grace. This is contrary to Scripture.
Rom 11:6 And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. (NIV)
What happens when someone professes to be a Christian but continues to lead a life of sin without repentance or feeling guilty?
The Bible tells us that a true Christian will definitely have a change in his life.
1 Jn 2:35 3 We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4 The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: (NIV)
1 Jn 3:6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. (NIV)
If someone professes to be a Christian but continues to lead a life of sin without repentance or feeling guilty, then there is reason to doubt if that person is saved in the first place, not because good deeds are a condition for salvation but because good deeds are a necessary result of salvation.
A true believer in God’s grace will not want to hurt God with his sin.
Why does the bible say that it is practically impossible for someone to have true faith in Jesus and still continue to lead a life of sin? Imagine someone who has saved our life. How do we treat this person? Do we do things to deliberately hurt him or do we try our best to please him out of gratitude and love? The answer is obvious for most of us. We find it impossible to deliberately hurt someone whom we know has saved us. How about Jesus? If we truly believe that He died for us, will we not be filled with love for Him and try our best to please Him? Do we not want to abstain from sin because sin grieves God? It is therefore impossible to have true faith in Jesus and still choose to sin deliberately.
Note that 1 Jn 3:6 does not say that a Christian will not sin; it says that a Christian will not “keep on sinning” or “continue to sin”. In other words, Christians do sin but they do not make it a habit of sinning and certainly don’t sin continuously without feeling guilt that they have hurt God.
A person who has been grasp by the reality of God’s kindness and forgiveness does not continue sinning without feeling guilty. The Bible says that God’s kindness will lead us towards repentance.
(Rom 2:4 NIV) Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?
(Luke 7:47 NIV) Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
If a person “loses” his faith, doesn’t that likely imply that he didn’t have true faith to begin with?
Some people believe that once a person truly believes in Jesus, it is impossible for that person to turn back. This is because the Bible says that when a person is saved by faith, he is sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, placed in the body of Christ, given an eternal inheritance which cannot be destroyed. Therefore, if that believer turns his back on Christianity, it must be that he did not truly believe in the first place.
Firstly, I want to say that it is impossible for us to know for sure whether a person truly believed when he later turns his back on Christ. I tend to believe that a person who truly believed in one instance could later switch back to disbelief. This is for the following reasons.
1) This is consistent with our practical experience.
If you believe that Mr A is a nice guy but Mr A later did something horrible to you and you changed your mind. You now believe that Mr A is a horrible guy. My question to you is : Was your previous belief that Mr A is a nice guy genuine or a make-believe. Can the genuineness of your previous belief that Mr A is a nice guy be made void in any way by your subsequent change of mind?
2) We don’t stop having free will once we place our faith in Jesus
Before we become Christians, we have the free will to decide whether to accept or reject Jesus. After we truly believed, do we still have free will? If we say that if we truly believed once, we will definitely be saved in the end, we are saying that it becomes impossible for us to turn our back on Jesus. No more free will?
3) The Biblical promises are misunderstood
When the Bible says that believers are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, placed in the body of Christ, given an eternal inheritance which cannot be destroyed, it is not talking about an unconditional promise regardless of whether that person later denounces Jesus Christ. Can you find a verse in the Bible that teaches that even if a believer denounces his faith, he will still be saved?
What the Bible is trying to teach is that a believer who continues to believe is immediately kept saved from Satan’s power to pluck him out of Christ’s body. Jesus teaches that Satan is unable to pluck any believer out of His father’s hand.