Can a Christian Lose their Salvation? Once saved always saved?

Can a Christian lose salvation? Once we are born again, justified by  faith in Jesus Christ, can we then lose  salvation? Does  God give us the free gift of salvation  and then if we’re not good enough or  don’t obey enough, remove it? 

The position that  I believe in is called “perseverance of  the saints”. That once a Christian is  justified by faith, the faith alone is  that which makes him right with God. It  is not works at all. Works has nothing to  do with how an individual is justified,  saved, brought into salvation. But I  don’t believe it ends there. I believe  that true saving faith leads to a  transformation. The Bible says we are  born again. It is a very real  supernatural rebirth that occurs in a  person’s life where the Holy Spirit is  now inside and the person inherits  everlasting life. They’re given a new  heart with new desires and this is  evident by the fact that they begin to  do good works and begin to obey God, not  to be saved or keep their salvation, but  rather because they are saved now. 

Before  we go over the Bible verses that justify  this position, let’s discuss the other  two positions. There’s one on this side  and there’s one all the way on the other  side and both of them are false.  We’ll  start here. This one is oftentimes called  “hyper grace, once saved always saved”. And  this position states (rightly) that a person is justified by faith, it’s the  faith alone, in the grace alone of God  that saved them. Where they  falter and they fall into error is  immediately after they say “That  doesn’t mean that a person is going to  live a transformed life. That person can  continue into sin and still be saved.” That is where the error is. 

Then on  this side, we have a whole other camp who  believe (rightly) “I got saved by  faith.  I got justified by faith.” Then they fall into error because  they go “The person is transformed  and lives a new life but if they don’t  do it good enough, if they don’t work  hard enough for maintaining and keeping  their salvation, God will remove it.” That’s the error. Both of these positions  are on extremes of each other and they  fall into error. That’s not what the  Bible teaches. So what I’m going to share with you  today is the “perseverance of the saints”. That’s the name of this doctrine that is  biblical, that deals with answering this  question: Can a true saint lose salvation? No, because true saints are  overcomers who stand until the end,  having overcome the world and persevere  in their faith till the end.

1 John 2:19 is talking about a group of  Christians who have come into the church. They call themselves  Christians but “they went out from us”. They began in the church and then they  went out. So they began a life of  obedience and submission to God and then  they left and no longer are they  following God. They went out from us but they were not  of us, for if they had been of us, they  would have continued with us, but they  went out that they’re going out (that  expression of them coming in and then  leaving the church) is evidence that they  are not  of us to begin with. What we see here is that those who come into the  church and they end up falling away, they  were not of us to begin with. The Bible says that on that day,  many shall say to me “Lord, Lord” and  you’ll say to them “I knew you for a  little bit”? No, “I never knew you. I’ve  never brought you into my family by the  adoption. I’ve never given you the Holy  Spirit. I’ve never given you the new  birth. I don’t know you.” (Matt 7:21-23) 

There is another  verse that shows that God doesn’t cast  away his children. He doesn’t take  someone and adopt him as a child and then “I don’t like you  anymore. Go out. You’re no longer my child. I never had a relationship with you.” A  true Christian is one that perseveres and that is so clearly evident with 1 John 2:19? 

John 10:28 I give  them eternal life and they will never  perish. And no one will snatch them out  of my hand.

Philippians 1:6 And I am  sure of this, that he who began a good work in you  will bring it to completion on the day of Jesus  Christ.

You are a masterpiece once you  are accepted by God and brought into  God’s family. He is the Potter and you  are the clay and he begins to shape your  life. And it is his work to shape and  mold you into the likeness of his Son. Philippians 1:6 says  that that good work that God has started  through Jesus Christ will be completed,  he’s not gonna leave you hanging,  he’s not going to just abandon you.

Ephesians 4:30 says: And do  not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by  whom you were sealed  for the day of redemption.

We are  sealed by God, protected. He’s not going  to let us go. We are in his hand once we  are truly saved. Let’s emphasize what  true and saving faith looks like because  we run into verses in the book of James  that say stuff like this.

James 2:14 What good is it my brothers if  someone says he has faith but does not  have works. Can that faith save him? 

And  he goes on to talk about “faith without  works is dead.” Is James’ teaching here a  contradiction to what the Apostle Paul  was saying about how we are saved by  grace? No, not at all. What he’s talking about here is the  difference between the once-saved- always-saved head knowledge of  God and saving faith. James 2:19 says “You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe and  shudder.” So the demons have faith  and know God and his son and all  these things but are they saved? No, that faith is dead and how do we know  that an individual has true saving faith? It  is by the works. Is it the works that  save them? No, it’s the faith. But  the true and saving faith that led to  the new birth also led to a changed  heart. That changed heart then in turn leads to good works that we’re called to  do. But it is not those good works that  save us. Faith is the root and obedience  is the fruit. But we’re saved by the root  faith and faith alone. But how you know  that is saving faith is you begin to see  a transformed life, a person wanting to  surrender their life to Jesus and God,  because they are saved, not to keep their  salvation, not to merit it in the first place either. These are very  important biblical concepts to  understand.

Now let’s talk about these once-saved-always-saved  heretics who are teaching this hyper-grace nonsense that’s nowhere found in  the Bible, that a true born-again  Christian can potentially continue  to sin their whole life and still end  up saved. Let’s look at what the  Bible has to say about that. 1 John 3:4-9 Everyone  who makes a practice of sinning also  practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to  take away sins and in him there is no  sin. No one who abides in him keeps on  sinning (no one who abides in him  continues in a pattern of willful sin in  their life). No one who  keeps on sinning has either seen him  or knows him. Little children, let no  one deceive you. Whoever practices  righteousness is righteous, as he is  righteous. Whoever makes a practice of  willful continual sin in their life is  of the devil, for the devil has been  sinning since the beginning. And the  reason the Son of God has appeared was  to destroy the works of the devil. No one  born of God makes a practice of sinning for God’s Spirit, his seed abides in him and he cannot  keep sinning. It’s impossible for a Christian because God’s Spirit  abides in us. Because of the new  birth, we are given the Holy Spirit. It  abides in us, it has the power to  overcome sin. We’re free from sin so  we will not continue in sin. By this, it is  evident who are the children of God and  who are the children of the devil. We  can know that you are a true born-again  Christian if you  are having a new life, you have new  desires. It doesn’t mean you’re gonna be  perfect but it means that you are going  to tackle sin in your life. And it’s a continuous  battle but you are going to grow in  righteousness and obedience, not to keep  your salvation, not to get saved in the  first place, but because you are saved and God’s seed, his Spirit, abides in you. And  because of that abiding, you can’t  continue in sin. A child  of God cannot continue in sin because the Spirit will convict, God will  discipline and you will experience godly  sorrow like you’ve never experienced in  your life, which leads to repentance, a change of mind, which works  its way out from the mind into action. If we have a changed mind, we will  also have changed actions because  our actions come from our mind. So if I  change my mind about something, if I  truly repent, then also you’ll see that  worked out in my actions. If my actions  begin to show you that I continue to sin,  it’s because I don’t have a real change  of mind.  My mind hasn’t repented  of these things, hasn’t been turned around.