Can a Christian Lose Salvation?
Steve, you’re incorrect about salvation. Once a person is saved by the redeeming blood of Christ, there is nothing in Heaven or on earth that can make a person loose their salvation. You better study your Bible. Once saved, always saved, AND SAVED BY GRACE ALONE…”
John, I think perhaps it’s you who should study your Bible a bit better. And also, learn how to correctly spell the word “lose.”
Since you’re so adamant that there’s “nothing in heaven or on earth that can make a person loose (sic) their salvation,” let’s take a look at what the Bible says on the matter:
The 7 Christian Churches of Revelation
Chapters 2-3 of the book of Revelation tell us about the seven Christian churches of the end days, and reveal God’s warnings to each one of these Christian churches.
These seven churches were composed of believers in Jesus Christ. But only two of the seven churches were found worthy by God: the church of Smyrna and the church of Philadelphia.
The other five Christian churches fell short, at the very end, and the Lord clearly tells each one of those five churches that they risk losing their salvation if they don’t repent and straighten their acts out quickly.
Yes, entire Christian churches were told by Christ that they could lose their salvation. As an example, here’s what Christ says to the church of Ephesus:
Rev 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
So, yes, a Christian, or even an entire Christian church, can indeed lose their salvation, which means they lose their place in the eternity. Having one’s “candlestick” removed “out of his place,” means you’ve lost your spot in the eternal kingdom.
Christ Himself says so, in the above verses, and in the many other verses covering those five churches and their sinfulness. Look, for example, at what the Lord tells the church of Thyatira:
Rev 2:20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
Rev 2:21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
Rev 2:22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
Rev 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
Rev 2:24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.
Rev 2:25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.
So, Christian churches that allow a false prophet to enter and teach their Christian parishioners can result in…the spiritual death of all of those who gather around that false prophet (i.e., “and I will kill her children with death”).
In other words, the Christian congregation listening to that false prophet can lose their salvation and eternal life for doing so, short of repentance.
Now, let’s take a look at what Christ says to the church of Ephesus:
Rev 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
Failure to acknowledge your sins, and repent of them, can result in the loss of your “candlestick.” In other words, you lose the light of eternal life in Christ.
And what about the church of Sardis?
Christ tells that church only a very few of their Christian congregation are going to make it into the eternity, because the vast majority of the Christians in that church were simply not worthy. As it’s written:
Rev 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
Rev 3:4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
Christ orders the members of the church of Sardis to get right with Him, fast, and to remember why they became Christians in the first place, or risk becoming His enemy.
He further confirms that only “a few names” – only a few Christians out of this entire church — were worthy to walk with Him in white, meaning to gain eternal life.
And what about the church of Laodicea? Let’s take a quick look:
Rev 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
Rev 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
Rev 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
The word “spue” should have been translated correctly as “vomit.” Would you like to be vomited out of your Lord and Savior’s mouth? Well, just do the things the church of Laodicea is described as doing.
Listen, these verses in chapters 2 and 3 of the great book of Revelation are to the “seven churches,” meaning they’re directed to the full Christian church of the end times (“7” is the Biblical number of fullness, or completion).
So, don’t tell me there’s “nothing in Heaven or on earth that can make a person lose their salvation.” The Bible clearly says otherwise. Even entire Christian churches can lose their “candlestick,” meaning their place in the eternity.
Adding or Subtracting from God’s Word
Here’s another way the Bible says you can lose your salvation:
Rev 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
Rev 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
You can’t get much clearer than that.
“Any man” (and that would include any Christian) who adds false doctrine to God’s Word will be plagued by God.
And any man who removes eternal truths from God’s Word will lose their “part out of the book of life.” In other words, they had been listed in the book of life, because they were Christians. But they’ll lose their part in that wonderful book, and be condemned to hell for altering God’s Word.
So, there are indeed a myriad of ways a believer can lose their salvation, if he (or she) is not careful. Denying that puts you at risk for it, since you’d be denying God’s very Word on the subject.
Mark of the Beast
Accepting the mark of the beast is another way a Christian can lose their salvation:
Rev 14:9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
Rev 14:10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
Rev 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
Again, surely you know that “any man” includes Christians.
If a Christian apostatizes, or is deceived and takes the mark of the beast, or worships the beast and its image, then he (or she) “shall drink the wine of the wrath of God” and be “tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.”
That might sound harsh. But them’s the rules, right? And they’re given to us in advance, so we know what’s coming and prepare ourselves, mentally, emotionally and spiritually for what’s coming.
Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit
A Christian can also lose his (or her) salvation by blaspheming the Holy Spirit. As it’s written:
Mar 3:28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:
Mar 3:29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:
Mar 3:30 Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.
In other words, when you’re being taught a deeper revealed truth by someone who actually has the Holy Spirit of truth operating within them, but you reject that deeper truth and accuse them of having an “unclean spirit” because of what they taught, you’re in essence calling the Holy Spirit of God “unclean.”
That’s blaspheming against the Holy Spirit and His revealed truth. And the penalty for blaspheming against the Holy Spirit – portraying a truth from the Holy Spirit to be from an unclean spirit — is that the one who does so “hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.”
The bottom line is this: While it might be quite difficult to lose one’s salvation in Christ – thanks to His mercy and grace — it’s nevertheless possible. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be so many warnings in the Bible about it.
God doesn’t waste His breath (Spirit) warning against things that can’t happen. So be very careful about what you think can’t happen. It the Lord warned against it, then it certainly can happen.
“Not Every One…”
Jesus Himself tells us that not all professed Christians will make it into His Kingdom:
Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
The term “Lord, Lord” means the person was indeed a Christian, and acknowledged Jesus as the Christ of God.
You’ll note these Christians were even prophesying in the Lord’s name. And casting out devils in His name. And doing other works, as well, such as building great churches, holding bake sales, putting on extravagant church plays, and other forms of playing church.
You’ll also note there are “many” of these professing Christians. Yet Christ says that not everyone who acknowledges Him as “Lord, Lord” will be able to enter into the kingdom of heaven.
That’s because you can’t just profess His name and run around playing church in order to obtain salvation, as so many Christians unfortunately believe. Belonging to a church and participating in its activities does not bring about salvation. It only raises church membership numbers.
You must also be busy doing “the will of my Father which is in heaven.”
In other words, you need works in line with the will of God in order to demonstrate your faith, which in turn brings about your salvation. Without those works, Father considers your faith to be a dead faith.
Faith v/s Works
In short, it’s not “being a Christian” that saves you. It’s doing the will of God that proves your Christianity and cements your salvation.
As St. James would state, “Show me your faith without works, and I’ll show you my faith by my works” (James 2:18).
Let’s continue on with that thought, in James chapter 2, for just a moment:
James 2:14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?
James 2:15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,
James 2:16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?
James 2:14 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Faith alone in the name of Jesus Christ doesn’t save you. As a Christian, you must have the works to back up that faith.
What kind of works?
Certainly not works of the law, i.e., the statutes and ordinances that were nailed to the cross with Christ. But works of faith, instead. Works that clearly demonstrate to others your faith in the Lord and your willingness to work within the context of His will. In other words, works that help fulfill the will of God, which is to save His children.
If you had an employee who told you “I love working for your company,” but then you notice that they’re just sitting around all day doing nothing except collecting a paycheck, how long will you keep that employee around? Not long, I’d bet.
So, yes, a person who professes Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior is saved, unless they have no works that demonstrate their faith.
In other words, if they bear no fruit (i.e., works) for the Lord, then they get cut off from the branch (Christ), meaning they have no salvation. As it’s written, straight from the mouth of Christ Himself:
Joh 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
Joh 15:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Note He says “every branch in me.”
In other words, if you’re in Christ (i.e., you’re a professing Christian), but you’re not bearing fruit for Christ (no works demonstrating your faith) then you risk getting your branch cut off the vine. And since the vine is Christ (John 15:1) this means you lose your salvation. How much clearer does it need to be for you?
So, no, salvation is not automatic-and-forever to every professing Christian. Yes, it’s a free gift of God. But it requires ongoing works of faith to initiate and sustain it. Otherwise, the Christian can be cut off from the vine of life, Jesus Christ.
I know that saying such a thing goes against church and denominational traditions. “Once saved, always saved” is a very powerful church meme. But it’s false.
And I refuse to bend to empty church tradition when the Bible is so very, very clear on this important subject. You can indeed lose your salvation if you have no works to back up your profession of Christian faith.
Christians Who Lose Patience in the Lord’s Coming
Another example? You can lose your salvation simply by losing your patience in the Lord’s coming. Let’s take a look:
Luk 12:42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?
Luk 12:43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
Luk 12:44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.
Luk 12:45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;
Luk 12:46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
This was a “faithful and wise” steward of the Lord.
But he got impatient with living the disciplined Christian life while waiting on the Lord’s return, and instead went full-tilt-worldly, grossly mistreating those around him, and becoming gluttonous and drunken (probably spiritually as well as physically).
And what does the Lord say about such a Christian servant?
He said, “The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.”
Yes, a Christian servant of the Lord can indeed lose his (or her) salvation. If you turn on the Lord after all He’s done to save you, He’ll turn on you, in response. He’s not a door mat for us to walk all over. And He’s not a revolving door, either.
Finally, let me ask you this: If indeed “nothing in Heaven or on earth” can cause a person to lose their salvation, what happens when a Christian apostatizes?
What do you think apostacy is? And what’s the Biblical penalty for it?
Apostacy doesn’t just mean the renunciation of one’s religious beliefs. It means renouncing those beliefs in order to adopt a new set of beliefs. It’s a form of divorce and re-marriage.
In other words, apostasy means to divorce the truth (of God’s Word) in order to marry a lie (i.e., Satan’s word).
And God certainly isn’t going to reward you with eternal life for divorcing His truth and marrying a lie, because that essentially means you’ve divorced Christ to marry something of the devil. (See The Christian Church in Apostasy.)
II Thessalonians 2:1-12 tells us that those Christians who will “fall away” from God’s truth (i.e., in the great apostacy) and who worship the false Christ (that “man of sin, the son of perdition”) in place of the true Christ, will ultimately be “damned” by God for rejecting the truth they once held near and dear, and for taking pleasure in such unrighteousness and apostasy.
That doesn’t sound like “there is nothing in Heaven or on earth that can make a person lose their salvation” to me. Does it still sound like that, to you?
Let’s take a quick look at some insightful verses from Hebrews chapter 6 regarding apostasy, and see what the Scripture has to say:
Heb 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
Heb 6:5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
Heb 6:6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
The people being spoken of in this verse were true Christians.
- They had been “enlightened” by the Holy Spirit of truth.
- They had “tasted” of the heavenly gift, meaning they were granted the unction of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
- And they “tasted” the good Word of God and the powers of the world to come (i.e., casting out devils in Christ’s name, healing the sick, etc.).
So, these folks really knew the Lord.
Yet the Scripture says, “if they shall fall away” (i.e., apostatize; meaning if they turn against Christ, and go to another, after having known and experienced His goodness), they cannot come back and be saved all over again.
Because Christ would have to die for their sins again, which would “put Him to an open shame.”
And why would that be shameful? Because Christ offered “one sacrifice for sins for ever” (Hebrews 10:10-12). Thus, being crucified a second time for the sake of an apostate would nullify God’s Word, making God a liar.
This means apostates cannot have salvation, in spite of having been “once saved.” And that’s because they turned their backs on that salvation when they apostatized.
Now, you might say, “But Steve, all Christians have to do is repent of their sinfulness, and they’re back in good graces with the Lord.”
And that’s true. In just about every case. But the Christians in this example first tasted the “good word of God,” were “enlightened” by the Lord, and were “partakers of the Holy Spirit.” In other words, they knew the Lord, for a fact.
So, when they afterwards rejected those things – the Word, the Spirit that had enlightened them, and Christ Himself — they rejected their covering of Christ’s shed blood, as well. They were no longer “under the blood.”
The only solution for them, at that point, would be if Christ could be crucified once again on their behalves. Which just isn’t going to happen. Nor should it.
The bottom line is that there’s only one salvation. And if you’ve experienced it in the depth and breadth described in the verses above, replete with having the Holy Spirit of truth operating within you and enlightening you, and then, with such full knowledge of God and His Kingdom, you rejected it in order to go to another, then it’s “impossible” for you to be saved again.
Why? Because in rejecting Him, after fully knowing Him, you rejected your own salvation. You took yourself out from under the covering of His shed blood. He didn’t cut you off. You did it to yourself. And willingly so.
So, “once saved, always saved”? Nope. Not hardly. A Christian can indeed lose his (or her) salvation, simply by apostatizing.
Here’s another example demonstrating why the sin of apostasy can cost you your salvation:
Heb 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
Heb 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
Heb 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Heb 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
Heb 10:27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
The “willful” sin Paul mentions is, once again, apostasy. Paul was addressing Christians who were giving up their Christianity and returning to Judaism.
The penalty? There would be no more sacrifice for their sins. And they’d face certain judgment and fiery indignation from God. In other words, they would end up in the lake of fire. Once a professing Christian, soon to be a burning heathen.
St. Paul tells Christians that in turning back to Judaism, there “remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.”
In other words, turning back causes loss of salvation, because Christ and His gift of salvation are rejected in Judaism. What’s more, to return to Judaism, you have to reject Christ and His gift of salvation, or those antichrist Jews won’t even let you in the door.
Let’s continue on this track with St. Paul:
Heb 10:28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
Heb 10:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
Heb 10:30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
Heb 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
In short, if a Christian – even a Christian who had previously been “sanctified” by the “blood of the covenant” — turns back to the false religion they originally came out of, he (or she) loses their salvation in Christ.
This is why St. Paul would later state, to Christians who had turned back to Judaism, “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” (Galatians 5:4)
Does that really sound to you like “there is nothing in Heaven or on earth that can make a person lose their salvation”?
So, yes, loss of salvation – meaning estrangement from Christ and a fall from grace — is indeed possible for a Christian. If they turn to other religions, or turn back to the religion of dead works they originally came out of, they are in essence dead to Christ. And that means they’ve lost their salvation.
Again, “once saved, always saved,” is a myth – a mere church tradition with no Biblical basis in fact.
And Yet Another Example
Let’s take a quick look at what St. Peter has to say about the question of whether or not a Christian can lose their salvation?
2Pe 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
2Pe 2:21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
2Pe 2:22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
So, a Christian who has “escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” can lose their salvation simply by becoming “again entangled therein, and overcome.”
The key phrase in this verse is “the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.” The word “beginning” is referring back to when the individual was not yet saved. If you’re not yet saved, you cannot gain entrance into heaven.
What could be worse than never being saved in the first place? Having been once saved, and then turning back to the world and its sinful ways, and losing your salvation in the process. That’s what.
Again, “once saved, always saved,” is simply not Biblical. You can indeed lose your salvation, through any of the means we’ve covered in this study.
For homework, I’d suggest your read the Parable of the 10 Virgins of the end days, in Matthew 25:1-13, keeping in mind that a “virgin,” spiritually speaking, means a Christian who has not fallen away from the truth to a falsehood.
These 10 “virgins” were on their way to see Christ at His Second Advent, so they could join the Kingdom Wedding (symbolic of eternal life with Christ).
Five of these “virgins” were wise (because they truly studied God’s Word on a regular basis, thus their “lamps” were filled with “oil”), and five were foolish (because they failed to fill their minds with the truth of God’s Word before heading out to meet the returned Savior).
But what happened as they made their way to the wedding?
Five of them made it all of the way to the Kingdom Wedding and were allowed in by the Lord Himself. And five didn’t show up until the doors to the wedding had already been closed; these five were not allowed in. Christ Himself refused entry to them.
Thus, they missed the Kingdom Wedding, meaning they missed their chance at entry into the eternal kingdom. Christ’s words to them, as they pounded on the door begging to be allowed to enter, were: “Verily I say unto you, I know you not.”
In other words, they were told, “You’re not on the guest list.” They were Christian. They acknowledged Him as the Lord. They were seeking His kingdom, heading to the Kingdom Wedding. Yet they were rejected as unfit.
So yes, a Christian can indeed lose their salvation, simply for not being properly prepared – not being truly serious about their Christianity, but instead, just going along for the ride with other Christians. It’s called playing church.
Of course, this only means they’ve missed the first resurrection (Revelation 20:6), which takes place at Christ’s second advent. Then, they’ll have the millennium – the 1,000 years of teaching from Christ Himself and His elect priests (Revelation 20:6) — to potentially get back on track.
But if they haven’t straightened up and flown straight by the time the millennium teaching period is over, then all bets are off. If you follow Satan when he’s released from the pit at the end of the millennium, then it’s the fiery judgment of God, for you (Revelation 20:7-9). You don’t even get to make it to the great white throne judgment (Revelation 20:11-15). The Lord takes you out right then and there.
Also, for additional homework, read for yourself the Parable of the Talents in that same chapter of Matthew (i.e., Matthew 25:14-30). This parable is about the Kingdom of Heaven, who gets in, and who’s left out.
The servants who made the most profit for their Master (i.e., symbolic of Christians who help bring many other Christians into the fold) were told, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”
In other words, they get to enter the eternal kingdom.
But for the servant who hid the talent (coin) he’d been given by his Master, not even trying to multiply His Master’s wealth (i.e., symbolic of not even trying to bring other Christians into Christianity), it was ordered, “…cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
And this sentence was pronounced upon this unprofitable servant, even though he returned the full amount of money his Master had given him to start with. It wasn’t that he’d lost anything of the Lord’s. It was the fact that he did nothing with the opportunities given him by the Lord that cost him entry into the “joy of thy lord,” meaning the eternal kingdom.
So there again, in parable form, is another example of something that can make a Christian lose his salvation: Sloth and fear, resulting in failure to launch, so to speak.
In other words, this Christian had no Christian works to show. And that’s one thing our heavenly Father will not put up with. He does not appreciate lazy, fear-based or otherwise unproductive Christians. He considers them a burden on the vine of Christianity. They’re parasites who only feed, rather than contribute. So, the Master has them cast out, into outer darkness – a euphemism meaning entry into the heavenly Kingdom has been denied.
Don’t believe that? Then consider one more homework assignment: Read the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree in Luke 13:6-9. In this parable, the barren fig tree is symbolic of a non-productive Christian.
The Lord orders this barren “fig tree” to be cut down from His vineyard, saying that it “cumbereth the ground,” meaning it’s wasting the ground’s resources by not producing any fruit. Like the unprofitable servant in the Parable of the Talents, this “tree” was just taking up space, sucking up the nutrients from the ground, but not providing anything in return, i.e., no fruit.
The owner (i.e., symbolizing God) of the vineyard (symbolizing the kingdom) orders the dresser of the vineyard to uproot the non-producing “tree” (symbolic of a non-productive Christian). But the vine-dresser asks the Lord to give him one more growing season to fertilize the tree, and see if it will produce fruit after that.
The parable ends with the vine dresser saying, “And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.”
In other words, the Lord will often give one last chance for a non-productive Christian to get their act together. He’ll let them be “fertilized” with truth (i.e., for example, during the Millennium teaching period, which precedes the great white throne judgment).
But if the Christian “tree” doesn’t respond to the nutrients in the “fertilizer” (i.e., the truths being given him during his one last chance) and become a productive Christian, then he’s cut down, meaning he’ll be judged to be non-productive, and cast into the lake of fire. Where, yes, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
There is no way, with all of this evidence, that any thinking Christian can believe in the “once saved, always saved” church tradition.
The Kingdom of God is eternal. And He’s using this flesh earth age to weed out those who simply don’t belong…can’t hack it…won’t grow… won’t help other Christians grow…won’t work to bring others into the Kingdom…have no patience… or are prone to flitting off after foreign doctrines and teachings after having professed Christ.
I think I’ve made the case that it’s quite possible for a Christian to lose his place in the eternal kingdom.
God is certainly not sitting up in heaven looking for excuses to rob Christians of the gift of salvation and eternal life. After all, He gave His own Son over to an excruciatingly painful death on that cross at Calvary, as payment for our sins.
Nevertheless…it’s also true that He won’t molly-coddle you, just because you claim to be “saved.”
- He won’t put up with blasphemy against His Holy Spirit of truth from a Christian. Such blasphemy can negate one’s salvation.
- He won’t put up with apostasy, from a Christian. The act of apostasy alone can (and does) negate one’s salvation.
- He won’t put up with idolatry, from a Christian. This, too, can negate one’s salvation.
- He won’t put up with false teachers being brought into the Christian churches, because this puts at grave risk the salvation of every Christian studying under that false teacher. This can result in loss of salvation for an entire church.
- He won’t put up with Christians who place church tradition over revealed Bible truth. This, being a form of idolatry, can cause you to lose your salvation.
- He won’t put up with “lukewarm” Christians. He wants Christians who are filled with the warmth and fire of the Holy Spirit. Namby-pamby Christians utterly disgust the Lord. Lukewarm Christians are vomited from His mouth.
- He won’t put up with Christian servants who grow so impatient for His Second Coming that they begin to grossly mistreat others, and “eat and drink with the drunken.” He’ll cut that servant off at His Second Advent.
- He won’t put up with Christians who take their hands from the plow and look back, with longing, to the very past He originally saved them from.
Each of these things, and more, can cost a Christian their salvation, as we’ve seen throughout this study. (See also the Bible study, Remember Lots Wife, for yet another way Christians can lose their rights to the eternal kingdom.)
In short, claiming that “there is nothing in Heaven or on earth that can make a person lose their salvation” is a misguided but blatant falsehood. There are lots of things that can cost a Christian their salvation.
And yes, I’m quite familiar with Romans chapter 8, which states in the final two verses,
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:
That is truth. But it does not say, “Once a person is saved by the redeeming blood of Christ, there is nothing in Heaven or on earth that can make a person lose their salvation.”
If that’s what those two verses meant, then those verses would be at odds with everything else the Bible warns about the potential of losing one’s salvation. And God does not contradict Himself.
Instead, those verses are directed to those who “through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body” (Romans 8:13)…and those who have become “joint-heirs with Christ” through suffering on His behalf (Romans 8:17)…those pre-destined to “be conformed to the image of His Son”…and those who, with patience, wait for the hope of the second coming and the fulfillment of the promises of God (Romans 8:25).
In other words, Romans chapter 8 is directed to God’s elect, who were chosen by God in the world-that-was (i.e., the first heaven age) for standing up against Satan when he tried to overthrow God’s throne.
And it’s true: There’s nothing that can separate God’s elect from the love of Christ, for they’ve already proven their faithfulness under fire, so to speak. They’ve already been tested and found to be battle-ready.
In closing, let’s turn for just a second to the words of St. John, where he’s discussing how important it is to be wary of deceivers:
2 Jn 1:8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
“Wrought” means labored for. In other words, you can indeed lose your heavenly rewards for your Christian labors by failing to beware of deceivers trying to wrangle their way into your life with false doctrine.
So, I’d say that’s excellent advice from St. John. And more importantly, once again, why would St. John warn against losing the rewards of your labors in Christ, if it were not distinctly possible to do so?
Regards in Christ,
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