Do I really want to write an article about this? Wouldn’t be safer to stick with simpler, less controversial subjects like the second coming of Jesus, abortion rights and if there’s apartheid in the Middle East? Nah, lest go for the big one here; let’s talk about losing your salvation.
First, a story to illustrate a point. The 30th President of the United States was Calvin Coolidge, affectionately know as “Silent Cal” because he so often said so little. Coming out of church one Sunday the President was surrounded by reporters, looking for a story. “Mr. President, what did the preacher preach about?!” they asked. “Sin”, replied the President in his typical fashion. Not satisfied, the reporters pressed Coolidge, “Well, what did he say about it?” “He was against it,” replied the President.
How do I feel about losing your salvation? I’m against it. In fact, (gulp), I’ll even say that I don’t think you can lose your salvation. And with that, I’m certain that there will be those who let the dogs out at that statement. Because this subject really fires people up.
I feel that if you are saved, you can’t lose your salvation. I’ve never found an example in the Bible where it clearly states that someone has lost his salvation. Let’s take a few examples. King Saul at one point was really a man of God and even got prophecies from Him. When he was “little in his own sight” (I Samuel 15:17), God highly exalted him. But he ended up becoming one of the biggest failures in the Bible. “The spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him.” (I Samuel 16:14)
But did Saul go to hell? The night before Saul’s death on the battle field, he was so distraught that he turned to what must have been a witch or sorcerer in order to try to get back in contact with his old friend and mentor, Samuel. And the Bible says this even happened. But the news wasn’t good. Samuel told Saul, communicating to him from the spiritual world, “tomorrow shall you and your sons be with me”. (I Samuel 28:19) We certainly don’t think that Samuel was in hell. So if Saul was going to be with him the next day, then he would be with him in heaven, not hell. Con-tro-verse-ial!
But there’s more. This is not for delicate ears but we can look in the New Testament and I Corinthians 5. Paul needed to try to deal with a rather detestable subject that had come up with the Corinthians, “that a man should have his father’s wife” (I Corinthians 5:1). Evidently that had happened in the church there. Did Paul say the man had lost his salvation? No. He said they should “deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (I Corinthians 5:5) Again the call is salvation, even for such a sin as that.
Several verses in the book of John or in I John also point this direction of “once saved, always saved”. John 3:36 says, “He that believes on the Son has everlasting life…” It doesn’t say they will have, they may have, they someday might have, it says they have, present tense. If you have eternal life, you can’t lose it, otherwise it wouldn’t be eternal. And in I John 5:13, it says, “These things have I written to you that believe on the name of the son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
Not hope, not think, not wonder about. Know. That’s a strong word, much stronger than “believe” is in English nowadays. When you know something, it’s finished, it’s done, it’s certain. And that brings to mind two blog posts I’ve written which might be similar to this, one about “Certainty” and the other which is in many ways about Salvation, “The Seed and The Egg”.
Yes, I know there are a number of verses some people hold on to in their belief that someone can lose there salvation. I just feel there are far more verses that say you can’t lose it, if you have it. You may end up in heaven without much of any reward, you may have squandered your life and the grace of God that was shown you on earth in this life. You may have quite a lot of tears that will need to be wiped away in heaven, you may even be in “everlasting shame and contempt” (Daniel 12:2) on the other side for all that you could have done and said here on earth that you never did. But I don’t believe someone will lose their salvation. They’ll be there in heaven, but like the old farmers in the South used to say, “with a long row to hoe.”