Is it possible for a genuine Christian…
to lose our salvation?
I’m not asking if those who went forward in a service. Nor if a person prayed a prayer or went to church for years can lose our salvation. I’m asking about the person who knows Jesus personally and follows Him with our lives.
If our intimate relationship with the Father, Son and Spirit is the most precious, fundamental Reality we experience, then whatever can break or keep this relationship secure is what is first and central in our lives.
So, what is your view? Do you believe we can lose our salvation
Is there anything or anyone in all the universe, including yourself, that can separate you from the light, life and love of our Family-of-Three? Anyone?
If so, I suggest that person or thing is first in your life. This is at the center of your life, regardless of your stated beliefs.
I believe Scripture teaches that everyone who has genuinely placed their faith in Christ with the commitment of wholehearted allegiance is instantly His…forever.
It’s the keeping-power and keeping-love and keeping-promises of the Father, Son and Spirit that secure our relationship.
Once we genuinely give our lives over to Jesus Christ in full allegiance, we are absolutely secure in Him. We are His temple (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). We can be certain that we belong to God forever and that He knows how to preserve what is His own with His keeping-love and power.
Security is an objective Reality for all who have placed their faith in Christ.
Security rests in Gods’ faithful keeping-power and love, not in our ability to hold on. We are secure in the relational Trinity, whether we believe it or not. He holds us tight…forever.
“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand”
(John 10:28-29, emphasis).
Assurance, by contrast, is a subjective awareness of our response to security. We either feel assured or not. However, whether we believe that we are secure in Christ. Reality will not change. Our belief and feeling do not change the Reality of security, only its enjoyment.
One important lens for the Christian life is: “God’s part and my part.”
Our enemy brings confusion here so I will attempt to do what is God’s part, which I always fail at. Or I tell God to do my part, which He will not do. Both lead to discouragement and a sense of failure.
As an illustration…
…of the difference between security and assurance, let’s look at a father-son relationship.
What is the father’s part and what is the son’s part in the family dynamic?
The father’s responsibility is to sire the son and to raise him with care and compassion, discipline and training. The son’s responsibility is to respond to the father, cooperate and fully embrace this path of growth. The son cannot stop being a son, but he can refuse to draw on healthy family dynamics.
Once the son is birthed, he is the father’s son. On good days and on bad days, the son remains a part of the family. Nothing the son can do will change this relationship, although it may fill the relationship with pain. Still, he is always the father’s son.
The son is 100% secure, yet perhaps may not have assurance he still is the father’s son. Perhaps he misinterprets the father’s actions. Or the father may fail in his responsibilities (yes, this is where the analogy breaks down. Our caring Father perfectly loves us…despite our responses).
Our part is to give our wholehearted allegiance to the Son. If we have the Son, we have life (1 John5:11-12). It’s the Father’s good pleasure to adopt us as sons (Ephesians 1:5), to train us up and to never let us go. Our part is to respond to our Father’s initiating first-love with a willing “yes.” As I know myself, I could never keep myself secure, but I can enjoy assurance as I respond to my part as a son.
As another example,…
let’s assume, because of (1) the skill of the pilot, (2) the excellent design of the plane, and (3) the careful flight plan that takes into account every contingency, the airplane you are on is 100% certain of arriving at its destiny safely. This is reality. You are secure in the airplane. You will arrive safely. It does not depend on you, but on the pilot and the plane and the plan.
Now, what if you did not believe you were secure in the airplane?
What if you had no inward assurance that the airplane would arrive? Would this change the fact that it will land safely?
Would this change your enjoyment on the ride?
As you pace back and forth and irrationally attempt to hold the airplane up yourself, your fretting as “lit’l god” would rob you of joy and utterly exhaust you by the time you do arrive safely at your destination.
My friends, unfortunately this describes
many Christian lives.
Are you safe in your relationship with Jesus as the Bride of Christ?
“I think so, maybe” you may reply.
How do you think Fran, my wife of forty-five plus years would respond if someone asked if we were married and I replied, “I think so, maybe, but I’m not sure”? We are the Bride of Christ. How do you think our Groom finds such an uncertain response from His Bride? The keeping-power of God is our only certainty, not banking on our own strength and ability.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).
Why am I certain that I am married?
At the least because of an (1) event, a (2) document and an (3) experience of an abiding relationship.
On June 9, 1973, Mary Frances Huston and James Edward Fredericks walked down an isle together. The emotions of joy and love that filled the little church on that day are just as real today and even deeper every time I tap into that event. Our wedding day was an event that sealed a relationship, and launched us into a new chapter. Our wedding is a verifiable fact with scores of witnesses.
Jesus Christ our Lord died for us nearly two thousand years ago, raised and ascended. This event is a verifiable fact that is the basis for our new life in Christ. In 1973, I also personally completed this event in time/space as I placed my faith in Jesus Christ. Both/And.
At that instant forty-five years ago, He snatched me out of darkness into the light, life and love of relationship with the Father, Son, and Spirit. A host of reliable witnesses joyfully bear testimony to my spiritual rebirth (read Luke 15:7 + 15:10). This two-fold event is one sure piece that gives me assurance. Has there been a time and place where you said “I’m all in with you, Jesus!”?
I laughingly tell nervous brides or grooms before their wedding day, “it doesn’t matter if all the details of your wedding plans blow up. As long as the pastor signs your marriage certificate, you can be sure you are married.”
We also have a document, the Word of God. This document from a God who can never lie, promises that He will never leave or forsake me. Nothing in heaven or on earth (including my choices) can separate me from His love now that I am His. I have emotional assurance in the permanence of our relationship because of our Groom’s grip on me.
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The LORD is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5b-6).
Let’s say my wedding certificate and every other physical proof of our wedding day were destroyed. I would still be utterly sure that I am married. I have forty-five wonderful years of delightful experience with Fran, including building a family together. We have been on adventures together, both exhilarating and painful. Together we have experienced highs and lows, laughter and tears, deep trials and joy unspeakable.
We are building an even closer relationship with the Father, Son and Spirit on our journey of life together. The Spirit of God is developing the fruit of the Spirit in my life (Galatians 5:22-23). I’m radically different than I was forty-five years ago. Now, John didn’t write to bust our chops. He wrote the entire epistle of 1 John with its three, clear marks of life so that we might have assurance of salvation in Christ leading to a deep, abiding relationship (5:13). Even more intimately, the Spirit communes with our spirit so that we know that we know that we have an abiding sonship through faith.
For…you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children (Romans 8:15-16).
But what is faith?
One Sunday School child answered his teacher like this: “Faith is believing what ain’t!” Now, I understand this answer for a child whose learning is limited to the concrete, not the abstract. But do you know how many older Christians I run into who seem to have a similar unexpressed definition of faith?
Faith is built on truth, on fact, on Reality, on certainties. These certainties, however, cannot be quantified by our scientific experiments or by our five senses. God’s Realities are higher than our ability to reason. The first Russian cosmonaut in space represented this counterfeit school well by falsely reasoning, “I’ve been to space. Since I did not see God, He does not exist!”
Christian faith is trust in unseen Realities. It’s light from above, from beyond ourselves. To come to the Father through the Son means to confess that we are not the center of our lives. Yet we are highly valued by God. Can you feel the paradoxical tensions we keep bumping up against in this journey of faith? Christian faith is “being sure…and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1), that is, this Triune God and His certain promises.
Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him (Hebrews 11:6).
Everyone is secure in Christ, who has been born again by God, who is genuinely, organically connected with God through faith in Christ. No exception. Our loving heavenly Father will not abandon us. We cannot lose our salvation. Our Team-of-Three is no Indian-giver. He will never take back what He has freely given us as a free gift. It’s eternal life.
I know I am eternally secure in Christ…
- because of the faithfulness of the Father, whose keeping-love and-power will never abandon me as His beloved child in His Family.
- because of the far-reaching effectiveness of God’s eternal plan to save all who choose faith in His Son, Jesus, through His life and death, resurrection and ascension. What Christ did for us at salvation is irreversible.
- because of the indwelling ministry of the Spirit, who works with us, empowering us in every aspect of life and ministry.
If you believe we can slip out of the loving, embracing arms of the Father, Son and Spirit, in whom are you trusting.
Or in our Family-of-Three or in ourselves.
If in yourself, how does this align with revealed truth in Scripture? And practically, how is this working for you? Are you tired yet trying to hold on so we don’t lose our salvation?
And also, the fruit demonstrating this authentic connection is progress on our spiritual journey. No mere verbal claim is enough (Matthew 7:21). Hold onto the Both/And tension. If we are His, our life will reflect it!
If you are His, you are secure. We cannot lose our salvation. And you may also be assured, enjoying the journey, thoroughly satisfied in Jesus no matter the ups or downs of life.
This is part of chapter five in my book, Radical Mutuality, on the book of 1 John. This is available for a low price on Amazon.com.