From time to time someone will ask me, “Can a Christian lose their salvation?” What they want to know is if a Christian can sin in some way after they are saved whereby they lose their eternal life in Christ? The answer is no. A person who has been genuinely saved by faith in Jesus Christ cannot lose their salvation. There are many passages in the Bible that deal with a true believer’s eternal security, however, we will limit our thoughts today to a couple that more than seal the deal on the issue.
The first is found in the Gospel of John. In John 10.27-28, Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” Jesus made this tremendous statement in the context of His discussion with some religious leaders of His day who were not saved. In other words, Jesus was drawing a contrast for them by showing they did not hear His teaching because they were not His sheep. However, all those who are truly saved by faith in Jesus Christ do hear His Words. We who are truly saved are receptive to what He has to say because He is our Lord, our Shepherd. Not only do truly saved people hear His Word, we are responsive to it. We who are truly saved actively follow our Lord, our Shepherd. So, up to this point we see two evidences of true salvation, we hear God’s Word and it has a direct effect on the way we live.
Now, notice what Jesus does for those who are truly saved. First, he gives unto us eternal life. The plain truth of the matter is, it would not be eternal life if it were conditional on our conduct after we are saved. It is true that Christians stray from time to time, but if we are truly sheep in the first place, we will not like it when we are away from fellowship (not relationship) with Jesus. Even when we are out of fellowship with Jesus because of our disobedience, He is still our Shepherd. The pig likes it in the pig pen, however, sheep will not like it in the pig pen for long. The bottom line here is this, eternal life by faith in Jesus Christ is a gift. We could not earn eternal life by good works and we cannot keep or secure our eternal life by our own efforts. Just as Jesus saved us by grace, so He keeps us saved by grace.
After telling us of His gift of eternal life, Jesus reinforced the security of our eternal life in Him by saying we will never perish. The Greek word for perish is “apollumi” which means to be sentenced to death, to be marked out for destruction, or in this context to be turned over to eternal misery. Jesus said that will never happen to anyone who is truly saved and belongs to Him. This passage alone is enough to convince us that we are eternally saved in Christ. However, let’s consider one more.
In chapter 7 of the Book of Romans, the Apostle Paul lamented the ongoing battle Christians have with their fallen human nature. We have been set free from sin in Jesus Christ, however, the presence of sin in our fallen human nature is still here. It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we are able to live in victory over sin in our daily lives. The question would then be, in those times when I sin, when I do not rely on the Holy Spirit for victory, what about my salvation? Am I still saved in those moments when I have a sinful thought? Am I still saved in those moments when I lose my temper or say something inappropriate? The answer is yes, we are still saved, even in the times of our weakness when we give in to the flesh. Look at what the Apostle Paul said, “There is therefore, now, no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8.1). What wonderful news is this! There is no “condemnation” for those who are in Christ Jesus. The word “condemnation” means judgment against, punishment pronounced, or a damnatory sentence. For those who are truly saved by faith in Jesus Christ, there is none of this. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
The only question left to answer is, are you in Jesus Christ by faith? If you are truly saved by faith in Jesus Christ you are in fact eternally secure. Jesus has promised as much and He cannot and will not go back on His Word. Praise God for His wonderful gift of eternal life in His Son Jesus Christ.