Many in the evangelical faith disagree about the issue of security. Some call this the issue of the perseverance of the saints. The question is asked “If a person is saved can they be lost again? or Can a person lose their salvation?” First let us establish who we are talking about:
- Truly born again believers. We are not speaking of people who simply have an emotional experience without true life change. Jesus spoke of this in the parable of the sower and related it to seed being planted in stony ground.
- The Word of God clearly indicates when a person is saved that there is a life changing event. It is a change of direction. It even indicates a move from death to life.
I heard a person talking about sinless perfection one day. He believed that in order for a person to go to heaven he/she must live with sinless perfection. The problem with that belief is the only person who lived in sinless perfection on this earth is Jesus Christ. Anyone else who claims to do so is either not being honest or they have redefined sin. 1 John 1:8 (KJV) 8 “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Salvation nor security of that salvation are found in living a life of sinless perfection. They are based in faith and trust in the only one who accomplished sinless perfection, Jesus Christ.
Most would agree that salvation is obtained not by works but by grace and faith. Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV) 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.” The truth of Scripture is since a person is saved by grace, he/she is also kept by grace. Jesus defines the moment of salvation as “24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” Notice Jesus said this person receives everlasting life. Not temporary life or life until you sin again, but everlasting life. Some say “That is true once we get to heaven.” Jesus wasn’t referring to what happens when a person gets to heaven. He was referring to what happens to a person at the moment of repentance. Notice He said this person “Is Passed” from death unto life. That is passed tense, done deal, fully accomplished.
The Word of God continues to teach 1 Peter 1:3-5 (KJV) 3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. ” Notice the last verse here. We are not kept by our holding on or holding out. We are kept by the power of God through faith.
Not every person who claims the name of Jesus is a true believer. Matthew 7:21-23 (KJV) 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. 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? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Notice Jesus didn’t say “I knew you but you walked away.” He said “I never knew you.” These were people identified who did good deeds but had no real relationship with Christ. No repentance was present, no change recorded.
John said it this way 1 John 2:19 (KJV) 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”
True believers, changed by a real relationship with Christ, are eternally secure by His power. If a person is willingly living in sin without conviction or chastisement that person needs to evaluate their claim of salvation in the first place. However, as a child of God we are freed from the fear of condemnation. We are called to walk by faith, living out the joy and abundance of Christ in our lives.