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Can You Lose Your Salvation?

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Eternal security is really all about Jesus and His finished work—and that is permanent. The Gospel, after all, is good news that God has come to do what man can’t, bringing us back to Himself to experience eternal life with Him. Jesus lived the perfect life we can’t live and died the death we deserved to die, and by faith alone He offers each of us a trade, His righteousness for our sin. He became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus makes us new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17), a permanent work that can’t be undone. No one can snatch us out of God’s hand once He gives us eternal life (John 10:27-30), and nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39).

The very idea of being able to lose salvation goes against the nature of the Gospel message. To lose salvation would be to undo Jesus’s finished work in saving us, cleansing us, making us new creations, adopting us, and uniting us as one with Himself. That can’t be done. For some passages that help us see the permanence of Christ’s work, we can look to 1 Corinthians 1:8 which says Jesus will sustain us to the end, blameless on the day He comes, and Hebrews 10:14 which establishes that Jesus not only forgave our past sins by His death on the cross but also did the work required to make us perfect.

What about Hebrews 6:4-8?

The Bible does not teach that people can lose salvation once it is gained. Rather, it teaches that salvation is a permanent experience accomplished by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ’s finished work alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), and no one can add their works to His to gain salvation, therefore no one can lose salvation by failing to work hard enough. A better understanding of what this particular passage is teaching can be found by reading the context.

In this passage chapter, the writer starts the chapter by saying he wants people to move on from repenting from dead works and believing in Christ. He wants them to mature instead of worrying about getting saved all over again, essentially. He then launches into those controversial verses where it can sound like somebody is losing their salvation, but what it says right after that passage captures the heart of it. He says in verse 9, “Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things, things that belong to salvation.” He’s saying that God’s people he’s writing to don’t have to worry about the scary situation he just described! For them, he’s sure of better things, of salvation.

The following chapters describe to this church how the law couldn’t perfect anyone, so Jesus had to come rescue them and sacrifice Himself as a better sacrifice that would last. The message culminates in a beautiful verse in Chapter 10 that says, “…by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14). Jesus didn’t just forgive sins on the cross, He took care of the whole picture, forever perfecting in spirit those who would believe. And you can’t lose that once you have it. What Jesus did, as He said on the cross, is finished! For all time.

Alex McFarland

Alex has preached in over 2,200 churches throughout North America and numerous more internationally. He also speaks at Christian events, conferences, debates, and other venues to teach biblical truths and preach the gospel.

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