Can A Christian Lose His Salvation Through Not KEEPING THE LAW or Not Being FAITHFUL?
This is a question that faces us when we encounter the teachings of those in the Hebrew Roots Movement, or even a polarization arising from a (healthy) criticism of popular ‘easy believeism’ and “The Sinner’s Prayer” . There are well educated, sincere people on all sides of these arguments. I’ve heard Calvinism talked about with disdain as removing man’s free will, while Armenianism (Lutheranism) teaches that man can lose his salvation. Many people are caught somewhere in between, unwittingly picking parts of one teaching and parts of another, which is fine until, when taken to their logical conclusion, the views contradict each other. Until recently I honestly wasn’t even sure what Calvinism or Armenianism were, but I’ve come to realize that these are important topics for all of us to have a basic handle on, since the devil is working like never before to confuse, convolute and distract from the gospel of Jesus Christ. Gone are the days (and they should never have been), when believers leave it all up to their pastor to sort out. We all need to “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling” Phil 2:12 (..remember, our pastors are just men – and these days, more than ever, they could use our loving support!)
I read through many sites and various views, some with good arguments and some disturbingly askew, lacking brotherly love. Personally, I believe in Eternal Security and I found CARM to have an excellent collection of articles supporting this which can be found HERE. But I’d encourage you to also look at the opposing viewpoints in forming your own opinion. Know why you believe what you believe. 1 Pet 5:3:15
Scriptural Proof Christians Cannot Lose Their Salvation
CARM – by Matt Slick
- John 8:29, “And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.”
- John 6:39, “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”
From these two verses we can learn several things. First, those who are Christians have been given to the Son by the Father. We know this is the case because Jesus said in John 6:37, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will certainly not cast out.” God the Father has given a select group of people to the Son. Not all people are given to the Son. For more information on this, see What does it mean that God the Father gave people to the Son?
Second, in John 8:29 Jesus told us that He always does the will of the Father because He says that He always does the things that are pleasing to Him. So, Jesus can never fail to do the will of the Father. If He did, then He would have sinned.
Third, we see in John 6:39 Jesus said that it is the will of the Father that of all who have been given to Jesus that He would “lose nothing but raise it up on the last day.” From this we can conclude that Jesus cannot lose anyone and that those who are given to Him by the Father will also be resurrected. These are believers because Jesus says in John 6:37, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” Therefore, the context means that those who are raised are believers and is speaking of the resurrection to glory–which occurs on “the last day,” (John 6:44, 11:24). So, it is the will of the Father that of those whom are given to Jesus . . .
- Jesus will lose none
- Jesus will resurrect them on the last day
If people lose their salvation, then Jesus fails to do the will of the Father by both losing some and by not resurrecting them. If Jesus were to fail in doing this, He would have sinned, but Jesus cannot sin. Therefore, we must necessarily conclude that not only will Jesus do the will of the Father by not losing anyone who has been given to Him but also He will do the will of the Father by resurrecting those same people to glory. So if people can lose their salvation, then it necessarily follows that Jesus would fail to do the will of the Father by resurrecting them. But this can’t be. Therefore, Christians cannot lose their salvation. Simple, isn’t it? Still, objections remain.
The will of the Father is not always done
It is true that the will of the Father is not always done. For example, God does not want people to sin, yet they do sin. But John 8:29 and John 6:39 are not about those who fail to do the will of the Father. They are about Jesus who always does the will of the Father. Therefore, this couplet, particularly John 6:39, cannot mean that the will of the Father is not accomplished by Jesus.
Raising them up on the last day is not only for the Christians
It is true that all people will be resurrected on the Day of Judgment. The wicked will be judged and cast into eternal damnation and the righteous into eternal life but in the context of what Jesus is speaking, of the ones raised are only the believers. Please take a look at the following verses:
- John 6:44, “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.”
- John 6:54, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
In John 6:44, Jesus is talking of those who come to Him. Those are believers. InJohn 6:54, He says that those who have eternal life He will raise on the last day. Therefore, the context is speaking of the believer’s resurrection to glory.
You can lose yourself
Some people shift the burden of responsibility from Christ to the Christian when it comes to not being lost. They say that Jesus will not lose anyone but the person can lose himself. Therefore, it is not Jesus who is doing the losing but the individual who rebels against God. This objection cannot work because if someone were to turn from Christ (if that is even possible after being regenerate), then Jesus would fail to resurrect those given to Him by God the Father. Notice that in John 6:39 the will of the Father is that all who have been given to the Son will be raised on the last day. Again, Jesus said that He always does the Father’s will. So, Jesus must resurrect them (to glory) on the last day, or he has failed even if “they lose themselves.” Jesus is performing the action of the resurrection because He says so in John 6:40, ” . . . and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” So, if a person can “lose himself,” then Jesus will not be able to do the will of the Father by resurrecting to glory that person who has been given to Him by the Father. Again, that would mean Jesus failed to do the will of the Father, which cannot happen.
There are Scriptures that tell us we can lose our salvation
If the analysis of Jesus’ words in the couplet above is correct, then there can be no Scriptures to tell us we lose our salvation because the Bible does not contradict itself. If someone still maintains that salvation can be lost, then he must address what Christ says in John 8:29 and John 6:39. Nevertheless, the Bible must be understood as a whole. And if we have a set of verses on the subject of eternal security and one set of Scriptures can only be interpreted in one way and other Scriptures can be interpreted in different ways, then the latter must be interpreted in a manner consistent with the former. Otherwise, we are setting Scripture against Scripture.
When we examine John 6:39 in context, we can see even more clearly that none will be lost. I’ve color coded the verses to highlight related concepts to aid in explaination.
37 “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.
38 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
39 “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.
40 “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”
In verse 37, Jesus says that He will not cast out any who come to Him. In verse 38, Jesus is telling us He came from Heaven to do the will of the Father. In verse 39, Jesus tells us that the will of the Father is that He lose none and that He also raise them up on the last day. In verse 40, Jesus continues to tell us the will of the Father which is that of all who behold the Son and believe in Him will have eternal life and that Jesus will also raise them up on the last day.
So, Jesus came from Heaven to do the will of the Father (v. 38). The will of the Father is that Jesus lose none (v. 39) and all who believe in Jesus will have eternal life (v. 40) and Jesus also will raise them up on the last day (v 39, 40). If Jesus fails to accomplish the will of the Father by losing some, then does Jesus also not accomplish the will of the Father that says when someone believes in Christ they have eternal life? Neither would make sense. If someone believes in Jesus, he has eternal life. But if it is true that some are lost, then Jesus has not accomplished the will of the Father by not losing any, by not raising them up on the last day, and also by not giving them eternal life. It makes no sense.
Does God the Father fail?
If some of the ones that are given to Jesus by the Father end up being lost, then wouldn’t that mean God the Father Himself failed because some of the ones the Father decided to give to the Son for the Son to keep ended up being lost? Doesn’t the Father, in all His omniscience, know who to give to the Son so that they will not be lost? And, does the Father also know that the Son will accomplish His will and not lose any? Of course He does. Does not the Son know how to carry out the will of the Father and keep those given to Him? Of course He does. So, to say that some of the ones given to the Son by God the Father will be lost is to accuse God the Father of making a mistake in His judgment of whom to trust with those He has chosen to have eternal life.
Do you see the humongous problem that is laid at the feet of those who would say that they can lose their salvation by saying they have to keep the law and/or remain faithful? The verses that we’re talking about here speak of the work and the will of God the Father giving to the Son a special group of people and not giving others to Him. If they can be lost, then Jesus failed to do the will of God the Father, and it would also mean God the Father made a mistake in giving those to the Son for safe keeping.