Losing Salvation

Can a person lose salvation? First off, when this is debated both sides usually are debating from a very humanistic standpoint and arguing about a very cheap salvation. The debate always seems to center around a very selfish idea, “Can I after believing and begin justified still end up in hell?” Can you see the humanism in this question? The debate that follows will have two sides armed with scriptures being quoted to support the case that you cannot end up in hell if you have truly believed, or to prove that one can still end up in hell even if they have believed unto salvation at some point. Unfortunately the debate is of no value at the outset, and the question of whether or not a person can end up in hell after initially believing is nearly a sinful question to even ask. Since when was salvation all about heaven and hell? In fact is salvation at all about heaven and hell? Certainly the ‘saved’ will end up in heaven, and the ‘unsaved’ will end up in hell, that is a statement of fact, but what is the purpose of salvation?

We must again revisit the three tenses of salvation and examine what the whole purpose of salvation in order to assess whether this point of contention is even worth debating, or if there is even really a point of contention.

There is the past tense of salvation: “I have been saved from the penalty of sins committed in the past.” We call that justification. Some would say at the point of justification we are also forgiven for sins we will commit in the future as well, personally I am ok with that, and even agree to an extent with that.

There is also the future tense of salvation: “I will be saved from the presence of sin in an eternal heaven.” We call this glorification. I think there is little debate on this, and that everyone would agree that the future tense of salvation includes a sinless heaven.

Then there is the present tense salvation: “I am being saved from the power of sin right now.” We call this sanctification. Now there is a lot of debate on sanctification, can someone be made perfect and sinless right now, or is sanctification an ongoing process and so on. That is a legitimate debate, I have a hard time believing anyone to be perfected, but at the same time I do not dare make a claim that the Holy Spirit is unable or even unwilling to perfect someone.

So we come back to our question, can someone lose salvation? You need to specify what you mean by salvation. Can someone become ‘unjustified’ and have to pay the penalty for sins they have already been forgiven of? Of course not! Can someone enter into a sinless heaven and sin? Well, it wouldn’t be a sinless heaven if there was still the chance of sinning. Clearly glorification as well as justification cannot be lost. You will not sin when you are glorified, and sins past will not be counted against us at the point of being justified.

So can someone lose salvation? Well in the present tense the answer must, if we are to be honest, be yes. It is clear that men and women are prone to backsliding, even the most devoted of believers backslide, and the sins that at one point we had power over, and were saved from, we at times commit again. We have lost present tense salvation from the power over that particular sin. People then want to ask the question whether or not they can go to hell or not based on that backsliding. That is were the whole debate begins, but why? Who cares about heaven and hell if we are not as close to the Lord right now as we once were, or as we desire to be? Do you not see it? So many people want to know whether or not they still get to go to heaven after they sin and they miss the whole point! Do they not want restored to present tense salvation again? Forget about heaven and hell for a minute, the Kingdom of God is at hand! Maybe the real reason you debate this so much is that you do not have a strong desire for salvation in the present tense. You are too worried about convincing people that you are sealed and that Christ will not let you go to enjoy and long for present tense salvation. Or on the other hand you may be too worried that you have lost salvation to realize that the Lord came to give you present tense salvation. Moreover God gets the most glory when He works present tense salvation in His people, so concern yourself with His glory and seek present tense salvation! Forget the silly once saved always saved debate that you find so important and begin to work out your present tense salvation with fear and trembling, and also with great joy and comfort in the presence of the Lord.

I hope that all made sense.


shipwrecksoul said...

Can an individual wind up in hell after being born again by the power of God? Man says yes because in mans ignorant wisdom negates what Gods power has wonderfully done, man stoops in his intellectual exercise in his own unfaithfulness and tries to rationalize it into some kind of theology 101!
Jesus said
"When he the comforter has come he will guide you in all truth...."
If man is unfaithful Jesus will remain faithful for he cannot disown himself....
The only way any that any blood bought born again believer can lose their salvation is that right now one must go to the heavens and destroy all the streets of gold. Then after that bad that individual must destroy all the angels at Holy Gods command. Then after that feat the last thing the individual must do is take on Holy God himself. This is impossible so any individual who called out to Jesus for salvation by repentance cannot and will not lose their salvation it would be a paradox in the face of God's holy word and the payment of mans sin by the blood of his dear son Jesus Christ!
Gen 22:8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
Some point to Hebrews 6:4-6: which says
4. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
5. And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6. If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh...

(Did it say renew them again unto salvation? no.) Let me give it a go on what was meant in that ole scary verse.

Two friends were told by God that everything in the 7 eleven store is free because he paid for it. The two friends go into the store and just get two sodas, freely. On the way out one friend thinks to himself this is not right I should have to pay for this free soda, while the other friend goes outside resting on Gods promise of the free soda. The other friend pulls out his money, works, and wants to pay for his soda, he is not resting on the promises of God. Does he negate what God has said? Does he now live by his works of righteousness? Is he tossing the standard of repentance out the window with his wanting to pay for the free gift? Will he know"if we confess our sins he is faithfull and just to forgive our sins."
Think this through asking God for wisdom and this verse will no longer be scary but a loving reminder of the grace you posses through Jesus Christ.

Jay Miklovic said...


First, thanks for commenting. I am not sure I fully understand your commentary on my post. I agree with all that you are saying here, and I think if you re-read the post carefully you will not find disagreement.

Moreover if you read a more recent post (Semantics of Tulip) specifically the portions concerning Limited Atonement and Perseverance you would probably find that we agree.

Where you missed the point of this post from June 2008, is that salvation is not merely justification for the purpose of glorification. Salvation is also present tense power over sin... in other words Sanctification. I do not believe in entire sanctification as many might, but the evidence of justification is a life lived Christward. Moreover, backsliding is the loss of 'present tense' or 'in the current moment' salvation. It is not a loss of 'sonship' it is not a loss of union with Christ, it does not change your standing before God... not at all! Moreover our sovereign Lord knew and knows the exact sin we have and will commit and that sin has been before Him at all times. In other words, in the atonement Christ specifically atoned for every single sin the believer has or ever will commit. So losing justification is absurd. The point is that when we sin we forgo present tense power over sin and deny present tense salvation.

Make sense?

btw, sometimes my profile pic shows up with this weird 'life is pain' picture can't figure out why, but I don't mean it to be there.