May 15 2013

Can a Christian lose their salvation? (a study)



This question gets asked several ways…

Will a true child of God ever renounce their faith?

Is a Christian “eternally secure”?

Is it biblical to say: “once saved, always saved”?


I have my own thoughts on the matter and I might share them in another blog some time, but I just thought I’d provide you with the key passages that Christians use to argue either side of the debate.

I do believe in every one of these verses and so, no matter which side of the debate you fall on, I encourage you to reflect on them all and seeks God’s wisdom and guidance as to how they might be reconciled.



  • John 15:5-6
  • Matthew 13:20-21
  • 2 Peter 2:20-22
  • 1 Timothy 4:1
  • Colossians 1:22-23
  • Galatians 5:4
  • Romans 11:22once saved
  • Revelation 2:4-5
  • Hebrews 6:4-6
  • Hebrews 10:26-31



  • Philippians 1:4-6
  • John 10:27-29
  • 1 John 2:19
  • 2 Corinthians 1:21-22
  • Ephesians 1:13-14
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
  • 1 Corinthians 1:7-9
  • 2 Timothy 2:11-13
  • Romans 8:28-39
  • Hebrews 6:17-20


Read these passages and weigh them up. The following questions might help your reflection…

thinkingWhat are the dangers of believing either view too strongly?

What might you miss if you feel insecure about your salvation?

What might you miss if you feel too confident in your salvation?

If I said that you are guaranteed to get into heaven and that no matter what you did you couldn’t lose your salvation, would that inspire you to persevere in the faith with joy or would it inspire you to sin as much as you wanted to?

If a Christian can’t lose their salvation, why does the Bible warn us against apostasy (falling away)?

You might know friends who have thrown in the faith and now no longer call themselves Christians. How do the passages above help us to think about that?

Can you hold a view that reconciles all the passages above?


Write your thoughts in the comments below!


For my non-Christian friends reading this, you may be more interested in some more fundamental questions: What constitutes a “Christian” that you could say they would or wouldn’t “lose their salvation”? What is this “salvation” that might or might not be “lost”?

If these are more your questions, I encourage you to seek the answers and send me an email if you want and advice as to where to look.



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Posted May 15, 2013 by Simon in category "Bible Study", "Christianity", "Life", "Spirituality


  1. By gary on

    Is it really possible for a Muslim to convert to evangelical Christianity and then de-convert back to Islam?

    One of the major tenets of (Baptist/Reformed) evangelicalism is that a true believer can never lose his salvation. This is referred to as the Doctrine of Eternal Security or “Once saved, always saved”.

    Reza Aslan is an Iranian-American who came to the United States as a teenager. He was raised Muslim. At age 15, he converted to evangelical Christianity. He states that after his evangelical conversion, he had a “burning in his soul for Jesus” and actively shared the Gospel with others. However, during his post-graduate studies, his “burning” for Jesus as his Lord and Savior fizzled out. He returned to the faith of his childhood…Islam.

    How do evangelical Christians explain this man’s “de-conversion”; the unraveling of his “decision for Christ”?

    At the moment of his conversion to Christianity, the moment of his salvation by the grace of God, received through faith in Jesus Christ, did Mr. Aslan just not “do it” right…or did this man once truly believe, but now has rejected Christ as his Lord and Savior, and has therefore lost his salvation through Jesus Christ?

    Please explain how this happened, evangelical brothers and sisters. To we orthodox, it certainly appears that this man once believed and possessed the Holy Spirit; he once was saved, a Christian, a true believer…and now is not. What happened?

    (Mr. Aslan has recently published a book entitled, “Zealot, the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth”.)

  2. By Simon (Post author) on

    The simplistic (though I think Biblical) answer is that either God will bring him back, or he was never actually born again.

    I think 1 John 2:19 deals with this exact issue: “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.”

    John seems quite content in concluding that people can “seem” to be Christian, but the reality of their new birth is revealed in their persevearance. Jesus expresses a similar thing in the parable of the four soils. Just because there is an initial response – no matter how genuine it looks – it doesn’t mean that the word has born true fruit.

    See, the issue isn’t the response or the expression of repentance and whether the person can “do it” right. We aren’t saved by our response or our repentance or our faith. We are saved by Jesus. We don’t make ourselves born again. Jesus does that. Jesus makes us alive and Jesus keeps us alive til the end.

    If someone looks like they have become a Christian but then they later reject it, I would say they clearly were not born again. New birth give you new appetites. It changes your heart. It originates from God and God is the one who maintains it and holds you to the end.

    I would find it interesting to talk to Reza Aslan. What would he say of his de-conversion? Would he say he was wrong about Jesus? I presume he would, otherwise he wouldn’t have gone back to Islam. He would have to say that his initial conversion was false. That it was simply a delusion of his mind or that he had been swept up in the emotion of it all.

    He would have to explain his time as a Christian as not a genuine experience of meeting the true and living Lord of the Universe in Christ and being born again. He would say, I presume, that although his initial conversion was genuine, he never was saved by Jesus. It was all a lie.

    And I guess I would agree with him on that.

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