It is no question that we are in a very significant and difficult the time for The Church. False teaching seems to be more rampant than it has been in a long time. More and more, we see professing Christians fall right into the trap of these false teachings. As a result, their faith is deeply damaged and they are led astray. False teaching is a serious matter, but it is often treated like non existing issue. In the name of “niceness” and “tolerance”, false teaching is allowed to move in and grow by professing Christians so that they appear more “loving”. However, it is not even remotely loving to allow false teaching in churches. We are warned several times in New Testament, by both Jesus and Paul, about false prophets. Galatians makes it clear that God will not tolerate false teaching.
I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
— Galatians 1:6-9 NASB
False teaching and teachers are to be accursed. This doesn’t mean that false teachers can’t repent and turn to Christ. It does mean that false teaching and unrepentant false teachers will not go unpunished. One piece of false teaching that has swept through the Church is the idea that a Christian can lose their salvation. Churches throughout the world teach their congregations that they can do something to lose their salvation. Others teach that you can’t necessarily lose your salvation, but you can freely give it up. These teachings are rampant, and they have made many Christians stumble in their walk. With all of this said, what does scripture say? In order to understand the answer, we need to first understand why exactly salvation was necessary to begin with.
To start off, let us go back to the beginning. Before the creation of the entire universe, earth, us, God was there. God is an eternal being existing in 3 distinct equal persons (The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit). The Triune God has always existed, never had a creation date and He will never have an expiration date. God created all things, the galaxies, stars, planets, etc. Upon completing the creation, He called it all very good and He rested.
God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
— Genesis 1:31 – 2:3
At the beginning of the world, humanity was good. There was no death, no sickness, none of that. But then, the fall of humanity happened. In Genesis 3, we see Eve deceived by the Serpent (Satan) into eating the forbidden fruit. Adam also gave in and ate. From this point on, sin entered the narrative. Everything was cursed because of sin. Sickness, suffering, disasters, all entered the picture because of sin. Worse of all, humanity was eternally separated from God. All the goodness we had was gone. From that day forward, humanity was full of wickedness and deceit. There is nothing good about us.
as it is written,
“There is none righteous, not even one;
There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave,
With their tongues they keep deceiving,”
“The poison of asps is under their lips”;
“Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness”;
“Their feet are swift to shed blood,
Destruction and misery are in their paths,
And the path of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
— Romans 3:10-18
Because of our Depravity, we were deserving of one thing, eternal punishment in hell. There is nothing anyone can do to earn their way back to God and His kingdom. However, the story does not end there.
Despite our wickedness, God still loved His people. So much so, that He made a way for His elect to be redeemed. To do this, He sent His Son to be the substitute for His wrath in our place. Jesus Christ, the Son of God (God in flesh), was born through a virgin, lived a righteous life, then died on the cross in our place. But 3 days later, He rose from the dead fulfilling The Father’s plan to redeem the elect. He died a sinners death and took on the full wrath of God in our place so that we can be made righteous in His sight.
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
— 2 Corinthians 5:21
This was planned before the foundation of the earth. God knew and chose who He was going to save before the foundation of the earth.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
— Romans 8:28-30
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,
— Ephesians 1:3-11
In the fulfillment of this plan, it is only and simply by repenting and surrendering to Jesus Christ that one is truly saved and justified. There is no work that we need to do. Jesus completed the work on the cross when He declared “It Is Finished”. We are saved by Grace through faith in Christ alone.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
— Ephesians 2:8-9
In other words, we had absolutely nothing to do with His salvation for us. It wasn’t even our choice.
With all of this laid out, since we did nothing to earn salvation, can we do something to lose it? Let us look at what scripture says.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
— John 10:27-30
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,
“For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;
We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
— Romans 8:31-39
There are plenty of other passages, but I think these 2 make it clear that we can’t lose salvation. Once we are saved, we are sealed for eternity by the Holy Spirit. There is nothing we can do to change that. As John MacArthur says “If you could lose your salvation, you would”. Thankfully, we can’t lose it. Unfortunately, many Christians are taught that you can lose salvation. Like with the Doctrine of Election, you say that you can’t lose salvation, professing Christians will lose their minds. To some, the Doctrine of Eternal Security is downright heresy. It is absolutely despised by them. Why is this? This should make Christians feel comforted knowing that they can rest in His power. Besides false teaching, there is one other reason why this doctrine is hated. That reason is pride. In our sinful pride, we believe that we can somehow control our own destinies. What our purpose is, whether we go to heaven or hell, is all up to us. We like to be in control and we hate it when we are not. This is why the Doctrine of Election is so hated. Reformed Theology crushes our pride and brings about true humility. The same goes for eternal security. Eternal security crushes our pride, because the state of salvation is not in our hands.
In conclusion, because we didn’t do anything to earn salvation, this means we can’t do anything to lose it. It is as simple as that. People often have a habit of complicating what scripture makes clear. As if scripture alone is not enoug, even though it clearly is.
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
— 2 Timothy 3:16-17
For me personally, it brings great comfort and assurance. Knowing that salvation is not in my hands brings me great humility and joy. It makes me small and makes God bigger. God is the Creator of all things, and He is sovereign over all things, including salvation. So instead of sulking in our pride because of the lack of control, we should be praising Him, and glorifying Him. All the glory of our redemption, from Election to Glorification, goes to Him and Him alone. Praise be to God for all eternity.