I’m going to answer that age-old question right up front – no!
Now, I shall set out to prove it using the only source that can answer the question, and that is the Holy Bible.
Men teach us from pulpits all over the world, that you can lose your salvation. Others preach that you cannot lose your salvation. Which doctrine is right?
Paul, a very talented, academic – trained under Gamaliel - chief Rabbi in all of Jerusalem and scholar of Mosaic Law, a Roman citizen, a Pharisee told us not to simply listen to the preaching of men, but to prove what they say is true using God’s word.
Unfortunately, many of us…including yours truly, have listened to men preach to us, but we don’t bother getting deeply into God’s Word to discover if what they are teaching us is true. We simply accept it. Why is that?
Paul, the 12th hand-picked apostle of Jesus Christ, was sent to Berea. Acts 17:10 –“And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.”
Paul determined that these Berean Christians were wiser and more noble than others because they studied God’s word to see if what Paul was teaching them squared with the Holy Scriptures.
In verse 11 of Acts 17, we are told, “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”
Therefore, we should do no less than to search the scriptures – DAILY – to know if what we are being taught is true…according to the one who inspired the writers of the Bible – God Almighty.
If I cannot convince you to search the scriptures, and be taught by the Holy Spirit who dwells in you, perhaps God's word can support this theme.
I have a saying, "Prove the Bible - with the Bible". Therefore, if you read 1 John 2:25-28, you will read God's instructions.
25- "This is the promise which He Himself (Jesus) made to us: eternal life." We can see that Jesus promised saved people ETERNAL LIFE - which means ETERNITY IN HEAVEN.
26 -"These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you."
John, the apostle of Christ, is warning the new Christians that there are some who preach the Gospel of Christ...and others who preach another gospel. He wants us all to know that the Holy Spirit (our anointing when we accept Christ as our Savior), will be our guide when we study God's word...so we can prove that what "the clergy" is telling us is true...or not true.
27 -"As for you, the anointing which you received from Him (Jesus) abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him."
So, let the Holy Spirit be your guide while you also listen to God's word being preached or taught...in church, on TV, on the radio, on the internet, in pamphlets, etc.
28 -"Now, little children, abide in Him (Jesus), so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming."
John finishes up in verse 28 with the reason (covered elsewhere here) that we should never choose to backslide. We will face Jesus one day, and we need not be ashamed (shrink away) when we see Him.
There are only a few basic tenets that all born-again Christians must agree upon to inherit the kingdom of heaven. Beyond that, we…the body of Christ…his church, should not be bothered by the added doctrines of so-called religions, whether Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, Assembly of God…or any other religion so long as they meet these basic, but critical beliefs.
These basic beliefs are what the Apostle Paul taught us to believe in 1 Corinthians 15. I will elaborate on those basis beliefs after we search the scriptures in 1 Corinthians to determine what the basics are to inherit the kingdom of heaven.
Let me point out that Jesus would NOT want His church to be fighting over who believes what beyond the “Gospel of Christ” , yet…His family of God fights tooth and nail over foolishness that doesn’t matter.
The “church”, which is the entire born-again family of God, should fight Satan because Satan is the one who loves to divide the church of Christ. He wants us to fight constantly. We should love ALL of those who are qualified to be called born-again believers.
If some believe in gifts of healing, prophecy, tongues, or that they are apostles…it’s okay.
Yet, Baptists fight bitterly against those who are in the Pentecostal branches of the body of Christ. Pentecostals believe in “speaking in tongues”, and if “those staunch, robotic Baptists don’t believe in speaking in tongues, they are not even saved.” This is wrong.
What I have come to KNOW in my 65 years on the planet, is that I love every single brother or sister in Christ…regardless of their church doctrine. If they meet the requirements of salvation as spelled out in the Bible, they are my brothers and sisters in Christ.
Now, let’s get into Paul’s dialogue in 1 Corinthians 15.1 –“Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2- By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 -For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance - that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4- that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”
So, we see that the basic tenets for being saved is the Gospel of Christ. It is this Gospel of Christ that saves us, and we need to share it with others. It is that Christ (which means Emmanuel…God be with us) was born of a virgin…as prophesied in the Old Testament, and that He died on the cross for our sins – also according to the scriptures; he was buried as a dead man would be, but on the third day, as prophesied in the scriptures, He was raised from death…He had victory over Satan and death.
Paul continued to emphasize this resurrection from the dead in verse 14 – “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”
If you are a born-again believer, you MUST believe those three things to obtain salvation…and there is more. You must believe that Christ has the ability to forgive your sins. He exchanged your sins for His righteousness that day that He bore our sins on the cross.
If Jesus died on the cross for our sins, we must believe that He can forgive those sins. If we believe this in our hearts, then we need to ask Jesus to save us, and forgive us for our sins.
If we do this, He has promised us two things: Our sins shall be forgiven…to be remembered no more against us, and we shall inherit eternal life in heaven.
Beyond those basic beliefs, nothing else matters, and we all share the commonality of salvation.
Some believe they will go through seven years of tribulation, then be raptured. Others believe they will be raptured before the seven years of tribulation spoken of in the Bible happens, and a third group believes they will be raptured “mid-trib” or after the first 3.5 years of this so-called tribulation period.
I am of that group, and wrote – America’s Two Holy Wars because I studied the Bible prophecy, and incorporated today’s world news events, and I am of the opinion that we will see 3.5 years of “peace” between Arabs and Jews…a temple will be rebuilt on Mt. Zion, and then desecrated,and then Arab troops will surround Jerusalem, peace is shattered, and we will then be raptured shortly thereafter. Read Matthew 24.
Yet, I don’t claim to tell others who believe something different that they are wrong. None of us …including so-called biblical scholars can know for sure UNTIL IT HAPPENS. Then, so what? We still get to go to heaven because we are ALL born-again believes in the Gospel of Christ and what He did on the cross for us, and how He promised us a place in heaven.
Now, I have to get into some nitty-gritty here because losing one’s salvation is critical to keeping all Christians on the pathway to heaven.
Did Jesus die on the cross for the sins of all mankind? Yes. “”He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
If we read John 3:16, the most famous verse in the Bible, we discover that only those who believe shall receive the gift of heaven.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
The first thing that Born-again Christians must share is the divine birth of Christ. It was foretold in the Old Testament. It was fulfilled in the New Testament.
Prophecy - Isaiah 7:14 –“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Fulfillment – Matthew 1:23 – “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
Isaiah, the Old Testament prophet of God foretold of one who would come – a “Messiah” or “Savior” who would die on a cross for the iniquities (sins) of mankind.
Isaiah 5:5 - “But he (Messiah) was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 -All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."
Isaiah predicted that one day, a Messiah would be wounded, bruised, beaten for our sins, and by his death, our sins would be forgiven. This Messiah – Emmanuel – Jesus Christ, would be oppressed, afflicted….yet He would not utter a word in His own defense. He would be brought to slaughter as a lamb (the Lamb of God).
7-"He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
This Messiah would be taken from prison, and from being judged…then he would die (be cut off), and would be placed in a grave of a rich man. He was guilty of nothing…He had done no violence, nor was he deceitful in any way, yet it would please God, the Father, to bruise Him, and put Him through much grief…because He would be made an offering…a sacrifice for our sins."
8-"He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken."
9-"And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10 -Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand."
We know that Jesus was buried in a rich man's tomb...fulfilling Old Testament prophecy.
11-"He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities."
He would die among other transgressors on the cross (a thief on either side of Him), and he bore the sins of many. Afterwards, He would become an intercessor between man and God.
12-"Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."
We all know that the Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in Christ, but for you to get every prophecy that was fulfilled just Google “Old Testament prophecy fulfilled in the New Testament”.
I want to now get down to where the rubber meets the road because if we can lose our salvation, then Jesus died for nothing on the cross, and God becomes a liar if He told us He would forgive our sins, once and for all….nobody could ever pluck us from His hands, He would give us eternal life…and we could never be condemned again by anyone….not man nor principalities….nothing.
Before I get to the good news that you cannot lose your salvation, let me quote the “bone of contention” verse that many denominations use to tell us that we can lose our salvation:
Hebrews 6:4-6 –“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, 5And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”
This can easily be interpreted by some to mean that it is IMPOSSIBLE for those who are enlightened (received Christ as Savior) and have tasted of the heavenly gift (eternal life and the gift of the Holy Spirit to indwell us are promised at salvation) and have tasted the good word of God (the Gospel message) and have tasted the powers of the world to come (heaven)…IT IS IMPOSSIBLE IF THEY SHALL FALL AWAY (backslide), TO RENEW THEMSELVES AGAIN UNTO REPENTANCE BECAUSE IT WOULD MEAN THEY WOULD HAVE TO CRUCIFY CHRIST AGAIN AND PUT HIM TO AN OPEN SHAME AGAIN.
So, they say that you CAN lose your salvation that you received if you backslide…or go back into sin for prolonged periods of time.
Unfortunately, this would mean that God sits in heaven with a large eraser and when you sin, you are out of the Book of Life….when you repent, you are back in. Put another way, when you sin, you are condemned….when you repent, you are “saved” again, and back in the Book of Life once again.
This belief not only continues to condemn us, it would easily cause many to just give up and walk away from God forever. It would be a “works salvation” because if you don’t sin (which will be impossible), then your good works will be rewarded by salvation. If you sin, then those bad works will be judged, and you will be condemned to hell once again, lose your salvation, and have to repent…according to 1 John 1:9, which reads, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10-If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.”
This verse implies that we will sin, and each time we do, we need to confess those sins to Jesus. If we confess the sins we will commit then Jesus will forgive those sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Some say that this verse is for Christians who continue to sin after they are saved. Where do they get the right to add, “If we Christians confess our sins, Jesus will again save us?”
We need to go back to verses 5-8 to get the context of Verses 9 and 10. “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6-If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7-But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 8 -If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
Here, we discover that if we are sinners, yet claim to have fellowship with Christ, we lie and we do not live by the truth. If, however, we accept Christ as Savior and Lord (walking in the light), then we do have fellowship with Christ…and His blood purifies us from ALL sin.
And, “If we claim we are without sin…therefore, we do not need a savior, then we deceive ourselves.”
So, 1 John 1:5-10 is actually for those who are not saved. If they confess their sins, Jesus will forgive them.
How long will these sins be forgiven?
First, can we ever be condemned (which means condemned to hell for our sins? Romans 8 has all the answers, in great detail, but for our purposes, let’s concentrate on verse 1: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Why are we NOT condemned once we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior?
Verse 2 – “Because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”
We are set free…forever free…from sin and eternal death (hell).
Who can pluck us out of God's hands?
Jesus tells us in John 10:28 - "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."
This sounds like Jesus promised us eternal life, upon salvation, and we shall NEVER perish...meaning die that second death where our spirits will spend eternity in hell...a place of torment and fire...neither shall anyone ever pluck us out of his hand!
Verse 3 and beyond explains that God sent Jesus to the cross because the Law (the Ten Commandments of Moses) condemned us to hell if we violated any of those Laws.
The Law was powerless to forgive sin. A sacrifice…a blood sacrifice was needed to forgive sins for once and for all. 3-"For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.”
Jesus, therefore, by His death on the cross, condemned sin in sinful man…and was able to forgive those sins forever, and exchange His righteousness for our sins that day on the cross.
Verse 4 - "And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.”
2 Corinthians 5:22 – “For he (God) hath made him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Jesus exchanged His righteousness for our sins on the cross that fateful day.
Confirming what I just said, one only has to read Colossians 2: 14 –“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances (Laws) that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.”
Jesus cancelled out the Law that convicted us of our sins before God, by taking our sins upon Himself on the cross. The Law can no longer condemn us – the Grace of Jesus exchanged the Laws and punishment thereof for His righteousness.
Let’s visit Isaiah 43:25 to see how long God Himself said He will forgive our sins. "I, even I am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”
God remembers your sins NO MORE against you.
Psalm 103:12 clearly states, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”
So, now we have to go back to Hebrews 6 to clarify what God was telling us in His word.
This time, we shall take it in English from the New American Standard Bible (NAS) – 4-"For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5-and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6-and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.”
Read it this way: “It is impossible to repent for sins forgiven by Christ, and paid for on the cross because if Jesus has to forgive your sins repeatedly, then you continue to crucify Him repeatedly and put Him to shame again and again on the cross.” And, accrding to God's word, it is not possible to crucify His Son again.
Paul, the same writer...in the same Book of Hebrews at Chapter Nine and verse 26 put it very plainly. I have taken that verse from the version of the Bible known as "The Message" because it was the best rendition of Hebrews 9:26 that I could find to clarify and give meaning to Hebrews Chapter 6.
First, here is the King James Version: "For then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself."
The message clarifies further, and gives meaning to all of Chapter 9 of Hebrews. Here it is: "That accounts for the prominence of blood and death in all these secondary practices that point to the realities of heaven. It also accounts for why, when the real thing takes place, these animal sacrifices aren't needed anymore, having served their purpose. For Christ didn't enter the earthly version of the Holy Place; he entered the Place Itself, and offered himself to God as the sacrifice for our sins. He doesn't do this every year as the high priests did under the old plan with blood that was not their own; if that had been the case, he would have to sacrifice himself repeatedly throughout the course of history. But instead he sacrificed himself once and for all, summing up all the other sacrifices in this sacrifice of himself, the final solution of sin."
Therefore, if you become backslidden (as I have surely done in my life), we who are born-again and have received the gift of eternal life cannot then crucify Christ again and put Him to an open shame on that cross again and again.
That is because He died once for those sins…past sins…present sins…future sins…all sins.
Think logically for a moment. If God promised us ETERNAL, which means forever….LIFE, but can take that back every time we sin, is it really ETERNAL LIFE? Or, is it eternal only if we never sin again?
ETERNAL LIFE means you shall receive it forever upon salvation. This is why God Himself has told us that he forgives our sins and they shall be remembered no more against us…and, we are not condemned ever again. He sees us as he sees His Son…. righteous.
We are, therefore, not sinners any longer upon salvation…we are righteous souls who sin.
Let me repeat…God sees us, once we accept His Son as our Lord and Savior, the same as He sees Jesus, which is as a righteous person….forgiven people who are righteous, but who will continue to sin.
Now, let me say that there are consequences of committing sin. God can take you home earlier than you would have gone if you continue in your backslidden state. The consequences for adultery and divorce are that everyone in two families will suffer as a result of it. If you are a drunkard after salvation, you may die from alcohol abuse (or drugs…or tobacco), or you may be bedridden from any of those vices.
God cannot use you in a backslidden state, so you will lose that beautiful fellowship with Him, and all that he had planned for you while your heart wanted to serve Him.
God, however, will “never leave you or forsake you.”
Finally, and there really are hundreds of scriptures to point to to declare that once you are saved, you are eternally saved and promised a place in heaven…with or without rewards, I have to deal with this verse:
Revelation 3:5 – “ 5-"He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”
Some say if you are found in sin, your name shall be removed from the Book of Life. In other words, If you are saved…you are in the Book of Life. If you sin, your name is removed. If you repent, your name is back in. This would mean that God has this giant eraser for each of us when we sin!
There is, however, an “unpardonable sin”, and that sin is to reject Jesus and all that he did on the cross.
It is my opinion and belief, based on nothing more than speculation, that God lists every human born into the Book of Life.
If a person dies before he is accountable to God for receiving Christ, his name stays in the Book of Life. If someone is retarded, or mentally incapable of making a decision to accept Christ as Lord and Savior, his or her name remains in the Book of Life. If we accept Christ as Savior, our names remain in the Book of Life.
Up until the time we physically die, God leaves our name in the Book of Life - because "He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and be saved."
When we die, we lose that ability to accept Christ, and have therefore rejected what God’s Son came to the earth for, which is to die for our sins, and save us from being condemned to hell. We have no more chances to accept Jesus.
God will ask you, “Why should I let you into heaven?” You will have no answer. You will not be clothed in the righteousness of Jesus.
In Matthew 22, we read a parable given to show that - without the proper attire, one can not attend the great "wedding Feast" that will be held in heaven.
Verse 11-"And when the king (God) came in to see the guests(sinners and saints gathered in heaven before the wedding starts), he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12-And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?"
Here, God, the King, asks sinners, "How come you do not have the garment of my Son's righteousness on?"
"And he (the sinner) was speechless." Sinners will have no reason to tell God they belong there. They have all been given a chance to accept Jesus and the work He did on the cross.
13-"Then said the king (God) to the servants (angels), Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14-For many are called (to heaven), but few are chosen."
God called all. Few chose to accept salvation through His beloved Son...so they must be cast into hell for rejecting Christ and all He did on that cross for them.
God must punish sin. At that time of “The Great White Throne of Judgment, your name will then be blotted out of the Book of Life, and you will be cast into hell to spend eternity.
Rejecting God’s Son, which means you willingly have trampled on the blood spilled at the cross for you, is unpardonable. That sin is not forgiven. Your name will be blotted out of the Book of Life, and you will be punished at that point.
Revelation 20: spells it out rather clearly….the dead shall suffer a “second death”, and that will come at the Great White Throne Judgment.
12-”And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13-And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14-And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”
So, the first death…our physical death, determines that our name will or will not be found in the Book of Life. If it is not, read the next verse…15-”And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
John 8:36 tells us that Jesus, because of what He did on the cross of crucifixion, set us free from sin….forever. “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”
Time to wrap this up. Romans 6 tells us that we are free from sin, but we should not want to then continue to willfully sin.
14-"For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
When we are born-again, we are no longer condemned to hell under the Law (Ten Commandments). Instead, it is God’s grace and love that has saved us.
15-"What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.”
We are admonished that we should not say, “Oh goodie, we are now on the way to heaven, so let’s continue in our sin.”
16-"Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17-But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted."
Christian..."you used to be a slave to sin, but Jesus had the power of forgiveness of those sins when He bled, suffered, and died on the cross for them...for you.
18-"You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.”
You are not in bondage to sin after salvation. Why, then would you want to go back into that slavery to Satan’s evil ways when you have been enlightened by God’s gift of salvation? You are entrusted to refrain from sin, although you are humans and will sin…you will fall from time to time.
Paul continues - Verce 19-"I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness."
20-"When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21-What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of?"
Paul, the apostle, wants us to remember why we asked Jesus to save us. It was because we felt badly that we would sin against our Creator, and after all, don’t we remember the embarrassment – the shame of our sins? Why would we want to continue being ashamed?
“Those things result in death! 22-But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.”
We have, through salvation, been SET FREE from sin.
We now have choices to make. Serve God…refrain as best we can from sin…or backslide and we will suffer the consequences of the sin.
Enjoy your salvation and your freedom from sin. Choose to serve God, and let Him show you what His perfect plan and purpose is for your life. It is a whole lot better when God directs and leads us, than when we try to do life alone…away from God.
We have a "Prayer of Salvation" located at www.JohnTyler.com/Salvation.htm
John Tyler, Author of nine books.
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