Whether a Christian can lose his salvation is an often debated issue. In the extreme views, some Christians live in fear that they can live a devoted life to God and then fall into sin at death and lose their salvation. Others boast in their freedom to do whatever they want without fear of losing their salvations since they once prayed a repentance prayer.
Scripture teaches that genuine Christians do not need to fear losing their salvation in life or death. They are eternally secure in Christ and nothing or no one can separate them from God’s love. In Romans 8:38-39, believers are reassured that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Jesus declared in John 10:28-29 that no one is able to snatch His followers from God’s hand. Ephesians 1:13-14 teaches that believers are sealed by the Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it.
Just because someone claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ does not make him a true believer. People who sin freely without any concern for God’s commands to live holy, obedient lives are not saved (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9). No one fools God. Matthew 7:21-23 warns, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” People who were never true believers cannot lose their salvation, since they were never truly saved.
The condition of the heart is the decisive factor. True believers are those who genuinely repent of their sins and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Romans 10:10). True believers walk humbly before God. They seek to do God’s will and feel conviction and remorse when they sin (1 John 3:6-9). Followers of Jesus Christ are instructed to examine themselves to ensure that they are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). True believers will persevere in faith until the end (Matthew 24:13 and Philippines 1:6). When believers put their faith in Jesus, they are reassured that He is able to keep them from stumbling and will present them blameless (Jude 24).
Genuine Christians are in an eternal, family relationship with God that begins the moment we become true believers. Our eternal security and preservation are based on God’s faithfulness to His Word (1 Thessalonians 5:24 and 2 Timothy 2:11-13). Deep in our hearts and minds, we know whether or not we are truly devoted to God. His Spirit bears witness with our spirits that we are God’s children (Romans 8:16).
God wants His followers to feel secure in Him. When we doubt our salvation, we are doubting God’s faithfulness to His promises. Doubt robs us of the joy of our salvation and hinders our effectiveness for the Kingdom of God, and thereby our eternal rewards.