Once saved, always saved? Can a Christian lose their salvation after they have truly accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior?
There is major divided opinion in the Body of Christ right now on this question. Many believe that you cannot lose your salvation, no matter how many bad things you may end up doing in this life.
The Bible says that we are “sealed” with the Holy Spirit at the moment of our salvation with the Lord and that nothing can break this seal, no matter how many bad and evil sins a person may commit after getting saved.
Others believe that God will not be mocked, and that you can lose your salvation if you get into some of the heavier and more evil types of sins.
I believe there are several verses in Scripture that really do answer this question, with one verse in particular. After studying these verses very carefully, it is my own personal opinion that a Christian can lose their salvation after having already been saved.
However, I do believe that you really have to get into some of the heavier type sins before this will actually happen.
I believe the seal we have with the Holy Spirit is a very strong and powerful seal, but that this seal can be broken if this person with their own free will has chosen to live this life on the darker side.
I will go ahead and give you the main verses from Scripture that deal with this possibility.
You will each have to judge and discern for yourself as to whether or not you feel these verses are implying that a Christian can lose their salvation.
For those of you who are really wanting an answer on this issue, I would highly recommend that you study these verses very carefully, and then ask God the Father, through the Holy Spirit, to give you His direct answer on this issue due to the extreme importance of it.
What follows is just our own personal opinion on this issue.
You will each have to get your own answer from the Lord on this issue since there is such divided opinion in the Body right now on this question.
1. A Falling Away
In my opinion, this first verse hits the nail right on the head. Here is the verse, and then I will point out several key phrases showing that it might be possible for a Christian to lose their salvation with the Lord.
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
For the earth which brings in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.” (Hebrews 6:4-8)
First, notice the specific wording being used to describe what I believe is a saved and born again Christian:
- Those who were once enlightened
- Have tasted the heavenly gift
- Become partakers of the Holy Spirit
- Have tasted the good Word of God
You cannot be a “partaker of the Holy Spirit” unless you are saved and born again. Only Christians receive the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation with the Lord.
Nonbelievers do not have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of them. You can only be a partaker of the Holy Spirit if you already have Him living on the inside of you.
Only a Christian can truly “taste the good Word of God.” Unless you have the Holy Spirit living on the inside you, you can never fully understand the Bible because all of the Bible was really written by God the Father through the Holy Spirit.
Much of the Bible has to be spiritually discerned and this is done by and through the Holy Spirit. It is the job of Holy Spirit to teach us all things and to guide us into all truth.
As a result of the Holy Spirit helping you to understand the Bible when you are reading it, you then start to become “enlightened” as the above verse states.
You cannot become truly “enlightened” unless you already have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of you, and He is working with you to help you understand the spiritual truths that are in the Bible.
And then watch what it says next: “For it is impossible … if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance …”
I think the key words in these phrases are “if they fall away.”
What is considered a “falling away?”
Obviously God the Father will be the final judge on what is considered a falling away from Him.
A good example might be someone who turns completely to the dark side and decides he wants to worship Satan direct as a result of the wealth and power that Satan may be able to give him while he is still living down here on this earth.
There have been documented cases of priests and ministers who have literally “sold out” to the devil in exchange for more of the material and lustful pleasures of this life.
They have literally become true Satan worshipers. I personally think something like this would qualify as a “falling away” – a deliberate turning away from God to serve His adversary, the Devil.
Other extreme examples would be Christians who have decided to join and live in some type of organized crime, who get into killing and murdering others for their own gain and profit, men who become rapists or serial killers, etc.
As you will see in some of the other verses listed below, God will not be mocked.
I believe that some of these heavier types of sins can cause a Christian to lose their salvation if they do not get these heavier types of sins confessed and forgiven with the Lord before they die and cross over.
Notice the above verse also says that:
Put all of the above together – and I think that the above verse is telling us that it is definitely possible for a Christian to lose their salvation if the “falling away” is considered to be serious enough and extreme enough in the eyes of God.
2. Sinning Willfully After Receiving the Knowledge of the Truth
This next verse is another real scary verse. The above verse talks about a “falling away” that could cause you to lose your salvation.
This next verse goes another step further and specifically talks about “sinning willfully” after we have already received the knowledge of the truth from God. Here it is:
“For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.
Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay, says the Lord.” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:26-31)
Notice the first part of this verse says that if we “sin willfully” after having already received the knowledge of the truth. Again, I believe this wording could be implying that we are talking about Christians.
The second part of this verse seems to confirm that possibility when it talks about trampling Jesus underfoot and insulting the Spirit of grace, which is the Holy Spirit Himself.
Then notice it says that “there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins” in direct reference to the statement about sinning willfully after having already received the knowledge of the truth.
I believe the words “no longer remains a sacrifice for sins” is implying a definite loss of salvation if someone has pushed the envelope too far with God the Father.
3. Becoming Entangled Again in the Pollutions of the World
Here is another verse that matches up with the verse mentioned above. It talks about, after having already received the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the dangers of returning back again to the “pollutions of the world” from which we have just come out of. Here it is:
“For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse than the beginning.
For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.” (2 Peter 2:20)
Again, I believe this verse is specifically talking about Christians when it talks about escaping the pollutions of this world “through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
You cannot have true knowledge about Jesus unless you have become saved and born again by accepting Him as your personal Lord and Savior.
Notice this verse specifically states that it would be much worse for you to have become saved and then turn back to your old sinful ways into the pollutions of this world than to never have become saved in the first place.
The key phrase in this verse is “the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.”
The word “beginning” is referring back to when we were not saved. If you are not saved, you cannot make it into heaven. What could be worse than never being saved in the first place.
However, this verse is going one step further and it is literally telling us that it would be worse for us, after initially getting saved, if we once more return back to the sins that we were operating in before we got saved.
If that is worse than never getting saved in the first place, then I believe this verse is another one telling us that it is possible to lose your salvation after initially getting saved.
4. 22 Specific Sins That Could Keep You Out of Heaven
If some of the above verses are possibly implying that you can lose your salvation – then what are some of the specific sins that could cause you to lose your salvation? These next two verses will give you some of those specific sins.
Are these next two verses talking about Christians or nonbelievers? If you match these two verses up with the ones listed above, then I believe that some of these sins, if being committed by Christians on a regular and frequent basis, could get them into major trouble with the Lord and possibly be endangering their salvation with Him. Here they are:
- “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9)
- “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19)
Notice the sin of adultery is specifically mentioned in both verses. Does this mean any Christian who regularly cheats on their spouse may be in danger of losing their salvation?
Maybe God is thinking that if you cannot stay faithful and loyal to your spouse, then maybe you will not be able to stay faithful and loyal to Him for all of eternity once you enter into heaven.
Look at what happened to Satan and one third of all the angels. They could not stay faithful and loyal to the Lord for the long run, and as a result, they tried to rebel against Him and were eventually thrown right out of heaven!
The word “sodomite” refers to a man having sexual relations with another man, which is another word for describing the sin of homosexuality.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, the word “licentiousness” refers to one who “disregards accepted rules and standards, one who is morally unrestrained, especially in sexual matters.”
There is no doubt that the above two verses are talking about nonbelievers. But is it also talking about Christians?
I guess we will all find out once we cross over into heaven and we see who has made it and who has not. But I would not want to be taking any chances with the Lord by wallowing in any of the above sins on any type of regular and frequent basis.
5. Not Everyone Who Calls Jesus “Lord, Lord” Will Make it Into Heaven
This next powerful verse is coming direct from Jesus Himself. He specifically states that not everyone who calls Him “Lord, Lord” is going to make it into heaven, but only those who do the will of God the Father.
The key word in this verse is the word “will” – the will of God the Father. What is the will of God the Father?
One of His definite “wills” is that we stay out of serious sin, especially some of the specific sins mentioned in the above two verses.
When Jesus is using the words of those calling Him “Lord, Lord” – is He referring to Christians or nonbelievers?
I personally believe that He may be referring to Christians. How can you truly call Jesus “Lord, Lord” unless you have become saved and born again by accepting Him as your “Lord” and Savior.
If Jesus is specifically referring to Christians with this phrase, then this is another verse that is showing that a Christian could possibly lose their salvation.
Once you have become saved, and then you go back and start to enter into some of these heavier sin areas – which would be going against the “will” of God the Father – then I believe you could be in danger of losing your own personal salvation with the Lord.
I believe this verse is also telling us that God will not be mocked! You cannot accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and then turn around and start to enter into some of these heavier sin areas – and then think you can get away with it and that God will just look the other way.
The sins of adultery and homosexuality are two very scary sins for any Christian to want to engage in with the way some of the above verses are worded.
I would not want to be tempting my eternal fate with God the Father by engaging in these two sins, or any of the other sins mentioned in the above two verses.
Here is the verse:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:21)
Notice that Jesus is specifically talking about people who have prophesied and cast out demons in His name. Is Jesus referring direct to Christians?
I believe that He is, especially on the second act that these people had been doing – casting demons out of people in His name.
An unbeliever cannot cast demons out of someone because they do not have the legal authority to be able to do so. Demons are cast out of people by the power of the Holy Spirit.
You have to have the Holy Spirit living and operating on the inside of you before you can cast demons out of someone.
Only born-again Christians have the Holy Spirit living and operating on the inside of them – unbelievers do not! As a result, unbelievers do not have the power of the Holy Spirit or the legal authority from God the Father to cast demons out of anyone, including themselves if they have been caught in their death grip.
Two Scripture verses will back this up. In Acts 19:13-16, several Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call on the name of Jesus to try and cast demons out of several people. When they tried to cast these demons out in the name of Jesus, one of the evil spirits replied back to him stating that they knew who Jesus and Paul were, but they did not know who he was.
Then the man who had the demon in him jumped on the Jewish exorcists, overpowered them and literally “prevailed” against them. The men then ran out of the house “naked and wounded.” In other words, the Jewish exorcists had no divine power and authority to be trying to take these demons on.
And not only were they not able to cast the demons out, but the demons were allowed to physically attack them and were able to drive them right out of the house without a stitch of clothing left on them! And these men were Jewish men, not total unbelievers.
Here is the verse giving us this specific information:
“Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches … And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”
Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” (Acts 19:13-16)
Notice in the first verse listed above that Jesus is not contesting that these people really were casting demons out of people in His name. I believe Jesus is directly acknowledging that these people really were casting demons out in His name.
And if Jesus is acknowledging this fact – then these people have to be born-again Christians, because only born-again Christians have the power of the Holy Spirit operating on the inside of them to be able to cast demons out of anyone.
I have heard some scholars argue that the people Jesus is referring to in this verse were unbelievers, not saved Christians. These unbelievers were then casting demons out of people and prophesying in His name as a direct result of operating under some kind of demonic influence or possession.
In other words, they were all doing this operating under the power of a demonic spirit rather than the power of the Holy Spirit. However, the second verse stated above is telling us that unbelievers cannot cast demons out of people, even if they are operating under some kind of demonic influence and power.
Another very powerful verse to help back up the revelation that demons are not going to be casting out other demons in a person is found in Mark 3:20-30. In this verse, the Scribes are accusing Jesus of casting demons out of people by Beelzebub, the ruler of demons.
Jesus then responds back stating that Satan is not going to be casting out himself, and that a kingdom will not be be able to stand if it becomes divided against itself. In other words, not even Satan or one of his demons are going to try and cast out other demons in a person, as they would just be defeating their own purposes in trying to do so.
And then notice what Jesus says next – that He will tell them to depart from Him and that He never knew them because they “practice lawlessness.” The keys words as to why they may lose their salvation in Him is due to the fact that they were “practicing” lawlessness.
The word “practice” means someone who is deliberately, intentionally, and willfully breaking some of God’s basic laws and commandments on some kind of a regular basis. It is someone who is doing this on a regular and consistent basis, not someone who is just occasionally slipping up.
Again, I believe Jesus is giving us a major clue in this verse in that He is really talking about Christians, not unbelievers.
And if He is, then this verse is more proof that a Christian can lose their salvation if they push the envelope too far and too long with the Lord, with no intentions of ever pulling out of their sinful behaviors, and no remorse for doing it in the first place.
6. A Sin Leading to Death
This next verse is very interesting. It talks about a sin that could lead to death and a sin that will not lead to death. I believe the word “death” could be referring to the deaths of our souls once we die and cross cover, which would mean going straight to hell when we die. Again, is this verse referring to Christians?
If it is, then it is definitely delineating between certain types of sins. It is implying that some sins are obviously worse than others. Some of these sins could cause us to lose our salvation and other types of sins will not. Here is the verse:
“There is a sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death.” (1 John 5:16-17)
God will obviously be the final judge on what sins could lead to death and which ones will not. But again, as a Christian, I would not want to be tempting my eternal fate with God the Father by engaging in some of the heavier sins mentioned in the above verses, thinking that He will look the other way just because we got saved earlier on in our lives.
7. Fallen From Grace
The Bible specifically tells us that we are “saved by grace.” However, this next verse specifically says that we can “fall from grace.”
If you put both of these phrases right next to one another, then I believe they could be telling us that a Christian could lose their salvation.
I believe the words “fallen from grace” means exactly what it is saying. If we have been “saved by grace“ – then we can also “fall from that same saving grace.” This might be another powerful verse from the Lord showing us that we can lose our salvation with Him.
Notice also in the first part of this verse where it talks about becoming “estranged from Christ.” If you put these three words right next to the words “fallen from grace” – and they are all in the same verse – then once again I believe the implication may really be there that you can lose your salvation, and that another phrase to describe losing your salvation with the Lord is “falling from grace” – falling from the saving grace which you initially got saved in the first place!
Here is the verse:
“You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” (Galatians 5:4)
Put this verse together with all of the other ones mentioned above – and the Scriptural evidence may really be there that a Christian could possibly lose their salvation if they try and push the envelope to far with God the Father by falling into and engaging in some of the heavier type sins as described above.
8. Having Your Name “Blotted Out” From the Book of Life
I will leave with you with one very scary intense verse from the Bible. This verse is coming direct from Jesus Himself from the Book of Revelation.
“He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not BLOT OUT his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” (Revelation 3:5)
The Book of Life is a Book that has every single saved and born-again believer recorded in it. Once you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, your name is then written and recorded in this Book.
But notice what Jesus says in reference to this specific Book. He specifically says that he who “overcomes” will not have his name “blotted out” from this Book.
The word “blot” means “to rub or wipe out, to erase or get rid of.”
The fact that Jesus is telling us that our names can literally be blotted out from this Book is just more proof that we can possibly lose our salvation with Him. If your name could not be blotted out from this Book, then Jesus would have never made this specific statement in the first place.
But since He did, I believe this is another powerful Scripture verse that is showing us that we can lose our salvation in Him.
Also notice the specific word that Jesus is using to tie in this possibility – the word “overcomes.”
What is it that Jesus wants us to overcome?
One of the things that He definitely wants us to overcome is the temptation to fall and enter into some of these heavier sin areas. The Bible tells us that we must “endure” temptation.
To endure a temptation means you do not give into it, you do not cross the line – but if by chance you do fall into a specific temptation, to immediately pull out of it as soon as you can.
If you do not, and you do not overcome and pull out of this temptation within the time span that God is giving you to pull out of it, then your name could be blotted out from His Book of Life for all of eternity!
The other thing to pick up with the specific wording that Jesus is using in this verse is that once He blots out your name from His Book of Life – it will be for all of eternity.
There will be no second chance to get back in once you have been officially erased from His Book, just like the first verse I listed at the beginning of this article is telling us.
There is no other indication in this verse, or any other verses in the Bible, that this blotting out of your name can be reversed or rescinded.
The tone and straight forward way this verse is being worded is all showing us that not only can a person’s name be actually blotted out from this Book, but that once it is, it will be for all of eternity.
Again, if this was not an actual possibility, then Jesus would have never worded this verse the way He did. But the fact that He is specifically using the words of having your own personal name blotted out from His Book of Life is all showing us that this is a definite possibility if we have gone too far and wallowed too long in a heavier sin area.
You will each have to come to your own conclusions as to whether or not you feel a Christian can lose their salvation with the way all of the above verses are worded.
I personally believe that all of the above verses mean exactly what they are saying.
I personally believe that all of the above verses, and specifically some of the key phrases mentioned in these verses, are simply way too much Scriptural evidence all showing that it is possible for a Christian to lose their salvation with the Lord.
God and His Word will not be mocked. He will not put up with some of His own falling into some of these heavier sin areas, and then think that He will turn a blind eye to their sins, while all the while condoning their sinful activities thinking that the Blood of Jesus will keep them covered till the day they die.
I am afraid some Christians, who are living in some of these heavier sin areas on a regular and frequent basis with no intentions of trying to pull out of them, are going to be in for a very big surprise once they die and cross over and have to meet the Lord for their own personal final judgment.
Again, it would be our strong recommendation that you go direct to God the Father in prayer and ask Him to show you what the real truth is on this matter. All of the above are just our thoughts and opinions on this very controversial issue.
For the record, I hope that I am really wrong on my assessment on the above Scripture verses, as I would never want anyone to lose their salvation in the Lord.