Can you lose your salvation? Help me out on this one.


I came across the blog of a young man, Austin Coons, who is really impressive.  At 16 years old, he is intently studying and sharing Christ.  I’m blessed to have come across his blog here.  He has given me permission to share this with you…a blog he wrote about the issue of apostasy, which is turning away from and rejecting Christ once you have received salvation.  Before reading any further in my thoughts, I ask that you please read his thoughts, with Scriptural references here.

http://austincoons.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/apostasy-abandoning-your-faith/

For further reference on the topic of apostasy, here is another link I’ve found that goes somewhat in depth on the topic.

http://carm.org/apostasy-christian-church

Once you’ve reviewed those, then here’s my further commentary.  I have pretty much always, over the last 30 years since accepting Christ, been taught the ‘once saved, always saved’ message.  This is primarily based on John 6:32-59 .  That’s where Jesus is teaching that nobody can come to him except the Father draws them, and that Jesus will in no way cast anyone out who the Father draws to him.  They will receive eternal life.  Please read the passage, to get the full benefit of Jesus’ message there.

I have to confess, that while I have always believed that,  I’ve struggled with it some.  I know of the other verses mentioned in Austin’s blog…of course.  I’m not a novice to the Bible.  And it is troubling to me, the idea that a person who accepts Christ and then completely rejects Christ and turns away and back into a sinful life, could still be saved.  We all like to think of God as merciful and loving and kind…and He is those things.  But He is also just.  Now I’m not talking about just sinning, because as Christians we will still sin.  We still have the war going on between the flesh and the Spirit that’s spoken of in Romans 8.  And I myself can attest to my own struggles between the flesh and the Spirit.  But I know that I can’t comfortably sin…the Spirit is convicting me and I’m miserable about it when I do.  And I will also say that I have fallen into some pretty serious sin since accepting Christ.  And throughout it…I know without a doubt that God was still with me.  I had not turned away from Him.  I had not rejected Him.  I was just trying to convince myself that He knew my heart and was making an exception to the rule for me.  But I was still serving Him.  And eventually I had to admit that I was wrong, and deal with that between God and myself.  I have no doubt that He loves me, and loved me throughout all that.

I even had a time once, when I was 30 years old, when I was going through just a horrible time of my life.  I thought God had abandoned me, and I was angry with Him.  I tried to not believe…but I couldn’t.  I just couldn’t.  So I instead just told Him basically, “Ok God…I know you’re real and you’re there…but I’m really mad at you!”  I sort of imagine He was laughing at me for that.  I have no problem with being honest with God…even about anger toward Him.  He understands, and there’s no point in trying to hide it from Him.  He’s gonna know!  So anyway…I never really rejected Him.  I never really turned away.  I was just mad for a time, and then I got over it, and I saw what He had done a little later on…how He had never abandoned me, but had been with me through that whole time and had a purpose in allowing it all.  I’m not saying He caused it…just that He allowed it, and I learned a lot during the process.

This topic of apostasy vs. once saved, always saved isn’t important if the latter is true.  But if the former is true, it’s vitally important.  It could mean that a person would think that even though they turn away and reject Christ, it won’t matter and they’ll still have a place saved for them in heaven…and they will be very disappointed to say the least.

I want to know what you think about this, and why?  What is your opinion…and what is the basis of your opinion?  Thank you, and thank you to Austin, who is a very thoughtful young man who I imagine will be a great servant of the Lord…and already is.  Of course as I pointed out to him…he’ll still be learning even when he’s old like me. Ha ha!  And I will still be learning until the day I meet Jesus.

And as for me…I just can’t imagine truly turning away!  I have said before, once you accept Christ there’s just no turning back.  There may be sort of ‘sliding back’ in ways…but never turning back.  But that’s based on myself and the fact that I can’t do it.  I will never give up my faith…and believe me, it’s been tested very harshly. 

Thank you in advance for your thoughts…and any Biblical backup you have, as well as personal sharing you’d like to do.

Love and blessings,

Anne

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About Anne Sikes

"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us." (2 Cor. 4:7) Sharing the journey through daily thoughts and struggles, examination of Scripture, poetry, music and art.
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14 Responses to Can you lose your salvation? Help me out on this one.

  1. pajamaed says:

    I personally subscribe to the theory that one can lose his salvation. If you’re cussing, drinking, smoking and behaving as if you were an animal, then you are not, in my opinion, saved. OSAS is a potentially harmful doctrine if it is not true. As I am about the same age as Austin, I can say with certainty that a majority of high schoolers are not bible thumping Christians. Even in a Christian school, and I know since I go to one. A kid died in a car accident last year and they said the next day at an assembly that he was saved, that he had gone forward when he was 8 at a basketball camp. But then I had a thought, when one is 8, does one really understand the decision their making? The commitment? I personally don’t think so as I distinctly remember praying the prayer several times when I was younger and not really meaning it until about 6 months ago. I knew that kid before he died from an outside point of view. He was relatively nice, but he was hanging out with the crowd who did the smoking and the drinking etc. So for the last year and a half, I have been posed with the question, Is he burning in hell right now?

    For all I know, he is. If OSAS is true, then he isn’t. But I don’t really know if a decision made at 8 counts. 8 year olds are normally only concerned with their legos and such. God is a semi-foreign concept to them.

    But I’m starting to ramble, so I’ll stop myself here. I think I’ll write a post on my own blog about this topic. It has interested me.

    Happy blogging, and God bless!
    ~pajamaed

    • Anne Sikes says:

      Thank you for your comment pajamaed. I appreciate it. I will say, that I strongly disagree with you about the smoking, drinking and cussing thing. Those aren’t things that would take your salvation away from you. Sin itself is something that we still will do even after we’re saved. Even Paul spoke in the Bible about doing the things he didn’t want to do, and not doing the things that he did want to do…but he kept pressing on and reaching for the goal…but not as though he had already reached it. I referenced Romans 8 in this post because that chapter deals with the war between the flesh and the Spirit that we still will have. I appreciate your comments and God bless you too…hope you’ll come back! Blessings, Anne

  2. I love this post. And his post (I can’t believe he is 16)! I think about this a lot and discuss this a lot with the women in my Bible study. We talk about the unforgiveable sin that the Bible talks about, blaspheming the Holy Spirit, which we have jokingly said, “if you are worried about committing it than there’s no way you are committing it.”
    I take this idea in a similar way which is that if I am always in my Bible, checking my heart, obeying the Holy Spirit and talking to God all the time than I will continually grow closer to Him and not slide backward. But this is a difficult idea because how different are backsliding and turning away? Like you said, with the Spirit, we get convicted of our sin and repent. Though I try not to be, I am a black or white thinker, and so I always feel like backsliding and turning away are not too different and I constantly fear losing Him and falling away even in the slightest. Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, after all!
    I really relate to what you said about how you know you could not turn back and that your faith has been tested to do so. I definitely know what you mean by that. In that same vein, I can really understand this idea in my own life because I know how easily I could get distracted and begin to value other things and neglect my relationship with Him. And I know what my struggles are and I pray about them. But the difficult part in this is when you see the ones that you love turn away and live in habitual sin. But I know that He will break through to people and revive them because He did that for me about three years ago. I thank God so much that He brought me back to His side. And when these questions begin to hurt my head, I just think that I trust God that in His mercy and goodness He knows the depths of all hearts and will do what is right.

    • Anne Sikes says:

      Thank you for those thoughts, hearts overflow! I think the difference between backsliding and turning away are…you can backslide by starting to slip back into more slack patterns in life…not making God a priority really, as much as you did before. Or even going back into some unhealthy pattern of behavior. I do think there’s a difference. To me, the kind of rejection that’s being spoken of there is a total turning away. And I still just don’t believe it’s possible really. I also read this article on apostasy that is really good.
      http://www.gotquestions.org/apostasy-salvation.html In it it references 1 John 2:19, which suggests that those who are doing the turning away were never saved to begin with. Thank you again for your comment! Blessings, Anne

      • Anne Sikes says:

        And by the way, that was what I always believed in regard to this. It’s unfathomable to me the idea of turning away from Jesus. I could never do it. So I just figured that anyone who turned away was never really in the fold to begin with. The Bible also speaks of the Lamb’s book of life. When you’re saved your name is in there. No erasures. 🙂

      • Yes. I’ve heard that before, such as the ex-pastors who now tout complete atheism. That’s perverse and how could they have been saved before? No, you’re right. Then that leads us to a different answer altogether which is that salvation at any point is so much more than a judgment that the human eye can make. A truly converted heart would never deny Him.

        • Anne Sikes says:

          I agree. To me, knowing what I know, it’s an impossibility. That’s why I’ve said so many times, once you receive him, there’s no going back. I can’t imagine anyone who truly does know the reality of Christ in his/her life to turn away.

  3. loopyloo305 says:

    There is one unforgivable sin! Matthew 12:31-32 “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.

    “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in in this age or in the age to come.

  4. Joey Coons says:

    I do believe that the Bible is very clear that the possiblity of losing your salvation is very real. With that said, you are secure when you are in Christ Jesus. You don’t have to worry or wonder if you are to be saved. But that only is only true as long as you keep in your faith. Jesus says, “Remain in Me and I will remain in you” (John 15:4). That seems to indicate if you DON”T remain in Him, then He will not remain in you. And if Christ is not in your life, then you have no salvation. (John 14:6). Jesus also illustrates this in the vineyard teaching. (John 15) Jesus is the true vine, and any branch not bearing fruit will be cut off. That is indicating those that are attached to the vine (Jesus) are believers not bearing fruit (or not maintain faithfulness with Christ). Those branches are according to the Bible thrown into “the fire” which is meant to be understood as hell. Also, that does not mean that if you find yourself slipping up in your faith meaning that you are losing your salvation. It is constant, purposeful sin that willl cause you to lose your faith. It is a heart that is in open rebellion against God and has turned away completely. It is very possible to lose your salvation, but it is something that you have to willfully choose to give up, not something God just strips you from. I hope I made sense?

    • Anne Sikes says:

      You make perfect sense, and I appreciate your response. I suppose its ‘possible’ that some could turn away completely. It’s just unfathomable to me…and then again, there’s the verse in 1 John 2:19 (posting from BibleGateway.com) 1 John 2:19

      King James Version (KJV)

      19They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

      In addition there is the passage where Jesus says he won’t in any way cast anyone out that the Father draws, and that nobody can come to him unless they’re drawn by the Father. And if the come to him, they’ll be raised up and have eternal life.

      It is possible, and happens all the time, for people (as you probably know) to be ‘among believers’, in the sense that they attend church every Sunday, do a lot of Christian things and look very much like Christians might look…but who aren’t truly saved. I understand the reasons for the argument…I just think that after looking at the other Scriptural references, that you never had the salvation to begin with if you truly turn away. Otherwise, why would Jesus teach that message in John 6? There are no caveats that he mentions in there that say that it only applies under certain conditions. But again…I just think that to truly turn away and reject the Christ that I know seems a complete impossibility.

      Thank you for contributing your thoughts and argument here. I truly am grateful. Blessings, Anne

  5. renewedhope says:

    Maybe I can shed some light on the Catholic and Bible view of salvation using St. Paul’s own words. Catholicism views salvation as a gift that is given freely, but it may be spurned and squandered. The Father freely gave His Son Jesus Christ to suffer, die, and rise again for our salvation. Through the Holy Spirit, God pours out this love upon us so that we become the children of God. In the words of Saint Paul, we become earthen vessels containing inestimable treasure (1 Cor 4:7). As Saint Paul wrote: “For by grace you have been saved through faith…(Eph. 2:8).” Paul does in fact teach that “nothing can separate us from the love of God” (Rom 8:39). However, he also clearly states that certain Christians have “fallen from grace” (Gal 5:4). What does the Apostle mean when he says that certain Christians have fallen from grace?
    The Apostle explains, “I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize” (1 Cor 9:27). Here the prize is salvation, as is clear from the preceding verses. Saint Paul follows a disciplined life because he knows that there is a possibility that he might forfeit the salvation that he preaches. For this reason, in the very next chapter, Paul encourages the Christians in Corinth to do the same: “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall” (1 Cor 10:12). The “fall” here is the “fall from grace” spoken about by Paul in Galatians 5:4.
    Interestingly enough, the warning about falling from grace in Galatians 5:4 is immediately followed up by Paul’s exhortation to have “faith working through love” in Galatians 5:6. Since the Apostle believes that one might fall from grace, he elsewhere encourages the Christians in Philippi to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12).
    We are to work out our salvation. While it is a gift, it requires our effort. If you receive the gift of a bicycle, it is worthless until you actually get on the bike and start peddling. If the giver of the gift saw the bicycle leaning against the wall in your garage covered in dust, he would be offended. The giver wanted the recipient to enjoy cycling, but this intention was never realized. The same is true of salvation. The gift of salvation has been given to us so that we can be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom 8:29). This is a profound honor. We are called not only to believe in Christ, but also to become like Christ. We participate in the life of Christ. It is for this reason that we are called Christians. This means that our life is characterized by acts pertaining to faith, hope, and charity (1 Cor 13:13). When we willingly break the bond our bond of charity with Christ, we fall from grace.

    • Anne Sikes says:

      I’m sorry it took me so long to get your comment approved. Have so much catching up to do, and not as much time as I used to. I want to reply better to your comment, but will have to do it later because I awoke with a nasty headache this morning. Thank you for your comment, and I promise to get back here and respond better. 🙂

    • Anne Sikes says:

      Finally back here to respond, and again, I thank you for your comment and apologize that it’s been so long awaiting approval and response.

      I would say that I agree that our faith is worthless without our action. The Bible clearly says so. I do think that Paul clearly admonished the early followers of Christ not to fall back into thinking that it was by following the letter of the law…in fact by anything they could do of themselves…when Christ had already paid the price. When we accept Christ and receive the free gift of salvation, we do change. But that is through the working of the Holy Spirit within us. In Romans 8, it speaks of the war between the flesh and the spirit. We do have that war within that goes on, and when we follow the Spirit and not the flesh, the change happens…the works come according to how we are led by the Spirit. But not of ourselves. I think that’s the danger with that for some. We have the tendency to think we have to somehow do this or that or the other in order to please Him…to keep our salvation or earn it. Not so. There is nothing we could possibly do to top what Jesus already did. All we have to do once we receive the gift of salvation, is submit, set aside our own fleshly desires, and allow the Spirit within us to do the rest.

      I have such a difficult time understanding how anyone can really, truly be saved and lose that salvation. If we’re saved, our names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Our salvation is secure. So I just think that if someone loses their salvation, they never really could have had it to begin with. I mean, there are people who go through all the motions and act the part. But it has to be truly within…an internal change that happens and I can’t for the life of me fathom being set free from that. I am not saying I can’t fathom sinning or saying no to the urging of the Spirit. I have done that more than once since I accepted Christ. But throughout all of that, the Spirit was making me miserable, because of my disobedience. That only was relieved when I submitted. And it’s not just true with sin…it’s been true in my life when I couldn’t understand something the Bible clearly says, and tried to basically rewrite it to suit me. People do that a lot nowadays! But when I finally admitted that it doesn’t matter if I understand it…God said it, so it’s true…that was when peace about it came…and not before then. I got plenty of cheers from the world for some of my own versions of the truth, and have gotten jeers from the world once I submitted to God’s ways.

      Anyway, I think I may be wavering from the main point here now. I will say that I don’t understand everything. I understand more now than I once did. But I don’t have to understand everything. He reveals to me what I need to as He needs me to know it. 🙂 His timing isn’t always alongside mine, of course. So what I’m saying is, I admit there’s a possibility that people can somehow lose their salvation according to those verses used to state that. But I cannot understand how it’s possible. I fail daily in my walk, and thankfully, he has never let go of me, and I cannot imagine ever wanting to let go of him.

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