Can a Believer Lose Their Salvation?

Can a believer lose their salvation?

The short answer, chapter and verse, is that yes, a Christian can lose their salvation. But that raises a second set of questions that I’ll answer in this space:

1) Can a believer lose their salvation by making a choice to do so?

2) Can a person lose their salvation by neglect, lifestyle, default, unconsciously, or sinning?

First things first: Understanding the unpardonable sin

Jesus said in Matthew 12:31-32 that any sin may be forgiven, except the ‘blasphemy against the Holy Spirit’. What is that?

The Holy Spirit is the only One of the Godhead in ministry on earth today. What I mean is that Jesus isn’t physically ministering on the earth as He did in the gospels. All He does today is by the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is the agent of salvation, the One to actually cause our spirit to be born again. Therefore to reject Jesus as Lord, is to blaspheme (reject) the Holy Spirit.

Think of it another way: Jesus died for every person who has ever lived, is alive today, or ever will live. Of all those billions of people down through the ages He died for, there is 1 person Jesus did not die for – Himself.

He died for others, not Himself. Rejecting Jesus was not covered by the cross, so to reject Him is to reject (blaspheme) the Holy Spirit.

The role of the Holy Spirit leading up to a salvation decision

Every person who has been born again has received revelation from the Father through the Holy Spirit that Jesus is Lord. After Peter said; ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God’, Jesus told him that man’s reasoning did not reveal that to him, but it was revealed by ‘my Father who is in heaven’. (Mt 16:17)

This revealing, or “enlightenment” happens to all who are born again and comes in a variety of ways, but can be summed up by each of us being drawn to examine the claims of Jesus and knowing we need to make a decision to believe and serve Him.

It is this enlightenment by the Holy Spirit by which you and I decided to believe on Jesus. Jesus said in John 6:40 that who “sees the Son (enlightened by the Holy Spirit) and believes on Him (our decision)..will have everlasting life.” First we ‘see’ by the Holy Spirit, then based on what we ‘see’ of Jesus, we decide to believe.

In verse 45 of this same chapter He continued: “Everyone therefore who has heard and has learned of the Father (revealed just as Peter had it revealed), comes to me (our decision).”

Enlightened means the Holy Spirit has ‘shined His light’ on Jesus to us that we might decide to believe.

1) Can a believer lose his salvation by making a choice to do so?

Hebrews 6:4-6 and 10:29 lay out for us the level of maturity required for a person to ‘lose’ their salvation. It describes a decision well thought out, that of a person knowing full and well what he or she is doing.

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and were made 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 to repentance…”

a) Enlightened - Had revealed to them by the Father; “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”

b) Tasted the heavenly gift – Believed on Jesus as Lord

c) Partakers of the Holy Spirit – Baptized with the Holy Spirit

d) Tasted the good Word of God – the word ‘Word’ here is ‘rhema’, which is when God speaks to you. This person is used to God speaking to them through the Word and by the Spirit

e) Powers of the age to come – they move in the gifts of the Spirit

Hebrews 10:29 continues:

“Of how much sorer punishment do you suppose one shall be though worthy, who, has trodden under foot the Son of God, has counted the blood of the covenant by which they were sanctified (born again) as unholy, and has despised the Spirit of Grace?”

a) Trodden under foot the Son of God – this is a first century term of ‘taking out the garbage’. They used to throw salt that had lost its freshness into the foot paths to be walked on by people. This person treats Jesus and the things of Jesus like trash to be walked over by common man. (See Matthew 5:13 for this practice)

b) Counted the blood of the covenant as unholy – Unholy things are to be rejected and avoided at all costs. This person, as it says, a born again person, now counts Jesus’ sacrifice as unholy.

c) Despised the Spirit of Grace – Up to this point this mature believer, used to hearing God speak to him, used to moving in the gifts of the Spirit, even though they now treat Jesus as dirt and are avoiding Him at all costs, up until this point the Spirit of Grace has still been trying to win him back. “Despise” (Gk: enybrisas used only here), means to “insult” (by rejection).

Those are the conditions outlined in the New Testament whereby a believer can knowingly, of their free will, tell the Holy Spirit to leave them and vacate their spirit.

I know of a man who was recognized as a prophet, pastor, and leader of a Bible school. He had an affair, refused to repent, and soon became alcoholic. He rejected all efforts to bring him to repentance. He lost his marriage, family, and moved out of state.

Some years later two men I knew who had been his students at one time, some months apart and not knowing what the other had said, told me: “I used to pray for him daily, but one day the Lord interrupted my prayer saying; “Stop praying for him, he has made his decision.”

Having an emotional outburst; ‘If this is what it means to be a Christian I don’t want it’, is not the above. Just as we overlook tantrums by toddlers and small children, and overlook a teenager’s ‘I hate you’ to mom or dad, so too does God overlook people’s outbursts born of immaturity.

When we are born again we are born into a family. That is relationship. When we sin against our Father or another family member, we have broken fellowship. When we apologize to the Father and our family member we are restored into fellowship in that area.

When I was a kid and hit my little brother (What?! Me?!) I was sent to my room. My mother did not kick me out of the family, but I did break fellowship with my brother and her. When I repented, demonstrated by apologizing to him and her, my fellowship was restored. But my relationship as a member of the family was never in jeopardy.

2) Can a person lose their salvation by neglect, lifestyle, default, unconsciously, or sinning?

Jesus did tell a group of people that He would, if they didn’t change, take their names out of the Book of the Living. We’ll look at who they were and what those conditions were next week, for I’m out of space today.

Until then, blessings,
John Fenn

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