Can a Person Lose their Salvation by Default?

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

The Holy Spirit is likened to oil used as fuel for lamps, with the burning flame and light being a picture of our lives burning for God from the Holy Spirit (oil) within. In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus said we are the light of the world and are not to hide our light under a basket, but to let it shine so people can see our light and glorify our Father. The oil/Holy Spirit supplies, we burn/shine as a result of Him within.

And that brings us to the parable of the 10 virgins and their lamps in Matthew 25:1-13. All 10 started with oil in their lamps, that is they all had the Holy Spirit when they started. To make it clear; they were born again. They had oil in their lamps (Holy Spirit within) and were burning brightly in the night for the groom.

Letting the light go out (Letting the Holy Spirit leave)

But 5 of them had not brought additional oil so their lamps went out – which is a picture of them not continuing to walk with the Lord while they were waiting. As the oil is a type of the Holy Spirit in a person, we can see that it is possible for people to let the life of God in their spirit leave, and their ‘light’ goes out.

Last week we covered those who actively and zealously decide to reject the Lord, even counting Jesus and His sacrifice as trash and unholy, to the point of despising the Spirit of Grace’s efforts to bring them back.

The 5 virgins however make a series of small decisions to reject the Lord. They replace the Groom as first priority in their lives with other things. They see the Holy Spirit’s “fuel” getting lower and lower but do nothing to get back in fellowship with Him. Finally these small decisions to reject Him pile up, and their light goes out – the Holy Spirit leaves.

The groom said to the 5 who let the oil/Holy Spirit leave, “I do not know you.” Jesus isn’t lying – when He says “I do not know you”- He doesn’t know them, which means they weren’t allowed to the wedding feast in the kingdom. “Therefore watch for you don’t know the day nor hour when the Son of Man is coming.”

The instruction to ‘watch’ is the Greek word ‘gregoreo’ which means to be vigilant as one separated for that purpose. In the Latin, the root word ‘Greg’ means ‘flock’ or ‘separated (as a flock)’. These 5 had made small decisions in which they let their priority to be vigilantly separated unto the Groom go. The 10 were given an assignment and responsibility to light the way for the Groom, but had lost their sense of purpose for Him. They were no longer interested in being identified as being with the Groom.

Thief in the night?

To the church at Sardis in Revelation 3:1-6 Jesus said:

“Remember how you received and heard (Me) and hold fast, and repent. IF you are not watching I will come as a thief in the night and you won’t know what hour I will come upon you. You do have a few in Sardis who have not defiled their clothing and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will be clothed in white clothes; and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life, and I will confess his name before my Father and His angels.”

There is a lot in these verses. The first thing we see is Jesus gives the same instruction to be ‘watching’ as He used in the parable of the 10 virgins. He uses it the same way, separated as a group/flock with vigilance.

Secondly we see white clothing which is righteousness. Revelation 19:7-8: ‘the bride has made herself ready, and to her was given fine linen, clean and white, for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.’

So when Jesus says some in Sardis had dirtied their clothing, it means they were not righteous before Him. Paul used this illustration in Ephesians 5:26-27 where he says Christ loves the church and gave Himself for it “that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

The fact they had dirtied their righteousness/clothing shows us they left the cleansing of the Word. They may have been hearers of the Word, but not doers of the Word. James calls such ‘self-deceived’ in 1:22.

These are people who stopped living for the Lord, stopped being doers of the Word, but had fallen back to the point they knew the Word but did not live it. Like the 5 virgins they make a series of small decisions to allow the fuel of the Holy Spirit to go out, or were on the verge.

The third thing to see about the believers in Sardis who were in danger of having their names blotted from the book of Life is that the Lord would come to them ‘as a thief in the night’. Paul uses this term in I Thessalonians 5:2-5:

“For you know perfectly well that the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night. For when they will say ‘peace and safety’, then sudden destruction will come upon them like birth pains of a woman in labor, and they will not escape. But you brothers and sisters are not in darkness that the day would overtake you as a thief in the night. You are children of the light and children of the day, we are not of the night nor of darkness.”

He only comes as a thief in the night to those who aren’t walking with the Lord, to those in darkness. Therefore we know when the Lord says to believers in Sardis that if they don’t repent He will come as a thief in the night, He is talking to believers who not only have retreated from being doers of the Word, but have retreated from fellowship with others and their own personal walk with the Lord. They are now in spiritual darkness as a matter of lifestyle, yet there is still hope they will repent.

The fourth point is Jesus said He may erase some names from the Book of Life. That book is mentioned in Revelation 20:15: “…whoever’s name was not found in the Book of Life (Book of the Living) was cast into the lake of fire.” If they repent He will confess their name before the Father and His angels, which corresponds to ‘watch’ – if they want to be counted vigilantly separated for Him, He will acknowledge that before the Father.

The Greek word used here for ‘blot‘ is used in Revelation 7:17 and 21:4 to describe God ‘wiping away‘ the tears of believers.

It is also used in Acts 3:19 to describe the ‘wiping away’ or ‘blotting out’ of our sins when we are saved, thus the exact process is reversed if they wish – He may wipe away/blot their sins if they repent, or wipe away/blot their names from the Book of Life. Their choice.

There are two sets of believers presented in Sardis: Those who know what the Spirit is saying and the season of the Spirit as they walk in righteousness, meaning they are walking in the light they have – not perfect, but doing their best to walk in what they know - so the return of the Lord will not come as a thief in the night to them.

The second group is those believers who aren’t doing the Word and aren’t in fellowship with others and the Spirit, so that resultant darkness means they are in the dark about the things of the Spirit and in spiritual danger.

I’ve run out of space and we’ve not drawn any conclusions; just shared chapter and verse. Next week the last of this series – a wedding feast with an improperly dressed guest, mud, and real life stories of grace.

Until then, blessings,
John Fenn

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