Is there anything a Christian can do to lose their salvation? (ATP)
The short answer to this is, yes. There are many people and denominations that would outright disagree with this but as always, I prefer to get my answers straight from scripture. First we have to understand a very important thing; we cannot earn salvation. It is a free gift. No amount of works, being good, feeding the poor, or giving of money can ever get you into Heaven. You cannot follow all of the law or any other theology to get you there. Even simply believing that God exists does not gain salvation. Perhaps the most clear way we can be assured of salvation is found in Romans 10:9, which says, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” There we two requirements that we see in scripture. You must confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and you must believe that He died and was raised again for your sins.
Sometimes people think that because the Bible says salvation is a free gift that it cannot be taken back. This is true, God never removes salvation from anyone. The thing people forget though is that it can be given up. Salvation, like every good gift comes from God, but what if a person rejects it, decides they no longer want it, or refuses to live with it? People can make the choice to give it up and I will give you some examples. First in Hebrews 6:4-6 we see one of the most clear examples of this. “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.” I do not know if the Bible could be much clearer than this. Now we have to understand that the falling away that scripture talks about here is in the context of completely turning away. This person would have been a very knowledgeable Christian, knowing and being used in spiritual gifts, turning back to sin. This is not a person who misses it, even a lot. This is someone who willfully rejects God after truly knowing Him.
In 1 John 5:16 we see another example. “If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that.” Sin leading to death would be the same as sin leading to spiritual death in hell. Hebrews 10:39 says “But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” To draw back to perdition you must first be turned away from it. Since all of mankind is born into sin which leads to eternal death, the only way to have been turned away from perdition would have been through salvation. Some other scriptures I will just reference are 1 John 2:19, Hebrews 10:29, 2 Peter 2:20-22, Colossians 1:21-23, Revelation 3:5, Romans 11:19-23, and Matthew 7:21-23. People have to get over this idea that God just orchestrates everything and get the true Biblical understanding that man’s choice is always the determining factor in what they see or don’t see. This most certainly includes our salvation.
Now, all that said, I do not believe scripture teaches us that salvation is laid down by us willy nilly. As I have said, salvation is never taken from us nor is any other blessing of God the Bible speaks of. A part of the very purpose of salvation is to get to us what God desired from the beginning. If you’ve missed it, and still care to be saved, I would surmise that you are still saved. I would however not play with that salvation, toeing the line by living in sin. The Bible is clear in scriptures like Galatians 5:19-21 that those who practice such things or have these sorts of lifestyles cannot inherit the kingdom of God. This is written to Christians about Christians. A person living in such a way willingly lays down the salvation to carry their sin and the Bible is clear on the outcome.
I want to end with this reminder, God sends no man to hell. In Deuteronomy 30:19, we are told God lays the choice before us but the choice of life and death is always ours. God forces His will on no man, but man willingly decides for or against it. Make it the goal of your life to live in and for His will and you will be blessed. You and those around you.