The Great Debate on Salvation
If there is one thing that every Christian should be able to agree on, it is that the truth will never contradict God's Word. Right? Can we all accept that one simple fact? After all, if it could, it would mean that God's Word is not true. That would mean that we cannot be certain of what we can and cannot trust in God's Word. It destroys our faith completely!
So whatever we want to believe in life, the one rule is that it must not contradict God's Word. It must align with His Word.
When it comes to salvation there is a whole lot of false doctrine being taught, and its not all on one side either! First I am going to give you the truth of salvation. Then I am going to back these truths up with scriptures that I have never seen anyone give a good argument against yet. If you truly care about the truth, God's truth, you will read all of this. However, if you do not care about the truth, and you only care about feeding your pride, you might want to stop reading now. Because my estimation is that about 99.5% of you have been taught a false doctrine one way or another. And scripture will prove it.
The truth of Salvation!
1) We are saved by grace, through faith alone. Not by works!
2) Yes we absolutely can lose our salvation!
As I said, my guess is that about 99.5% of you will say at least one of those things is wrong. So please let me prove this all out.
We are saved by grace through faith and it is not by works of any kind on our part.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NASB)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
It takes a stubborn pride to twist this scripture to mean anything other than what it plainly says.
1) We are saved by grace -- God's goodwill.
2) Through faith -- Believing in Jesus as Lord. (See Romans 10:9-10)
3) It is a gift of God -- If we have to do anything for it, it would be a reward. A gift is freely given.
4) It is NOT a result of works -- It does not specify a type of work, so it must be accepted to mean any kind of work.
5) So that we will not boast. -- There is only one thing we could boast of if it was by works. That we saved ourselves!
One cannot logically continue to believe that we are saved by works without throwing this scripture aside. If you care about truth, you will either explain how works fits in with this scripture, or you will need to question whether what you were taught is true or not. But the evidence doesnt stop here. Lets take a look at something Jesus Himself says.
John 3:18 (NASB)
18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Interestingly, if you are a KJV person, that translation makes it even more clear...
John 3:18 (KJV)
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Jesus is very clearly saying that anyone who believes is not condemned. Anyone who does not believe is already condemned. Why? Not because they sinned, but simply because they did not believe in the only begotten Son of God. Which we know is Jesus! More important however, is that this scripture does not allow for a salvation by works.
Jesus does not say, he who believes and refrains from sin is not condemned. He does not say he who believes and does good works is not condemned. Now you might be thinking that this is only one verse. Maybe Jesus just didn't mention that part of it this time. Well, in the Bible there are a total of 19 primary verses that tell us exactly "how" we are saved. Not two or three, but nineteen! Nine of them from Jesus Himself. All 19 times it very clearly says we are saved by believing in Jesus or by faith. Not once does the Bible ever actually come out and say that a believer will go to hell if they sin. Never once does it say that we must do good works to be saved.
Before you try throwing 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 or James 2:14-17 at me, please click on those verses to learn the correct interpretation of what those verses are actually saying. In the very least, even if you do not agree with these interpretations, they still prove that they can indeed be interpreted differently. So you cannot use them as absolute proof that we are saved by works or refraining from sin. They certainly do not stand up well against 19 very strong Primary Salvation Scriptures on being saved by faith.
In the end, when you truly consider all the evidence, one cannot stand strong on a works based salvation without contradicting God's Word. The scriptures supporting a faith based salvation is insurmountable and cannot truly be denied without throwing logic out the window.
Yes we can lose our salvation!
Revelation 20:15 (NASB)
15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
If there is another thing that all Christians can agree on, it is that only those who are going to heaven will have their names written in the book of life. Anyone whose name is not found in the Book of Life will be cast into the Lake of Fire. We also know that God does not lie. Not even to make a point. If He says He will or will not do something, you know it is possible for Him to do it. When God lays down a threat, you know the threat is real.
Revelation 3:5 (NASB)
5 The one who overcomes will be clothed the same way, in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
The Lord does not say that He will write the name of the ones who overcome into the book of Life. He says He will not erase their name from it! The only possible way their name can be in the Book of Life to begin with, is if they are truly saved. Yet God says He will not erase their name from it. This is absolute proof that someone can indeed be truly saved and have their name erased from the Book of Life, meaning they will no longer be saved. If you want proof that one can lose their salvation, you have to go no further than this scripture. You may not like it, but that is the truth!
So here is the million dollar question. If we are truly saved by faith alone and the sins we commit cannot actually send us to hell, how can one possibly lose their salvation? The answer should be obvious. By losing your faith!
Yes I know the verses stating that nobody can snatch your salvation from God's hand. Nobody is saying anyone can do that. But God also does give us free will and we do have the ability to turn away from our salvation. Nobody else can do anything to take it away. The sins we commit cannot change it. But we can absolutely turn away from it ourselves. How? By losing our faith!
Imagine a man becomes saved. He truly believes and He truly gives his life to the Lord. He becomes a preacher and over a half dozen years of preaching, he leads thousands to Christ. Then one day he gets a call. His wife and kids have died in a terrible car accident. He feels angry toward God for taking his family from him. A short time later, he learns that his mother had a heart attack and died. After her funeral, as he returns home, he finds his house burning to the ground. His dog was inside. He becomes extremely angry with God and leaves the preaching behind. Four a few years he wont even pick up his bible because he is angry with the Lord. Then one day he meets another woman. She is pretty and she makes him smile again. He finds his pain is not so strong when she is around. It turns out she is an atheist and grew up in an atheist household. Over the next year, she and her family convince him that he was duped. That God is not actually real. That a loving God would never have taken so much from him. It was just life. He becomes an atheist himself. He has truly stopped believing.
How can this man still be saved? If God allowed Him into heaven when he is not even a believer, it would mean that Jesus is a liar because He says that someone who does not believe is already condemned because he does not believe in the only begotten Son of God. That would be a direct contradiction to God's Word and prove the Bible false.
The truth is, so long as we believe, we are saved. Nothing we intentionally do can change that. But if we were to ever stop believing, we would lose our salvation. We would no longer be saved because we no longer believe. We simply cannot be unbelievers and still be saved. Some will argue that he was never truly saved to begin with, but how then do you explain Revelation 3:5? Was the one who can have their name erased from the Book of Life never saved to begin with? Impossible. If they were not truly saved, their name would not have been in the book of life to begin with.
Maybe everyone's name is in the book of Life when we are born and then gets erased if we don't turn to Christ by the age of accountability! Not a chance!
Jesus said this...
John 3:13 (NASB)
13 No one has ascended into heaven, except He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.
If from the day of Adam to the day of the crucifixion, nobody had ever entered heaven, what about new born babies who died before they could possibly have a chance to sin? If everyone's name was written in the Book of Life at birth, then there would have been millions who were in heaven already. But Jesus said no one was in heaven yet. The simple fact that even newborns were not going to heaven, means that nobody's name is already written into the Book of Life before they are saved. So the only possible way for someone to have their name erased from it, is for it to be written in it first. That would mean they had to be saved,
The truth is, there is nothing we can personally intentionally do to save ourselves. Salvation is a gift from God to anyone who believes in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
The truth is, there is absolutely nothing we can intentionally do to destroy that salvation. Except to stop believing. So long as we truly believe in our hearts that Jesus is Lord, it does not matter how many good works we do, or how many sins we commit, we are still going to heaven. I know that is not what you have been taught all your life, but that is the truth of what God's Word actually says.
Refraining from sin and doing good works is not about salvation, but it is about our relationship with the Lord.
With that all made clear, I would be amiss if I did not explain something else. It does us no good to argue on this subject. Whether we can lose our salvation or not should not be a matter of debate. Every Christian on both sides of that debate believes it is important to be right with the Lord. Not everyone will be, but everyone should be! As long as one focuses on getting right with the Lord in their relationship with Him, they don't have to worry about losing their salvation. Its when you walk away from God in your relationship with Him that your salvation is at risk. Only then can the devil's angels have a chance to convince you its all a lie. Only then would you lose your salvation.
That is why Jesus often says that it is he who endures to the end that will be saved.
Now let me make one other thing clear. If you are ever saved and truly stop believing, it is impossible for you to return to Christ.
Hebrews 6:4-6 (NASB)
4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.
Just so you understand, Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is the only unforgivable sin, but in this case if someone stops believing, it is not a sin that is not forgivable. It is a decision they have made to not believe. To be saved and to truly taste and take part of the Spirit and to throw it away and no longer believe, is a very final decision. Sin is an action. We choose to sin. The choice is not the sin, the action is the sin. Not believing is not a sin. It is a choice.
James 2:14-16 (NASB)