In modern Christian circles this question sooner or later comes up among new believers. The question arises as a consequence of new converts being taught the doctrine of “Once saved, always saved”, where they are told that once a prayer of repentance is said, they become children of God, sealed with the Holy Spirit, and therefore their salvation is guaranteed. Those who profess this belief hold that once a person becomes a believer in Christ, the atonement of Lord Jesus guarantees their salvation regardless of their conduct, even though most of them will say that a real convert will live in righteousness if he truly has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit.
Others on the contrary, will emphasized on the believer’s conduct, and claim that salvation received at conversion becomes null once the believer falls into sin or apostasy.
So, can Salvation be lost or not?
The problem with this question is that Justification is confused with accomplished salvation, which is wrong.
The Bible teaches that forgiveness of sins and justification occurs when a person believes, repents and surrenders his life to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
(Lk 24:47; Ro 10:9-10; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 22:16; 1 Cor 6:11; Eph 1:7)
When a person becomes a believer in Jesus, gets baptized and receives the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; 8:16-17; 19:6; 22:16), that person becomes a Child of God, forgiven and justified, meaning, in good standing before God; and becomes endowed with Sanctifying Grace and the hope of salvation.
(Tit. 1:10; 1 Tim. 4:10; Eph. 1:18; Gal. 5:5; 1 Pe. 1:3; Heb. 10:23)
Even though we become justified, endowed with God’s Grace and inheritors of eternal life when we believe, salvation is something we strive for with all of these gifts and attributes. Salvation is the attainment of eternal life in Glory in God’s Kingdom; it is the end reward of a faithful life, the fulfilment of the promise. Salvation is something we hope to attain, and once attained, it can never again be reverted, and it becomes guaranteed only then.
Salvation is not something we possess once and for all in this life, something that we can cash out at the end of our lives, or something we can “lose” on the way. Salvation is something we only attain after we are judged by God and found perseverant, worthy of eternal life, not through our own merits, but by remaining faithful, through the atonement of Jesus, our Saviour.
Salvation cannot be lost because we never have it ensured in this life. It is something we strive for everyday and attain at the end of our time on earth.
(Mt 10:22; Lk 21:19; 1 Cor 9:24-27; 2 Tim 4:8)
The Bible teaches that salvation is a state of glorification in the presence of God.
(Heb 4:10-11; Rev 14:13)
Only those who believe and persevere in the Christian faith, living according to God’s will, are the ones who will attain salvation at the end of their lives, after their judgement and as a reward for their faithfulness.