By Elias Ayala (MDiv & M.A.T.)
This is a question that has divided many Christians. Some suggest that salvation can be lost, and multiple scriptures are used to demonstrate this fact; especially those found in the book of Hebrews which often appear under the moniker of the “Warning Passages”. These passages are found in: (2:1-4, 3:7-4:13, 5:11-6:12, 10:19-39, 12:13-29). There are other passages that are often appealed to but the warning passages in Hebrews typically are used to demonstrate the possibility of a believer losing his or her salvation. Others believe that a genuine “born-again” believer can never lose their salvation. I adhere to this position as I am convinced that this is what the bible teaches.
I take very seriously the notion that eternal life is not a temporary reality that can be lost, regained, lost and regained. Eternal life is “eternal.” Eternal life is not simply an experience when we pass away to “go and be with the Lord.” Eternal life is received when we trust in Christ and this eternal life spills over into the “next life” so to speak when we go to be with the Lord.
Furthermore, the Bible teaches that salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:9), and so the work of saving sinners is a work that is initiated, maintained, and perfected by the power of Christ through the Holy Spirit. The person who puts his trust in the Lord will find that “he who began a good work in you will carry it out to completion” (Philippians 1:6). And it is because salvation is the work of Christ, who is a perfect savior, he has the power to save us perfectly and is able to “keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault” (Jude 1:24).
Those who have genuinely placed their trust in Christ have placed a “trust” that is itself the work of the Spirit who “works in us both to will and to do his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). If it is the case that a person has the Holy Spirit within them, then “the Holy Spirit is a deposit guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession” (Ephesians 1:13-14). Considering these great biblical truths, it is difficult to imagine someone “losing their salvation.”
Further still, Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29). Hence, the believer can rest assured that if they a truly in Christ, they will never be “snatched” from his hands.