“In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;” (Col. 1:22-23)
In the previous verses of Scripture, the Bible says that God will present us holy, unblameable, and unreproveable in His sight if we continue in the faith.
As we happen upon the word “if” in this portion of Scripture, it seems that we have come upon the question of an individual’s possible loss of salvation. The question of “eternal life” and whether or not a Christian can lose their salvation involves a doctrine which is called by many the “Once Saved, Always Saved Doctrine” of salvation.
Let’s look through the Scriptures to see if the whole Word of God refutes or supports this doctrine. In John chapter ten and verses 28 and 29 Jesus says,
“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” (John 10:28-29)
This is one of many portions of Scripture pertaining to “eternal life” that seem to support this doctrine.
However, in order to “rightly divide the Word of God” (Second Timothy 2:15) we must understand that the word “eternal” simply describes the type of Life that God will give but does not preclude that life from being removed from us.
In the same way, the fact that “no man can pluck us out of the Father’s hand” does not preclude us from willingly leaving the Father’s hand on our own.
We read in Romans chapter 11 verses 19 through 22,
Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. (Rom. 11:19-22)
Here the Bible says “if thou continue in his goodness.”
The Bible also says in Hebrews chapter six verses four through six,
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” (Heb. 6:4-6)
I’m sure many of us have read these Scriptures in Hebrews the sixth chapter; however it is quite possible that some might not have understood them. It is evident that these Scriptures are not describing someone who is minimally in the faith.
This is a description of a person who has tasted of the heavenly gift. They were made partakers of the Holy Ghost. They tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come. This describes an anointed individual. This was an individual walking in the power and the anointing of the Holy Ghost.
But the Bible here says that “if they shall fall away” that it is impossible for them to be renewed again unto repentance. I have met people in that condition. They could not find a place of repentance before God. They had lost their faith in Him.
In Revelation chapter three and verse five the Bible says,
“He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” (Rev. 3:5)
Here the Scripture refers to blotting someone’s name out of the book of life. A name cannot be blotted out if it had never been written in.
The Bible tells us in Galatians chapter five verse four,
“Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” (Gal. 5:4)
The church at Galatia had started well. They had received the Spirit but then some false teachers came in and destroyed their faith in God’s grace. They taught the Galatians that they had to not only believe in Jesus for salvation, but they also had to resume obeying the Law of Moses and put their trust in their obedience of that Law.
The Galatians began to try to obey the Law of Moses and they took their faith that they had in Christ and placed it instead in their ability to obey the law. So here the Bible says they lost their faith in Christ and therefore Christ had become of no affect to them. They had fallen from grace.
We read in Hebrews chapter ten verses 38 and 39,
“Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” (Heb. 10:38-39)
Here the Bible says that if a man draws back he draws back to perdition, and that is the same as destruction.
The Scripture says in James chapter five verses 19 and 20,
“Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” (Jas 5:19-20)
Here the Bible uses the word “brethren”. The Scripture is talking about saving the soul of a “believer” from death.
What can we say to conclude the things that we have just discussed? We cannot lose our salvation like we lose our keys. We cannot lose our salvation like we lose our pocket change. We stand by faith in Christ.
A person who begins to commit sin in their life, unrepentant and continued sin, and who quenches the Holy Spirit, does despite to the Spirit of grace, and loves the pleasure of sin more than they love the presence of God have begun walking on the wrong path.
They haven’t yet lost their salvation. For the Bible says that if we see anyone err from the truth and we convert them from their sinful way then we have saved their soul from death.
There is a distance that has to be trod before they lose their faith in God.
When we see a brother sinning, we can still go to him and convert him to keep him from falling. It we do such a thing and they are converted, the Bible says we have saved their soul from death. And this is talking about brothers in Christ: believers.
A person can lose their salvation but it is lost by losing their faith in Jesus Christ. As long as a person has faith in Jesus Christ they do not have to ever worry about losing their salvation.
The day someone refuses to believe that Jesus is the son of God and that He died for their sins and rose from the dead, then that is the day that they will no longer be saved.
The Bible says the just shall live by faith. Where there is no faith there is no spiritual life.
That is why it is called “eternal life” that he has given us. If we forever have faith in Christ then we forever have life. No one can pluck us out of the Father’s hand. The only way that we can come out of the Father’s hand is if we choose to leave ourselves.
No devil, no demon, no unclean spirit, nothing can cause us to quit believing in Jesus Christ. That is a choice that only we can make.
Humility and submission, coupled with faith and trust in God, opens the door to receiving from the Lord.
Now God has given unto us the measure of faith. Not by any amount of faith or belief in our strength or abilities does the abundant life come from, but by our belief in the faith and strength and righteousness and love of Jesus Christ.
“And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.” (Mark 11:22)
This is the only direction for our faith.
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20)
The Bible says in James chapter four verses eight through ten,
“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (Jas 4:8-10)
When we cast forth our pride and draw nigh to God in humility then He shall lift us up.
I want to say that this doesn’t come automatically. We need to search our hearts. We need to ask God to reveal areas of spiritual pride in our lives.
And we all have them. None of us have gained perfection.
When God reveals these areas of pride in our lives we must determine in our hearts to cast them away. When we do that then we draw nigh to God.
So many times we have such a battle in fighting the devil. But God says it’s His battle.
The Bible tells us that light dispels darkness and that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.
“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1John 1:5)
When we draw nigh to God through humility and obedience to His word and He draws nigh to us, then the light of the glory of God covers us. All the demons of hell have to leave. They cannot dwell in the light of God.
Hebrews chapter 12 verse two tells us,
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2)
This is faith’s direction.
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.”
This takes all of the effort off ourselves and allows us to rest in what Christ did. This is what the Bible talks about when it says that we are to enter into his rest.
Jesus did it all.
“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” (Heb. 4:1)
“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” (Heb. 4:9)