Skip to main content

Can I Lose My Salvation?

One of the most frequent questions I get in ministry is the question, can I lose my salvation? It comes in different forms. Some people will ask if their daughter can lose their salvation or if their dad might have lost their salvation. Different people ask the question in different ways, but at the heart of the question in whatever form it comes is, is it possible to lose my salvation? This question is not just a frequent question. It’s also a really tender question. The kind of person who is asking this question has the weight of the world on their shoulders. They know that salvation, in Jesus’s name, is the most important reality in the world, and they want it, or they want it for their precious loved one. And they are afraid that having once possessed it, it is going to go away. And they are sad, they are afraid, they are overwrought many, many times. This is an important question to answer because it’s asked so often, and when it is asked, it is asked from a standpoint of a lot of pain. And here’s the answer. I’ll tell you the answer really quick, right up front. The answer is no. No, you can’t lose your salvation. So that’s where this is headed. The problem is, is that the person who’s asking the question, and the person who feels overwhelmed by the possibility that they might have lost their salvation, need more than just no.

Why You Can’t Lose Your Salvation

I want to tell you why you can’t lose your salvation. The reason why you can’t lose your salvation is just as important, if not more important, than the simple answer, no. The reason you can’t lose your salvation is because your salvation is not based on your work. It’s based on the work of God. Your salvation is not based on the good things that you do. Your salvation is based on the good things that God does. This is incredibly important because people who think they’ve lost their salvation think they’ve done something bad that has made God stop loving them that has removed them from the blessing of salvation. What we need to recognize right up front is because your salvation isn’t based on a good thing that you did, you can’t lose it because of a bad thing that you did. In fact, the whole point of salvation is God doing good things to take care of your bad things. That’s the way it works. One great place where Jesus talks about this is in John 10: 27-29. And he says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. And no one will snatch them out of my hand. My father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are One.” Jesus talks about the Father’s hand, and he talks about Jesus’s hand. And he says, this gift that I’m giving you, I’m giving it to you, it’s the gift of eternal life. No one can take it away. You can’t take it away. And he talks about two hands, the Father’s hand and the son’s hand, and he says, you are in the double grip of God. God has a hold of your hand. The father has a hold of your hand, the son has a hold of your hand, and you can’t go anywhere. He’s holding you fast. This is a good thing that God does. It’s not based on anything you’ve done and because it’s a good thing that God has done. There are remarkable promises in the Bible. We just read one of them in John, but there are others. There are so many of them. We don’t have time on the podcast to talk about all the ones that there are. But listen, here’s another one. Romans 8:35 is one of the most glorious promises in all of the Bible. It says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress or persecution, or famine, or nakedness or danger, or sword? As it is written for your sake. We’re being killed all day long. We’re regarded as sheep to be slaughtered? No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life nor angels, nor rulers nor things present nor things to come nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord.” Nothing can separate you from the love of God when you are held fast in his love.

Another passage that is so brilliant and so beautiful is Ephesians 1:13-14. It says, “In him, you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it that the praise of his glory.” In John 10, we read that the Father has a hold of you. We read that the Son has a hold of you. And now, here in Ephesians 1, the Bible says the Holy Spirit has sealed you for redemption, the Holy Spirit has sealed you for the salvation that is coming for you. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit is the guarantee of your inheritance. There’s nothing you’re going to do that’s the guarantee of your inheritance. There’s nothing you have done that is the guarantee of your inheritance. It’s the Holy Spirit who does this, so what the Bible is asking us to do is to lift our eyes up to the Triune God and remember what he has done. And because of that, there are all these promises in Philippians 1:6, the apostle Paul says, “I’m sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.” God is the one who began the good work. And so, we’re looking to God to complete the work.

Possession of Faith

These are glorious promises that we need to stand on when we doubt the certainty of our salvation. So, if I can’t lose my salvation, if the Bible is repeatedly clear that I can’t lose my salvation, then why does it feel like I have? Why does it feel like I’ve lost my salvation? What is that experience? Well, there are a couple of options. One option is you might not be saved. You might never have turned from your sin and trusted in the life and in the death and in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is so important. Christians need to understand that there is a difference between the profession of faith and the possession of faith. That is to say, it is possible to say you have faith; it’s possible to make a profession of faith but not actually be believing Jesus. What is more important is not the profession of faith but the possession of faith. Of course, if you actually have faith, if you actually are trusting in Jesus, then eventually, you will profess that faith publicly, and that’s exactly what you should do. But there are people who profess faith but don’t actually have faith. So many of you listening to this have a story where you went forward in church, or you made some kind of decision when you were in the third grade or the tenth grade or whatever. And then, as you lived life a little bit more, you came to understand that, you know what, I did that because I was having an emotional experience. I did that because my parents told me to. I did that because my friends were doing it. I did it because I meant well, but I just didn’t understand. And now I really know who Jesus is. Now, I really trust him. And now I really have faith, and I didn’t back then, so this happens all the time. It’s very common to make a profession of faith without actually having an encounter with the Lord and salvation. So maybe you feel like you’ve lost your salvation because you never were saved, to begin with. And you need to actually do business with the Lord and get saved.

Another factor might be that you are saved, but you are doubting your salvation. It’s possible to be saved and doubt that you are saved. This is a common occurrence too.  This can happen because you’re involved in serious and besetting sin. The Bible is not written to comfort anybody who is engaged in willful open sin. You’re supposed to feel the weight of conviction. You’re supposed to feel far from the Lord doesn’t mean you’re not saved, if indeed you are a Christian. That means that your life isn’t going to work the way God wants it to work. It’s not going to work well. When you are living in open sin.

Another reason why you might doubt your salvation is not just because of sin in your life but because of a sensitive conscience. I remember when I was a teenager, I got saved really when I was a 14-year-old freshman in high school, and I have walked with the Lord since then. I’ve had seasons of sinfulness in my life. I’ve had seasons of sorrow and heartbreak in my life. But I’ve never doubted my salvation. I’ve always walked faithfully with the Lord and tried to grow in grace. But I remember one time later in high school, and the youth group that I was a part of went to a conference, and the preacher was up at the front of the room. I don’t remember his name. I don’t remember the sermon. But I remember whatever he said got into my heart. I remember him standing up at the front of the room, and he was saying, don’t think you’re saved if you’re not saved. You need to trust in the Lord today, some of you are deceived, and you’ve never, you’ve never trusted the Lord. And you need to do that today. And I am looking at my friends go up, and they’re praying at the front of the room, and he’s calling out these things, and my heart was broken. I’m telling you how to get down on the floor on my face. I don’t know; I don’t want to be saved. I don’t know if I’m saved. And so, sometimes, it’s because of sin. Sometimes it’s because of a sensitive conscience. All those reasons could be why you might struggle with doubt.

What Do You Do?

You can’t lose your salvation, but you feel far from the Lord. And you don’t know if you never were saved? Or if you are saved, and you just are struggling with sin, or you have a sensitive conscience? Well, let me make this recommendation to you. There’s a lot to say about this. But let me say one thing. Don’t obsess over yourself. Don’t navel gaze, don’t internalize a lot of this. The prophet Jeremiah says the human heart is desperately wicked and beyond cure, and he says, who can understand it? And the answer is nobody but the Lord can, not even you. There are going to be times when you are not even going to understand your own heart. And so, if you’re all twisted up and torn up about whether you’re saved, or whether you’re not, or whether you’ve lost your salvation, let me make this recommendation. Focus on Jesus and believe what he’s done for you. The reality is you’re saved if you believe in Jesus; if you’re believing in Jesus, you’re saved. Maybe you weren’t saved ten years ago when you made your first profession, or maybe you were, but that’s not the most important thing right now for you. The most important thing right now for you is to focus on Jesus. And if you’re believing in Jesus, you’re saved.

1 John 5:10-12, “Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his son. And this is the testimony that God gave us eternal life. And this life is in His Son; whoever has the Son has life. Whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” If you’re twisted and torn up about whether you’re saved or whether you’ve lost your salvation, I know it. I’ve been there. I just told you the story. “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.” God gave us eternal life. The life is in his son. If you’re believing in the son, you have the son, and you have life, and you can rest in him.