In contrast to the doctrine of Eternal Security, many denominations believe that a person can, in fact, lose his or her salvation.

So, what is the biblical basis or biblical argument for the doctrine of the Loss of Salvation? Put another way, what is the biblical argument against Eternal Security?

  • 1
    I'm not sure this is a valid question. Most denominations, if they don't believe in Eternal Security, believe salvation is a process, not a one-time event. It's not so much that people "lose" their salvation as that they don't complete it. Dec 12 '12 at 19:32
  • @BruceAlderman: So would the valid question here be "What sort of things is salvation believed to be by those who don't believe it can be secured?"
    – Caleb
    Dec 13 '12 at 10:24
  • @Caleb: That might open a can of worms. I know of at least four different ways different denominations define the process. And then there's also a both/and sense, that we are currently saved but also are in the process of being saved. I'm going to give it some thought, and see if I can answer the question as it is. Dec 13 '12 at 16:30
  • For the sake of discussion, can you define what you mean by "salvation"?
    – guest37
    Feb 26 '17 at 18:23

The Biblical Basis comes from the following verses (whether interpreted literally, figuratively, or out of context - these are the main texts used): Core Verses - Galations 5:1-5 "fall from grace" - Romans 11:18-22 being "cut off" - Rev. 22:19 unforgivable sins - Ephesians 5:3-5, 1 Cor 6"9, Galations 5:19, Revelation 21:6-8 unforgivable sins "Supporting" text - Matthew 6:5; 19:21-35; 10:22-32 - Luke 12:41-46 - 1 Cor. 15:1-2 - Colossians 1:22-23 - Hebrews 3:6, 14 - 2 Peter 2:20-22

The biblical basis is clear based on these texts.

In Gal 5:1-5, Paul warns of those who have "fallen away from Grace." Again in Romans 11:18-22 he warns not to be "cut off" and many people who believe you can lose your salvation interpret this to mean that God will "prune" the saved (those who have fallen away).

Revelation 21:6-8 has a list of people who will burn in the fire and sulfur and those who believe you can lose your salvation state that once you sin after salvation you are adding sin to the Cross and therefore taint it again. Therefore, these verses show that if you are a liar you cannot enter heaven which means you have lost your salvation and need to accept Christ again.

Again in Revelation 22:19 it says that "God will take away his share in the tree of life" which leads the reader to believe that someone who once was saved has been stricken from the "book of Life."

And of course Hebrews 6:4-6 where the author refers to "falling away" after being enlightened. This, as Drew put it, is the main text along with Mark 3:22-30 and Matthew 12:31-32 which cover the "unforgivable sin." They claim that if someone commits the unforgivable sin after accepting salvation then they MUST lose their salvation because the sin is, well, unforgivable.

The other verses I have listed make small references to either falling away, lists of people who cannot enter the kingdom of God, or other minute details that might mean we can, in fact, lose our salvation. I hope that answered your question for the biblical basis/argument for it.

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    It would be helpful if, instead of just listing verses, you took some time to explain how each of those verses supports the concept.
    – Narnian
    Dec 13 '12 at 18:06

Those who believe Christ have passed into eternal life, are living it:

Luke 10:17 NET Then the seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name!”

Their names are written in the book of life

Luke 10:20 NET Nevertheless, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names stand written in heaven.”

They are enlightened about the process:

John 12:24 NET I tell you the solemn truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces much grain.

Some find new teachings hard to accept:

John 6:53-60 NET Jesus said to them, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood resides in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so the one who consumes me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven; it is not like the bread your ancestors ate, but then later died. The one who eats this bread will live forever.” Jesus said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. Then many of his disciples, when they heard these things, said, “This is a difficult saying! Who can understand it?”

He is referring to the teaching that one needs to abandon the idols of Egypt/the world, which are basically vending machines (they served men!), and not replace them with newer vending machines, but with a God who taught servanthood.

Instead of persevering and finding out what it involved, some quit:

John 6:66 NET After this many of his disciples quit following him and did not accompany him any longer.

Belief is what gets your name into the book of life. Unbelief gets it blotted out:

Revelation 3:3-5 NET Therefore, remember what you received and heard, and obey it, and repent. If you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will never know at what hour I will come against you. But you have a few individuals in Sardis who have not stained their clothes, and they will walk with me dressed in white, because they are worthy. The one who conquers will be dressed like them in white clothing, and I will never erase his name from the book of life, but will declare his name before my Father and before his angels.

The thief on the cross next to Jesus believed. That is what counts, being conquerors at the point in life you are in. Not the progress made, nor how mature you have grown (and cynical).

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