Some Christian traditions believe that one can lose his or her salvation, even after a genuine conversion experience and years of faithfulness.

For those who teach this doctrine, what is an overview of the following:

  • what specifically does one have to do (or not do) to go from having salvation to a state of not having salvation?
  • does it take just one sin, just one known sin, various degrees of sin or something else?
  • what is the biblical basis for these conclusions?
  • how are responses to the "unlosable" position countered?
  • 1
    possible duplicate of Can a Christian walk away from his or her salvation?
    – warren
    Commented Dec 11, 2012 at 18:34
  • I disagree with the idea that this is a duplicate of the question @warren linked. It's the same topic, but this question is framed quite differently. Frankly I think this question is framed in a constructive way that fits our site format, the other one probably ought to be closed as NC since it is a truth question more than something about Christianity.
    – Caleb
    Commented Dec 12, 2012 at 7:58
  • @Caleb - this doesn't completely identify what traditions, nor the biblical support .. whereas the one I linked looks for the biblical basis of the concept
    – warren
    Commented Dec 12, 2012 at 14:37
  • @warren I understand what you're saying. Can you edit the question to improve it?
    – Narnian
    Commented Dec 12, 2012 at 14:40
  • 1
    @Narnian - there's a stab at an edit that would make it better
    – warren
    Commented Dec 12, 2012 at 14:52

2 Answers 2


Many christian groups teach that if you do not continue to repent of each sin, you can lose out on the salvation. Rather than talk about that or compare how different faiths teach that (I'm sure someone else will do a great job answering that way) I would like to point out the one and only unforgivable sin.

Mark 3 (KJV)

28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:

29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.

30 Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.

Here we see that to "blaspheme against the Holy Ghost" will cause you to "hath never forgiveness"

This is said again in Matthew 12 (KJV)

31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

This is restated again in Luke 12:8-10 and in a less direct way in Hebrews 6:4-8 and Hebrews 10:26-29

I have talked to a couple of different faiths in the past and found that different faiths have different views of what it takes to blaspheme the Holy Ghost.

Catholics state that while it is an unforgivable sin, there is no sin that cannot be washed away by baptism and penance. So you can have this sin washed away. See Cathechism 1864

John Calvin believed that this sin could not be committed by believers. He came to this conclusion because of Hebrews 6:4-6. See Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion Book III Chapter III Section 22

William W Combs summed most of these beliefs up here. He said that someone would have to have witnessed a sign miracle and then rejected the holy ghost, and he states that sign miracles no longer occur so today believer or not, you can't even commit the sin.

The general consensus of protestants that I have found so far that if you commit this sin, you are no longer able to repent.

The LDS church agrees with protestants about forgiveness not being possible, but they have specifically spelled out what it takes to commit this sin. It is very difficult for someone to commit it. If you do, (as far as I know) it is the only way someone living today can end up living with Satan in "outer darkness." Basically becoming a "son of perdition."

I have not been able to find the view of Orthodoxy churches on this. Specifically if they disagree with the Catholics or not.


In the Catechism of the Catholic Church it says:

1864 “Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.”136 There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept his mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit.137 Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss. (2091, 1037)

Basically, the way I understand this, Salvation can only be lost if one completely rejects the Salvation.

  • 1
    Welcome to Christianity.SE! This is a good first answer and I hope you'll stick around! :) Commented Dec 12, 2012 at 17:35

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