Does the salvation of a believer depend on the present state of her faith or are the different life transitions taken into account?

Suppose a believer leads a life of faith in Christ. At the end of her life she falls away for some reason, say persecution. Is she saved?

There are verses that seem to support both.

Only the end matters –

Matt 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

The life matters –

Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

So is salvation a state function or a path function?

  • If I understand it, then I think the context of Hebrews 6:10 is not right. For me it sounds like motivation for repentance. Here you raise the question of salvation by works or faith. Aug 22, 2012 at 10:02
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    I think we've got a constitutional duty to nuke christian-thermodynamics for the sake of the Kingdom.
    – Peter Turner
    Aug 22, 2012 at 13:40
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    Isn't this a restatement of "is a saved Christian always saved?" Aug 22, 2012 at 13:56
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    @PeterTurner Awwwwwww :( :'( The one cool contribution I made to this site... :( Aug 22, 2012 at 13:58
  • 1
    Are you asking for the perspective of a particular denomination/tradition, or a variety of Christian views on this? Aug 22, 2012 at 20:17

5 Answers 5


Your question presupposed that salvation is acted out by the believer. Coming at it from a reformed/calvanistic point of view here is out I would answer it.

Salvation starts by God in eternity past through his election. Here is how Wayne Grudem describe election in is book Systematic Theology chapter 32. (Sorry could not get a direct link to the page)

Then if God calls those who will be save, then the believer receive the gift of salvation. In God eye, the believer is already in heaven. Then salvation is an act of God, and also God is the one responsible for the calling and the keeping on the path of faith.

Here is how Romans present this thought:

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8.29-30) ESV

God chooses, the christian respond in faith and God keeps the believer during all the life of the believer. Salvation is then a state matter.

Although the end matter as well, a Christian is called to perseverance in his faith. If he was to fall he would be sinning, not loosing is salvation. Because God choosed the believer before any good work or any faith on his part. The sinning does not rob salvation, but his joy , his peace and different gifts.

In 1 Jonh one of the test of a true christian is his walk in the light.

If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 john 1.6-7) ESV

In a way salvation is a path, but not unto salvation but unto holiness.


If you're free to convert even unto the last moment (ala Constantine, Oscar Wilde, John Wayne etc. ad. infinitum), then you must also be free to "de-vert" at the last moment, assuming you are free.

Some say that suicides are destined for hell for this reason, because the moral choice they took at their last moment was one of despair (which is an offense against the Holy Spirit) or presumption (which is an offense against the Holy Spirit). But, the modern loving Church has taken in to consideration advances in psychology which make it clear that some actions are not of our own freewill and if no free choice is made in those actions, then we do not bear the responsibility for those actions.

Hopefully, as David Laberge points out, God will keep you a believer all your life. If you vacillate between belief and unbelief, it's a sign that you need to get deeper with your faith (prayer and Lectio Devina and retreats can help with this). It certainly is possible to completely dump the religion - don't do this!

  • retreat ~ summer camps?
    – alvoutila
    Apr 28, 2013 at 20:42
  • @alvoutila not sure if this is a Catholic term or not. But no, not summer camps (although it could be). A retreat is a time set aside for spiritual direction or contemplation where you go to a somewhere and do things differently for a while. It's a vacation for the soul.
    – Peter Turner
    Apr 29, 2013 at 12:15

From the Baptist point of view, which holds to:

  • Salvation by Grace through Faith alone, apart from "works"
  • Eternal Security
  • The indwelling of the Holy Spirit for all believers

It is both.

  • Salvation is a one-time event that occurs the moment one realizes their lost state, repents, and puts their faith in Christ for salvation. (Salvation by Grace through faith)
  • Once the above has occurred, the person is saved, in the state of salvation. (Eternally secure)

Baptist statement on salvation

Salvation is a point of time experience where a sinner goes to God in prayer, asks forgiveness for sin, states his/her faith in the completed work of Christ on the cross, and places faith in the resurrected Saviour. The result is God's gift of salvation being given freely; a gift that can neither be revoked, taken back, or forfeited.


Salvation is a relationship issue. You are saved based on your relationship to Jesus Christ.

You ask about the time near the end of a life. In a normal interpersonal relationship between two human beings, there will be ups and downs. It's the strength of the relationship that keeps the two persons together, even through disagreements and conflict.

I believe the same principle applies to your relationship with Christ. In our relationship with God, approaching the end of life is often a source of conflict for the person in question. Facing death may cause the person to question some things they have long held. If a person is having struggles coming to grips with something at the end of their lifespan that causes them conflict in their relationship with Christ, it's the strength of the relationship that will matter, even if they pass on while in conflict. Did they have the kind of relationship that would continue through that conflict, or had they completely burned their bridges? Was there still a meaningful relationship there? God knows.


No where in the bible does it say we are saved by faith alone. In fact it says the exact opposite. Paul said, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not by works, lest any man should boast."

It was James that had said faith alone. James 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

Salvation is not a gift it is a choice! The cross redeemed all of mankind and earth from satan's authority, but salvation is a choice. A choice that we have to make and a choice that God makes. Our choice is to shut the hell up and obey God's commandments! It is God's judgment that has the final say. Many are called but only a few are chosen!

It even says in Ezekiel 3:20 Again, When a righteous [man] doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.


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