Can a person lose their salvation, or is once-saved always saved?
This topic is sometimes called the perseverance of the
unconditional eternal security; or 'once saved, always saved.'
"One of the most widely taught doctrines in the church today is
the doctrine of 'eternal security'. It says, briefly, that if you say a
little prayer asking Jesus into your heart, then it obligates God to forgive
you for anything you ever do wrong. You can cheat on your wife, rob banks,
curse God, worship the Antichrist, massacre innocent civilians, and plunder
the world, and it matters not one iota as far as your personal salvation is
concerned, because 'Jesus did it all for you'." 1
"Jesus brought us the New Covenant and, like all
covenants, conditions must be met if the benefits are to be received.
Throughout the New Testament, the word 'if' is used many times in
association with salvation. When the conditions God sets by these 'ifs' are
not met then an individual can't expect to receive the rewards, as God never
makes idle claims." 2
About the permanence of salvation:
As described in the salvation overview essay, salvation is of
paramount importance to all Christians who believe in heaven and
hell. It determines where they will eventually spend eternity. It may also be a high
priority topic for those who believe in reincarnation, or in any other form of life after
Various faith groups within the Christian church have taught conflicting
views about whether a saved person can subsequently lose their salvation:
Some believe, with John Calvin, that "once saved,
a person is always saved." As soon as one is saved, they are secure
in the knowledge that they will attain heaven after death, no matter what
they do during the rest of their life.
Others believe, with John Wesley, that one can be saved one day and lose
one's salvation later in life, either through an improper thought or deed.
Thus, a person's salvation status is not determined until they actually die.
Still others believe, with the Amish, that salvation is attained
through living properly according to strict rules, and that one's
salvation status is not determined until one dies.
There are passages in the Bible that support all viewpoints. There are
also surviving writings from church leaders in the emerging Christian
movement of the first and second centuries which discuss the permanence and
Modern-day denominations typically interpret some biblical passages
literally, and conflicting passages symbolically. That way, they can support
their denominational doctrine by quoting selected passages from the Bible.
This section of our web site does not attempt to teach our beliefs about eternal salvation; we couldn't if we tried because we disagree among ourselves. Neither do we attempt to reach a consensus by
resolving conflicting beliefs. We merely explain the diversity of
beliefs among present-day Christians.