One common question I receive as a minister is whether or not a person can actually lose their salvation. And that is a great question! However, instead of me giving you my opinion on whether I believe I person can “lose” their salvation, I will instead provide you with some Bible verses that are indisputable, and from which we are to establish our beliefs and teachings, so that others are not mislead and misdirected by the opinions of those who don’t serve the Lord according to the Bible.
Jesus gives us a story (which we often refer to us the prodigal son), of a son who took his inheritance and squandered it all on sinful living, until he found himself eating pig slop. This story is a great example to us of those who have abandoned the Father, the family of God and the Father’s House (the local church), and then headed straight into a sinful and disgusting lifestyle. Below are a few sections from that story found in Luke 15:11-32.
“11 And he said, A certain man had two sons: 12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. 14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. 17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee….
20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” Luke 15:11-18, 20-24 KJV
Now keep in mind that this young man was a son, however he abandoned his father and his father’s house, and by his lifestyle had rejected entirely his father’s ways. And by his own admission, he was no longer worthy to be called a son until after he returned to his father, repented of his sins, and was restored to his position as a son.
In addition, to me verse 24 is a telling passage for us, because it says of this son, “he was dead but is alive AGAIN.” Now, obviously he was never dead physically, so the dead part took place when he abandoned his father and his father’s ways.
And then the verse tells us that the son is “alive again.” Then obviously, the alive again part took place when the son repented to his father for his sin and sought to be restored to his father’s house. And I might point out here, that this man clearly knew that returning to his father’s house would require that he live his life based upon the “rules of the house,” so to speak. In other words, he knew he was returning to live according to the ways of his father, and that he could no longer conduct himself as he had been doing.
Then verse 24 takes it one step further, because here the father in this story tells us that when the son was in rebellion against him that he was considered “lost.” And we find in the Bible that the term “lost” is never used as a reference to anyone who is saved but of those who have need of salvation.
Another important example of individuals who have neglected their salvation is the ten virgins found in Matthew 25:1-13. Now, they were all virgins, which implies that they were saved, yet five of them were foolish and neglectful of their salvation. Below is a portion of this story that Jesus gives us that clearly indicates that you can become so neglectful of your walk with Him that you will even miss the rapture.
“10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. 11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” Matthew 25:10-13 KJV
Notice that when the Lord came, the five neglectful virgins were not ready and never went in to be with the Lord. And then notice in verse 13, that as true believers we are to watch for the Lord’s return. Watching requires diligence and effort. Those who neglect their salvation aren’t doing this.
“How shall we escape [appropriate retribution] if we neglect and refuse to pay attention to such a great salvation [as is now offered to us, letting it drift past us forever]?” Hebrews 2:3a AMP
I firmly believe based on these verse above, as well as many others, that one can abandon their salvation, or severely neglect it to the point of missing the rapture. And something else to consider, is that the term “backsliding” is found throughout the scripture, and is used for those who once walked with the Lord but have turned aside from following Him.
My final case in point, though there are others, is found in Revelation 3:14-22.
“15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth…19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:15-16, 19-20 KJV
This Laodicean church full of people were obviously saved and even doing works for God. However, their heart was not in it, and Jesus called them lukewarm. And He was so unimpressed by their lukewarmness, that He even said that He would spit them out of his mouth.
Now, if the Lord is spitting you out, then you couldn’t be right with him. In fact, their salvation was being neglected or abandoned to the point that they had actually kicked Jesus from the throne of their heart. Jesus was on that outside of their life, knocking to be let back inside. So, if your salvation can never be “lost,” and if it were not possible to neglect your salvation, then how did Jesus get on the outside and need to be let back in?
Do not neglect your salvation. Instead, become red hot for Jesus, and live every moment of every day as if the rapture could take place. Stay faithful in the Word, in prayer, and in church attendance. And refuse to draw back no matter what.