Salvation: Two Schools of Thought

“Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Rom. 10:13)

Within the Christian community, there is an ongoing debate over spiritual salvation. Primarily there are two schools of thought about whether salvation can be lost. One side believes that Christians can lose their salvation in Christ while the other believes that once a person is born again, that person is sealed for the day of redemption. Both are well-anchored to their opinions, but what does the Bible say?

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First, Satan’s tactic is to convince people that they have crossed the line of no return and that his salvation is beyond reach. Nonsense! The Bible promises that if a person confesses with her mouth that Jesus is Lord and believes in her heart that God raised Him from the dead, she will be saved. Not maybe or it depends, but she shall be saved once and for all.

Exhibit A

In his letter to the church at Philippi, Apostle Paul wrote, “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:6). God will not abandon His children even if we stray away from him, but He will continue to pursue and draw them back to himself. He will continue to mold, shape, and perfect the penitent believer until the day when Christ returns to establish His millennial reign. As for those who stray away and do not respond to God’s pursuit and call to return to Him, one must question whether salvation was indeed in their grasp and hearts.

Exhibit B

Jesus said, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me, I will certainly not cast out” (John 6:37). If people were to lose and regain their salvation time-after-time, the process of spiritual growth would never get past the starting block. To lose our salvation is not God’s plan. If spiritual salvation were something a person could lose, that person’s name would be erased from the Lamb’s Book of Life, which stands in stark contrast to the words of Jesus who promised that He will not cast out those who come to Him.

Exhibit C

In the book of 1 John, the Apostle wrote, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). John also tells us that whoever believes that Jesus is the son of God is born of God, and whoever is born of God overcomes the world. Jesus told Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born-again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” The use of “born again” is singular, as in a one-time event, not multiple events of being saved and then lost to being saved again.

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Exhibit D

Apostle John records the words of Jesus as He spoke about those who decided to follow Him, to be born again. Jesus said, “I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28). There is no force capable of taking something from God’s hand; it is impossible. There is an old saying: Jesus will never let go of the person, but the person can let go of Jesus. I cannot entirely agree because a person who has a genuine spiritual relationship with the Lord would never want to let go. Again, one must question whether such a person held salvation in his grasp and heart.

Exhibit E

In writing to the church in Ephesus, Apostle Paul wrote, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph. 4:4-6). Paul speaks to the Holy Trinity, where one Lord is our Heavenly Father, one faith is that which we place in Jesus, and one baptism refers to the Holy Spirit taking up residence in the heart of the believer.

Ralph Martin (1971) explains Paul’s concept as one Lord is one body, the church’s head, who is Jesus. One faith is one Spirit “who calls men to acknowledge Jesus Christ and baptizes them into the body.” One baptism is one hope that is accepted by the confession of one’s baptism.1 Here we see a series on ones, i.e., one Lord, one faith, and one baptism, as in singular or to put it another way, one and done once and for all.

Jesus said, before taking his last breath, “It is finished” (John 19:30). But what was finished? Jesus finished the work needed to save man from sin and inescapable spiritual death. In other words, Jesus was saying mission accomplished; man can now be reconciled with God and once again be in eternal fellowship with his Creator. The redemptive work of Jesus on the cross was a once and for all sacrifice, and those who believe in him will not perish, but have everlasting life.

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The Lord desires a personal relationship with us, and he wants to grow us in our faith, to trust in him explicitly, and to become all that He plans for us to be according to His perfect will. “Am I expected to be perfect?” you might ask. Hardly! Even for born-again believers, there will be times when we falter in the wake of temptation, but we serve a loving God who promises never to revoke our salvation. Instead, God wants to forgive and restore us from our sin and mold us to be more Christ-like, but we must approach him with a heart of repentance.

Therefore, is spiritual salvation in Christ Jesus something a person can lose? The answer is no. The Bible gives us a clear pattern that promises just the opposite. Once the baptism of the Holy Spirit seals a person, he or she is then safely held in the unrelenting grasp of Jesus.

1. Martin, R. P. (1971). Ephesians. Clifton J. Allen (Ed.). The Broadman Bible Commentary (pp.
125-177). Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee.

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