My father, a staunch Methodist, is purely convinced in the belief that Christians can lose their salvation. His friend is an Independent Baptist who believes that our salvation is immutable. Which one is right?
Well, the witness of scripture has this to say:
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. ” (John 10:28-29)
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39-39)
” And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
Through these verses, I think the groundwork is laid in scripture that once we have been saved unto eternal life, we are then given that eternal life forever. One of the texts that are offered as proof that it is in fact possible to believe and then fall away is Hebrews 6:4:
“For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. ” (Hebrews 6:4-6)
The problems with using this verse to prove that salvation can be lost are numerous. First, consider the audience: Hebrew Christians who may have experienced somewhat the power of God through the ministry of the early apostles. They may have experienced some of the goodness of God, may even have taken part in some ministry of the early church, but then fell back into Jewish laws and regulations as a saving grace. Therefore, they never really accepted the free gift of salvation, but merely had the appearance of those who did. For those who would then fall away after only experiencing a taste and failing to fully give themselves to Christ, the return to life under the law was, in fact, a mockery of the atoning death of Christ, and are then holding Him in contempt and basically requiring Him to crucify Himself anew since they have decided to return to the old laws. Therefore, this is not proof that Christians can fall away, but that there are those who profess belief in Christ, trust in Christ, then fall away. They therefore never trusted Christ for their salvation to begin with.
I don’t believe that Christians can lose their salvation. I believe that Christians who fall away from the faith and do not return were never really Christians in the first place. Otherwise, Jesus would have been proven a liar when He said that no one could snatch His own from His hand.