Can a Believer Lose Salvation?
Yes or no?
And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed, And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof; And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me! I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly. — Proverbs 5:11-14
Similar was my condition where I faced the dilemma of obeying God or disobeying Him while giving in to the worldly pleasures. If it wasn’t for the Holy Spirit, I would have lost my life! But, praise God for His great mercy and ‘never give up’ attitude; I got saved. He just asked me one question: “Steven, will you give your heart to Me?” In reply, I started beating around the bush because I didn’t trust Him. However, He lovingly asked—in a way that He would still love me even though I deny Him, but mourn at the same time because I would’ve then be separated from Him. “Is it a yes or no?” And I replied, “Yes.” There is nothing what the world can give you which God cannot! Salvation is beautiful. Nevertheless, it still needs to be maintained. Want to learn how? Here it is.
Knowing about being born again
In order to be specific, yes, it is possible for a born again believer to lose salvation. Though the question is directed towards Christians, it should be noted that only a born again could lose salvation because not all Christians are born again; moreover, salvation is not based on the possession of “Christianity” tag. For your information, a born again Christian is a believer who has accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. Today, many live as Christians or are born in a Christian family; however, not all of them have the true Messiah living in them (John 3:3,6).
What is salvation?
The Greek word for salvation is ‘sozo’, which is referred to deliverance, redemption, healing, and being made whole. You see, salvation is a complete gift package from God (Ephesians 2:8) offered through grace, activated by faith in Christ, and bestowed via the righteousness of God to everyone and anyone who receives the only way to eternal life – the ‘Jesus’ way (John 14:6). It’s not just about the forgiveness of sins, the salvation package also helps to receive and leverage all kinds of deliverance, healing, blessing, and prosperity.
The salvation process
When a person confesses and repents of his sins with his mouth and believes in his heart that Jesus Christ is his Lord and Savior, he gets saved. It’s that simple; no works at all, only faith. Salvation is a GIFT, a FAVOR from God. Do you pay for a gift? No, right? If we approach salvation through works, we don’t receive it. So coming back to the topic, losing salvation is basically moving away from God and His righteousness. It is being cut off from God’s presence. However, this does not happen overnight.
God is gracious and merciful! He gives us many chances to come back to Him, which—when consistently rejected over a certain period of time—can make you to lose salvation. Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit will constantly urge or give you intuitions into your inner being to repent and turn back to God.
Salvation through God’s agape love
Salvation is actually triggered by the agape love of God (John 3:16). When a person is saved, the love of God hits his heart so powerfully that it separates him from the desires of the world. It is that strong! – saying through personal experience. After receiving salvation, you get a deep calling from the inside (spirit) that inclines you towards God. For example, after receiving God’s divine love, you would change your bad habits, worship God for most of the time, publicize how He changed your life, or spend maximum amount of time in reading the Bible and reaching out to Him through prayers.
It’s all about the heart (Matthew 5:8, Romans 10:9, John 7:38) when it comes to salvation. Every believer, who is saved, has the Seed of God (Jesus) in his heart which, in fact, determines that he is born of God and that is how a saved person is called born again.
Backsliding: Losing the love of God
The moment you sin, you give a small opening for Satan to work in your life. The more time sin stays in you, the more you lose the love of God. What is backsliding? It is a spiritual state where a believer completely loses the burning desire that he had for God (or the love of God) when he got saved. In this spiritually ill condition, one may leave his church and avoid to fellowship with believers (or fellow members of the Body of Christ). He may even go back to his old, worldly life and get reattached to his past sins (which can be lethal for one’s spiritual life—Matthew 12:45).
When a person is in such a spiritually unwanted situation where he constantly denies the inner voice of God, i.e. the Holy Spirit, there are chances of him losing the eternal life in Heaven. Nonetheless, God never gives up on you. He will try His best to pull you out of the bottomless depths of your sins and give you a new blessed life.
The 4-stage process of losing salvation
A person goes through four spiritual stages before he loses salvation. See below:
Stage 1 – Mind capture: Intoxicating five senses spiritually
Mind is the gateway to a man’s entire being or soul. Satan’s first aim while devouring any man is to capture his mind. The first most important factor of a spiritually sound life is this ‘entryway’ to the heart. Now, it is not that easy for evil to enter your mind provided you give it a spiritually legal permission. Just as the five physical senses—hearing, sight, taste, smell, and touch, there are five spiritual senses as well. Satan tries to corrupt these senses by deceiving and tempting one to sin. So, it is important that you guard your senses (Romans 12:2). Control over mind is control over actions!
Stage 2 – Change in actions: Changing spiritual body language
One tends to feel lethargic or low, becomes cold in his spirit, speaks negative, thinks outside the word of God, and stops showing his faith through actions (James 2:17) once his mind is defiled by evil.
Stage 3 – Destruction of faith: Losing faith in God
All sources that strengthen faith are ceased here, as the mind now does not allow faith building things to flow through. Loss of faith causes the heart to become paralyzed—unable to perceive God anymore. Besides, the person’s belief is not right at this stage whatsoever.
Stage 4 – Replacement of the Seed (Jesus Christ): Sowing evil
This is the final stage where there is thorough uprooting of the love of God, i.e., the Seed (1 John 3:9), from the heart and its replacement with the love of the world and things in the world that causes the person to lose salvation. Salvation needs sustenance. Salvation is not a one time process; it is required to kept in you till you finish your race. How? By performance or human effort? No, but through Jesus Christ.