Can You Lose Your Salvation?

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Can you lose your salvation?

Grand Canyon University Pastor and Dean of Students, Tim Griffin, EdD, and Dean of the College of Theology, Jason Hiles, PhD, sat down to discuss this question.

In this Article:

What Is Salvation?

The simplest definition of the word “salvation” is that it refers to the protection from harm or the rescuing of someone from suffering. The term “salvation” may be used in a literal, physical sense, such as when Paul was saved from prison (Philippians 1:19). In many cases, however, Christians refer to salvation in a spiritual sense — when they are saved from sin and its consequences by accepting Jesus Christ into their hearts.

Taking a Deeper Dive Into the Concept of Salvation

Pastor Tim started the discussion by sharing his story of how he has professed his faith at multiple times throughout his life. Like many Christians, he wondered if he was truly saved each time he learned something new about Christianity. This led him to have some doubts about his initial salvation experience and, in order to be sure that he was truly saved, to make another profession of faith in Christ.

Dr. Hiles agreed that this is a common issue with which many Christians struggle. But he suggested that it can be helpful to view the topic of salvation in light of there being two sides of the conversation.

When it comes to our subjective experience, the true believer has confessed their sins, embraced the gospel as true and accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. This is crucially important, for the gospel message requires a personal response. At the same time, however, we must not forget that salvation is a gift of God, made freely available to us through the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Christ died in our place (as our substitute), and we are justified (or “declared righteous”) through faith in what he accomplished. Through faith in Christ, we are adopted into God’s family and become his beloved children (John 1:12). When we see a fellow believer struggling with sin, we should be careful about concluding that this person has lost their salvation.

Can You Lose Your Salvation?

While Christians have different views on whether or not losing salvation is possible, Dr. Hiles believes that there are several passages in Scripture that make a strong case for why we can be secure in our faith. For example, in Romans 8, Paul assures believers that nothing can “separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Rom. 8:39, ESV). In John 10, Jesus says that no one will snatch his followers out of his hand (v. 28). Indeed, he goes on to say, “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. I and the Father are one,” (vv. 29-30). These verses offer strong support for the “security” of the believer.

In addition, in 1 John 5 we learn that God has given us eternal life, “and this life is in his Son,” (v. 11). John goes on to say that he is writing “these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life,” (v. 13). These verses appear to teach that we can “know” that we have eternal life on the basis of our faith in Christ Jesus (see also John 20:31).

Moreover, Dr. Hiles also mentions that John offers several practical tests that enable us to see if our lives are being transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit in response to our faith. For example, are we walking in the light, in obedience and fellowship with God, while avoiding the deeds of darkness (1 John 1:5-7, 2:3)? Do we sincerely love our brothers and sisters in Christ (see 1 John 4:7-8, 3:10)? Do we honestly confess that Jesus has come in the flesh (1 John 4:2)? Although no one will be perfect in this life, if we see evidence of God’s transformative and sanctifying work in our daily experience, we have good reasons for believing that our faith is genuine and that we truly belong to him.

Of course, it’s important to stress that our works do not save us. They are rather evidence of genuine saving faith. After all, the Lord will not leave us unchanged if we truly repent and come to him for salvation. Rather, he will save (or deliver) us from our sins. Our good fruit then, can act as assurance that we are in relationship with God. is a great place to begin for those who are struggling with their salvation. Throughout these chapters, John explains how we can know that our hearts have been truly transformed and changed.

In the end, it is important to remember that God is faithful to his promises. He sent his Son to die on our behalf, so that we might be saved. If we have truly repented of our sins and put our trust in Jesus for salvation, then we can be confident that we are saved. Over time, God’s Spirit will produce good works in us, but these works do not save us. They are rather evidence that we have indeed been saved by God’s grace, through faith in Christ alone. Finally, God’s promises in Romans 8, John 10, and other passages of Scripture, offer assurance that nothing can separate the true believer “from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Rom. 8:39).

Learn More About Theological Concepts at GCU

Can a Christian lose their salvation? This is a very important question. If you’re like many Christians, you may sometimes feel like you have more questions than answers. At Grand Canyon University, you can take a deep dive into these questions and explore biblical truths when you earn a theology or ministry degree.

The College of Theology was built to serve the evangelical denominational and nondenominational communities. Our faith-rooted curriculum strives to glorify God and encourage our students to develop a Christ-like character as they examine theological concepts and ministerial practices.

To learn more about GCU and our theology and ministry degree programs, fill out the form on this page.

Approved by the assistant professor of Christian Worldview and Old Testament of the College of Theology on April 11, 2024.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.