Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Question of Grace and Salvation

This question is based on a few assumptions:

1.) We know that we're saved "by grace through faith, it is a gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." - Ephesians 2:8

2.) We know that God never takes away our free will, our choice, and that we can always choose to turn away from Him. Thus "if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgement, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries." "Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him." - Hebrews 10:26-27, 38

3.) We know that the "Christian" in our question truly is/was converted and saved to begin with.

So based on those three assumptions, my question is this:

If we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, yet are obviously not perfect, at what point do we lose our salvation if we sin? If a Christian gives in to temptation and has sex outside of marriage, or smokes a cigarette, or drinks a beer, or lies, or hates (which Christ said was as murder), or whatever his particular weakness he still saved at that point?

If the Christian dies while indulging in a sin, can he expect heaven or hell? Do we lose our salvation every time we sin until we repent of that sin? Or, is it only after repeated sin, a willful decision that we're not going to follow God's law and don't even want to, that we lose our salvation?

What do you think?

"My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." "Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them." - 1 John 2:1, Hebrews 7:25


  1. Here's how I used to imagine the whole sin/repentance scenario:

    There's the Lamb's Book of Life in which God writes the name of every individual who has ever given their heart to Him. As they go through life, every time they sin he erases (or blots out) their name. If they repent He re-enters it. Should they die without having a chance to repent of a sin, they lose their salvation.

    Hmmm, something seems a bit off kilter here. This logic makes it sound as if we really do have to earn our salvation, and I don't know about anyone else but the harder I try to be good, the worse I become.

    After decades of wrestling with this very subject (and thanks for bringing it up, by the way) I've come to the following conclusion:

    The only sin which will cause anyone to lose out on Heaven is the sin against the Holy Spirit, or the rejection of Christ.

    I don't believe the Bible teaches that we will reach perfection in this lifetime, though we are to strive towards that ideal (by becoming mature followers of the Word.) So, if I'm not going to be perfect this side of Heaven, but I really love God with all my heart, for which sin would He deny me Heaven?

    Is gossip worse than adultery? What about drug addiction--is that worse than spiritual abuse? I mean, which type of sin would be the deciding factor in the loss of my salvation?

    I do believe that we can lose our salvation, (I've never believed in the "once saved, always saved" lie) but I don't think it's easy to do. I think it's something which takes place over the course of a lifetime, and that it happens as a result of someone refusing to die to self, until finally they've effectively rejected Christ.

    I don't believe people who hate or are drunks, etc. will go to hell because of those sins, but rather because they refused to bring them to the Light, Jesus Christ the Righteous.

  2. Well put. I'd have to agree. I too feel like when we look at all the verses in the Bible about this subject, it seems as if we cannot lose salvation for a moment of weakness in which we sin. But rather, the only way we can lose salvation after we've accepted Christ, is to turn away from Him, or as you put it so aptly, to refuse to die to self and follow the light which He's revealed.

    Thank you so much for your answer!

  3. Todd,
    You may be interested in reading a post entitled, Losing My Religion,on my other blog Beautiful Dreamer:

    Deb (Beauty)

  4. Sorry, this should be the correct link to my post:

  5. I'll check that out, Deb. By the way, which blog would you rather have me link to for my efellowship links?

  6. Todd,

    I think my Baby Steps to Christ blog would be best for linking.