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How can a Christian be Lost Again?


Can a person once saved ever be lost again?

Our question relates only to the person who is saved in the true Biblical sense.

Eternal life is the gift of God. If one has it, he has it for eternity.

The true child of God has received eternal life and is already a citizen of heaven. From the moment he is saved, he is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and by Christ. He has been regenerated and sealed by the Spirit. He is a new creature by the recreative power of God.

At the heart of the question is the eternal purpose of God. In the eternal past the believer was in the thought and purpose of God. The born again believer was “chosen in Him before the foundation of the earth.” God the Father elects the believer. He is chosen in Christ (Eph. 1:4).

The apostle Paul wrote, “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30).

God’s goal is that we be “holy and without blame before Him.” We are the trophies of God’s grace for all eternity. Even now, He “raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6). That is not something off in the distant future. It is true of the believer in Christ now.

In the eternity to come God will demonstrate “the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7).

Is God fully capable of accomplishing His eternal purpose? Is He baffled and uncertain as to His goals for redeemed humanity?

The apostle Paul said in Philippians 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

God never starts a project that He cannot finish. He began His project with the believer way back in the beginning in eternity past and He will complete it when He presents us complete in Christ at His second coming. Does God’s ability to accomplish His goal in the believer depend upon human abilities or does it depend upon God’s creative and sustaining power? He is able and willing to do for His child that which He purposed long ago in eternity past. God will do “what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe” (Eph. 1:19a). He will accomplish it “in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:19b-20). That does not sound like it depends on frail human beings to accomplish. Our eternal destiny and security depends on God’s saving grace and power.

On our part we can claim the promise of God in 2 Timothy 1:12, “For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.” This promise is true because of what Jesus said in John 10:27-29. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, 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.”

The omnipotent Father secures the flock of Jesus by His mighty power and protection. No power created in heaven or earth is capable of removing the believer out of the hand of God. No one can ever snatch His sheep out of His hand. No one is ever strong enough to snatch any of Jesus’ flock from the Father’s hand. What He has promised He is able to perform.

God has His sheep and He knows who they are. They will hear His voice and respond to His will. God the Father elects and in the time and place of His choosing the Holy Spirit has His messenger who proclaims the saving Word of God and the sinner hears that God loves Him and Jesus died for his sins. The response of the person elected is to receive the gift of eternal life by trusting in Christ as his Savior. When he believes on Christ he becomes God’s child and sheep in His flock. It is then that he learns that He was “chosen in Christ before the foundation of the earth” (Eph. 1:4).

The child of God is secure in Jesus’ hand and the Father’s hand. “They shall never perish” (Jn. 3:16; 6:39; 17:12; 18:9). The Good Shepherd protects His sheep throughout eternity. Jesus is talking about true believers, not professors of Christianity. Jesus did not promise eternal security to anyone other than His true sheep. It is a loving, living, and lasting relationship between the Shepherd and His sheep. 

God is infinite in power to keep the believer for eternity. Again Paul testified, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39).

Such a promise should cause us to break forth with the great doxology: “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24).

“They will indeed, not ever perish” (Jn. 10:28). Such security does not depend upon the ability of frail sheep.



Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006





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Unless otherwise noted "Scripture quotations taken from the NASB." "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE" © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://www.bible.org/. All rights reserved.

Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries from 1972-2005. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Ecuador.


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