Once saved, always saved?

Can a person who is saved ever fall away and be lost?

What symbol did Jesus use to describe how our relationship to Him?
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:4,5

NOTE: Salvation is not a one-time momentary decision. Salvation is a lifetime commitment to an abiding relationship with Jesus Christ.

What will happen to those who stop abiding in Christ?

If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. John 15:6

NOTE: Just as the branch which is separated from the vine withers up and dies, so the believer who is separated from Christ withers up and dies spiritually.

Which servant did Jesus said was blessed?

And the Lord said, "Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing." Luke 12:42,43

What happened to the unfaithful servant?

But if that servant says to himself, 'My master is delayed in coming,' and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will punish him, and put him with the unfaithful. Luke 12:45,46

NOTE: This parable describes the believer who has accepted Jesus as his Master. When the Master, Christ, returns and finds that His servant has been unfaithful what does He do? Does He take the unfaithful servant to heaven with Him? No! He punishes him with the unfaithful.

Does that "punishment" include eternal death?

Though I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, yet if he trusts in his righteousness and commits iniquity, none of his righteous deeds shall be remembered; but in the iniquity that he has committed he shall die. ... When the righteous turns from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, he shall die for it. Eze. 33:13,18

Do we need to do more than make a one-time decision for Christ?

But he who endures to the end will be saved. Matt. 24:13

NOTE: When a person accepts Christ as their Savior, their name is written in the Book of Life in heaven. If they fail to be faithful and endure to the end their name will be blotted out of the book.

Did Jesus ever say that names could be erased out of the Book of Life?

He who conquers...I will not blot his name out of the book of life... Rev. 3:5

NOTE: This verse implies that those who do not overcome and endure to the end will lose their salvation and have their names removed from the Book of Life.

Is eternal security conditional?

If we walk in the light...the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7
If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father. 1 John 2:24
If he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him. Heb. 10:38
If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth... John 15:6
If you do this you will never fall. 2 Pet. 2:10
For we share in Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end. Heb. 3:14
If we endure, we shall also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us. 2 Tim. 2:12
You are my friends if you do what I command you. John 15:14

Could even the apostle Paul himself have lost his salvation?

But I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Cor. 9:27

NOTE: The word Paul uses for "disqualified" is the Greek word adokimos which is translated "reprobate" in other places in the New Testament. Corinthians 13:5 declares that Christ cannot dwell in the heart that is reprobate (adokimos).

What did Paul say of those Christian believers who ate the Lord's supper unworthily?

For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. 1 Cor. 11:29

NOTE: The Greek word for "judgment" is krima. This same Greek word is found in 1 Tim. 5:12 which talks about believers who receive "condemnation" (krima) for casting of their first pledge to Christ.

Can sanctified believers fall away from the truth and be lost?

For if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire which will consume the adversaries. A man who has violated the law of Moses dies without mercy at the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the man who has spurned the Son of God, and profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace? Heb. 10:26-29

What happens to those who fail to endure and who shrink back?

For you have need of endurance, so that you may do the will of God and receive what is promised. "For yet a little while, and the coming one shall come and shall not tarry; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him." But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and keep their souls. Heb. 10:36-38

NOTE: If it was impossible for a saved man to be lost, why would Paul make such an entreaty?

Can a believer who rebels against God be saved?

For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they then commit apostasy, since they crucify the Son of God on their own account and hold him up to contempt. Heb. 6:4-6

Can God "cut off" unfruitful Christians like He "cut off" Israel?

They [Jews] were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Rom. 11:20,21

NOTE: The eternal security of the Christian is dependent upon the Christian remaining attached to Christ.

What happens to believers who turn back to the world?

For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, The dog turns back to his own vomit, and the sow is washed only to wallow in the mire. 2 Pet. 2:20-22

Did the Holy Spirit say that some would depart from the faith they once held?

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons. 1 Tim. 4:1

Can a believer fall away against his own will?

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall 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 10:27-29

NOTE: No person or devil can cause us to lose eternal life. However, we must be willing to listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd and follow Him. If we turn from following Christ, if we choose to follow our own path, we are in effect taking ourselves out of the hand of Christ and if we do not repent, we risk losing our salvation.

How can we know that we have eternal life?

He who has the Son has life; he who has not the Son of God has not life. 1 John 5:12

NOTE: When you receive Christ into your heart, live in obedience to Him, and abide in His love, you can live with assurance of eternal life.

Bible verses taken from the Revised Standard Version