Through the years, one of the most popular articles on this site involves losing salvation, drawing some rather heated comments. It appears many people struggle with this issue, especially the Hebrews six passage (read the linked article for the full analysis). Since this topic causes so much anxiety and problems, let’s step back and consider it from a different angle.
First, it’s difficult for some people to accept if they did nothing to earn their salvation, that means they can do nothing to lose it. Most people accept salvation is by faith alone, not works, but are unable to arrive at the conclusion that also means you can do nothing to lose your salvation either.
Math contains a concept called indirect proof. You begin with a statement (assumption), then logically follow where that statement leads, and if it arrives at an impossibility or absurdity, the original statement must be false. Indirect proof is also called proof by contradiction.
Let’s apply indirect proof to the possibility of losing salvation.
First, assume it is possible to lose your salvation, where does that assumption lead you?
- You can lose your salvation.
- Thus, your actions cause either a keeping or losing of salvation.
- Thus, salvation is based on your actions.
- Thus, salvation is works-based.
- Additionally, Jesus’ death on the cross was insufficient for salvation, and requires our works to complete the job.
Obviously, numbers four and five are absurd, thus the original statement (you can lose your salvation), is false. QED. In the end, the possibility of losing salvation requires the following two ideas:
- Salvation is by works, not faith.
- Jesus’ sacrifice was insufficient.
Neither of those are good choices, but for those who believe it’s possible to lose your salvation, those are the logical conclusions you’ll arrive at. Since they’re both absurd, the original assumption you can lose your salvation must be false.
Many pastors and others suggest to those struggling with salvation to read 1 John. We’ve just published a book on Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Security, (ISBN 978-0-9831117-2-6) if you’re interested in a study of 1 John.