Sincere believers are sharply divided on this question. Some say Christians can lose their salvation and subsequently must be born again and again if they fall away. Others contend that true believers cannot lose their salvation through sin, but they can apostatize or walk away from their salvation. Still others hold that salvation begins at the moment of conversion (not death) and continues for all eternity—I hold this view for several reasons.
First, outward appearances can be deceiving. Consider Judas. For three years, he was part of Christ’s inner circle. From all outward appearances, he was a true follower of Christ. Yet, Jesus characterized Judas as “a devil” (John 6:70). The book of Hebrews warns us that there were Jews who, like Judas, tasted God’s goodness and yet turned from his grace. They acknowledged Christ with their lips, but their apostasy proved that their faith was not real.
Furthermore, we would do well to remember that everlasting life means just that—life everlasting. This life does not begin when we die but when we embrace the Savior who died in our place. As our physical birth can never be undone, so too our spiritual birth can never be undone. Christ said “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7 kjv), not “ye must be born again and again and again.” In Philippians, Paul praises God for the confidence that “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” (1:6).
Finally, Scripture is replete with passages that testify to the security of the believer. John 5:24 assures us that “he who believes . . . has eternal life” (emphasis added); 1 Corinthians 1:8 promises that Christ will “keep you strong to the end;” And Jude 24 guarantees that God “is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault.” Moreover, Ephesians provides the surety that “you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession” (1:13–14). As has been well said, the Lord’s trees are evergreen.
“My sheep listen to my voice;
I know them, and they follow me. I give them
eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one
can snatch them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me,
is greater than all; no one can snatch them
out of my Father’s hand.”