We’ve all been there. The place where we question our salvation or the salvation of others. Once we accept Christ into our lives and proclaim He is the Savior, are we always Saved? Or can we be “un-saved?”
The short end of this answer is simple, YES, once you are saved you will always be saved regardless of anything you do, no matter how far you “go” from God, or how messed up your life may be. There is but one way to “ruin” the salvation you have been given by Christ and one way alone. That way is by committing the “unforgivable sin.”
But to dive into this a little further, we will use the assistance of apologetics and biblical reasoning to explain this answer in detail.
Let’s start in 1 John 5:11-13
“This is the testimony that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has Life, whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.”
John is specifically writing to a group of believers (multiple congregations across Turkey) who are doubting their salvation because they heard some false teachings. These teachings denied the full divinity of Christ.
Continue to 1 John 1:8-9
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
– Meaning ALL sins. But the question remains, what about those who do not ask for forgiveness but have already been saved by grace through faith? We will get to that in a bit.
Let’s read 1 John 5:16-17 that specifically references every sin is forgiven except the 1 unforgivable sin. It reads,
“If you see a fellow believer sinning in a way that does not lead to death, you should pray, and God will give that person life. But there is a sin that leads to death, and I am not saying you should pray for those who commit it. All wicked actions are sin, but not every sin leads to death.”
This verse can be cross referenced for further explanation on what that sin is John is referring to by turning to Matthew 12:31,32
“Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the spirit will not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”
Jesus is saying in this verse very clearly, all sins will be forgiven except denying the Holy Spirit. The unforgiveable sin is Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, a direct denial of who Christ is and who God is after you have already accepted Him into your life and proclaimed He was the Son of God. This is also reaffirmed in Mark 3:29 and Luke 12:10.
The next piece of this we need to look at is satan and his plan for ruining our minds, hearts, attitudes and spirits. Satan would absolutely love for us to be doubting our salvation as many of us do because it holds us back from reaching the potential God has for us in this life. He already knows he is losing this war because we are saved by Christ. So, the next best move he has is to render us ineffective in reaching others. What better way to do that then by planting doubt in our minds about the very foundation of our salvation? This is why reading these passages and all of scripture is so important to learn and memorize.
Many times, when we bring up this topic, people refer to sins such as murder, adultery, drugs, or other addictions that pull a person “far” from God. What we are saying is, “this person is not following the rules and laws God has for us.” So to help clarify this portion of the question, we have to remember that after Jesus or post-crucifixion, we are no longer bound by the laws. We are saved by grace through faith. Turn to Galatians 2:16
“We know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law, no one will be justified.”
If you turn to Philippians 3 and read this section you will note that Paul is referencing the fact that he was a perfect Jew keeping every law of the old testament. He goes on to say that he kept the law better than anyone and after his salvation in Christ Jesus, keeping the law became “rubbish” compared to the value of knowing Christ Jesus. The original translation for “rubbish” is actually “Dog Crap.” So Paul is saying for the purpose of salvation, the law is “dog crap” compared to being one with Christ.
We need to remember that our salvation is not about who we are, its about who Christ is. Its not about us, its about Him and what He did. The more we tend to rely on our deeds to justify us, the more we minimize the value of what Christ actually did for us. Yes, its easy to agree with this concept for those who have just been saved, however in order to help justify the concept of someone growing far from God and dying in that state we need to remember once again that the only unforgivable sin is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. There are some verses that can lead us to believe once we are saved, we are not always saved. For example Hebrews 10:26 which states
“For if we deliberately continue to sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.”
However this verse did not say, “After receiving salvation.”It is actually referring to those who receive the knowledge of who Christ is, the Gospel basically, and choose to turn away from that path and continue living for worldly things, meaning they do not follow through with being baptized into the name of Christ and obtaining the Holy Spirit. A good excerpt to read on this can be found at https://www.gotquestions.org/Hebrews-10-26.html. Other verses that might seem to be confusing on this subject matter can usually be explained in the same way.
At the end, we need to remember that God’s will for our life is always Salvation. When we are baptized into the faith and we confess our sins, that covers all of our sins past, present and future. The Lord deeply wants us to be in heaven with Him at the end of all things. His will is never for anyone to go to hell so why would he not forgive us?