Why do some believe you can lose your salvation?
I will share four reasons I encounter most when I discuss this topic.
1. They believe the position of their church.
For some their view is tied to a foundational belief their church holds concerning salvation. Some churches are Calvinistic (teachings of John Calvin), which teaches followers of Jesus Christ cannot lose their salvation. It is an essential part of this system of belief. God sovereignly chooses the elect (those who will believe) and cannot lose anyone He chooses. Examples of Calvinistic churches are Presbyterian Church in America, Dutch Reformed churches, and Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.
The other major view on the opposite side is an Arminian belief (teachings of Arminius). A person freely chooses to follow Jesus and can freely at any point in time reject Him and leave Christianity. Some churches that teach this are the Roman Catholic Church, the Nazarenes, and the Wesleyans.
People holding either of these two positions may not know the reasons why they believe a person can or cannot lose their salvation. They simply believe it because their church teaches it.
2. They know people who made a confession of faith and turned away.
We all know people who have said they trusted Christ and yet today reject Christianity. To some it seems if they at one time were saved and today turn their back on Christ, they obviously lost their salvation. In my own experience I knew a young college student named Mike who helped me do ministry at a church and seemed to be on fire for the Lord. We spent hours praying together, talking about Jesus and teaching others about the Bible. Then after going away to graduate school he came back changed. He now rejected Jesus as His Lord. Mike told me my faith was built on the opinions of others and that I blindly believed their characterization of Jesus. He said he had finally started thinking for himself and was now an atheist. I was in shock! He had seemed so grounded in what he believed. One explanation some people would have is he lost his salvation.
3. They believe it helps keep people from sinning.
Some people believe if we cannot lose our salvation, we have opened the door to a person sinning all she wants. What’s to stop us without the carrot of losing our salvation? Therefore, these individuals conclude once saved always saved cannot be true. They say we need to stay on our toes through the fear of losing our salvation. If not the sin door will swing wide open and then anything goes.
4. There are passages in the Bible seem to teach you can lose your salvation.
If there weren’t passages in the Bible that seem to show someone could lose their faith, I don’t think the above reasons would make a strong enough case. I have to admit there are some passages that are difficult to understand and seem to indicate a person can be a follower of Jesus and then later reject Him. I will tackle the two primary Biblical passages utilized by many people to demonstrate someone can lose his or her salvation.