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Question #37

Does A Christian Lose Salvation When He Sins?

My question is whether we lose salvation when we sin. The Bible teaches that the wages of sin is death, but does that refer also to postconversion sins? Is that what Hebrews 10:26 teaches? I hope you can answer me, for my spiritual search.

The Answer:

The Bible certainly instructs that the wages of sin is death. (Rom. 6:23.) It makes no distinction between pre-conversion and post-conversion sin. “The soul that sinneth it shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:4, 20.) There are no exceptions. Thank God for the last half of Romans 6:23 – “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” There is freedom from sin! “Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity and in whose spirit there is no guile. (Psalm 32:2.) When one is baptized his sins are remitted (Acts 2:38) and washed away (Acts 22:16). Once sins have been forgiven through baptism and one has become a child of God, his sins can continue to be covered if he walks in the light as Christ is in the light. (1 John 1:7.) The term “cleanseth” in 1 John 1:7 is in the present tense indicating a continuing process, a process that is conditioned on walking in the light.

That this does not mean that a Christian cannot so sin as to fall from grace may be seen from many passages. Galatians 5:4 is an example. Acts 8 contains an example of one who did – Simon the Sorcerer. Simon was most certainly converted. “Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.” (Acts 8:13). However, when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the ability to perform miracles was imparted, Simon sought to buy that power with money. (Acts 8:14-19.) As a result, Peter charged, “But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. 21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. 22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. 23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. (Acts 8:20-23.) Clearly Simon lost his salvation. He was converted (or the Scripture is not true), but came into a state where he was in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity; his heart was not right with God.

Peter also provided to Simon, and to Christians today who so sin as to fall from grace, the procedure to return to God’s grace. “Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.” (Acts 8:22.) Wisely, Simon sought forgiveness. “Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.” (Acts 8:24.) The same procedure is available today for those who so sin as to lose their salvation.

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)