Can You Lose Your Salvation if You Have Been Born-Again?

To answer this question, of course, we need to go to God’s Word and see what He has to say.

In the Scriptures, Salvation has a Past, Present and Future Tense

If a person were to compile a list of verses that he believes support a present and/or future salvation, they would run into a problem when they read the many verses that refer to a past salvation and another problem would seem to present itself when they run into verses that speak of ongoing eternal salvation.

The key to understanding the Bible verses that deal with salvation is in understanding that salvation is used in different tenses and is not always referring to the same thing. For example, if I were crossing the road and someone pushed me out of the way of a speeding truck, I would be saved. My salvation (from being hit by that truck) was secured (past tense) by that man who pushed me out of the way. I can also save (present) a bag of M&M’s to enjoy later (future).

In the same way, there are past, present and future tenses of “salvation” used in the Scriptures. There are also different things that people are saved from as well. For example, if I work to resist sin and rely on the Holy Spirit to help, I can be saved from sin and the effects of sin (Philippians 2:12). That is not referring to salvation from God’s eternal judgement.

A few of the many examples of past salvation are:

can you lose your salvation?Luke 7:50 – “And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.”

Ephesians 2:4-5 – “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us [has given us life] together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)”

Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Titus 3:4-5 – “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”

The same would be true if one were to compile a list of verses that he believes support a past salvation. He would run into a problem when he reads the many verses that refer to present and future salvation.

A few of the many examples of present and future salvation are:

Philippians 2:12 – “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (read this article for an accurate, Biblical explanation of the “fear and trembling” that Paul mentions here).

Romans 8:24 – “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?”

Romans 13:11 – “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.”

Matthew 10:22 – “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”

Matthew 24:13 – “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”

And then there are the many verses that speak of the eternal salvation of the believer, which cannot be ignored and that only make sense along with an understanding of the past, present and future tenses of salvation.

A few of the many verses that speak of the eternal salvation of the believer are:

Romans 8:38 – “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

John 10:28-29 – “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”

Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

John 3:36 – “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

John 5:24 – “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

John 6:47 – “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.”

John 17:3 – “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

Taking this into account, it is clear that once a person is born-again, they are saved for eternity. God is not bound by time and God never changes. If He saved you, you can rest assured that you belong to Him and not even satan can pluck you out of His hands (John 10:28-29). Satan would love for you to think that he can though.

The past tense of salvation used in the scriptures, refers to a moment in time when a person was “born of the spirit” (John 3:3-5) Knowing that they were a worthless, condemned sinner (as we all are without the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ) and that their only hope was in the Lord as a free gift!

The present tense of salvation that is used in the scriptures is referring to our current walk with the Lord… being saved from sin, the effects of sin and God’s chastening due to sin. We are to constantly live out our salvation in a way that is acceptable to God … being in fellowship with Him. This can only happen with a clear conscience that comes from confessing our sins and having a repentant heart.

Although all things are lawful to a born-again Christian, not all things are beneficial. 1 Corinthians 6:12 – “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”

A person who was born-again will desire to walk with the Lord and to be free from sin in heart and life. As James explains, the characteristics of a truly born-again Christian are seen in his or her life… in their works. Although we know that we cannot live a perfect life, as the Lord Jesus Christ did, yet (while in these natural bodies that have been ruined by sin), we desire to be perfect and we have the Holy Spirit abiding in our hearts to help us live as we should.

However, it is 100% Him and 100% us, which Paul reminds us of in a few of his epistles, just as the Lord Jesus Christ reminded His disciples: “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).

So, we should constantly be striving to live our lives in a way that pleases the Lord, not only that we might avoid His chastening, but also enjoy his peace and fellowship!

The future tense of salvation used in the scriptures refers to the reception of the inheritance by the believer of “the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:” (Matthew 25:34). This we will receive in the future, it is fully secured by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ that was shed to redeem us. When we realized how wicked we were and believed and trusted in Him for our salvation, we were saved and will be saved.

We are never JUST saved from something (death … hell) we are also saved to something (His Kingdom). Just as the Israelites were delivered out of slavery in Egypt, they were delivered to God. Born-again Christians are delivered (saved) out of the slavery of Satan and delivered (saved) to the liberty of God. 

So, can you lose your salvation if you have been born again? No. When reading God’s Word in context, it is abundantly clear that once you’re saved, you are always saved. You cannot be more saved. If a person is not saved finally, they never were saved to begin with. You either are saved or you are not saved.

From the very beginning, satan has misquoted God’s Word and taken it out of context in order to deceive man. He did it in the very beginning when he said to Eve “Yea, hath God said…” He even took God’s Word out of context and misquoted it when speaking to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. How did the Lord Jesus respond? By telling him the TRUTH of God’s Word, quoted correctly and in context! We should do the same.

Just as God Himself closed the door of the Ark, securing Noah and his family, He closed the door to your salvation the moment you were saved and adopted into His eternal family by the blood of Jesus Christ.