Christianity--Tips for Ministers/Can a Believer Lose his Salvation?
Thank you for your continued instructive, interesting and incisive answers. I do hope that the following question would receive same treatment: Please, can a believer who sinned and without the opportunity for repentance (died in the event) be considered to have lost his salvation?
Everyone who is a true believer has received the Holy Spirit. That one is considered a child of God. Can a child of God so sin as to lose his salvation? I believe he can. Allow me to explain.
With the help of God through the indwelling Spirit a Christian resists sin. But, all Christians sin every day. The goal is 1 John 2:1,2--to "sin not." But if anyone sins (and we will), we have an Advocate, a defense attorney in Jesus Christ. He speaks up to the Father on our behalf and our sins are forgiven by his blood. This happens everyday because we are talking about sin that is not willful, disobedient sin. We are talking about sins of our fleshly nature, our human weaknesses. A Christian who continues in willful, rebellious sin has a heart problem. That is an entirely different matter.
Willful sin in the heart of a rebellious Christian requires repentance. If he dies in such a rebellious state he certainly is lost. Repentance requires a turning FROM sin; to go in an opposite direction. The Spirit judges our heart and convicts us of rebellious sin. He convicts our heart and brings sorrow sufficient for repentance. He empowers us to turn away from our rebellion against God. With every temptation God provides a way of escape for His children. But, each child of God must take the escape route. He must listen to the Spirit and allow the Spirit to change his rebellious heart sufficiently breaking it so that he desires escape from willful sin and repents. Such a child of God can NEVER expect Father to save him in his rebellious state, with his willful unrepentant heart intact!
In I John 5, John discusses a "sin unto death." I believe that a Christian can commit a sin unto death. And, such a sin I do not believe is physical death, but spiritual death. And, I believe that particular type of sin is one where a Christian has had ample opportunities to repent and each time stubbornly refused the Spirit's pleadings to turn from those sinful actions! In this passage, John tells us not to pray for such a Christian. Because we would be asking God to violate his own nature by asking that He save such a person in his sinful state!
When a Christian continually commits a willful sin before the Father, that Christian is presuming upon the Father's Good Nature. He is presuming that God is so good that he will forgive such rebellion. This is a mistake. The Father continually proved in the Old Testament that when He told his children to repent He expected their repentence! When the Holy Spirit convicts a Christian of sin repentance is required. And, if one continues to willfully presume upon God's good nature and persist in rebellion against the Spirit of God, it is a action that makes light of the death, blood, and grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
If one could be saved without repentance from willful sin, then Jesus died for nothing!
There are two extreme doctrines being taught today. All Christians must avoid these extreme doctrines. Christians must not presume upon grace so as to abuse it by continuing in sin after being called to repentance by the Holy Spirit. The teaching that one is so saved that he cannot lose his salvation is wrong! And, the teaching that one can save himself by his own righteous acts is wrong, another false doctrine.
Christians should never believe that one can do enough to save oneself by his righteous acts. True faith requires good works. One of those good works is repentance. We do not save ourselves by our repentance. We merely avoid presuming upon the goodness of God's sweet and just Nature.
The heart that truly belongs to God never continues in rebellion against God expecting Him to save him in his willful acts of disobedience. For that is not the true Nature of God. That person receives the harsher judgment since he once knew the goodness of God and tasted the Holy Spirit. His sin is one of presumption and certainly leads to spiritual death. Do not pray for such a man! For that would be asking God to save the man in his rebellion! And, to do so, requires God to violate his own justice, goodness and fairness. Something He would NEVER do!
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to explain this difficult question.