What Does It Mean When We Say That a New Testament Believer Can Lose Their Salvation?

This is an interesting question. After much research on this topic, it appears that the consensus of many is that losing one’s salvation means the loss of a New Testament believer’s eternal destiny to go to heaven following physical death.

So, what is it that some believe might cause a believer to lose their salvation? Research indicates that one’s salvation could be lost according to the following reasons:

1. Through willful disobedience.17
2. When a believer turns completely to the dark side and decides he wants to worship Satan as a result of the wealth and power that Satan may be able to give him while he is still living down here on earth.18
3. When a believer has decided to join and live in some type of organized crime, who gets into killing and murdering others for their own gain and profit.19
4. When a believer gets into the heavier types of sins on a frequent basis with no intention of trying to pull out of them.20
5. When a believer stops believing.21
6. When a believer had participated in church activities, perhaps even seemed to be used of God – then dropped it all and walked away.22
7. When a believer engaged in certain sins, or a certain amount of sin, or a certain amount of time in sin.23

In the various articles that have I read on this subject via the internet, there appeared to be little or no mention of the indwelling Holy Spirit leaving a believer. With that said, what I would like you to find out in the next chapter is what the answer is to the questions about salvation.

Scripturally, what else could the word salvation mean?

If we receive it and then lose it, then what do we really lose?


What Does It Mean When It Is Said That the Person Who Believed in Christ Will Receive Salvation?

Scripturally, what does the word salvation really mean?

Before we answer this question, let us take a look at the various scriptures that talk about salvation.

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

In Acts 4:12, salvation refers to the work that the Messiah came to do, to seek and save that which was lost. Salvation denotes not only the deliverance of the soul from sin, but also freedom from all of the ills to which sin exposes man, and the attainment of that perfect peace and joy which will be bestowed on the children of God in heaven.24

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Romans 1:16 tells us that the gospel of Christ is the good news that relates to the Messiah, to his character, advent, preaching, death, resurrection, and ascension.25 Those who believe in Him will be regenerated and given the legal right to become a child of God unto salvation along with complete deliverance from sin and death, and all the foes and dangers that beset man.26

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 10:10 provides a further elaboration of this idea of believing in Christ. A man or woman acknowledges Jesus as the Savior with their heart and devotes themselves to Him in order to obtain righteousness. Verbal confession is made openly in agreement with all that scripture says about Him, and the result is that he/she is saved. Believing and confessing can occur together in the sense that confession of Christ as to who He is and what he has done is based on believing what we are confessing. (Romans 10:9-17)

In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise. Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 1:13-14 talks about a person’s response to the gospel and the guarantee received. After you heard the word of truth, the Gospel, which is the good news that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again; you acknowledged Him as your Savior and were sealed with the Holy Spirit, God’s gift who is the indication that you are now His (owned by God the Father). The bestowal of the Holy Spirit is God's guarantee (a down payment; a first installment; a part payment) of much more to come with the full delivery of all elements of the salvation promised.

Therefore, salvation has three components:
1. Justification—the removal of guilt and the penalty of sin, and the positive righteousness of Jesus Christ that is bestowed at the moment the sinner puts his faith in Him as Savior and Lord. (Romans 3:20-31) Some believe that this spiritual reality doesn’t occur by faith alone, but requires a believer to be baptized in water. This would necessitate a further study on water baptism, its role in salvation, whether it provides forgiveness of sins, etc. Hopefully, this will be discussed in detail in an upcoming study.
2. Sanctification—a progressive work of the Spirit in the life of the believer. The Word of God and the Spirit work together to assist the believer in addressing the influences of the old sin nature by providing divine perspective, a new power source, and the development of inward character which is reflective of His fruit.
3. Glorification—the act of God transforming the present bodies of believers into perfect, sinless, deathless bodies. The believer has the first two now.27

For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:9 provides for us a further glimpse of the meaning of salvation. God has not chosen us in order to condemn us and make us suffer at the last judgment, but to grant salvation (of one saved out of a general wreck, when all things else are lost28) through what Christ has done, i.e., through his atoning death on the cross.

The last verse which we will look at is taken from 2 Thessalonians 2:13:

But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.

From eternity past, God has chosen you for salvation through belief in the truth of the Gospel of Christ and sanctification by the Spirit’s power. Now we can deduce what the word salvation means Scripturally.

In summary, Scripturally the word salvation refers to:

a. The work that the Messiah came to do which is to seek and save that which is lost. (Acts 4:12)
b. The deliverance of the soul from sin. (Acts 4:12)
c. Freedom from all the ills to which sin exposes man.29 (Acts 4:12)
d. The attainment of that perfect peace and joy which will be bestowed on the children of God in the heavens.30 (Acts 4:12)
e. Complete deliverance from sin and death, and all the foes and dangers that beset man.31 (Romans 1:16)
f. The result of believing and confessing all that the scripture says about Christ, which is that you are saved. (Romans 10:10)
g. One saved out of a general wreck, when all things else are lost32 through what Christ has done for us, especially by means of his atoning death on the cross. (1 Thessalonians 5:9)
h. The bestowal of the Holy Spirit as a part payment in the salvation He gives the believing sinner guaranteeing the full delivery of all parts of the salvation given. (Ephesians 1:13-14)

God in his foreknowledge chose us for salvation, knowing beforehand that we would believe in the truth of the gospel and be sanctified by the Spirit. (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

One of the articles which I read, entitled What is Salvation? describes salvation as the bundle of benefits received by the person who believes the Gospel and entrusts his or her life to Christ.33 What are these benefits? Before we take a look at them, let’s examine whether the Holy Spirit is received in the same manner as He was received by the believer in the Old Testament.


Is the Holy Spirit Received in the Same Manner (On-Resting) in the New Testament?

According to the New Testament Scriptures, receiving the Holy Spirit results in His indwelling or residing within the believer’s body. The Scriptures which follow will testify of this.

In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:37-39)

On the last day of the feast of Tabernacles, Jesus stood and said with a loud voice that out of the belly of those who believed or had faith in Him would flow rivers of living water. Jesus was not saying that water would literally pour out of them, but He was referring to the Holy Spirit who satisfies the inner person and enables them to bear fruit.

And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. (Acts 1:4)

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1, 4)

On the day of Pentecost, the promise of the Baptism (the indwelling) of the Holy Spirit was fulfilled, when He came and filled all of the disciples that were assembled together at Jerusalem, who waited the promised of His coming as Jesus had instructed them.

What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

For those who have repented of their sins to God the Father and believed in Christ as to who He is and what He has accomplished, their body has become the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who has taken residence within, the result of which is that they do not longer belong to themselves having been purchased with the blood of Christ.

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11)

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16)

As the Spirit restored Jesus to life from the dead (the resurrection), so He also gives life (spiritual resurrection) to each believer’s mortal body, which becomes the building (temple) in which He lives.

…Christ … in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, (Ephesians 1:12-13)

It was customary during Biblical times for a person, who purchased goods, to mark with his seal that which he had bought. By doing so, he could identify and claim it, if it got mixed with the goods of someone else, and it is this custom to which the apostle may allude. The Holy Spirit is himself the seal within us and in the symbolism of Scripture a seal signifies: a finished transaction, ownership, and security. The Spirit is the guarantee of much more to come. Those who had tasted the Spirit had begun to taste the life of the future world that God had promised his people.34

In summary, the receiving of the Holy Spirit by the New Testament saint refers to his dwelling within our mortal body, and not upon us (on-resting) as was the case for the believer in the Old Testament. At salvation, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit, and in the symbolism of Scripture that seal signifies a finished transaction, ownership, and security.

This brings us to an interesting question. Are there any other benefits that a New Testament believer receives at salvation besides the indwelling of the Holy Spirit? Let’s proceed onward to the next chapter and find out.

17”What is the Assemblies of God position on the security of the believer’s salvation?” 20 August 2012 ˂>.
18”Can a Christian lose salvation?” 20 August 2012 ˂>.
19”Can a Christian lose salvation?.
20”Can a Christian lose salvation?”.
21”Eternal Security- or Can a Christian Lose His Salvation?” 21 August 2012 ˂>.
22”Eternal Security- or Can a Christian Lose His Salvation?”.
23”Eternal Security- or Can a Christian Lose His Salvation?”.
27Weust’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 24 August 2012 ˂>.
28Jamieson, Faucet, and Brown.
32Jamieson, Faucet, and Brown.
33”What is salvation?” 23 August 2012 ˂>.
34Adam Clarke.

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What does it mean when we say that a New Testament believer can lose their salvation?