Answers to "Ask Mike" Questions
Question #16a

16a. In reply to Mike's answer to Question #16, "Can a Christian fall away into sin so far that they lose the hope of salvation?", Tyson provides the following comments:

Hello, sir.  In response to your question #16 , "Can someone lose their salvation", if someone were to think yes then they need to read John 6:37-39.  JESUS is saying what the Father gives him no one can cast them out, and that he would lose nothing.  JESUS himself said that, so it must be true.  If it were not we serve a unjust GOD; this I know is not true.  I'm covered in the blood and it paid it all.  Once saved always saved.

 (Editor's note - I have reformatted and reworded the reply slightly for consistency with the rest of this page, but I think that I have captured the original message and intent.)

My brother Tyson raises one of the standard responses to any possibility of losing one's salvation. John 6:37-39 states that when someone comes to Jesus, He will never drive them away. I have no argument for that. When one repentantly comes to Jesus and seeks to focus his life on following Him, Jesus will not cast them away. Every believer has the assurance of salvation and there is no need to doubt. To say "once saved always saved," however, says something Scripture does not say. Jesus is not the last word on the subject. The apostolic writers often condition one's salvation on continuing to faithfully follow Jesus (see Hebrews 6:4-6 for example).

Believers generally take one of two approaches to this issue. Some suggest that one who falls away was never saved in the first place because the truly saved will never fall away. Paul's (and I believe it is Paul who writes Hebrews) description in Hebrews 6 doesn't seem to fit someone who was never saved. He says of they "have once been enlightened" and "tasted the heavenly gift" and have "shared the Holy Spirit." That sounds like a genuine conversion. Paul goes on to point out, however, that if they fall away they "are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace." (see Hebrews 6:4-6 NIV)

In other passages, the apostolic writers often use the word "if" to denote the condition of remaining "in Christ." The second view suggests that those who are saved can so harden their hearts that they eventually turn away from Jesus and the salvation He died to procure to the extent they never return. There are other examples of this in Scripture. The case of Simon Magus in Acts 8 illustrates the point.  One can assume that Simon was never saved. Scripture does not support this. Acts 8:13 [NIV] clearly says "Simon himself believed and was baptized". Either Luke lied or Simon really believed. Belief here is equated with faith and there is no reason to suggest otherwise. If one is justified by faith (belief  + trust which Simon demonstrated in being baptized), then Simon was saved.  Yet Simon's heart deceived him and most students of the Word would agree that when Peter told him, "May your money perish with you," [see Acts 8:20 NIV] he indicated Simon would eternally perish.

It always amazes me that when someone suggests one could lose their salvation, emotion seems to overwhelm reason. I am not talking about every sin or misbehavior causing one to be lost. I do not believe in "yo yo" salvation -- saved one minute, lost the next depending on whether we sin or not. I am not talking about perfectionism or a second blessing bringing us to sinless perfection. Believers can go to extremes on any issue. On one hand, those who hold to "once saved always saved" occasionally believe they can sin willfully without penalty. Such an attitude produces a spiritual hardness that entices one away from the Lord. Romans 6:1 says, "Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound. No!" On the other hand, those who believe one can lose their salvation think that every sin must be confessed or one is lost. There is no victory or joy in such a person. BOTH views are false. As long as one is firmly grounded in Christ, nothing will separate them from God's love (Romans 8). Eternal assurance, yes. As long as one is "in Christ" they have assurance

Eternal security, no. At least not in the erroneous concepts of those who teach "perseverance of the saints." On the practical level, there is little at stake for the believer can rest assured they are saved. On another level, however, the believer is counseled to be vigilant and to keep their eyes focused entirely on Jesus rather than their own efforts.

For more discussion on this topic see
Question #16: Can a Christian fall away into sin so far that they lose the hope of salvation?
Question #16a: Follow-up to- Can a Christian fall away into sin so far that they lose the hope of salvation?
Question #29: Is it true that once you are saved, you can never be lost?
Question #40: Can God forgive me if I told him that I rejected him?

Question #15
I, like many others, believe we are in the end times. None of us know the exact time. What is your view on the end times? Are we close? If so, what is left to happen before Christ's return?

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Question #17
What doesn't the Church accept from the Gospel of Thomas and why?

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Answers to Ask Mike Questions

Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. NIV. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.