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Hebrews 10:26-31 seems to suggest that salvation can be lost, as it mentions that someone who was previously sanctified by the blood of the covenant (i.e. saved) may end up receiving punishment (i.e. lost):

26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has ignored the Law of Moses is put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severe punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” 31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Heb 10:26-31 NASB)

However, Romans 8:38-39 seems to make a promise of unshakable salvation:

38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 8:38-39 NASB)

Another passage that seems to support unshakable salvation is John 10:27-30:

27 My sheep listen to My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one. (John 10:27-30 NASB)

How can we reconcile these passages?

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  • The answer to all of your questions (on both sites) regarding this subject is in the parables of the kingdom of heaven in Matthew's gospel account. Each time, the kingdom of heaven is 'like' something, but not exactly that thing. And each time, the 'likeness' is larger then the reality. You need to see this. There is a sifting in this life. Not all will endure. – Nigel J Feb 27 at 22:09
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There are three questions here so I will separate them.

QUESTION #1 - Can salvation be lost?

Here are some examples of salvation being lost:

  • The “wilderness generation” of Israelites that God called out of Egypt perished in the desert because, despite being called, turned their backs on God and refused to trust in God by believing the majority spy report.
  • At the end of the wilderness wandering, Joshua begged the people to choose to serve God, Josh 24:15, 22. See also Deut 30:19, Judg 5:8, Job 34:4, 33, 21, Ps 119:173, Prov 1:29, 3:31, Isa 7:15, 16, 56:4, 65:12, 66:3, Jer 8:3.
  • King Saul who was a statesman and prophet called by God (1 Sam 10:11, 12, 19:24), yet was ultimately lost when he consulted demons for advice and then committed suicide.
  • Ps 69:28 contains a plea for David’s enemies to be blotted out of the book of life!
  • Eze 18:21-28 also teaches that the wicked can reform and be saved, and the righteous can apostatise and be lost. Both situations are incompatible with Calvinism’s view of salvation and humanity.
  • Rom 11:17-21 discusses the warning that people who had been grafted into the “olive tree” of the Christian community could be broken off if they were unfaithful.
  • 1 Cor 9:27 Paul says he disciplines his body to keep it under control so that after preaching to others he does not become a castaway/disqualified. That is, Paul believed that it was possible that he could lose his way and become lost.
  • 1 Cor 10:12 also contains a stern warning from Paul, “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.”
  • 1 Tim 6:10, For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
  • Heb 2:1-3, We must pay closer attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every transgression and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?
  • Similarly, Heb 6:4-6 also teaches that some “who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit…” can fall away.
  • Heb 10:26: If we(!) deliberately keep on sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left
  • Heb 10:29: How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them and who has insulted the Spirit of grace. This verse clearly shows that it is possible to be sanctified and subsequently lost.
  • Heb 10:35: Therefore, do not throw away your confidence which has a great reward.
  • heb 10:36: You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God you will receive what he has promised.
  • Heb 13:9, “Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace …”
  • 2 Peter 1:10, “make your calling and election sure”. This clearly allows for the possibility of losing one’s election.
  • 2 Peter 2:21, “It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.”
  • 2 Peter 3:17 contains a very stern and sobering warning to be on guard that we do not fall from our secure position. Verse 14 contains a similar warning.
  • Gal 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
  • Jesus’ parable of the 10 virgins contains two classes of people called “wise” and “foolish”. All were invited to the wedding; All were virgins symbolising purity, see Rev 14:5; All had lamps, ie, lights symbolising Christ as the light of the world, John 1:4, 9, 8:12, 9:5, Matt 5:14-16; All, at least initially had oil - but this is the crux of the parable - five virgins had enough oil and five did not have enough because they complained that their lamps were going out. In the NT oil represents the gift of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:18, Acts 10:38, 2 Cor 1:21, 22, 1 John 2:20). Thus, Jesus teaches that some who are called and have been given the Holy Spirit (see also Heb 6:4-6) can still be excluded from the Kingdom of God.
  • Jesus’ parable of the vine (John 15:1-8) says two interesting things: (a) that branches (connected to the vine of Jesus) that do not bear fruit are cut off (v2); and (b) the bearing of fruit is to prove that we are Jesus’ disciples.
  • Jesus’ parable of the sower, or perhaps the parable of the soils (Matt 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, Luke 8:4-15) contains several classes of people (soils) who start out well in the Christian life but lose their way. The conclusion is also significant: “by their constancy bear fruit”. (Luke 8:15)
  • Jesus’ parable of the banquet (Luke 14:16-24) contains a very good example of people rejecting the call (or “election”) of God as well as God having to ask some people more than once and begging them to the wedding banquet. Jesus’ conclusion is, again, significant, “not one of those men who have been invited shall taste of my banquet.” In the parallel passage of Matt 22:1-14, Jesus concludes by saying, “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

QUESTION #2 - How to reconcile this with Rom 8:38, 39

The focus of this marvelous passage is the Love of God! Since God loves all people, and God provides rain for the righteous and the wicked (= saved and lost)

  • Matt 5:43-45 - You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’r and ‘Hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
  • Luke 6:35, 36 - But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

QUESTION #3 John 10:27-30, "No one can snatch them out of my hand"

The equally wonderful statement of Jesus that " no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand" is, in view of the above" a simple statement of fact. That is, the relationship between Jesus and one of His followers is inviolate and cannot be breached by anyone. The only way that this sacred relationship can be broken is by the decision of the person but it is impregnable to all else.

CONCLUSION

God is kind and merciful even to those who are not saved; He is like this because "God is love" (1 John 4:8, 16) and that love is the very core and essence of God's nature and being. Therefore, nothing can separate us from that love, even the "unrighteous".

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    Dottard, thanks for the answer. Would you kindly update it in light of John 10:27-30? I just edited the question as I realized that John 10:27-30 is more explicit. – Spirit Realm Investigator Feb 27 at 21:12
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Not only the salvation can be lost, but if after becoming Christians we slacken and cease to increase talents, we shall be punished more than non-Christians who do not know God's will, or at least like we do through His Son's direct teaching (cf. Luke 12:47: "And that servant, who knew his lord’s will and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes" - here servant who knows Lord's will can easily apply to Christians).

Thus, salvation is conditional on our freedom that we use it properly, that is to say, for increasing the talents given to us by God. Without this talents will not be increased, and given that "salvation" implies necessarily the increase of talents - for it is absurd even to imagine a saved person who would anger God by having plundered His talents - then neither salvation is possible if we abuse our freedom. That we remain really and frighteningly free even after becoming Christians is such a trivial point that even to discuss it, I think, is a loss of time.

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