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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.

22 October 2005

Losing Salvation and Eternal Guarantee

Q: I am curious: Can you lose salvation? I know that at times I slip away and live my life the way I want to live it and then some event will happen and I’ll come back to Christ. Do I need to continually renew my faith in Him or is my salvation set? Am I guaranteed a “spot” so to speak in heaven even when I am not very faithful? Also, some people say that all you need to do is believe that Jesus Christ is your Savior and you’re in heaven. Others say that you can believe but not necessarily will you get into heaven if you don’t live a Christian lifestyle. Which is it? I’ve always believed that you need to believe and that the more Christ-centered your life is, the more rewards in heaven.

A: Anyone who believes in Christ and who he is and what he has accomplished is saved. This is clear from Scripture. Yet people who have faith may cease to believe and they lose their salvation.

Renewing your faith is not possible — if you try to do it. However, God renews your faith through the preaching of the Gospel, by forgiving your sins, and by feeding you with the body and blood of his Son in Holy Communion. When you know Jesus as your Savior, you then are drawn to God and desire to be where his Word is preached in its truth and purity.

Belief is all that is necessary, yet no one can believe without also acting on that faith. That’s why James could write, “Faith without works is dead.” It’s not that we please God by doing good. Instead, God is already pleased with us because we are his children by adoption in Baptism and we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ. And since our Father loves us so much and Jesus did so much for us, the Holy Spirit moves us to respond in true worship and in love for one another.

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.

Send email to Ask the Pastor.

Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pastor Snyder,

Can you please address the following statement made at the end of the question?

"...the more Christ-centered your life is, the more rewards in heaven."

23 October, 2005 14:06  
Blogger Devona said...

Ditto to the above comment. :)

Thanks in advance.

23 October, 2005 15:44  
Blogger Xrysostom said...

I hope that the subsequent post Levels of Heaven and Hell helped answer these follow-up questions.


27 October, 2005 23:27  

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