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Ask the Pastor

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

15 August 2005

Losing Your Salvation

Q: Can Christians lose their salvation?

A: Anyone who believes in Christ and who He is and what He has accomplished is saved. Scripture makes this clear. Yet people who have faith may cease to believe and they lose their salvation. When you know Jesus as your Savior, His Holy Spirit draws you to God and creates the 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 by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:17)” 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 are clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Since our Father loves us so much and Jesus did everything for us, the Holy Spirit moves us to respond in true worship of God and in true love for one another.

The Lord aims warnings against apostasy in Romans 11:20, 1 Corinthians 10:12, and elsewhere, countering carnal (worldly, fleshly) security and self-confidence. Similarly, we cite 2 Peter 1:10 (“be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure”) so no one who now believes becomes slothful or arrogant, thus despising and discarding the Gospel. Our comfort in our election comes because we believe in Jesus as our Savior. If we cease to believe, we lose not only this comfort, but heaven itself.

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

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.


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