Why Do So Many Christians Doubt Their Salvation?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Many Christians believe they can lose their salvation, but what does the Bible say?

Eternal Life

Many Christians believe they can lose their salvation, but what does the Bible say? David understood that salvation is a gift of God and cannot be earned (Eph 2:8-9). Amazing Grace is not: “I was once lost, but now am found…but now I am lost again.” After he sinned greatly, he prayed (and wrote); “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit” (Psalm 51:12). Notice it wasn’t “restore to me the joy of my salvation” but actually “your salvation.” How can we share the gospel of a “hope-so” salvation, rather than a “know-so” salvation in Christ? Jesus said “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). It is not…. “Whoever believes in me should not perish but have eternal life…unless they lose their salvation.”

If people think they’ve lost their salvation, they may have never had it in the first place. It is either eternal life or it isn’t! Its eternal life, not temporary life. If it’s not forever, then it was never eternal life to begin with. That’s why we must examine our fruits. I know God has no aborted children! When Jesus says they have eternal life, it is in the Greek form of a present tense or present possession, meaning they already have or possess eternal life.

Fallen Away? (Heb 6:4-8)

One “proof text” people cite where they believe they can be lost again is where the Author of Hebrews writes, “For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.…” (Heb 6:4-6). But we can’t stop there, for context is king.

Reading on, these verses refer to those who have only tasted (but not partaken in) and shared in the Holy Spirit’s blessing (see miracles, heard the gospel), but they have never fully repented and trusted in Christ. Here the Author compares it to being blessed by God by hearing the gospel but rejecting it anyway. The Word says, “For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop (fruit) useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles [the curse-Gen 3), it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned” (Heb 6:7-8).

Tasted but Rejected

They might have “tasted the goodness of the word of God” and shared in “the heavenly gift” (Jesus Christ!), but they truly never believed. They only got a taste or sample of it, so this is not about believers. How do I know that? The author is not writing to believers here but about unbelievers because he writes, “Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation” (Heb 6:9). Notice the Author says, “In your case” you’re secure but the “tasters” are not secure, not fully repenting and trusting in Christ. He was addressing the saints in this chapter to give them assurance (Heb 6:10-12), but to warn those who were unwilling to trust in the Savior.  Its like you taste something new but when you taste it, you refuse to eat it. Many false converts will eventually leave, even though some remain in the church for other reasons (non-spiritual), but any that leave the faith never had the faith in the first place. The Apostle John says “they went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:19). It’s important to recognize here that God is speaking to both “SAINTS” and the “AIN’TS,” much like you’ll find in any church today.

Sinning Willfully (Heb 10:24-28)

Another alleged “proof text” for those who think we can lose our salvation is found in Hebrews 10. God gives us an imperative command when we’re told to “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Heb 10:24-25), but next the Author writes what many consider the most fearful verses in the Bible. The Author writes, “if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries” (Heb 10:26-27). That sounds dreadful doesn’t it? But once again, it’s them (tares among the wheat)….and us (fruit bearing believers; Gal 5:23-23! They shrink back but the difference is, “we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls” (Heb 10:39). Those who persevere do so only by God’s power.

Held by God

When I walked my young son across the street, I didn’t tell him, “Okay, hold on as tight as you can…it’s up to you to hold on tight!” No, I said, “I’ve got your hand, and I’m not letting go, no matter what.” This fits the idea where Jesus said “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand…..and 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” (John 10:28-29). That’s great news. It’s not up to the saints to hold onto their salvation by their own efforts.

The Apostle Paul could confidently say, “I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted (Greek, “deposited”) to me” (1 Tim 1:12). Paul states this assurance as a rhetorical question, asking, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword” (Rom 8:35)? We know in fact, nothing at all stands in our way into entering the Kingdom (Rom 8:38-39).

Guarded by God

I love the idea that God keeps us, because to be honest, if it were up to me to keep me, I could never be saved. But…Jude wrote, “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence [acquitted of all sin] of his glory with great joy” (Jude 1:24). That means you’ve been acquitted of all sin and as far as God is concerned you are “blameless in the presence” of God. Jude reassures us that “To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for (literally “kept by”) Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:1).

Remember when Jesus was going to the cross. He wanted the Father to “keep” the disciples while He went to Calvary. Keep them from whom? Satan, no doubt, so Jesus prayed, “Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:11). Before Calvary, He kept them, saying, “While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled” (John 17:12). Either the Father or Jesus kept or preserved the disciples from the enemy and death.12 Disciples of Jesus

Losing No One

Some of my favorite verses are about the assurance of our standing before God. Like where Jesus said “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand…..and 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” (John 10:28-29). If we come to Jesus, what’s His reaction? He promises (and God cannot lie), “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out…And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day” (John 6:37, 39). All means all, not 99% or almost 100%. It means every last one God saves, stays saved.


For those who believe they can lose their salvation, do we really thing we can lose what we did not gain in the first place? If salvation depended upon us, then no one would be saved. The Apostle Paul says, “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory” (Eph 1:13-14). It is guaranteed because the Holy Spirit has sealed your salvation (Eph 1), assuring the acquiring and possessing of our eternal inheritance. I hope God has brought you to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. If not, you have great reason to fear for that which is ahead of all who reject Jesus Christ (Rev 20:12-15; Rev 21:8).

Here is some related reading for you: Can a Christian Lose Their Salvation?

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

How to turn your sermon into clips

Share the truth

Previous post:

Next post: