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Can Salvation Be Lost?

By Andrew V. Ste. Marie


Sarah’s slumber slowly grew less deep as the sunlight streamed through the window.  She gradually awoke as day dawned.  Suddenly, she jerked awake.  “Where is my wedding ring?” she thought, looking in horror at her hand.  At once she tore back the blankets and began hunting around in the sheets.  Failing to find it, she looked under the bed, but could not see it there either.  She sat on the bed and racked her brain.  “Where could it be?  I’ve lost it!”



Lisa finished mixing her bread ingredients and removed the doughy lump from her bowl.  She set the mass on the cutting board and was about to begin kneading it when she noticed her wedding ring.  “Better take that off,” she thought, and quickly removed it and set it aside on the counter.  She then kneaded her bread and did not notice all day that she had forgotten to put her ring back on.[1]



These two women both had something in common – they found themselves without their wedding rings.  However, Sarah lost hers, while Lisa left hers.  What is the difference, and how does it apply to salvation?


Today, most Protestants/evangelicals believe that once a person is born again, he can never lose or forfeit his salvation.  They believe in “unconditional eternal security,” that no matter what the regenerated person does, he will still go to Heaven in the end.  Although I believe their position is unscriptural, I also believe that we should avoid saying that a person can lose his salvation.


The Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines “lose” as “To mislay; to part or be separated from a thing, so as to have no knowledge of the place where it is”.  The word “lose” has a connotation of innocence and ignorance on the part of the person who did the losing.


If we use that definition of “lose,” then Christians can never lose their salvation.  A Christian will never wake up one morning and find to his horror that his salvation is gone, with no idea of what happened.  However, he can forfeit his salvation.


The dictionary defines “forfeit” as “To lose or render confiscable, by some fault, offense or crime; to lose the right to some species of property or that which belongs to one; to alienate the right to possess by some neglect or crime”.  Forfeit has a strong connotation of fault or guilt on the part of the one who forfeits.


God will never arbitrarily take salvation away from someone to whom He has granted it, but if a person willfully rejects God and walks away from his salvation, he has forfeited it.


“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.  For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned” (Hebrews 6:4-8).


“For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.  For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.  But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire” (II Peter 2:20-22).

[1] The Bible teaches against the wearing of wedding rings (see I Timothy 2:9, I Peter 3:3).  We use these stories only as illustrations.—Ed.


Originally published in The Witness, March 2013.

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Everyday Evangelism

By Abner Showalter


I would like to tell you about a way that I have found to be a witness for the Lord. You see, I have heard many sermons about the need to witness and share my faith with the lost around me. So as I heard these types of things being preached, I found myself desiring to be obedient and tell others about the gospel. The only problem was that, in spite of all my desires and good intentions, I did very little of it. I many times intended to do better, but it seemed that it went no further than intention. One of the problems was that I never just took the time to do it. Life can be so busy with all the things that I am doing that, before I know it, another week is gone and I have done nothing to further the kingdom.

It was over a year ago that I began to be aware of the opportunity that lay at my fingertips. I work a public job and encounter many people each day. Normally, I would make excuses for myself, like, “I don’t have enough time to really interact with this person.” Especially if it was a busy time; you get the person’s items loaded on the truck, and away he goes and the next guy backs in.

I have found by experience that the flesh is extremely gifted in excuse manufacturing. As I became aware of the wonderful mission field that I am in every day, I also knew that I had quite a few Prepare to Die CDs lying around.

One day I decided to try it. Why not? Why should I continue to miss this perfect opportunity that presented itself to me daily? No! I would not continue this way. You should have been there that morning! I was going to do it.

Then the first customer came. I loaded his roofing metal and accessories, then I was going to talk to him a little and then give him a CD. We talked for a while, but I just couldn’t manage to get enough courage to give it to him. So after a brief conversation, he got in his truck and was gone, leaving me standing there with the CD still in my pocket.

I felt defeated. Why couldn’t I do it? This cannot be right, I thought to myself. I don’t know what all transpired in my heart by the time I had loaded the next customer, but I had resolved not to be a coward this time. And thank God, He enabled me. I gave out that first CD that morning and realized it’s really not that bad.

That started a routine for me. I began to consistently give out these gospel CDs. I can say that the Lord has helped me very much. Sometimes people come in and I find myself full of compassion and so desirous to give them a CD. Then sometimes with other people (usually more high-class) I find myself almost scared to give them a CD. But God has given strength, and I thank God for making me a witness for Him in this way. There are many other areas the Lord would have me to grow in; especially the area of being willing to verbally “reprove the unfruitful works of darkness.”

I think the Prepare to Die CD is a wonderful medium, especially if you give it to a person that you ordinarily would not be able to spend much time with. I do want to quickly say, let’s not neglect to use our own mouth in the process.

I want to encourage you too. You can be a witness. I am sure that some time or another you encounter people. For Christ’s sake, use those opportunities to share the gospel.

This encouragement is especially for you, if you do work in the public and encounter many people every day. You have the opportunity of a lifetime! Use it! Heaven alone will reveal the impact. The reason this opportunity thrills me so much is this: you have a legitimate reason to interact with the person. If you do any conventional witnessing, you know the frustration of trying to get into a conversation with someone who has places to go, things to do, and people to see. It’s almost like you have to interrupt them. (That’s not all bad!) But my point here is that you already have the person’s attention. They are expecting you to talk to them. You have, dropped into your lap, the very thing that you have to work so hard for when you “go witnessing.” I trust you see my point.

So please, by God’s grace let us not squander the opportunities that present themselves each day. Instead, may we take advantage of this wide open window of our work place, where people expect us to speak to and interact with them.

Knowing the terror of the Lord, let us persuade men!

Abner Showalter is from Windsor, Kentucky, where he attended Blessed Hope Fellowship and worked loading metal and doing office work for Dutchman’s Metal. He has now left both congregation and job to spend two years in Ghana, Africa, in the service of his King. The picture in the background is of Abner handing a gospel CD to a potential brother in Christ, at his former worksite.


Originally published in The Heartbeat of the Remnant (March/April 2010), 400 W. Main Street Ste. 1, Ephrata, PA 17522.