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Loss of Salvation

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Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 9:17
But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Question: What does the key verse mean to you?


Paul was a strongly dedicated individual. He stood before kings and high government officials and preached the gospel bravely. He faced mobs, suffered beatings and shipwrecks, went hungry, and on top of all this had to deal with the daily business of the churches he had started (2 Corinthians 11:24-28). Why should a man, so devoted to following Christ and preaching His Word, have any fear of being a castaway, unapproved and rejected (Strong’s)? Unapproved and rejected by whom? Paul paid homage to no man. He was a highly educated Roman citizen with the knowledge of salvation well in hand, but he knew he was human and subject to temptation just like anyone else (Romans 7:14-15). Because of this, as the Key Verse says, he kept his body under subjection, in case he should backslide into sin and become rejected by Christ. This is the rejection he feared. There was no other man, government, or organization on Earth that could cause Paul concern. He maintained a strict regimen of self-discipline to prevent the loss of his salvation! If anyone was safely couched in the refuge of salvation, it was Paul, and yet he was aware of the fact that if he didn’t persevere until the end, he could lose it (Matthew 10:22). A question that could be raised by this verse in Matthew is, “What happens to the one that does not endure to the end?”

One of the most widespread and accepted deceptions going around and embraced as the truth by most people today is the doctrine of Once Saved, Always Saved. Most churchgoing Christians are told over and over, in sermon after sermon, that all they have to do is “only believe” and they are forever saved, but James 2:19 says that the devils believe and tremble. Are the devils saved? They tremble because they not only believe, they know!! They know who Jesus is, the very Son of God, and they know what their end will be at His judgment, and it won’t be eternal life in God’s Kingdom. They believe, but that believing doesn’t save them. It takes more than just “believing” to be secure in the knowledge of salvation, it takes obedience (Hebrews 5:9). You are not saved because you obey, you obey because you are saved! Works cannot save you, salvation is a free gift of Grace through the Son, but works result from the new creature in Christ that develops because of repentance and conviction that grows out of the relationship you have with Him.

Many people answer the altar call, profess their sins, and are baptized and because of the OSAS (Once Saved, Always Saved) doctrine go right on living as they always have with no positive change, no obedience to Christ. Most are quite sincere at the moment and are members of the flock of Christ, but with no spiritual growth producing change in their life, they “backslide” out of this membership and their condition is no different from the state of the devils of James 2:19. Simple belief is not enough. Ezekiel 18:24 makes it clear, explaining that when the righteous turn away from righteousness and commit the acts of the wicked, they shall not live. The last half of that verse states, “All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.” This concept is continued in the New Testament where Paul explains in Romans 11:17-24 that the unbelieving of Israel were removed and the Romans and other non-Hebrew believers took their place. He goes on to warn these new branches of the olive tree that they are not to be proud of themselves for replacing the old branches because if they are, the same thing can happen to them. Verse 22 is abundantly clear: “You will enjoy God’s goodness as long as you continue in His goodness, otherwise you also will be cut off” (Paraphrased). There must be conviction and respect for the opinion of Jesus, who said, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not the things I say?” (Luke 6:46). Of all the faults Jesus found with the Pharisees, this was His only complaint against the ones who followed Him. Obviously, He wants to be obeyed.

How disappointing for the many thousands of professing Christians to discover that they have been misinformed about what Jesus expects of them and their resurrection is not the first one. Make no mistake about it, that is their fate. Jesus said that their worship was vain when, instead of following true doctrine, their devotion was to the commandments of men (Matthew 15:9). The greatest heartbreak anyone could have would be to find out after lying in the grave for over a thousand years that you missed the Greatest Event of All Time, the First Resurrection, because in believing the OSAS doctrine, they failed to live a righteous, obedient life. Do not allow yourself to be mislead by this doctrine. The truly saved live for Christ, demonstrating through their lifestyle, behavior, and faith that Jesus is their Lord. The ones who declare themselves to be Christian and engage in sinful behavior are fooled into thinking that their actions don’t matter. Their sinful actions do matter. These actions prove that they are not submissive to Christ, He is not their Lord, and this is not the state or attitude of the saved. Salvation can be lost.



  1. Can you think of an example in the Bible where a man had salvation and later lost it? (John 17:12).

  2. Which is better, to have never heard the gospel and die in ignorance, or to hear, accept, and then reject the word of God? (2 Peter 2:20-21).

  3. If you cannot lose your salvation, why did Paul strongly admonish Corinthians, who were obvious believers, to avoid sinful conduct? (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

  4. After receiving salvation, if a person rejects it and returns to their old ways, are they lost? (Hebrews 6:4-8)

  5. Can they return again to salvation? (Romans 11:23)


Ezekiel 33:13 When I say to the righteous that he shall live, if he sins, all his righteousness shall not be remembered; he shall die for his sins.

Romans 11:17-24 After you are grafted in, take heed and don’t fall away, or He will not spare you.

2 Corinthians 11:24-28 Paul beaten by the Jews five times.

James 2:14-17 Can faith save you?

James 2:19 The devils believe and tremble.

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