Summary: Introduction to series of messages on perseverance of the saints.
“Can the Found be Lost Again?”
(Message #1 on Perseverance of Saints)
Steve Hanchett, pastor
Berry Road Baptist Church
“And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from me.” -Jeremiah 32:40-
During my years as a pastor no question has been asked more often, in one way or another, than “can a person who has been saved be lost again?” I think I can discern three primary reasons why people ask this question. All three of them are good reasons and I hope over the next few weeks we can make some headway in sufficiently answering the question. Last fall we studied what the Scripture had to say about worship. This fall I want us to consider the subject of the security of the believer. This morning we are going to do some ground-work and give you an introduction to the issue. I hope that you will make it a point to be here over the next few weeks as we look deeper into this. I hope I will be able to answer your questions with biblical truth.
I don’t want to be like the girl who, when shown a picture of the flag, was asked what it was, she said, “That is the flag of our country.” “Good,” the teacher said. “And what is the name of our country?” “Tis of thee,” the girl said confidently.
The first reason people ask whether the saved can be lost again is because of personal apprehension. They want to know for themselves where they stand with the Lord. Sometimes that is an issue because they have backslidden and sin has taken root again in their lives and they wonder if they really do have a saving relationship with Christ. Have they lost it? Are they still saved? Were they ever saved to begin with? These are the kinds of questions they are asking. For other people it is not a question of backsliding, but simply a desire for assurance and a longing for security. They know the weakness of their own flesh and the sins that lurk around the door of their heart, and they wonder if these things will overtake them and ruin their spiritual life. So many times when someone asks, “can the saved be lost again?” they are asking that question because they have personal apprehesnions. So as we think about the security of the believer we are thinking about some very serious, personal spiritual issues.
The second reason people ask if the saved can be lost again is because of personal experiences. We all know people who profess a faith in Christ but we look at their lives and we don’t see anything that indicates that Christ really matters to them. And we can’t help but asking if they are really Christians? Were they ever really saved? If they were did they lose that salvation? Often our personal experiences make us question whether or not a person can be saved and then lose their salvation.
Many of us have been to those funerals where we are shocked to hear that the person being eulogized is said to have been a Christian. We wonder how could that be? We knew that man or woman and we never saw anything that indicated a faith in Christ. Could they really have been saved?
Probably most troubling in all of our experiences is when we watch someone sincerely pray to receive Christ and seem to make a change, but then we watch as they drift back into their old life, their old habits, their old language, and we wonder. . . . Are they saved? Were they ever saved? Were they saved and then lost that salvation?
People also ask if a person who is saved could be lost again for a third reason - they ask in a quest for personal understanding. They simply want to know what the Bible teaches about our security in Christ. For us, as Baptists, there really is no more important approach to take. The Bible, not the church, is the final authority on matters of our faith. The real question for us is not what do Baptists believe, but what does the Bible teach?
These are the three reasons that I can discern why people wrestle with this issue. Now, for most people it is just one of these reasons but rather a combination of reasons why they struggle with this issue. They are trying to understand what they see around them, they wonder about themselves and they are trying to understand all of this from a Biblical perspective.
Over the next few weeks I hope we will try to help you with some of the issues that surround this question of the security of the believer. I’m not going to try and give you a bunch of bumper sticker slogans and trite answers. I want to really challenge each of us at the deepest levels of our faith. I’m not trying to give you ammunition to win an arguments with someone from another denomination. I want you to develop firm convictions that will draw you closer to Christ.