Mythbuster Series: A Christian Can Lose Their Salvation
by Dennis Michelson
Introduction: Many years ago I was at Winona Lake and found a tract someone had left in the restroom. The title of the tract was "You Must Be Born Again . . .and Again." I am sure some well-meaning Arminian left it there for those of us who believe the Bible teaches that once a person is genuinely saved then he is saved forever.
This message will not be a comprehensive survey of all the pertinent passages related to the subject. I will simply expound the Psalm arising from one believer's experience. In this instance - with King David - if anyone can lose their salvation then he missed a very good chance.
1. The Petition for Mercy (51:1-3)
Psalm 51 comes after Psalm 32 in the Bible but it definitely comes before Psalm 32 in the life of David. Compare the terms "transgressions", "iniquity", and "sin" in both Psalms. Mercy is when God withholds from us what we justly deserve. He would have lost his life and salvation under justice but he pleads for mercy.
2. The Personal Meaning of His Sin (51:4)
People who say they need to forgive themselves need to read this verse carefully. You have not offended yourself - you have offended a holy God. Only God can forgive. You need to be forgiven by God - not yourself.
3. The Problem of Man (51:5-6)
The doctrine of human depravity is rejected by many because they think man becomes evil by "nurture" but the Scriptures assert that he is born evil by "nature." This means you cannot get into the family of God by any mean less than being raised from the dead spiritually.
Conversely, since you cannot put yourself into the family then only God can take you out of the family. God is faithful when you persevere and He is faithful if you do not persevere. Of course, because you are in the family, God treats you to what David describes in the next section when you are disobedient.
4. The Purging of Man (51:7-11)
This section is an Old Testament perspective on the New Testament doctrine of progressive sanctification. God does not kick you out of the family - but He does kick you!
5. The Product of Mercy (51:12-19)
(a) True Joy (51:12)
(b) True Teaching (51:13-15)
(c) True Worship (51:16-19)
When a Christian wanders away from God he does not lose his salvation but he does lose his joy.