Can A Christian Lose Their Salvation?

By: Woody Godbey

I had a friend ask a question about Revelation 3:5- “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” The question was asked about the blotting out a name from the book of life.  Let me first say that there is no way I can answer this completely in a short mini-sermon so let me give you a short version answer.  Now when I say short, I mean short for me!

This verse is usually involved in debates concerning eternal security. Does Revelation 3:5 mean that, after a person’s name is written in the Book of Life, it can at some time in the future be erased? In other words, can a Christian lose his salvation?

Let’s settle this before we get started.  The Bible is clear that a true believer is kept secure by the power of God, sealed for the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30). John 6:39 tells us that all of those who the Father has given to the Son, He will lose none of them. Then Jesus said in John 10:28-29, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand”.  So, the Scriptures are clear, salvation is God’s work, not ours (Titus 3:5), and it is His power that keeps us. We do not persevere by our own power, but HIs.

There are several Scriptures that mentions being blotted out of the book of life. I don’t think it ever says you can be blotted out, at least not in the sense that sometimes God does it. It says we will be blotted out if we fail to meet certain conditions. But that is never going to happen because we are kept by His power.

The book of Revelation is the book that refers to this blotting out the most. Revelation 3:5 says, “The one who conquers will be clothed in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.” Some people say, that is proof that teaches against the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints or eternal security. No, they are assuming!  They assume that when Revelation 3:5 says that God will not erase a person’s name from the book of life, it implies that He does erase some people from the book of life, and that these people would once be born again, justified, saved, and in the end condemned, lost, and perish. In other words, they lose their salvation on that reading of the verse.  But is that a true assumption? NO!

The promise: “I will not erase his name from the book of life” doesn’t imply that some do have their names erased. It simply says, to the one who is in the book, and who conquers in faith: I will never wipe your name out. In other words, being erased is a fearful thought, which I will not allow to happen to those who persevere. In fact, there are two other passages in Revelation that teach that to have your name in the book of life means that you will most definitely persevere and conquer and meet the condition not to be blotted out.

Let’s look at Revelation 13:8 which says: “And all who dwell on the earth will worship [the beast], everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.”  Now that verse teaches that those whose names are written in the book of life definitely will not worship the beast. That is what it says. In other words, having your name in the book of life from the foundation of the world means God will keep you from falling. He will cause you to persevere in allegiance to Him.  Being in the book means you will not fall away. You won’t forsake the faith.

Revelation 17:8 says: “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction.  And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come.” Now that means having your name in the book of life means you will be kept from marveling at the beast. Those whose names are not written in the book will marvel at the beast, and those whose names are in the book will not marvel. In other words, to have your name in the book means you won’t marvel, and you won’t worship.

So, the point I want to make is if you have your name written in the book, it is effective. It keeps you from making shipwreck of your faith. John does not say: If you worship the beast, your name is erased. He says: If your name is in the book, you will not worship the beast. Now back to Revelation 3:5: “The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life.”  Once again, does that mean God erases some people?  No!

The conquering that keeps you from being erased is guaranteed by being in the book. That is the point of Revelation 13:8 and 17:8. Being in the book keeps you from doing what would get you erased from the book if you did it. Let me say that again. Being in the book, having your name in the book, keeps you from worshiping the beast and keeps you from doing anything else that would get you erased from the book if you did it.  Way too much to write on this subject but hope this helps.  God Bless!