On Flying Pigs and Losing Your Salvation

I had someone email me with a question on what the Bible taught about losing one’s salvation. Of course, I couldn’t think of the question in any ordinary way, and the thought popped into my head, “That’s just like asking about flying pigs!”

“Sweet niblets! How is losing your salvation like flying pigs!? What was he thinking?” Hmm…. What I was thinking was: if you haven’t been taught what a pig is, then the question as to whether a pig can fly is a perfectly reasonable one. But once you really understand what a pig is, you don’t even think to ask the question, because it’s obvious a pig could never fly.

In the same way, many people wonder if a Christian can “lose their salvation”– can stop believing in Jesus or do something evil enough to go to hell. My answer is that once you thoroughly understand what the Bible teaches about what a Christian really is, then the question becomes meaningless— you know that a Christian by their inherent nature could not possibly lose their salvation.

Unfortunately, many people can spend their whole life going to a church without developing a complete understanding of what being a Christian really means. Some believe it means that they have “given their heart to Jesus” or that they belong to a church or that they once prayed for God to forgive their sin. It’s hard to even come up with a good word to use— sometimes we’ll use the terms “Christian” or “born again” or “saved” or “follower of Christ” or “child of God” without stopping to think that each of those terms may mean very different things to different people.

There’s a good reason for the confusion, actually: salvation in Christ is not just one single thing, but many. Salvation is not just having one’s sins forgiven, is not just being granted eternal life, is not just having a personal relationship with God, is not just being adopted as a child of God, and is not just spending eternity with God— it is ALL of those things and many more. God pulls out all the stops and pours on the blessings when he saves a soul. (You can find my chart of the major aspects of salvation here.)

But of all the different facets of what God does for us in salvation, there is one that often gets pushed to the side in our thinking, that of regeneration. Regeneration is the theological term for what Jesus referred to as being born again in John chapter 3. It is God bringing our souls from spiritual death to spiritual life (Ephesians 2:5). Theologian J. I. Packer states, “The regenerate man has forever ceased to be the man he was; his old life is over and a new life has begun; he is a new creature in Christ.” John Piper in his book Finally Alive writes:

What happens in the new birth is not getting new religion but getting new life. What happens in the new birth is not merely affirming the supernatural in Jesus but experiencing the supernatural in yourself. What happens in the new birth is not the improvement of your old human nature but the creation of a new human nature— a nature that is really you, and is forgiven and cleansed; and a nature that is really new, and is being formed by the indwelling Spirit of God.

When I study the Bible texts about the new birth, it is abundantly clear that this radical transformation and recreation that God gave to me is irreversible; it cannot be undone anymore than a butterfly cannot return to being a caterpillar. I am now spiritually alive: nothing that I did caused it (Ephesians 2:9) and nothing that I do or don’t do can un-cause it. By its very nature it is a glorious eternal change; there is no way it can be “lost.” Praise God, pigs can never fly, and I can never lose my salvation.

1 comment to On Flying Pigs and Losing Your Salvation

  • Great article. Give more details and the article will be even better. What about the idea of perserverance of the saints? Tell me more. I am suggesting this because it is what curious Christians want to hear about.

    God bless you.

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