Losing salvation? Can’t be done.

I saw this tweet yesterday:

The tweet is good at pointing out that we shouldn’t try to get away with sin. I’m all for supporting that. But it suggests that you are saved – that is, you belong to Jesus – up until the point where you sin too much. Mr. Piper would probably deny that’s what he meant. Good. But his tweet doesn’t back him up on that.

Your Salvation Is Sealed

Here’s the reality. You have been sealed with the Holy Spirit for “the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30.) Not just sealed by, but sealed with. You are sealed with God. God is going to be there on the day of redemption and so will you.


Resting on a single verse for assurance of salvation might sound risky to some people though, so let’s look at what Jesus himself said about it.

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will 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. I and the Father are one. (John 10:28-30.)

You can’t be snatched out of Jesus’ hand, you can’t be snatched out of the Father’s hand, and you are sealed with the Holy Spirit.

Rather than leave some people scratching their heads about whether salvation is lost if you sin too much, Mr. Piper should have left that part out of the tweet entirely. It’s a poorly worded phrase, made worse by being not only confusing but in a way that when misunderstood leads to bad doctrine.

You Can’t Kill Sin

The second problem with the tweet is it suggests you are to kill your sin. There might be passages that some can point to on this, but I think the entirety of Scripture teaches otherwise. For example, you can avoid sin by turning your attention to Jesus instead.

… let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. (Hebrews 12:1-2.)

You can pray for God to show you the way out, as well.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13.)

The bottom line is that when it comes to killing sin – and paying any debt you would owe because of it – that’s already been taken care of for you by the finished work of Jesus Christ.

He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14.)

Avoiding The Real Temptation

Please don’t be tempted to think that there is some amount of sin that will cause you to be kicked out of God’s family. It won’t happen. And don’t let anyone tell you that killing sin is your responsibility. You can’t do it. It’s not only beyond your powers, but it’s already been taken care of for you by your Savior who loves you completely and forever.


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15 Responses to Losing salvation? Can’t be done.

  1. Another frustrating tweet. Not only does he (awkwardly, and maybe unintentionally) imply that there’s a certain level of sin we can get away with before losing our salvation, he adds to the bad theology by suggesting that the “solution” is working hard to kill it, rather than thanking Jesus for saving us from it. Argh. Thanks for exposing this, Tim.

    Also, who is Don? 😉

    • Tim says:

      It’s almost like he says there’s sin and then there’s SIN, and they are somehow qualitatively different when it comes to salvation.

      As for Don’, I don’t know him but I like that he uses a punctuation mark in his name.

  2. Rick says:

    I am holding out hope that someday, someone close to Piper will lovingly convince him to close down his Twitter account.

  3. Pastor Bob says:

    Heard many times, repeated often as well.
    You can NEVER EVER do any one sin nor combination of sins to cause God to remove salvation from you. This will NEVER EVER happen.
    However, it is entirely possible to reject the gift once freely received. Reasons vary, but just as Edward abdicated the throne for the woman of his dreams, many a man (role reversal possible) has abdicated the faith for another love.

    • Tim says:

      The Bible says they never had the faith in the first place, then, PB.

      • Kitti says:

        when the bible says the holy spirit “fills” you to overflowing and that our names are “engraved” on his hands, i figure theres simply nowhere you can go without him tagging along. like, if i get a tattoo, my tattoo isnt going anywhere i wont be. so even if someone (saved) attempts to walk away from god, its not going to last long, and hell be there tugging on your arm to redirect you the whole way.

        another way to look at it is a mother holding her toddlers hand while crossing the street. might the toddler object at some point and try to go another way? yeah, maybe. but mommy is neither stupid nor weak, shes holding onto her child for dear life until they get ALL the way on the other side for safety and no sooner.

  4. Kevin Mason says:

    I would not try to decipher a man’s theology based upon a tweet. I have listened to hundreds of John Piper’s sermons and know what he has to say about sin. I also know what he says about people professing to be Christians and yet believe they can continue to willfully sin. I have heard Pastor John preach that if one continues to willfully sin even if after they have been informed of their sin, there is good reason to question if that person is truly saved. (note the qualifying word “willfully”) A person who is truly saved and a true follower of Jesus Christ would not desire to sin and would not play a game of pushing the limits of willful sin.

    The tweet is vague and unfortunately, Twitter’s limit to 140 characters does not give much room for a deeper explanation of one’s thought. The reader can interpret words in different ways that may imply one understanding or another.

    • Tim says:

      It’s the issue of whether he’s talking about a person who truly is a member of God’s family or only professes to be. This is the old sheep and goat conundrum. But he should not post tweets that make one guess about whether he knows good doctrine or not; he’s a world-wide teacher, after all, and has to be very careful. That’s what James says about all teachers, as a matter of fact.

      • Kevin Mason says:

        Vague tweets cause more confusion than expound good doctrine. I am not sure Twitter is a good format for teaching good theology. It becomes a a place for people to strive for profundity on 140 characters or less; …most often it fails.

  5. Irene says:

    Wow! Thank you so much for this reminder. With so many promoting performance my heart sings every time I am reminded that Christ did it all for us. And he loves us–not like our abusive parents or spouses–he REALLY loves us.

  6. Spaniardviii says:

    Great post Tim, that sounds like what I wrote this month about “Can a Christian lose their salvation?”


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