Losing Your Salvation in Ephesians 1:14–3

Author Amy K. Hall Published on 06/13/2013

I’ve used Ephesians 1 in the past, usually focusing on the last two verses, when asked if a person can lose his salvation:

[H]aving also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

But Fred Sanders has come up with a concise way of expressing the complexities of what it would look like to lose your salvation, in light of the full flow of thought in Ephesians 1:

Instead of asking, “can you lose your salvation,” ask, “if Ephesians 1 is true of you, how could it reverse its momentum and come untrue of you?”

By Ephesians 1, I mean specifically the one long Greek sentence that is verses 3–14, which explores the “complete spiritual blessing” with which God has blessed us in Christ. As far as I can tell, for it to run in reverse would require something like this:

The guarantee on our inheritance has been voided and its possession will now be forfeited; God has removed his seal, the Holy Spirit, from us. We no longer believe the word of truth, so it is no longer the gospel of our salvation. We have been un-predestined, have lost the inheritance, and are back outside of Christ. The mystery of God’s will for the summing up of all things in Christ in the fullness of time has gone opaque and become irrelevant. An unlavishing of grace has taken place. We do not have redemption through the blood of God’s beloved Son, so our trespasses are not forgiven. We are unadopted, have stepped out of our predestination to that goal, so we will never stand holy and blameless before God in love. We have been unchosen from before the foundation of the world. No longer being in Christ, we are no longer recipients of every spiritual blessing in him. And perhaps God’s glorious grace, and his wisdom in salvation, will still be praised, but not by looking at us. Avert your eyes.

We don’t talk enough about how much is involved in our salvation. When we flatten it out to merely a decision we make, without reference to the work of God and how and why our status has changed due to our union with Christ, the idea that we can stop believing and fall away seems a lot more credible than when we look at the big picture of what has taken place.