The argument between the two sides of this question usually hinges on four verses which clearly speak of salvation and its loss (or lack thereof). I am not going to discuss these verses in detail. They have been covered ad nauseum in other places.
What I would like to do is ask a simple question and share a few ideas.
If we are eternally secure (i.e. decide for Christ and then never have to do anything further and never have to worry about being lost), why does Jesus tell us so many times to watch, to take heed? (Mat 24:42; 25:13; Mk 13:35; Lk 21:36; Mk 13:37; 13:5) Why does Jesus say that one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is not fit for the Kingdom? Why does Jesus speak of the seed that fell upon rocky soil and among thorns?
When a man goes on a journey and reaches the city of his destination, can he not leave it and return to the place from which he came?
When you make the choice for Christ, do you give up your free will? Do you forever after have no choice?
As a sheep can wander away from its shepherd, so one of God's flock can wander from the Good Shepherd.
Surely no power in heaven or in earth, surely no creature, surely nothing can separate us from God's love in Christ Jesus, but as a child can refuse or disdain the gift his father gives him, so a child of God can refuse and disdain His gift.
No one can snatch us out of His hand; that is true, but snatching away is something an outside force does. An inside force can move. Also, Whether we love Him or not, we are never outside His hand. We are always within His reach and in His grasp. Yet not all in His grasp are in His Kingdom. Just as not all the plants in a farmer's field will go into his storehouse, so the plants which grow up among the children of men, though they looked good early in the season, if they be found at harvest time to be diseased, will not be gathered into God's storehouse.
Salvation is not about a single act. Salvation is about a right relationship with God. We do not lose that relationship by sinning, any more than a child would lose her relationship with her father by kicking the family cat. Rather, when we do not avoid sin, we ourselves change until we have no relationship with God. Righteousness is not the path to salvation. Righteousness is simply doing the things that will keep us from wandering away from God.
Sin does not destroy our salvation. Sin sets into motion a domino effect that ruins our relationship with God until we do not know Him, and then how shall He claim us? Anyone who is ashamed of Jesus before men, of him or of her will Jesus be ashamed before His Father.
A person most certainly can fall away from Christ. Goodness! How much clearer could you get than this:
"17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; 18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. 19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. 20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: 21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. 22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. 23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?"
Therefore, take heed that you do not ignore your relationship with God. You have not given up your terrible power to CHOOSE. It is a hideous power that, like a tiny switch in a circuit, though it has not motive force of its own, can nonetheless divert great motive force from one side of the circuit to the other. It can decide whether this source or that will flow along the wires. So also you have the decision of whether your life will be exposed to the power that will lead to its destruction, or else to the power that will lead to its glorification.
Therefore, I say to you: Watch! For the servant who has gloried in his position and said in his heart, "My master will not fire me, for he has placed me in this position," will surely find his place evaporated when his master returns. Do not be like that servant, which disdained his master. Be rather like the servant who, loving his master, said in his heart, "My master is kind to put me in this position. I will therefore be diligent, for though I am not worhty of this position, I must do the best I can." His master will return and reward him, whether his labors have been successful or not, because that servant was diligent.
Some in the Eternal Security camp would say that we are not trusting God if we take heed not to fall away. I say that fear does not enter into it. Rather, it is a right understanding of the fact that our position is not unshakable. Yes, it is secure, but we must take heed, as a tightrope walker, that we do not act foolishly. The expert at walking across a rope is secure. He knows how to balance and not fall. He does not fear the fall, because he has his balance. Yet the tightrope walker will not leap and sway upon the rope, for his position is not secure enough to do these things without risking the fall. You also must live in respect for your position, for it is secure, but it is not unshakable. Trusting in one decision you made one time is trusting in yourself. It is pride of the worst stripe. Your decision for Christ must be made each day, for your flesh decides daily what it wants. Therefore, your spirit must also decide daily what it wants.
Live, therefore, so that you will not fall away. Cling to God, not in fear but in love. As a marriage requires daily efforts to remain bonded, so all relationships, including yours with God, require daily efforts to remain bonded. A man who says, "I am saved because I made a decision many years ago. Now, I live at my ease and think nothing of it," is like a man who says, "I am married because I had a wedding many years ago. Now, I enjoy her love, though I haven't seen her since that night." Such a man is a fool. He will find in the day he looks for his wife that he is not married at all, for he has neglected his spouse.
Let it not be so with you, but rather spend time with God every day, that you may be assured in your own heart, not in vain arguments of the head, that you are saved. There will be no one who can argue the point with you, for you shall know that you are in His fold.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
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