Subscribe to our Compelling Mail Newsletter:

Conditional security – What is it?

Subscribe to our Compelling Mail Newsletter:

Conditional security (also known as the conditional security of the saints) is an Arminian teaching that holds believers in Christ remain saved based on the condition of a preserving faith in Christ. While Arminians teach that a believer can have assurance based on a godly life, the many biblical warnings against apostasy are interpreted to mean a person's security in Christ is based on a person's perseverance in following Christ.

Many biblical passages are used to represent this view. For example, in Matthew 5:30, Jesus said it would be better to lose a hand or eye than to have your whole body go into hell. Some understand this as a teaching to believers to avoid sin that could cause someone to lose his or her salvation.

In addition, Romans 8:13 teaches, "For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live." Since Romans was written to the church at Rome, those who hold to conditional security often understand this passage as teaching believers to live a holy life in order to not lose one's salvation.

First Corinthians 15:1-2 also teaches, "Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain." Some understand this as a command to stand firm in order not to lose one's salvation.

While these and similar passages seem to indicate a person can lose his or her salvation and therefore only conditionally be secure, other biblical passages affirm the eternal security of the believer. For example, in John 10:28-29 Jesus taught, "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand." Those who believe are unable to be taken from Christ. And it is God who is preserving them, not their own actions.

In Matthew 24:24 Jesus also taught that in some future time, "false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect." The assumption by Jesus is that it is impossible for a true believer to be deceived and turn from Christ. Ephesians 2:8-9 makes it clear that salvation does not take place based on works but by faith. If salvation is wholly dependent on Jesus and not on our works, how could works negate salvation? Romans 8:38-39 teaches nothing can separate a believer from Christ. Therefore, nothing a true believer can do will end their salvation. Those who turn away are either not genuine believers to start or are believers living in sin who need to repent for restoration of full fellowship with God but not in order to regain salvation (1 John 1:8-9).

Related Truth:

Does the Bible teach eternal security?

Is salvation by faith or works or both?

In the Calvinism vs. Arminianism debate, which side is correct?

Do the Bible's warnings against apostasy imply that salvation is not eternally secure?

What does the Bible say about backsliding Christians? Are they still saved?

Return to:
Truth about Salvation

Compelling Truth HOME