Can One Lose Justification?
Q: You believe that one is justified at the point of faith, and not through the new birth; that justification is just one aspect of salvation, but not the totality of salvation. But what will become of one who has been justified and dies without having been water and Spirit baptized?
A: It would seem that if one is declared "not guilty" of sin before God at justification, that this person is saved and cannot be lost. After all, how could God condemn an innocent person? If a person is not saved, however, until they have been born again, and they never are born again, but were justified at faith, how can God still condemn them to hell? How could they lose their status of a right relationship with God?
There are several answers that could be given from various viewpoints. It could be argued that it is not possible that one can lose their justified status with God, but if we believe that a justified person must be saved simply because they are justified, and they cannot be lost because they have been brought into a right relationship to God, then we are espousing an eternal security concept of salvation. If one put their faith in Christ and was baptized, but did not receive the Spirit, we have no problem saying that they are not Christ's (Rom 8:9), and therefore are not saved. So if one's baptism could be counted as null because someone did not continue in obedience to faith, why could one's justification not be counted as null also? If we believe that a person who is born again (and therefore justified) can lose their salvation by unbelief, then why can we not conceive of someone losing their justification because they were not born again due to their lack of faith/obedience? If one can be lost even after being regenerated, then surely they can be lost even after being justified.
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