Can You Lose Your Salvation?
Many know the Church of the Nazarene as the church that believes you can lose your salvation. That is an erroneous oversimplification of a doctrine in the Church of the Nazarene. I think we can all agree that salvation is not like some kind of object that we can misplace or leave somewhere. When you use the phrase “lose your salvation,” you are not understanding the belief that the Church of the Nazarene holds to. In fact, it is a phrase that is not much used in the Church of the Nazarene and other denominations with a Wesleyan theological perspective. The language of “losing” just is not sufficient.
Salvation comes from grace; our works do not count toward our salvation. The Church of the Nazarene believes in prevenient grace. In the Church of the Nazarene’s Articles of Faith, article VII talks about prevenient grace:
“We believe that the grace of God through Jesus Christ is freely bestowed upon all people, enabling all who will to turn from sin to righteousness, believe on Jesus Christ for pardon and cleansing from sin, and follow good works pleasing and acceptable in His sight. We also believe that the human race’s creation in Godlikeness included the ability to choose between right and wrong, and that thus human beings were made morally responsible; that through the fall of Adam they became depraved so that they cannot now turn and prepare themselves by their own natural strength and works to faith and calling upon God.”
In other words, salvation is a gift from God that is freely offered to anyone who believes in Christ. It is a free-gift given by God through Christ. You cannot earn it. God offers salvation to all, and then with our free will, we can either accept or reject it. God does not force one to embrace salvation. Because He loves us, He gives us that choice. Since we have free will, we can choose at any point to no longer receive the gift of salvation.
The Scripture tends to view the Christian walk in relational terms rather than legal ones. At the core of salvation is our relationship with Christ. Relationships can be broken, unfortunately. You can walk away from a relationship and end it. If we choose to walk away or renounce our relationship with Christ, we are choosing to walk away from salvation.
So, no, the Church of the Nazarene does not subscribe to the “frozen chosen” or “perseverance of the saints” or “eternal security.” We do not believe you can lose your salvation. However, we believe you can choose to walk away from salvation.