Apostolic Teachings on Salvation


After in depth study of all the writings of the apostles, the words of Jesus, and all scripture, both old and new, we can ascertain a common doctrine pertaining to the reward of eternal life. It is a principle first given by God, then enkindled by His son, and finally reiterated by all the apostles. Eternal life comes to those who love God and His commandments, and who seek to live pleasing to Him to the end. Furthermore, anyone can fall away and be in danger of forfeiting their salvation. Whoever remains in that fallen state will forfeit their salvation. No doctrine of eternal security prior to actual salvation was ever taught. Only at the time of judgment will all darkness be bound and destroyed. Only then will we not suffer temptations, oppressions, persecutions, and tribulations. Only then will we be eternally secure. Since the beginning of scripture through the first century of the church it is clear and even undeniable what God's word teaches concerning eternal life. Keep in mind that the following verses and scripture are exhortations and warnings to those in the church.

(See Early Church Leaders Views on Salvation for excerpts from letters written by the early church leaders, teachers, and martyrs concerning salvation.)


Ezek 3:20

Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand." 

The righteousness of a man who turns to iniquity will not be remembered. He will die and be forgotten. We are responsible if we do not warn him.

Ezek 18:24

But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die."

Only through the grace of Jesus' death do we not die right away. We have the chance to get right with God. The principle still holds today as it did yesterday - we will die and be forgotten if we turn or fall away to sin.

Matt 3:8,10

Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance. . . . And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."

Once we repent and turn to God we must then live worthy of that choice. If we do not live pleasing to God we will be thrown into the everlasting fire.

Matt 7:21

Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. "

We must do God's will to enter into heaven. There will be many who thought they were saved.

Matt 24:45-51

Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant says in his heart, 'My master is delaying his coming,' and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

(This is doing the Father's will.) God expects us to live and do according to His will. If we do not do the will of the Father, we will not be a part of the kingdom of heaven. This parable is an example of believers who know to do good but do not do it. They will be cast into the eternal fire.

Matt 25:1-13

"Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. . . . Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us! But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.' 

(This is staying in the Father's will.) The oil is the word and Spirit of God which is able to keep us close to God. We must stay ready for the return of Jesus. We cannot be lukewarm. We must go beyond our expected duty of faith (Luke 17:9,10). These are believers who start out the same. They are all lamps. One grows in righteousness while the others are righteous only at the beginning.

Matt 25:14-30 

For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them . . . . each according to his own ability . . . . 'And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

(This is growing in the Father's will for righteousness.) We must fulfill our service to God by walking pleasing to Him. He will judge us on what we know. These are believers who knew the Father's will (vs. 26) but did not produce fruit within themselves. They will be cast out into the darkness.

John 8:31

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed." 

We are disciples of Christ only by obeying His teachings. We must seek to obey the word He taught us.

John 15:1-2,6

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned."

We are the branches in Jesus. We must remain in Jesus and mature in holiness (bear fruit). Those who fall away from the teachings of Jesus will be cast out. They are fallen believers ( see 1 Co.11:32).

Rom 2:7

eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality.

We must endure in doing good. Those who do so are looking for God's honor and the reward of eternal life.

Rom 11:20-22

Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.

We stand secure before God because of faith. We trust and obey Him. However, we must continue in goodness or we will be cut off from God's promises and reward as was Israel.

1 Cor 4:1-5

Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I know nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God.

Paul did not know anything against himself that was displeasing to God. Yet, he did not consider himself justified before God. He knew he had to be faithful and pleasing to God. God would be the judge of his soul and heart when Jesus returned. Therefore, how can we boast that we are 'saved'? Only God can judge this. He will reveal the hearts of men.

1 Cor 9:24,27

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. . . . But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

Our prize is eternal life. We must live in such a way to obtain it. The only way is to live pleasing to God and receive forgiveness through Jesus if we stumble. Paul considered it an irony if he who preached the gospel did not live it and then end up being rejected.

1 Cor 10:11,12

Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 

All scripture is written for our reproof and instruction. Israel thought it stood before God but was severely punished each time they fell away. We are to learn from their example.

1 Cor 11:32

But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.

God chastens us to draw us closer to Him. If we were not chastened we would continue in our own way and then be condemned with the world. This shows that it is possible to fall away from God into sin. If you die in a fallen state you will be condemned with the world.

1 Cor 15:1,2

I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you-- unless you believed in vain.

The gospel we know and have received is able to save us if we remain in it and obey the teachings. If we do not remain in it what will happen to us? We will be condemned with the unbelievers.

2 Cor 5:15 

and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.

Our everyday lives should be lived for Jesus. We must live as He lived. We must strive against sin.

2 Cor 6:17-7:1

Therefore "Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

We must keep ourselves clean to be saved. We must perfect holiness within us and fear the judgment of God if we live for ourselves.

Eph 5:3,5

But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 

For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

There must not be a hint of sin in us. Those who practice unclean or covetous things are rejecting God's holiness. They will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.

Phil 2:12-13

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

We should fear God's judgment and always obey His will. He is in us for His will and purpose. He is the judge of our souls. 

Phil 3:9-14

and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Paul did not count himself saved yet. He does everything possible to obtain to the resurrection. He keeps pressing on toward perfection for the goal of the upward call( the resurrection). We are to keep striving against sin. We are to live pleasing to God, pressing toward perfection in holiness. We cannot consider ourselves saved now. We still have to wade through the mire and wiles of Satan. Then, we will be pulled out of this world and truly be saved.

Col 1:28-29

Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.

We are warned to become perfect. Paul taught this and strived for this in himself through the Spirit. Paul does not teach a relaxed doctrine.

1Thes 3:5,7-8

For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain . . . . therefore, brethren, in all our affliction and distress we were comforted concerning you by your faith. For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord.

Paul feared the Thessalonians may have fallen away because of the work of Satan and His workers. He exhorted them to remain in the faith. We can fall away. Satan will try to make you fall away through sin, oppression, or even persecution. We must be faithful to the end (Matt. 10:22).

1Thes 4:7-8

For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.

If you do not obey the Spirit, you are rejecting God. If you reject God, you reject salvation.

1I Th 1:7-9

and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 

in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power. . . .

There are two types of people judged here. The ungodly who never lived for God and those who know God. Both the ungodly and those who do not obey the gospel (the teachings of Jesus) will be destroyed. 

II Th 2:13

But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth . . . .

We are to more than just know the gospel, we are to become pure by it (sanctification). This is how we are chosen for salvation.

1 Tim 6:10-12

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

You can stray from the faith. Timothy is even warned by Paul about this.

Heb 1:14-2:3

Are they (angels) not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation? Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him . . . .

You can fall away and you will be destroyed. This is historically proven in the Bible through the times of Israel.

Heb 3:6

but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end. 

We are part of the house of Christ only through obeying the teachings and receiving forgiveness of sins through Him. We must maintain this and not lose confidence in God's plan.

Heb 3:12-14

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end.

We cannot let sin sway us into its pleasures. It will deceives us and cause us to fall away from serving God. If we fall away we are no longer partakers of Christ and His reward.

Heb 4:1 

Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.

Believers can come short o f the promise of God (eternal life).

Heb 4:11

Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. 

We must be very careful and deliberate in our goal to enter into the kingdom of heaven. We must not fall as Israel did or we will lose out on the rest (eternal life) promised.

Heb 6:4-8

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. . . . For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and briars, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.

Any believer and partaker of the Spirit who falls away is rejecting Jesus and crucifying Him within themselves as the Jews did outwardly. They put Him to an open shame before others who know they once were followers of Christ, obeying all commandments. They must repent and come back themselves since they already know the repentance of first recognition. This is the one in which they first realized they did not know God. If they do not come back they are fit only to be burned. 

Heb 6:11-12

And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

We must be diligent to maintain faith and good works to the end. Those who do so will inherit eternal life.

Heb 10:26-27

For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.

A believer who willfully sins brings judgment and wrath on himself.

Heb 10:29

Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

A willful sinner will receive worse punishment because He knows the way of truth. He shows lack of concern or love for Jesus and the cross.

Heb 12:14-15

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking diligently lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.

We can become defiled through sin, uncleanness, and unrighteousness. If we do not pursue holiness for God and love with our brother, we will not see God.

James 1:21-22

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

Put into practice the word that you hear. The practice of the word leaves a trail to heaven.

James 2:14

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?

Faith alone cannot save you. Our works justify our salvation or we would be no different than the demons (vs.19).

James 2:17

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Faith cannot be see without an outside example. No works, no faith.

James 2:24

You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

Works are fruit produced within yourself as well as outside. Our works will justify our faith..

James 5:19-20

Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

A believer can fall away and be in danger of losing his soul. If he is turned back he can receive forgiveness. If he is not turned back his sins are not covered. What will happen to him?

1 Pet 1:17

And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear.

We must be aware of how holy we live before God and fear His judgment to come. He will judge our salvation based on our works.

1 Pet 4:17-18

For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now "If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?"

The church will be judged first as to whether we lived pleasing to God or not. We are judged more strictly since we know the word and will of God. It is even hard for a believer to be saved. 

1 Pet 4:19

Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.

We must commit to doing good - not just good enough!

2 Pet 1:10-11

Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

We must be diligent in our walk to be saved. Otherwise, the entrance to heaven will be closed for those who aren't.

2 Pet 3:11-17

Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation-- as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;

Beware of falling away and going the way of the wicked. We know the judgment coming to the world. We should be steadfast in our walk, fully pleasing God. 

I Jn 1:5-9

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

If we do not practice righteousness, we are not part of God. We must walk in truth, light, and righteousness. If we do, we can receive forgiveness when we stumble. If we do not practice truth we cannot receive forgiveness because our hearts our not right. Only true repentance toward God will bring forgiveness, because it comes from a changed heart.

I Jn 2:6 

He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

Abiding in Christ is to follow Him by obeying His teachings. This is putting on Christ.

Jude 1:11

Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.

Some have and will fall away from serving God with a pure heart. They will work in the kingdom for money or position. Woe to them!

Rev 2:5,7

Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place-- unless you repent . . . .He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.

The lampstand is the church. They would be no more if they did not repent and fully return to God. They would miss out on the tree of life (salvation).

Rev 2:10,11

Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death."

We must be faithful until death in all tribulation, temptation, and persecution to receive life. Those who give up or fall away will suffer the second death, the everlasting death.

Rev 2:16,17

Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it."

The church at Pergamos had allowed sinful things to take control among them. If they overcame this sin they would receive the reward of eternal life.

Rev 2:20, 24-26

Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols." "Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. But hold fast what you have till I come. And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations."

The church at Thyatira had fallen to sexual immorality and idolatry. They were to end up destroyed. Those who had not fallen to this sin are exhorted to maintain their good works to the end of their lives to receive the reward to come.

Rev 3:3-6

Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."

The church at Sardis had fallen into sin and defiled themselves. They are warned to repent or be blotted out of the Book of Life.

Rev 3:11,12

Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name."

The church at Philadelphia had not fallen into sin. Yet, they are exhorted to holdfast to righteousness, lest they lose their crown. Their crown is eternal life. It is clear here that you can forfeit salvation.

Rev 3:15-16

I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth."

The church at Laodicea was neither for nor against God. Their works were not against Him but they did not seek to live fully for Him. They lived a little godly and alot worldly. Their lukewarmness did not serve God properly, neither will ours. God will spew us out also. We will be lost.

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