Church Fathers Said You Can Lose Your Salvation! — TERTULLIAN: “Walk so *holily* and with so *entire substantially of faith* to be *confident and secure* in…our own conscience” • “Is not this gift taken away from many?” IRENAEUS: “If we do things displeasing to God we obtain no further forgiveness” COMMODIANUS: “If you seek to live as the Gentiles do the *joys of the world* remove you from the grace of Christ” CYPRIAN: “Faith…and the saving birth do not make alive by *merely being received*. Rather, they must be preserved” • “A baptized person *loses the grace* that he has attained unless he remains innocent” HERMAS: “If you do not guard yourself against [anger] you…lose all hope of salvation”

Excerpt from: Church Fathers Said You Can Lose Your Salvation! – John Boruff

Bolding and color emphasis mine. All-caps is Boruff’s.

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IRENAEUS (d. 202)

Those who do not obey Him, but being disinherited by Him, have ceased to be His sons.” [Against Heresies 4.41.3]

We should fear ourselves, least perchance after [we have come to] the knowledge of Christ, if we do things displeasing to God, we obtain no further forgiveness of sins, but are shut out from His Kingdom. And for that reason, Paul said, ‘For if [God] spared not the natural branches, [take heed] lest He also not spare you” (Romans 11:21). [Against Heresies 4.27.2]

“It is not to those who are on the outside that he said these things, but to us – LEST WE SHOULD BE CAST FORTH FROM THE KINGDOM OF GOD, by doing any such thing.” [Against Heresies 4.27.4]

“Knowing that WHAT PRESERVES HIS LIFE, NAMELY, OBEDIENCE TO GOD, is good, he may diligently keep it with all earnestness.” [Against Heresies 4.39.1]

TERTULLIAN (d. 220)

“For do not many afterwards fall out of [grace]? Is not this gift taken away from many?” [On Repentance, Ch. 6]

“The world returned to sin…and so it is destined to fire. So is the man who after baptism renews his sins.” [On Baptism, Ch. 8]

We ought indeed to walk so holily, and with so entire substantially of faith, as to be confident and secure in regard of our own conscience, desiring that it may abide in us to the end. Yet, we should not presume [that it will]. For he who presumes [that he cannot possibly fail – ed.], feels less apprehension. He who feels less apprehension, takes less precaution. He who takes less precaution, runs more risk. Fear is the foundation of salvation. Presumption is the impediment to fear…More useful, then, is it to apprehend that WE MAY POSSIBLY FAIL, than to presume that we cannot. For apprehending will lead us to fear, fear to caution, and caution to salvation. On the other hand, if we presume, there will be neither fear nor caution to save us.” [On the Apparel of Women, Book 2, Chapter 2]

“He saw that MOST PERSONS – AFTER OBTAINING SALVATION – WOULD BE LOST AGAIN, by soiling the wedding dress, by failing to provide oil for their torches.” [Scorpiace, Ch. 6]

COMMODIANUS (A. D. 240)

“Being a believing man, if you seek to live as the Gentiles do, the joys of the world remove you from the grace of Christ.” [On Christian Discipline, LVII: “That Worldly Things are Absolutely to Be Avoided.”]

ORIGEN (d. 253) – I know Origen was a heretic, but his comment is valuable for its historical value; and how it exposes that “eternal security” or the “once saved, always saved” teaching, really comes from the Gnostics…

“Certain ones of those [Gnostics] who hold different opinions misuse these passages. They essentially destroy free will by introducing ruined natures incapable of salvation and by introducing others as being saved in such a way that they cannot be lost.” [De Principiis, Book 3, Ch. 1.8]

CYPRIAN (d. 258)

“Only let not Christ be forsaken, so that THE LOSS OF SALVATION and of an eternal home would be feared.” [Treatise 3, Ch. 10]

Faith itself and the saving birth do not make alive by merely being received. Rather, they must be preserved…The Lord taught this in His instruction when He said…“Sin no more, lest a worst thing come upon you” (John 5:14)…SOLOMON, SAUL, and many others were able to keep the grace given to them so long as they walked in the Lord’s ways. However, when the discipline of the Lord was forsaken by them, grace also forsook them.” [Epistle 6.2]

“Whoever that confessor is, he is not greater, better, or dearer to God than SOLOMON. Solomon retained the grace that he had received from the Lord, as long as he walked in God’s ways. However, AFTER HE FORSOOK THE LORD’S WAY, HE ALSO LOST THE LORD’S GRACE. For that reason it is written, ‘Hold fast that which you have, lest another take your crown’ (Revelation 3:11)…’He that endures to the end, the same shall be saved’ (Matthew 10:22).” [Treatise 1.20-21]

“Even a baptized person LOSES THE GRACE that he has attained, unless he remains innocent.” [Treatise 12.3.27]

 APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTIONS (A. D. 390)

He who sins after his baptism, unless he repent and forsake his sins, shall be condemned to Hell-fire.” [Book 2.3.VII: “What Ought to Be the Character of the Initiated.”]


Additional Source

Shepherd of Hermas (late 1st or mid-2nd century)

They only who fear the Lord and keep His commandments have life with God; but as to those who keep not His commandments, there is no life in them. Shepherd of Hermas, 2.7 (A.D. 155).

And he said, “If you do not guard yourself against [anger], you and your house lose all hope of salvation . . . Hermas. Pastor of Hermas. Book 1.4.1.

Larger text of the latter quote above shows the context:

Be patient,” said he, “and of good understanding, and you will rule over every wicked work, and you will work all righteousness. For if you be patient, the Holy Spirit that dwells in you will be pure. He will not be darkened by any evil spirit, but, dwelling in a broad region, he will rejoice and be glad; and with the vessel in which he dwells he will serve God in gladness, having great peace within himself. But if any outburst of anger take place, forthwith the Holy Spirit, who is tender, is straitened, not having a pure place, and He seeks to depart. For he is choked by the vile spirit, and cannot attend on the Lord as he wishes, for anger pollutes him. For the Lord dwells in long-suffering, but the devil in anger. The two spirits, then, when dwelling in the same habitation, are at discord with each other, and are troublesome to that man in whom they dwell. For if an exceedingly small piece of wormwood be taken and put into a jar of honey, is not the honey entirely destroyed, and does not the exceedingly small piece of wormwood entirely take away the sweetness of the honey, so that it no longer affords any gratification to its owner, but has become bitter, and lost its use? But if the wormwood be not put into the honey, then the honey remains sweet, and is of use to its owner. You see, then, that patience is sweeter than honey, and useful to God, and the Lord dwells in it. But anger is bitter and useless. Now, if anger be mingled with patience, the patience is polluted, and its prayer is not then useful to God.” “I should like, sir,” said I, “to know the power of anger, that I may guard myself against it.” And he said, “If you do not guard yourself against it, you and your house lose all hope of salvation. Guard yourself, therefore, against it. [Commandment 5, Chapter 1]

Related:

Who-Goes-To-Heaven Scriptures — Narrow is the Way | Who are the Children of God? — “There is therefore now *NO CONDEMNATION* to those who are IN CHRIST Jesus, who don’t WALK according to the flesh, but ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT”

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