Arminianism vs. Calvinism – Perseverance of the Saints/Conditional Salvation

The fifth of the five points of TULIP (Calvinism theology) is perseverance of the saints. This was a direct response to the Arminian view of conditional salvation. Perseverance of the saints is the idea that if you’re saved, you’re going to persevere to glory. Arminian theology says you might not; you could lose your salvation along the way.

Having previously written about this, I am going to keep this short. First, Calvinists do not believe that a person is saved “because I prayed the prayer but don’t live according to Christ.” I believe that a person whose faith does not show some sort of works is not truly saved. This is a Biblical principle (James 2:14). I am not saying, of course, that salvation is dependent on works. We are justified apart from works (Eph. 2:8-9, Romans 3:24). My point in all that being that Calvinists do not believe in salvation by “praying the prayer” and nothing else matters. Christ is in the business of not just saving lives, but transforming lives. If He abides in us, then our fruit should show evidence of Him at work within us.

When the Bible is rightly interpreted by what the text says and not what people say then the truth will become apparent.

The real question here is “Is our faith genuine, is it real?” If it is real, a person will not be lost. If it is not real, then a person cannot be lost either – they were never really saved.

A case may be made for Judas. He was a believer but then betrayed Jesus in the end. I believe that Judas did not lose his salvation. I believe that He was never truly a believer in his heart. Also, what of Peter? He denied Jesus three times. Yes, he denied Him outwardly, but he never denied Him in his heart. This is shown by Peter weeping after outwardly denying Him.

God’s grace is effective in accomplishing the regeneration of those whom He has called to be His own.

Study verses for this section: 2 Samuel 11, Philippians 1:16, John 10:27-29, Hebrews 12:2, John 17:12, Matthew 7:21-23, Mark 4:5-6, 2 Corinthians 7:10, 2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 1:13, Hebrews 6:4-6, Ephesians 2:10, Romans 4:2, Colossians 2:13

– Adam Smith

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One thought on “Arminianism vs. Calvinism – Perseverance of the Saints/Conditional Salvation

  1. Hi Adam,

    Calvinists and Arminians have much agreement on this issue. We both agree that a believer can be recognized by his fruit.

    I agree with you that it is a misrepresentation of Calvinism to state that a person can say a prayer and then live however he pleases. This is clearly not what Calvinism teaches.

    Many Arminians believe that it’s possible to forfeit salvation, but not all of them. If you’re interested in an Arminian blog that shares the Calvinist view of P, check out Dan’s blog at

    I do hold that apostasy is possible. I don’t think one can “lose” salvation like one loses his car keys. Rather, it is possible to make a deliberate and conscious choice to reject Jesus. This is a choice that Jesus honors.

    Personally I would like to believe in “P” (who wouldn’t?), but I don’t see that position supported by scripture.

    I did read your other post, and the reference to the Hebrews 6 passage. I disagree with your contention that this is an unsaved person. Specifically, the passages states that this person is enlightened, has tasted the heavenly gift, and has shared in the Holy Spirit. Only a believer can have these things, particularly the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

    Hebrews 10:26-29 is even more explicit:
    If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?

    Notice this passage is not about some person who has merely pondered Christianity. It is one who “has received the knowledge of the truth”, has received a “sacrifice for sins” and then “has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him.” It is a person who has been atoned for and sanctified by the blood of Christ. A believer.

    So while I personally find the idea of “P” appealing, I cannot in good conscience hold it as true.

    In closing, let me state that I have enjoyed your series, even though I may have come across as argumentative. It bothers me to see Arminianism so badly misrepresented. I realize that you are taking these points mainly from a video series. The problem is that while it may have seemed to you to be an objective video, it was not. Rather, it severely misrepresents what Arminians believe.

    If you’re interested in a fair representation of Arminian theology, I recommend “Arminian Theology, Myths and Realities” by Roger Olson. He addresses many of the myths that the video series promotes. Check the Amazon reviews, and you’ll see that even staunch Calvinists have found Olson’s book to be helpful at clearing up misconceptions.

    God bless,

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