Can The Believer Be Lost?

Question: “In the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, the one-talent man is cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Is this a believer being cast into hell?”

In the parable, there were three servants. The five-talent man gained five more for his master. The two-talent man gained two more. But the one-talent man buried his money and never used it for his master. The master classified him as a “wicked and slothful servant”; his destination being in the realm of “outer darkness” (Matthew 25:26,30). A few verses later, we see what his punishment was (Matthew 25:41,46). This is a very good description of hell.

The point that Jesus is making is with regard to His servants — and that certainly means believers. Yes, it is possible for believers to be lost! The Bible makes it clear that the promises of heaven are for those who submit to God in obedience to His will (Matthew 7:21). And for all the promises God makes us, there are “conditions” for us to meet (note Revelation 2:10 – faithfulness; Hebrews 5:8-9 – obedience; (Mark 12:30; 1 John 5:3 – keeping the commands of God). Unless we meet His conditions, we cannot claim His promises.

Just as unbelievers can “hear” the gospel and “believe” (Romans 10:13-17), so believers can become unbelievers (Hebrews 3:12-19). And that is what happened with the one-talent man. He was rejected and cast out into the eternal fire simply because he refused to “do” what the Lord said (note Acts 9:6 and the key word “do“). —Clem Thurman, editor of Gospel Minutes

Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets