Conditional Perseverance (Term)

Conditional perseverance is a theological concept that posits the continuance of a believer’s faith and salvation depends on their ongoing faith and adherence to Christian doctrine and morals throughout their life. This view is often associated with Arminian theology, which contrasts with the Calvinist doctrine of “perseverance of the saints” or “once saved, always saved.” According to conditional perseverance, salvation can be forfeited if a believer falls into persistent sin or apostasy, renouncing their faith.

The belief in conditional perseverance emphasizes human free will and the responsibility of believers to “work out their salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12), implying that the maintenance of one’s faith is not solely a passive state but requires active participation and vigilance. This perspective supports the idea that while God’s grace initiates and sustains the believer’s faith, it does not irrevocably guarantee final salvation regardless of one’s choices and actions.

Supporters of conditional perseverance often cite passages such as Hebrews 6:4-6, which warn about the dangers and consequences of falling away after having received the knowledge of the truth, and 2 Peter 2:20-22, which discusses the perils of turning back to sinful ways after coming to know Christ. These scriptures highlight the conditional nature of perseverance, requiring continual faith and obedience.