Q. Ezekiel 33:12 says, “The good works of righteous people will not save them if they turn to sin, nor will the sins of evil people destroy them if they repent and turn from their sins.” Does this passage go as far to say you can lose your salvation?
A. Ezekiel 33:12-16 highlights the limitations of the Law. You could keep it perfectly for years, but then a single mistake would wipe out all your good works. Conversely, you could live the life of a sinner and then stop sinning and start living a righteous life and your sins would no longer be remembered.
The problem Ezekiel didn’t cover here is that even though the Law is perfectly just, it’s impossible to live a righteous life for any length of time. Therefore no one will be declared righteous by observing the Law (Romans 3:20).
Knowing the human condition, God knew no one can behave well enough for an entire lifetime to keep himself or herself saved. Yet He doesn’t want that any should perish but for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
Therefore, He made the salvation of all mankind contingent upon the behavior of one man, His Son. Everyone else is saved by believing in the sufficiency of what that one man did. For by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy (Hebr. 10:14)
Unless you are striving to earn your salvation by your own works and have declined the pardon Jesus purchased for you at the cross, you needn’t fear the outcome Ezekiel described. The cross changed everything. You’re saved by grace, not by works; by what you believe, not by how you behave.
For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith – and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works so that no one can boast (Ephes. 2:8-9).