A friend recently asked me if I thought Solomon was saved? It was an excellent, thought-provoking question. Why? Because most Christians assume he was saved. After all, he was no lightweight. He wrote Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. He was David’s son. God also promised him great wisdom.

However, my friend asked this question because he realized the subject is nuanced. “Although in the last analysis, only God knows for sure,” I answered, “I didn’t think Solomon was saved.” Why would I say that, and what issues does my answer raise?


What was my rationale for this pessimism? First, Solomon’s absence from the Hebrews-eleven roll call of believing saints is conspicuous. Although he was a major Old Testament character, he is omitted. Was that an accident? I don’t think so.

The writers of the New Testament understood that only those who persevere to the end of life in faith and repentance are saved. “But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:2). “Note then the kindness and severity of God…kindness to you provided you continue in his kindness” (Romans 11:22). “In due season we will reap if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). “If we endure we will also reign with him” (2 Timothy 2:12). “We have come to share in Christ if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end” (Hebrews 3:14). “The one who conquers and keeps my works to the end to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron” (Revelations 2:26).

Solomon did not persevere to the end. His disobedience started early. The law warned him not to “multiply wives lest they turn his heart away” (Deuteronomy 17:17). Ignoring this, Solomon married seven hundred wives, mostly from foreign nations, then added three hundred concubines. Most egregiously, they were from the nations of whom God warned Israel not to marry. The result was ugly. He ended his life building temples to their dreadful gods—Chemosh, Ashtoreth, and Molech. Most of which required worship by child sacrifice—throwing screaming infants into raging bonfires to appease their demonic appetites. Tragically, these temples remained in Jerusalem for almost three hundred years, only being removed at the end of the seventh century BC by King Josiah.


This analysis raises some important questions. What about once saved, always saved? 1 Kings 3:3 tells us that Solomon “loved the Lord.” Does this mean he was saved? If so, did he lose his salvation? No, once saved, always saved is correct. New birth is a permanent change of nature. It cannot be reversed. But the evidence of new birth is increasing fruit—good works, faithfulness to the one true God, and increasing Christlikeness. “Everyone who practices righteousness is born of him” (1 John 2:9). “Whoever practices sin is of the Devil…No one born of God makes a practice of sinning…Little Children, keep yourself from idols” (1 John 3:8-9, 5:21). This was not Solomon. He went from good to bad ending his life in the spiritual gutter. I must conclude, therefore, that he was never saved.

Another problem is the obvious. How can someone write a big portion of the Bible and be unregenerate? Answer: If you can do miracles and be unregenerate, why not write books of the Bible? Think of Balaam prophesying under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Remember that Judas performed miracles with the apostolic band (Matthew 10:7-8). Jesus even described men like Solomon who did not do his will, crying out on the last day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophecy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name? Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from me, you workers of lawlessness'” (Matthew 7:22-23).

Another way to say this is that knowledge by itself is no test of new birth. You can have a Ph.D. in theology, and believe the Bible is true, and not be regenerated. Again, new birth is evidenced by spiritual fruit, not knowledge. I’m not saying that knowledge is unimportant. Knowledge matters greatly, but by itself, it is no evidence of new birth. There is no new birth if knowledge doesn’t travel the 14 inches from the mind to the heart. When the Holy Spirit does this everything changes, and spiritual fruit follows.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Galatians 5:22-24

So What?

First, don’t make Solomon’s mistake. Christianity is a marathon, not a sprint. Only those who persevere to the end are saved. And here is the Good News. We can trust God to help us do that. “And I am sure of this,” boasted Paul, “that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the Day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). This implies a balancing act. On the one hand, we exert ourselves to persevere to the end. But, on the other hand, we trust God completely to motivate us to persevere to the end.

Second, don’t have a superficial approach to new birth. A person can warm a pew for years, memorize the creed, and smile broadly Sunday morning, and never be saved. Fruit is the only acid test, and fruit grow slowly over many years.

Third, don’t pick spiritual leaders based on their degrees. When searching for pastors or church employees what is the first thing we look for? Academic accomplishment—M Div, PhD, books published, etc. Where did he or she go to school?

It would be false to say that education has no relevance. It has relevance, but that relevance is entirely secondary, not primary. Instead, we should look with great diligence for spiritual fruit. That is the only leadership qualification in the Bible (1 Timothy 3:1ff). But because fruit is hard to detect in the short run, it is problematic. We only see it, or its lack, as we watch a man interact with his wife, discipline his children, pay his bills, control his temper, and most importantly, express humility or arrogance.

This means it is almost impossible to really find out about a man through a few job interviews. Therefore, it is best to raise up pastoral leadership from within your church. That way you know the person. You see him. You have watched him long term and you know what you are getting.

Let me know if you think I’m crazy. Leave your comments below. Would love to interact with you.