Once Saved Always Saved?

"But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."

(Matthew 24:13, KJV)

"but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end." (Hebrews 3:6)

There are NO IDLE words in the Bible. If God put idle words in the Bible, He would be a hypocrite, because He tells US we will give account for idle words. "ALL Scripture is … profitable for teaching the truth, and rebuking error". (2 Timothy 3:16). God doesn't say things clearly about salvation so that professional theologians can write and sell books saying that it doesn't really mean what it says.

I believe that an unbiased reading of everything Jesus and the apostles taught in the Bible about what it takes to be finally saved should inspire fear in many of the people that are happily attending church meetings around the world. This is because most church leaders are teaching people some version of the "gospel" which leads people to believe that everything will probably be OK for them even if they keep doing the things they know are displeasing to God. Satan has invented many different ways for church leaders to give this impression.

When you read the Bible, do you let it speak to you, or do you first  check in your mind to see if what it is saying matches with what you have been taught is true? Whenever you do this, you are putting up a shield against the Word of God. You need to examine your pre-conceived beliefs closely, especially concerning SALVATION.

No doctrine is of greater PRACTICAL importance to your eternal well-being than the true doctrine of salvation.

Are there conditions to be met for those who will enjoy God's favor forever?

Some people say, "Christ has done it all." Well, has Christ repented and believed the gospel for you, so you don't have to? I'm not sure if any would say "Yes" to this, but some popular doctrines affirm that God first regenerates you against his will and then makes you believe, and possibly repent by an irresistable process known as grace. In other words, God chooses to FORCE some people but not others to believe the gospel. Others would teach that Jesus has so worked that all we have to do is make sure we are not trying to earn our salvation, and then our salvation is guaranteed as long as we believe it is by virtue of the grace of God and the suffering of Jesus on the cross. 

There are many Christians and even preachers who ADAMANTLY deny that God requires His people to FORSAKE sin in order to enter life. Popular preachers like Joseph Prince and Charles Stanley are among this number. They essentially teach that just believing you are going to be OK because of what Jesus has done for you on the cross is ALL that God requires if you wish to enter life. This teaching will cause people to be damned forever. It is a dangerous lie based on a half-truth  promoted by a deceptive religious spirit. This deadly teaching has infiltrated large portions of the evangelical church and it needs to be talked about because God cares about the salvation of people in His church! 

Please give me time to make my Scriptural case – perhaps your eternal soul depends on it!

IF I AM RIGHT THEN MAYBE YOUR PASTOR IS HELPING TO MURDER YOUR SOUL and MURDER THE SOULS OF YOUR CHILDREN. This is super important. We have to talk about it.

Many times the devil gets in because we start to trust preachers more than we should. These preachers speak some truths but because they mix in error concerning what God is requiring or not requiring, the overall effect is deadly.

The true part in what these preachers say is that it is only Christ's death and resurrection we now have a way for us to enter life, and that we cannot earn our way to heaven. You and I cannot pay for our sins by good works. Nothing we do can pay for our sins. If we could have done so, Christ would not have had to die. Christ paid for our sins when he died on the cross. He paid for the sins of the whole world.

"And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world."
(1 John 2:2)
 
If Jesus paid for the sins of the whole world, does that mean everyone will be saved? Universalists say "Yes", but the Scripture says, "He who does not believe will be damned" (Mark 16:16). So faith is required to escape damnation. But what exactly is the faith God requires? You might be interested in this article about faith in God where I teach about what real faith is. Since faith is so vitally important, be sure the devil wants to get in at this point by deceiving you about the meaning of this word, amongst others.

 

False Faith and Grace Teaching

God's idea of saving faith in Christ is NOT compatible with serving the world, the flesh and the devil, but false teachers imply that it IS. The idea of the false teachers is that as long as we "accepted Jesus as Savior" one time in our life, then we really are eternally safe and secure. These preachers don't recommend sin directly, they just teach that it doesn't put your eternal life at risk. Sin has its own appeal to the carnal nature of man, and Satan's demons are always promoting it however they can. If people in the church realised how seriously it can destroy THEM, I believe we would all go after God a lot more. After all, neglecting to go after God seriously is ITSELF a sin. We are supposed to love the Lord with a hot, pure love. Jesus said He is going to vomit the lukewarm and half-hearted out of his mouth (read Revelation 3:16). That doesn't sound like eternal salvation to me.

Some Myths About Salvation

Myth #1. "If you pray a sinner's pray, you have receive Christ and God's Word tells you that you have eternal life."

Folks, it might happen like this at times, but there has to be genuine business transacted with heaven at the level of the heart for real salvation to be received.

Prayers offered without faith do not get a person on the path of righteousness. You can teach a person what to say, but it doesn't mean that what they say is in their heart. And even if it IS in their heart, and something real happens, the battle for that person's soul is not over until the end of that person's life.

In many situations people are swayed by the emotion and the spiritual atmosphere of a place and led to do things that they do not understand at all and say words that they do not mean. This is NOT the same things as believing with the heart in Christ, and confessing Him as Lord. 

Sometimes in personal evangelism situations people will pray a prayer just to get the person witnessing to them "off their back". I am sure people have done this to me more than once, and this is one reason why it takes true sensitivity to God to do this minstry correctly. But if there is the belief on the part of the soulwinner in the doctrine of "Once Saved Always Saved" (OSAS) – then the push will be on to somehow get the person "over the line" for at least 5 minutes where they somehow say some words that are supposed to prove that they have faith in God. "At least they are now saved, we'll worry about 'follow-up' later," thinks the soulwinner. But they may not have been saved, and certainly, unless they hold fast to a confident faith and rejoicing of the hope firmly to the end, THEY WILL BE LOST, "sinner's prayer" notwithstanding (see Hebrews 3:6). The danger is huge when the soulwinner tells the person who repeats the prayer, "Now you are saved!" because a person should believe this because they have the witness in themselves, not because someone tells them it is so. An out of context quotation of 1 John 5:11-13 also doesn't help here. If we look at verse 10 of the chapter, it says that the person who is truly saved has the witness in themselves. They don't need you or I to tell them that they are saved. Instead they need to know that they must keep their attention on Christ and His word, and not give up when inevitable opposition comes to their new belief in Christ. We must do all we can to impress on people the high stakes in the battle for their soul. But if we believe in OSAS, we might falsely quit fighting the battle even as the battle truly begins. I say these things because I have made these kinds of mistakes earlier on in the ministry God gave me.

In church based evangelism altar call situations, the situation is slightly better, but things are by now means certain. At least in this situation the sinner got into the church building, a place where hopefully the Word of God is preached, people worship God, and they can have fellowship with people who are living for God. All those things might eventually bring a person into a place of true enduring faith before God, even if they don't start that way. A person who attends church once is more likely to keep attending than someone who never has.  This is helpful, but it is not sufficient.

You see, a church which doesn't preach or warn against sin, but always preaches on personal development or the secondary benefits of salvation, will most likely be a place full of false converts and hypocrites. The kingdom of God  messgaes demands loyalty to the King. There is no substitute for this. The true message of the New Testament needs to be preached in churches. Its more than just commitment to "the House" or whatever. True faith, true love for Jesus which implies true aversion to sin and devils is what is needed.

 

Why is this so?

Let's consider first of all this sobering passage from the book of Hebrews 10:26-39:

 

26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
 
32 But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: 33 partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; 34 for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.35 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:
 
37 “For yet a little while,
And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.
38 Now the just shall live by faith;
But if anyone draws back,
My soul has no pleasure in him.”
39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

Verse 26 is better translated "keep on sinning wilfully" because of the present tense which is used in the Greek. If there was no chance of any Christian who sinned wilfully to be saved, then almost everyone would be thrown into despair who believed this passage. We are talking about anyone living a sinful lifestyle, anyone who is in the habit of sin. This is still extremely strong.

This passage is explicitly saying that the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross does not remove the guilt from the person who deliberately keeps on sinning. "No sacrifice for sin remains".

Some teachers want to soften this passage by saying that the only sin being referred to here is the one of denying Jesus as Savior, or going back into Judaism. They say that this is what the Book of Hebrews was addressing in its context. But even if we grant that, could it be that embracing any kind of sin wilfully is tantamount to REJECTING the true Jesus Christ – you know, the one who ACTUALLY EXISTS? God has always been FOR HOLINESS, and against sin. His offer of forgiveness is not given because he realises that the only way he can get people to "accept Him" is to unconditionally forgive their sins. God's purpose is that he might call and purify for Himself a holy people, zealous for good works, who are being progressively conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, God's son. I don't believe you can "accept" the true Jesus and cling to your sin at the same time. You might be in bondage to some extent, desiring deliverance, but you cannot cling to sin wilfully and be in a justified state. 

At the same time, it isn't safe to read into the passage more than it says, or qualify it more than it qualifies itself. If the Bible says that deliberately sinning to the end can get you into a place where the blood of Jesus Christ does not cleanse you, then I for one think that God is requiring a complete change of orientation AWAY from sin for those who want to enter LIFE.

Verse 27 of this passages teaches that those who deliberately keep on sinning can expect a fiery judgment. They can expect hell. God is going to treat them as ENEMIES. We are all tempted at some time in our life to become the enemies of God. Don't do it, its really stupid. Its not only stupid, it is wrong.

THIS PASSAGE WAS WRITTEN TO CHRISTIANS AND IS TALKING ABOUT BELIEVERS.

You get these theologians trying to say that this passage isn't really talking about children of God at all, that it couldn't apply. Why not let the passage speak for itself? Why try to read something the passage never says into the passage. This is not "exegesis", it is "eisigesis" where we read our previous beliefs into a passage which seems to (and does) contradict them.

This passage is talking about those who were "sanctified by the blood of Jesus". Can an unbeliever be sanctified by the blood of Jesus? Is an unbeliever "made holy" by the blood of Jesus? Of course not. I hope we are not going to arrive at ridiculous conclusions such as "the born again Christian might not be sanctified by the blood of Jesus, while the one made holy by the blood of Jesus was never necessarily a born-again Christian", but these are the kind of thoughts people will accept in order to avoid the force of this passage and defend their pre-conceived doctrinal positions.

A person sanctified by the blood of Jesus nevertheless is capable according to this passage of (a) trampling the Son of God underfoot, (b) counting the blood of the covenant a common thing and (c) insulting the Spirit of Grace.

When is this done? I believe it "trampling the Son of God underfoot" is done when persistently exalt OUR WILL and our sinful preferences over the revealed will of the LORD Jesus Christ. "Counting the blood of the covenant a common thing" happens when we treat the sacrifice of Jesus as if it doesn't matter, or we keep on sinning deliberately with the mindset that the blood of Jesus cleanses us automatically. "Insulting the Spirit of Grace" happens when we talk of grace as if it was God's provision for us to work uncleanness and iniquity without any consequences. God is not the sponsor of sin. God is against sin and is insulted by any teaching which insinuates that He is sponsoring sin.

God says, "Vengeance is mine", and the writer is warning people who DO know Him. So if we know Him, we better make sure that we fear Him enough to stay away from the entanglements of sin. Because vengeance against the one steadfastly turning away from Christ is not only still possible, it is CERTAIN unless there be true repentance. And true repentance is by no means guaranteed, especially to mature Christians who have moved in the Holy Spirit and subsequently turn away to idols, such as the "love of money" – Mammon. The Bible says, "The Lord will judge HIS people." It goes without saying that He will also judge those who are NOT His people. But even if we are His people, it doesn't mean that we need not concern ourselves with the possibility of a terrifying judgment. This passage teaches that the possibility is still there for those who for any reason draw back, renounce faith in Christ, or go on sinning wilfully.

There are only two options according to this passage. One is "to draw back to perdition" and the other is "to believe to the saving of the soul". There is no third option.

 

What Do We Mean By Sin?

Sin takes many forms. It is not enough merely to abstain from sins like indulging in pornography or substance abuse in order to be free from sin. "Whatever is not of faith is sin", and whatever is contrary to the love of God is also sin. Sins can be sins of omission as well as sins of commission. That is to say, a failure or more to the point a refusal to do what God wants is just as much as sin as some of the obvious kinds of moral failures which most of use would recognise as being the wrong thing to do. God's offer of salvation is an offer of salvation FROM sin, not merely an offer of forgiveness for sins. We are in a fight to the death against Satan and we do well to take hold of God in every way we can, because we do not know our own hearts and what will be revealed under pressure in the days to come. The best course of action is to be filled with God's Word and God's Spirit, so we are able to do all we understand God is leading us to do. No other course is really safe.

 

Myth #2. If a Person Falls away, they never were saved in the First Place

I do not hesitate to call this a dangerous myth, even though it is not nearly as dangerous as the first myth. Some sincere Christians hold to this myth because they are Calvinists, and the "perseverance of the Saints" is a key doctrine within Calvinism. I urged people who believe this way nevertheless to reconsider, because IF this idea is wrong, then a person who knows themselves to be born of God by the inner witness might be induced to be careless concerning their way of life, if they believe the lie of the devil concerning sin, "You will not surely die." So it turns out that this doctrine could indeed by very dangerous to the eternal health of souls. At least let us consider carefully what the Scripture and common sense would say here.

Paul said to the Galatians, "You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace." (Galatians 5:4, NASB).

Paul just comes out and directly says that certain people in his audience have been severed from Christ, and have fallen from grace. You can't be "severed from Christ" if you were never truly "in Christ" in the first place. You cannot "fall from grace" if you were never a true recipient of the saving grace of God in the first place. You can no more prove this line of thinking wrong by quoting Calvin or Calvinist theologians than you can by quoting Mohammed or the Qu'ran.

Jesus Christ clearly taught that branches "in Him" can be severed in John Chapter 15, and Paul clearly taught it in Romans 11:20-22.

Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.

I don't know how EXPLICIT God has to be in Scriptures like this before people who profess to believe the Word of God will take these plain assertions seriously, FRIGHTENING AS THEY ARE.

In John 15 our Lord Jesus Christ himself says:

"If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. "

But how does one "abide in Christ"? Is this an automatic process, guaranteed to happen for all true believers, so that Jesus is effectually wasting his breath in verse 6 talking about something that can never happen? Not if we consider what Jesus says in verse 10 of the same chapter. 

"If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love." (John 15:10)

Everywhere in the Scripture, especially in the writings of John, we are taught that remaining in Christ depends on obedience to God's commandments. "Faith" without obedience is a false faith that cannot save. It is a "faith of devils", as John Wesley termed it, basing this terminology on the apostle James' statements in chapter 2 of the Book of James.

Jesus does not engage in speaking idle words. He could have caused an awful lot more true things to be recorded in the Bible had He desired to do so, so the things that ARE PLAINLY stated are ignored AT OUR PERIL.

The Apostle Peter gives severe Warnings Concerning Falling Away

2 Peter 2:20-21 says:

"For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them."

There is no way someone can truly escape the pollutions of the world without being a born again Christian, regenerated by the spirit of God. This is talking about people who did so through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is talking about people who have "known the way of righteousness". When the Bible talks about "knowledge" it is talking about personal intimate knowledge, heart-transforming knowledge, not academic head knowledge. This passage is talking about people who really knew the Lord and then got not only entangled in the pollutions of the world, but also overcome by them. This passage says that it would be better for some people to never have been saved from the world, than to experience this salvation and then go back into sin. This passage severely rebukes preachers who not only "turn from the holy commandment delivered to them" themselves, but also teach those in their congregations by precept and example that it is safe to do so. No amount of money, influence, book sales or anything else will make up for doing this on the Day of Judgment. God has warned us all.

 

There are different twists on the "Once Saved Always Saved" doctrine, and it is not easy to deal with them all at the same time, in one article. There is so much Bible teaching given by Jesus and the apostles which shows this teaching to be WRONG, but there are also verses which, if misinterpreted, might lead people to believe it is true. So it is important to consider everything the Bible says on this subject. It is even MORE important to diligently seek the grace of God and the face of God every day. Don't be deceived by those who tell you that a Christian doesn't need to seek God, because God has already been found within us. This is another deception which leads people to become lazy, compromised, backslidden "Christians". We are in a spiritual warfare and unless you FIGHT, you will NOT overcome; you will BE overcome.

I encourage you to check out the other related pages on this site which shed light on this subject, and also to comment below using the Facebook commenting system.

 

 

 

 

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About Michael Fackerell

The Christian faith is about Jesus. He came to save the lost. About Jesus Christ, Bible teaching, Testimonies, Salvation, Prayer, Faith, Networking.

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