I grew up when Diff'rent Strokes was a popular television show. That's no big deal unless your last name is Willis. To this day I still hear those famous words popularized by Arnold: "Whatchu talkin bout Willis?" Usually they are uttered by someone looking at me as though I may have never heard it before. Yeah, right! Well this blog is what I (Willis) am talkin bout...my thoughts, observations & opinions. Enjoy...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Once Saved, Always Saved?

Many people today insist that once you are truly born again, you can never be lost, no matter what. This idea is best known is "once saved always saved." Another term is "eternal security." And the term most used by Calvinists is "perseverance of the saints."

First, we should note that we must avoid two unbiblical extremes: Eternal Security & Eternal Insecurity… The pendulum can swing too far ether way.

Eternal Security is the one extreme I'll address here.

Many scripture passages of scripture clearly point to the possibility of true Christians becoming lost. How? Through UNBELIEF. One must believe the gospel in order to be saved, and one must continue to believe in order to continue "in Christ." It is initially by faith, and continually by faith…

There are many bibklical appraoches to refuting the erroneous concept of "once saved, always saved" but I'll focus on just one. It involves the big little word "IF." Look at these conditional promises...

1 Cor 15:1-2: 1Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2By this gospel you are saved, IF you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

Col 1:21-23: 21Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23IF you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

My concern is that the pervasiveness of "eternal security" will result in eternal condemnation for some. I believe that there will be people who will end up lost because they believed they couldn’t be!

So, let's rekindle a concern for straying bothers & sisters.

James 5:19-20: 19My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, 20remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

And let's remind folks that we must remain FAITHful.

2 Tim 2:12-13: 12if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; 13if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.

And, finally, SO, if you claim to be a Christian, yet you are living in continual sin… it’s time to get serious & realize you are on a path of destruction! REPENT!!!

Heb 10:23, 26-31: 23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful... 26If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people." 31It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

KEY VERSE: 1 Peter 1:5: Who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.


Gman said...

I never know how the "Once Saved always Saved" crew get by the James passage.

Living Faith said...

Great post, Mr. Willis.

OSAS is the first lie that was ever told: "Ye shall not surely die (if you deliberately choose disobedience over obedience to God)" is actually at the core of the many hearts who espouse the OSAS doctrine today. Obedience has been reduced to an option rather than understood a command by Christ Jesus in the minds of most because of the many false teachers [such as Charles Stanley, Bob George, Todd Bentley, Rick Joyner, and scores more] who tickle itching ears with a smorgasbord of heresies and gospels...which include a false sense of security the bible never offers.

Isa 59:14 And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.
Isa 59:15 Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.

Calvinism may seem to insist upon obedience, but even those who proclaim the “reformed” “doctrines of grace” assure those who fall into outlandish sin that they will eventually persevere if they were ever once "truly saved". We certainly don't find any such assurance of salvation taught by Jesus, the apostles, or any of the prophets of scripture, but rather warning after warning assuring us we'll all be judged for the things we have done, good or evil.

2Co 5:9 Wherefore we labour, that...we may be accepted of him.
2Co 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
2Co 5:11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men (to not receive the grace of God in vain (2Cor 6:1), but to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and to perfect holiness in the fear of God (2Cor 7:1)

Paul certainly never preached OSAS; he knew he could be cast away (1Cor 9:27), and warned that if we think we stand to take heed lest we fall (1Cor 10:12). The writer of Hebrews too warns us to take heed lest there be found in any of us an evil heart of unbelief which would lead us to forsake God, and exhorts us that we are made partakers with Christ IF we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end. Jesus said “he that endures to the end shall be saved", not “he that makes a one-time profession of faith will without a doubt be saved“.

1Co 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

1Co 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

Joh 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
Joh 5:29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

Heb 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
Heb 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
Heb 3:14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
Heb 3:15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.

Mat 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

In Rev 2 and 3, we find Jesus warning believers to repent of fellowshipping with false teachers and doctrines [or their resulting deeds] that He hates, or else He would take their candlestick out of it's place. He warns those who professed His name but who were dead (in sins) to repent and return to their first love (which indicates they DID once love Jesus) , because He had not found their works perfect before God. If they would not return, He says he would come upon them as a thief. (A thief takes one's possessions away). He warns those who will not repent of luke-warmness (insincerity) that He would “spew you out of my mouth", which is obviously a reference to one being separated from the Body of Christ.

Jude speaks of those who had “forsaken the right way, and have gone astray” as “cursed children”. Paul says that the Spirit EXPRESSLY said that some would depart from the faith by giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils (1Tim 4:1). Paul marveled and expressed dismay at the Galatians who had been “so soon removed from Him”. They had been bewitched by giving heed to false teachers of another gospel so that they failed to continue obeying the truth. They had fallen from grace and Christ had become of no effect to them, even after they had received the Holy Spirit. (Gal 3:1-3; 5:1-4)

Peter warns of those who, after they have been truly saved (by having escaped the pollutions of this world through knowing Jesus Christ), they had become again entangled in the filthy lifestyle of the wicked by listening to and believing the “great swelling words of vanity” of liars who allured them back into sin. They HAD escaped from sinning, but like dogs, then they returned to their own vomit again. It would have been better for them if they had never known Jesus (who is the Way of Righteousness), than after knowing Him to turn away from His commandments. They were said to be like a washed pig who returned to her wallowing in the mire (2Pet 2:20-22)

If we sin willfully after we have known the truth, there remains no more sacrifice to atone for our sin, but instead, all that is left is to wait in fear for the coming Judgment and the fierce fiery wrath of God which will destroy those who oppose Him (Heb 10:26,27). If we forsake Him, He will also forsake us. If we deny Him in our works, He will also deny us before His Father and His angels.

Heb 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
Heb 10:27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
Heb 10:28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
Heb 10:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
Heb 10:30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
Heb 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

1Ch 28:9 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.

2Ch 15:2 ... The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.

Ezr 8:22 ...The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.

Mat 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 10:33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

Eze 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
Eze 18:21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
Eze 18:22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.
Eze 18:23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?
Eze 18:24 But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.
Eze 18:25 Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?
Eze 18:26 When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.
Eze 18:27 Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.
Eze 18:28 Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
Eze 18:29 Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?
Eze 18:30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.
Eze 18:31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
Eze 18:32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

David H. Willis said...

Livng Faith,

Great & informative comments! Thanks.