What we believe boils down to this: Do we believe in a God who has the power to keep us in His hand, or do we believe in a god who does not have that power?
Let me respond to your post in my own way. Before anyone reads this, first let me say that this is what I believe about OSAS. In no way should anyone take what is said here as a ridicule of those who cannot accept OSAS.
The once saved always saved issue is great among Christianity today. Other names for it are 'eternal security' and 'perseverance of the saints'. Though it goes by different names, once-saved-always-saved is essentially the theory behind it all. It is the idea that once you have had a true moment of faith, you can never be lost again.
Once-saved-always-saved is also known as OSAS, a good abbreviation. Throughout this discussion, it will be alternated with 'perseverance of the saints' and 'eternal security' as well.
'Perseverance of the saints' is strictly a Calvinistic doctrine and 'eternal security' is strictly a Baptist doctrine, both are rejected by many.
This subject has been the cause of much controversy in the church for centuries- and still creates confusion and distress for many Christians. It is too much to expect to dispel this conflict completely for everyone in a brief discussion, but perhaps we can at least head in that direction. Sometimes, I have found, opponents cannot be won by simply quoting scriptures, but may be persuaded by reasoning.
Those who believe in "falling away" accuse those who believe in "eternal security" of promoting "cheap grace." The latter in itself is an unbiblical expression. To call it "cheap" is really a denial of grace, since it implies that too small a price has been paid. Grace, however, must be absolutely free and without any price at all on man's part; while on God's part the price He paid was infinite. Thus for man to think that his works can play any part in either earning or keeping his salvation is what cheapens grace, devaluing this infinite gift to the level of human effort.
Those who seek justification before God by their own good works will find only greater condemnation, and even bondage to sin (Romans 7:8). Only dependence on the grace and promise of God will bring freedom and deliverance. As the Judaizers sought to use human means to fulfill God's divine purposes, legalists seek to require us to earn our salvation by works.
To speak of "falling from grace" involves the same error. Since our works had nothing to do with meriting grace in the first place, there is nothing we could do that would cause us to no longer merit it and thus "fall" from it. Works determine reward or punishment-not one's salvation, which comes by God's grace. Maybe this problem is a confusion about grace and works.
First of all, we must be absolutely clear that these two can never mix. Paul declares, "...if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work" (Romans 11:6). Salvation cannot be partly by works and partly by grace.
Secondly, we must be absolutely certain that works have nothing to do with salvation. Period. The Bible clearly states, "For by grace are ye saved... not of works" (Eph 2:8-10). True to such Scriptures, evangelicals firmly declare that we cannot earn or merit salvation in any way. Eternal life must be received as a free gift of God's grace, or we cannot have it.
Thirdly, salvation cannot be purchased even in part by us, because it requires payment of the penalty for sin-a payment we can't make. If one receives a speeding ticket, it won't help to say to the judge, "I've driven many times within the 55 mph limit. Surely my many good deeds will make up for the one bad deed." Nor will it do to say, "If you let me off this time, I promise never to break the law again." The judge would reply, "To never break the law again is only to do what the law demands. You get no extra credit for that. The penalty for breaking the law is a separate matter and must be paid." Thus Paul writes,"...by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight..." (Rom 3:20).
Fourthly, if salvation from the penalty of breaking God's laws cannot be earned by good deeds, then it cannot be lost by bad deeds. Our works play no part in either earning or keeping salvation. If it could, then those who gain eternal life could boast that while Christ saved them they, by their good lives, kept their salvation. Thus God would be robbed of having all the glory in eternity.
Fifthly, salvation can be given to us as a free gift only if the penalty has been fully paid. We have violated infinite Justice, requiring an infinite penalty. We are finite beings and could not pay it: we would be separated from God for eternity. God is infinite and could pay an infinite penalty, but it wouldn't be just because He is not a member of our race. Therefore God, in love and grace, through the virgin birth, became a man so that He could pay the debt of sin for the entire human race!
In the Greek, Christ's cry from the cross, "It is finished!" is an accounting term, meaning that the debt had been paid in full. Justice had been satisfied by full payment of its penalty, and thus God could "be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Rom 3:26). On that basis, God offers pardon and eternal life as a free gift. He cannot force it upon anyone or it would not be a gift. Nor would it be just to pardon a person who rejects the righteous basis for pardon and offers a hopelessly inadequate payment instead-or offers his works even as "partial payment."
Salvation is the full pardon by grace from the penalty of all sin, past, present or future; eternal life is the bonus thrown in. Denying this cardinal truth, all cultists, such as Jehovah's Witnesses, for example, reject salvation by grace and insist that it must be earned by one's good works. They accuse evangelicals of teaching that all we need to do is to say we believe in Christ and then we can live as we please, in the grossest of sins, yet be sure of heaven. This is not what evangelicals teach, yet a similar complaint is made by those who believe in "falling away." They say that "once saved, always saved" encourages one to live in sin because if we know we cannot be lost then we have no incentive for living a holy life. On the contrary, love for the One who saved us is the greatest and only acceptable motive for living a holy life; and surely the greater the salvation one has received, the more love and gratitude there will be. So to know one is secure for eternity gives a higher motive for living a good life than the fear of losing one's salvation if one sins! Those who willingly sin do not know the Father, because the Father is not in him.
While those who believe in "falling from grace" are clear that good works cannot earn salvation, they teach that salvation is kept by good works. Thus one gets saved by grace, but thereafter salvation can be lost by works. To teach that good works keep salvation is almost the same error as to say that good works earn salvation. It denies grace to say that once I have been saved by grace I must thereafter keep myself saved by works.
Such teaching, says Hebrews 6:4-9, rather than glorifying Christ, holds him up to shame and ridicule before the world once again for two reasons: if we could lose our salvation, then (1) Christ would have to be crucified again to save us again; and (2) He would be ridiculed for dying to purchase a salvation but not making adequate provision to preserve it-for giving a priceless gift to those who would inevitably lose it. If Christ's dying in our place for our sins and rising again was not sufficient to keep us saved, then He has foolishly wasted His time. If we could not live a good enough life to earn salvation, it is certain we cannot live a good enough life to keep it! To make the salvation he procured ultimately dependent upon our works would be the utmost folly.
The "Falling away" doctrine makes us worse off after we are saved than before. At least before conversion we can get saved. But after we are saved and have lost our salvation (if we could), we can't get saved again, but are lost forever. Hebrews 6:4 declares, "If [not when] they shall fall away... it is impossible (v.4)...to renew them again unto repentance." That "falling away" is hypothetical is clear (v.9): "But beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak" So "falling away" does not "accompany salvation." The writer is showing us that if we could lose our salvation, we could never get it back without Christ dying again upon the cross. This is folly! He would have to die an infinite number of times (i.e., every time every person who was once saved sinned and was lost and wanted to be "saved again"). Thus, those who reject "once saved, always saved," can only replace it with, "once lost, always lost!"
John assures us, "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know [present knowledge] that ye have [present possession] eternal life..." 1 John 5:13. To call it eternal life, if the person who had it could lose it and suffer eternal death, would be a mockery. On the contrary, eternal life is linked with the promise that one cannot perish- a clear assurance of "eternal security" or "once saved, always saved." John 3:16 promises those who believe in Jesus Christ that they "should not perish, but have everlasting life."
John 5:24 again says, "hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation...." One could not ask for clearer or greater assurance than the words of Jesus: "I give unto them [my sheep] eternal life; and they shall never perish" (John 10:28). If, having received eternal life, we could lose it and perish, it would make Christ a liar.
If sin causes the loss of salvation, what kind or amount of sin does it take? There is no verse in the Bible that tells us. We are told that if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness-so apparently any sin can be forgiven. Even those who teach falling away rarely if ever say they got "saved again." Rather, they confessed their sin and were forgiven. Hebrews 12:3-11 tells us that every Christian sins, and that instead of causing a loss of salvation, sin brings God’s chastening upon us as His children. If when we sinned we ceased to be God's children, He would have no one to chastise-yet he "scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." Indeed, chastening is a sign that we are God's children not that we have lost our salvation: "if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons."
Some teach that one must be baptized to be saved; others that one must "speak in tongues." Both are forms of salvation by works. Some people lack assurance of salvation because they haven't "spoken in tongues," others are confident they are saved because they think they have. Both are like those who say, "Lord, Lord, have we not...in thy name done many wonderful works?" (Mt 7:21-23) They are relying on their works to prove they are saved, instead of upon God's grace. Nor does Jesus say, "You were once saved but lost your salvation" He says, "I never knew you." Let me repeat... Jesus says "I never knew you." He does not say, I once know you... now does he?
Those who believe in "falling away" would say of a professing Christian who has denied the faith and is living in unrepentant sin, that he has "fallen from grace" and has "lost his salvation." In contrast, those who believe in "eternal security," while no more tolerant of such conduct, would say of the same person that probably Christ "never knew him" or, "he was never a Christian." We must give the comfort and assurance of Scripture to those who are saved; but at the same time we must not give false and un-Biblical comfort to those who merely say they are saved but deny with their lives what they profess with their lips.
Are we not then saved by our works? Indeed not! In I Corinthians 3:12-15 every Christian's works are tried by fire at the "judgment seat of Christ" before which "we must all appear" (2 Cor 5:10). Good works bring rewards; a lack of them does not cause loss of salvation. The person who hasn't even one good work (all of his works are burned up) is still "saved; yet so as by fire" (1 Cor 3:15). We would not think such a person was saved at all. Yet one who may seem outwardly not to be a Christian, who has no good works as evidence (if he has truly received the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior), is "saved as by fire" and shall never perish in spite of his lack of works.
Do we then, on the basis of "once saved, always saved," encourage Christians to "sin that grace may abound?" With Paul we say, "God forbid!" We offer no comfort or assurance to those living in sin. We don't say, you're okay because you once made a "decision for Christ." Instead, we warn: "If you are not willing right now to live fully for Christ as Lord of your life, how can you say that you were really sincere when you supposedly committed yourself to Him at some time in the past?" And to all we declare with Paul, "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves" (2 Cor 13:5).
Our confidence for eternity rests in His unchanging love and grace and the sufficiency of God’s provision in Christ-not in our worth or performance. Only when this is clear do we have real peace with God. Only then can we truly love Him and live for Him out of gratitude for the eternal life He has given to us as a free gift of His grace- a gift He will not take back and which He makes certain can never be lost!"
When the children of Israel left Egypt, they were leaving behind their old culture. While in Egypt they had absorbed much of the wickedness and idolatry of Egyptian society. The unleavened bread symbolized a new beginning. They were starting over.
In a spiritual sense, we leave Egypt when Christ redeems us. That’s what it means to be born again. It is a matter of starting over. When we become believers, we die to our old way of life and begin life again as new creatures. We have left our old ways behind us. Can the one who has been physically circumcised, become physically uncircumcised? No, he cannot. Neither can the one who has been spiritually circumcised of the heart, be uncircumcised of the heart.
Addiction counselors warn recovering addicts about falling back into old patterns. The recovering addict is at greatest risk when he spends time with old friends or revisits familiar hang-outs. To successfully overcome his addiction, it is important to break with the past, carve out new patterns of behavior and develop new, healthy habits. It is the same for all of us. We are to become a recovered addict. Should the addict go back to his old ways, then he was never a recovered addict.
Since we cannot do anything to be saved, how can we be expected to do anything to stay saved? The scriptures teach that we are secure in Christ and that nothing can separate us from the love of God once we have trusted in Christ's sacrifice for our sin. (Rom 8:33-39; Phil 1:6; 2 Tim 2:11-13)
The argument that we must work to stay saved often stems from an unclear understanding of all we have been given in Christ.
We are members of the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27; Eph 1:22,23, 5:30)
Does Christ cut off parts of his body?
We are sealed with the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13,14, 4:30)
Is anyone strong enough to break God's seal?
We are a purchased posession (1 Cor 6:20, 7:23; Eph 1:14)
Does God throw away that which he purchased with his own blood?
We are adopted sons of the Father (Rom 8:15-23; Gal 4:5; Eph 1:5)
Does God disown his sons?
It can be easily seen that salvation cannot be lost since, from beginning to end, it is dependent on the work of Christ, not the works of men. Our works cannot get us saved, and our works cannot keep us saved.
Salvation is freely received as a gift of God's grace through faith in Christ. A person simply believes and through faith in Christ, receives salvation. Salvation is simply eternal life. We obtain eternal life through faith in God's promise that He loved us and took our punishment upon Himself and saved us from our own sinful consequences after we realize the depth of our transgressions and seek forgiveness. But, from where did this faith come?
It is found not in human reason; it is not awakened by us, and it is not inherited from our parents. How much less can one be brought to it through human wisdom and understanding! Rather, faith is a gift of God and comes from God above, as we hear in the sixteenth chapter of Matthew. For there Peter had made his confession of faith in Christ and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the true, living God.” The Lord Christ answered him and said, “Simon, son of Jonah, flesh and blood did not reveal this to you; you have not received such a confession and faith from your forefathers, but my heavenly Father has revealed it to you.” And John the Evangelist says in his first chapter, “To all who received the Son of God, he gave power to become children of God, born not by the will of flesh, nor by the will of a husband, but rather by God.”
God says in Scripture:
JOHN 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
ROMANS 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
So Scripture does make it clear that this gift is an eternal gift. Salvation is eternal life. Savation is eternal. What does "eternal" mean? Websters defines it:
* ETERNAL: (adjective)
* 1. having infinite duration : EVERLASTING
* 2. continued without intermission : PERPETUAL
* 3. valid or existing at all times : TIMELESS
Webster seems to have the same definition and agrees with Scripture that eternal means 'never ending' (as already quoted above in John 10:28 "..and they shall never perish").
And, it could hardly be "eternal life" if one could have it today and not have it tomorrow.
Eternal life plainly means it lasts forever. So if you have something one moment and don't have it the next, could someone tell you it was ever eternal? This may bring on another question. Some say that the life God gives is definitely eternal and that they do not doubt that this life is eternal but they distinguish a difference between a person lasting forever and a gift that lasts forever. Frankly, what is life if there is no one to live it? Nevertheless, some say that we will gain this eternal life when we cross from death to life and that for now, we handle it carelessly. This brings the question...
Do we have eternal life right now?
Do we really have this eternal life right now or is it something we get later when we end this earthly life?
1 JOHN 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
Scripture says that we currently have God's precious gift of salvation. All we must do is simply ask for it....
MATTHEW 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
Once we ask, eternal life is immediately given to us in the present. In fact, we are even told that we currently know that we have it.
1 JOHN 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
So, we don't become his children in eternity, but here and now, the moment we put our faith in Christ. The One who is the truth cannot lie, therefore we have complete confidence that it is impossible for Christ's sheep to ever perish. (See John 10:28) Once we become His, He keeps us and will never let us perish.
Can the righteous be unrighteous?
Is this promise of us "never perishing" backed up and supported by other verses? Or is there another meaning behind "Eternal Life"? Let's consider some other verses which might seem to contradict themselves.
1 CORINTHIANS 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?
This is plainly spoken, no hidden meaning. The "unrighteous" will not enter God's kingdom period, No exceptions.
What makes a person unrighteous? Scripture goes on to tell us:
1 CORINTHIANS 6:9-10 Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
This is pretty plain. No unrighteous person shall enter heaven. Now who are the unrighteous? Everyone....... Is there any person who is righteous?
ROMANS 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
So, all of us are unrighteous? Yes.... So how can we enter into eternal life? We can't. It is nothing that we've done that gains us entrance, for we've only done evil and unrighteous things. But Jesus is righteous. He washed us. These things have still caused us to be sinners but Christ's blood justified us. It is what He did that sanctifies us, not what we do. It's a gift.
1 CORINTHIANS 6:10-11 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
So, even though we are sinners, Jesus has washed us in his blood, making us righteous. Notice it is not in what we do that maintains our righteousness, but it is entirely in what Jesus did. But, being righteous, what if we sin? Does a sin cause Jesus's blood to be of no effect, have we become unrighteous again?
1 JOHN 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.
We are asked not to sin. We are to be Holy as Christ is holy. Is it possible to never sin again? Perhaps... What if one does sin?
1 JOHN 2:1 And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
Notice that Jesus Christ advocates for us when we sin. That is because we have trusted in him, and he knows we will not continue in sin. What is Jesus advocating? Notice that in the same verse it calls Jesus Christ, the righteous one. Therefore as a righteous person he advocates our righteousness, based on His righteousness. Does a sin stop Christ from advocating? Is God suddenly not appeased anymore?
1 JOHN 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
Propitiation means "to make favorable or appease" Christ's completed work on the cross appeases the Father on our behalf. Notice, it does not say he was the propitiation, but he is. The Greek even uses this wording - "Keeps on appeasing". Why would Jesus do this for us? He does it out of Love. So if we sin, it does not cause us to lose our status as children of God, because Christ keeps on advocating on our behalf. So it is like we have never sinned!
Never Sinned? Is this Scriptural?
1JOHN 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin;
The Christian does not sin. Can he? of course he can! Or can he?
1 JOHN 3:9 for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin,
Now we know it is impossible for every Christian not to ever sin again, so how can Scripture say that whoever is born of God cannot sin? That's because we have believed on Jesus and his ability to pay our sin debt. Therefore we are made clean, just like we never sinned. Yes, Jesus paid it all! For every sin! ALL!!! He paid for all past and future sins. For sins forever. ALL!!! By his one sacrifice, all sins forever, are forgiven to those who are called by his name. Jesus paid the penalty for sin so we wouldn't have to endure it. If we then sin after being saved and go to hell, Jesus didn't pay for them all. He missed one.
Hebrews 10:12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
Here are some problems with losing our salvation:
If it were possible to lose our sanctification, our place in eternity, then it would be necessary to gain it back again and the only way to do that is to obtain salvation through Christ again. Is this possible?
HEBREWS 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance;
If it were possible for us to "fall away" then Scripture says it is impossible for us to "renew" or gain back "repentance" Why is it impossible to be "renewed" or saved again?
HEBREWS 6:6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
Getting saved again means that there was a sin which caused Christ's blood to be of no effect. It escaped being covered, because it hadn't been committed as of yet and for it to be covered, Christ would have to die again, which means Christ's blood did not cover all sin. Shame on Christ for having done something so foolish as to die for us after living a perfect life and allowing one small sin to cause his death to be of no good for us. God forbid. He paid it all, forever.
Paul Later says to the Hebrews:
HEBREWS 6:9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.
He says - You know better than that - "we are persuaded better things of you." Better things than what? Concerning things that accompany salvation. What are those things? "Though we thus speak" of. What has Paul been speaking of this whole chapter so far - maturity and falling away. In other words, "falling away" does not "accompany salvation". "Falling away" is not possible. Salvation is firm and secure. How firm?
HEBREWS 6:18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation,
That's pretty strong and firm. It is impossible for God to lie. And he doesn't lie about our salvation being unsecure.
HEBREWS 6:19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;
Once we obtain eternal life, we have become a person with a new inheritance. We are new creatures. Scripture describes our new position in many ways. We are, or have:
1) Born again.......................John 3:3
2) New Creatures.................2 Corinthians 5:17
3) The mind of Christ............Philippians 2:15
4) Believers.........................John 2:22
5) The Sons of God..............John 1:12
6) Anointed..........................2 Corinthians 1:21
7) Baptized..........................1 Corinthians 12:13
8) His Body..........................Ephesians 1:23
9) Spiritually Circumsized......Colossians 2:11
10) Dead to self.....................Colossians 3:3
Scriptures describes belivers in many, many more different ways. For just these few descriptions, realize what they would be called if such a title could be nullified. If a sin would cause us to lose these titles, we would be.
1) Dead again
2) Old new Creatures
3) Forgot the mind of Christ
6) Cast off the anointing
7) Nullified the baptism
8) Amputated body
9) Un- Circumsized ??
10) Alive to self again
God's word does not support these titles. How can one be a "Believer" and then reject that which he believes? No, no, no.... Can one be circumcized and then revert back to the way he was before circumcision? Of course not. Scripture addresses these who have believed on Christ as Believers since they first believed. If you do not believe, you will not see eternal life.
JOHN 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him
When does this Scripture apply? If we "believe" when we are young, or "believe" when we are old or "believe" at our last breath? Scripture simply says "believe" We can believe at any time in our lives.
JOHN 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Christ does the keeping...
Our eternal life is in what Christ did in his completed work on the cross. Of course we sin, but Christ continually keeps us.
JUDE 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
Christ keeps us? He sure does. Scripture even says we are "sealed" by him. A seal speaks of protection and/or ownership. So Christ actually owns us. Can this be so? What did he do that gives him ownership over us?
1 CORINTHIANS 6:20 For ye are bought with a price:
We are bought, with his blood. We are now his children. In fact, being former children "of the world" He bought us and therefore adopted us.
ROMANS 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
Adopted into God's kingdom. In fact, adoption ties are next to impossible to break. Adoption ties are upheld by the law. When an adoption takes place, even a new birth certificate is made, so that the adoptee will have the adopter's name. Can this tie be revoked? Can out gift of salvation be repented of?
ROMANS 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
Once we are partakers of Gods gift, and our new calling, they can in no way be repented of. Where does Scripture say we can have our eternal life revoked? Is there anyone who has personally known God, but will not enter the Kingdom? No, Scripture does not tell of those who once knew God, but of those who either know him or never knew him, as described by Jesus at the end of his sermon on the mount.
MATTHEW 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
These people proclaimed "Lord Lord" and even had done "many wonderful works" but obviously never knew God in a personal way. Take Judas Iscariot for example. Judas was one of the twelve disciples. Certainly he knew Jesus and believed. What does Scripture say?
JOHN 6:70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?
Jesus says he hand picked Judas. Certainly Judas had every opportunity to get to know the Lord in a way many never would, yet he is called a "devil". Perhaps that is because of who Judas really was. He never cared for, loved or even believed on Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
JOHN 6:64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.
Judas never believed? No. Scripture never says he did, In fact, look what Judas was concerned with instead:
Didn't want to waste ointment on Christ.................John 12:4-5
Used position as treasurer to steal........................Matthew 26:6
Saw "disciple" as an office, not relationship............Psalm 109:8
Called Jesus " Master " instead of "Lord" ...............Matthew 26:25
Contracted betrayal of Christ.................................Matthew 26:15
Was led of Satan.................................................Luke 22:3
Was better off to have never been born...................Matthew 26:24
This is not the portrait of someone who Loved their Lord, and then lost their place in the Lamb's book of life. Judas was concerned for himself, and always had been. He never "knew" nor was part of God's family.
Judas was called the "Son of Perdition".
JOHN 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
Notice that Christ "kept" the others. The other eleven diciples believed, therefore Jesus "kept" them as members of his own. Would Christ cut off a member of his own body?
1 CORINTHIANS 6:15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.
Sinning, as a member of Christ, does not bring us into condemnation, but only under chastisement.
1 CORINTHIANS 11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
No condemnation? To believers, no.
ROMANS 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
We are not free, by any means to do entirely what we want, we are called to be conformed to be like Christ. If we have accepted Christ and his gift of salvation, God knows we will seek him, but we are still prone to sin. God knows all things and somehow uses even that which displeases him, to continue to teach and conform us.
ROMANS 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
If we are truly the called, and die with a sin on our shoulders, would going to hell be the good workings of "his purpose"? No, hell is judgement unto condemnation, eternity is a gift of love unto life eternal, which was given to us by Christ's death on the cross. He died once for all, for sins forever. It is He who obtained and retains our salvation. All we must do is to believe on Him. His love does the rest. Calls us, keeps us, saves us, redeems us. How did we ever get such opportunity to be objects of Gods love? Who shall separate us from that relationship? Not a soul, not even ourselves.
ROMANS 8:38-39 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Salvation Is Eternal, Of The Lord Alone, And Secure...
Eternal Security is the objective nature of Salvation. The principles and promises of God's Word are that our salvation will last eternally once we have received it from God. We cannot lose it. Saving is keeping. Since He is Savior, He is also keeper. If we do the keeping, then we too do the saving. We cannot do the saving, so we cannot do the keeping.
What some call "losing salvation" is really and Scripturally "they were never saved in the first place." No one can lose what is not theirs to take, nor theirs to keep. The Scriptures are clear on this.
If anyone believes that they can lose it, then they are depending on themselves to keep it. If they are depending on themselves to keep it, then they are depending on themselves to do the saving as well. This is as much salvation by works than any other human system or religion. People that believe in salvation by works do not believe in eternal security.
These are some of the many Scriptures that teach eternal security, and some brief comments about those verses.
John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you. He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me hath everlasting life, and shall not come unto condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.---If we lose our salvation, then this guarantee cannot be made.
John 3:16,18 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. He that believeth on him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God---When we are saved, we have everlasting life. It is not that we will get everlasting life in the future. If it is everlasting, then one cannot lose it. To lose it would be to say that it was not everlasting. It is the same with "not condemned."
John 6:37-39 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.--This is self-explanatory.
John 10:27-29 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave [them] me, is greater than all; and no [man] is able to pluck [them] out of my Father's hand.---We personally would also fit into the "any man" and "no man" category, that is, not even we ourselves could lose our salvation, get out of His hand.
Hebrews 6:13,16-20 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation [is] to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed [it] by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which [it was] impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which [hope] we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, [even] Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.---God cannot lie on our salvation. The Lord Jesus Christ is the anchor of our soul in the heavenly holy of holies, Him being the One Who keeps us saved.
John 17:11,20 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we [are]. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;--- God does the keeping once again.
Jude 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,---This is self-explanatory.
Ephesians 1:13,14 In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.---We, nor anyone else, can break this seal. It is He sealing us. He is the earnest, the promise of our security.
Romans 8:16,17 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together. For us to lose our inheritance, Christ would have to lose His inheritance. This isn't going to happen.
Psalms 37:28 For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.
Psalms 97:10 Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.
Psalms 121:4-7 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD [is] thy keeper: the LORD [is] thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ: Salvation is His performance, not ours. Keeping and security is His performance, not ours.
1 Thessalonians 5:23,24 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and [I pray God] your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful [is] he that calleth you, who also will do [it].--- He does the preserving; He does the salvation; and this is to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
1 Peter 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.---How much clearer can it get?
1 John 2:1,2 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the whole world.--- When we sin, the Lord Jesus Christ takes care of that sin for believers.
Jude 1:1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, [and] called:---We are preserved in Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1-10 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.---We are reconciled, the peace with God settled, standing in His grace, anchored in the promise of His glory, and with certain deliverance.
Romans 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. ---He does the whole salvation from predestination to glorification.
Colossians 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;---He nailed all of our sins, past, present, and future to the cross.
1 Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.---Not will be bought or will be God's, but are bought and are God's. We cannot get out from God as a believer because we are not our own anymore. He has claim completely on us.
Hebrews 7:24,25 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.---The permanence of the Lord Jesus Christ is the permanence of our salvation, because when we do sin, He will always make intercession for us.
So, what about the so-called 'troubling verses'?
All of these passages must be taken in their context, and interpreted in the light of Scripture. God is not going to deny nor contradict Himself. That which is not clear to us must be interpreted in the light of the clear.
Galatians 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. ---These are those that are not saved and have rejected the grace of God. The person who rejects grace for the last time has fallen from grace. Many false religions reject grace. To believe that we must keep ourselves saved is to reject grace. Grace and works are mutually exclusive. To say that we must keep working to receive grace is to reject grace.
Hebrews 6:4-6 For [it is] impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put [him] to an open shame. ---Hebrews was written to Jews, many of which had not been more than intellectually convinced of Jesus Christ. There were those that rejected Christ for the last time. This is a warning concerning not receiving Christ. These were those enlightened, having tasted, having experienced the work of the Holy Spirit, essentially those that have rejected Christ at the highest point of revelation concerning Him. Those that reject Christ at this point can no longer receive Christ. This teaches that we do not have innumerable opportunities to be saved.
John 15:1-6 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every [branch] that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast [them] into the fire, and they are burned. ---Even according to the Lord's parable of the soils, everyone that is saved will bring forth fruit. No fruit means not saved. Here, those purged are not saved, they have not abided in Christ, and His words have not had their place in them. Some people appear to be believers for a time, but are not (like Judas---many of the parables in Mt. 13,24,25 are like this---tares from the wheat, 10 virgins [5 impostors], etc.--They are warning of the false profession, the fake, the insincere, the just intellectual--not that they lost their salvation, but that they never had it in the first place).
Matthew 12:30,31 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy [against] the [Holy] Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.--- It is follishness to think that the Lord Jesus is saying that a believer can commit this 'blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.' This is the rejection of the Holy Spirit that leads to condemnation. It is not saved people in the context to whom Jesus is referring, but to the unsaved religious leaders.
Matthew 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. John 8:31--Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, [then] are ye my disciples indeed;---Those that endure were saved and shall be saved. Perseverance and overcoming is characteristic of someone who is truly saved. Those that do not endure were never really saved. Just like I Corinthians 13:7 says, "Love endureth all things." Only those that abide in God abide in love (I John 4:16), so it is only those that are saved that will endure (see also Revelation 2 & 3).
The reality of those that might 'seem like they lost their salvation' is that they never had it in the first place. The lifestyle just manifests that it was a profession not a possession. There are even those that 'live like a Christian' that are not even saved. These verses are clinchers on that.
1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would [no doubt] have continued with us: but [they went out], that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
It isn't 'did you lose your salvation?', but 'were you ever saved in the first place?'
The book of James is for evangelizing those that say that they are saved (see the last two verses of James), but have never been saved. There is a faith that does not save (James 2:14-26), a Jesus that does not save (II Corinthians 11:3,4), and a gospel that does not save (Galatians 1:6-9). A faith that does not save is one that is just intellectual, one that is placed in the wrong object, or one that is partial or double-hearted. A Jesus that does not save is one that is not sufficient to save, one that is lascivious, or one that is not the Christ of the Bible. A gospel that does not save is one that has works added to it in some way (like ritual, ceremony, special days, or man's keeping).
We cannot determine someone else's eternal security. Often, the following false logic is used with this regards:
Major Premise: If a person receives the Lord Jesus Christ, he becomes a child of God.
Minor Premise: The person we witnessed to received Christ.
Conclusion: Therefore, the person must now be a child of God.
It is not logical because we have no way of being sure of the minor premise, that is, we cannot know that they received Christ. We cannot give them the security or the assurance. When their lives manifest Biblical Christianity, then we accept them as believers.
The one that does not believe eternal security does not believe Biblical salvation. Eternal security is salvation. Partial security is man's efforts, and nullifies grace.
Understand that denying eternal security is denying a sufficient Christ. Understand that keeping ones self saved through good works is trusting in ones self for salvation. Understand that this is adding works to grace, is corrupting the Gospel.
Should one disagree with eternal salvation, then consider these questions:
1. Would my argument against be requiring works by man?
2. Would my argument against be denying the power or God?
The Old Timer