Why is the "Once Saved Always Saved" Doctrine Wrong?

This is really part of a broader question about what it means to be saved. While it is not possible to cover all of that in this message, we are happy to point you to a few Scriptures that provide light on this topic.

 

From God's perspective, He saved the entire world over 2000 years ago when Jesus was crucified and risen from the dead (John 3:17, John 1:29, John 4:42, John 12:47). However, clearly this does not mean that every person is saved, for then no one would go to hell. So how can God save the world and everyone in the world not be saved? This may seem like a contradiction until you understand that God is dealing with us from an eternal standpoint. He knows the end of the matter from the beginning, so He speaks in relation to things being a completed work even though we (mankind) have to experience these things as they happen in time and space.

 

So, how do we experience salvation for ourselves? God has identified the conditions of our salvation in His Word. We must believe that He has sent His Son to be crucified as a sacrifice for our sins, and that He has been risen from the dead (John 3:17). We must obey His Word (John 14:15, Romans 6:17, Philippians 2:12). We must repent from sin (Matthew 4:17, Mark 6:12). We must not continue in sin (1st Peter 1:15, 1st Peter 4:1, Hebrews 10:2, Colossians 3:5). We must be born again (John 3:3, 1st Peter 1:23). We must have our minds renewed (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:23)... These are just a few, but Scripture is filled with the conditions God has given for those who would be saved.

 

Once you enter into a salvation experience with the Lord, can you still be lost? There are numerous references in God's Word to believers (saved people, members of the church) being lost. Paul states that it was possible for him to still be a cast away (1st Corinthians 9:27). It is stated that there will be believers who fall away because of temptation (Luke 8:13, 2nd Peter 2:22) Specifically, we are told that a great falling away or apostasy in the Church is one of the signs of the end times (2nd Thessalonians 2:3). We are even told that you can get to a point with God that, should you turn/fall away, there remains no repentance left for you (Hebrews 6:4-6). Jesus Himself even says that those who do not stay committed to Him will be cast from His Body (spewed out of His mouth) (Revelation 3:15-16) and that He can blot your name out of the Book of Life (Revelation 3:5). How do you know those who are saved? Jesus says that you will know them by their fruit (not verbal confession, lip service, religious denomination...).

 

Why isn't our salvation eternally secured the moment we accept Jesus? When you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, you are entering into a covenant relationship with Him. In Scripture we see God's promises for those who enter into this covenant as well as what He expects from man in order to uphold our part of the covenant. The key here is that it takes two to make and keep a covenant. Our salvation is not all on God (as we have seen above, there are conditions we have to meet) neither is it all on us (He gave His Son, He forgives when we repent...). Although God is faithful to always meet His part of the covenant, man is not always faithful. When we disregard our part of the covenant we have made with God, the covenant has been broken.

 

We can look to the Old Testament for a picture of how God handles those who break His covenants. First, He patiently gives time for repentance. He sends prophets with a word of warning for the people to turn back to Him. Then, if there is no repentance, He sends forth judgment. It is the same with us. God extends grace to us to give us time to be conformed into the image of His Son, so that we may be spared His wrath. You can see in the Old Testament that when Israel was in rebellion against God, he referred to them as adulterers. He uses the same terminology when referring to rebellious members of the church in the New Testament (James 4:4). Looking in the New Testament, we see an important revelation from God about how he views covenants. He indicates that a covenant between a man and wife is to be honored (Matthew 19:8); however He also says that one can freely walk away from this agreement when adultery is present (Matthew 5:32). When we turn from God through disobedience and rebellion, He considers us adulterers. At that time, we have chosen to break the covenant, thereby absolving God from His part of the covenant. Thankfully, due to God's grace and mercy, He does not immediately cast us away from Him in these times. However, if we refuse to repent and change, we place our very salvation in jeopardy.

Finally, we will leave you with the following Scripture from Hebrews 10:26-29:

 

"For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 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?"

 

Why is the "Once Saved Always Saved" belief a doctrine of devils? Because it contradicts Scripture. At best, it falsely gives people the impression that they have no role in keeping the covenant of salvation they have made with God. At worst, it allows people to believe that they can continue willfully in sin and still be saved. Either case, it creates an apathetic group of people who claim Jesus in name, but do not go through the steps necessary to be cleansed and made into manifested Sons of God.

 

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