Summary: Is Salvation Eternal? This is a sermon that I first heard by the late Dr. E. J. Daniel’s. The basic premiss of this outline is his and not mine.
Once Saved, Always Saved?
We are dealing this morning with one of the most pivotal truths in the Bible. This is one doctrine, upon which the message of the Bible stands or falls. Often I hear people say that they cannot understand why there are so many denominations. Actually, there are only two groups, those who believe in salvation by grace, and those who believe in salvation by works. This is the dividing line, and all other divisions are immaterial in the light of this one. It is possible to disagree on minor matters and retain a basis of unity.
In our beloved country we differ within states on various Issues, but on the important thing, democracy, we are all in precise agreement. So we can live in Mississippi, Florida, Texas, California, or New York, but we are all Americans and are firm in our belief in the democratic way of life.
In like manner, we can be members of different denominations, and still believe that Christ alone can save and keep the saved.
However; many of our friends who believe that a man can be lost after he is saved never carry this scenario to its ultimate conclusion. In other words, they become lost on the margin of the problem and never dig in to discover the destiny to which this problem takes them.
For example, if a man can be lost after he is saved, what is important is not the sins he commits, or the awfulness of those sins. The important thing is, can he be saved again. Is there such a thing as being saved twice? Is it possible to be born again and again; can you repeat a birth? There is the whole difficulty.
Today I would like to show you that if a person could be lost after he is saved, he could never be saved again unless Christ would come and die a second time. I propose to show in this sermon, that a person can be saved only as many times as Christ died on the cross. In doing so I hope to give you peace in you salvation.
Where We All Agree
One of the best ways to begin dealing with a matter of this nature is to begin where all of us agree.
1) We all agree that men are lost apart from Christ; there is no salvation apart from Him.
2) We also all believe that men can be saved. Our own experience will prove that as well as the experience of others.
3) We believe that all men need to be saved. There is not a single one of us so perfect in his own right that he can meet God’s standard apart from Christ.
4) We also agree that a saved man can remain saved, by the grace of God, or that he can be lost. We must accept either of those positions, we can not accept both, nor can we reject both, we must accept one or the other.
Here is where the division comes.
The following passage that we are taking for our text was written to Jews. They were always in danger of reverting to a legalistic concept of salvation. So the writer takes a hypothetical case and shows that if a person who has been saved could be lost then it would be impossible for that one to be “renewed again unto repentance.” Jesus would have to die again and again. Now notice what the writer says, and I believe that he is speaking about people who have been saved.
Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so.
4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6 if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.
7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.
9 Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case--things that accompany salvation.