Once Saved Always Saved
The Once Saved Always Saved is one of the most dangerous doctrines in the church. This doctrine states that when someone receives salvation, they can never lose it. I remember knowing someone that followed this doctrine and heard about her attempting suicide. When I was able to talk to her again, I asked her if she had any fear about losing her salvation because of committing suicide. She said she wasn’t afraid because her salvation is secured. Around the same time I got a devotional via E-mail discussing suicide. The author of the devotional correctly said that suicide was an act against God, yet at the same time a person who commits suicide does not lose his salvation. I got thinking to myself, “if I believe this doctrine, why not commit suicide since Heaven is a much better place than this earth?” Much of my life I have struggled with thoughts of suicide, but what kept me from going through with it was my fear that I would not make it to Heaven. If I totally believed the “once saved always saved” doctrine I probably would have gone through with suicide. Let’s look at what the Scriptures say about “once saved always saved.”
Matthew 7:21 - "Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven."
This Scripture indicates that we must stay in God’s will in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. When someone becomes outside of God’s will by willful sin, they will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.
Matthew 24:13 - "But he who endures to the end shall be saved."
If we have to endure to the end to be saved, then what happens if we don’t endure to the end? Some will suggest that this is regarding the end times and going through the tributlation. While this may be true, why would those going through the tribulation have to endure to the end while those alive today don’t have to endure to the end? This doesn’t make any sense.
Matthew 13:4-8 - "And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty."
Matthew 13:20-23 - But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
Here we see the parable of the sower and its interpretation. We see here that the Word is received, yet because of either not taking root or being choked the person becomes unfruitful. These examples are regarding those who become believers, repent of their sins (only for a time), and are baptized and then they turn back to their old ways. Their heart was sincere at first but they soon fell away. These Scriptures indicate that in order to be saved, we must continue in the Lord the rest of our life while producing good fruit.
Matthew 28:20 - "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen."
Jesus is saying here that he is with those that observe all the things He commanded us. If we don’t observe what He commanded us, we separate from Him.
Luke 12:45-46 - "But if that servant says in his heart, ’My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers."
Here is an obvious example of someone turning back to their own way of life and missing out on the Kingdom of God.
Luke 15:13-24 - "And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything. "But when he came to himself, he said, "How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants."’ "And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ "But the father said to his servants, "Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.
Here we see a son that has gone astray. He left his father’s house and went his own way. By the time he returns to the father he knows that he isn’t worthy to be his son. The father said that his son was once dead and also his son was lost. The word “dead” here is “nekros” which means Spiritually dead. Nowhere in the Bible do we see the Spiritual dead entering into Heaven. If someone is lost, will he/she enter the Kingdom of God?
John 15:1,2 - "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
We see here that those that are taken away are “in” Jesus. In other words, they are part of the body, but because they don’t produce good fruit (love God, love one another, have faith in God, are patient, etc, are a few of the fruits of the Spirit) they are taken out. Later on when we read John 15:6 we see that those who do not abide in Christ are cast out. How can you be cast out if you’re not in Christ in the first place? This would be like being expelled from a school that you have nothing to do with. The word “abide” means to continue which would line up with the Scripture that says “those who endure to the end shall be saved.”
Romans 11:17-22 – “And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, "Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in." Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. 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.”
This Scripture is referring to natural Israel being broken off because of unbelief and the Gentiles being grafted in. This Scripture shows that even though we are grafted in, we can still be cut off. We must continue in His goodness in order to not be cut off. You must continue in the will of God because Jesus said that those who do the will of the Father will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven
Matthew 7:21 – “"Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”
Also, notice the Scriptures say “do not be haughty but fear.” This Scripture is talking to those that become haughty thinking they are special in God’s eyes. They believenity is secured and they can’t fall away. Paul warns them to fear. We must stay humble in the Lord no matter how strong our faith is, how much knowledge we have, and how much good works we have done.
1 Corinthians 9:27 - But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
Wait a second, is Paul saying that he can become disqualified? How can Paul become disqualified if he has already been properly saved? Why does he need to bring his body into subjection if his eternity is secured? We must submit to God in order that we don’t become disqualified. Pray for God to conquer the sins in your life so you don’t become disqualified.
1 Corinthians 10:12 – “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”
This Scripture is referring to the Israelites in the Old Testament and comparing it to our walk as believers. Notice the last part of the Scripture says to “take heed lest he fall.” This is a warning to all Christians who become proud to be careful because we could fall.
1 Corinthians 15:1-2 – “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you--unless you believed in vain.”
The word “if” makes our salvation conditional. We must hold fast what Paul preached. It also says that if we don’t hold fast, we believed in vain. We would basically be wasting our time if we don’t hold fast to the teachings of the Bible. Believers must keep a healthy fear of God in order to keep their salvation.
2 Corinthians 6:1 - We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
We can receive the grace of God in vein and fall away. Someone who receives the grace of God is saved so this Scripture is saying that one can lose his/her salvation.
Galation 5:4 – “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”
This Scripture implies that we can fall from grace. If we can fall from grace, that means grace is no longer applied. If grace is no longer applied, we have no salvation since we are saved by grace through faith.
Philippians 2:12-13 – “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”
Sometimes I wonder if those that believe in the doctrine of ‘once saved always saved” have ever read this Scripture. I’m sure that they have and have probably used theology to water down this Scripture. We need to take this Scripture for what it says, like a child would. Why would we need to “work our salvation out with fear and trembling” if our eternity is secured. We must follow the Lord in obedience by allowing God to work in us so we may obey Him.
Colossians 1:22-23 – “in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight-- if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
This Scripture is saying that we must continue in the faith and be presented as holy and blameless. The word “continue” indicates that we must stay in the Lord’s will and also that we can lose our faith. Compare this to a race. If you continue in a race, you will finish, if you don’t continue, you will not finish. If we continue to stay steadfast in the faith, we will make it to Heaven and if we don’t, we will not finish and therefore not make it into Heaven.
1 Thessalonians 3:5 - For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain.
Paul is concerned that the devil tempted those the letter is written to. Paul also mentions their labor being in vain. If their labor is in vain, then nothing was accomplished and those that were saved become lost.
1 Thessalonians 3:8 – “For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord.”
We must stand fast in the Lord to obtain salvation. This Scripture indicates that those who don’t stand fast will lose their salvation. Compare this to swimming across a lake. If you continue to swim (or in other words “stand fast”) you will make it to the other side. If you quit swimming, you will drown and not make it. Someone might say, “it is the Lord that takes us to the other side.” This is true, but if we resist His help we will still perish. IF I’m swimming and a boat picks me up, I can get in the boat and ride half way and jump out and drown. A person can accept the Lord’s help and follow His with everything they’ve got and then become deceived and not believe in the Lord anymore.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 – “Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition”
We see here a particular point in time where there is a falling away. Some try to say that the falling away is a pre-tribulation rapture. This makes no sense with the way this Scripture is worded. If you go back to the first verse this Scripture is concerning the day believers are gathered to the Lord. Then it says that the great falling away must occur before we are gathered to the Lord. To say that the falling away is the rapture, the Scripture would be saying that the rapture must occur first before we are gathered to Him. Of course most prophecy teachers equate the rapture as the time we are gathered to Him. With this is mind, we would have to be gathered to Him before we are gathered to Him. This would be like saying, “I’m going to drink my glass of water before I drink my glass of water.” This Scripture is talking about a time where many will depart from the faith. I personally believe that many who are putting their faith in a pre-tribulation rapture will fall away when the man of sin is revealed and the rapture hasn’t happened yet. Many people who believe the Preterist interpretation of prophecy will also fall away at this time since they believe the time of the man of sin is already past and will be deceived when he rises on the scene. The falling away indicates that people lose their salvation probably by taking the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:18).
1 Timothy 1:5-7 – “Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.”
This Scripture is referring to those that have gone astray and get involved in idle talk. This is a strong warning to those that teach the Scriptures. This is why we want our readers to write to us if we are not teaching properly. There is much idle talk in many churches today where preachers will involve themselves in telling stories rather than teaching the Scripture.
1 Timothy 3:6 – “not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.”
A novice is a new believer. If we put a new believer in a position of an elder in a church they are liable to become proud like Lucifer became and end up falling in the same position as the devil. In other words, a convert can end up in hell as a result of pride. How can this be possible if the “once saved always saved” teaching was correct?
1 Timothy 3:7 – “Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”
Here we see it is possible for a church leader to fall into a snare of the devil. A snare is a trap. If you set a trap and catch an animal, you can do to the animal whatever you please. The devil will try to snare someone in order to bring that person to hell.
1 Timothy 4:1 – “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.”
Here we see “the Spirit expressly says,” which is saying that we Holy Spirit is expressing something very important to Paul to warn us about. To depart from the faith means to abandon the faith. If I am working a job and decide to depart from that job, will I still continue to get any benefits from that job? Of course not! Same thing with departing from the faith. We will not get the benefits of eternal life if we depart from the faith. This Scripture gives warning of deceiving spirits. There are deceiving spirits out there right now convincing people that once they are saved, their eternity is secure. Many people have departed from the holiness in which God expects us to live. Although there are a few who believe once saved always saved who still live holy lives, many begin to take the things of God for granted because they have no fear of God, believing their eternity is secured. Those preaching the doctrine of eternal security must take heed, for many are falling away as a result of this doctrine.
1 Timothy 5:12 – “having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith.”
Paul is referring here to people being condemned after casting off their first faith. Because they had put on faith, they were saved but when they cast off that first faith they are no longer saved.
1 Timothy 5:15 - For some have already turned aside after Satan.
If some turn aside to Satan, how can they still be saved? If I am working for a person and somewhere down the line I quit working for that person and work for his worst enemy would I will be considered a servant of the first person I was working for? Absolutely Not! A person that has turned aside after Satan when we turn back to adultery, gossip, backbiting, idolatry, lying, etc. A person who claims to be a Christian, yet lives in willful sin has already turned aside after Satan.
1 Timothy 6:10 - For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Here we see people losing their faith because of their greed. Churches that begin to charge for the Gospel by having events and charging money have strayed from the faith. People who write Christian books, produce Christian CDs, etc., and overcharge their products so they can get large sums of money have strayed from the faith. Anyone who loves money will not maintain their salvation.
1 Timothy 6:20-21 – “O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge-- by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.”
Here is another Scripture that states one can stray from the faith. This Scripture is talking about profane and idle babblings which cause people to stray from the faith. That which is falsely called knowledge is likely referring to all the theology that waters down the Scriptures. Doctrines such as “once saved always saved,” one’s salavation by a “sinners prayer” instead of picking up your cross and following Jesus, etc are all the product of theology which results in false knowledge.
2 Timothy 2:11-13 - This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.
This Scripture says that we must endure in order to reign with Him. If we believe for a while and begin to deny Him, He will deny us entrance into eternal life. Don’t misinterpret the next part of the Scripture where it says, “if we are faithless, He remains faithful.” This isn’t saying that He remains faithful to people who have lost their faith. Rather, this Scripture is saying that He remains faithful to His Word so don’t become faithless or He will judge you.
2 Timothy 2:17-19 – “And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some. Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity."”
Here we see twon particular people who have strayed concerning the truth and destroy the faith of others. One false doctrine we see is they are teaching that the resurrection is already past, meaning the resurrection of the dead and living which meets Christ in the air. By teaching this, people departed from the faith. Today, there are those that say the resurrection has already happened and Jesus returned in 70 a.d. and also claim that we are now in the 1,000 year period mentioned in Revelation where Jesus rules with an iron rod and Satan is bound. This doctrine can be harmful to one’s faith. Seeing this world in the condition it is in and then hearing that Jesus is already reigning the world and Satan is bound destroys the faith of many. To say Jesus is reigning now is an insult to His power. Although Jesus is at the Father’s right hand, He will return and rule the entire earth in full power. Also notice that everyone who names the name of Jesus Christ must depart from inquity? Christians cannot continue in sin and still make it to Heaven. We can’t do whatever we want without losing our salvation.
2 Timothy 3:14-15 – “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
Here we see that we must continue in the things we have learned. It is important to continue.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 – For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
Here we read that people don’t continue in sound doctrine because they will follow after their own desires. One of the roots of the “once saved always saved” doctrine is people wanting to follow after their own desires. We would all love to do what we want and still obtain salvation, however, that is contrary to what the Bible teaches. The “once saved always saved” doctrine acts as a domino effect and destroys other sound doctrine. Have you ever noticed that the “once saved always saved” belief, “baptism isn’t necessary for salvation” believe, “pre-tribulation rapture” theory, “God will not allow His children to suffer” belief all seem to go hand and hand? They are all false doctrines that must be rejected. Let’s not have itching ears by believing what feels good. Let’s return to the Scriptures and believe what they say.
Hebrews 3:14- “For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,”
We must hold steadfast to the end in order to be partakers of Christ. If we don’t hold on to the end, we will lose our salvation.
Hebrews 3:18-4:11 - And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: "So I swore in My wrath, "They shall not enter My rest,"’ although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: "And God rested on the seventh day from all His works"; and again in this place: "They shall not enter My rest." Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, again He designates a certain day, saying in David, "Today," after such a long time, as it has been said: "Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts." For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. This Scripture is saying that we could miss out on entering His rest by disobediance. We must fear that we can come short of it and that fear needs to drive us to obedience.
Hebrews 4:11 – Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.
Another Scripture that says we can fall away because of disobediance. We must be diligent in order to enter eternal rest.
Hebrews 6:4-6 - For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
If someone has been enlightened, tasted the heavenly gift, partook of the Holy Spirit, tasted the good Word of God and powers of the age to come them they must be saved. How can you taste the heavenly gift and not be saved? How can someone partake of the Holy Spirit and not be saved? If then they fall away they put Christ to an open shame and are no longer renewed. This is one of the most obvious Scriptures that point out that “once saved always saved” is a false doctrine.
Hebrews 10:26-29 – For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 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?
Those who sin willfully after receiving the knowledge of trust have made Christ’s sacrifice useless in their own life. This person is going to be punished worse than those that never received a knowledge of truth. To sin willfully is to enter into sin fully knowing that you are committing sin. An example of this would be a Christian going out to a bar to get drunk and to look for someone to sleep with, knowing that it is sin long before they even do it. Those that continue in willful sin and say that “God’s grace covers” them or will quote the Scripture “where sin is, grace abounds” as an excuse for their sin, they have lost their salvation.
Hebrews 10:38 – “Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him."
Many say that salvation is a gift and the Lord won’t take it back. Whether He will or will not take it back, we can withdraw from the gift or throw the gift out. If someone gives you a stereo, you can throw it out, sell it or simply not use it. We can withdraw or throw out our salvation by turning back to sin.
Hebrews 12:15-17 – “looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.
Here we see that we can fall short of God’s grace through bitterness or fornication. If we can’t lose our salvation, why is there so many warnings indicating that it is possible?
James 5:19-20 – Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
Wandering from the truth means to go astray and become lost. Because this person has gone astray, he is in a state of not inheriting the Kingdom of Heaven. Fortunately, like the prodigal son, the person referred to here hasn’t backslid to a state where they can’t regain their salvation.
2 Peter 1:10 – Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;
This Scripture speaks of the possibility of stumbling.
2 Peter 2:15-16 – They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet.
Here we see someone can forsake the right way and go astray. Let’s say Jim is given directions to New York City. For a while he follows the directions but after a while he goes his own way and never makes it to New York City. The same is true for someone who follows the directions in the Bible in order to get to Heaven and after a while they go their own way and never make it.
2 Peter 2:20-21 - 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. 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.
This is a stern warning about getting entangled in the pollutions of the world and being overcome. The only way to excape being entangled in the world is by the power of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we know that the people being talked about here are saved. If they can be worse off than they began, then they will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven since they are worse off. It would make no sense if this Scripture was saying it is better to not enter Heaven than to enter Heaven in a fallen state. This is obviously saying that it is better to not enter Heaven by never knowing the way of righteousness than to not enter Heaven after knowing the way of righteousness and falling away. This Scripture is a blow to those that believe “once saved always saved” is true.
2 Peter 3:17-18a - You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
With all the Scriptures that warn us not to fall away, it makes me wonder if the supporters of “once saved always saved” have even read the New Testament. The error of the wicked is to turn back to their sin. Even those who claim to be Christian yet live in sin have fallen. We must stand steadfast and overcome our sins by the power of the Holy Spiirit in order to enter Heaven.
I John 2:24-25 - Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He has promised us--eternal life.
God giving us eternal life has conditions. If what we heard from the beginning continues to abide in us then we inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. A person loses their salvation once they don’t believe in Jesus as their Savior anymore.
I John 2:28 - And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.
We must abide in Jesus so when He appears, we can have confidence. If one isn’t abiding in Him then they can’t have confidence when He appears.
Revelation 2:5 - Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place--unless you repent.
If a person has his lampstand removed, does that mean he loses his salvation? When we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit we become a light in a dark place. I believe that the lampstand is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. With our lampstand removed we become like the darkness around us and become lost.
Revelation 2:10-11 – “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death."’
This Scripture indicates that we must be faithful until we die. The only way to escape the second death is to be faithful and overcome. One can become a believer for a little while but end up losing his/her salvation if they don’t continue to be faithful until death and do not overcome. We must grow strong and overcome the sins and persecutions in our life.
Revelation 3:1-5 - "And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, "These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: "I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”
In order for a person to be saved, their name must be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. If a person can be blotted out of the Lamb’s Book of Life, that same person will lose his/her salvation. This is a clear Scripture that the doctrine of “once saved always saved” is dangerously false doctrine. If you teach “once saved always saved” and people fall away as a result, their blood will be upon your hands.
Revelation 3:16 – “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”
We see here those that are lukewarm being spit out of the mouth. Those that think they can be both a friend of Jesus Christ and a friend of the world are lukewarm. Those that go to church on Sunday and do a few good works here and there yet haven’t fully given their life to the Lord are lukewarm. We must constantly check where we stand Spiritually so we don’t fall in the category of being lukewarm.
Revelation 22:19 – “and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
It’s amazing that even at the very end of the Bible God warns us that we can lose our salvation and yet people believe their eternity is secured. Scripture makes the issue of losing ones salvation very clear. God would not have constantly warned us of losing our salvation if it wasn’t possible. This would be like warning someone that if they flap their arms too much, they might fly away. We know that it is impossible to fly away so our warnings would be meaningless. Those that teach “once saved always saved” as being true are also teaching that God’s warnings are meaningless. Let’s not take lightly God’s warnings but take them deeply to heart.
Let’s look at a few arguments and Scriptures that those who support the doctrine of “once saved always saved” use.
John 3:36 – “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."
This Scripture is true, yet we must consider what exactly the word “believe” means. The word “believe” here means to “be committed to.” We must be committed to Jesus to have everlasting life. Jesus said that those who believe in Him will do the works he has done and greater works (John 14:12). James said “faith without works is dead.” Believing in Jesus means to follow the Lord in obedience until the end. If we don’t continue to stay committed, we no longer believe and no longer have everlasting life.
Hebrews 13:4-6 - Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we may boldly say: "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"
God will never leave or forsake one of His followers. Even when a person falls away, the Lord will try to redirect this person back to the right path. If our hearts become hardened in sin then we have left the way of the Lord. We therefore departed from the Lord. Let me give you an analogy: if a man promises his wife that he will never leave her, yet she does out and commits adultery and eventually divorces her husband and leaves him, he still kept his promise. This couple may be separated for good, yet the husband never broke his promise. If we leave the way of the Lord, we have forsaken Him and separate ourselves from Him. We see in the above verses that frnicators and adulterers will be judged. This indicates that we can’t continue in these sins and receive the promise that we won’t be separated from God.
Romans 8: 35-39 –“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 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 created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
It is true that none of these things will separate us from the love of God. However, this Scripture doesn’t say that we can’t choose to separate ourselves. We can separate ourselves by going back to our sin. If you line this Scripture up with the rest of the Scriptures you’ll see that nothing can separate us from the love of God as we walk in obedience toward Him. We need to keep Scripture in context.
John 6:35-37 - And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.
To come to Jesus is to follow Him. If we only come to Jesus and then leave Him, we have cast our ownselves out. I can go to a person’s house, stay for a while, and then leave without ever being cast out. We leave Jesus by returning to our sins.
John 10:27-30 - My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one."
This is a favorite Scripture of those that teach “once saved always saved” as being true. However, they have make a grave mistake in their interpretation of this Scripture. The first thing we should notice is that the sheep follow Him. If we aren’t following Him or stop following Him this promise isn’t even for us. Those who follow Christ for the rest of their lives avoid sins such as sexual immorality, gossip, unforgiveness, unrighteous anger, idolatry, lying, stealing, covetness (jealousy), etc. When it refers to someone snatching a person out of Christ’s hand, it is saying that salvation cannot be stolen from us from the outside world. A person cannot pray away another person’s salvation. Satan cannot all of a sudden snatch eternal life from us. He must deceive us into walking away from Jesus in order for us to lose our salvation. We make the choice of whether we stay saved or walk away.
1 Corinthians 3:13-15 – “Each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
Here we see people’s works being tried in the fire. The ones who suffer loss are probably those who are just above the point of being lukewarm. Some say this Scripture is talking about the motives behind our works. Those who had pure motives will endure and those whose motives were lacking purity were burned. If we do everything we do out of love for the Lord and love for others our motives are pure. If we do things because we believe it is our obligation then our motives aren’t exactly pure, yet God in His wonderous mercy will save these people. Like those with pure motives, these people also repented of their sins and turned to the Lord. In order to receive this award, we must be motivated to do our works out of love and not because it is an obligation or to be seen by men. However, this Scripture does not support the false teaching of “once saved always saved.” This Scripture does not indicate that those who passed through the fire stopped serving the Lord. In fact, if anything, these people that are saved through the fire were serving the Lord since they had works that needed to be tested.
2 Corinthians 5:5 - Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
We are guaranteed Heaven if we have the Holy Spirit but if we quench the Holy Spirit, we no longer are guaranteed.
Ephesians 1:11-14 - In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
Let’s look at Ephesians 1:4 – “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,”
This Scripture is a promise to those that walk holy and blameless before Him. The “In Him” as the beginning of verse 11 also indicates that those who remain in Him will receive these promises. We are sealed with the Holy Spirit. IF we turn back to our sins and the Holy Spirit is removed, we will no longer be sealed. The Bible also says that we can quench the Spirit.
Ephesians 2:8-10 - For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
This Scripture states that we are saved through faith. If we depart from the faith, we are no longer saved.
Philippians 1:3-6 - I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
Jesus does want to accomplish the good work that He has started in us, however, we still have the choice to turn back to our sins and resist that good work. This Scripture needs to be put in context with the rest of Scripture in order to properly understand it.
I Thessolonians 5:19 - Do not quench the Spirit.
The work quench means to put out the Holy Spirit in your life.
Hebrews 10:14 - "For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified."
Those that are being sanctified are the one’s that will be perfected forever. Once we return to our sin as a dog returns to his vomit, we discontinue being sanctified and will not be perfected forever.
Hebrews 12:1,2 – "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
We must lay aside our sins in order to allow Jesus to be the finisher of our faith. If we don’t set aside our sin we are weighed down and never finish the race that is before us.
1 Peter 1:5, 9 – “Who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time…receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls.”
This Scripture doesn’t support “once saved always saved,” rather it shows that we must continue in the faith. We must not depart from the faith in order to maintain our salvation.
A strong warning goes forth to those that teach “once saved always saved.” Because you teach that once a person is saved they cannot lose it, you may be causing several people not to take the Lord seriously, they are not properly repenting. You need to repent before the Lord and turn from teaching this false doctrine or you will have much blood on your hands.