Do you ever worry about falling away? Or do you go through life without considering your eternal destination, “knowing” that you will live eternally with God?
I try more and more not to question another’s salvation and focus more and more on my own. It is not my job to judge whether or not someone is recorded in the Book of Life, but to love them in a way that they will want their names to be there as well.
Let’s read these verses to study and define salvation:
Ephesians 2: 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
Mark 16: 8 … Afterward Jesus himself sent them out from east to west with the sacred and unfailing message of salvation that gives eternal life.
John 4: 22 You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews.
Acts 4: 11 For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says,
‘The stone that you builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.’
12 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
1 Peter 1:9 The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.
Titus 3: 4 But—“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, 5 he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.
Romans 10: 13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
OK, but does that mean that because I trusted Him as a child and prayed a prayer to receive Him that regardless of my actions since that I am saved? In other words is the familiar phrase “once saved always saved” correct? Or another way to put it is, “Can someone lose their salvation?” I don’t know, let’s keep reading…
Here is one passage that seems to support “once saved always saved”:
John 10: 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, 29 for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”
But what about free will? We are not robots or puppets and that is why we will always have a choice to worship God or the Accuser, Satan. The aforementioned verse states that “No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.” And that is great news, but I don’t think that includes our choice to leave the Father’s hand.
Don’t these verses imply that it is a choice to remain in Him or not to remain in Him?
John 15: 5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
If you are choosing to remain in Him, what does this mean to you and how are you living up to it?
Is this not consistent with these verses from Ezekiel? I know that they are Old Testament, but God’s character does not change.
Ezekiel 33: 12 “Son of man, give your people this message: The righteous behavior of righteous people will not save them if they turn to sin, nor will the wicked behavior of wicked people destroy them if they repent and turn from their sins. 13 When I tell righteous people that they will live, but then they sin, expecting their past righteousness to save them, then none of their righteous acts will be remembered. I will destroy them for their sins. 14 And suppose I tell some wicked people that they will surely die, but then they turn from their sins and do what is just and right. 15 For instance, they might give back a debtor’s security, return what they have stolen, and obey my life-giving laws, no longer doing what is evil. If they do this, then they will surely live and not die. 16 None of their past sins will be brought up again, for they have done what is just and right, and they will surely live.
What do you think? Do these verses not apply to us today? I think they are consistent with Christ’s teaching above in John 15: 5-8.
Here is a problem I have with “once saved always saved”, especially when it is preached to the masses. This phrase is a horrible paraphrase of several scriptures and it is not considering other scriptures that might lead us to think otherwise. Such as these verses:
2 Peter 2: 20 And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before. 21 It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life. 22 They prove the truth of this proverb: “A dog returns to its vomit.” And another says, “A washed pig returns to the mud.”
Why would Jesus say these words if salvation was as easy as saying a prayer once in your life and forgetting about it the following year?
Matthew 7: 13 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. 14 But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.
We read above that salvation is simple, but this clearly says that it is not easy.
Another issue I have with “once saved always saved”, is that for many in my estimation, it is a false sense of security. When the theology of these four words penetrate the minds of the spiritually lazy (like I used to be), or the “saints on the sidelines”, there is no motivation for them to get to know God any better.
Let’s review these verses that I think beautifully summarize what we should all be focusing on in our daily walk:
Philippians 1:11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ —for this will bring much glory and praise to God.
Philippians 2:12 Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.
1 Timothy 4: 15 Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.
1 Peter 1:5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
Hebrews 3: 12 Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. 13 You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. 14 For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. 15 Remember what it says:
“Today when you hear his voice,
don’t harden your hearts
as Israel did when they rebelled.”
What if we were to change “once saved always saved” to say “once saved always saved when we continue to put our faith in Jesus”?
Are you saved?
“Dear Lord, thank you for sending your Son to die for me and pay for my sins on the cross. Lord, I am sorry for the many sins I’m guilty of. Sins for doing wrong and sins for not doing right and not loving you with a whole heart. I will put my trust in you. I choose you to be Lord of my life. Please help me to change my ways and get to know you better daily. I know many that do not take your calling seriously, but today I choose to follow you with my whole heart. Please lead me down your path and thank you for guiding me. In Jesus name, Amen.”
Photo by Anthony Tori on Unsplash