Always Saved?


Recently, a very bright sister and friend in the Lord asked me whether I believed that there was truth in the “once saved, always saved” doctrine. This was my response to her. If you have any comments or questions, please reply, but be courteous. I am genuinely interested in discussing the different views in this area.

I certainly hope so. If not, then we are all in danger of hellfire. It is necessary, though, that we review the Scripture, which, I suspect, is something you have done recently.

I personally believe that it is the truth, but the path I take is from the negative; that is to say, “not saved, never was.” The study I have undergone in this, from time to time, came from great sorrow from the areas that I still struggle with. I love Jesus Christ with everything that I am, but I still have areas that I am weak and have stumbled in.

There are many who quote from Hebrews 10, saying that if we keep sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. The problem is that it is not simply that the expectation should exist if we sin, but rather if we deliberately sin, which is exactly what the writer wrote. What does it mean to be deliberate? When exactly are we sinning deliberately? These were questions that I posed to myself.

There are countless Christian men and women who truly love God, but battle with a temptation of lust that is so profound that they struggle with the allure of taints like pornography and, in relationships, they find more intimate temptations that arise. They pray, ask for prayer, install watchdog programs, join communities of brothers and sisters to talk with about their problems, and even seek counseling through personal and group sessions (xxxchurch.com is a common place on the web). They truly love Jesus and they long to live faithfully and overcome this temptation, which is why they are seeking help, but the hardest part is that it isn’t even just the outer influences! They wake up to temptations that were previously dormant, imaginative creations that were brought on by the media, scantily dressed men and women in the public, and even conversations of people who are nearby or simply passing by. Are they sinning to sin or because their innate nature, being weak, sexual creatures, was overwhelmed?

I can say that, in my personal battles with temptations and sin, I stumble at times and I succeed at times, but I never do anything that I do to simply sin, “to hell with consequences.” I long to have constant fellowship with my brothers and sisters and have a genuine desire to witness and teach others about the saving grace and unfathomable love of God through His Son, Jesus. I want to teach and go out to help orphans in need (personal desire) and assist in missionary work. Doing what goes against God is so far down on the list that it does not even exist on the list. Have I done anything against God deliberately? The answer I have is “no.” God forgive this wretched man if I ever have since I was called to Jesus in September of 2005. Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Paul wrote several things that impact and comfort me deeply.

1 Co 12:3, “Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus be cursed,’ and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.”

Rm 10:8-10, “the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

Paul, of course, is saying that it is more than just confessing, but believing in your heart and, from this, our salvation is sealed by the Holy Spirit (Rm 8:16; 2 Co 1:21-22; Eph 1:13-14). Further, “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rm 8:38-39).

I do not believe it is possible to lose our salvation, but just as much, I do not believe that we will justify our sin because we have been saved. I believe that we are being conformed to the likeness of the Son (Rm 8:29), not that we are immediately conformed to His likeness. I hope this helps.

SDG

Do you struggle with sexual temptations? If this has become problematic in your life and you truly want help getting out from under its weight, pray and read your Bible. Also, please consider going to XXXChurch for further supplementary guidance. Grace and strength to you as you serve the Lord.

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2 thoughts on “Always Saved?

  1. Phillip,

    Very nice, well thought out post. I tend to completely agree with you. But …. perhaps it is not possible to lose our salvation – but perhaps it can be given up. That is to say your salvation cannot be taken from you or “lost”, but perhaps one can surrender it or give it up.

    There are many “ifs” in the NT. In Col 1:23, the word “if”, Strong’s 1487, ei, is a primary particle of conditionality. In plain English the verses seem to mean that reconciliation is dependent upon the condition that we “continue in the faith”. Many scholars think the word is hypothetical. I would argue that the hypothetical interpretation is an illogical conclusion of the words immediately preceding it, which are NOT hypothetical. Not only that, but the verb “continue” is in the active voice, meaning “you” are the “doer” of the action.

    “Yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach — if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.” (Col 1:22,23, NASB)

    Look at Jude 5. “Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.” (NASB)

    Doesn’t this say that the Lord first saved – then subsequently destroyed? Note a couple of things here. The word “saved” is the same word used throughout the NT in reference to salvation. The word “destroyed” (using NASB) is the exact same word (Greek apollumi) as in Mark 8:35, “lose” life; Romans 2:12, “perish”. There are other verses as well. In Jude 5, the verb “believe” is in the active participle. This means that the ones destroyed were the ones themselves who subsequently did not believe, and did not keep on believing continuously. And these are the very same people that DID believe and praised god in Exodus 14 and 15!

    So, when God saved the Israelites by the blood (from the destroyer) in Exodus 12, were they saved? When He saved them by the water in Exodus 14 were they saved? Jude 5 says they were. Did they believe? Exodus 14 and 15 says they did. Were they nevertheless destroyed? Jude 5 says they were. In fact, of that generation only Joshua and Caleb lived.

    I think the believers who readthe NT letters knew exactly what was meant. And to say that the word “if” in Col 1:23 is hypothetical seems to be convenient “easy believism”. Doesn’t the letter to the Hebrews warn us not to “neglect so great a salvation”?

    So, Phillip, what do you think?

    In Christ,
    James

    • Hey, thanks for the comments. I apologize about the length of time it has taken me to respond. Recently, I have been preparing to apply for a freelance writing position on Christian Apologetics and dealing with other temporal nonsense that came my way. You bring up some good points. There are a lot of intricacies in the entire subject. Even in the Book of Revelation, we are confronted with Jesus’ warnings and exhortations to the seven churches in the province of Asia. I don’t personally accept “easy believism,” despite believing that the truly faithful will not lose their salvation. Bonhoeffer had a great quote on this and as soon as I can remember where to find it in my library, I will post it.

      Gloria in Excelsis Deo, brother.

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