Saturday, 6 August 2016

Once Saved Always Saved

Once Saved Always Saved, or Perseverance of the Saints, is an interesting topic. I'm going to post what I see in the Bible. Obviously, there are a lot of people who have a different opinion on it (and they have Bible verses that back up their position ... I think) so if you disagree, please disagree politely. I'm willing to have a civil discussion on this if you want to :)

The definition of Once Saved Always Saved is that when a person becomes a Christian, their salvation is sealed for all eternity. No matter what they do in their life after that point, they are always going to Heaven because of the decision they made at one point in their life.**

So, do I believe in Once Saved Always Saved?

No, I don't. I believe that it is possible for Christians to lose their salvation. Here's some verses that back up my position:

Mark 4:2-20 (Parable of the Sower/Seeds/Earth)

In this parable, Jesus talks about different types of people that receive the gospel and then fall away. Some reasons that they fall away include:
  • Satan takes away the Word (path)
  • Trouble or persecution (rocky ground)
  • Worries of this life/deceitfulness of wealth/desires for other things (thistles)
I'm not going to give teaching on what each of these things are and how to avoid them in this post, since that's not my purpose here - we're discussing Once Saved Always Saved.

2 Timothy 2:11-13

This is a 'trustworthy saying' that Paul includes in his second letter to Timothy.
In it he says that if we disown Jesus, he will disown us.
If we are faithless, he remains faithful.

So what's the difference between disowning Jesus and being faithless?

The difference I see is that 'disowning' must be a conscious choice. You don't disown something by accident. You have to decide to disown it. However, you can slip into faithlessness without ever once making a conscious decision to cross the line of faithlessness, because there is no line.

So I don't believe you can 'lose' your salvation, but you can 'give it back'.

So now we come to the two questions.

First, what is the truth? What I see in the Bible is that it is theoretically possible for a believer to lose their salvation.

Second, how then shall we live? For each person individually, Once Saved Always Saved doesn't really matter to you. If you can't accidentally lose your salvation, then you don't need to worry about doing so. At any time, you will be either:

a) A believer who has a relationship with God and is 'saved', and therefore does not have to worry
b) A nonbeliever who does not have a relationship with God and does not care that they are not 'saved', and therefore does not have to worry*
or c) A nonbeliever who does not have a relationship with God but wants to have a relationship with God. In that case, we have good news for you. It's called the gospel. :)

*Well, they should worry that they are not going to Heaven when they die. But the doctrine of Once Saved Always Saved shouldn't worry them.

For those who are saved and are worried about losing their salvation:

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5b)

But still:

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12-13)

What I see in this verse is that there is a part for us to play in remaining saved, and that we are to pursue that with 'fear and trembling'. But then go back to Hebrews 13:5b again. :)

The time when Once Saved Always Saved does worry people is when they are considering friends who at one time avowed Christ, but now seem to have slipped away from the faith. In those situations, the question is 'Are they still saved?'

I don't have all the answers. I can't tell you whether that person has disowned Christ or is merely faithless. What I can say is:

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. (2 Timothy 4:2)

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1 Peter 3:15-16)

Pray for your friend. Pray for opportunities to remind them of the gospel and of the faith they once avowed. But do this with gentleness and respect. Don't force it on them, but be bold.

And in all things, to God be the glory.

S. D. G.

**A footnote. Some will say that this a straw man argument, and that I am missing the point, as it says in Romans 6:1-2: Shall we go on sinning ... By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? I agree that the doctrine of Once Saved Always Saved does not (or should not) give permission for people to do whatever they want. However, we are debating the second of the two questions at this point without discovering the truth of the first question.


  1. I liked your point about "giving back" our salvation. I believe that, when God saves us, that's supposed to be forever. It's meant to be an eternal relationship. But we can choose to let go of it by being unrepentant or an other means of turning our backs on God. Just as we choose whether or not to accept the gift we're handed, we can also choose to throw it on the ground.

    I don't think it's something we're supposed to be constantly concerned about, though. We need to keep our eyes on Jesus. And, as long as that's where our focus is, we're not going to turn around and go the wrong way.

  2. Also, I tagged you for the Daily Quote Challenge: