Once Saved, Always saved?
Nothing can separate us from the love of God. We can however refuse it, we can grow old and cold and stray. The letters we read in scripture were written to the church, the believers. We can Quench the Spirit and Have our conscience seared with a hot iron. 1 Timothy 4 1Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
The longer we accept error in our lives, the longer we grieve the Spirit and do not retain God in our knowledge the nearer we are to being given over to a reprobate mind. To do those things that are worthy of death. Not only those who do those things, (Romans 1, 32) also those who have pleasure in (Consent with) those who do them. We are not expressing love when we tolerate sin.
There are different approaches when exhorting. With love, fear, patience, meekness, strong rebuke, encouragement etc.. Whatever works.
You asked if I believed a born again believer could lose his salvation. Let “The Word” speak.
Luke 8:13 They on the rock [are they], which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
Heb 6:4 For [it is] impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
Heb 6:5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
Heb 6:6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put [him] to an open shame.
2Pet 3:16 As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
2Pet 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know [these things] before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.
1Cor 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
Rev 2:4 Nevertheless I have [somewhat] against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
Rev 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
1Cor 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring [it] into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
1Tim 1:19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
Mt 5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Gal 4:9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
Rom 11:20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:
Rom 11:21 For if God spared not the natural branches, [take heed] lest he also spare not thee.
Rom 11:22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in [his] goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
2Pet 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
2Pet 2:21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known [it], to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
2Pet 2:22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog [is] turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
Heb 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
Heb 12:16 Lest there [be] any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.
Heb 12:17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.
Heb 10:26 For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
Heb 10:27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
Mt 24:46 Blessed [is] that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
Mt 24:47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
Mt 24:48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
Mt 24:49 And shall begin to smite [his] fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
Mt 24:50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for [him], and in an hour that he is not aware of,
Mt 24:51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint [him] his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
1Tim 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
1Tim 5:12 Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.
1Tim 5:15 For some are already turned aside after Satan.
2Tim 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
2Tim 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.
Heb 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God Heb 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Heb 3:14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
Heb 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if [any man] draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
Heb 12:25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more [shall not] we [escape], if we turn away from him that [speaketh] from heaven.
Pss 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Pss 51:11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Pss 51:12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me [with thy] free spirit.
Lk 9:62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.
I can go on, But why should I? God speaks clearly enough.
Whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified (Romans 8:29, 30).
Certainly, Bible passages can be used to support the concept that God knows all things past, present, and future. “All things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:1). Bible prophecy affirms that God knows the future, but future events do not happen because God “foreknew” them; rather, they are known by God because they will take place.
Did God predestinate that only some would be saved? Paul writes elsewhere that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). If only some are predestined to be saved, why would Jesus offer salvation and die for all? Christ said, in the closing chapter of the Bible, “Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17
From God’s perspective, He saved the entire world over 2000 years ago when Jesus was crucified and risen from the dead (John 3:17, John 1:29, John 4:42, John 12:47). However, clearly this does not mean that every person is saved, for then no one would go to hell.
God has identified the conditions of our salvation in His Word. We must believe that He has sent His Son to be crucified as a sacrifice for our sins, and that He has been risen from the dead (John 3:17). We must obey His Word (John 14:15, Romans 6:17, Philippians 2:12). We must repent from sin (Matthew 4:17, Mark 6:12). We must not continue in sin (1st Peter 1:15, 1st Peter 4:1, Hebrews 10:2, Colossians 3:5). We must be born again (John 3:3, 1st Peter 1:23). We must have our minds renewed (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:23)… These are just a few, but Scripture is filled with the conditions God has given for those who would be saved.
One reason Calvin argued in favor of predestination was to make sure God receives all the glory. He believed that if you have any part to play in your salvation—even your own choice to accept Jesus—then you would deserve some credit. Therefore, he concluded, you really do not have a choice. God’s sovereignty, he taught, does not permit human free will.
God has an all-knowing perspective. He knows whether you are going to be saved or lost, but this knowledge does not take away your free choice. We know this because of the many Scripture passages that demonstrate our freedom to choose. Joshua told Israel to “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15). The story of the fall of humanity shows the high value (and high price) that God gave to Adam and Eve when He let them choose whether to obey or disobey Him.
Have you ever noticed that the same circumstances coming to different people do not always produce the same responses? Think of the warm sun that shines on the earth. If you set a lump of clay and a lump of wax side by side underneath the same beams of light, one would become hard and the other would melt. Pharaoh chose to be like clay when God’s appeals came to the proud ruler; God’s light hardened his heart.
Predestination teaches that God arbitrarily decides who will be saved and who will be lost. In other words, Pharaoh simply would have had no choice but to be lost. It indirectly teaches that the Lord chooses for some people to sin. But in so doing, it makes Him an accessory to sin. Instead of offering to save you from sin, predestination presents a God who stands back and allows you to struggle in sin. This is a dangerous belief because it distorts the compassionate character of a God who poured out all of heaven to save us!
God does not harden people’s hearts. He is desperate to save everyone. “As I live,” says the Lord God, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11).
He sends us truth to help us move in the right direction. It is the rejection of His messages that make us resistant to light from heaven. When people repeatedly turn away from the appeals of God’s agencies, such as Pharaoh did, it is then that they become resistant, hardened like clay, to the further convicting calls of the Holy Spirit.
Some may be wondering: “If it’s possible to lose our salvation, can we live with any security and assurance of eternal life?”
Well, what are the conditions for being secure in our salvation?
Let’s consider another passage often quoted to support the theory of “once saved, always saved.” A proper understanding of these verses will clear up misconceptions about salvation.
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 (John 10:27–29).
A similar verse states, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37). It is certainly true that when we hear the Shepherd’s voice and come to Christ, we are safe in His hands. No one, not even the devil, can take away our assurance.
But do these verses indicate that once we come to Jesus, we lose the freedom to turn away from Him? We know that the Bible says, “God is love” (1 John 4:8) and that love does not force love. You cannot force someone to love you. Let’s face it—forced love is rape! God promises that when we freely come to Him, He will never turn us away. Yet it is against the very nature of God to force us to stay with Him if we tire of His kingdom, just as Lucifer grew weary of it. Thus, these passages focus on God’s side of the equation. We may trust that when we come to the Lord, we will not be rejected. But we are always free—because of His love—to walk away.
If we abide in Him, God will never let go of us, but we are always free to let go of Him, to stop abiding whenever we please. Faithfulness in a marriage requires commitment on the part of both parties.
The security of our salvation could be compared to putting your money into a bank. Lots of banks like to use the word “security” in their title to emphasize that your money is safe with them. The message they want you to believe is, “You can trust us with your cash.”
Suppose you visit a bank and are given a tour of the facilities. One of the tellers shows you all the alarms and cameras set up to catch bank robbers. The teller points out the bulletproof glass, the many security guards, and the secured vault. Finally, you are told your money is federally insured. So, feeling safe, you decide to deposit your money into this bank.
What would happen if, the next day, you decide to withdraw $100 and that same teller tells you, “You cannot withdraw money from our bank.” You protest but are told, “Look, we promise you that your money is in the bank and is secure; you just can’t take any of it out.” Of course, that’s not security—it’s robbery! Likewise, when you lose your choice to walk away from God, you are no longer freely serving Him. You have become a hostage.
Still, God wants you to be secure in your salvation. “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:13, emphasis added). The condition for knowing you have eternal life is continuing to believe in the name and character of Jesus.
Once you have accepted Jesus into your life, is it possible to fall away? Consider Jesus’ parable of the sower, which describes the gospel seed being spread on different types of soil. Notice what happens when the truth falls onto one type of heart:
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 (Matthew 13:5, 6).
Now, if the seed “immediately sprang up,” it means these people welcomed it into their hearts. They believed what they heard, and the seed sprouted. Thus, if it “withered away,” something that was once living had died. That means some people who have received salvation at some point lost it because they did not grow deeper roots in Christ.
A Bible example of someone who was chosen by God and even Spirit-filled, but then fell away, was King Saul. He was not picked through a general election, but was chosen by God. Did the Lord choose Saul to make an example of him and then cast him away? No! God chose this Benjamite because he was the Lord’s choice. At first Saul was filled with the Spirit and even prophesied, but he allowed pride to spring up in his heart, grieved away the Holy Spirit, and then lost his salvation.
What then does it mean to be “God’s elect”? (Titus 1:1). The Greek word for elect, eklektoi, means “chosen ones” or “picked out.” I once heard a minister explain that election means that God has cast His vote for you, the devil has voted against you, and you have the tie-breaking vote. Everyone is called to follow the Lord, but not all respond. When Jesus told the parable of the wedding feast, He described how many of the initial guests made excuses and didn’t come. So the king told his servants to “go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding” (Matthew 22:9). God has not invited a select few to receive the gospel invitation. He wants as many as possible to enter the kingdom. Jesus ended this story by explaining, “For many are called, but few are chosen” (verse 14).
God’s elect are those who respond to His call. Those who heed the Lord’s bidding are the chosen ones, but everyone is given the call. The message is to go “to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people” (Revelation 14:6), but not everyone will accept the invitation. Some will even turn to God but then will turn away. “The Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith” (1 Timothy 4:1). How can you depart from the faith unless you were first in the faith?
The apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 2:12, “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.” We are told to “work out” our own salvation. This shows we have an essential part to play in our salvation.
Notice Ephesians 1:13-14: “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, [which] is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”
Here the Holy Spirit is called a guarantee, or down payment, on salvation. Imagine a home buyer who follows the concept of “once saved, always saved.” He would incorrectly decide that the down payment was enough.
God wants us to follow His instructions to us with a deep love for Him from our heart. Loving God entails keeping His commandments. John 14:15 states, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
We will be saved at the return of Jesus Christ if we have endured to the end. Christ tells us in Matthew 10:22, “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.” We must endure to the end. That is not the same as just believing on the name of Christ and then doing whatever we want.
Then Moses returned to the LORD, and said, “Alas, this people has committed a great sin, and they have made a god of gold for themselves. But now, if You will, forgive their sin-and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!” The LORD said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book. But go now, lead the people where I told you. Behold, My angel shall go before you; nevertheless in the day when I punish, I will punish them for their sin.” Then the LORD smote the people, because of what they did with the calf, which Aaron had made. (Exodus 32:30-35
These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
Hear now, O house of Israel! Is My way not right? Is it not your ways that are not right? When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity and dies because of it, for his iniquity which he has committed he will die. (Ezekiel 18:24-26)
When I say to the righteous he will surely live, and he so trusts in his righteousness that he commits iniquity, none of his righteous deeds will be remembered; but in that same iniquity of his which he has committed he will die. (Ezekiel 33:11-13)
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine dresser. “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. “Remain in me, stay with me, and continue to be with me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it remains, stays, and continues to be in the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me, stay with me, and continue to be with me. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who remains in me, stays with me, and continues to be with me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. “If anyone does not remain in me, stay with me, and continue to be with me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. “If you remain in me, stay with me, and continue to be with me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so you become My disciples. “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; remain in my love, stay in my love, and continue to be in My love.
Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:1-2)
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:7-14 NASB)
But the Spirit says expressly that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, through the hypocrisy of men who speak lies, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron;
1 Timothy 4:1-2
Therefore I was displeased with that generation, And said, ‘They always err in their heart, But they didn’t know my ways;’ As I swore in my wrath, ‘They will not enter into my rest.’” Beware, brothers, lest perhaps there will be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God; but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called “today;” lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Messiah, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm to the end.
Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin
Behold, the days come,” says the Lord, “That I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, In the day that I took them by the hand to lead them forth out of the land of Mitzrayim; For they didn’t continue in my covenant, And I disregarded them,” says the Lord.
But the righteous will live by faith. If he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the saving of the soul. (Hebrews 10:38-39)
Brothers, if any among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know, that he who converts a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins. (James 5:19-20)
John Calvin, Presbyterian Church founder in 1538. The Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter XIX, “ Of The Perseverance of the Saints,” claims: “They whom God hath accepted in his Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved” [pgs. 102, 103].
But Calvin is not the originator of this doctrine. It was first taught by Satan thousands of years before in the Garden of Eden. Do you remember the discussion Mother Eve had with Satan? “Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’? The woman said to the serpent, ‘From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’ The serpent said to the woman, ‘You surely will not die!’” (Genesis 3:1-4).
Galations 5:4 “You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” Paul is writing to Christians who were seeking to bind parts of the old law, the Law of Moses, and warning them of the consequences. You cannot be “severed” from something that you were not once connected to. Therefore, the contention that one “cannot fall from grace” is directly contradicted by this passage.
In Luke 15, Jesus taught that the Prodigal Son left his father and “wasted his substance on riotous living.” Finding himself in great want, he said, “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.”
When he RETURNED TO HIS FATHER, his father welcomed him saying, “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry,” Luke 15:18-24. The prodigal was just that. A son. He split. Didn’t want to live with dad anymore. He was a son, he left, he died. He made a choice to come home to his father and was again alive.
“Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God,” Luke 9:62.
Luke 19:10, For the son of man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. Did God misplace some people? If we were predestined, called, justified and glorified before we were born, we were never lost.
If those who are saved were already saved prior to birth, preachers waste everyones time when they preach. Christ sent out the apostles for nothing. What’s the point? Was Paul right when he said all his preaching was in vain?
Excerpts taken from the following:
Bible.com and other sources. I can’t remember them. So apologies to any that may recognize some of their work. Send me a note.
If you made it this far, here is some excellent reading. Calvinism critiqued by a former Calvinist