Once Saved, Always Saved?
This very popular doctrine teaches that when a person believes and is saved, it is then impossible for him to be lost.
Those who oppose this view often charge that this means that once a person is saved, it doesn't matter what they do-they can do what they like. They are saved.
The "Once saved, always saved' school would counter that a person who went out and did what they knew was wrong, obviously hadn't been saved in the first place.
The issue simply stated is: "Can a saved man be lost?" When a man chooses to follow Christ, does he then lose his power of choice in this matter forever.
We will study first the teachings of Jesus on this subject, then examine the testimony of the rest of Scripture, and finally re-examine the main texts on which "Once saved, always saved" is based.
The Teaching Of Jesus
Parable of the sower Luke 8:4-15
In this parable, Jesus describes four classes of people who hear the gospel message. Of particular interest is the seed that fell on the rock. Note Jesus interpretation in verse 13:
Do these people believe?
What happens to them?
Parable of the ungrateful servant Matthew 18:21-35
What did the King do to the servant with the great debt?
How did the forgiven man treat one who owed him a little?
What was the King's reaction?
How does this apply to salvation? (Verse 35)
Parable of the vine and the branches John 15:1-17
Remaining indicates that one must be part of the unit. One cannot remain in something one has not joined.
IF it is not possible to be lost, why does Jesus emphasise the importance of "remaining" in Him"?
Do all the branches remain? (Verses 2 and 6)
Jesus is teaching that to be saved, one must believe in him and remain that way - "in Him".
V.10 If we remain in Him, we will obey him. (Verse 10)
In this illustration, Jesus emphasises the importance of abiding or remaining in Him. (Verses 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10)
See also 1 John 5:1, 2, 11 and 12.
John 6:57 (The verb "feeds" is continuous - that is: keeps eating)
Advocates of "Once saved, always saved" have found themselves hard pressed to interpret John 15:1-6. Reading their comments on this passage, one is reminded of the words on the sign over the old blacksmith's shop: "All kinds of fancy twisting and turning done here".
The Parable of the ten virgins Matthew 25:1-13
All of these young ladies were invited to the wedding.
All of them had accepted the invitation.
Some missed out.
Romans 3:10 - No one is righteous. We understand Ezekiel to mean a saved man.
What can cause a "saved man" who has been promised life to lose his salvation? (Verse 13)
See also Ezekiel 3:20
In this illustration of an olive tree, some branches have been broken off and others grafted in.
Is the grafting in of the "Gentiles unconditional? (Verse 22)
Note the Key word "continue"
1 Corinthians 15:1, 2
Have these people heard and accepted the Gospel?
What must they still do to be saved? If they don't, what then?
Is it possible to desert before enlisting?
Falling can only occur after grace has been experienced
Before the Holy Spirit can be grieved, He must be received
1 Timothy 4:1, 2; 5:17
Some will abandon the faith (1 Timothy 4:16 - you must persevere)
2 Peter 2:18-22
Is it possible for a person who has escaped the corruption in the world by knowing Jesus to turn their backs on Him and go back?
Notice the "if" (also Hebrews 6:11,12)
(Note Hebrews warnings about falling away in Hebrews 6:4-8, and it's encouragement to persevere in faith in Hebrews 10:35-39)
This passage has been a source of much embarrassment to men whose theology requires them to seek some interpretation which allows them to avoid accepting the passage for what it says. The efforts of some to rescue their "Pauline theology" from the words of Paul have led to some ingenious interpretations. More fancy twisting and turning done here.
Main Texts For Once Saved, Always Saved
Is this passage talking about pressures from without or the choice of the individual?
The question here is of enemies from without, not the unfaithfulness of the sheep!
Note: Christ's giving of eternal life to His sheep is linked to their habitual listening and following. The promise by Christ to safeguard His followers does not relieve them of the responsibility of following Him.
Please underline "has eternal life" say the advocates of Once Saved, Always Saved. True, but also underline "whoever hears and believes..." Eternal life is on the basis of hearing and believing. Wuest: "He who habitually hears my word and is believing". "Shall not be condemned". -should be present tense- is not condemned - i.e. as long as he is hearing and believing.
John 6:39, 40
While it is God's will that all who believe be saved, it is also true that he is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). But there is a vast difference between God's perfect will and his permissive will - man's freedom to act - and his consequent responsibility cannot be abrogated. Note Jesus' prayer in John 17:12.
Is Our Salvation Secure?
The only person who is unsure of salvation is the one who is trying to make it on his own, with his own deeds, without a surrender in faith of the life to God.
"This is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life, he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
1 John 5:11,12
Life is not in us. We must have it from God. He wants to have us. If any man falls, it is not from want of Divine power, nor from the overwhelming power of the adversary, but from his neglect to use that which he may use. The creature must touch God or die.