Some Christians believe that once you are saved you will always remain saved, and that no matter what you do after that, including sinning, your salvation is still secured. Some others will add that if you sin willingly, then it is because you were never saved in the first place; even after 20 or more years of walking faithfully with God, if you fall, it means you were never really saved.
We’ll try to explain our position on this subject. We are not attacking people who believe differently, we are not questioning their salvation or attacking their character. We believe this is a very important doctrine, but we also think it is still not an issue to divide over if the person has the Foundational Doctrines right, unless ‘Once Saved, Always Saved’ is used as a license to sin. Sound Doctrine is very important because what we believe is going to affect our actions & way of living.
Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. Know ye not that the unrighteous (G94 = one who deals fraudulently with others, who violates justice, sinful, unjust) shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners,shall inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Cor. 6:9-10
(The words railing or revilers (G3060) is also translated as blasphemers or speaking evil, especially against God. It’s to revile men or blaspheme God. These are people who curse others, the spreading of malicious lies, hateful character assassination. The Greek words (G987, G988 & G989) ‘βλασφημία –Blasphemia is translated most of the time as railing (e.g. 1 Tim. 6:4, Jude 1:9, Eph.4:31, etc). This isn’t talking about exposing doctrinal error. Paul & others exposed doctrinal error and named the false teachers. Even Jesus spoke harshly about the pharisees and He wasn’t reviling them or giving us a bad example. Truth is important but also are the motives when we correct or exhort others.
It’s common for many Christians who believe in OSAS to interpret the above passage as for outsiders only and to think that carnal Christians no matter if they do those things they are saved, but with all their respect we disagree. The carnal Christian has not die to self yet, they are not walking in the fullness of Christ or led by the Holy Spirit of God. They just started that process (sanctification) but need to surrender so God can work in them, & they can grow and be transformed. But if they continue in this path of sin, resisting God, without a genuine repentance, they will lose their salvation.
The Holy Spirit convicts of sin, of wrongdoing. Do we ignore His voice, or instead do we go before the Lord in prayer and ask Him to help us? We should already understand that we die to ourselves (to our fleshy desires) when we are baptized. “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Rom. 6:3-4 . We are not perfect, we can expect some mistakes and God knows that, but we believers have now the power of the Holy Spirit to help us, to be able to reject sin, in order to live for Christ, we have no excuse!
But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, [is] therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Gal. 2: 17-20
I have met believers who were living in sin, some were living in adultery & were unrepentant about it (even pastors in the news), yet they believed they were going to heaven when they died because at one time in their life they had professed faith in Jesus Christ and were taught in their church that they could never lose their salvation. Sadly, this interpretation gave them a false security.
The Bible teaches that eternal life comes from Jesus Christ, and that we need to stay, abide (remain) IN Christ while on earth because only in Him we find & have eternal life (not in us). Remember He is the author & finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), the Alpha & Omega (Rev. 1:8), the beginning and the end (Rev.22:13). Our faith & salvation starts with Him & ends with Him.
When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby. Eze.33:18
For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple,. . shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 1 Cor 8:11,
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. 1 Cor.9:27
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. Gal. 5:4
If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister. Colossians 1:23,
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Colossians 2:8
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. Hebrew 3:12,
even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 Peter 2:1
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
- If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
If ye abide in me and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. (John 15:1-10).
It is important to understand the word ABIDE (Strong’s G3306) = to remain, not to depart, to continue, to endure, to live, to remain as one, not to become another or different.
- Eternal Security isn’t accomplished by works or the self-effort of the person, on the contrary it’s a continual dependence on Christ. It’s a continual surrender of our life to His word because we believe Him and the Holy Spirit helps us to accomplish that (still we can resist him anytime). We believe our eternal security is in Christ alone. It’s by abiding IN HIM.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.
The word ‘believeth’ in the Greek is an on-going verb, we are saved by Grace as long as we keep on believing in Him. If we believe in Him we abide in Him & keep His commandments. Jesus used a vine as an example to explain his disciples the relationship between the branches (believers) and Him (The Vine):
There is a vital relationship between the branch and the vine, & it is clear that the branches have no life & give no fruit on their own or separated from the vine. The fruit of the Spirit and any good works should flow from a Christ-centered life, but good works do not produce a Christ-centered life nor help us get closer to God. Many get away from Christ trying to produce fruit on their own. When we abide in Jesus, He empowers us to give much fruit.
Many are troubled by those who claim that, unless a Christian is constantly winning others to Christ, he is a fruitless Christian. But there is nothing in it which suggests that those souls won for Christ are even considered fruit. Although it is good & we all can witness to others (though some are better on this than others), we are one body with different parts and different functions.
Using the basic principle of letting Scripture interpret Scripture, makes it more clear as to what this fruit really is. (Isaiah 5:7) it is evident from this passage of Isaiah, that the fruit which the Lord expects of the vine is moral character, or as we have it in the New Testament, the fruit of the Spirit — the fruit which the Spirit produces if we walk after the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control. The fruit, in other words, is Christ-likeness. Rom.8:29.
To be conformed to the image of Christ has nothing to do with our works nor by spiritual disciplines or spiritual exercises like some mystics teach. It has to do with the work of the Holy Spirit in us as we surrender to His lead. Remember, if a doctrine or practice is not found in His Word we don’t need it; let us compare every teaching with the Word of God.
– There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1
Notice it says ‘which ARE in Christ’ present tense; it is not the ones that were in Christ in the past & are not in Him today. To be in Christ, means to be so under His influence, as not to walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit. In other words, it is to receive constant divine influence from Him, as the branches receive nourishment from the vine every day in order to live & give fruit. As soon as that stops, the branch starts dying, withering. This close relationship with Christ, and subjection to His guide, are taught throughout the Scriptures. We need to remain in Him, persevere in His words, in faith, in this close relationship with Him. If we do that His words will abide in us and fruit will come forth easily.
Some say because we become sons, or are adopted into God’s family, we will never be kicked out; someone who is born again cannot be “unborn”, or that “once a son, always a son”. Some even teach that there is nothing we can do – blasphemy, murder, adultery, lying, etc. – that will ever make us lose our son-ship status. But remember we can make choices, like the sheep that leaves the shepherd and wanders around and as a consequence gets lost, also a son may choose to leave the Father and could get completely separated from Him (spiritually dead):
Luke 15:11-32 ” And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him;.. and let us eat, and be merry: for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
Romans 11:17-24 “And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. 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. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?”
– Professor Johan Malan, formerly of the University of the North in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, stated:
“It is indeed eternal salvation imputed to us when we receive Christ, but we have it only as long as we abide in Him. Eternal life is not vested in us but in Jesus Christ, who ever calls His disciples to faithfulness. What happens if we backslide into a life of willful sinning, no longer walking in the light and turning back to a life of unbelief? What about those who “have forsaken the right way and gone astray” (2 Pet. 2:15), having again become entangled in the pollutions of the world after their salvation? (2 Pet. 2:20). What they lose is not temporal but eternal salvation.”
The dangers of Eternal Security is that their proponents won’t believe in apostasy (falling away from the faith) & because of this they won’t be cautious, they think they cannot fall away from grace, making them more vulnerable to fall into apostasy, doctrinal errors & other dangers like excusing sin in their lives. Unfortunately, in more extreme scenarios it can even lead to homicide & suicide.