About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Why Once Saved Always Saved Is Not Biblical
The following are 28 verses that have been emailed to me stating why "eternal security", or "once saved always saved" is a New Testament concept. After each verse I show why the verse does not say such a thing.
The main point I feel those who believe in "once saved always saved" miss is the fact that salvation is by "faith alone". This simply means that as long as "we trust in Jesus" we are saved. If we lay aside our trust in Jesus, we forfeit our salvation.
Most, if not all Evangelicals believe that we are saved by faith and not by works. By the same reasoning, we maintain our salvation by faith and not by good works. It is only logical then that if we lay aside our faith, we lay aside our salvation. This is the bottom line to my argument.
Peter speaks of "being born again" which is a direct reference to what Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3. Jesus said that this second birth is by the Holy Spirit as He comes to live within one who gives his life to Jesus. Peter acknowledges this same fact in the rest of this verse when he tells us that the "seed" we have been born by is "incorruptible". When a woman is impregnated with the seed of man, that seed is corruptible, meaning the resulting child will some day die physically. In comparison the seed of God is the Holy Spirit who is eternal.
Those who believe in "once saved always saved" will say that once you receive this incorruptible seed you will live for ever as a saved person because you have the Holy Spirit within you. They would say that once receiving the Spirit you canít remove yourself from Him for He is eternal.
The fact of the matter is that we receive this incorruptible seed as a result of our trust in Jesus. If one withdraws his trust in Jesus, and rejects His very existence, the Holy Spirit will depart from us. The Holy Spirit can only live in someone who trusts in Jesus.
The departure of the Spirit does not mean that we will no longer live forever for God has made us eternal beings. We either live forever with Him, or live forever in the lake of fire.
When you say that one cannot get unsaved because he has been born again of incorruptible seed which comes by trusting Jesus, that is ignoring the trust factor that gets us saved in the first place. It is also ignoring the fact that we stay saved by this same trust.
This verses does not speak to the issue of "once saved always saved". It only states the fact that we are born by the incorruptible seed. Anything beyond this point is conjecture and oneís personal interpretation and view point. This verse has little real relevance to the topic at hand.
In this passage of John 10 Jesus is in a heated dialogue with the Jews who opposed Him. They were questioning His claim of being the Christ. Jesus told these people that they didnít understand what He was saying because they werenít His sheep. Jesus noted that His sheep listened to Him, He knew them, and they followed Him.
Jesus also said that His sheep will never perish because He gives them eternal life. Now we know from John 3:16 that this eternal life is conditional. Once trust in Jesus is found in a person, then the person becomes a sheep of Jesus and receives eternal life. (whosoever believes shall inherit eternal life Ė John 3:16)
Jesus goes on to say that "no one can snatch" these sheep away from Him or the Father. There is no one in this universe, the devil included, that can steel a Christian from Jesus. Yet other men, or even demons are not the issue here. James, in James 1:14 says, "each man is tempted, when by his own evil desires, he is dragged away and enticed". Others are not the problem. We are the problem. Our own evil desires tempt us and try to drag us away from Jesus. If we get dragged too far as to cross the line of faith into unbelief, we ourselves snatch us away from Jesus so to speak. It is not really a snatch. We simply leave the Shepherd and His flock.
So no one can steel us away from Jesus. Yet we ourselves can walk away from Him. Jesus does not address this point here, but it is a Scriptural truth.
This Scripture does not teach, "once saved always saved". It only teaches that no man, no demon can steel us from Jesus.
Before Paul tells his readers that "their lives are hid with Christ in God", he tells them that they have "died", that is, "died to sin, died to self". This means that these people have truly repented of their sins and are now living by faith. Instead of placing their lives in their own hands, they have placed their lives in the hands of Christ. They no longer are in charge of their lives. Jesus is in charge of their lives and looking after them and protecting them (hiding them) from harm.
There is no hint of "once saved always saved" in this verse. The verse merely states that once you have died to self (repented) and live for Jesus (faith) you become alive in Christ and find a place of protection and safety. If you leave the place of faith, then you leave that hidden place of protection.
We should note that the idea that God will protect us as we live in this hidden place, and that no bad thing will ever happen to you is not valid. It is Godís prerogative to remove that hedge of protection as a means of testing our trust in Him. Many bad things have happened to good Christians, but, He will not test us beyond our ability to stand up under the pressure.
It is clear to me that those who use this verse to prove "once saved always saved" believe in a specific view of predestination. Their version of predestination says that God chose those He wanted to be saved before He created man. Those who He did not choose cannot be saved.
I donít believe God chose anyone to salvation before creation. My understanding of predestination is based on Rom. 8:29 and following. Paul says, "for those who God foreknew, he also predestined .. and those He predestined He also called; those He called He also justified; those He justified He also gloried". There is a progression on Godís part in these verses - foreknew Ė predestined - called - justified Ė glorified..
First of all God foreknew everyone. Thatís easy to understand. He also predestined, or predetermined to call everyone to salvation. Predestine means to predetermine. God predetermined to call everyone to salvation, and those who answered His call He justified, and those who are justified will eventually glorify.
The predetermination on Godís part is "to call men to salvation", not to choose certain to salvation.
This view of predestination I believe is the correct view. If one believes that God chose only some to salvation then you have a problem with all of the "whosoever" verses. The "whosoever" verses are those verses that say "whosoever believes in me shall be saved". Thereís lots of them. How can God pre-choose men to salvation and then turn around and say "whoever wants to be saved can be saved". There is no logic in this view.
Therefore this verse does not support "once saved always saved" unless you support what I would call a wrong view of predestination.
Paul tells us that we are seated with Christ in Heavenly places. What does this mean? When we become a real Christian we receive the Holy Spirit of God into our lives. At that point we enter the Kingdom of God which is a spiritual kingdom at this point in time. We live and exist in a place where someone who does not have the Spirit of God cannot live. This place is a spiritual place, or a Heavenly place as Paul puts it.
Christians live in 2 kingdoms, the kingdom of man, and the Kingdom of God. This is a true and present reality for us. We are in fact seated with Jesus by His Spirit in this heavenly kingdom.
There is no hint in this verse that once you enter this heavenly place that you canít exit. Paul is simply saying, "if you are truly born again, you live with Jesus in this spiritual place". The issue of "once save always saved" is not addressed. You canít conclude something that is not clearly stated in Scripture, which is the case here.
They key word in this verse is the word "sealed". What does this mean? It does not mean that your salvation is sealed up tight so you canít get unsealed or unsaved. The definition of "seal" does not mean to close tightly as one seals an envelope.
The Greek word translated as seal is more of a legal or financial word. As a lawyer puts a "seal of approval" on a document to make it legal, so Jesus puts His seal of approval (signet, mark, sign) on true Christians showing that we belong to Him.
The same point needs to be made here as in the previous verses. Paul does not say that we have this mark, this seal forever. He is simply saying that those who belong to Jesus have this seal of approval, and of course Paul clearly says that this seal (our salvation) is a result of our faith in Jesus. As long as we trust Jesus we have the seal. If we reject Him we donít have the seal.
Really, all that I should say about this verse in light of the present subject is, "of course He knows who are His". What does that have to do with "once saved always saved".
In context Paul is speaking about false teachers who destroy "the faith" of people. This is the intent of the devil, that is, to destroy our faith, our trust in Jesus because he knows if we get rid of our faith we loose our salvation. Remember when Jesus told Peter that he would deny Him. Jesus wasnít so concerned about the denial. He was concerned about Peterís faith. He told Peter that He would "pray that his faith would not fail". Jesus was concerned that Peterís trust in Him would not fail. Our trust in Jesus, our faith is the foundation of our salvation.
Once again in this verse we see the word "seal". Paul says that we are "Ösealed with this inscription, Ď the Lord knows those whoa are Hisí". He surely does. There is no mention, no hint of "once saved always saved in this verse".
In this Scripture Paul is speaking to the Christians at Philippi. He is trying to encourage these people in the Lord. Paul tells them that they have shared in the gospel, and that they are found in Godís grace. (verse 5 and 8) Because these people are firm in their faith, Paul can be assured that God will continue the work that He has started with them. Once again, this is meant to be an encouragement the his readers.
Within the context of the verse provided there is no mention of "once saved always saved". Those who derive such an interpretation are putting words into Paulís mouth. I doubt if that thought crossed his mind. God will only finish His work within us if we allow Him to do so. God will do so with these people because they are found in His grace, but if they leave His grace, God is not obligated to complete His work.
9- They are already living stones in the spiritual Building of God, of which Christ Himself is the Chief Cornerstone.
(1Peter 2:5 ; Eph. 2:20-22)
10- They are members of the Body of Christ, each with a peculiar function - without the least member of the
Body would not be complete. (1Cor. 12:12-27)
I put both of the above verses together because they are similar. Once we repent and give our lives to Jesus many things happen, two of which are, we become stones in a spiritual building, and members in the Body of Christ. There is no statement in these verses suggesting we remain stones and members forever. The argument for "once saved always saved" is argued from silence. You cannot argue a point when there is no point to be argued.
11- They are kept by the Power of God. (1Pet.1:5)
As in all of the verses I have commented on "once saved always saved" is not clearly stated, only interpreted. Of course our God has the power to keep us in salvation. He could even do this against our will, but from the beginning He has always given us the choice to choose. We choose to allow Godís power to keep us in salvation, or we choose to leave His power. The verse does not say that we are kept against our will.
12- The inheritance is reserved for them. (1Pet.1:5)
What this verse really says is that this inheritance "is kept in Heaven for us, who through faith are shielded by Godís powerÖ" Our inheritance depends on our faith, our trust in Jesus. This is clear from this verse. As long as we trust Jesus we are saved. Iím not arguing from silence. I make the point from the clear statement of this verse.
13- God's people are a gift to Christ. (John 17:6,7)
This verse tells us that God gave Jesus certain people. Later in the chapter Jesus said that He kept those who were given Him except for one (verse 12). Obviously one was lost. God did give Judas to Jesus and He was lost, even though it was meant to happen. Part of the reason why Jesus prayed this prayer in the fist place is that after He left He wanted God to keep those He gave Him in the faith. I would think that if Jesus prayed this, in His mind He had to have thought there was a chance these men might fall away or else why would He pray this prayer.
14- Backsliding is a sin, but = 1John 1:7
Iím not sure how this verse applies to the subject at hand. John says that if we "walk in the light we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus purifies usÖ". I donít know where "backsliding" comes into this verse. Besides, "backsliding" sometimes means something different to different people. This verse was written to Christians. John wrote it because he knew Christians would sin and that sin effects fellowship with both God and man. But if sins is repented of, God forgives. Committing a particular sin does not forfeit oneís salvation. Leaving your trust in Jesus forfeits your salvation.
15- He is able to save to the uttermost! (written of Believers!) & of present work of Christ. (Heb.7:25)
In this passage, the writer of Hebrews is speaking about Jesus as being our Great High Priest. He is not merely a human priest and therefore "he can save completely". What the writer is speaking about is that human priest must always be offering sacrifices for forgiveness of sins. Not so with Jesus. The sacrifice of His life was only offered once and is good for eternity. His sacrifice is "complete". We have no other sacrifice to make. The word "completely" refers not to "once saved always saved", but to the fact that Jesusí sacrifice is complete which in turns means we donít have to keep making sacrifices.
16- They are already "accepted in the Beloved. (Eph.1:6)
Once again, I see nothing in this verse that mentions the idea that once you get saved, youíre always saved. The verse simply says that salvation is found in Jesus, and in Jesus alone. In context Paul is saying that God has predetermined to make salvation, or sonship as he says here, available through Jesus as we repent and put our trust in Him.
17- Nothing can separate them from the Love of Christ. (Rom.8: 38,39)
If God sent Jesus to die for us "while we were yet in sin". It is then clear that God loves everyone. For this reason nothing can separate us from His love. Nothing can remove Godís love for us. He will always love those He created, but we must remember that God is just. If we refuse to accept His love, even after we once received it, then we will not benefit from His love.
18- Because He loves them "To the END." (John 13:1)
John tells us that Jesus "loved His own", and "showed them the full extent of His love". What Jesus was going through in this stage of His earthly life was stressful beyond measure. What He was going through and would go through in the days ahead was proof of the love He had for "His own". The words "His own" would be the important words to "once saved always saved" people. They would suggest that Jesus died "for His own", and if you are "His own" then you are "His own" for life.
In context, "His own" refers to His dedicated followers. He was in the process of showing His love to them. But we know that Jesus loved more than just His followers. He loved the Jewish leaders who eventually handed Him over to the Romans to be killed. This is evident as He wept over them from the Mount of Olives where He could clearly see the great city of Jerusalem.
Then there is John 3:16, "for God so loved the worldÖ" After reading this verse, how can one say that Jesus only loved "His own".
19- By one offering He perfected forever, them that are sanctified. (Heb.10:28)
20- They are already "accepted in the Beloved. (Eph.1:6)
Of course we are accepted in the beloved, but Paul does not clearly say that being accepted is forever. Once again, you can only argue from what is clearly stated, and not from what you think might be stated.
21- They cannot become unborn! (John 3:6-8)
Again, this verse not say you cannot become "unborn". It only says that you are born again, and that takes place when you receive the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit really lives within you there will be change in your life. If you decide to not trust in Jesus, the Holy Spirit will leave. I believe you can become "unborn", but only through unbelief, not by merely sinning.
22- Christ dwelleth in them. (2John 2)
John says that the truth will be with us forever, and that is absolutely true if we continue to stay on the side of truth. John is assuming this lady he is speaking to will always love the truth.
23- They are sheep, & He gives them Eternal or Everlasting life. (John 10:28)
Everyone has eternal life. Some spend eternity in Heaven, and some in Hell. By trusting Jesus we will spend eternal life in Heaven, but once again, if we throw away our trust, our destiny will change.
24- Whom He foreknew, He also, etc. (Romans 8:28-30)
God foreknew who would be saved. He also have predetermined that all men will be called to salvation. Those who respond positively to Jesus' call will be justified, and then glorified as Paul states in Rom. 8. You cannot believe that God predestined some to be saved and others not to be saved. If you do believe this, you forfeit all of the "whosoever will believe will be saved" verses, and you can't do that.
25- In their flesh dwelleth no good thing! They are saved by Grace (unmerited Favor) Not by works(Eph.2:8-9)
Yes, this is right. We are saved by faith, but what the person is missing who pulled out these verses is that we maintain our salvation by faith as well. We stay saved by faith. We loose our salvation if we loose our faith.