Once Saved, Always Saved?
Sign Me Up!
Persons of discernment can only sit back in disbelief as the prestigious proponents of unconditional eternal security, such as Charles Stanley, emphatically invoke - through great, swelling, oratorical pronouncement - the convoluted semantic algorithm which they so eloquently apply to the Biblical doctrine of GRACE.
Here is the problem: by means of an elaborate exegetical exercise, these sincere and well-meaning "securists" produce a doctrinal result that must surely have the apostles of the early church turning over in their graves, at considerable rpm’s.
A good illustration of applying the "Once Saved Always Saved" doctrine is that of a physician who gives his patient a pregnancy test. The test comes back positive and the doctor congratulates her on the good news. He then hands her an official-looking piece of paper. “What’s this?” she inquires. “Oh, that’s the signed birth certificate! Based on the results of this test, I am so confident that within nine months from now you will be the proud mother of a bouncing, blue-eyed baby boy that I’m just going to get this formality out of the way. If it turns out that I’m wrong, then I guess you weren't really pregnant, but in that case you can SUE me!”
Any physician in their right mind would not risk such malpractice in connection with the first birth, but there are some in positions of religious leadership who are are apparently so self-assured and confident in their doctrine that they are quite willing to risk spiritual malpractice in their peculiar administration of the second birth!
The fatal flaw of OSAS reasoning is that it deftly merges the “works” of the Old Covenant Law (“by which no man shall be justified”) along with the “works” of obedience to God’s Word which are inextricably bound to both the Old and the New Covenants (“faith without works is dead”). The obedience "baby", then, is ceremoniously tossed out along with the rest of the "works" bathwater!
"Ye see then that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only" (James 2:24).
James is not talking about doing "good deeds", or keeping "the law" in the preceding verse; he is referring to the necessity for a believer, as in the case of Abraham, to apply action to faith by choosing to live his or her life in simple obedience to God's commands.
Implicit in the Once Saved, Always Saved doctrine is the insidious presumption that once grace has been invoked by receiving the gift of God’s salvation by faith through repentance, obedience to that newly installed “Lord”, Jesus Christ, is somehow “optional.”
Hypothetically at least, one can receive Christ as "Savior" - by the "sincere" recitation of some glib sinner's prayer formula - and then never apply a lick of obedience to God’s Word, but never needs to fear any consequence more compelling than perhaps some temporal chastisement or, at worst, a “downsizing” of one’s eternal rewards.
“Oh, but then they weren’t really saved!” is the OSAS outcry. In other words, you can never completely “fall away” like it warns against in the scriptures, because if you “fall away” then you were never really “saved” to begin with!
To explain this line of reasoning within the context of our previous illustration, it is impossible for a pregnant woman to ever have a "miscarriage", because if she has a miscarriage, then she was never really "pregnant."
Does this logic escape you? You are not alone; it has - mercifully - escaped countless godly laypeople as well as many astute Bible scholars over the generations. In fact, it has escaped an overwhelming segment of the contemporary Christian community.
The apostle Paul would contend with them. He noted that he kept his flesh under subjection, “lest, after I have taught others, I myself should become a reprobate.” Paul recognized that obedience to God’s word is a choice the believer must make; we do not suddenly become spiritual “zombies” when we are born again.
Herein lies the other glaring difficulty with OSAS: terms contained in sober warnings to Christians like “reprobate”, “apostasy”, "cut off", “falling away”, "perishing", "unless you believed in vain", "rejected", “cast into outer darkness”, "assigned a place with unbelievers", and even “terrifying expectation of judgment”, have been conveniently redefined to mean something far more innocuous than the uninitiated, impressionable reader might infer.
Matthew 24:13 reads, "But the one who endures to the end, it is he who shall be saved."
OSAS proponents have rewritten this scripture to read, "But the one who is saved, it is he who SHALL endure to the end." In doing so, they have rendered Biblical teaching regarding spiritual miscarriage, or apostasy, utterly devoid of meaning. The writer of Hebrews does not warn the Jewish Christians that isolated sins of our flesh will jeopardize our salvation, but there is a very obvious warning to those believers who choose to willfully continue in sin, which is rebellion (Hebrews 10:26-29).
Securists are quite correct when they protest that if a person were to completely “fall away” from the faith after having embraced it fully, that it would be “impossible to renew them again unto repentance.” (Hebrews 6:6) However, the letter to the Laodicieans in Revelation chapter 3 indicates that there remains a window of grace (consistent with the merciful nature of God), a period of time during which Jesus continues to knock on the door of the hearts of even those who are forcefully “vomited” out of their place in God because of their “lukewarmness”, in the hope that He may regain His exalted place in their lives.
In a physical miscarriage there may be a short period of time before an aborted conceptus is rejected from the womb and the time it actually “perishes.” As it pertains to human souls, the scripture indicates that, if a person does not continue in their unbelief, “God is able to graft them in again.” (Romans 11:23)
Tragically, in their genuine but misguided zeal, the teachers of unconditional eternal security are driving coffin nails into the lives of some - perhaps many - people who desperately need to be grafted back into Christ. The parable of the prodigal son is much more readily applicable to those who once were abiding members of the family of God than to those who have never known Him at all: the joyful father indicated that even though his son was "DEAD", upon his repentant return he was "ALIVE AGAIN"! He was "LOST", but then "FOUND." Is a "dead", "lost" son of any more use to his father than no son at all? OSAS proponents frequently argue that the prodigal never ceased being the "son" of his father. The real question is: did he any longer have a place or an inheritance in his father's house? NO! Not until he returned to his father.
"...but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast forth into the outer darkness..." (Matthew 8:12).
Think about it...
Grace is the instrument through which salvation is made available to all of mankind, but it is made quite clear in scripture that salvation is not only an "event" but as long as we are still alive upon this earth it is also a "process" that is maintained by faith ("by [because of God's] grace are you saved through faith"). This same faith, if it is neglected and never characterized by obedience to God's Word, as we have indicated, will inevitably wind up “DEAD.”
Once Saved, Always Saved?
Sign me up?
Only if "dead" faith can get me into Heaven!
As the old saying goes, if the sales pitch "sounds too good to be true", it probably is!
A wise missionary in our generation once stated, "Salvation is a gift, but it's not FREE; it's a life for a Life!"
For the sake of discussion, if OSAS is right, then nothing really changes, does it? On the other hand, if it is wrong, then there are many people who will one day stand before God and be required to give an account for the blood on their hands.
For this reason - and since there are at least as many, if not more, scriptures that directly contradict OSAS as there are that would "appear" to support it - prudence would seem to dictate errancy on the side of caution and would suggest that such a doctrine be put on the shelf pending further examination!
"Thou wilt say then, the branches were broken off, that I might be grafted 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." (Romans 11: 19-22)
HOW CAN I REACH PEOPLE I KNOW WHO ARE CAUGHT UP IN THIS DECEPTION?
If you have not been indoctrinated with this teaching, RUN from anyone who tries to tell you that signing up to run the race is the same thing as finishing the race and collecting your prize!
The mere presentation of contradictory scripture to people who have been thoroughly indoctrinated in this teaching is generally futile, because - amazingly - they employ many of the same scriptures, from their own contextual frame of reference, to support OSAS.
1) Leave them alone: in some cases, they are “the blind leading the blind”, simply looking for “another” way to Heaven. (OSAS is, by any standard, "another" gospel!)
2) Realize that, for those committed Christians whose lives manifest the fruit of the Spirit and who continue to abide in Christ "until the end", OSAS is not even an issue.
3) Check your own heart and doctrine with the help of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. If you are entertaining some enormous blind spot in your own life, don’t expect God to use you to expose theirs!
4) If they are open, share your views using scripture and logic, but do it in LOVE!
5) (Most important) PRAY FOR THEM!
~ Your security is not in the fact that the light once came on; it’s that you are walking in the Light!
- The Devil And Charles Stanley -
|Home | Maggots And Fire? | Saved? Don't Lose It!
Statement Of Purpose | Early Beginnings | Sermonet Of The Week
Classic Sermonets | Internet Tools | E-mail Us