ARE WE ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED?
E.R. Hall, Jr.
Many are "teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:9). The doctrine of "once saved always saved" originated over 500 years ago by a man named John Calvin. For what is meant by this abbreviated statement, I wish to quote a more detailed explanation: "We take the position that a Christian's sins do not damn his soul. The way a Christian lives, what he says, his character, his conduct, or his attitude toward other people have nothing whatever to do with the salvation of his soul...All the prayers a man may pray, all the Bibles he may read, all the churches he may belong to, all the services he may attend, all the sermons he may practice, all the debts he may pay, all the ordinances he may observe, all the laws he may keep, all the benevolent acts he may perform will not make his soul one whit safer; AND ALL THE SINS HE MAY COMMIT FROM IDOLATRY TO MURDER WILL NOT MAKE HIS SOUL IN ANY MORE DANGER...THE WAY A MAN LIVES HAS NOTHING WHATEVER TO DO WITH THE SALVATION OF HIS SOUL.” (Emphasis mine, ERH) (Do A Christian's Sins Damn His Soul?, by Sam Morris, First Baptist Church pastor.)
Is this what the Bible teaches? Jesus stated in John 15:5-6: "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." Does it not take being "in Him", that is ‘in Christ', to be a Christian? Most certainly it does. What happens as Christians if we "abide not in" Christ? Do we lose our salvation? Are we in danger of being lost in Hell? Jesus says we are! Now, who are we going to believe: the doctrine of Christ or the doctrine of men?
Romans 11:22 states: "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 shall be cut off." Doesn't this verse sound exactly the opposite of the statements ‘We take the position that a Christian's sins do not damn his soul' and ‘all the sins he may commit from idolatry to murder will not make his soul in any more danger'? If it sounds the exact opposite that's because they are opposite of what the Scriptures teach!
In Galatians 5:2-4 the Scriptures teach: "Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." This was written to Christians, obviously, because in verse one it says, "Stand fast therefore, in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." Only Christians are at liberty in Christ and neither can we "fall" out of what we were never in. Christians can and do "fall from grace”!
Hebrews 6:4-6 states, "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, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 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." Who are these verses in reference to: a person who thinks he is a Christian or to a person who has truly been redeemed by the blood of Christ? When we read such statements as "once enlightened", "tasted of the heavenly gift", "partakers of the Holy Ghost", "tasted the good word of God", and tasted the "powers of the world to come" there can be no mistake that this is a person who is a Christian. Referring to one who is truly a Christian, the writer says, that such a person can "FALL AWAY”.
In Hebrews 10:26-29 we read, "For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and firey indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was santified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?" This passage is speaking of a person who is truly a Christian because it specifically states he was "santified" by the blood of Christ. To this person who is unwilling to repent, he awaits a "sorer punishment" worse than death.
When you have people today who are willing and ready to give you a 100% certainty of going to heaven, they are handing you a bill of sale with a man's signature on it. They are handing you a doctrine of man that if you will only become a Christian then all your worries are over and ‘you don't have to concern yourself with doing the things God commands you because that is a "work of righteousness" and has nothing to do with going to heaven’. ‘Once you're saved you can never lose your salvation!’ What a popular doctrine! What a comforting doctrine! How easy it is for people to be lulled into the acceptance of such a teaching! We can be sure of salvation but not the way this doctrine teaches but rather as taught in 2 Peter 1: 4-11. After commanding to add to our faith virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity Peter said, "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make you calling and election sure: for IF ye do these things, ye shall never fall:”