Friday, August 19, 2011

Once Saved, Not "Forever" Saved - Expanded

[Since I had great time constraints yesterday, I did not write out the Bible references I shared. So, here this is the "expanded" version of this post.]

A few days ago, I read on a blog the story of a woman whose husband committed suicide. She is sure (well, mostly sure) he is in heaven because her pastor assured her that her husband had made a commitment to Christ in his presence just weeks previous, and thus he was saved forever. (Paraphrased.)

Yesterday I read a comment on a different blog which said thus: "...that once he is saved, neither he nor anyone else can do anything to change that."

And today I turned on the radio and heard a well-known preacher state: "Your sins are forgiven, you become a child of God, your name is written down in the book of life, and you are forever secure."

After hearing this three times, I decided to refute this misinterpretation on my blog, instead of fuming inside, as I generally do when I hear bad doctrine.

Once "saved", your salvation is not eternally secure.

Let me repeat: Once "saved", your salvation is not eternally secure. It is extremely dangerous to believe so, as this belief promotes the thinking of "Oh, I'm saved forever. I can do whatever I want and know it won't affect my salvation", thus causing many to neglect their faith and spiritual growth.

I won't spend much time with my own words, but will instead direct you to God's Words, as the Bible is the ultimate authority on all things which pertain to the Christian life! (If you can show me where in God's Word where I am wrong for refuting the doctrine of the "perseverance of the saints", then I'd gladly reconsider.)

Hebrews 6:4-6
"For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding Him up to contempt."

Hebrews 10:26-29
"For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sings, but a fearful expectation of judgement, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Holy Spirit?"

Ezekiel 18:24
"But when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die."

Luke 8:13-14
"And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature."

1st Timothy 1:19b-20
"By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme."

Galatians 5:4
"You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace."

And consider Demas, who in Colossians, was a brother in the Lord and fellow worker to Paul:
"Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas." (Colossians 4:14); then in 1st Timothy 4:10a, Paul says thus: "For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica."

I am only sharing exactly what God's Word says, and will let God's Word stand.



Daniel J. Mount said...

It is only with much trepidation that I post here.

I believe that God, who is sovereign and omniscient, knows the future.

As such, if a person professes faith at one point in their lives, but that person will not profess faith at the end of their lives, I believe that God already knows that.

(The alternative would be someone surprising God by walking away from the faith.)

Of course, what I have said doesn't really deal with whether or not they were truly saved in the interim; I actually don't particularly like debating points of doctrine, and my natural bent is toward aiming for common ground.

Hannah said...

Thank you for sharing Taylor! I am not a pro on this subject by any means, but here are my initial thoughts with a couple verses I thought of just off the top of my head . . .

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

If you can lose your salvation, that means you keep it by your "good works," which means that you save yourself, and not Jesus Christ alone! Hopefully that makes sense. Just a thought! :-)

Love, in Jesus,

Miss Taylor said...

Daniel and Hannah:

It has been a busy day of sick cats, errand running, practice, and concert preparation, combined with considering how best to respond to your comments, so I have not had ample opportunity to write back. I will be responding as soon as possible. Thanks for your thoughts!


Daniel J. Mount said...

No problem. Naturally, there wouldn't be any debate if the correct interpretation of these passages (and the passages that suggest eternal security) was obvious.

Just to take one: I had the opportunity to lead a Wednesday-evening Bible study through Hebrews a number of years ago. I went in depth enough that it ended up being a 24-week study. I think we spent a whole evening on the first few verses of Hebrews, and that without exhausting the topic!

One of the things we discussed: Is it possible to taste the heavenly gift without fully plunging in and accepting Salvation?

The passage remains difficult, even with soteriology out of the mix. It appears to state that there's a point where returning to God is not an option. But that's a discussion for another day!

Hannah said...

No hurry Taylor! :-) Have a great day!!!

yankeegospelgirl said...

Taylor, I applaud your boldness in posting this. Have you ever read C. S. Lewis's _The Great Divorce_? Some very profound stuff there that sheds a lot of light on this topic.

Amy W. said...

Dear Taylor,

Hannah made a really good point.

I want to add a few things for you to consider:
God is all powerful and is sovereign over all things. His elect will always be His. If a person "falls away from the faith", then it is evidence that he/she was never truly saved in the first place. As you probably already know, a person can do a lot of good things, but that doesn't save him/her.

Here are some thoughts on the verses you quoted in your post:

Hebrews 6:4-6~ If this did mean you could lose your salvation, then it would mean when you do lose it you can never get it back again. That is a wimpy salvation.

Hebrews 10:26-29 ~ It doesn't say the person was saved. A person can have a lot of knowledge of the truth and not truly be saved. Knowledge does not save you.

Ezekiel 18:24 ~ Righteous works do not save you.

Luke 8:13-14 ~ Some people make a commitment to Christ that is not genuine and as the cares of life come upon them their true state of unbelief becomes evident. Just praying a sinners prayer doesn't save you. Paul Washer has some excellent sermons that touch on this issue.

1st Timothy 1:19b-20 ~ Apostates do just that.

Galatians 5:4 ~ Those who seek to be justified by the law, lose their grasp on the profound truth that we are saved by grace and not works.

Colossians 4:14 does not say that Demas was saved. As for 2 Timothy 4:10a ~ "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in him. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." ~1 John 2:15 & 17 According to the Bible it looks like Demas was never saved in the first place.

This issue you raised:
"Oh, I'm saved forever. I can do whatever I want and know it won't affect my salvation"
is dealt with in Romans 6:15-23

Those who are truly saved will grow in their thirst for God and His ways and grow ever closer to Him. He is their treasure. They will not be perfect, but will desire to be obedient to His word.

I will close with a few verses in John that very clearly state that we will never lose our salvation:
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. I and my Father are one." ~John 10:27-29


yankeegospelgirl said...

Just thought I'd address a point Hannah made:

"If you can lose your salvation, that means you keep it by your 'good works,' which means that you save yourself, and not Jesus Christ alone!"

This isn't how I picture the meaning of "losing your salvation." I picture it as a _rejection of Jesus_. Jesus is there, offering grace, but we can choose not to accept it. You're not saved by your good works or damned by your evil works. You are saved or damned depending on whether you choose to embrace or reject Jesus.

Miss Taylor said...

Hello y'all,

I am writing an inclusive response post to all your comments.

It has been a weekend of extreme searching of God's Word and deep consideration for me, and I will share my conclusions (Lord-willing) tomorrow.


Miss Taylor said...

Oh, and YGG, I haven't read C.S. Lewis's "The Great Divorce", but found it in our church library tonight, and since I've been looking for some good reading material recently, I checked it out - as well as "Mere Christianity" - and I hope to delve into it. I've wanted to read C.S. Lewis's works for a while, but just have never got around to it...except I have read the Chronicles of Narnia. :)


yankeegospelgirl said...

Oh, how neat! You're in for a treat. (And I'm a poet, and didn't know it.)

I would also recommend _The Screwtape Letters_. That's one of his most popular, for good reason.

Miss Taylor said...

YGG: Actually, you know what, I think I have started to read "Screwtape Letters", but never finished it...must have got distracted by another good book or something. I also heard several episodes of the dramatized version put out by Focus on the Family's Radio Theater. Ah yes, my reading list grows! :)

Miss Taylor said...

Okay, Daniel, I have to ask: what does soteriology mean? I am familiar with some "big" terms (like othropraxy), but of this word, I am ignorant! :)

Sounds like a thought-provoking study on Hebrews, by the way!

yankeegospelgirl said...

Oooooh, yes, Focus did do a dramatization of that with Andy Serkis. He's the guy who played Gollum in _Lord of the Rings_. Incredible actor!

Miss Taylor said...

*YGG: That was the guy who played Gollum?! I've never really actually watched that movie of LOTR (we only began to watch the first video, but it was rather too dark and evil, so we stopped it quite quickly!). But I can imagine his interpretation of Gollum's "gollum". :)

yankeegospelgirl said...

I watched the movies when I got into my teens, but I quite agree that the books are FAR better. I was disappointed with the way the makers changed the story. Important characters were fundamentally altered, pieces of the story were cut out, and goofy stuff was added in... things like that. However, I did feel like there was a lot of love put into it all the same. The attention to detail was incredible, and certain characters like Gollum were brilliantly successful! So it was really kind of a mixed bag. I wouldn't say they're a "must-see," but at least worth seeing---and certainly better than the Narnia movies!