Why is the "Once Saved Always Saved" doctrine wrong?
is really part of a broader question about what it means to be saved.
While it is not possible to cover all of that in this message, we
are happy to point you to a few Scriptures that provide light on this
From God's perspective, He saved the entire world over 2000 years
ago when Jesus was crucified and risen from the dead (John 3:17, John 1:29, John 4:42, John 12:47). However, clearly this
does not mean that every person is saved, for then no one would go
to hell. So how can God save the world and everyone in the world not
be saved? This may seem like a contradiction until you understand
that God is dealing with us from an eternal standpoint. He knows the
end of the matter from the beginning, so He speaks in relation to
things being a completed work even though we (mankind) have to experience
these things as they happen in time and space.
So, how do we experience salvation for ourselves? God has identified
the conditions of our salvation in His Word. We must believe that
He has sent His Son to be crucified as a sacrifice for our sins, and
that He has been risen from the dead (John 3:17).
We must obey His Word (John 14:15, Romans 6:17, Philippians 2:12). We must repent from sin (Matthew 4:17,
Mark 6:12). We must not continue in sin (1st Peter 1:15, 1st Peter 4:1, Hebrews 10:2, Colossians 3:5). We must be
born again (John 3:3, 1st Peter 1:23). We must
have our minds renewed (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:23)...
These are just a few, but Scripture is filled with the conditions
God has given for those who would be saved.
Once you enter into a salvation experience with the Lord, can you
still be lost? There are numerous references in God's Word to believers
(saved people, members of the church) being lost. Paul states that
it was possible for him to still be a cast away (1st Corinthians 9:27). It is stated that there will be believers
who fall away because of temptation (Luke 8:13, 2nd Peter 2:22) Specifically, we are told that a great falling away or
apostasy in the Church is one of the signs of the end times (2nd Thessalonians 2:3). We are even told that you can get to a
point with God that, should you turn/fall away, there remains no repentance
left for you (Hebrews 6:4-6). Jesus Himself
even says that those who do not stay committed to Him will be cast
from His Body (spewed out of His mouth) (Revelation 3:15-16) and that He can blot your name out of the Book of
Life (Revelation 3:5). How do you know those
who are saved? Jesus says that you will know them by their fruit (not
verbal confession, lip service, religious denomination...).
Why isn't our salvation eternally secured the moment we accept Jesus?
When you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, you are entering
into a covenant relationship with Him. In Scripture we see God's promises
for those who enter into this covenant as well as what He expects
from man in order to uphold our part of the covenant. The key here
is that it takes 2 to make and keep a covenant. Our salvation is not
all on God (as we have seen above, there are conditions we have to
meet) neither is it all on us (He gave His Son, He forgives when we
repent...). Although God is faithful to always meet His part of the
covenant, man is not always faithful. When we disregard our part of
the covenant we have made with God, the covenant has been broken.
We can look to the Old Testament for a picture of how God handles
those who break His covenants. First, He patiently gives time for
repentance. He sends prophets with a word of warning for the people
to turn back to Him. Then, if there is no repentance, He sends forth
judgment. It is the same with us. God extends grace to us to give
us time to be conformed into the image of His Son, so that we may
be spared His wrath. You can see in the Old Testament that when Israel
was in rebellion against God, he referred to them as adulterers. He
uses the same terminology when referring to rebellious members of
the church in the New Testament (James 4:4). Looking
in the New Testament, we see an important revelation from God about
how he views covenants. He indicates that a covenant between a man
and wife is to be honored (Matthew 19:8); however
He also says that one can freely walk away from this agreement when
adultery is present (Matthew 5:32). When we
turn from God through disobedience and rebellion, He considers us
adulterers. At that time, we have chosen to break the covenant, thereby
absolving God from His part of the covenant. Thankfully, due to God's
grace and mercy, He does not immediately cast us away from Him in
these times. However, if we refuse to repent and change, we place
our very salvation in jeopardy.
Finally, we will leave you with the following Scripture from Hebrews
"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 fiery 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
sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit
Why is the "Once Saved Always Saved" belief a doctrine of
devils? Because it contradicts Scripture. At best, it falsely gives
people the impression that they have no role in keeping the covenant
of salvation they have made with God. At worst, it allows people to
believe that they can continue willfully in sin and still be saved.
Either case, it creates an apathetic group of people who claim Jesus
in name, but do not go through the steps necessary to be cleansed
and made into manifested Sons of God.