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Joined: 2006/8/25
Posts: 1658
Indiana USA

 Question about once saved always saved

What do you think of this article. It was originally posted here on the SI forum some time ago by Joe Benson himself. I could not find that thread, so I am re-posting it to get your thoughts. I am not convinced of this doctrine but thought this article brought up some good points.

Once Saved Always Saved ?
by Joe Benson

The question of the "eternal security of the believer" is often raised in letters I receive. This subject has been the cause of much controversy in the church for centuries- and still creates confusion and distress for many Christians. It is too much to expect to dispel this problem completely for everyone in a brief tract, but perhaps we can at least help in that direction.

Those who believe in "falling away" accuse those who believe in "eternal security" of promoting "cheap grace." The latter in itself is an unbiblical expression. To call it "cheap" is really a denial of grace, since it implies that too small a price has been paid. Grace, however, must be absolutely free and without any price at all on man's part; while on God's part the price He paid was infinite. Thus for man to think that his works can play any part in either earning or keeping his salvation is what cheapens grace, devaluing this infinite gift to the level of human effort.

To speak of "falling from grace" involves the same error. Since our works had nothing to do with meriting grace in the first place, there is nothing we could do that would cause us to no longer merit it and thus "fall" from it. Works determine reward or punishment-not one's salvation, which comes by God's grace. The crux of the problem is a confusion about grace and works.

First of all, we must be absolutely clear that these two can never mix. Paul declares, "...if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work" (Rom 11:6). Salvation cannot be partly by works and partly by grace.

Secondly, we must be absolutely certain that works have nothing to do with salvation. Period. The Bible clearly states, "For by grace are ye saved... not of works" (Eph 2:8-10). True to such Scriptures, evangelicals firmly declare that we cannot earn or merit salvation in any way. Eternal life must be received as a free gift of God's grace, or we cannot have it.

Thirdly, salvation cannot be purchased even in part by us, because it requires payment of the penalty for sin-a payment we can't make. If one receives a speeding ticket, it won't help to say to the judge, "I've driven many times within the 55 mph limit. Surely my many good deeds will make up for the one bad deed." Nor will it do to say, "If you let me off this time, I promise never to break the law again." The judge would reply, "To never break the law again is only to do what the law demands. You get no extra credit for that. The penalty for breaking the law is a separate matter and must be paid." Thus Paul writes," the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight..." (Rom 3:20).

Fourthly, if salvation from the penalty of breaking God's laws cannot be earned by good deeds, then it cannot be lost by bad deeds. Our works play no part in either earning or keeping salvation. If it could, then those who reach heaven could boast that while Christ saved them they, by their good lives, kept their salvation. Thus God would be robbed of having all the glory in eternity.

Fifthly, salvation can be given to us as a free gift only if the penalty has been fully paid. We have violated infinite Justice, requiring an infinite penalty. We are finite beings and could not pay it: we would be separated from God for eternity. God is infinite and could pay an infinite penalty, but it wouldn't be just because He is not a member of our race. Therefore God, in love and grace, through the virgin birth, became a man so that He could pay the debt of sin for the entire human race!

In the Greek, Christ's cry from the cross, "It is finished!" is an accounting term, meaning that the debt had been paid in full. Justice had been satisfied by full payment of its penalty, and thus God could "be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Rom 3:26). On that basis, God offers pardon and eternal life as a free gift. He cannot force it upon anyone or it would not be a gift. Nor would it be just to pardon a person who rejects the righteous basis for pardon and offers a hopelessly inadequate payment instead-or offers his works even as "partial payment."

Salvation is the full pardon by grace from the penalty of all sin, past, present or future; eternal life is the bonus thrown in. Denying this cardinal truth, all cultists, such as Jehovah's Witnesses, for example, reject salvation by grace and insist that it must be earned by one's good works. They accuse evangelicals of teaching that all we need to do is to say we believe in Christ and then we can live as we please, in the grossest of sins, yet be sure of heaven. Evangelicals don't teach that at all, yet a similar complaint is made by those who believe in "falling away." They say that "once saved, always saved" encourages one to live in sin because if we know we cannot be lost then we have no incentive for living a holy life. On the contrary, love for the One who saved us is the greatest and only acceptable motive for living a holy life; and surely the greater the salvation one has received, the more love and gratitude there will be. So to know one is secure for eternity gives a higher motive for living a good life than the fear of losing one's salvation if one sins!

While those who believe in "falling from grace" are clear that good works cannot earn salvation, they teach that salvation is kept by good works. Thus one gets saved by grace, but thereafter salvation can be lost by works. To teach that good works keep salvation is almost the same error as to say that good works earn salvation. It denies grace to say that once I have been saved by grace I must thereafter keep myself saved by works.

Such teaching, says Hebrews 6:4-9, rather than glorifying Christ, holds him up to shame and ridicule before the world once again for two reasons: if we could lose our salvation, then (1) Christ would have to be crucified again to save us again; and (2) He would be ridiculed for dying to purchase a salvation but not making adequate provision to preserve it-for giving a priceless gift to those who would inevitably lose it. If Christ's dying in our place for our sins and rising again was not sufficient to keep us saved, then He has foolishly wasted His time. If we could not live a good enough life to earn salvation, it is certain we can- not live a good enough life to keep it! To make the salvation he procured ultimately dependent upon our works would be the utmost folly.

"Falling away" doctrine makes us worse off after we are saved than before. At least before conversion we can get saved. But after we are saved and have lost our salvation (if we could), we can't get saved again, but are lost forever. Hebrews 6:4 declares, "If [not when] they shall fall away... it is impossible (v.4) renew them again unto repentance." That "falling away" is hypothetical is clear (v.9): "But beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak" So "falling away" does not "accompany salvation." The writer is showing us that if we could lose our salvation, we could never get it back without Christ dying again upon the cross. This is folly! He would have to die an infinite number of times (i.e., every time every person who was once saved sinned and was lost and wanted to be "saved again"). Thus, those who reject "once saved, always saved," can only replace it with, "once lost, always lost!"

John assures us, "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know [present knowledge] that ye have [present possession] eternal life..." (1 Jn 5:13). To call it eternal life, if the person who had it could lose it and suffer eternal death, would be a mockery. On the contrary, eternal life is linked with the promise that one cannot perish-a clear assurance of "eternal security" or "once saved, always saved." John 3:16 promises those who believe in Jesus Christ that they "should not perish, but have everlasting life."

John 5:24 again says, "hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation...." One could not ask for clearer or greater assurance than the words of Jesus: "I give unto them [my sheep] eternal life; and they shall never perish" (Jn 10:28). If, having received eternal life, we could lose it and perish, it would make Christ a liar.

If sin causes the loss of salvation, what kind or amount of sin does it take? There is no verse in the Bible that tells us. We are told that if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness-so apparently any sin can be forgiven. Even those who teach falling away rarely if ever say they got "saved again." Rather, they confessed their sin and were forgiven. Hebrews 12:3-11 tells us that every Christian sins, and that instead of causing a loss of salvation, sin brings God’s chastening upon us as His children. If when we sinned we ceased to be God's children, He would have no one to chastise-yet he "scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." Indeed, chastening is a sign that we are God's children not that we have lost our salvation: "if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons."

Some teach that one must be baptized to be saved; others that one must "speak in tongues." Both are forms of salvation by works. Some people lack assurance of salvation because they haven't "spoken in tongues," others are confident they are saved because they think they have. Both are like those who say, "Lord, Lord, have we thy name done many wonderful works?" (Mt 7:21-23) They are relying on their works to prove they are saved, instead of upon God's grace. Nor does Jesus say, "You were once saved but lost your salvation" He says, "I never knew you."

Here is an important distinction. Those who believe in "falling away" would say of a professing Christian who has denied the faith and is living in unrepentant sin, that he has "fallen from grace" and has "lost his salvation." In contrast, those who believe in "eternal security," while no more tolerant of such conduct, would say of the same person that probably Christ "never knew him"-he was never a Christian. We must give the comfort and assurance of Scripture to those who are saved; but at the same time we must not give false and un-Biblical comfort to those who merely say they are saved but deny with their lives what they profess with their lips.

Are we not then saved by our works? Indeed not! In I Corinthians 3:12-15 every Christian's works are tried by fire at the "judgment seat of Christ" before which "we must all appear" (2 Cor 5:10). Good works bring rewards; a lack of them does not cause loss of salvation. The person who hasn't even one good work (all of his works are burned up) is still "saved; yet so as by fire" (1 Cor 3:15). We would not think such a person was saved at all. Yet one who may seem outwardly not to be a Christian, who has no good works as evidence (if he has truly received the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior), is "saved as by fire" and shall never perish in spite of his lack of works.

Do we then, on the basis of" once saved, always saved," encourage Christians to "sin that grace may abound?" With Paul we say, "God forbid!" We offer no comfort or assurance to those living in sin. We don't say, you're okay because you once made a "decision for Christ." Instead, we warn: "If you are not willing right now to live fully for Christ as Lord of your life, how can you say that you were really sincere when you supposedly committed yourself to Him at some time in the past?" And to all we declare with Paul, "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves" (2 Cor 13:5).

Our confidence for eternity rests in His unchanging love and grace and the sufficiency of God’s provision in Christ-not in our worth or performance. Only when this is clear do we have real peace with God. Only then can we truly love Him and live for Him out of gratitude for the eternal life He has given to us as a free gift of His grace- a gift He will not take back and which He makes certain can never be lost!"


 2008/7/18 16:25Profile

Joined: 2007/8/22
Posts: 462

 Re: Question about once saved always saved

"Only then can we truly love Him and live for Him out of gratitude for the eternal life He has given to us as a free gift of His grace- a gift He will not take back and which He makes certain can never be lost!"

God may not take the gift back, but that doesn't mean that the person he gave the gift too-can't ruin the gift. It may be that the reason won't take the gift back, is in fact because it has been so utterly ruined from the state that he gave it in.

Just because you have been given a gift, doesn't mean that you can't treat the gift harmfully or even carelessly. And we must remember, yes, his grace was free, meaning that we did nothing of ourselves to earn it, but that doesn't mean there isn't nothing we can do, to lose it.

Remember Adam, Adam had nothing to do with his righteous state with God in the beginning, but he sure had something to do in his fall away from God....Don't we clearly see Adam in his righteous "only knowing good state" WILLFULLY sinning and choosing death!

 2008/7/18 17:11Profile

Joined: 2006/8/25
Posts: 1658
Indiana USA


Thanks for your reply. I replied on your thread about the article you posted but it got swamped, perhaps you missed it. I look forward to your reply.


 2008/7/18 17:43Profile

Joined: 2007/8/22
Posts: 462



tjservant wrote:

Thanks for your reply. I replied on your thread about the article you posted but it got swamped, perhaps you missed it. I look forward to your reply.

Your welcome, I will go and see if I can see where your post is.

 2008/7/18 17:47Profile

Joined: 2006/8/25
Posts: 1658
Indiana USA


God may not take the gift back, but that doesn't mean that the person he gave the gift too-can't ruin the gift. It may be that the reason won't take the gift back, is in fact because it has been so utterly ruined from the state that he gave it in.

Just because you have been given a gift, doesn't mean that you can't treat the gift harmfully or even carelessly. And we must remember, yes, his grace was free, meaning that we did nothing of ourselves to earn it, but that doesn't mean there isn't nothing we can do, to lose it.

First off thanks for the dialog, I appreciate you taking the time.

While I understand what you are saying and I too recognize the responsibility of the believer, it seems to me that it sometimes borderlines on providing something for us to boast about.

I mean, when one gets to heaven they may think it is because of what they did to maintain their salvation. This gives one a reason to boast.

I am not saying that a true Christian will not desire to keep such a precious gift free from spot and damage. All who truly understand the price paid would never neglect such a gift. But to say it can be forfeit because of what the believer does also means it is kept by what the believer does...thus providing reason to boast.

I hope you understand what I am wondering about.


 2008/7/18 20:51Profile

Joined: 2008/6/19
Posts: 1257


Jesus said take heed so that you want be deceive. The bible gives many clear warnings to the believers in Christ about continuing in salvation until the day of redemption.

Salvation is seen in scripture as past, present, and future. Jesus also said about the many trials we would have to face and that he that endureth unto the end the same shall be saved.

We as believers who have trusted in the Lord for salvation are to give all diligence to make our calling and election sure.

2Pe 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
2Pe 1:11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Jesus also said that it would get so deceptive toward the end time that if it were possible even the elect would be deceived.

Some observations to consider:
Jesus gives us in His Word great encouragement to us who have trusted in Him for salvation that nobody would be able to pluck us out of His Hand nor the Father’s who gave us to Him. He gives us security that as long as we are trusting in Him and following Him, we can know He will keep us.

He also gives us great warning about deception, sin, lukewarm ness, losing our first love, and the need of maturing in our faith through trials and temptations. These warnings in the bible are not directed to the unsaved but to the saved; who have been given a fear of God that will cause them to follow out their salvation to completion.

The “once saved always saved doctrine” is not biblical and Jesus never said it because he always warned his sheep of dangers ahead and the danger of not finishing what was started.

Many unconverted people have taken this doctrine, because they prayed and felt that they were saved and can never be lost, and have deceived themselves because they have no fear of God in keeping his commandments and continuing out their salvation.

I believe the bible teaches us that in Jesus, abiding and trusting in Him, we have eternal security as long as we stay humbly following his commandments and warnings and never let anything take our faith and love away from Him. The bible says if we sin we have an advocate with the father, so as soon as we sin and fellowship is broken we humbly repent and ask for forgiveness so that our fellowship can be restored not allowing the devil to condemn us into turning to a hard heart in forsaking the Lord by continuing in sin.

As a brother stated, the truly saved, who are in covenant with the Lord, have been given a fear to keep his commandments and walk in His ways. The truly saved have truly repented with a sorrow for sin not to be repented of, and His fear is guiding them and they are full of Joy and Love for Him.

Adam was once in a saved relationship with the lord until he sinned and fell away but God showed Him how to come back to Him. We can say Lord, Lord or claim salvation all we won’t to, but if we live in sin Jesus cannot abide in our Life. Salvation is not a thing we have but a person who has us and we have Him.

Salvation is not something we have of ourselves neither is it something we can claim we have apart from Him. The Lord Jesus is our Salvation. He that hath the Son hath Life He that hath not the Son hath not Life. Eternal life is in knowing a person, the Lord Jesus, and knowing Him is salvation, and He keeps you from sin! He that is born of God sinneth not because the seed of God remains in Him and he cannot continue in sin because He is born of God.

 2008/7/18 21:10Profile

 Re: Never Perish

The following 44 texts were listed in J.C. Ryle's booklet entitled, "Never Perish" which may be found in it's entirety here:

"I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

"My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." (John x. 28, 29.)

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

"As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

"Nay in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.

"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

"Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Rom. viii. 35-39.)

"They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." (1 John ii. 19.)

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." (John v. 24.)

"I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever." (John vi. 51.)

"Because I live, ye shall live also." (John xiv. 19.)

"Whosoever liveth and believeth in Me, shall never die." (John xi. 26.)

"By one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." (Heb. x. 14.)

"He that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." (1 John ii. 17.)

"Sin shall not have dominion over you." (Rom. vi. 14.)

"The very hairs of your head are all numbered." (Rom. vi. 14.)

"A bruised reed shall He not break, and smoking flax shall He not quench." (Matt. xii.20.)

"Who shall also confirm you to the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Cor. i. 8.)

"Kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter i. 5.)

"Preserved in Jesus Christ, and called." (Jude 1.)

"The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom ." (2 Tim. iv. 18.)

"I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

"Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it." (1 Thess. v. 23,24.)

"The Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil." (2 Thess. iii.3.)

"God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (1 Cor.x. 13.)

"God willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath;

"That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us." (,18.)

"Fear not little flock; for it is your father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." (Luke xii. 32.)

"This is the Father's will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day." (John vi. 39.)

"The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord Knoweth them that are His." (2 Tim. ii. 19)

"Whom He did predestinate, them that He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified." (Rom. viii. 30.)

"God hath not appointed us unto wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thess.v. 9.)

"God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth." (2 Thess. ii. 13.)

"The vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory." (Rom. ix. 23.)

"The gifts and calling of God are without repentance." (Rom. 11. 29.)

"If it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." (Matt. xxiv. 24.)

"He is able to save to the uttermost all them that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them." (Heb. vii. 25.)

"Able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy." (Jude 24.)

"I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day." (2 Tim. i.12.)

"I have prayed for thee, That thy faith fail not." (Luke xxii. 32.)

"Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given Me." (John xvii. 11.)

"I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil." (John xvii. 15.)

"I will that day they also whom thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am." (John xvii. 24.)

"If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son; much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." (Rom. v.10.)

"The Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him; but ye know Him, for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." (John xiv. 17.)

"Being confident of this very thing, that He which begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." (Phil. i. 6.)

"The anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you; and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him." (John ii. 27.)

"The Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." (Ephes. iv. 30.)

"Ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession." (Ephes. i. 13, 14.)

"Born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible." (1 Peter i. 23.)

"He hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." (Heb. xiii. 5.)

 2008/7/19 0:46

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