Once Saved, Always Saved?

There’s been an unlinked… um, link… on my sidebar for nearly three years.  ((Two un-links actually, but I’m just too damn lazy to do a thang on Gnosticism right now.))  The one I’m speaking of is “Can you Lose your Salvation?”  And I meant to write about it back then.  Really, I did.  But it was never laid on my heart.  Until yesterday, at Wondering04’s site.

TaNGeNT:  I always wondered how you guys could come back more than once to read my comments.  I mean, isn’t that a bit much?  Once I commented on someone’s site, I typically never went back, unless I was given a heads-up to.  This has changed meeting Wondering04 and FKIprofessor.  I go there several times a day to find out what people think, to watch the debates play out, and to really get fed.  It’s good stuff!

And in the comment section of yesterday’s blog at Wondering’s site, the topic came up of ‘once saved, always saved’.  Oooh.  Hot topic.  Hairs stand on end on this one.  Nobody wants to touch it with a ten-foot pole.  But shouldn’t we?  I mean, this is eternity here.  If you aren’t ‘saved’ for all time, shouldn’t we talk about it?

 I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5b

I’ll level with you – I was raised to believe ‘once saved, always saved’.  I believed that for most of my life.  Look at that verse.  That means that you have eternal security, right?  ((grins))  Careful with your answer.  Because the next verse I’m going to throw at you might cause your concluded scriptural deduction to contradict.

 … whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world,
neither in the world to come  Matthew 12:32

This is known as the unforgiveable sin.  Churches avoid this like the plague.  I’ve been in church all of my life, and never heard of it until I was 27.  No kidding.  Because if you believe ‘once saved, always saved’, then how do you rationalize this verse away?  ‘Well, if you’re saved, you’ll never do that.‘  you say.  Ah… but then we’re redefining salvation.  Because people in churches teach that when you ‘pray the prayer’, God throws your sins as far as east from west, never to be remembered, right?  What about this one?  It’s a sin to ‘grieve’ the Holy Ghost (among other things, Eph 4:30)… but this one isn’t forgiveable, according to Matthew 12.  So… what do we do with it?  Obviously those who do that were never saved to begin with.’  is the pat answer.  But the Bible doesn’t allow for that, either.  Check it:

For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.  For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the Holy commandment delivered unto them.  2 Peter 2:20-21

These people have ‘known the way of righteousness’.  They have ‘escaped the world’ through the knowledge of Jesus.  They aren’t nonnies – they accepted Christ, made the life changes, and turned away from Him.  Another?

But when the righteous turneth away from his rigtheousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live?  All his righteousness that he had done shall not be mentioned; in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die. – Ezekiel 18:24

Does that sound like eternal salvation to you?  Sure, you could reason that it’s an OT verse, but 2 Peter backs it up, and that’s a NT verse.  Further, Ezekiel was a prophet – he wrote both for his time and the time to come.  Yeah.  These verses aren’t for nonnies – they are about believers.  Did you know that even among the early church planters, there were righteous that left the faith?  One such was Demas – in 2 Timothy 4:10 Paul says that Demas forsook the faith for the world.  Eternal security?  Hrm.

The problem becomes sticky then – which sins are ‘unforgiveable’… and at what point is the person no longer ‘saved’, right?  Well, that depends again on your definition of salvation.  And I say this, because the church has made a huge clustermuck of the Gospel.  Even this past Sunday my pastor did an ‘altar call’ with the ‘sinners prayer’.  I about vomited.  Because if salvation is ‘not of works, lest any man should boast’ (Eph 2:9), then what is prayer?  Isn’t that a works?  ((Homsuplee got me with that, btw.))  Saying a prayer is ‘doing’ something to obtain salvation.  But if salvation isn’t an ‘event’, but rather a change in direction… well, that makes things different.  Repentance (see my blog on it) means ‘a change of heart and direction’.  That is something that continues on… it’s not a one-time event, but a life choice that is lived out.  See how these verses confirm what I’m saying:

And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The Lord is with you, while ye be with Him; and if ye seek Him, He will be found of you, but if ye forsake Him, He will forsake you.  2 Chronicles 15:2

They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion,
which cannot be removed, but abideth forever.  Ps. 125:1

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee,
He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. Ps 55:22

So… the question is three-fold:
Can I lose my salvation?  No.  You can give it up, but you can’t lose it.  There is no ‘sin’ that crosses the line, except for a willing forsaking of the Holy Spirit… which is basically what giving up your salvation is.  And it *can* be done.  And it has been done.  A lot.
Will the Lord ever leave me?  No.  He won’t.  But you have been given the choice whether to abide in Him or not.  And He knows what you will do, which is why they call it ‘grieving the Spirit’.  And He is willing that none should perish, but He loves us enough to honor our choices.  If you prayed the prayer as a child, and chose to walk outside of God’s will, not abiding in Him, are you saved?  No – not according to the verses above.  You might come back to Him later, and then abide in Him, but if you forsook Him, He allowed it, and you stepped outside of His redemption.  Lord, Lord…!  But He will say depart from me, ye evildoers…  Yeah.
What about ‘once saved, always saved’?   It’s a lie.  Because we aren’t ‘once saved’.  Belief isn’t something you do once and that’s enough.  That’s preposterous.  If you believe a prayer you said when you were 6 is gonna get you into heaven, you’re sadly mistaken.  Brian figured he prayed the prayer, that was it, and he could carry on with his life.  That’s not salvation.  Salvation is a journey… not a one-time event.  You either are abiding in Him, trusting in Him, or you’re not… and those are on-going things.  So to say ‘once saved, always saved’ is to give false assurance of something that isn’t true.

Now, I’m gonna be honest again – I don’t completely understand all of this.  But as far as I can tell, this is how the verses fit together.  And if I’ve got some things screwed up, lemme know.  Let US know, k?  Because I *want* to fully understand, but I can only give ya what I got.  And that’s this.  Hope it helped you.

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