There is much controversy over the doctrine of “Once saved always saved”. There are verses in scripture which teach that you can and you can’t. Confusion keeps many in ignorance and hence, self introspection, always wondering if they have done something worthy of being “cut off” from the grace of God. There is no real settled peace or else there is a pharisaical hypocrisy, pretending to be righteous for the sake of others, but knowing deep inside that it is a lie.
The key in scripture that will clear up all confusion, if one will simply believe what one reads, is found in 2 Timothy 2:15
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Rightly dividing. What could that mean? That question is addressed on several pages on this web site, and can be simply explained by saying that all scripture is profitable to you, but not all scripture is aimed directly to you. Paul gives us help here:
2 Timothy 3:16 – “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”
He states that scripture has 4 main applications. 1. Doctrine, 2. reproof, 3. correction and 4. instruction. Of those four, we will concern ourselves with doctrine. A ridiculous illustration of this important principal can be seen in God’s command to Adam and Eve to refrain from eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That was for them. It is not DOCTRINALLY for you. Yes you can make application and say that Christians should abstain from knowledge that might hurt or lead astray, but what the scripture actually says has no bearing on your life. You can gorge yourself on all the fruit you can afford, and you will not die – spiritually. It wasn’t written with you in mind.
The Old Testament has many sacrifices, rules, both dietary and social, that were mandatory to the Hebrew nation. They were not written to you DOCTRINALLY. Now don’t go saying that Bro. Rowley doesn’t believe the Old Testament. I do! It has many wonderful lessons and looks to the coming of Jesus, but you are not required to obey it for salvation.
The ministry of Jesus was to Israel. He himself said:
Matthew 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Now, that has to mean something. He said it. It simply means what it says. His ministry before Calvary was to Israel, almost exclusively. That he healed a few Gentiles only magnifies the point that he came for the lost sheep of the house of Israel. When the “rich young ruler” inquired about eternal life. Jesus answered him. Here is the dialogue:
Mark 10:17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.
20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
Please notice that Jesus didn’t tell him to “have faith”, “believe on me” or anything else. He told the man to sell all he had and give to the poor. Three things stand out:
- The ruler asked about INHERITING eternal life. Your eternal life is a FREE GIFT (see Romans chapter 5).
- Jesus did NOT correct his question, but ANSWERED him.
- The answer to the question about an inheritance of eternal life was to DO SOMETHING.
Now, you know that if you are saved you got saved by trusting Jesus Christ and his blood shed at Calvary for your sins. The BIG QUESTION, then is, am I saved forever??? The answer to that is a resounding YES! You will understand that when you realize that DOCTRINE for the church is found in the epistles of Paul the Apostle to the GENTILES. You Cannot lose your salvation!!
Romans 11:13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
2 Timothy 1:11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
Paul had a distinct message for the church. He got that message AFTER the resurrection of Christ by special revelation.
Galatians 1:11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
So, can you lose your salvation? If we take Paul’s word for it, and he wrote most of the New Testament, No. Could people in different dispensations (Periods of time before Calvary and after the rapture) lose theirs? Yes. Let’s look at a few. Here are words of truth to HEBREWS. Please take note WHO the words are written to DOCTRINALLY.
Hebrews 3:6 But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.
It’s as clear as glass that someone here has to “hold fast”, firm unto the end. We will ask the question, “the end of what?” That question can be answered with the words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 24.
Matthew 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
They endure to the END of the great tribulation. If they do not, they lose! Notice the gospel preached here is NOT what was given to Paul by revelation. What Paul preached and what Jesus preached are as different as night and day. Christ’s ministry was to Israel, (God’s bride). Paul’s teaching and preaching was to the church (Christ’s bride). They are not the same.
Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
Now, what DID Paul teach concerning this misunderstood subject. Let’s start by establishing the glorious fact that your salvation was a FREE GIFT, not an inheritance (Like the rich young ruler).
Romans 5:15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
Romans 5:16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
Romans 5:17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
Romans 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
So, is it a gift, or not? Is the pope Catholic?
Now, not only is your salvation a redundant FREE GIFT (what do I mean? A gift is by definition, free, so in order that you didn’t miss it, God said FREE GIFT).
More: You have been chosen, predestinated and made acceptable in Christ!
Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
What else? You are a sealed, purchased possession. Now think. If you own something of great value, (and did God put a great value on us to let his own son die in our stead?) for which you paid a great price, and it was precious to you, and it was a “work in progress”, would you abandon it? Well, yes, you might, but God will not. He purchased you and put a “down payment” on you until the day he comes to get you.
Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Do you see the difference in the way Paul writes to the church as compared to how James writes to the “Twelve tribes scattered abroad” (James 1:1) or how the book of Hebrews demands endurance and “holding out until the end, etc?
Now the question arises, If someone who was once saved just walks away, are they still saved? Answer Yes. You cannot quit sinning until Jesus takes you home. Paul, lamented in Romans chapter 7.
Romans 7:19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
Last of all, Paul makes it clear that even if you deny Christ, like Peter did, you do not forfeit the free gift.
2 Timothy 2:11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
Verse 11 makes it clear that the issue of salvation is settled. We have been crucified with Christ.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: ……..
We shall live with him!
Rom 6:8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
Now verse 12 goes on to address another issue. Suffering with Christ. Paul told us in :
2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
Verse 12 is saying if you keep your mouth shut or deny him to avoid suffering persecution, you will be denied the privilege of reigning with him in the millennial kingdom.
Verse 13 goes on to assure everyone that your salvation is a settled matter. Christ Jesus has joined himself to your spirit:
1 Corinthians 6:17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
If the passage is saying he would deny you salvation, verse 13 makes it clear that he would have to deny himself to do that… And he cannot deny himself. Now for a deep south baptist shout!
Now lets look at it from a different angle. OK?
God gave us the old testament to learn from. His justice was a major theme whereas his grace is a major theme in the New. Nonetheless, his grace is seen clearly in the Old and 1Corinthans 10:11 tell us that those old testament characters were for our “ensamples”. Let’s look at a few.
Moses – A murderer who lost his temper and destroyed a type of Christ in the New Testament by smiting the rock again when he was told to speak to it.
Abraham – A coward who lied more than once about his wife to save his own “skin”. Wouldn’t you ladies appreciate a man like that!
Sampson – A fornicator par excellance`- dies a suicide. Listed in Hebrew 11 as one of the great hero’s of the faith.
David – Adulterer, murderer. Called a man after God’s own heart. Rules second in command in the millennial kingdom.
Peter – Wait! He’s not Old Testament…. On the contrary, he denied Christ before the atonement and was still under the law of Moses. Christ did not abandon him but gently and tenderly forgave and commissioned him. Hallelujah, what a saviour!
Why did God put these people up as examples? Because in Christ he has forgiven us ALL trespasses!
Colossians 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
Still got questions? and lets talk.