Eternal Security – Once Saved: Always Saved?

John Calvin and his followers decided that once an individual is saved he can never be lost. This falsehood is directly tied to the doctrine of “Divine Election” which holds that God predestines some to be saved. Following this logic, He therefore “selects” all others to be lost. While it is true God knows each choice every human will ever make, it is not true that He predetermines who will be saved or lost. God’s foreknowledge in no way interferes with man’s free will. An individual is saved by free choice and remains in that status by free choice.

The false doctrine of Eternal Security or “ONCE SAVED: ALWAYS SAVED” just doesn’t work. Many evangelicals flaunt this doctrine in an attempt to emphasize the dynamic keeping power of God. However, this is only one side of the coin. Many Christians backslide and fall into terrible sins. One who believes in “Eternal Security” must convince themselves that a fallen Christian was never truly born again in the first place. Who dares to assume that a dynamic Christian who has served the Lord for fifty years was never really saved to begin with? Those who hold to Eternal Security must force half-truths into the mold of their doctrine. Their false assumptions have eternal consequences. Only the Spirit of Truth can reveal the reality of a given doctrine. Unfortunately, most evangelical denominations caught up in Eternal Security do not believe in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is He who reveals the truth concerning one’s salvation status.

At first glance, Eternal Security sounds very spiritual. But is a person truly saved regardless of how he acts after conversion? There is extreme danger in this heretical teaching. Those who propagate the keeping power of God consequently de-emphasize man’s free will. The trilogy of the false doctrines of Calvinism (Predestination, Divine Election and Eternal Security) have caused millions to presume God’s grace will cover any sin they commit after conversion. Myriads of fundamental Believers have been deceived into thinking that once they accept Jesus, no matter how much they sin, they will go to heaven when they die. Honest hermeneutic research proves otherwise.

Jesus clearly taught that we must, by a determinate act of our own free will, pick up our cross daily and follow Him. In John 8:31-32, Jesus said we are His disciples if we continue in His Word. The terms “obey, yield, and continue” occur hundreds of times. Jesus does not take away the power of choice when one accepts Him as Savior. God has given us hundreds of conditional promises. One of the clearest is Hebrews 6:4-6: “It is impossible for those who were once enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the Word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance, seeing that they crucify the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.” This concept is affirmed in the Old Testament as well:

<>Ezekiel 18:23-27 “When the righteous turn away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and doeth according to the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? For his iniquity that he has done, he shall die.” (Ez. 33:18).

<>Jeremiah 15:6-7 “You have forsaken Me says the Lord. You have gone backward: therefore I will stretch out My hand to destroy you.” Additional Old Testament warnings the Lord gives for forsaking those who forsake Him include Isa.1:28 & 65:11-12, I Ch. 28:9, II Ch. 15:2, Jer. 23:39.

In the New Testament we find the names of those who persevere and overcome will “not be blotted OUT of the Book of Life” (Rev. 3:5). Heb. 12:23 tells us that it is only God’s people who have their names “written in heaven.” It must first have been written there, indicating the person was saved, in order to be blotted out later. God said no one shall enter heaven whose name “is NOT written in the Lamb’s Book of Life” (Rev. 21:27). We are warned in Rev. 22:19 that “if any man shall take away from the words of this book, God will take his name out of the Book of Life.”

Dozens of Bible texts verify God’s plan of salvation includes focused perseverance:

<>Rom. 11:22 tells us that God will give His goodness “If you CONTINUE in His goodness, otherwise, thou also shall be cut off.”
<>Rom. 2:6-8 speaks of the patient CONTINUANCE of those who attain eternal life.
<>Col. 1:22-23 states that if we desire to be presented to God by Jesus, it is only by “CONTINUING in the faith, grounded and settled, and not moved away from the Gospel.”
<>Acts 13:43 –  Paul pleads with mankind to CONTINUE in the grace of God.
<>Jas. 1:25 – We are told to not only look into His Law of Liberty, but to CONTINUE in it in order to receive His blessings.
<>Phil. 1:6 – Paul assures us God will CONTINUE to work in our lives, assuming we allow Him to.
<>I Jn. 2:19 makes it very clear that we cannot CONTINUE to love sin if we’re really born again. (I Jn. 2:24, Acts 14:22, II Tim. 3:14, & Heb. 8:9)
<>Rom. 6:13 commands us to yield our body members as instruments of righteousness – indicating it is our choice to CONTINUE to do so by acts via our own free will.
<>Rom. 8:38-39 tells us no power in heaven, hell or earth can separate us from the love of Jesus. While it is true no external force can do this, determination to practice sinful ways will eventually break the covenant relationship.
<>II Pet. 3:17 –  Here saints are warned to know the truth and not be “led away with the error of the wicked” and thus “fall from your own steadfastness.”
<>II Tim. 4:10 speaks of Demas forsaking Paul because he “loved this present world.” Prior to this time, Demas is seen as a faithful co-worker with Paul (Col. 4:15).
<>II Pet. 2:21 – Peter writes concerning those who have turned away from Jesus after they have “known the way of righteousness.” This same verse informs us that saints can “turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.”

The concept of abiding and continuing in Christ is a consistent theme throughout the New Testament. The teachings of Jesus in John 15 make this crystal clear. He commands us to abide in Him and warns us we must continually abide in Him in order to produce fruit (vv. 4-5). If we do not,  we will be cast forth as a branch and burned (v. 6). In v. 9, we are again commanded to continue in His love. Jesus asks why anyone would call Him “Lord,” yet refuse to do what He says (Lk. 6: 46). Our loyalty to Him is proven by perpetually doing what He commands.

God does not force anyone to serve Him; it is the responsibility of each saint to remain loyal. He never violates your free will before, during, or after conversion. You always maintain the right to determine your actions. From the moment you surrender your life to Jesus, He is faithful to steadfastly pursue His relationship with you. There is no question God’s power can keep us from sin. The real question is whether or not I allow Him to.

Maxim of the Moment

A problem is a chance for you to do your best. - Duke Ellington