10 Questions for Those Who Don’t Believe ‘Once Saved, Always Saved’

by Joe McKeever

Let me set the table with something the Lord Jesus said. When the disciples returned from preaching with glowing reports of amazing victories over the devil, our Lord called them back to earth, so to speak, with this:

“Do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you. But rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).

See what He did there? The Lord changed the basis of their joy and thanksgiving from something that fluctuates–like the visible results of missions, which can be good or bad, up and down–to something permanent, our salvation.

Jesus thought our salvation was secure. Otherwise, wouldn’t He have chosen some other basis for our joy?

No other conclusion is possible. Jesus clearly thought salvation was a one-time-and-done proposition. Something permanent, solid, irreversible.

As far as I am able to tell, you will not find one place in the utterances of the Lord Jesus that say otherwise.

For those who find they cannot accept the teaching of “once saved always saved” (aka, the security of the believer), we have a few questions….

1) Why would you not accept the clear teachings of the Lord Jesus?

That question alone ought to cinch the matter. For every objection some can throw up to the doctrine of “the security of the believer” we have perhaps 50 statements from the Lord Jesus that our salvation is eternal and everlasting and untouchable.

2) How is it you think we can undo what God has done?

In Christ, when you were saved, Scripture teaches God erased your sin and gave you eternal life. He wrote your name down in Heaven’s book and made you His child. You are called both “born again” and “adopted” into the family. You are sealed with the Holy Spirit. In fact, Romans 8:30 says you are called, justified, and glorified even. And Romans 8:1 says there is “therefore now NO condemnation.” That’s fairly strong, it seems to me.

And yet, some believe by an act of their (ahem) free will, they can walk away from all that? They just decided to leave and so everything God did was suddenly null and void? My, what powers they have.

3) How is it we are able to do what “no one” can, and that is to “snatch” ourselves out of Christ’s hand and the Father’s hand?

John 10:28-29. Nothing can be clearer.

Some say, “Well, no one else can, but the devil can.” Oh, then wouldn’t that make the devil stronger than the Lord? And to those who says “we can snatch ourselves,” same question. Jesus literally said “no one and nothing can take you out of my hand.”

4) How are we able to unseal ourselves, something the Holy Spirit did when we were saved? (Ephesians 1:13) Wouldn’t that be an impossibility?

5) Have you read Galatians and seen what Paul said to people who thought they were perfected by their works?

They said they knew they were saved by faith, but after that, it was all works to them. Good works and they’re in; bad works and they’re cast away. And Paul says they were bad wrong….

“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfeced by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1-3)

If you believe bad works cancels your salvation, then aren’t you saying your works “keep” you saved? Certainly, works are important. Ephesians 2:10 says we were created in Christ Jesus in order to bring forth good works, “that God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

6) Does it make you angry for someone to teach once saved, always saved? If so, please analyze why. (It seems to me you would be more charitable toward your brothers and sisters who are taking Jesus’ statements at face value.)

When Charisma magazine posted our article “7 questions on once saved, always saved” on their website, the comments that rushed in were almost universally hostile. They weren’t just disagreeing, they were angry. Now, I had worked overtime to make sure the tone of my article was gracious toward those who disagree. But I find it hard to comprehend that they grew hostile and mean-spirited over this. I wonder what this signifies.

7) Do you wish you did have this kind of confidence that salvation, once given, is forever?

A preacher who believes in losing his salvation once told my pastor that “I wish my God were as big as yours.”

My wife once asked a new friend of ours whom we quickly decided was a fine godly man, how he reconciled his denomination’s position on this doctrine (they were Arminian) with Scripture. Heno Head of Leland, Mississippi, said, “I have never for one minute doubted that my salvation is eternally secure in Jesus Christ from the moment I was saved.”

8) Do you agree that no matter which side you come down on–for this doctrine or against it–there are some difficult scriptures to explain? And if that’s the case, why then would you choose the position that undermines the very things Jesus said and taught?

“I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than all. And no one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:28-29).

I will readily admit that the passage in Hebrews 6 seems to say that losing one’s salvation is a possibility. However, it goes on to say that if that did happen, “it would be impossible to renew them to repentance.” And yet, I have never met a person who believed in losing one’s salvation who did not also believe he could get it back and be saved again. And again. My response is simply: Show me that in the Bible. Not one person in Holy Scripture was ever saved twice. Not one.

9) Are you closed to the subject? or are you still open to considering evidence for the contrary view?

I hope that nothing in these articles of mine has made anyone think Joe believes he has all the answers and that I am closed to something new. No one possesses all truth, let alone this country boy.

Most especially, I hope no one thinks this is–as some have charged–a man-made doctrine, intended either to say what man wants to hear or to license him to roam as he pleases without fear of jeopardizing his salvation.

10) Why does “eternal life” not mean “eternal life?” Or, put another way, when the children of the Lord “lose” their salvation, do they quit being HIs children?

Consider this a plea for clear-thinking on the subject, for believing the whole thrust of Scripture’s teaching, for standing on the promises of God’s unchanging Word.

Thank you. God help us to get this right. For Jesus’ sake.

http://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/joe-mckeever/10-questions-for-those-who-don-t-believe-once-saved-always-saved.html

Advertisements

16 thoughts on “10 Questions for Those Who Don’t Believe ‘Once Saved, Always Saved’

  1. John 10:28-29 is one of the most, if not the most recited passage by those who adhere to eternal security. However, these verses when properly interpreted ironically prove the opposite of what those who hold to eternal security believe. How so?
    Note that the assurances of verses 28-29 are only promised to those sheep who “listen” and “follow” the shepherd in verse 27. In other words, eternal life, never perishing and not being snatched out of the Father’s hand are only promised to sheep who listen and follow – those who are obedient. This entails that those sheep/believers who live disobedient lives do not have the assurance of eternal life and directly contradicts the notion of once saved, always saved.

    • I disagree with your interpretation of these Scriptures.

      “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me: And 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. I and my Father are one.” [John 10:27-30 AKJB]

      Born Again Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, know the voice of our Lord and Saviour, our Shepherd. We have a personal relationship with Him daily. We can differentiate His voice from all others. We have eternal security in Christ because He has sealed us with the Holy Spirit of Promise who guarantees our eternal inheritance in Christ. We are saved by our faith in what Jesus Christ did on our behalf on the cross, not by anything we have done or will ever do, and that is why we can never be lost. Jesus, who is sinless because He is God incarnate, took our sin upon Himself and nailed them to the cross and in exchange He accounted His righteousness to whosoever will repent and believe, that He did this for us.

      “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; THAT YE MAY KNOW THAT YE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” [I John 5:13 AKJB]

      “And 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 to Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand. I and my Father are one” [John 10:28-30 AKJB]

      “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall NEVER DIE. Believest thou this?” [John 11:26 AKJB]
      “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” [I Peter 1:3-5 AKJB]

      “For I persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, not any other creature, shall be able to separated us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 8:38-39 AKJB]

      “Every man’s works shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fires shall try every man’s works of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” [1 Cor 3:13-15 AKJB]

      “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 the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession unto the praise of His glory.” [Eph 1:13-14 AKJB]

      And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” [Eph 4:30 AKJB]

      The Holy Spirit within us testifies of Jesus within our hearts. He give those whom He indwells the ability to discern the spirits, to recognize those who are not from God. Jesus and His disciples repeatedly warned us about the false prophets, false teachers and false doctrine, that are so abundant in the world today. Through the Spirit of God living within us we can differentiate between these voices and voice of our Shepherd the Lamb of God, who died so that by faith we may live eternally with Him.

      “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming them into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if is ministers also be transformed as the minsters of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” [2 Cr 11:13-15 AKJB]

      “Beloved, believe not ever spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Herby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is the spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is in the world. Ye are of God little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them, We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the Spirit of Truth, and the spirit of error.” [I John 4:1-6 AKJB]

      “This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their minds and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient unto ever good work reprobate.” [Titus 1:13-16 AKJB]

      “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an anti-Christ.” [2 John 1:7 AKJB]

      “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall DECEIVE MANY.” [Matthew 24:4-5 AKJB]

      “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall DECEIVE MANY.” [Matt 24:11 AKJB]

      “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is the Christ, or there; believe it not. Fore there shall arise false Christ’s, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, IF IT WERE POSSIBLE, THEY SHALL DECEIVE THE VERY ELECT.” [Matthew 24:23-24 AKJB]

      “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall DECEIVE MANY.” [Mark 13:6 AJKB]

  2. Thanks for your reply. Respectfully, one can cite numerous scriptures for either side of the discussion which may amount to nothing more than proof-texting. To make things simple, lets stick to one passage at at time. Your response to my claim is that believers know the voice of the Lord. That may be true, however the pertinent question one should ask is do all believers upon hearing the Lord’s voice, FOLLOW the voice of the Lord? If they do not follow, do those disobedient believers still inherit the promises of John 10:28-29? Verse 27 requires that believers must BOTH hear and FOLLOW. You cannot have one without the other. Hearing without following the Lord amounts to disobedience and rebellion. Do you believe that rebellious believers who knowingly disobey God and don’t repent are stilled saved and will inherit eternal life? Eternal life is promised only to those who believe AND obey God. When Jesus first called his disciples he beckoned them to “follow me.” The Lord’s call to us as believers to follow him has not changed.
    Heb 5:9 states: “and having been perfected, He became the author of ETERNAL SALVATION to all those OBEYING Him,”
    An obedient faith is what saves us which is the meaning of Jn 10:27-29.

    • Christ gives eternal life to His Sheep, those who have received Him as their Lord and Saviour and are spiritually reborn of His Spirit. Our salvation is not conditional upon our behavior. He says “they shall never perish,” if any of Christ’s sheep were to perish, He would be guilty of failing to keep His promise and that is not possible. Jesus Christ is God and God cannot fail. True Born again believers want to follow our Shepherd, we live a Christian life because we are Christians. We desire to live a life pleasing to the Lord out of gratitude to Him, for dying for us. I would be highly suspect of the legitimacy of the conversion of someone who claims to be a “Christian” yet whose life showed no evidence of it, because they lived like the world. The Scriptures tell us…

      “For the wages of sin is death; but the GIFT OF GOD is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” [Romans 6:23 AKJB]

      “But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raise us up together and made us sit together in heavily places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For BY GRACE ARE YE SAVED THROUGH FAITH; and that NOT OF YOURSELVES: IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD: NOT OF WORKS, lest any many should boast.” [Ephesians 2:4-9 AKJB]

      “NOT BY WORKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH WE HAVE DONE, BUT ACCORDING TO HIS MERCY HE SAVE US, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour. That being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” [Titus 3:5-7 AKJB]

      You are saying that the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross is not sufficient enough to save our eternal soul from God’s wrath and judgment for sin and keep it saved. You are adding our works or our behavior to the finished work of Christ, making it up to us to “maintain” our own salvation and that is not what the Scriptures teach under the New Covenant. When we receive Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, we are born again, God seals us with His Spirit, the Spirit of Truth to teach us His deep spiritual truths as we study His inspired Word and as our guarantee of our eternal inheritance in Christ. One cannot be unborn or unsealed by the Spirit of God. We are made into a new creation in Christ through the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost/Spirit within us. That cannot be undone. The Scriptures tell us He seals us until the day redemption. That is the rapture, when we are glorified and our corruptible mortal bodies are changed into incorruptible immortal bodies like Jesus.

      God works through our faith. Faith is the power that ignites the grace of God. If you want to “stand” in His grace you must do it by faith.

      It is by Faith alone, in Christ alone that we are saved. Works nullify Grace. Faith + nothing = justification, whereas faith + works = condemnation. We cannot add to Christ’s perfect work of redemption, any attempt to do so nullifies God’s grace. Once Jesus saves us, we do the works God has prepared for us out of love and appreciation.

      “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. [Gal 5:4 AKJB]

      “Therefore being JUSTIFIED BY FAITH, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we HAVE ACCESS BY FAITH into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” [Romans 5:1-5 AKJB]

      It is up to you to accept it and believe it, and that is all faith is, believing that God is telling the truth.

      “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing, by the Word of God.” [Romans 10:17 AKJB]

      Salvation is by God’s grace through our faith in Jesus and His redemptive work on the cross, for our sin, on our behalf, period. I do not believe that people who feel they have to add to what Christ did, with their works in order to be saved, are saved, because that is another gospel, it is not what the apostles preached. Our faith must be in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for our salvation, in what He did on the cross on our behalf, not on anything we do. Any good works that we perform, do not contribute to our salvation. Christ’s death, once and for all, was all sufficient for our eternal redemption, and if we believe we must also perform good works in addition to what Christ accomplished, then we believe another gospel in which we are attempting to add our own merit to Christ’s.

      I am not saying we are not to do good works, we are saved *unto good works* which God has foreordained us to do, but they are evidence of our salvation done in obedience to God’s direction, they are not a condition of our salvation, which is a gift from God, because we chose to believe the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.

      This is the only belief that saves anyone from God’s wrath and judgment for our sin. All other religions, doctrines, and beliefs, are false, and their adherents will die in their sin and be forever separated from the glory of His power, the Scriptures are very clear. We have eternal security in Christ, but that is not the case for those who do not know God and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

      “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; and to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In a flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power. When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” [2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 AKJB]

      • The problem with your reply as I see it is that you have neglected to deal with the text of Jn 10:27-29 as well as Heb 5:9. You instead continue to offer many proof-texts to supposedly support your view. You write,
        “It is up to you to accept it and believe it, and that is all faith is, believing that God is telling the truth.”
        Heb 5:9 clearly states that obedience is necessary for salvation, yet you insist that only belief is necessary. Is not God telling us the truth that obedience is necessary for salvation in this particular verse? Or, as Christians do just ignore this verse and pretend that it doesn’t exist in the Bible? In order to properly form one’s doctrine, one must reconcile all of the scriptures and not exclude those verses that don’t conveniently fit with one’s personal belief.

        • In John 10:27, Jesus says “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me…” “My Sheep” denotes that they are people who already belong to Jesus, they are born of His Spirit, and therefore they have already been made a new creature in Christ through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, within them. Jesus does not say they are my sheep “if” they hear my voice or “if” they follow me, He makes a declarative statement that His Sheep hear his voice and He knows them and they follow Him.

          The scriptures make it very clear that once we are saved we have eternal life and will never perish and that our salvation is “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.”

          “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; THAT YE MAY KNOW THAT YE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” [I John 5:13 AKJB]

          “And 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 to Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand. I and my Father are one” [John 10:28-30 AKJB]

          “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall NEVER DIE. Believest thou this?” [John 11:26 AKJB]
          “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” [I Peter 1:3-5 AKJB]

          “For I persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, not any other creature, shall be able to separated us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 8:38-39 AKJB]

          I have not argued that obedience is not necessary for salvation, I have stated one is not saved by works, but by faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross, on our behalf, for our sin. And that we do not have to maintain our own salvation through good works, but that the sacrifice Christ made on our behalf was sufficient keep up saved once we have received Him as our Lord and Saviour and are spiritually reborn of His Spirit who seals us until the day of redemption.

          It is our belief and obedience to the inspired Word of God, that allows us to be saved.

          “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” [Romans 1:16 AKJB]

          When we receive Jesus as our Lord and Saviour by faith, which is also a gift from God, we are spiritually reborn of His Spirit, reconciling us with God and making us a child of God’s through Christ.
          “For I say through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly that he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man a measure of faith. [Romans 12:3 AKJB]

          “He [Jesus] came unto His own and His own received Him not. But AS MANY AS RECEIVE HIM, to them He gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe ON His name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man but of God.” [John 1:11-13 AKJB]

          “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.” [Rom 8:16-17 AKJB]

          “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” [Gal 3:26 AKJB]

          God gives us the faith to believe on the one He hath sent and receive Him as our Saviour. Born Again Believers are saved “unto” good works, not by them. When one believes they have to maintain their own salvation rather than believe the Scriptures which state that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, they are not believing in the finished work of Christ for their salvation, which is the narrow road, but another gospel of faith plus works. Works negates grace. We are saved unto good works as prompted by the Holy Spirit not by good works.

          “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed…But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man, For I neither received it of man neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” [Gal 1:8-9, 11 AKJB]

          “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him… For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” [2 Corinthians 11:3-4; 13-15 AKJB]

          Additionally the Scriptures tell us the at the Judgment seat of Christ, the works of all Born Again believers will be tried by fire…

          “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the FIRE SHALL TRY EVERY MAN’S WORKD OF WHAT SORT IT IS. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. IF ANY MAN’S WORK SHALL BE BURNED, HE SHALL SUFFER LOSS: BUT HE HIMSELF SHALL BE SAVED; YET SO AS BY FIRE.” [I Corinthians 3:10-15 AKJB]

          These scriptures tell us that there will be some whose works will burn up because they were done for personal gain rather than to bring glory to the name of the Lord, they will suffer the loss of rewards but they shall still be saved.

  3. Jn 10:27 is not only a declarative statement but also a descriptive statement. It describes one’s position in Christ as one of his sheep but it also describes a true sheep’s behavior – listening and following. Perhaps you have neglected to notice the verb tenses as the Greek words for “listen” and “follow” in this verse are Greek verbs constructed in the present tense; hence “listening” and “following” is the accurate English translation. Therefore, a sheep is a believer who continues to listen and follow. Conversely, a sheep who is no longer listening and following does not have the assurance of eternal life, never perishing and not being plucked from the Father’s hand. The notion that all sheep obey the shepherd and follow his will is contradicted by Jesus’ own words: “NOT EVERYONE who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who DOES THE WILL of My Father in heaven” (Matt 7:21).

    John’s declaration is perfectly consistent with the writer of Hebrews – “And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him….” (Heb 5:9). If only belief were necessary to gain eternal life as you claim, why does the verse teach that one must obey? It is not a one-time act of obedience either for example as when one obeys God on a single occasion and says the “sinner’s prayer” resulting in conversion. The Greek word in this verse is hypakouousin which is a present tense verb properly translated as “obeying.” A believer inherits eternal life only as long as he/she is obeying; continuing to obey God. You correctly include belief as being a requirement for salvation but omit obedience.

    Belief without corresponding obedience may result in spiritual death as Paul warns the brethren in Rom 8:12-13. “So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
    Paul warns believers that if they engage in a lifestyle of sin, they will experience spiritual death which means they will lose their salvation. This passage contradicts your claim that “The scriptures make it very clear that once we are saved we have eternal life and will never perish and that our salvation is “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.”

    You cite a couple of passages in Rom 8 to bolster your view, but they actually teach the opposite of what you claim. Notice that Rom 8:16-17 declares that we will be joint-heirs with Christ – only IF we SUFFER with him which makes our glorification conditional – not unconditional. Similarly, your citation of Rom 8:38-39 fails to take into context the preceding verses of 35-37. The reason that nothing can separate us from the love of God is because salvation is only promised to those who persevere and overcome – through tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril or sword (v.35). These verses say nothing at all about chronic sin in the life of a believer not separating the believer from the love of God. Believers who have habitual sin in their lives and think that they are still saved, deceive themselves as they do not practice the truth as they do not even have fellowship with God. “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 Jn 1:6).

    I think your citation of 1 Cor 3:10-15 is a moot argument because I also agree that there are those Christians based on their works who will suffer loss of rewards. This is completely different however from those Christians who are willfully disobedient, walk in darkness and refuse to repent. Those Christians, Paul warns face spiritual death (Rom 8:13).

    • We will have to agree to disagree, I don’t agree with your interpretation of the Scriptures. I do not believe that anyone who has been spiritually reborn of God’s Spirit can ever lose their salvation. They are changed into a new creature in Christ, through “the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost,” we are given the mind of Christ, and the fruit of the Spirit, we no longer have the desire to live “in chronic sin” and the lust of the flesh.

      I do believe there are far more false brethren/counterfeit “Christians,” or intellectual “Christians,” who are “Christian” in name only, those who claim the title, but who do not know Jesus personally, because they are not spiritually reborn, than true Born Again Believers, we are a remnant. Often these people end up becoming apostates and leave the faith, because of their lack of true spiritual fulfilment. As John said:

      “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.” [I John 2:19 AKJB]

      This Scripture is saying that people who once professed to believe in Christ and the doctrines of Biblical Christianity, claiming to be born again, then later renounced their faith and began to manifest the spirit of antichrist following beliefs that contradict the Bible, never had true saving faith in Christ at all. All who truly believe and are saved have a changed heart, although they might backslide in their relationship with the Lord and their work for the kingdom they never lose their faith in Christ as God the Son who died for them so they might live forever in the presence of their Lord and Savior, and at some point God will bring them back to Him, as the Shepherd brings back the lost sheep.

      Jesus warns us…

      “Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and MANY there be which go in there at: Because strait is the gate, and NARROW IS THE WAY, which leadeth unto life, and FEW THERE BE THAT FIND IT.” [Matt 7:13-14 AKJB]

      Those whom Paul was referring to in Romans 8:12 “who live after the flesh” are those who are unsaved not Born Again Believers. He makes this clear in Romans 8:4-5. “Christians who are willfully disobedient, walk in darkness and refuse to repent” are counterfeits, they do not have the changed heart and mind that comes with being “Born Again” of the Holy Spirit of God. One who has the Spirit of Truth living within them is not willfully disobedient, we are always under Holy Spirit conviction when we sin, so that we repent quickly and return to right standing with God. Our desire is to please God rather than our flesh.

      Our salvation is not dependent upon our works or our behavior, this is a lie of Rome. We are saved by God grace thorough our faith in Christ’s redemptive work on the cross on our behalf, for our sin, not by anything we do. The Scriptures make this very clear…

      “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any many should boast.” [Eph 2:8-9 AKJB]

      • It is fine for us to agree to disagree as you have been respectful in your responses as I hope I have also been. I do wonder though why you disagree regarding obedience. Does not Heb 5:9 state that obedience and not only belief is a requirement for eternal life? Does that then not imply that disobedience disqualifies one from eternal life? As you know one must reconcile all of the scriptures with each other in order to form doctrinal belief.

        Nevertheless, I do agree with you that the scriptures do describe SOME people who were never believers to begin with, however logically (and scripturally) that does not automatically entail that ALL the people were never believers to begin with. Your claim that the people whom Paul refers to in Rom 8:12 were unsaved cannot be true as Paul himself specifically addresses them as “brethren” – brothers and sisters. Paul would never use such a term if he were talking about unbelievers. Bear in mind that all of the epistles were written to believers not unbelievers as they were written to the churches. Similarly in Rom 8:4-5 –
        “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit” (AKJB). Notice that Paul writes “might be fulfilled in us” and not “is fulfilled in us.” The reason that Paul employs the word “might” is that the righteousness of the law is contingent upon the believer who chooses to walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh. The word “might” indicates a contingency (not a certainty) based upon a possible outcome resulting from one’s choice – whether or not to follow the Spirit. Hence all Christians have a choice – to follow or to not follow the Spirit. Those believers who choose to not walk after the flesh but after the Spirit fulfill the righteous requirement of the law. The unsaved have no such choice as they are unregenerated and have no ability to walk after the Spirit to begin with.

        “Our salvation is not dependent upon our works or our behavior, this is a lie of Rome.”
        If works have no bearing at all in our salvation, then the Apostle Paul must have also been lying as the gospel he preached differs from your version. Paul described the gospel message he preached in Acts 26:20 “But showed first to them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do WORKS meet for repentance” (AKJB). Paul’s gospel specifically included works that demonstrate repentance in order to be saved. Are we to disagree with Paul? Nor should we dismiss the words of the Apostle James in Js 2:24 “You see then how that by WORKS a man is JUSTIFIED, and not by faith only.” Saving faith and works go hand in hand as the latter demonstrates the former; you cannot have one without the other.

        We will likely end up agreeing to disagree but allow me to attempt to get to the bottom of the matter by proposing a personal scenario. Since you believe that a genuine believer can never lose his/her salvation, what would you do in this situation? For the sake of argument; irrespective of pre-trib, post-trib view, suppose you are faced with the situation described in Rev 14:9-11 where you have to make a choice of whether or not to take the mark of the beast – would you take it or not take it? I am interested in knowing what you would do – not what others would/should do – in order to make what have been discussing a practical matter and not just a theological one. If you don’t take it, is that because you agree that eternal torment is the consequence of ANYONE who takes the mark? If you do take it, does it mean that you’re still saved because you can never lose your salvation?

        • Evan says: It is fine for us to agree to disagree as you have been respectful in your responses as I hope I have also been. I do wonder though why you disagree regarding obedience. Does not Heb 5:9 state that obedience and not only belief is a requirement for eternal life? Does that then not imply that disobedience disqualifies one from eternal life? As you know one must reconcile all of the scriptures with each other in order to form doctrinal belief.

          Me: I never said obedience is not important, it is imperative, one cannot be “Born Again” without obeying Jesus’ command to Nicodemus that we must be born again to enter the kingdom of God. Obedience is our faith in action. Those who do not obey the Scriptures and receive Jesus as their Lord and Saviour are not saved.

          Evan says: Nevertheless, I do agree with you that the scriptures do describe SOME people who were never believers to begin with, however logically (and scripturally) that does not automatically entail that ALL the people were never believers to begin with. Your claim that the people whom Paul refers to in Rom 8:12 were unsaved cannot be true as Paul himself specifically addresses them as “brethren” – brothers and sisters. Paul would never use such a term if he were talking about unbelievers. Bear in mind that all of the epistles were written to believers not unbelievers as they were written to the churches. Similarly in Rom 8:4-5 –

          Me: I agree Paul was speaking to believers, he specifically stated in Romans 8:9 “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.” He was explaining to this group of believers the difference between born again believers, those who are spiritually reborn of God’s spirit from those unbelievers who remain in the flesh. This chapter is a lesson in contrasts between the saved and the unsaved.

          Evan says: “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit” (AKJB). Notice that Paul writes “might be fulfilled in us” and not “is fulfilled in us.” The reason that Paul employs the word “might” is that the righteousness of the law is contingent upon the believer who chooses to walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh. The word “might” indicates a contingency (not a certainty) based upon a possible outcome resulting from one’s choice – whether or not to follow the Spirit. Hence all Christians have a choice – to follow or to not follow the Spirit. Those believers who choose to not walk after the flesh but after the Spirit fulfill the righteous requirement of the law. The unsaved have no such choice as they are unregenerated and have no ability to walk after the Spirit to begin with.

          Me: Jesus fulfilled the Law through His righteousness, and His righteousness is accounted to all Born Again Believers, the Law does not apply to us under the New Covenant of Grace. The Law was given to Israel not the Church. Jesus freed us from the law of sin and death. I believe you are confusing justification and sanctification. Matt Slick at carm.org explains this well.

          Justification is the work of God where the righteousness of Jesus is reckoned to the sinner so the sinner is declared by God as being righteous under the Law (Rom. 4:3; 5:1,9; Gal. 2:16; 3:11). This righteousness is not earned or retained by any effort of the saved. Justification is an instantaneous occurrence with the result being eternal life. It is based completely and solely upon Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24) and is received by faith alone (Eph. 2:8-9). No works are necessary whatsoever to obtain justification. Otherwise, it is not a gift (Rom. 6:23). Therefore, we are justified by faith (Romans 5:1).

          Sanctification is the process of being set apart for God’s work and being conformed to the image of Christ. This conforming to Christ involves the work of the person. But it is still God working in the believer to produce more of a godly character and life in the person who has already been justified (Phil. 2:13). Sanctification is not instantaneous because it is not the work of God alone. The justified person is actively involved in submitting to God’s will, resisting sin, seeking holiness, and working to be more godly (Gal. 5:22-23).

          Significantly, sanctification has no bearing on justification. That is, even if we don’t live a perfect life, we are still justified.

          Where justification is a legal declaration that is instantaneous, sanctification is a process. Where justification comes from outside of us, from God, sanctification comes from God within us by the work of the Holy Spirit in accordance with the Bible. In other words, we contribute to sanctification through our efforts. In contrast, we do not contribute to our justification through our efforts.

          Now, there is one more point of clarification. To sanctify also means to set apart for holy use. Therefore we can have verses that talk about us being sanctified already because God has set us apart for holy use.

          • John 10:36, “do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?”

          • Rom. 15:16, “to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, that my offering of the Gentiles might become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”

          • 1 Cor. 1:2, “to the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.”

          • 1 Cor. 6:11, “And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.”

          • 1 Tim. 4:4-5, “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude; 5 for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.”

          • Heb. 2:11, “For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.”

          All that we need is given to us in Christ. So there is one sense in which we are not yet completely formed into the image of Christ (sanctification of being made like Jesus), yet in another sense we are because we are seen as “in Christ”, set apart for holy use where all of where all our spiritual needs and purposes are met through Jesus. [To read the rest of the article go to: http://carm.org/justification-and-sanctification%5D

          Evan says: “Our salvation is not dependent upon our works or our behavior, this is a lie of Rome.”
          If works have no bearing at all in our salvation, then the Apostle Paul must have also been lying as the gospel he preached differs from your version. Paul described the gospel message he preached in Acts 26:20 “But showed first to them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do WORKS meet for repentance” (AKJB). Paul’s gospel specifically included works that demonstrate repentance in order to be saved. Are we to disagree with Paul? Nor should we dismiss the words of the Apostle James in Js 2:24 “You see then how that by WORKS a man is JUSTIFIED, and not by faith only.” Saving faith and works go hand in hand as the latter demonstrates the former; you cannot have one without the other.

          Me: The book of Acts is a transition book between the Kingdom and Grace. The mystery of the Church had not yet been revealed until after Acts 28:25-28 when God temporarily judicially blinded all but a faithful remnant of Israel because of their unbelief, and sent salvation to the Gentiles. It was only after that point that The saving Gospel of Jesus Christ was preached and the Christian Church of Jesus Christ was established. “All Scripture is profitable for doctrine, for the reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” However, all of scripture does not apply to EVERYONE all the time. When erroneous applied to the wrong people it leads to confusion. The Gospels were written to the Jews under the OT Law. Acts is a transition Book, between the Jews living in the dispensation of the Kingdom Age under the Old Covenant Law and the preaching of the Kingdom Gospel, to Gentiles/Christians in the Dispensation of Grace under the New Covenant where the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ is taught. Paul’s prison Epistles are addressed to the Church and apply directly to us today. When one attempts to directly apply to Israel that which applies to the Church or to the Church that which was written to national Israel confusion and the appearance of contradictions occurs.

          The book of Hebrews is primarily a doctrinal dissertation to the Hebrews of the last days. It is an amendment to the Mosaic Covenant because a better covenant was established by the death of the Jewish Messiah at Calvary. The Book of Acts transitioned from the Jews to the Christians and the Epistle to the Hebrews transfers back to the Jews. The Book of Hebrews clearly distinguishes the addressees as the Hebrews of the religion of Judaism. The time period of the letter is called the last days and this epistle primarily discloses doctrinal truths for the Jews during the end times or the 70th week of Daniel.

          Under the New Covenant, salvation is by faith in the finished work of Jesus on the cross, for our sin, on our behalf alone. We are saved unto good works prompted by the Holy Spirit, which bring glory to God and fulfil His plan and purpose. These works are evidence of our salvation not a condition of it.

          Evan says: We will likely end up agreeing to disagree but allow me to attempt to get to the bottom of the matter by proposing a personal scenario. Since you believe that a genuine believer can never lose his/her salvation, what would you do in this situation? For the sake of argument; irrespective of pre-trib, post-trib view, suppose you are faced with the situation described in Rev 14:9-11 where you have to make a choice of whether or not to take the mark of the beast – would you take it or not take it? I am interested in knowing what you would do – not what others would/should do – in order to make what have been discussing a practical matter and not just a theological one. If you don’t take it, is that because you agree that eternal torment is the consequence of ANYONE who takes the mark? If you do take it, does it mean that you’re still saved because you can never lose your salvation?

          Me: No I would not take the mark of the beast.

          • I could keep replying to your responses if you wish but I suspect that we would end up going in circles. I used to believe as you do as that is what I was taught in seminary as all of my professors were Reformed in their theology. However, it took me several years to change my belief based on my plain reading of the scriptures. I would only encourage you to keep an open mind as you (or I) could be mistaken at one point or another since we don’t yet have perfect understanding.

            The reason for my mark of the beast scenario is that it cuts to the chase and I think that puts you in an untenable position based on your view. You answered in the negative but did not give the reason for your decision. Since you answered that you would not take the mark of the beast does that mean?
            That you agree with Rev 14:9-11 that” If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand” incurs the wrath of God and suffers eternal torment? Do you agree that “any man” (AKJB) means anyone and everyone including Christians? If you agree that “anyone” does include Christians, then does that mean that you would lose your salvation if you took the mark of the beast?

            • I have been a born again believer and have had a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ for 52 years, I am not going to change my beliefs. I have studied the Holy Scriptures since I was 12 years old under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit. I absolutely believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God and therefore I believe it means exactly what it says in Revelation 14:9-11. Those who take the mark of the beast will suffer eternal torment, as will all who reject Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, and their names are blotted out of the Book of Life. I also believe however that the true Church of Jesus Christ will be removed from the earth in the Rapture prior to the 70th week of Daniel, which will be back under the OT Law with the Kingdom Gospel being preached once again not the saving Gospel. God will pour out His wrath and judgment on the unbelieving world and prepare national Israel to receive their promised Messiah. There will not be any “Christians” on earth. “Christians” are associated with Christ’s Church and it will no longer be on earth. Tribulation saints will have to endure to the end, meaning they will have to remain faithful to God and believe in the promise of the return of Messiah Jesus, unto death or the return of Jesus whichever comes first.

  4. I find your reply interesting because you answer that you wouldn’t take the mark but you still fail to give the reason(s) why you wouldn’t personally take it. Instead you cite your belief in the rapture to not personally answer the questions. No one can say with 100% certainty as to when Jesus will return until it actually happens so why not answer the question despite your personal belief in the rapture? So far, no one whom I’ve posed this scenario to, who believes in OSAS, has fully answered my questions as they as either choose not to respond at all, or they respond partially, respond by citing what other people would do, or cite their belief in the pre-trib rapture such as yourself. They realize that to fully and honestly respond to this scenario would require them to acknowledge that eternal security is false.

    Nonetheless, “Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils….(1 Tim 4:1 AKJB). Despite your claim that believers can’t lose their salvation, the Spirit expressly states that some shall depart from the faith. Unbelievers can never depart from the faith obviously because they never belonged to the faith to begin with. Only believers can apostatize or depart from the faith. To claim that these people were never believers to begin with defies all logic and rules of grammar. It is difficult to hold to eternal security when confronted with verses such as this.

    • I wouldn’t take the mark of the beast because I am a born again believer, I know who my Lord and Saviour is and I would not be deceived by a counterfeit. Have you not noticed that there is a great apostasy going on in the so-called Christian Church today? It is hard to find a Church that actually teaches the inspired Scriptures. The majority of Churches have fallen away from the sound doctrine of God’s Word for a more seeker friendly ecumenical doctrine. We are living in the latter days of people departing from the faith.

      • Thanks for your response but I already know you are a regenerated believer so that was not my question. My question was since you would not take the mark, is that because you would lose your salvation if you did? And if so, does that not contradict OSAS teaching? You answered by appealing to your belief in the pre-trib teaching which is fine but it still failed to answer my specific questions.

        I do agree with wholeheartedly that sound doctrine is no longer being taught in the church. As a result people are departing from the faith and we both would probably agree that more and more people will depart from the faith as the days grow darker and the oppression by our common enemy becomes greater. Departing from the faith means that believers will fall away; perhaps some even thinking that they are still secure in their salvation when they are actually not.

        Although we disagree, thank you for this discussion and allowing me to post on your blog. God’s blessings to you and your family!

        • Evan says: Thanks for your response but I already know you are a regenerated believer so that was not my question. My question was since you would not take the mark, is that because you would lose your salvation if you did? And if so, does that not contradict OSAS teaching? You answered by appealing to your belief in the pre-trib teaching which is fine but it still failed to answer my specific questions.

          Me: The 70th week of Daniel/The Tribulation is back under the Old Covenant Law just like the first 69 weeks were, it will not under the New Covenant Gospel of Grace that we are under today. It reverts back to the time of the Jews where the Church Age is the time of the Gentiles. It is the Kingdom Gospel that will be preached during that time as it had been while Jesus was on earth, not the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. In order to be saved one must endure to the end, meaning they will have to remain faithful to God, keep the law and believe in the promise of the return of their Messiah unto death or His return, whichever comes first. No one except the 144,000 Jewish witnesses will be sealed with the Holy Spirit during that time to protect them from the Antichrist. No one’s salvation will be guaranteed during that time like it is once we are spiritually reborn of God’s Spirit in this Church Age. It is a time of God’s judgment on the unbelieving world and Israel for their unbelief, preparing them to receive their returning Messiah. It has nothing to do with Christ’s Church of Born Again Believers, because our righteousness comes through Christ, not of ourselves and we will be perfected at the rapture when our corruptible mortal bodies will be changed to incorruptible, immortal bodies. The Church must be removed prior to the 70th week of Daniel because the dispensation of Grace and the dispensation of the Law are incompatible. Therefore, your question is a moot point, it does not apply to the Church. The Salvation of Born Again Believer is secure in Christ and the mark of the beast is not applicable to us. It will only apply to the unbelieving world, and those who the mark and be eternally damned. Most of those who believe in the promise of the return of the Messiah and refuse the mark will be martyred.

          Evan says: I do agree with wholeheartedly that sound doctrine is no longer being taught in the church. As a result people are departing from the faith and we both would probably agree that more and more people will depart from the faith as the days grow darker and the oppression by our common enemy becomes greater. Departing from the faith means that believers will fall away; perhaps some even thinking that they are still secure in their salvation when they are actually not.

          Me: Amen Evan, I do agree, there are a lot of people in this world who claim the title “Christian” and believe they are saved, yet they have not been spiritually reborn of God’s Spirit and do not have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Sadly when they stand before Him, He will say…”I never knew you; depart from me ye workers of iniquity.”

          Evan says: Although we disagree, thank you for this discussion and allowing me to post on your blog. God’s blessings to you and your family!

          Me: My pleasure, I have enjoyed it. I love discussing the Bible and prophecy especially. I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas and a very blessed 2016!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s