|Posted by GFNSProductions on November 1, 2011 at 8:00 PM|
It's funny how the discussion of 'Once Saved, Always Saved' often comes up when Christians get together. One group believes that salvation is entirely not up to us, but it is a gift from God that we receive once we accept it and can neither reject or mess it up after. They quote, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast.." (Ephesians 2: 8,9) The other group believes that we are only Saved as long as we continue to obey God's commands and endure through the various trials of our life. They quote James Chapter 2 verse 20, 'You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless/Dead?' and Matthew 24:13 "the one who endures to the end will be saved." Interestingly enough, we never hear of non-Christians getting together to discuss these matters, so the question arises, "Why do we spend so much time in conversation over this?" I believe for two reasons, namely: as a source of encouragement, and a necessary warning. I believe both sides of the argument exist for these two reasons with one serving each particular reason more than the other.
Let us start by evaluating the reasons for why someone would say that someone's salvation is once and for all. For one, it is a nice concept! To think that you can do nothing to mess up your salvation is quite an encouragement for those who constantly deal with a negative conscience. It focuses more on an individual's inward motives and inclinations as the basis for one's reassurance of salvation, rather than the outward evidences. True, outward evidence/ fruit is also an aspect of those who believe in 'Once Saved, Always Saved,' but the absent of fruits during one season doesn't necessitate the lost of salvation during that season. For even I haved proved false to my Savior, Jesus Christ, many times; yet, that doesn't mean that I was no longer a child of God. (1 John 1:8 to 2:2) Furthermore, even though a person would produce thorns/ bad fruit during that same season, as the term back sliding seems to indicate, the individual is still saved; although, as one Christian friend put it, their sins may cost them their life here on earth if they are not careful. Yet, their eternal salvation would still be secure even if they were to die in their sinful behavior; however, they would not be raptured if Jesus were to come at that time. (Romans 9:11; 11:7)
The opposing side of the argument I believe was created in order to address those individuals who say, 'I was saved once already, so I can live in sin now since I can't lose my salvation.' On the one hand, those who believe in 'Once Saved, Always Saved' would say, 'A person who speaks like that may of never really been saved to begin with." Yet, 2 Peter 2:20-22 describes such a person, saying, "If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. They prove the truth of this proverb: 'A dog returns to its vomit.' And another says, 'A washed pig returns to the mud.' " But how would we be able to convince such a one that they are in need of reevaluating the validity of their salvation when they believe that they can't lose their salvation? This is the very necessity of the belief that one is 'Not Once Saved, Always Saved.' As the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians chapter 6 verse 9 before he listed a number of wicked practices that would bar one from inheriting the kingdom of Heaven, these exist in order for us to 'not be deceived'.
In all, I believe both sides of the argument are necessary. One is the heat that forces us to move to a place of scrutiny and security, while the other is the cold that soothes us of our flaming bad conscience. Both however aim to prevent us from getting a swollen ego, by reminding us to never become too complicant in thinking that our behavior doesn't matter or the other extreme in believing that we have somehow earned this great salvation that has been bestowed upon us. Much in the way that a suspension bridge is able to support an extraordinary amount of weight due to the tension of the opposing sides/pillars; likewise, the two opposing arguments help to put pressure on each individual Christian so that they may not become too cavalier with regard to their salvation.
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