Once saved always saved

If you go to the top of the CN tower there is a glass floor that you can walk on. Some people enjoy walking on it and looking down, and others are so terrified that they will not go near it. It is not that they don't believe it will hold them up, it is that they don't believe it will hold them up. They understand the materials are strong enough, but there is something deep inside of them that thinks, what if?

When it comes right down to it, they have to admit that they don't believe it is safe. Their actions show what they believe even though they can acknowledge that it is not reasonable. This is very similar to those who profess to believe in Jesus Christ, but do not act like it. James summed it up nicely when he said, "faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead (James 2:17)." People who do not live out their faith, don't actually believe it. There are people who at one time professed Jesus Christ, but who now claim there is no God. These people are like the second son in the parable of the two sons who were asked to go work in their Fathers's vineyard. The first one said he would not go, but changed his mind and went. The second son said he would go, but changed his mind and did not go. Those who profess faith, but do not act on it will not enter the Kingdom of God.

In Christian circles there is a refrain which goes something like this, "once saved always saved." This statement is 100% true, but only God knows those who are saved (2 Tim. 2:19). We can only judge by their fruit, but we are not their Judge. Someone who is truly saved will never lose their salvation, but it is doubtful that somebody who continues to sin was ever truly saved. To be saved means to be forgiven of your sins and to have received the gift of the Spirit. If you have the Holy Spirit, then it is impossible for you not to be changed, "for who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4)." If there is no change in your life, then how can you say that you have the Spirit of Christ, unless you deny the power of God? But what about the person who is an alcoholic who still struggles with addiction? Firstly, we need to point out that this does not apply to the majority of Christians, it would be unwise to determine a rule by the exception. Secondly, God is also powerful enough to overcome addiction. Lastly, God has never provided an excuse to sin.

It is wrong to tell a "fellow" brother or sister in Christ that is living in sin, that they are saved as long as they have said the "sinners" prayer. The Bible tells us clearly what happens to people who are living a life characterized by sin (1 Cor. 6:9-11). We do not want to be guilty of giving an excuse to some "who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ (Jude 4)." Once saved always saved can be used as an excuse to live in sin and not change. Assurance of being saved should not come from some doctrine, but from a life that is lived in accordance with God's will. "Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:10-11)."

What if the person who professed Jesus Christ but now lives a life characterized by sin is not saved? Warning someone of the error of their ways will not hurt if they are saved, but if they are not then it is the only thing that will save them.


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