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Only God can provide total security Part 4A

The case for once saved always saved.

Is it possible for a true born-again believer to lose their salvation and end up in the eternal lake of fire, separated from God forever?

The question usually arises when someone we know or even perhaps ourselves, who previously professed Christianity but is now living far from Jesus and does not seem to even care.

As we begin this important study it is crucial to remember that not everyone in any given fellowship may be truly born again! Our question in this study is focused on those who have truly been born-again.

This study has three parts to it.

1. The need for holiness in the believer’s life.

2. Bible evidence to support ‘once saved always saved’.

3. Responses to those scriptures which appear to contradict this.

It is clear from the teaching of the Bible that the Lord wants and indeed expects us to lead holy lives that bear fruit. It does matter how we live in every area of our lives, and we must not grieve the Holy Spirit who indwells us by living in constant sin. The grace of God and His righteousness in us are not a license to sin. Even if we do stumble our hearts should be quick to confess our sins to the Lord.


Calvinists and Armenians

Calvinists (John Calvin 1509-1564) generally believe in Eternal Security. They believe that God knew everyone who would believe from before the foundation of the world, and because of this He called and chose each one. In this viewpoint God has done all the work for salvation in the past and the people will be saved in the future. One drawback from this point of view is that because it is so focused on the past it leaves out how the believers live in the present. When taken to extremes this could be taken to mean that it really does not matter how the Christian behaves and hence opens the door for widescale immorality.

Arminians (Jacob Arminius 1560-1609), on the other hand, concentrate much more on the present. They also believe God has called and chosen us, but that this calling works only on a day to day basis. So, if we live a holy life today, we are still saved, but if not, we are in instant danger of losing our salvation. Some Arminians become very legalistic and keep long sets of rules perhaps even to the extent of keeping all the law of Moses. Some are in more bondage to the law than any legalistic Jew!

Most of what the Calvinists believe is scripturally correct, but a balanced biblical viewpoint must take the present into account. Jesus is alive today and .... He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He ever liveth to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:23-25).

Israel needed a high priest to represent the people to God and in the same way Jesus Christ our high priest makes daily intercessions for each one of us.

Our eternal security and salvation do not only depend in what the Lord has done in the past but also on the fact that Jesus Christ is interceding for us today. This means there is a present aspect to our salvation.

In other words, if Jesus stopped interceding for us perhaps, we might lose our salvation. Praise God however that He can save us to the uttermost (panteles) meaning completely, utterly, or finally, or even better everlastingly (forever).

This present aspect of our salvation means that God requires something from us today!

Our present-day sin is still loathsome to God.

Although Jesus paid the price in full for all our sins when we sin today, Jesus has to say to His Father ‘I suffered and died for that sin’. So, there is still a reaction in heaven when we sin though He graciously forgives us when we repent. Our sins are still of real significance today and we must remember that obedience is better than sacrifice.

Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

The basis of our eternal security is founded in two equally important things.

1. The work and calling of God in the past

2. The living intercession of Christ for us.

If we remember both aspects, they will keep us from extremes of considering sin unimportant or trying to live under the Law. Our love and gratitude to Jesus will lead us into greater holiness. Some Arminian preachers are frightened to preach on God’s grace in case it will promote sin in the believer’s lives. The Bible however teaches that as we acquire an understanding of the grace and love of God and a revelation that Jesus is constantly interceding for us, then we will be inspired to lead holy lives. The supporting scriptures for this motivation to holiness are given below [1].

From these scriptures it is clear that God does not employ fear or outward things to spur us on to holiness but rather it is the truth inside us that will cause a response from our hearts. We respond to God’s love and grace. Those forgiven most, love most!

Holiness needs a new nature.

No matter how good on external appearances people are, only the new birth can really change their nature. People who have only received the Gospel in their heads are often more difficult to convert because they think they are already saved.


Personal prayer

[1] Titus 2 11-13. Ephesians 2:8-10. Romans 6:11-15. 1 Corinthians 6:15-20. Ephesians 3:20 -4 22. 1 Thessalonians 2:10-12. Collossians 3:1. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. 1 John 3:13.

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