"Once saved, always saved"--Fact or Fiction?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by bmerr, Aug 11, 2005.

  1. bmerr

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    To All,

    bmerr here. Though it is not mentioned outright in many posts, the doctrine that once one is saved, they can never be lost has been alluded to in several other threads. It hasn't been discussed much, though, and I thought it might give us a break from talking about baptism and "faith only" salvation.

    I, for one, do not believe the Bible teaches "once saved, always saved", though I do believe in the security of the believer. That may sound contradictory, but it's not.

    Anyway, let the debate begin!

    In Christ,

    bmerr
     
  2. Jim1999

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    Bmerr, I tend to agree with you. The term became popular a number of years ago in fundamentalist circles to mean...eternal security.

    In essence it is true, but it is not good theology. Certainly, if God does a good work in us (redemption) He will continue that good work forever. The eternality of our redemption is in Him and not in us. Our side of the equation is remaining stedfast in the faith once delivered.

    The once saved-always saved idea suggests that we can "get saved" and then live like the devil because we are always saved.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  3. ascund

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    Greetings
    I disagree. It is good theology. It emphasizes the certainty and unchangeable nature of God's decree whereby He imputes Christ's perfect righteousness to believers.

    The so called suggestion that we can live like the devil is not the fault of justification. It is the human urge to rebell at God's teaching. It ignores the aspect of sanctification.

    I'm for justification by faith alone. I want to keep justification parallel with - yet distinct from - sanctification. This does not mean that I'm against sanctification.

    I'm against aspects of sanctification being forced upon justification.

    I'm not against good works of any sort. I'm against good works being attributed to justification. How can filthy human good works modify, add to, or enhance Christ's perfect righteousness? This easy rhetorical question demands an answer of "it can't."

    There is a desperate need for Bible teaching on elementary terminology. What is justification? What is sanctification? How do they relate to salvation? When one confuses these three terms or unwittingly blends them, only then do you reach "not good theology."

    Lloyd
     
  4. bmerr

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    Jim,

    bmerr here. I've also found it to almost encourage worldliness in professed believers. The reasoning being, "Well, I got saved, and I can't go to Hell no matter what I do, why shouldn't I do what I want?"

    Undoubtedly, our redemption is in Christ, but the Bible teaches that we must be faithful if we would obtain our inheritance. We have a part to play in our salvation. It's not the only part, but it's an essential one.

    Thanks for your response.

    IN Christ,

    bmerr
     
  5. ascund

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    Greetings
    I like it! Where should we start? We have many choices. The Book of Hebrews? Verses on endurance? The word "lost?" The Prodigal Son? Shipwrecked faith? (I like Hebrews since I have all the "ammo" - explained below ;) )

    No matter where we begin, I will make a beeline to the Cross and keep hammering on the vital distiction between justification and sanctification. Disagreements over water baptism, OSAS, etc. all boil down to one's view of salvation.

    YOU HOLD to a progressive view of salvation: initial justificaiton by faith - imparted grace leading to conformity to Christ - final justification as a reward for faithfulness. Justification depends on sanctification.

    I HOLD to salvation where justification and sanctification are in parallel. They both begin at the moment of faith. Justification is an unconditional done deal. Sanctification is past with respect to one's separation unto God. It is present as a process of conformity to Christ. It is future in that it is linked with certain glorification (Rom 8). Sanctification depends on justification.

    With respect to hermeneutics, your view has difficulties with verses that point to the certainty and finality of justification. You tend to pit one set of Bible verses against another. However, my version of biblical harmony easily explains verses that appeal to lack of faithfulness. Heb 10:14 is a great example.

    I believe I've fairly represented your view. Where do you now wish to begin?
    Lloyd
     
  6. ascund

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    Hey bmerr

    Please note your use of the word salvation.

    In the post where I try to faithfully present our two views, I mention that salvation as the overarching umbrella that encompasses justification and sanctification.

    I agree that we have a part to play in our salvation. I view it as sanctification in parallel with yet distinct from justification. Your process view of salvation makes our part determine justification.

    This is just a preparatory note so that we both see the bird's eye view of our respective theologies and discuss them correctly. We need to be extra crispy tight on our use of the words justification, sanctification and salvation.

    So where do you want to start?
    Lloyd
     
  7. ascund

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    Greetings all

    Let me suggest that we go back to the early "grade school" theology concept of convenant.

    The clauses in this covenant are very specific. I'll list them here (from Hebrews 8):

    For this [is] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord;

    (1) I will put my laws into their mind, and
    (2) [I will] write them in their hearts:
    (3) I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
    (4) And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
    (5) For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and
    (6) their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

    Q1: Where is the conditional clause in any of these contractual promises?
    A1: There are none. Hence, it is an UNCONDITIONAL contract/covenant.

    Q2: What are the pronouns in these clauses?
    A2: The pronouns of activity all refer to God.

    Simple basics here. The NT covenant is UNCONDITIONAL and ONE-SIDED (for us). Once you are in the covenant, there is no provision for exclusion, termination, or escape. How much theologizing is required to twist this into a conditional, probationary contract?

    There can be no other conclusion than OSAS!
    Lloyd
     
  8. Briguy

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    This is one of the best arguments for OSAS because it combines scripture, logic, and common sense. Read the verses below.

    10] He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.
    [11] And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
    [12] He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
    [13] 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.

    John says we can KNOW we have ETERNAL LIFE. The moment we know we have ETERNAL LIFE it has to last forever because that is what eternal life is. If we could lose this eternal life then it would not have been eternal to start with but the scripture says that it is eternal. Now, if we can't really know, then John would not have written that we could know. He would not have written that we could know,if the truth was that no one knows until they die. Also, if eternal life started when we die then we couldn't KNOW we had it, in the sense that it was written for those alive. So, eternal is forever, we can KNOW we have ETERNAL LIFE, therefore we can't possibly lose that eternal life or eternal has no meaning what-so-ever. Salvation simply can't be lost because it is held by God's faith not by ours. God is faithful, 100% all the time, forever.

    Anyway, I really like that argument.

    In Christ,
    Brian
     
  9. webdog

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    First, if this were the attitude from the beginning of their christian walk, I would have to question that person's salvation.

    Second, someone who is backslidden can get so wrapped up into sin it would seem from the outside they were lost. The deciding factor is if God chastens that person. The Bible tells us that He chastens His children. If a believer were walking in sin, and nothing were happening to them, you would have to wonder if they were a child of God to begin.
     
  10. ascund

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    Greetings:

    Great verse. Here is another tidbit you might like. The verb know that i've bolded above is in the Greek Perfect Tense. This shows the ongoing results of the past action. While not technically the equivalent of OSAS, it is OSAS until God provides a verse that contradicts or terminates it. Hence, since there is no such verse - OSAS is the functional equivalent.


    Yeah! The basis of OSAS is God - not humans. This is where bmerr, mman et. al. err. They make human-based obedience the source for maintaining the eternal agreement. That is bad theology since it only leads to death!


    Lloyd
     
  11. Briguy

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    Thanks Lloyd, I appreciate knowing the Greek tense as it makes me like the argument even more now.

    I have read many of your posts over the last few days and really enjoy the deep knowledge you have for God's word, in particular how the original Greek works which really helps to understand the more difficult verses and Biblical concepts.

    Lloyd, why do you think so many Christians are banking on their own obedience to get to Heaven when they should know better?? Simple life experience and a tiny bit of logic should be enough for people to see the error of their thinking but they just don't usually budge on their position at all.

    Nice to meet you Lloyd,

    In Christ,
    Brian
     
  12. Jim1999

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    Jim said:

    In essence it is true, but it is not good theology. Certainly, if God does a good work in us (redemption) He will continue that good work forever. The eternality of our redemption is in Him and not in us. Our side of the equation is remaining stedfast in the faith once delivered.

    My statement remains true. I said it begins and end with God, and it is eternal. Having said that, I also said the popular phrase is not good theology, and I stick by that, as will most calvinists who are properly schooled.

    Surface theologians love the phrase. I have never in all my years used that phrase and never will. It provides a false sense of security where there be none, in my opinion, for what it is worth. I have not even touched on the other doctrines or even suggested their relationship to salvation.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  13. ascund

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    Greeings Brian

    It beats me. Negatively, God's Word clearly shows that outcome of every possible human attempt to please God on the basis of self-righteousness and self-merit. Rom 3:19 shows that the sentence of eternal damnation is so conclusive that no one can respond in protest.

    Positively, we have nothing but the best possible guidance and direction by God's Spirit. We are equipped with every possible spiritual blessing (Eph 1:3). How can we then so wilfully and cunningly run to sin?

    I can only say that we do not fully understand the depths of our innate depravity. Toplady provided the following:
    I also have appreciated your perspecuity.
    Lloyd
     
  14. ascund

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    Greetings


    Hey bmerr - you're in quite a hole. I submitted God’s eternal UNconditional one-way covenant with no exclusion, termination or escape clauses. Brian put I John 5:13 on your plate. One can unendingly KNOW they have eternal life. Let me suggest yet a third feature for you to consider.

    Jesus is the SURETY of the New Covenant (Heb 7:22). The definition of a surety is:
    __1) security against loss or damage or for the fulfillment of an obligation, the payment of a debt, etc.: a pledge, guaranty, or bond.
    __2) a person who has made himself responsible for another, as a sponsor, godparent, or bondsman.
    __3) the state or quality of being sure.
    __4) certainty.
    __5) that which makes sure; ground of confidence or safety.
    __6) a person who is legally responsible for the debt, default, or delinquency of another.
    __7) assurance, esp. self-assurance.”

    A surety is one who stands in place of another guaranteeing that a certain engagement will be faithfully performed. This happens all the time in the financial world. If my son wants to buy a car in his own name but doesn’t have sufficient funds, then he needs help. When I step forward and agree to co-sign his bank note, the bank changes its view towards my son. When he drives off with his new car everyone is happy. But let’s say that some months down the road that my son can’t pay his monthly bill. Does he lose his car? Not as long as I’m the co-signer of his bank note. When he can’t pay, the bank comes after me. It is my first responsibility to pay the bank and only then do I have the responsibility to help my son avoid this sort of thing in the future. Of course, even if he flatly refuses to pay the bank note, I will do it out of legal covenantal obligation (at the minimum) and (at the maximum) I will do it out of family love. This pauper is my son! My son’s bank note is as sure as my ability to back him up. This is a very close picture of God’s dealings with us pitiful humans.

    The same scenario happens for believers. Jesus is the surety (co-signer) of God’s new covenant. Since believers’ credit has been irreparably damaged we all need help. When Jesus stepped forward as the co-signer of the new contract, God changed His view towards those who believe in Jesus. But let’s say that some time down the road these believers can’t fulfill their responsibilities to God. They stop reading their Bibles, stop witnessing, stop praying, stop confessing their sins, fall into various besetting sins, lose heart, drift away, and even apostatize. Do they lose their salvation? Not as long as Jesus is the co-signer of the new covenant. When believers can’t fulfill their responsibilities towards God, Jesus fulfills the requirements for them. Of course, future rewards will be adjusted for present failures at Jesus’ Bema Seat.

    When Jesus lived a perfect life in full obedience and conformity to God’s law, desires, and will, He purchased all that was required for salvation. As Surety of the New Covenant, He simply pays out this already-purchased-righteousness for us and God is totally satisfied.

    Your denial of OSAS implies that Jesus is an unwilling or bankrupt SURETY. This is what I mean when I say that you unwittingly deny the Christ you claim to worship. Whenever you change focus from Christ to human-obedience, you unwittingly deny Him.

    This is a very grave mistake.
    Lloyd
     
  15. bmerr

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    ascund,

    bmerr here. Did I read your profile right? Home church: Plainview church of Christ? Whereabouts are they located? Quite frankly, I'm a bit surprised, if your profile is correct.

    In Christ,

    bmerr
     
  16. bmerr

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    To All,

    bmerr here. I'd say it was a good idea to open up a thread for this topic! I guess it's time I joined in.

    Now, up front, I'll say that some pretty persuasive arguements for the "Fact" side have been presented. I've been a Baptist, and I know the "warm, fuzzy" feeling of believing that Jesus has forgiven me of all my sins, past, present, and future.

    However, that's not what we are promised in the NT. Rom 3:24-25 tells us,

    24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
    25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.

    It's only our past sins that God forgives when we obey the gospel. From that point, when we sin, we have forgiveness available when we repent and pray for it (see Simon Acts 8:13-24).

    ascund mentioned "shipwreck" earlier, so I thought we could look at that, too.

    In 1 Tim 1:19-20, Paul gives the names of two men who were not behaving as they ought. It says,

    19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
    20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

    I don't know what these two men were saying, but Paul knew, and he said it was blasphemy. Not good.

    So what can we make of Paul's illustrative term, "shipwreck"? It was obviously chosen to invoke an image in the mind of the reader. I think of underwater film footage of old, dilapidated sailing vessels, in pieces on the ocean floor.

    But what can be known about a wrecked ship? Without knowing what caused it to sink, what are some obvious facts about it that might help us to understand Paul's language to Timothy?

    First off, we know that the ship set sail from one location, bound for another. It had course laid out before it, and an intended destination as it's goal. We can be pretty confident that it was not just out wandering aimlessly for no reason.

    Second, we know that it didn't arrive at its' intended destination. We may not know all the why's and why nots about it, but we can be quite sure it didn't set sail for the bottom of the ocean! The sea floor is where it ended up, though.

    Perhaps it wandered off course, due to a faulty compass. Maybe its' anchor wasn't set well enough to hold steady through a storm. Or maybe it took on too much worldly cargo and foundered in rough seas.

    Whatever happened, the ship did not reach the destination it started out for.

    Hymenaeus and Alexander had "...put away concerning faith..." I'm not a Greek scholar (but I play one on TV [​IMG] ), but I can read the definitions of Greek words, if they're written in English. I do happen to have e-Sword, so let me give you the definition of "having put away".

    (to shove); to put off, figuratively to reject: - cast away, put away (from), thrust away (from)

    So these men had rejected, or cast away something. Paul said it was the faith that he told Timothy to hold to. I'd say it was Christianity that these two men had put away from themselves.

    Paul goes on to say that he had delivered, (surrendered) them unto Satan so that they may learn not to blaspheme. They may, but they may not.

    I hope they did return to faithfulness. The Bible does not record their end. In 2 Tim 2:18, we learn that at least part of their error was in saying that the resurrection was past already, the result being that they had overthrown the faith of some.

    They had missed the mark. They were subverting the faith of others. They were not abiding in the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9-11). They had neither the Father, or the Son. They were lost.

    Enough for now. Someone else jump in.

    In Christ,

    bmerr
     
  17. ascund

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    Greetings
    I think I'll respond in two parts

    Not quite my friend. This passage starts out dealing with the plight of OT saints (21). They are saved because charged their sins to Christ even before the Cross.

    After Paul deals with this, he generalizes to all people saying that God now justifies the person who believes in Jesus (36, 28, 30).

    Context in its entirety should have given you the right answer. But this is verified elsewhere as well. Check out Col 2:13 where God has forgiven us all trespasses. Same for I John 2:2 where the sins of the whole world are forgiven and especially those who are saved (I John 2:12).

    I understand how your progressive salvation theology want to see continuous forgiveness of sins in order to maintain salvation. But scripture clearly says that all sins are forgiven.

    Part of your confusion is the reluctance to see justification as parallel yet distinct from sanctification. The sins that we have been discussing so far relate to justification.

    So I think I've answered your first plank .
    Lloyd
     
  18. ascund

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    Greetings


    Shipwrecked faith is a bad thing. But where in all of this does it say that one is lost? Verse 18 talks about spiritual warfare. Paul is so incensed over Hymenaeus and Alexander that he delivered them to Satan. This sounds really bad – and it is!

    But you ignore Paul’s reason – “that they may learn not to blaspheme.” Your analysis cuts the biblical reason out of the passage and substitutes your own view that this is the equivalent of the Lake of Fire. 1 & 2 Corinthians provides details about how Paul did the very same thing to the person who took his father’s wife as his wife (1 Cor 5:1-5).

    Paul’s reasoning in 1 Corinthians was that the person be delivered to Satan for the destruction of his flesh so that he would be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Paul isn’t talking about loss of salvation here. Loss of flesh is not the same thing as loss of salvation. All Christians will one day die and have the earthly flesh rot away. This is not the great tragedy. The great tragedy is never being saved and being condemned to an eternity in the Lake of Fire. Paul is referring to putting this erring saint out of the local church into the domain of Satan.

    In 2 Cor 2, Paul notes that the temporary banishment of this sinning saint - out of the Church - into the domain of Satan - for the destruction of the flesh - was “sufficient” (2 Cor 2:6). It was sufficient because the judgment of church discipline brought about the necessary changes in behavior. This was a temporary judgment of rewards - not salvation. Then, Paul encouraged them to forgive the man lest excessive sorrow should swallow him up (v7). The same thing that happened in 1st and 2nd Corinthians is happening again with Hymenaeus and Alexander. Church discipline can be effective.

    Shipwrecked faith is not a synonym for eternal damnation

    Shalom
    Lloyd
     
  19. DHK

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    You are confused: mixing up justification with sanctification again.

    Romans 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. (past, present, and future)

    Psalms 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

    Isaiah 43:25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.

    Jeremiah 31:34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

    Micah 7:19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

    1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

    Rom. 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, (None, whatsoever)

    At salvation all our sins are forgiven: past, present and future. Therefore, there is no condemnation to the beiever, to them that are in Christ Jesus--none whatsoever.
    Certainly the believer sins after that. But that doesn't affect his salvation, only his walk with God, his fellowship. Thus John wrote:

    1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    Note the "we". John includes himself in this category. Or wasn't he saved? John also sinned and daily came to Christ to confess his sins. I am sure that he had no doubts about his salvation. The confession of sin was a restoration of fellowship with God, not for salvation, but for communion with God.

    Psalms 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
    --If there is sin in my heart, God won't even listen to my prayer. I will still be saved, but my fellowship with God will be lost until my sin is confessd. My salvation will never be lost.
    That which is eternal, by very definition, can never become temporal, else Jesus Christ would be a liar.
    DHK
     
  20. Jim1999

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    From the text available, we are not certain they were even believers, but rather antinomians, living in their sins so that grace may abound. What was made shipwreck was any hope of salvation. They were unrepentant and constantly attacking Paul. Alexander even testified against Paul at Rome, showing how evil he was.

    The church of Rome also uses these verses to support the notion of excommunication...which can lead to the loss of salvation in the RC Church.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     

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