Once Saved Always Saved (OSAS) and Eternal Security

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by JonC δοῦλος, Mar 29, 2016.

  1. JonC

    JonC
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    I am Southern Baptist and a doctrine that we typically have in common is Once Saved Always Saved (OSAS). This is a doctrine that I have taken issue with, but not for the reasons that are often used to denounce the teaching. I do believe in the doctrine of the eternal security of the believer.

    I believe that these two doctrines are often used interchangeable but that there are differences (at the minimum slight nuances). Perhaps these are differences in my own mind based on how they have been presented in my experience - I am not pretending to be objective but am presenting my subjective view and asking for feedback.

    I understand OSAS to be the doctrine that once a man is saved there is nothing that he can do to lose that salvation. Eternal security is similar, but emphasizes that all who are Christians are eternally secure in their salvation and will never fall away because of Christ’s faithfulness.

    The reason that I take exception with OSAS is its focus on the individual and a state of having been saved. In my view and experience this teaching provides the assurance of security based on a past event (a moment where salvation was experientially confirmed). I do not see this assurance as biblical. In fact, the only assurance that I can find in the Bible that I am indeed saved is through examining my life and present fruits of the Spirit. This is the assurance of the believer. The troubling part of this assurance is that I may be saved, but if my life does not speak to that salvation then I have no assurance.

    The doctrine of Eternal Security, to my subjective and limited understanding, looks forward and to a specific people – the elect. God has gathered a people, and God will keep these people. These people persevere to the end because of God’s work. No one who is in Christ will ever be outside of Christ. This does not apply directly to the individual as an assurance of salvation. Instead it apples to the people that we are to test ourselves to be sure that we are among.

    Do you believe the doctrines to be interchangeable (is OSAS exactly the same thing as Eternal Security)? In your experience, are they presented identically?
     
  2. TCassidy

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    Yes, they are the same. It is just that one is horribly stated. It is not that a saved man can't do enough wrong to lose his salvation, it is that the saved man does not want to do that which would cause him to lose his salvation (if that were possible, which it is not).

    We do not stay saved because we persevere to the end (even though we do) but we stay saved because, 1) all of our sins were paid for on the cross, past, present, and future, and 2) we stay saved because we are preserved, blameless, by the power of God, unto the day of judgment. :)
     
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  3. JonC

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    I was thinking that objectively they were the same. Maybe it’s just how they “sound” to me. Plus, I have been put in the position of defending OSAS several times over the past couple of months (each time against the senerio of a man who professed faith but was living in sin). My explanation typically shifts to the elect (being numbered among the elect), and we often find a bit of agreement.

    OSAS also tends to make me think of an assurance of salvation - that is, that a person is saved now based on having been saved. I understand that this is not the doctrine itself, but how I think of it...probably because I’ve heard it used that way before…or because I’ve heard it argued against in that way (I’m not sure which).
     
  4. Iconoclast

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    Many believe this instead;

    Chapter 17: Of The Perseverance of the Saints
    1._____ Those whom God hath accepted in the beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, and given the precious faith of his elect unto, can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved, seeing the gifts and callings of God are without repentance, whence he still begets and nourisheth in them faith, repentance, love, joy, hope, and all the graces of the Spirit unto immortality; and though many storms and floods arise and beat against them, yet they shall never be able to take them off that foundation and rock which by faith they are fastened upon; notwithstanding, through unbelief and the temptations of Satan, the sensible sight of the light and love of God may for a time be clouded and obscured from them, yet he is still the same, and they shall be sure to be kept by the power of God unto salvation, where they shall enjoy their purchased possession, they being engraven upon the palm of his hands, and their names having been written in the book of life from all eternity.
    ( John 10:28, 29; Philippians 1:6; 2 Timothy 2:19; 1 John 2:19; Psalms 89:31, 32; 1 Corinthians 11:32; Malachi 3:6 )
    2._____ This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father, upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ and union with him, the oath of God, the abiding of his Spirit, and the seed of God within them, and the nature of the covenant of grace; from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.
    ( Romans 8:30 Romans 9:11, 16; Romans 5:9, 10; John 14:19; Hebrews 6:17, 18; 1 John 3:9; Jeremiah 32:40 )

    3._____ And though they may, through the temptation of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins, and for a time continue therein, whereby they incur God's displeasure and grieve his Holy Spirit, come to have their graces and comforts impaired, have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded, hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves, yet shall they renew their repentance and be preserved through faith in Christ Jesus to the end.
    ( Matthew 26:70, 72, 74; Isaiah 64:5, 9; Ephesians 4:30; Psalms 51:10, 12; Psalms 32:3, 4; 2 Samuel 12:14; Luke 22:32, 61, 62 )
     
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  5. TCassidy

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    Or you could just believe 1 Thessalonians 5:23 May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. :)
     
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  6. SovereignGrace

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    "If you could lose your salvation, you would." John MacArthur.
     
  7. JonC

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    Even as I was writing the OP I realized that I believe these to be different takes on the same doctrine. I almost included Perseverance of the Saints, but I see this as identical to Eternal Security. All three have the saved persevering to the end, kept by God. But I have seen two of these three used in a way I do not believe the doctrine was intended to be used.

    Geisler has noted that OSAS is a security to the believer while Perseverance of the Saints is not. Personally, I do not see how one is and the other is not (except that Geisler wants to hold a “point” without conceding to be a flower thumper….if he has any pedals left). MacArthur has noted the difference only in that he says he affirms both. (And I apologize for not having references at hand, as I write this I am not at home).

    Of the three, I’ve seen OSAS misused as an assurance of salvation (which I believe is wrong). I have seen Perseverance of the Saints misused to indicate perseverance in every situation rather than that position of “will be saved” (which I also believe is wrong). I have not seen, or noticed, as much misuse with Eternal Security. But essentially I believe these to be different wordings and emphasis on the same doctrine.

    How do you see Perseverance of the Saints to differ?
     
  8. JonC

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    Thankfully no one has interjected with the argument against eternal security (as that isn't the topic here). I agree with MacArthur.
     
  9. Iconoclast

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    POS...provides the complete definition from God's electing ,calling,gracing,the person with salvation from sin,to God's enabling grace in sanctification, through trials, that the person will continue on in faith and obedience. It spells it all out touching on every essential point.

    Eternal security focuses on being kept by God, but many times does not focus on the sanctification aspect as if the person does not have to pursue holiness in the life by godly means.

    Osas comes with baggage that those who believe the carnal Christian heresy teach and have posted even here on BB, that once a person has made a profession,they cannot lose that salvation even if they blaspheme and go into apostasy.
     
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  10. JonC

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    Do you believe that the doctrines themselves are wrong or the "baggage" that may accompany them?

    The reason that I ask is my church teaches OSAS, but they also emphasize discipleship and sanctification, denying that believers will ever be mastered by sin. I'm still leaning towards all three being different takes on the same doctrine (personally, I prefer "eternal security" because I think as a stand alone doctrine is it more precise...less "baggage", perhaps).
     
  11. ReformedBaptist

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    Perhaps some of the difficulty comes in from how the OSAS concept has been viewed and practiced, by some, who have clung to a decision they made or a baptism they had and then tell themselves they are ok no matter how wicked they are living. In other words, their faith is fire insurance. They are no different than the papist who goes to mass to "pay" for his sins so he may run out and sin all the more.

    I think the 1689 confession states the Bible's teaching the best.
     
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  12. tyndale1946

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    I've heard it said this way refer to those like myself who believes on OSAS... Why if I believe the way you all did I would drink my fill of sin. Why wouldn't I am glory bound?... My answer to them is this... YOU CAN TRY?... You see in my seventy year on this earth and over 50 years in church I have seen this occur... But be for warned you may be glory bound but you are bought with a price and as scriptures say It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God... The Lord can make it either heavenly here on earth for his children to some extent or he can put you through a living hell... Those who have been forgiven little and know little will be beaten with few stripes but those who have been forgiven and know much will be beaten with many... Sometimes they are given over to Satan to mend their ways... not that they ever belonged to him in the first place... God's children were bought by him with the sinless blood of his dear Son Jesus the Christ, on a cross he gave his life's blood for you... Never forget this you are God's property!... Brother Glen
     
  13. JonC

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    I think you are right. The difference that Geisler points out (the reason he prefers OSAS over POS) is the reason that I do not prefer the term OSAS. While we do have the assurance that those who are saved by God will always be saved by God, our assurance that we are one of those people comes from a different doctrine (testing our faith).
     
  14. kyredneck

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    AGREE!
     
  15. Craigbythesea

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    The terms OSAS and eternal security are typically used interchangeably by non-Reformed Baptists and similar groups of Christians. The terms perseverance of the saints and preservation of the saints are typically used interchangeably by Reformed Baptists and other groups of Reformed Christians, and we find that to be the case in the 1689 London Baptist Confession of faith, Chapter 17, Paragraphs 2 and 3.
     
  16. tyndale1946

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    At this time in my life I have more or less dropped the OSAS position, not that I still don't believe it but it generates by its wording to many dumb questions... IMHO!... I go with Eternal Security or Preservation Of The Saints now!... Btw less questions... IMHO!... Brother Glen
     
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  17. Craigbythesea

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    In this verse, Paul is expressing his desire for these Christians; he is not promising them complete sanctification, Christian perfection, sinlessness, preservation, or anything else as is shown by his use of the verbs ἁγιάζωand τηρέω in the optative mood!
     
  18. JonC

    JonC
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    That's interesting....I've never noticed "preservation" of the saints before you mentioned it here. I've probably read it several times, but saw it as "perseverance."
     
  19. TCassidy

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    But I see a huge difference. Perseverance of the Saints seems to suggest (perhaps only in my own mind) that the Saints are secure unto the end because they persevere in Christ. But the reality (as I see it) is that the Saints persevere in Christ because they are preserved unto the end.

    In other words, all of God, none of me. :)
     
  20. JonC

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    Much is subjective here. When I look at me now, and think of me then....I'm not very well persevered. But I'm secure. Laugh
     

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