Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Once Saved Always Saved?

I was talking with a friend and she said, "You don't believe once saved always saved?" I said no, which was totally in haste. I am realizing that I have a problem letting things fall out of my mouth sometimes, and that I am thinking that I am more mature in Christ than I am.
Back to the question I don't know how to respond to that. So I am going through some thoughts and I need some help. I am still growing in the Lord so any scriptural references you guys have, please throw them at me to back up any comments. I want more than just opinions or thoughts, I want God's word. I am not sure where to go.

What does it mean to be saved? To me, it means believing that Jesus is the son of God and that He died on the cross for us to save us from our sins and being baptized for the remission of my sins ALSO following a life for Jesus and living by God's will. We all know where those things are located in the Word. The Gospels tell us of Jesus's life and death, and the Gospels and Romans are great places for me to see how to live my life. I will refer to this as "SAVED".

Hopefully I have enough collected thoughts to get this out AND make some sense.

I know that I will never fully understand God. I am merely human and my brain just is not capable of holding and processing all that He is.

What do I believe. I believe what God's Word says. I believe every single word in that book. Hence the request for scriptural back up.

Will I go to heaven if I am "SAVED" and continually sin? I know God is a forgiving God. He will forgive any sin if you sincerely ask. Will you go to heaven? I don't know cause I am not the judge who will decide. But God's Word says that we must leave or die in our old ways our old selves, and live a new life in Christ according to his Word.

So what does it mean once saved always saved? I don't believe that you can be "SAVED" and continue sinning knowingly. How do those ways fit together? No one is perfect, yes we all sin everyday, but we are aware of most of those sins and are actively working on trying not to sin. To live in your old self after you died to your old self makes being "SAVED" mean nothing. right?

Once saved always saved? If this is so why is it we say "They fell away from Christ"? Is it because they died to the new self and starting reliving the old self? If so, does this take away the saved in the statement, once saved always saved? Or does this mean they went back to the old self yet are still "SAVED" but not repentful?

Maybe none of the thoughts above matter. Here is what does matter

"So do you think we should continue sinning so that God will give us even more grace? NO! We died to our old sinful lives, so how can we continue living in sin? Did you forget that all of us became part of Christ when we were baptized? We shared in his death in our baptism...Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the powerful Father, we too can have a new life." Romans 6:1-4

"We know that the law's commands are for those who have the law. This stops all excuses and brings the whole world under God's judgement, because no one can be made right with God by following the law. The law only shows us our sin." Romans 3:19-20

"All have sinned and are not good enough for God's glory, and all need to be made right with God by his grace, which is a free gift." Romans 3:23

"When people work, their pay is not given as a gift, but as something earned. But people can not do any work that will make them right with God. So they must trust in Him, who makes even evil people right in His sight. Then God accepts their faith, and that makes them right with Him.....People are truly blessed when God without paying attention to good deeds, makes people right with himself." Romans 4:4-6

So, I still don't know what "once saved always saved" means. I think I am going to sum it up as I am "SAVED" and I will always be saved cause I am going to try my hardest and my best to live my life according to God's will and His Word and pray that God's grace will cover the rest.

So friend, I hope this helps show you what I believe. I also hope that you let God's Word guide you and be your sole guide to living a life in Christ. I also hope that my fellow believers, that are also friends, chime in and help encourage and elaborate on this topic.

We all know we can all use more knowledge when it comes to God. What better way? Let's discuss!


Greg & Kim said...

Yay! My cell group has been talking about how we know we’re Christians. And honestly, it’s a really confusing concept when you get right down to it. So I’m going to throw a few ideas and a bunch of verses out here and hope some theological scholar will jump onto this discussion and put it all together for us.

From what I've understood from friends who believe in "once saved, always saved," it's the idea that once you are "saved," then there's NOTHING you can do to lose your salvation. So, you may ask, what if this "new believer" then goes on a rampant killing spree? “Well,” the traditional response goes, “then obviously they weren't saved in the first place. They must not have really had faith, or their actions will reflect that.” I’m guessing they get this idea from James 2, which says,
“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

[On the other hand, Martin Luther, the guy who popularized the idea that we are saved by “faith alone,” LOVED Romans and did NOT like James, calling it “an epistle of straw.”]

So it seems like even "once saved, always saved" people believe that "good works" factor into a person's conversion. But how much and in what ways? And the person who causes me the most difficulty over this, frankly, is not James, but Jesus. Consider:

"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'” Matt. 7: 15-23
Or this chilling passage from Matt. 25:
31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
Yikes. I know we are saved by God’s grace and NOT by works…but Jesus seems to indicate that good works are essential to salvation and even to loving him. (“If you love me, you will obey what I command.” John 14:15
And here are a few more verses that deal with salvation:
“It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because[b]to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.” Heb. 6:4-6
“No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.” I John 3:9
“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” I John 3:18-20
In conclusion, Greg told me that David Clayton’s way of explaining his view on the issue is, “Once saved, live saved.”

bekster said...

Wow, that is a lot to think about.

The Hebrews 6 passage seems to indicate that it IS possible for "those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age" to actually fall away because it says "IF they fall away" (emphasis added).

However, Jesus in Matthew 12:30-32 says:

30"He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. 31And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

I don't know what it truly means to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit, but I have always been told that it was the only one thing that could cause someone to "fall away." My GUESS (sorry I can't back this one up) is that it has to do with consistently denying the little tugs of the Holy Spirit so that you eventually become calloused. Eventually, all of the "Fruit of the Spirit" (Gal. 5:22-23) would die inside you, and you would start to produce "bad fruit". So, to make sure that you are "saved" you should continue to live by the Spirit and let God grow its fruit in you. Although, Galatians 5:18 says, "But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law." So, we don't need to try to trick ourselves into thinking we are saved by following a law. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

I don't know. There is so much more on this topic that could be brought up, but my initial reaction is that a person CAN fall away, but it is a pretty extreme thing. They would have to make multiple conscious decisions to turn away the Spirit. But, of course, I could be wrong. I'll have to think about this some more...

Cryssy said...

I think Kim got it well covered from my limited knowledge. I don't personally believe in the quote "once saved, always saved" and will respond just as quick and firm as you did because as Kim quoted CAN fall away. If someone came to me with that question, I would elaborate my adament "no" with more explaination. The whole Bible to me seems to center around one thing...the heart. It only matters what is in the heart. From the story of Cain and Abel to Jesus is the heart that counts and no one can rightly see into the heart but God. So only He can judge us. But as the Bible says multiple times, the heart will show itself. If your heart is right, you'll desire works, you'll be lead to baptisim, you'll be devoted to God, etc... It all comes back to the heart.

Brandi said...

this has always summed it up for me:
"For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?
(then this is the part that really gets me...)
For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay." And again "The Lord will judge His people." It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Hebrews 10:26-31
Whoa!! is all I can say to myself after I read that passage. (Then I think I have work to do!)
I really like your thoughts and desire to seek answers from the scriptures through others. It was encouraging to me to read everyone's comments!

hiflyin_lady said...

Fantastic stuff! I really struggled with this concept during my conversion as well. And like you Mary struggle to explain to others.

hiflyin_lady said...

Fantastic stuff! I really struggled with this concept during my conversion as well. And like you Mary struggle to explain to others.