once saved… not always saved?
i was talking on the phone with a friend last night and our conversation turned to the topic of salvation. coming from fairly different religious backgrounds our beliefs in the “eternalness” of salvation somewhat vary. he comes from a more nazarene-ish influence where i grew up Catholic and became a Christian after hearing the Gospel at a Baptist youth camp. i have been under the notion that when people come to know Christ as their Savior, they are brought into a relationship with God that guarantees their salvation as eternally secure. But that is not the belief of all Christians. not to try and sway my own beliefs, I want to ask you for your opinion on all of this deep theology:
is salvation a forever-binding pact with the
Creator or can we lose our salvation?
- if we can lose it, what would cause us to do so? is it something we have no control over?
- if salvation is for always, does that mean that we can do whatever we want and still inherit the Kingdom?
- or is there a happy median?
why do YOU believe what you believe about salvation? are your beliefs based on outside influence or how did you come to a conclusion on your own? or are you still figuring this stuff out?
lots of loaded questions there. your opinion is valid – so answer any way you’d like … let’s just discuss and be kind to one another. :)
Yikes, loaded question indeed. I would recommend Philip Yancey’s book “What’s so Amazing about Grace”. I just finished it and it offers a lot in terms of understand, or our lack thereof of God’s grace and the once saved, always saved question.
I too was raised in a “nazarene-ish” type background, including 4 years at a Nazarene University. It wasn’t until I began attending a non-denominational church a few years ago that I really started hearing about the lambs book of life with my name written in it. Yet I struggle with the passage that says “away from me, I never knew you”.
I am no expert, but in my simple mind, I believe the Holy Spirit will be the one to convict us when our name is written in the book of life. There is an overwhelming feeling of knowing right from wrong and the conviction that comes with it. God’s grace will (amazingly) cover our sin, but we need to approach his thrown with repentance in our heart. He already knows the transgression, yet loves us, welcomes us and meets us where we are (the prodigal son).
I have probably danced all around it, but hopefully that gives another believers perspective.
I think there’s scriptural evidence to support the following principle – we are KEPT in the same way we are REDEEMED.
In other words, if we were saved by works, then we would lose the salvation in the same way. However, if we’re saved by faith in God as Eternal/Perfect Father, then we would have to lose salvation in the same way.
I don’t beleive that we can be saved by faith, but lose it by works.
That’s just me.
what gives us the “faith” to choose. where does that understanding come from? I would say that God opened my eyes so that I could make the decision. But before I go any further, I would like to say that, depending on what day of the week you ask me this question, i could have a different answer.
I believe that “nothing can separate us” from God. Romans 8:38-39, but I also think that in that situation, WE can separate ourselves. Just like todd said above, i don’t think we can lose our salvation by our works. But how are we saved in the first place? Somehow, when we put the emphasis that we choose God, then that puts something special on us. If it is Christ who chooses, then it is purely grace. I think the way we come to salvation is just as important as the problem of if we can keep it or not.
I would be very surprised to see if anyone can find a scripture verse that says we have “free-will”. Therefore, if God chooses us, yes, we might screw up along the way, but ultimately God is working on our heart, which once our hearts are changed by Him, our own will conforms to His purposes. I don’t think we are robots, that can go out and sin and live however we want; I think that would show in someone who was never really saved. I also don’t think that we are somehow better than the next guy in that we have chosen our salvation and they are idiots because they haven’t. I think there is a fine line in there that I am definitely not smart enough to articulate.
Is your friend single??? lol. ;)
Free will is a “read between the lines” issue within scripture and is demonstrated from the age of Adam and Eve all the way up into the rejection of God in the Book of Revelation.
There are numerous scriptures which tell us we have eternal salvation, but many if not most have “ifs” within them. I believe that Romans 8:38-39 is true, but falling away from God doesn’t mean He stops loving us. The scriptures told Jesus died for us even though we were sinners.
Many say if you walk away from God you were never really saved, but who knows more than you if you are truly saved or not.
I feel some sins are hard to escape when you give them a foothold, so hard that they can entangle you in defeat. It makes no sense to say that after we are saved we can go and do anything and not have to worry about any consequences save what we suffer here on earth as a result of those sins. I think we have to pay. I leave you with these verses:
(Ezekiel 18:21-24 NIV)  “But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die.  None of the offenses he has committed will be remembered against him. Because of the righteous things he has done, he will live.  Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?  “But if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked man does, will he live? None of the righteous things he has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness he is guilty of and because of the sins he has committed, he will die.
(Some will say that it does not count because it is in the Old Testament, but does God change?)
(1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NIV)  Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders  nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
(1 Corinthians 15:2 NIV) By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
(John 15:6 NIV) If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
(Romans 2:7-8 NIV)  To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.  But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.
(Galatians 6:8-9 NIV)  The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Sorry to have used up so much space!
I was “raised” with the “Once Saved, Always Saved” doctrine, but I now believe that it is perhaps the most insidious teaching to ever infiltrate the church.
Here are my current views on the subject:
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