Bible · Christianity · God · heresy · religion

Salvation lost?: the once saved, always saved debate

I recently visited a church in my area and enjoyed the services, but being the skeptic I am of so-called “Christians” and churches and if they live up to the word of God, I asked a leader in that ministry where they stood on eternal security. He answered that the church believes Christians can lose their salvation based on Hebrews 6:4-6. So I’ll discuss a few scriptures such churches use to promote this false teaching.

Hebrews 6:4-9

4For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.  7For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:  8But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.  9But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.

The things mentioned in verses 4 and 5 are like falling rain. Some earth that receives God’s rain bring forth herbs that are good (i.e. Christians doing good works as a result of being saved). Then there is earth that receives rain but yields thorns and briers (unbelievers) who bear God’s curse and will be burned. The “once enlightened” who “tasted of the heavenly gift” and “were made partakers of the Holy Ghost” but fell away are those who will see Jesus on judgment day and say “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity,” Matthew 7:22-23.

Verse 9 provides the contrast to the previous verses by beginning with the word BUT. The writer is persuaded that those to whom he is speaking are doing good things because of their salvation as opposed to the type of people in the previous verses who aren’t saved and end up falling away because their hearts didn’t change. This is simply a reiteration of Christ’s parable of the sower and the seed.

Hebrews 10:26-29

26For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,  27But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.  28He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:  29Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

Here is another reiteration of Jesus’ parable of the sower and the seed, not a teaching on losing one’s salvation. A person receives the knowledge of the truth when they hear the gospel. But if they reject that knowledge expecting some other form of salvation (via some other religion), there is no other sacrifice for their sins. Jesus said he that endureth to the end shall be saved. So those who don’t endure to the end (even if for a period of time they were living sanctified outwardly) aren’t saved and never were. Jesus said these people are “They on the rock… which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away,” OR they are “that which fell among thorns… which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection,” Luke 8:13-14.

They did not receive Christ in their hearts. They only had knowledge in their minds about the gospel and thought it would be nice to try the Christian lifestyle, but they didn’t let the gospel get to the root of their problem–the cleansing of their wicked hearts.

2 Peter 2:20-22

20For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.  21For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.  22But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

When a reader of this passage takes into account the context of these verses, it’s obvious Peter isn’t talking about losing your salvation. Why? Because Peter, who was a Jew, would never call someone who is truly clean through Jesus Christ a dog or a sow. These were known as unclean animals. They were symbolic of the unsaved. If you clean and train a dog or sow to do good things, they will return to their unclean ways sooner or later because it’s in their nature.

If you teach and show an unsaved person how to live righteously and morally, they may live morally for awhile, but their unclean hearts will lead them back, sooner or later, to a continual lifestyle of ungodliness. They are like the man Jesus talked about in Matthew 12:43-45, “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.”

What shall we say to these things?

People caught up in the loss-of-salvation doctrine tend to forget the simplicity that is in Christ [2 Corinthians 11:3]. Simply put, salvation=everlasting life=eternal life. If the new life one has in Christ is eternal and everlasting, that means it has no end. In other words, if you have it for a year, but lose it next year, then it’s not everlasting. Duh!

Furthermore, the doctrine places the continuation of salvation completely in the power of the individual, overlooking the fact “‘…that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ,” [Philippians 1:6] or that “we are labourers together with God,” [1 Corinthians 3:9]. In other words,  the loss of salvation doctrine is a works-based salvation, a salvation based on fulfilling the works of the law, which is not really salvation at all.

If the Almighty God is powerful enough to save us from sin, isn’t he powerful enough to keep us saved? “Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” [Galatians 3:2-3].

–Harry A. Gaylord–

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11 thoughts on “Salvation lost?: the once saved, always saved debate

  1. If the Almighty God is powerful enough to save us from sin, isn’t he powerful enough to keep us saved?

    “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” – John 10:29

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very good article. I’ve heard some really convincing arguments for the idea that we can lose salvation, but they’re not based on scripture directly, but rather a lot of seemingly solid logic that breaks down like any man’s logic will. I’m pretty sure in the security of my faith.

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    1. Paul, you’ve taken one scripture & isolated it from its context to try to prove salvation can be lost, totally ignoring the fact that everlasting and eternal means it lasts forever continually, not that it’s here for the moment and gone the next time you sin. I think Joseph Prince gives an accurate explanation in this video:

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  3. Here is my story: I grew up fundamentalist Baptist. I repented of all my sins and accepted Jesus Christ into my heart to be my Lord and Savior at age nine…and again in my early teens…just to be sure. In my early 20’s my family moved to another state where we attended a non-denominational, evangelical mega-church (which taught Baptist doctrine) for several years. In my mid to late 20’s I stopped going to church because I didn’t “feel” God inside me and he didn’t seem to listen when I prayed.

    I remained unchurched until I was married in my forties. I started attending liberal churches. When we had children, I started looking again at more conservative/fundamentalist churches, something closer to what I had believed as a child and teenager. We joined a conservative, orthodox Lutheran church. I became very involved in the church. I was happy and content in my orthodox Christian belief system. I read the Bible and prayed regularly.
    One day I was surfing the internet and came across an atheist’s website. He was a former fundamentalist Baptist/evangelical pastor! I was shocked! I started to engage him in conversation, and also tried to bring him back to the Faith, to belief in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
    However, this man pointed out to me some very big assumptions in my Christian belief system which I had never thought of, such as:

    1. Just because there is evidence for a Creator does not mean that the Creator is the Christian God, Yahweh.

    2. Our current Bibles contain thousands of scribe alterations, most of them inconsequential, but a couple of them are shocking. Why did God allow scribes copying the original Scriptures to change, delete, add, or alter his inerrant, Holy, Word?

    3. How do we know that the books of the New Testament are the Word of God? Is there a verse that tells us? Did Jesus give us a list? Did Paul?

    4. Do we really have any verifiable eyewitness testimony for the Resurrection or is it all hearsay and legend?

    5. Modern archaeology proves that the Captivity in Egypt, the Exodus, the forty years in the Sinai, the Conquest of Canaan, and the great kingdoms of David and Solomon are only ancient Hebrew fables.

    At first I fought him tooth and nail. I fought him for four months. At the very end I had to admit that there are no verifiable eyewitness accounts of the Resurrection of Jesus in the Bible or anywhere else. All we have are four anonymous first century texts full of discrepancies and contradictions. The only thing I had left to attach my faith to was the testimony of the Apostle Paul: why would a devout Jewish rabbi convert to a religion he so hated unless he really saw a resurrected dead man on the Damascus Road?
    But after studying the five Bible passages that discuss Paul’s conversion, I had to admit that Paul never says he saw a resurrected body. All Paul says is that he saw a light…and that this event occurred in a “heavenly vision”. Visions are not reality…not in the 21st century nor in the 1st.

    And as for the improbability that a Jewish rabbi would convert to a hated religion, there is a Muslim cleric in Israel today who not too many years ago was an ardent Zionist Jewish settler and rabbi, intent on ridding the Muslims from Jewish land.

    Strange conversions occur. They do not prove that the new religion is true and inerrant.

    I was broken-hearted, but I saw my Christian Faith was nothing more than an ancient superstition that had been modified in the first century by Jesus, a good man, but a dead man. There is zero evidence that this first century Jew is alive and the Ruler of the Universe.

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    1. Gary M,

      Thanks for sharing your experiences. What happened to you happens to a lot of people. Jesus’ parable of the sower and the seed describes your experience very accurately–

      20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;

      21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

      22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. Matthew 13

      Interesting how Jesus hit the bullseye on how people such as yourself would react to the gospel, yet you wish us to doubt his word as you do. Your “confession” at a young age sounds as if it wasn’t really based on genuine faith. That’s where you went wrong. You deceived yourself into thinking that going through the motions and formulas would do the “trick.” You focused on the outward work and not on a genuine heartfelt belief. We are saved by God’s grace through faith not by our works. We are sustained in our relationship with Jesus by our faith (that God backs up with facts), not by our works–though works should be the result of our faith.

      By seeking out atheists online to debate with when you were spiritually unstable to begin with, you thought your works of debating atheists would be the thing to shore up something that wasn’t genuine to begin with. It served to reveal your true nature–i.e. your were never really saved and never genuinely believed. He that endureth to the end shall be saved (Matthew 10:22). That means those who don’t endure aren’t saved. Jesus said,

      27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

      28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

      29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. John 10

      You listened to someone else, not the Shepherd, therefore you were never his. If we as men do not have the ability to pluck anyone out of the Father’s hand (including plucking ourselves out) then the fact you are not in his hand shows you never were in his hand.

      You took the word of someone who is as blind as you are and just assumed what atheists have told you is the truth. If someone is truly a Christian, they do some serious investigation and research (which isn’t hard to find) and discover that everything you said about God and his word in your comment isn’t true. You were a blind man following the blind and you have fallen into the ditch along with those you allowed to deceive you. And now you wish to pull others into the ditch with you– a path leading straight to hell.

      On this website, I give plenty of evidence to refute every lie you’ve said. And there are plenty others like mine who do it even better than I do. So you are without excuse. God always confirms his word, but you wish not to see the confirmation because you love your sin and fear men instead of God. Misery indeed loves company and the fact you’ve come here to deceive because of the misery you have inside proves the cliche true. Any wise person who takes a good hard look at your words can see that you are really an unhappy person who has some resentment and bitterness and unresolved issues. It’s really sad, but it makes me really glad that I know Jesus for myself.

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    2. Your religious experience was all self generated as you stated in your autobiography. You yourself stated you didn’t feel God in you and He didn’t seem to answer prayer. You showed no sincere desire to live to please God and the choices you made about church revolved around others and not the truth of the Word of God. That you can sit there and say there are inconsistencies and contradictions within the text of the Bible proves that you don’t know the Bible nor do you have the Holy Spirit residing in you. You may have had churchianity and man generated allegiance to a religious faith but that is not the same as being born again through the supernatural work of God by conviction of sin and repentant faith in Christ. There are verses in the New Testament that bear witness to the epistles and gospels as the Word of God. Jesus Christ was seen visibly by witnesses in both the gospels, and Paul gave the testimony of over 500 seeing Him at once. Paul said in the same passage if the dead are not raised then Christ is not raised and then we are dead in our sins, so let us eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. He also said that he had fought lions, figuratively of course, for the sake of the Gospel. He said these things because of the certainty of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Too bad that you didn’t know Scripture well enough to fight off this attack of Satan through one of his wicked workers.

      I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die. Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. 1 Corinthians 15:31-34

      The fact that you and this atheist are denying the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ proves that you are both apostates and that you have contrived with your godless minds to repudiated the truth of the Scriptures and the work of God in the hearts and lives of His children. Praise God He is well able to defend us from your pernicious ways and preserve us for all eternity.

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      1. if you donnot beleive in god then seek to witness evil….demons are still cast out in christ name….if that will help…BUT… at your own peril since now you deny christ perhaps this will save you or kill you…OR put your big boy pants on and quit listening to satan and his minions,which would now include your new apostate friend…satan is easy to find if you so choose to seek him….BUT ONCE AGAIN, ALSO STUPID….JOSEPH STALIN DID JUST THAT …ACCORDING TO HIS DAUGHTER DIED A HORRIFING DEATH….Maybe thats a better suggestion for your atheist debate mate….Usually people who walk away from God seek to do something considered abomination unto God man laying with man, adultery,fornication,child molestation, jealousy,hate. HOPE YOU HAVE EXAMINED WHETHER OR NOT YOU YOURSELF HAVE ANY OF THESE YOU CANNOT DENY GOD HATES BUT YOU WILL NOT REPENT OF. If you cannot deny the LAW you must kill the LAWGIVER. SATAN MUST OFFER A GOOD LIE TO REPLACE TRUTH. HOPE YOU KNOW lies when you hear them…oh,yeah…well maybe NOT. I will pray for u and your family….your family has a fallen leader hope you can get back into his love and light instead of stumbling into the abyss. I have a friend with the same garbage I pray for her and still love her but won’t allow her excretement to splash on me.

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    3. sorry you listened to a man who was given such a small measure of faith. I’m all in…this world is in constant decay….you romanced the devil who controls this fundamentalist apostate….. if any man thinks he stands,take heed lest he fall…refer to ravi zacharias… your logic is unsound. Not to mention you were in doubt already…spiritually weak vs. a hardened heart of demon influenced man, who would be better suited with a millstone about his neck….

      Liked by 1 person

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