December 28, 2022
Bishop, W. F. Houston, Jr.
2 Peter 3:16 (MSG)
Some things Paul writes are difficult to understand. Irresponsible people who don’t know what they are talking about twist them every which way. They do it to the rest of the Scriptures, too, destroying themselves as they do it.
One of the most destructive doctrines to the Bible and Christian character is the manufactured teaching that once a person is saved, they can never lose their salvation. This doctrine is destructive to the Bible because it twists the Scriptures to their destruction. But it’s also destructive to Christian character because it provides a license for sin. Does the Bible teach that people can never again be lost once they are saved? Let us consider two passages of Scripture.
Galatians 5:4 (MSG)
“When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace.”
The doctrine that "A Saved Person is Always Saved" is also called “Irresistible Grace” this is Calvinism theology. But this theological position is refuted by the scripture found in Galatians 5:4. Paul addresses his epistle to "the churches of Galatia" (Gal. 1:2), which signifies all who have already been redeemed. It’s a significant finding, especially since some have argued that these individuals were never saved in the first place. They are insinuating that Paul, although an inspired man of God, was unaware of who was a part of the church and who was not.
Beloved, Galatians 5:4 unequivocally makes it clear that individuals were saved and in the church at one time but fell out of God's grace. Others have objected to this verse by saying that these people had not fallen out of grace, they had merely fallen from within the center of God’s grace. To begin, what exactly is the difference? Both lack the most abundant grace that God can present. Second, this interpretation needs to be recognized by the Greek New Testament - which it's not. The Greek preposition that translates to "out of" is the term that is used to imply "fallen from." "Fallen from" is derived from the English word Ek, which means "out of." Paul is not merely stating that they have fallen from God's grace; instead, he's saying that they have genuinely fallen outside the area in which God's grace is found.
Beloved, the doctrine that "A Saved Person is Always Saved" is not taught in the Bible; in fact, the Bible vehemently contradicts this notion.
Acts 8:20 (MSG)
“Peter said, “To hell with your money! And you along with it. Why, that’s unthinkable—trying to buy God’s gift! You’ll never be part of what God is doing by striking bargains and offering bribes.”
As we've plainly seen, Galatians 5:4 clearly outlined by principle, A Saved Person Is Always Saved is incorrect.
Acts 8:20 explains by example why it's completely inaccurate. Here’s a man whose life was changed by a teacher filled with the Holy Spirit. Then, he tries to buy the power to do miracles, but he’s caught in sin. Then, Peter addresses him and tells him, "That's okay; you're not going to lose your salvation." I DON'T THINK SO! Peter told Simon to go to hell along with his money. Peter warned him that his wealth would follow him. Peter warned Simon that he was on the verge of spiritual extinction. Remember that Peter was speaking to a man who had recently become a Christian and warned him he was on the verge of losing his salvation. There could be no more convincing evidence or compelling demonstration than this one demonstrating how quickly a person can convert to Christianity and then fall away from their faith.
Beloved, the Bible contradicts the idea that once someone is saved, they will remain saved. Everyone who is reading this, please don’t be misled. The Bible does not teach that a saved person is always saved. It is, in fact, firmly refuted. Please don't get caught up in men's current doctrines; instead, return to the Bible.
According to the belief that "a saved person is always saved," a Christian can never sin to the point of being irreparably lost for all eternity. Once you have been saved, there is no way for you to go back to being lost, no matter how horrible your sin or evil your actions are. Although it’s a theory that provides a lot of comforts, you won't find it taught anywhere in the Bible. As we saw, it's unequivocally forbidden according to Galatians 5:4.
Let's examine two additional Bible scriptures that don't support the assumption that a person who has been saved is always saved.
1 Corinthians 10:12 (MSG)
“Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.”
Paul makes it quite apparent in this text that it was possible for the Christians in Corinth to turn their backs on God. The city of Corinth was notoriously corrupt, and there were signs that even the local church was moving in that direction. Several issues threatened their destruction, including division, idolatry, immorality, adultery, and other problems. On the other hand, many would argue with this paragraph by pointing out that "falling" does not necessarily entail "being lost forever." Let's find out what this means by looking at it in its proper setting.
A closer examination of 1 Corinthians 1:1-11 reveals that the people Paul addresses are involved in sins such as lust, sexual immorality, idolatry, tempting Christ, and complaining. Is it possible for someone to go to heaven despite continuing to retain these sins in their heart? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
When we look at 1 Corinthians 10:10, the context defines "fall" as "being destroyed by the destroyer." By understanding this, we can better comprehend "fall. When Paul mentions "fall," he means to be separated from God for all eternity. God was ready to destroy these Christians spiritually, and our spirituality can be ruined too, if we are not careful.
2 Peter 1:10 (NCV)
“My brothers and sisters, try hard to be certain that you really are called and chosen by God. If you do all these things, you will never fall.” The Apostle Peter warns Christians again that they can fall so far into sin that they are cast away from God forever. If a Christian can never be lost, why should he take any steps to ensure his salvation?
This Bible passage goes against the idea that a person is always saved. You don't need to check to see if you are always safe. A counterargument might be made that "These people were never saved in the first place." Are we prepared to say that in 2 Peter 1:10, Peter was unaware of the identities of the people he referred to as his "brothers and sisters"? Peter was aware of the difference between God's children and others. He also realized the danger they could face if they didn’t exercise caution. This passage teaches that Christians can become lost and fall from grace.
It's time to go back to the Bible and find the truth. There are specific verses in the Bible that indicate a Christian can transgress to the point that they are cast away from God forever. Here are a few cross-reference verses for you to read: Gal. 5:4; 2 Pet 1:10, 1 Cor. 10:12, Acts 8:20.
Now, on the other hand, there have been many who have attempted to twist particular scriptures so that they teach that salvation is only possible once. Let us spend a few moments looking at some of these passages that have been misinterpreted.
1 John 3:9 (NLT) “Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So, they can’t keep on sinning because they are children of God.”
Some people have taken this passage out of context and tried to make it teach that a person cannot sin after they have become a child of God. This interpretation does a disservice to John's broader message. The first thing to note is that this is the opposite of what John has already said. In 1 John 1:8, John tells Christians “If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.” In addition, John explains to Christians in 1 John 2:1-2 that when they sin, they have an advocate for their sin in the person of Jesus Christ. It’s clear from these texts that John was aware that Christians would sin and that they would require assistance with their sin. So, what is the message of 1 John 3:9? John conveys that a Christian cannot remain saved and continue to live a life marked by sin. The Greek term for sin implies a pattern of behavior - doing it repeatedly. John is stating that a Christian cannot live in sin and still have God's approval, and this is a view shared by linguists and experts of the Greek language. The sin John has in mind is not a single, isolated offense but rather a pattern of behavior. The NIV translates 1 John 3:9 accurately by saying “No one who is born of God will continue to sin…he cannot go on sinning.”
Beloved, isn't it funny that this scripture that some have used to illustrate that a saved person is always saved, really teaches that a Christian can be lost? John is teaching in this passage that a Christian cannot continue to sin and be pleasing in God's eyes. So, according to our findings, A once saved Christian can still sin, and they can drift from their faith as well.
One of the social media sites I’m subscribed, a religious speaker posted the following statement: "Once a person gets saved, they are always saved." He stated: "Even if I murdered my wife and mother and raped a thousand women, I still wouldn't be able to go to hell. In fact, I couldn't even go to hell if I tried."
Although many adherents of this doctrine would not carry it to such extremes, this must be the logical conclusion of the philosophy that a person is always saved once they are saved. They believe that even if you desire to go to hell, you cannot get there no matter what you do or how awful you live. Let us look at another verse that some people think teaches that once a person becomes saved, they are always saved.
John 6:37 “However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them.”
Some people interpret this passage to mean that once you put your faith in Christ, you can never turn away from him. According to the passage's context, this isn’t what Jesus is teaching. That concept is diametrically opposed to what Jesus teaches. Jesus asserts that nothing can separate Him from you, not you from Him. Recognizing this is crucial for proper understanding. Jesus is trying to teach us that nothing from the outside (the world, the devil, persecution, etc.) can take us out of His care and protection. On the other hand, a sinful lifestyle is a surefire way to cut yourself off from the love that Christ has for you. Nothing can coerce you into rejecting Christ, but you are free to do so on your own, resulting in eternal separation from God. Jesus clarified this idea in John 10:28 by saying “…No one can snatch them away from me.” Whoever believes that John 6:37 teaches eternal security must also think that we are nothing more than machines and automatons. If nothing, not even our choices, can take us out of eternal life, then we don’t have free will.
According to Joshua 24:15, we can make our own decisions. Beloved, the verse John 6:37 shows us that even though Jesus does not want us to be lost and has done everything in His power to protect us, we still can turn our backs on His protection and end up in a lost state.
The Bible does not teach that a person cannot fall away from their faith despite being saved. In Luke 15:25, The Prodigal Son epitomizes the sad and hopeless son who left the Father and was dead and lost. The younger son decides to abandon the protection of his father's home to live a sinful and wasteful life. To be reconciled with his father, the son must first acknowledge his sins and make amends before he can return to him. Since the son lives a life contrary to God's will, his Father views him as lost. The implication for us is that after we become Christians, we have the option of departing from the safety of the temple of God and being estranged from our heavenly Father.
So, is a saved person always saved? ABSOLUTELY NOT!
If you’re a believer in the notion of "A Saved Person Is Always Saved," I strongly encourage you to reevaluate your stance and try to rid your mind of both that dogma and its misleading implications. You should give the Bible another go-through, keep an open mind the whole time, and read everything several times. Please contact me and ask any questions; I will be glad to assist you. Everything is done with love, and I am doing this because I am concerned about the well-being of your spirit.
If you need to talk, we are here for you.