Wowzois. Quite the topic to blog about, eh?
Well, last summer I did some research on this issue of Once Saved Always Saved (OSAS). There are quite a few verses in the Bible that damages the strength to the Predestination argument. I agree that there is an element of being chosen by God, but that choosing doesn’t take away our free will – which means that although God wants everyone to come to heaven, people can choose otherwise. I know that OSAS isn’t the same thing as Predestination but they are very closely knit.
(A few notes: 1) This blog post was originally going to be a comment on a total stranger’s blog, but I decided that perhaps I will just give him the link and direct him to my own blog, then it won’t seem so inconsiderate that my blog comment was a mile long. 2) When posting the verses I sometimes gave surrounding verses so as to include context so you wouldn’t necessarily need to flip to your Bible with every passage to see the context, but you are more than welcome to do that if you wish, so that is a big reason why the blog is so long…surrounding verses. 3) I really don’t mean to make this a debate and I really don’t like the idea of arguing about this, so if you have opposing viewpoints, that is great, and you may comment, but please be kind and considerate, and if you have noticed that I have not been considerate, then please show me my error, and I will consider.)
Here are some passages in favor that God has not come to save only a few and that people have a definite choice in following God:
Joshua 24:14,15, “Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourself this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
Matthew 23:27, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.”
Jesus wants them to be saved but “they were not willing.”
John 1:29, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.‘”
Romans 10:4, “Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.“
Romans 10:12,13, “For there is no difference between Jew & Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved.‘”
1 Timothy 2:3,4, “This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
1 John 2:2, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”
1 John 4:14,15, “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him & he in God.”
Now there are a few (oh, just a few..ha!) more verses that speaks more specifically about OSAS. The thing to keep in mind is that God makes some pretty big points throughout His Word that dismiss the idea that once a person accepts Christ, that they are forever safe and secure. This is not to say that a person can just suddenly sin and lose their salvation. Someone can knowingly walk away from God and choose the passions and desires of this world and turn their back on their first love. The Bible clearly teaches that they must hold fast and stay firm. A Christian has to obey God in order to stay in right standing with Him. Why would God’s character change so drastically from the Old Testament to the New Testament in that he would suddenly allow the defiled into His heavenly realm? Jesus came and died for everyone but Jesus did not come to just be our Savior, but He came to be our LORD, and the two go hand in hand. Jesus is either our LORD and Savior, or He isn’t.
I’ll start with a verse from the Old Testament.
Ezekiel 18:23-28, “Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn form 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.”
Matthew 5:13, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.”
Matthew 5:27-30, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go to hell.“
Why would Matthew tell these Christians to cut off that which sins so that their whole being isn’t thrown into hell? Sin is serious and we shouldn’t make it less serious than it is.
Matthew 24:9-13, “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
Luke 15 talks about the prodigal son. He goes off and squanders his inheritance and then is convicted and needs help and so he comes back to his father. When the father had received his son he threw a big ol’ party and the older brother was angry and went to his father. The old man told his oldest son,
“‘My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'” (vs 31,32).
The young man was with his father and chose to do things his own way for a while. Here in the passage we see that he was “dead”. But when he chose to come back to his father the young man was then “alive.”
Here is one of my favorites regarding this issue and also goes well with the next passage:
John 15:1-6, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 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.”
With the above being said, read this next (long) passage. Paul is talking to the Gentiles about how their Jewish brothers resisted the Gospel and that it basically opened up the door for the Gentiles to receive the Christ. Read on:
Romans 11:13-24, “I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from death? If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.
“If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.’ Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
“Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. After all if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grated into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!”
Acts 5:1-11 tells the story of Ananias and Sapphira. They were members of the church who lied to the Holy Spirit, and that move cost them their lives. It instilled deep fear into all the believers at that time. If the couple was chosen by God and therefore saved for all eternity, why would these fired up believers be afraid if when Ananias and Sapphira, they were struck down, went to heaven?
Romans 6:17,18, “But thanks be to God that, though you used to be used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin & have become slaves to righteousness.”
1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “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.”
Now, for so long I saw the above passage as a division between Christians and non-Christians. This passage describes the sinner, but the Fruit of the Spirit describes the Saint. Well, many “Christians” fall into these descriptions here, and so I think we need to be examining ourselves to see if any of these things might characterize us.
1 Corinthians 10:6-12, “Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as [the Israelites] did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: ‘The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry.’ We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did – and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test the LORD, as some of them did – and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did – and were killed by the destroying angel.
“These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages to come. So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.“
1 Corinthians 15:2, “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.”
Colossians 1:21-23, “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your mind because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation –if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the Gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.”
1 Timothy 1:18-20, “Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.”
Hebrews 2:1-3, “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?…”
Keep in mind that the author is writing to Christians.
Hebrews 3:12-14, “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end of the confidence we had at first.”
Hebrews 10:26,27, “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgement and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.”
Just a few verses later:
“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, ‘He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.’ But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.”(vs 35-39)
James 4:4, “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God?”
Would God let these type of people into heaven? If they once followed God but later on fell into sin over and over again without repenting and ended up loving the world more than they loved God, then this would be hatred towards God. I don’t see how God would allow this type of person to slide into Heaven.
James 5:19,20, “My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”
The Christian who wanders off from the truth is now referred to as a “sinner” and to bring him back is to save him from death.
2 Peter 1:5-11, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
“Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
1 John 2:15, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
2 John 1:8,9, “Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.”
In the first few chapters of Revelation, God is speaking to the 7 churches throughout Asia. Churches most usually consist of…Christians…Read on!
Revelation 2:4-7, “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. But you have this in your favor: You hate the practice of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”
Revelation 3:14-16, “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were ither one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
Revelation 22:18,19 “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”
The focus here is that God will remove someone’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city if they remove words from “this book”. (Now, i’m not going to debate on whether or not “this book” is the book of Revelation, or the whole Bible.)
Well, that’s all the verses that I’ll post. The Word of God really illuminates this topic and just doing this research for myself has shown me to reconsider my previous thoughts regarding Once-Saved-Always-Saved. Again, I know this post seems really out of the blue, and for those of you who made it to this point, I applaude you! Remember that I wrote this originally as a blog comment!!!! Well, thankyou for participating! May God bless you all!