Once saved always saved?
by Rod Smith
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There are many who believe that, resulting in much complacency in the Christian faith. “Oh, it doesn’t matter how little I do for Jesus, He’ll save me in the end.”
Oh yes, there are oft-quoted verses that imply a no-pain, no sacrifice salvation – Romans 10:9; Matthew 28:20, John 3:16. Of course, no-one is saved who does not have faith in Christ. Yet the Bible does say in other places that there is a cost in following Jesus.
Surely He requires more from us than merely repeating a pastor’s prayer parrot-fashion at the altar, then sitting comfortably in the pew once a week. That isn’t the Christianity Jesus had in mind. It is more than just believing and confessing Jesus is Lord. We have to be “in Christ” day by day.
That means doing what the Bible says. Romans 8:1 is often only partly quoted. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” Sounds nice, but there is a condition. The verse goes on: “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” We rarely hear that last bit from the platform. Are we walking after the flesh or after the Spirit?
Jesus talks about disobedience – referring to those who call Him Lord, Lord, but do not do as He says (Luke 6:46). Jesus talks to the churches about overcoming. He says seven times in Revelation chapters two and three “To he who overcomes…” (2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21). Again He repeats it in Revelation 21:7. Are you overcoming anything?
It is human nature to want life easy, pleasant, comfortable, safe, non-threatening. Preachers know it – and such is the easy-chair “gospel” often heard at the local church nowadays. The “come to Jesus for a better life” preaching wouldn’t mean a thing to Christians who meet secretly in the Republic of China or North Korea, to name but two.
Remember that life in Britain, the USA, Canada, Australia, may not always be as persecution-free for the believer as it is now. Beirut in Lebanon was once peaceful, a tourist mecca, a millionaire’s playground. Now it is strife-torn, damaged and ravaged by wars. Fiji, once an island “paradise” and democratic, is now run by the military after another armed coup.
Jesus doesn’t promise an easy life. He says the Christian will be persecuted, like He was. (John 15:20) He tells us to take up our cross daily. (Luke 9:23) We read in Acts 14:22 it is not without many tribulations we enter the kingdom of God. When was the last time you heard a message on that?
If we are truly saved we will at some time in our lives be experiencing those things. It is why Jesus is so repetitious on the topic of overcoming. Will you overcome, brother, sister? Be prepared for the hard times ahead. Take that as a prophetic word.
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Yes, Jesus gave us many warnings about falling away: 2 Peter 2:20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. John 5:13 But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The LORD will judge His people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 2 Peter 2:20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.
this article brings back to mind Bonhoeffer's book THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP and his qoute, "only those who believe obey, and only those who obey believe."
I really enjoyed your article and I believe the same as you. The only problem I had was the first sentence. Either the question should be repeated or some reference should be made to the query "Once saved always saved?" question. Good points through out though keep writing.
Yes, my friend. God is calling His people to order that they become as little children. "Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into Heaven." Matthew 18:3