Once saved, always saved?

As a young child I had been taught in the once saved, always saved theology.  I have my mother to thank for this.  Even though she may still believe in it, and I don’t, if it weren’t for her, I would not know of the life and sacrafice of Jesus.  So mom, thank you.

But once we take a closer look at the scriptures, the theology just isn’t possible.  For one, the Lord never once says, “proclaim a love for me, and live by the world.”  If anything the Lord tells us that no man can live by the ways of the world and for him at the same time.  First John chapter one tells us that “God is light” and that “there is no darkness in God.”  Throughout scripture God correspondes “the world” with “darkness”: hence Satan has been called the Prince of Darkness.

Furthermore, first John goes on to tell us that anyone who says, “I know Him,” and lives in darkness is a liar.  But what is “living in darkness” or the ways of the world?  Well, for starters, sin: idolatry, sexual immorality, murder, hate, homosexuality, etc.  The list goes on and on.  But if we all sin, and salvation can be lost, what was point in Christ dying on the cross?  The answer is held in John chapter three.

One of the bible’s most famous verses is John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoesoever believe upon him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.  That verse is taken out of context, but we’ll get to that in a minute.  What people conviently forget is what Jesus says after John 3:16.  In verse sevnteen the bible tells us that: For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Jesus tells us that “whoever believes in Him is not condemned” but whoever doesn’t “stands condemned already.”  The following verses say that Light (Jesus) has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of the light because their deeds were evil.  And “everyone who does evil, hates the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.”  And here is where Once saved, always saved cannot be possible: verse twenty-one tells us that “But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen that what he has done has been done through God.”

But if we are all sinners and salvation can be lost, why don’t we all go to hell?  The answer is simple: not only did Jesus come to take all our sin on him, he came to lead us by example.  I asked one of my pastors this question not long ago and here is the answer he gave me.  When you sin, and sometimes we sin without realizing it, are you truly sorry for it?  Are you asking forgiveness because your heart is truly convicted, or are you just trying to cover your bases?

If the once saved, always saved theory were correct, that would mean that people who lived by the world, and say, “I know Him,” would make it to heaven too.  Think about it.  Is it fair for you, who has lived a life in devotion to God, to wind up in the same place as someone who hasn’t even tried?  If once saved, always saved were true, noone would go to hell, and the morals of the world would be in the toilet, and the sacrafice of Christ and his example would be in vain.  Jesus says to take up His cross and follow him, not to live lukewarm for him.

Many people don’t even believe in salvation, just the belief in a Higher power is enough.  A belief that God loves everyone, and he does, but it is also a belief that no matter who dies, they go off to a better place.  I’ve heard this excuse before.  No one in their right mind wants to think of their loved one dying and burning for eternity, but in the final analysis, we all have our chance.  Once saved, always saved was created to put peoples mind at ease so they can live a life of their choosing, so that they can live by their own understanding.