Once Saved, Always Saved?
Is it true that “Once saved always saved”? Answer: No.
Is the doctrine of “unconditional eternal security or salvation” true? Answer: No.
This will be demonstrated by the two following proofs.
Consider the case of the apostle Paul.
[Paul is also called Saul: “Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him.” Acts 13:9]
1) Paul’s ministry started AFTER Jesus had been crucified, had risen from the dead and had ascended into heaven. So Paul was like us in that he needed to be a Christian to be saved:
- “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,
To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:” Galatians 1:15-16
- “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
- And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
- And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
- After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
- After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
- And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-8
2) Paul was obviously a Christian and was saved.
After Paul was blinded on the road to Damascus, and Ananias was dealing with Paul, the Lord said to Ananias regarding Paul:
- “But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
- For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.
- And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
- And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
- And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.
- And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.” Acts 9:15-20
And Paul was taken into the third heaven and shown many things:
- “It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
- I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
- And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
- How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
- Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.
- For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.
- And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
- For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
- And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:1-9
3) Paul knew he was saved and that he would receive a crown of righteousness on “that day”:
- “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:8
4) But Paul knew also that if he didn’t behave as a Christian, he could loose his salvation and become a castaway:
- “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” 1 Corinthians 9:27
So, Paul knew that he could loose his salvation and become a castaway, and like Paul, so can we loose our salvation.
1) We are saved by grace:
- “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” Ephesians 2:8
2) But is possible that after a person is saved, he can fall from grace, thereby loosing his salvation. This is demonstrated when Paul is contending with Peter:
- “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
- For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
- And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.” Galatians 2:11-13
Paul goes on to explain that once a person is saved, if he goes back to the law, he looses his salvation; he falls from grace:
- “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
- Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
- For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
- Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
- For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.” Galatians 5:1-5
As it says above (in Gal. 5:4), “ye are fallen from grace”, and so, it is possible to fall from grace, and loose your salvation.
In light of the above proofs, consider the following scriptures:
- “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
- But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” Hebrews 10:26-27
- “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
- And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
- If 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.” Hebrews 6:4-6
- “The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.” Proverbs 21:16