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Section 8A .. A Question Of Salvation/
Once Saved, Always Saved - The Doctrine of Eternal Security

003white  Index To Section 8A.. A Question of Salvation       >         Eternal Secuirty  Promise or Possession? Part I

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Eternal-Security
 

Once Saved, Always Saved (OSAS) Part I
Eternal Life: Promise or Possession?

Carol Brooks

 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. (Ephesians 5:5-6)

Also See The Two Phase Atonement

Note: (All Emphasis Added to Bible Verses)
 But In Vain Do They Worship Me, Teaching As Doctrines The Precepts Of Men.' (Mark 7:7 NASB)

For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. (Ephesians 5:5-6 NASB)

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;  (Philippians 2:12 NASB)

Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. (Hebrews 4:1 NASB)

If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; (1 Peter 1:17 NASB)

 

ON THIS PAGE

Introduction
The Doctrine of Eternal Security also known as Once Saved, Always Saved (OSAS) is one of the most common and most perilous of doctrines in the modern church.

Biblical Verses That Supposedly Teach Eternal Security
I have noticed over and over again that those who defend the doctrine of eternal security tend to go into a great amount of detail explaining why this or that verse cannot be used to show that salvation can be lost. On the other hand, when it comes to verses that supposedly promote eternal security, more often than not, they simply quote the verse with little or no analysis.

Warnings From The Old Testament
A Lesson From The History of Israel

Warnings From The New Testament
Including warnings from Paul, Peter and Hebrews.
Note: Jesus' Warning and Parables About Persevering to The End are on Page 2 HERE

Those Who Fell Away In The New Testament
Judas, Demas, Hymenaeus and Philetus and others

Repenting and Returning to The Faith?
Those who advocate the Eternal Security doctrine often claim that people cannot be born again, unborn, and then be reborn once again.


PAGE II
Jesus' Warnings and Parables About Persevering to The End 

Conclusion
What The Bible really Teaches.


Introduction
The Doctrine of Eternal Security also known as Once Saved Always Saved (OSAS) is one of the most common and most perilous of doctrines in the modern church. It teaches that at the moment a person makes a once and for all decision to "accept" Christ as Savior, He pays for all of their sins: past, present, and future. They remain saved irrespective of how they conduct their lives thereafter, how much they backslide, or even if they actually disown Christ.

Got Questions Ministries sees the issue in the light of another major error - The Calvinist doctrine of Unconditional Election - See Unconditional Election

    Yes, when people come to know Christ as their Savior, they are brought into a relationship with God that guarantees their salvation as eternally secure. To be clear, salvation is more than saying a prayer or "making a decision" for Christ; salvation is a sovereign act of God whereby an unregenerate sinner is washed, renewed, and born again by the Holy Spirit. [01]

Note: If, as Calvinists assert, God unconditionally elects only some people to salvation it stands to reason that He would keep or preserve the elect until the end. If the believer falls away it is believed that he (or she) never had genuine faith thus was never truly saved in the first place. This doctrine known as Perseverance of the Saints is similar to the doctrine of Once Saved Always Saved  inasmuch as both views have the final result of eternal security in salvation in common.  However, they take dissimilar paths to get there. See Perseverance of the Saints

Sadly, OSAS is taught in numerous churches and by an extraordinary number of Christian theologians, authors and pastors. Although most evangelists who believe in eternal security in Christ preach holiness, not all of them do. Some carry the concept to ridiculous lengths teaching that since the potential for being 'unforgiven' has been done away with, a believer can proceed to live the rest of their lives just as they please and still remain saved - there will be no repercussions other than possibly losing a reward or two. See The Bema Seat Of Christ and Rewards in Heaven. On page 94 of his book Eternal Security Can You Be Sure?, Charles Stanley wrote

    Faithful or not, every person who has at any time had saving faith is a permanent part of the body of Christ. [02]

The tragic result of this extremely lethal doctrine is that all too many Christians never really learn to fear God. They blissfully sail through life under the dangerous delusion that they are permanently and eternally saved on the basis that they once made a confession of faith, walked an aisle, prayed a prayer. Although they may not have actually murdered someone, many of them live pretty much as the world does.

Even if most preachers do not actually articulate the sentiment that you can live as you like and still be saved and regardless of how long or how emphatically the preacher proclaims holiness human nature will win out more often than not. If people have no fear of God, losing their salvation, and being condemned to death, the chances are their feet are already on a very slippery slope making it all too easy to get fall further. One small sin unrepented of can lead to a bigger sin which in turn may not be repented of. Eventually, the person's lifestyle is a far cry from the righteous life demanded by God. Or as Jesus once said, they might not take pay attention to the fact that the cares of this world are gradually choking out the seed that was planted.

See Christians and the Fear of God

If the doctrine of Eternal Security is true, then one is forced to the conclusion that both Jesus and Paul were talking through their respective hats when they prophesied that people would abandon or fall away from the faith in the final days. One also has to wonder why Scripture is replete with warnings about persevering in the faith and not falling from Grace.

But first I would like to address the handful of verses that proponents of the Eternal Security Doctrine claim provide support for their teachings.


Biblical Verses That Supposedly Teach Eternal Security
I have noticed over and over again that those who defend the doctrine of eternal security tend to go into a great amount of detail explaining why this or that verse cannot be used to show that salvation can be lost. On the other hand, when it comes to verses that supposedly promote eternal security, more often than not, they simply quote the verse with little or no analysis.

However, one has to remember that there are no stand-alone verse in the Scriptures. An accurate interpretation of any text depends on several factors - the context being perhaps the most important. Additionally, all passages have to be viewed in light of other texts and indeed the general tenor of the book in question. Finally, in many cases the original Greek words used are very important because verses were often rendered according to the translators pre biases.

If all this is done the OSAS interpretation comes up woefully short as do many other doctrines taught as Gospel truth in the modern church. The usual suspects in this case are...


1) John 3:15:
so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. 

Note, the NASB's rendering of this verse (based on 3rd and 4th century Greek manuscripts), differs slightly from some other versions. The KJV for instance, says "whoever believes in Him will have eternal life."

In regards to John 3:15, Got Questions Ministries says

    If you believe in Christ today and have eternal life, but lose it tomorrow, then it was never "eternal" at all. Hence if you lose your salvation, the promises of eternal life in the Bible would be in error.  [03]

The assumption is being made that at the moment of salvation a person is given eternal life as a tangible possession and it is theirs to keep. If this were the case then John hopelessly contradicted himself just a few verses later,

    "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." (John 3:36 NASB)

 Also note that the Biblical concept emphasized in 1 John 5:11 agrees with the NASB rendering of John 3:15 (above).


2) 1 John 5:11:
And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. (NASB)

This is another verse used to prove that God has permanently given us eternal life. However, note that John did not say that eternal life is FROM the Son, but IN the Son. Nor does it say he who once had the Son has the life. Additionally we are once again conveniently using only the verse that tends to prove our point when, in fact, the very next verse disputes it.

    And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. (1 John 5:11-12 NASB)

Paul reinforced the concept of remaining in the Son when he wrote

    For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 NASB)

In other words, eternal life does not exist apart from Christ who is the life. We must remain in Christ, which is why Jesus urged us to, "Abide in me, and I in you." And how do you continue abiding in Christ? The Savior told us exactly how..."If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.  (John 15:10 NASB)

Those who claim that it is impossible to NOT have the Son once a profession of faith has been made, might want to pay close attention to what Jesus and John respectively had to say. Both Jesus and John's use of the word IF implies that one can cease to abide and will be, as Jesus said, cast into the fire. What it all boils down to is that we have possession of eternal life just as long as we abide in the one who is the Life. The conditional nature of salvation can not be more clear.

    "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. (John 15:5-6 NASB)

    As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. (1 John 2:24 NASB)

Here are a few more "if" verses

     Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:1-2 NASB)

    yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach-- if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister. (Colossians 1:22-23 NASB)

    but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house--whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end. (Hebrews 3:6 NASB)

    For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, (Hebrews 3:14 NASB)

 In John 17:3, eternal life is attributed to "knowing" God and Jesus

    This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.  (John 17:3 NASB) Jesus describes eternal life as knowing God.

The Old Testament regularly used the word "know" to describe the relationship between husband and wife who have a close personal relationship. This meaning did not change over the centuries. In the New Testament "know" does not indicate intellectual knowledge of God or a mere casual familiarity with Him, but a very close relationship.


3) John 6:39: "This is the will (Gr. thelema) of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. (NASB).

All too many people believe that when the New Testament says the Father "wills" something, that something is foreordained and will inevitable come to pass.

Not true.

The problem is not that it is beyond God's capabilities to bring about something He had intended to happen, but that the Greek thelema and the English "will" can be used in more than one way. Neither word necessarily means that God has made an inflexible decision about something and it will happen. Much to the contrary, both words can also mean God's desire or purpose. As commentator Adam Clarke wrote "God may will a thing to be, without willing that it shall be". That is, He might desire something to happen, but will not cause it to happen.

In this case, all twelve disciples were given to Christ by the Father (John 17:6) but one perished. In Jesus' words,

    "While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.  (John 17:12 NASB)

Thus, it is the will of God that every soul who comes to Christ should continue in the faith and, on the very last day, be resurrected to eternal life. Unfortunately, like Judas, many will fall away and perish.

The Context
Although no Scriptural passage is independent from the statements around it, people rarely seem to take the context into consideration. The key to correctly interpreting any verse is often found in the relevant material that surrounds it. In fact, no verse can be correctly interpreted without reading the immediate surrounding verses, the entire chapter or, in some cases, more than one chapters. (See Context is Crucial) In this case, we need to pay particular attention to the verse that immediately follows 39 quoted above. Read them together.

    (38) "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.  (39)  "This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. (40) "For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:38-40 NASB)

It is significant that, in verse 40, the words "behold" and "believe" are both used as present participles, which makes both these verbs ongoing actions, which is exactly how the Concordant Literal version renders it -

    "For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who is beholding the Son and believing in Him may have life eonian, and I shall be raising him in the last day." (John 6:40 CLV).

Although Greek parsing is a complicated subject, it is hard to get around the fact that John is quite emphatic that continuous ongoing believing is necessary to have life in his name.

    but these have been written so that you may believe (Gr. pisteusete) that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing (Gr. pisteuontes) you may have (Gr. echete) life in His name.  (John 20:31 NASB)

As Robertson's Word Picture points out "the present participle pisteuontes (continuing to believe) and the present active subjunctive echete (keep on having)." So one who continues to look to Christ and continues believing will be raised up at the last day. The believer's security is conditional upon an ongoing trust in Jesus, not a single profession of faith, or even a short lived period of faith sometime in the past.


4) John 10:27-29: "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. (NASB)

This verse bears much in common with John 6:39 (above) and Romans 8:38-39 (below).

Jesus said that His sheep who hear His voice and follow Him will be given eternal life. Certainly no outside force can snatch them out of Christ's hand (See Romans 8:38-39 below). However, if a person gets to the point where they do not hear His voice and no longer follow him, they certainly are not His sheep and these assurances do not apply to them. 


5) Romans 8:38-39: For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NASB)

The above verses were part of a letter to Christians, written to encourage them to have confidence in Christ. This chapter of Romans starts with the assurance that there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus (v.1), and goes on to say that...

    those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. (Romans 8:8-10 NASB)

Paul is simply reiterating what Jesus said about no one being able to snatch His sheep out of His hand (above). Those that have the Spirit of Christ dwelling in them are protected by God from any outside force that would wish to separate them from their position in Christ and cause them to be damned.

No such assurance is offered to those that are not in Christ.


6) 1 John 5:13: These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know (Gk. eido) that you have eternal life. (NASB)

This is a classic case of taking Scriptural verses out of context. In this case, the prior two verses make it very clear as to who has eternal life, i.e. only those who have the Son.

    And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:11-13 NASB)

As shown in the previous example, life is in the Son. Unless we abide in Him and Him in us we cannot share in that life. And, once again, as Jesus said,  "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. (John 15:5-6 NASB)


7) 2 Timothy 2:11-13:  It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him;  If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. (NASB)

Proponents of Eternal Security often take verse 13 to mean that God will be faithful to us even in we are faithless towards Him. This is impossibly because Paul just said "If we deny Him, He also will deny us"

The meaning must then be that although we may be faithless, God has to be faithful to Himself, i.e. it would be a denial of His very nature to save those who are unfaithful. He is holy and can only save those who are holy.


8) Hebrews 10:10:
 By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (NASB)

The three little words that are the key to correctly interpreting any Biblical verse are context, context, context. Reading any verse as a stand alone can, and often does, lead to completely erroneous conclusions. Only reading the relevant material that surrounds a particular verse will allow you to follow the author's train of thought.

Thus if you step back from the details for a moment and endeavor to grasp the overall picture the author of Hebrews painted (which is what should be done with all the books of the Bible) you will realize that the overriding theme of the book is the 'superiority of Christ'. He is superior to the Prophets (1:1-4), to the angels (1:52:18), to Moses (3:14:13), to the priesthood of Aaron (4:147:28). And His ministry is superior to the old covenant ministry (8:110:18).

In this case, to accurately grasp what verse 10 means, it is necessary to begin reading at verse one.

The chapter opens by talking about the Old Testament Law that was "a shadow of the good things to come". It then went on to speak of the sacrifices that although offered continually year after year, could not perfect those who drew near ... "For the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sins. (Vs. 4). Verse 9 then says Christ took away "the first in order to establish the second", followed by verse 10 that says "By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."

In other words, the author was pointing out the superiority of Christ's sacrifice compared to the Old Testament animal sacrifices. While those had to be repeated year after year and could not take away sin, Jesus only had to be sacrificed once in order to sanctify us. The "once for all" refers to the Jesus' one time sacrifice, not the effects of it. This is confirmed in the next two verses.

    Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, (Hebrews 10:11-12 NASB)

It is exactly the same case with...


9) Hebrews 7:25:
Therefore He is able also to save forever (Gr. panteles)  those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (NASB)

The Greek word panteles has been rendered 'forever' in the NASB. However, the King James and CLV translate it as 'to the uttermost' which rendering leans more towards Christ being able to completely save those who draw near to God through Him.

However, if you read the verse in context, it simply says that all high priests of the Old Testament died and had to be succeeded by another. However, Jesus, who never dies, has a permanent priesthood thus "always lives to make intercession" for anyone who comes to Him.

    (23) The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing,  (24)  but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently.  (25)  Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:23-25 NASB)

The "forever" indicates how long He lives to save, not how long salvation lasts.


10) 1 Corinthians 1:8: who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NASB)

One of the most common mistake made by Christians today is that they tend to arbitrarily apply promises from the Bible to their lives, although they were so obviously made to a particular individual, or group of people, under very specific circumstances.

For example, when Paul wrote "I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel" we don't assume he was talking to us - 21st century Christians, and that we are somehow 'deserting' Christ. Common sense tells us that since this letter was written to the Galatians who were beginning to follow a different Gospel. While we should learn some valuable lessons from all the Epistles, we simply cannot apply every line to ourselves.

Similarly, the letter to the Corinthians was written specifically to the church in Corinth, and not everything that was said can be applied to every Christian who had lived since. Although they were far from perfect, the church obviously had some very impressive strong points. They were spiritually rich in all speech and knowledge, and did not lack in any gift. The Corinthians also eagerly awaited Jesus' coming - How much of the modern church does that?

In other words, Paul was saying the Corinthians knew about Jesus, they preached Jesus, they had supernatural gifts of God and were pumped up about the return of Christ. Is it then any wonder then that he also told them Christ would confirm them to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

However, do not forget that although Paul began this letter on a high note, he added a very strong word of warning towards the end, telling them that they had received the Gospel that he had preached to them. And it was by this Gospel that they stood and by which they were saved IF they held fast to the word he had preached to them. If not, they had believed in vain

    Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:1-2 NASB)

And this was far from the only warning in the Bible. As shown below there were an almost uncountable number of warnings about the consequences of not persevering in the faith.


Warnings From The Old Testament


A Lesson From The History of Israel
After Abraham settled in the land of Canaan, the Father told him to lift up his eyes and look in all directions "for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever" (Genesis 13:12-15). (Please note this was one of three interconnected and inseparable promises made to him (See The Location and Nature of Heaven - Part II of What And Where is Heaven?)

In order to keep the promise God rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and led them across the desert on their way to the Promised Land.

As we should all know, much of what happened in the Old Testament was a rough draft or glimpse of one or more actual events yet to come. The original occurrence, is called the type, while the fulfillment is called the antitype. The Old Testament trek across the desert was a type of believers trekking through this life, hopefully led by the Spirit of God to the Promised Land.  See Article on Typology

However, when the Israelites discovered that the land they had been promised was occupied by giants, they were terrified. They grumbled against Moses and Aaron telling them that it would have been better if they had died in the wilderness because it seemed that the Lord had brought them to Canaan to die by the sword. Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb begged them to trust the Lord and not fear the people of the land, who would become their prey. This had no effect other than to cause the people to want to stone them (Numbers 14:9-10). Then God stepped in. Swearing that this faithless people would never enter his rest, He turned them away from Canaan and forced them to wander in the wilderness another 40 years until all the adults except Joshua and Caleb died. The author of Hebrews :

    For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief. (Hebrews 3:16-19 NASB)

He also drew an analogy between the Israelites and all believers, warning us

    Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:11 NASB)

In his epistle to the church in Corinth, Paul recounted the delivery of the Israelites from Egypt emphasizing the point that they blew it in spite of having been tremendously blessed by God's guidance and protection.

    Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. (1 Corinthians 10:1-12 NASB)

 
Ezekiel
Perhaps the least ambiguous warning about the consequences of falling away from faith is in the book of Ezekiel. that tells us If a righteous man turns away from righteousness, he will die for his sins regardless of how many righteous deeds he once did. 

    "But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity and does according to all the abominations that a wicked man does, will he live? All his righteous deeds which he has done will not be remembered for his treachery which he has committed and his sin which he has committed; for them he will die. (Ezekiel 18: 24 NASB)


Warnings From The New Testament
** Note Jesus' Warning and Parables About Persevering to The End are on Page 2 HERE


Paul's Warnings
Letter To The Romans:
In this communication Paul clearly warned the believers in Rome that the Jews had been cut off because of unbelief,and that God would be kind to the Roman Christians IF they continued in His kindness.

    for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. (Romans 11:21-23 NASB)

Letters To The Corinthians:
When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he was clear that they used to be thieves, idolaters, drunkards, homosexual etc. that could not inherit the kingdom of God, but were now washed and sanctified (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). A little later in the letter, he called them brothers, a term used for fellow believers and said they were believing in vain if they did not hold fast the word which he preached them

    Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:1-2 NASB)

Perish: In 1 Corinthians Paul talked about the eating of things sacrificed to idols which made no difference one way or the other unless it adversely affected someone whose conscience was weak. Eternal Security proponents tend to interpret this verse as meaning the weak conscience of the brother is 'damaged' but not lost.

     (10)  For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol's temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols? (11) For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined (Gr. apollumi) , the brother for whose sake Christ died. (12) And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. (13) Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble. (1 Corinthians 8:8-13 NASB)

Although I have used the NASB version, I have no idea how they can translate the Greek apollumi (Vs.11) into "ruined" when it actually means 'perish' or 'destroyed' which is how most translations render the word. In numerous examples the text leaves no doubt that the exact meaning of apollumi is to die

    Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord *appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy (Gk. apollumi) Him."  (Matthew 2:13 NASB)

    And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing (Gk. apollumi)! (Matthew 8:24-25 NASB)

    But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death (Gk. apollumi). (Matthew 27:20 NASB)

    It (the evil spirit that possessed a boy) has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy (Gk. apollumi) him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!" (Mark 9:22 NASB)

    Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed (Gk. apollumi) by the serpents. (1 Corinthians 10:8-9 NASB)

    through which the world at that time was destroyed (Gk. apollumi), being flooded with water. (2 Peter 3:6 NASB)

    Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed (Gk. apollumi) those who did not believe. (Jude 1:5 NASB)

See more on this topic - Whatever Is Not From Faith Is Sin (Romans 14:23) in Context


Letter To The Galatians:
When he wrote to the churches of Galatia, Paul was addressing an entire church that had confessed faith in the Lord Jesus, but showed signs of seeking instead to be justified by law. He was worried that he had wasted efforts on them, which would not have been the case if they were not in danger of losing their salvation.

    But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? You observe days and months and seasons and years. I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain. (Galatians 4:9-11 NASB)

No one can be "severed from Christ" and "fallen from grace" and still be saved

    Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. (Galatians 5:2-4 NASB)

Paul later warned them the Galatians that they would reap a harvest only if they did not give up.

    Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. (Galatians 6:9 NASB)

Also See The Myth of Faith Alone
Having all the correct beliefs about God will hardly suffice: even demons believe in God.


Letter To The Ephesians: Paul addressed his letter to the church at Ephesus with the words "To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus", which means he was writing to Christians. Yet he warned them that they would not have an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God if they became immoral, impure or greedy

    But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. (Ephesians 5:3-5 NASB)


Letter to the Philippians:
In this letter addressed to "all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons" Paul wrote that he did not consider that he had "arrived"... taken hold of the prize. This is a far cry from so many Christians today who consider that the resurrection of their bodies a forgone conclusion.

    Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, (Philippians 3:13 NASB)


Letter To The Colossians:
Paul addressing this letter to "the saints and faithful brethren" told them that Jesus would present them to God as holy and blameless and beyond reproach if they continued

    ... in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister. (Colossians 1:23 NASB)

 
Letter to The Thessalonians: In this letter addressed to the "church of the Thessalonians", Paul says that if the tempter had succeeded with the people the apostle's efforts has been wasted. Certainly he would not have had any cause for concern had they been forever saved.

    For this reason, when I could endure it no longer, I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labor would be in vain. (1 Thessalonians 3:5 NASB)

And then he went on to tell them that they (the apostles) were proud of this church because of their perseverance and faith that indicated they were worthy of God's kingdom.

    therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. This is a plain indication of God's righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. (2 Thessalonians 1:4-5 NASB)


Letter To Timothy
Remembering that a person can only abandon something they had in the first place, Paul spoke of people like the young widows who were once true Christians dedicated to Christ, but had since wandered away.

    This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. (1 Timothy 1:18-19 NASB)

    But refuse to put younger widows on the list, for when they feel sensual desires in disregard of Christ, they want to get married, thus incurring condemnation, because they have set aside their previous pledge. At the same time they also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention. Therefore, I want younger widows to get married, bear children, keep house, and give the enemy no occasion for reproach; for some have already turned aside to follow Satan. (1 Timothy 5:11-15 NASB)

    But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. (1 Timothy 6:9 NASB)

    O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called "knowledge"-- which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith. Grace be with you. (1 Timothy 6:20-21 NASB)

Even though Paul knew that Timothy was a true believer it is very telling that he found it necessary to warn Timothy that he must persevere in the faith in order to be saved.

    Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you. (1 Timothy 4:14-16 NASB)


Peter's Warnings
This chapter is devoted to the fact of false teachers who, like the false prophets of the Old Testament, would secretly introduce destructive heresies

    But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought (Gr. agorazo) them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. (2 Peter 2:1 NASB)

There are two points to be noted. Not only did these false teachers arise from among the people, but they were also "bought". From other occurrences, it is very evident that when the Greek agorazo is applied to people it refers to those who Christ purchased for Himself.

    For you have been bought (Gr. agorazo) with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.  (1 Corinthians 6:20 NASB)

    You were bought (Gr. agorazo) with a price; do not become slaves of men. (1 Corinthians 7:23 NASB)

    These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased (Gr. agorazo) from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb. (Revelation 14:4 NASB)

I am afraid that the Bible's undeniable statement that false teachers were also "bought" by the Lord, knocks the wind out of the sails of the doctrine of Eternal Security or Once Saved Always Saved.

However, in an effort to refute this, some have put forward some immensely convoluted arguments to 'prove' that Peter didn't mean exactly what he wrote. They go sort of like this - Deuteronomy 32:6 says the Father 'bought' (acquired for His own) the people. However, since they were not bought by the blood of Christ, the verse had to be referring to God freeing the Jews from slavery in Egypt. But some who were delivered from the bondage in Egypt were false prophets and never true believers. Thus there will be some today who are also not true believers, but will only appear to be bought by Christ.

On the surface this might sound quite Biblical.  It's not!

Everyone who came out of Egypt was 'bought'  - they all started out as believers. Exodus 11:3 says "Moses himself was greatly esteemed in the land of Egypt, both in the sight of Pharaoh's servants and in the sight of the people." The Old Testament focus was strictly on those who obeyed and those who did not and Exodus 12 is very clear that they did as they were told when they were instructed to observe the first Passover. Not a sign of a false prophet nor disbeliever anywhere

In other words, it was only when the going got rough that they grumbled and complained and showed a lack of faith in God's ability to take them to the Promised Land with the result that all the adults died in the wilderness, which is a classic case of people who start out in great shape then, somewhere along the way, fall away.

Note: the first mention of false prophets is in Deuteronomy 13 and 18 and that was a warning about not believing them if what they said did not come to pass.

What Peter Went on to Say
In any case, Peter didn't write the first the first verse and then decide that this whole writing bit was not for him. He went on to say that these same false teachers forsook the right way and went astray.

    forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; (2 Peter 2:15 NASB)

You cannot forsake or abandon a path you were never on in the first place. And, to clinch the point, Peter stressing that their end would be worse than their first, stated that they returned to their own vomit.

    For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, "a dog returns to its own vomit," and, "A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire." (2 Peter 2:20-22 NASB)

In fact he ended his second epistle with the words.

    You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness,  (2 Peter 3:17 NASB)

Peter's warning about false teachers were not written to a specific group of people in particular circumstance. They were very general and applied just as much to the those in the 21st century church as they did to those of Peter's time. What is especially telling are Peter's words that these false teachers promise freedom to the people. What better description of the teachers of Eternal Security or Once Saved Always Saved.

    For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. (2 Peter 2:18-19 NASB)


Warnings From Hebrews
The author of Hebrews presented a rather knotty problem for OSAS proponents when he wrote that under certain circumstances it is impossible for people to return to faith.

    For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. (Hebrews 6:4-6 NASB)

The usual way out of the dilemma is to say that the author of Hebrews was not referring to truly born-again disciples, but Christians in name only. However, the text says these people have "shared in the Holy Spirit," something that no nominal Christian can do. Besides which, these warnings are against "falling away," which is impossible if they never attained the position from which to fall.

The author of the book also warned the Hebrew converts about deliberately sinning after becoming believers. They were in danger of completely abandoning the faith and falling back into Judaism.

    For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, "vengeance is mine, i will repay." And again, "the Lord will judge His people." It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:26-31 NASB)

He unambiguously says that someone can be "sanctified" by "the blood of the covenant" and still fall from the faith, which means it cannot refer to those who are Christians in name only.

The author then goes on to assure his readers that if they did not throw away their confidence, it would be richly rewarded. However, God would not be pleased with them if they shrank back. In fact, those who shrink back are destroyed - those who do not are preserved. This mirrors Jesus' words in Matthew 7:21... Only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven will enter the kingdom of heaven.

    Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. for yet in a very little while, He who is coming will come, and will not delay. but My righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul. (Hebrews 10:35-39 NASB)

The book of Hebrews also says

    For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, (Hebrews 3:14 NASB)

    Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. (Hebrews 4:1 NASB)

All of which raises the question of whether someone can repent and return to the faith.


Those Who Fell Away In The New Testament
Judas
At the feast of the Passover Jesus implied that Judas Iscariot was unclean...

    Jesus said to him, "He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you." For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, "Not all of you are clean." (John 13:10-11 NASB)

However, it does not mean that Judas was never clean. Much to the contrary,  Judas was not only a disciple he was also one of the original twelve apostles chosen by Christ himself at the same time as the others. He was given the same spiritual authority as the other eleven and sent out as one of them to preach the gospel, heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers and cast out demons

Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him. (Matthew 10:1-4 NASB)

He had to have been "clean" when he was chosen to be an apostle but, somewhere along the line, he decided to betray Jesus (John 13:2)


Many Unnamed Disciples
John tells us that many unnamed disciples went back and stopped following Jesus

Upon this many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. (John 6:66)


Demas
Demas was a companion and fellow worker of the Apostle Paul (Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 24). However, in Paul's last letter to Timothy he wrote

    Make every effort to come to me soon; for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica... (2 Timothy 4:9-10 NASB)


Hymenaeus and Philetus
Virtually nothing is known about these two people except for this verse.

    and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some. (2 Timothy 2:17-18 NASB)

A person can't wander away from the truth unless that person was first in the truth. Also the fact that these two managed to destroy "the faith of some" means that the "some" had to have had faith to begin with, or it could not have been destroyed.


Some Younger Christian Widows
Some younger Christian widows turned from Jesus and began to follow Satan.

    Therefore, I want younger widows to get married, bear children, keep house, and give the enemy no occasion for reproach; for some have already turned aside to follow Satan. (1 Timothy 5:14-15 NASB)

Verses 11 and 12 clarify that these young widows were first pledged to Christ but turned away to follow Satan

    But refuse to put younger widows on the list, for when they feel sensual desires in disregard of Christ, they want to get married, thus incurring condemnation, because they have set aside their previous pledge. (1 Timothy 5:11-12 NASB)


Greedy Christians
Some Christians eager for money can wander from the Christian faith. Paul wrote:

    If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction (Gk. apoleia) For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:8-10 NASB)

The word translated 'destruction' is the Greek apoleia, also used in Matthew 7:13 where it clearly refers to damnation

    Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction (Gk. apoleia), and there are many who enter through it. (Matthew 7:13 NASB)


Some Unnamed Believers
In this verse, Paul spoke about "some men" who strayed from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith, had turned aside to fruitless discussion (1 Timothy 1:5-6 NASB).

    But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions. (1 Timothy 1:5-7 NASB)\

He then named Hymenaeus and Alexander (possibly the same two men mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:14 and 2 Timothy 2:17) whom he said had shipwrecked their faith and whom he had handed over to Satan. (note: No one really knows what Paul meant when he said  he handed them over to Satan but it is possible that he meant they had been excommunicated and in some sense placed under Satan's control).

    This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme. (1 Timothy 1:18-20 NASB)


Repenting and Returning to The Faith?
Those who advocate the Eternal Security doctrine often claim that people cannot be born again, unborn, and then be reborn once again.

Who says?

In Romans 11, Paul compared Christianity to an Olive tree. They (the Romans) as wild olives had been grafted in among the Jews who were the natural  branches that had been broken off for their unbelief. However, as he went on to say, the Jews had not stumbled and been finally rejected, but through their fall, salvation had come to the Gentiles (Vs. 11). However, Paul went on to warn them that as God did not spare the natural branches, He would not spare them, either if they did not stand by their faith (Vs 20- 21). Also,  if the Jews did not continue in their unbelief, they would be grafted in, again  for God was quite able to do that.  (Vs. 23) 

    Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God's kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree? (Romans 11:22-24 NASB)

Firstly, germane to this article is Paul telling the Romans that if they fall into unbelief they will be broken off just as the Jews were. He also states that if they do not continue in their unbelief, they will be grafted in again. The question then is whether this conflicts with Hebrews 6:4-6, that states that once a believer falls away, he cannot return....

    those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. (Hebrews 6:4-6 NASB)

However, there are no standalone verses in the Scriptures. Hebrews 6:4-6 has to be understood in conjunction with Hebrews 10:26-27 that reads, (Emphasis Added)

    For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. (Hebrews 10:26-27 NASB)

In other words, like the Galatians, people can fall away by being misled, falling prey to false doctrine etc. However, once aware of their error they can repent and return. The ones who choose to deliberately continue in sin, are pretty much up the proverbial creek. 


 End Notes
[01] Once saved always saved?  Got Questions Ministries  https://gotquestions.org/once-saved-always-saved.html

[02] Charles Stanley. Eternal Security Can You Be Sure? Thomas Nelson (September 1, 2002) Pg. 94

[03] Got Questions Ministries. Once saved always saved? https://gotquestions.org/once-saved-always-saved.html


Continue On To Part II - Jesus' Warnings and Parables About Persevering to The End HERE

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