The phrase “once saved always saved” refers to the understanding of Eternal Security in Salvation. The question this addresses is: Can we lose our salvation? This is a very important question because it impacts a lot of areas of theology. At the same time it is a very easy question to answer when allowing scripture to answer it for us.
First lets look at what Jesus stated in John chapters 3, 6, and 10.
The infamous John 3:16 verse states “shall not perish but have eternal life”. A simple question we can ask is: Is something eternal, if it does not last forever? Sounds like a redundant question but it answers our initial question. That which “shall not perish” and has “eternal life” clearly must last forever. If that which is eternal perishes, can it then be eternal? No. Why? Because something eternal is never ending. Thus; eternal life does not have an end. Jesus states here that whom ever believes is given life that can not end.
John 6:29,35-40 is even better and more blunt.
29 Jesus replied, “This is the work of God—that you believe in the One He has sent.”
35 “I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in Me will ever be thirsty again. 36 But as I told you, you’ve seen Me,[d] and yet you do not believe. 37 Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I should lose none of those He has given Me but should raise them up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of My Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
First of all, it is the Work and Will of God that anyone comes to faith. Secondly, those who do, will NEVER spiritually hunger or thirst again. Why? Because Jesus will NEVER cast out or lose anyone who GOD brought to faith. Why? because they are given ETERNAL life and WILL be raised up on the last day. You can not be any more clear than that.
You can not have your salvation taken away and YOU can’t lose your own salvation. It is not up to you. It is GOD’s work, not yours.
28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”
When someone is ‘given’ eternal life, will they ever perish? that is clearly answered here. Can ANYONE take those who are saved away from God? that is clearly answered here as well. “NO ONE” includes, other people, Satan, OR YOU. Why? because God “is greater than all“.
What About Christians Who Later Deny their Faith?
This is also addressed in 1 John 2:19
went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had
belonged to us, they would have remained with us. However, they went out
so that it might be made clear that none of them belongs to us.
People who once claimed to be Christian but now claim they are not, were never saved to begin with. It is a harsh truth. People that claimed to follow Jesus and do things in Jesus’ name, who once claimed to be saved; Jesus never knew to begin with (Matt. 7:21-23).
This also applies to those who committed apostasy in scripture. They did the religious acts and talks for how ever long but then fell away and either completely rejected the faith or just later denied it. 1 John 2:19 would apply to them and any one who commits apostasy. They were never saved to begin with. They just did the actions and words until they felt like moving on.
Can You Cause Your Own Salvation Loss?
This is an attempt to retain some sort of ‘authority’ and ‘right’ over ourselves. But again, scripture is explicitly clear. Paul addresses just about every kind of possiblity in Romans 8:38-39
“38 For I am persuaded that not even death or life,
angels or rulers,
things present or things to come, hostile powers,
39 height or depth, or any other created thing
will have the power to separate us
from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!”
Nothing material or spiritual, past, present, or future, will ever separate us. That sums up, EVERYTHING.
And to reiterate what Jesus stated in John 10:28-30, “No one” can, not even YOU, because God is greater than ALL, including you.
Also read: When Our Faith is Just Lip Service
Why Teach this Obviously Incorrect Teaching?
Insecurity in faith provokes people to TRY HARD and WORK HARD so they do not “lose” their faith. This can be very beneficial to teachers who desire on donations and materialistic things from their following.
It plays into the natural desire of control. It tickles the sinful nature that makes us think that we are or have some authority over our selves spiritually. False teachers also provoke this to tickle the ears of their followers, which, eventually, leads to more donations and more followers.
To refute those two heretical teachings (besides the verses above):
“Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now going to be made complete by the flesh?”
This is a rebuke from an Apostle. They did not receive the spirit by works nor are they made complete by works. The teachings are in direct contradiction to what Paul taught here in Romans 3:28 and Romans 4:1-5. Salvation is an unconditional free gift, received by faith a part from works (Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:8-9). The reformation principle here is by Faith Alone.
Does That Mean I Can Sin Freely?
This is another false assumption and sad argument made by those who attempt to teach the loss of salvation. Known as The License to Sin.
The answer is simply: You would not want to sin freely if you are truly saved. Because you would be a NEW creation. Your old sinful self was crucified with Christ and you are born again. You are given a new heart and eternal eyes. You imperfectly seek God’s Will (2 Corinthians 5:17; John 14:23; 1 John 3:9).
Paul says it best: Romans 7:15 “For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate.”
Also read Sinlessness and its Dilemmas | If Your Not Fighting Sin, Your Living It. | When the claim of Freedom is really Blind Pride | How To Fight Your Sin | The New You Forever
Believers are given the gift of salvation from God, by God and for God; they are saved by faith through the works of Jesus Christ for all eternity. God is greater than all so no one, not even you, can “unsave” yourself.
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