Once Saved, Always Saved?
Can a person be lost once he has accepted Christ as his Saviour? Only in God’s Word can we find an answer to this question. The Bible speaks for itself: “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works. … For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.” Hebrews 10:23, 24, 26.
Nowhere does the Bible teach that our responsibility ends when we become a Christian. God’s Word is clear: “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” 2 Peter 2:20-22.
Christianity is more than one single decision. Jesus said that our salvation is based on the condition that we continue to abide in Him (“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” John 15:4). And the apostle Paul said, “I die daily.” 1 Corinthians 15:31. This means that he chose on a daily basis to deny himself and follow Jesus.
The Lord Himself said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23.
The Bible does not teach that we can turn our backs on truth and still be saved. Ezekiel 18:24 says: “But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.” Paul also reminds us, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:12.
Some people think they can “talk the talk” without “walking the walk.” But Jesus said: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:21-23.
Paul depicted the constant struggle of the true Christian when he said: “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. … 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 9:24, 25, 27.
To believe that once we are saved we cannot be lost is to believe that God takes away our greatest freedom—the freedom of choice. On the other hand, God does want us to have assurance that He will finish the work He has begun in our lives. “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6.
We can be confident that if we continue to follow, He will continue to lead and will never let go of the hand placed willingly in His. “He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” Matthew 24:13.