Once Saved, Always Saved? By God!

Updated: 4 days ago

Salvation is a primary topic among Christians, and inevitably, the question of one's eternal security, sometimes referred to as "Once Saved, Always Saved" will arise. This can also be a point of struggle within Christian circles, as Scripture seems to indicate that we are secured as being "in Christ", yet plenty of warnings are found against those who seem to walk away from the faith by committing apostasy, or worse, become false teachers within professing Christian congregations.

So which one is it then? If one is truly born again, a new creation in Christ, are they capable of losing their salvation that is described as "eternal life"? The reason so many struggle with this question, is not because Scripture fails to describe details about one's eternal security, but rather three reasons: 1) We fail to define "salvation" properly according to Biblical terminology. 2) We misunderstand the difference between "descriptive" texts (matter of fact), and "prescriptive" texts ("if, then" indicating multiple outcomes). 3) Therefore we will take the prescriptive "warning" passages which focus upon man's actions as outweighing the clear definitional passages that demonstrate God's amazing, effectual, and ongoing salvific work.

This came up recently in a Youtube comment field, where the idea of "Once Saved, Always Saved" was challenged by a zealous commenter. Once you recognize God's glory through His redemptive and salvific work, as seen through the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit throughout Scripture and accomplished throughout time, you can understand why I simply couldn't allow such a bold claim to be left "unchallenged".

By reading through this comment chain, may you find comfort in resting in God's promises and salvific work, that truly holds us secure, and by such, have a greater appreciation of who our loving God truly is. I challenge you to meditate on the Scriptures supplied, and even read through those that are referenced, so that by holding these passages in your heart, you can know to trust God's work, and lean upon the Righteousness of Christ, our Savior.

Bill’s responses \ Travis & Brandon responses

Bill Obrien:

I hope you aren't preaching once saved always saved, because the Bible doesn't teach that.

Travis Johnson:

@Bill Obrien, If what you mean by the phrase "once saved always saved" is this notion that someone can simply say a "sinner's prayer", yet live in continuous rebellion and sinful lifestyles with no repentance but still be "saved" forever, then you're correct; the Scripture does not teach this.

However, Scripture fully teaches the idea that those who are in Christ are no longer condemned (ref. Romans 8:1, John 3:18), born again and sealed by the Holy Spirit (ref. John 3:5-8, 1 Peter 1:3, Ephesians 1:13), a new creation in Christ (ref. 2 Corinthians 5:17), protected by the power of God through faith (ref. 1 Peter 1:5), saved forever by the intercessory work and authority of Christ as the High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek because He always lives (ref. Hebrews 7:25), perfected and sanctified to God through Christ's once for all atoning sacrifice of His life (ref. Hebrews 10:10, 14), and secured in the hand of both Father and Son with eternal life in which no one can snatch away (ref. John 10:27-29), nor separate them from the love of God (ref. Romans 8:31-39). All of this is also done because it's the will of the Father in which none of those given to the Son would be lost, which the Son will accomplish (ref. John 6:37-40), and will be made manifest in the believer by the new birth through the Holy Spirit in the appointed time as promised by God in Ezekiel 36:25-27 and later referenced by Christ in John 3:5 when He speaks of being born of water (cleansing) and the Spirit (heart of flesh & His Spirit within them). By this working of God, such a person will then endure in faith even through hardship and trials (ref. James 1:2,3), walk in holiness as they are molded more and more like Christ (ref. Ephesians 4:20-24), and upon stumbling in sin, will be convicted by the inner working of the Holy Spirit (ref. Hebrews 12:7-11 in regards to God's discipline), resulting in repentance leading to continued forgiveness and cleansing by Christ and His righteousness (ref. 1 John 1:9).

See, if you deny the security of those who are in fact "saved" by the work of God as listed above, then ultimately you have a weak God who can not uphold His promises, a Son who fails to uphold the Father's will, and a Spirit that is ineffectual in securing those believers. Yet you have the audacity to call us "heretics"? I warn you! Repent and seek the Scriptures to prove yourself to be a workman rightly dividing the Word of God, because right now, you're making a mockery of it and the God who so mercifully gives us His Word.

To God be all glory!

Bill Obrien:

@Travis Johnson once you are saved, you can still lose your salvation. The Bible is clear on that.

Travis Johnson:

@Bill Obrien So let me see if I understand your position then… Eternal life is not eternal, the new birth \ new creation in Christ is reversible, the sealing of the Holy Spirit is removable, the giving of the Father to the Son can be stripped away, the inheritance and adoption as sons & daughters can be removed and undone, knowing God can be erased, the atonement of Christ can be nullified (His sacrifice in bearing all our sins can be undone), Christ’s ongoing intercession as High Priest in the Holy of Holies can be interrupted, and something can actually separate us from the love of God? All of this would occur if one was to lose their salvation as you so claim.

The problem you have is that you are not actually defining salvation according to Scripture. Salvation is completely the work of God; nothing we can boast in. This work doesn’t stop at a single point in time, but is accomplished through the ongoing role of Christ as King and High Priest, along with the role of the Holy Spirit who indwells in us, illuminating our minds to understand Scripture, protecting and comforting us, yet also convicting us when needed.

Another error you make is to categorically apply salvation to those who are false teachers, commit apostasy, and\or who make a profession of Christ \ the faith, and yet have no evidence of bearing fruit. There are plenty of warnings to such characters in Scripture, but by wrongfully applying “salvation” to these, you then nullify the descriptive texts in Scripture in all that God does in the effectual salvation of His people. You must recognize that the “prescriptive” texts (if this, then this… such as a prescription; “if you take this pill, then you will get better”) do not over-ride the “descriptive” texts (explaining a fact) of those who are “in Christ”, many of which I listed in the first comment I posted, and referenced in my first paragraph of this response.

I pray that you can come to this understanding, Lord willing, and that you can rejoice in God who truly saves!

Take a minute and meditate on these descriptive texts in which God is glorified through His work:

'The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. 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 NASB1995)

'By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 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, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. ' (Hebrews 10:10-14 NASB1995)

'In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 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.' (Romans 8:26-39 NASB1995)

If you are still confused, I’m willing to exegetically walk through the “difficult” passages in which you seem to struggle with by holding to your current position.

To God be all glory!

Bill Obrien:

@Travis Johnson I'm not even going to attempt to read all of that. Why don't you try opening the Bible. Read it. Stop trying to justify the traditions you were taught because you don't like the Truth of the Word. AND STOP TEACHING HERESY...

Bill Obrien:

@Travis Johnson here: 2 Peter 2:20-21 KJV 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. [21] 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.

Just read it. Don't try to explain it away. JUST READ IT. If you don't want to believe the Word of God, that's your choice. But I'm done talking to you about this because you are rejecting the truth.

Brandon Garcia:

@Bill Obrien Where's the indication that these were saved Bill? Besides your assumption.

Bill Obrien:

@Brandon Garcia try reading it REAL slow, and don't make any of your own assumptions........

Brandon Garcia:

@Bill Obrien You didn't answer my question. How can you tell me not to assume something when you're assuming salvation in the first place. You're assuming that you can't have a knowledge of Christ without being saved. Bill, please stop being an ignorant fool. Travis and I are both trying to help and you're commenting like an ignorant teenager. Humble yourself Bill and pay attention to the Biblical truth you've been given.

Bill Obrien:

@Brandon Garcia that's because the scripture answers your question.... READ IT AGAIN REAL SLOW.

Bill Obrien:

@Brandon Garcia I'm not ASSUMING anything. It's called reading comprehension

Brandon Garcia:

@Bill Obrien No, it's called Eisegesis. You're reading what you want into the text, not reading what the text says. No matter what you think you don't have that liberty.

Bill Obrien:

@Brandon Garcia I can't hold your hand and teach you how to read. Your problem is that you love your traditions so much that you can't see the truth in front of you. I'm done talking to you. Have a good day.

Brandon Garcia:

@Bill Obrien Bill, let the reader understand, Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid. Proverbs 12:1 ESV

Bill Obrien:

Romans 11:19-22 KJV Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. [20] Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: [21] For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. [22] Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

There are soooo many verses in the Bible that say osas is a lie.... but people who want to believe that they can live how ever they want to and still enter into heaven twist them all.

Brandon Garcia:

@Bill Obrien umm... Those branches are national Israel Bill. How does this prove your point?

Travis Johnson:

​ @Bill Obrien Your responses demonstrate that you didn’t come to “debate”, but rather push a tradition and agenda of your own. I literally started the first response with this statement (which you ignored):

[If what you mean by the phrase "once saved always saved" is this notion that someone can simply say a "sinner's prayer", yet live in continuous rebellion and sinful lifestyles with no repentance but still be "saved" forever, then you're correct; the Scripture does not teach this.]

You are the one showing ignorance, in that you have redefined salvation as simply making a profession of faith, such as saying the “sinner’s prayer”. There may be a public outward profession as such in response to the Holy Spirit’s conviction, but salvation (as I’ve stated numerous times already), is a work of God, through all three Persons, and is a continued work to ensure the salvation of God’s people, and will be demonstrated through the enduring faith of the believer, who is kept by God through the inner working of the Holy Spirit, and the intercessory work of Christ who covers us in His righteousness, and has fully paid ALL of our sins upon the cross through bearing our punishment (wrath of God), and dying in our place. This is what the Bible teaches, and yes, I read it to come to this understanding (but credit is to the Holy Spirit who gives such understanding).

But since by your own statement of “I’m not even going to attempt to read all of that”, you willingly missed the correction I made to show that you are ignoring the “descriptive” texts in Scripture that give facts of God’s salvific work, and place emphasis instead on “prescriptive” texts that give “if, then…” statements, which can result in more than one outcome. In other words, these are not describing a fact, but laying out a possibility.

I gave you 15 references (which I read through while typing this…) of passages in Scripture that give such definitional facts of God’s saving work in my first response, which you still chose to ignore. So let’s then look at 2 Peter chapter 2 and the verses you are quoting to make your claim:

Who is “they” in verse 20, Bill? Since you fail to understand that context of a verse clarifies the meaning of such verses, how about I show you how to actually “read” the Bible and understand it. “They” is actually defined all the way back in 2 Peter 2:1 as “false teachers” who will come into the congregation:

'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 them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. ' (2 Peter 2:1 NASB1995)

Peter’s topic in this chapter is “false teachers”, and therefore carries this idea throughout the chapter. And before we continue, if you think the phrase “even denying the Master who bought them”, means they are “saved”, then you are ignoring Peter’s intent in showing the “behavior” of such false teachers who are associating with “the people” whom Christ died for and purchased with His blood, yet denying Christ. This is made evident in verses 2 & 3 along with verses 9 & 10 as further describing these false teachers:

'Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. ' (2 Peter 2:2-3 NASB1995)

'then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, ' (2 Peter 2:9-10 NASB1995)

Scripture here declares that these false teachers have “judgement from long ago” (v.3), and as the “unrighteous” in v.9 who are kept under punishment for the day of judgment by God, which is made further clear in v. 10 because it describes them as those who indulge the flesh in it’s corrupt desires and despise authority which is referring back to the description in verses 1-3.

The “They” (referring to these false teachers) is continued throughout the rest of the passage to further describe them (which leads up to verses 20 & 21 which you quoted):

'Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord. But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed, suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong. They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you, having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children; forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but he received a rebuke for his own transgression, for a mute donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet.

These are springs without water and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. 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 2:10b-19 NASB1995)

So this then brings us to the “if, then” statement of verse 20:

'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. ' (2 Peter 2:20 NASB1995)

Since this is again looking at the false teachers, who are associating with the people of God, and they “themselves are slaves of corruption” (v.19), it shows that their outcome of leaving the worldly system and coming to “a knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” will still result in returning to such “defilements” that exist in the world since they are still slaves of such corruption. If this happens (which it will, since they are those for “whom the black darkness has been reserved” in v.19), their “last state will become worse for them than the first”. Verse 21 then just further expands on this point because the last state of knowing and turning away is worse than never knowing at all:

'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. ' (2 Peter 2:21 NASB1995)

Although not stated directly here in 2 Peter 2, Scripture is clear that having a knowledge of Christ, and then later rejecting Him does have more severe consequences, which Christ Himself reminds us in Matthew 11:

'Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.” ' (Matthew 11:20-24 NASB1995)

Therefore, this passage is clearly not speaking of “saved” believers who are in Christ, but rather these false teachers. The last verse further explains this because their behavior has remained as that of a dog and “sow” (pig), showing that they were never born again, nor made a new creation in Christ:

'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 2:22 NASB1995)

In other words, these false teachers may eject (vomit) the filth they previously consumed, only to go right back and consume it again, and the filth of the world that they were “cleansed” of, they miss all too much and their desire is to roll in it because by nature they love it. If they had truly been saved to begin with, by the full working of God (as previously stated in earlier responses), then they would be kept by God because they are no longer “slaves of corruption”:

'Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. ' (John 8:34-36 NASB1995)

Even 2 Peter 2 describes God’s working of those who are saved! Look back at verses 4 through 9 in which both Noah and Lot are described as “righteous” with the summation that they are “rescued by God from temptation” (v.9):

'For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, ' (2 Peter 2:4-9 NASB1995).

I praise God that He “knows how to rescue the godly from temptation”, and that we have nothing to boast in self, because apart from Christ’s righteousness that He covers us with, and the inner working of the Holy Spirit to walk in such righteousness, we too would be those of the “ungodly”.

Even if you continue to deny what Scripture actually teaches, I have enjoyed this study and reminder of God’s faithfulness to uphold His promises, and that my hope is anchored “within the veil” who is Christ! (ref. Hebrews 6:19,20) Anyone who is truly saved, is so by the basis of Christ’s life, death, resurrection, ascension, and ongoing intercession. Salvation is through Faith alone, in Christ alone, by God’s Grace alone, as explained by Scripture alone, and thus to the Glory of God alone.

Your position has been fully rebuked. I pray that the Lord would grant you understanding of such through His Spirit.

To God be all glory!

Bill Obrien:

@Travis Johnson nope. I just want people to read the Bible and stop spreading heresy. I refuse to debate people who openly deny the truth of the Word. Its right in front of you. I really don't care to read parts 7 8 9 and 10 of your opinion and attempt at twisting scripture.

Have a nice life. Open Bible and just read it..... the words are pretty clear. And OSAS is heresy

Bill Obrien:

@Travis Johnson don't bother with part 2, I'm not going to read any more of it than I did the other novels you typed. You're wasting your time.

Bill Obrien:

John 1:1 KJV In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. This says that Jesus is God. It's pretty clear what it says. Am I stating my opinion or fact? Allow me to answer that for you... it isn't my opinion, it is fact. Just as the scripture I posted before CLEARLY says that you can lose your salvation... it's clear... it couldn't be MORE clear. The problem is, it's YOUR opinion that it DOESNT say that, even though it couldn't be more clear that it DOES. And you're too much of a hypocrite to see.

Travis Johnson:

@Bill Obrien "I refuse to debate people who openly deny the truth of the Word". Hmm... So I take it you've never witnessed to anyone of the "cults"? So how do you intend to "contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints" as commanded in Jude?

'Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. ' (Jude 1:3 NASB1995)

I can't help but recognize that this verse here also applies to you:

'For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. ' (Romans 10:2-3 NASB1995)

Bill, I want you to truly ponder this next question.... How is one truly saved from the wrath of God?

And this hasn't been a waste of time... I'm recording this and using it as a teaching tool; as I do care about training up my children in the way of the Lord, to love Him, and be amazed at His salvific work, and also to protect those "in the flock" as an under-shepherd (Christ is the Great Shepherd), protecting them from falsehood and misguided "zealous" people who think they know Scripture but show themselves to be in error upon cross-examination.

So God will be glorified through this, and I pray you will actually read the Bible in its whole and stop isolating texts (apart from their context) so that you can understand God's Word.

Bill Obrien:

@Travis Johnson let me rephrase... I refuse to debate people who call themselves Christians and deny the truth of the Word. Good bye.

Bill Obrien:

oh, one last thing.... you are the LAST person I would ever consider listening to concerning anything about the Word. You have the reading comprehension of a blind preschooler.

Travis Johnson:

@Bill Obrien Yet again, you show ignorance and now resort to name calling too? People of the "cults" do call themselves "Christians", so clearly you haven't witnessed to any.

You still have yet to answer the main question:

How is one truly saved from the wrath of God?

---End of Comment Chain---

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