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August 23, 1997

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Once Saved-Always Saved?
VW answers the traditional views

The following letter was received from a VW subscriber and is presented here in its entirety, unedited; because it presents the traditional Once Saved-Always Saved view, which many confuse with the issue of "Eternal Security." Furthermore, this letter could have easily been written by me not scarcely 3-4 years ago. But there are some "flaws" to the OSAS view, when Scripture is considered carefully.

The letter has been given in its entirety for objective perspective. And then below, I have taken portions, in order, and compared with Scripture. Some word-study dissections. In some cases, pointing out the difference between OSAS and Eternal Security.

Also: there are links here and there to other related articles, commentaries and Q/A's, so the reader can look up things which are referred to in this exchange.

And finally: while the matter of "Eternal Security" is of utmost importance and is the very foundation and core of Salvation and Eternal Life; unless a person is planning to purposely walk away from God, the matter of knowing whether or not this is possible will not condemn a person in God's eyes. Thankfully it is Jesus Christ Who knows the division between soul and spirit, and discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart.(Heb4:12) And furthermore, while we might question whether a person can walk away from the Lord, ultimately, "the Lord knows those who are His."(2Tim2:19)


The Letter -- The Response
Hello Paul,
I told you about a month ago that I had been receiving your work for five months, and didn't disagree with one thing that you said. I also said that I probably would disagree at some point in time, because we never agree with anyone 100 percent of the time. However, I didn't think it would be on a doctrine so important as this. Paul, I love you brother and I' will see you in heaven some day.

1. If you can loose your salvation, one thing is sure, you can never be saved again. Heb.6:4-6 makes that very clear. Look at these verses very closely and you will agree. Paul was giving a bunch of christians a hypothetical situation. He was saying (IF IT WERE POSSIBLE TO FALL AWAY) you can forget it. Christ only died once and he will only save you once. And these were christians that the writer was referring to. Everything in these verses show them to be saved. The key word in these verses is that little word (IF).

2. Eph. 1:13 & 14, After that ye believed ye (were sealed) with that Holy Spirt of promise, Who is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His Glory.

(Three words) to look at here. I think that we both know what it means to be sealed, but it means to be KEPT. We also know what the word earnest means, but it means to purchase something, and put something down to show that you are earnest about giving the full payment. God pays His bills. He purchased us Paul, and he gave Himself (His Spirit) to us as a down payment. The deal was made and settled when we belived. Probably that little word (UNTIL) is as important as any word in these verses. ((How long are we sealed Paul))? The answer,, "until" the redemption (WHEN WE GO TO BE WITH CHRIST) of the purchased possession. It is so very important to look at the little words like (if) and (until).

If it was left up to you and me, we would all loose our salvation. But it's not up to us. God is the one that keeps us saved. If His grace could save an old sinner like me, if it is that strong, then His grace is able to keep me saved. We sell God's grace short to believe He will save us then let us go. He has the power to see that we over-come. We all sin. Some of us even get way out there in sin, but God is waiting right where we left him, for us to return. However, if we completely refuse to return He will take us on home early. That is what is called the sin unto death. It can only be commited by a saved person. And I am not talking about the sin unto (spiritual death). Look at the man that had his fathers wife in 1 Cor. chapter 5: Paul said to turn him over to satan that his (FLESH MIGHT BE Destroyed, (THAT THE SPIRIT MIGHT BE SAVED in the day of the lord Jesus.

This man hadn't just commited a one time sin. He was living every day in this sin. Yet, it is obvious that God didn't UNSAVE HIM. He was however, ready to let satan kill him PHYSICALLY. But then over in 2 Cor. we see Paul advising the church to take (I believe) this same man back into their midst. He apparently repented, but if he had not repented no doubt, God was going to call him home early. He was not going to UNSEAL HIM.

3. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him shall not perish, but HAVE LIFE UNTIL HE TURNS HIS BACK ON GOD. No, it says (EVERLASTING LIFE). Then there are all those other places where we are told the same thing. It is always either everlasting life, or eternal life, but never does it say (life until we reject God). Jeses said no man shall pluck them out of my hand, and I will raise him up on the last day. I believe (no man) also includes the one who falls, or turns away from Him.

4. Jude 1:24 Now unto Him that is able TO KEEP YOU FROM FALLING, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. We are not able to keep from falling... But God is able, and will keep us from falling.

Psa. 56:13, For thou has delivered my soul from death; will not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living.

Psa. 37:23 & 24, The steps of a good man or ordered by the Lord; and He delighteth in his way, though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with His right rand.

It is God that keeps us from falling, not us. What all the above says to me is that no saved person will ever completely turn against God to the point of saying (I don't want any part of Him). I don't believe in Jesus. Paul, the man or woman that does this (was never saved to start with). (They started to build the barn without counting the cost). They are those seeds that were sowed in rocky ground. They come up fast, then they die.

These people hear the gospel, it sounds good, they go far it without really giving any thought to what they are doing, then later on they find that this Christian life is costly, and they get away from it. They never were saved.

I believe that Ezek. 18:24, is speaking of that sin unto death that was spoken of in the new testament. The saved person who gets out in sin and stays there, God will take his PHYSICAL life.

[Name Withheld]

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Hello [Name withheld]...

I appreciate your "spirit" of writing. Your letter sounds almost identical to a letter of this type that I would have written to somebody like myself a few years ago. I recognize everything you say. And, if you have read recent writings from VW carefully, you will recall that I have already addressed many of the points you stress.


Q.
However, I didn't think it would be on a doctrine so important as this. I love you brother and I' will see you in heaven some day.

A.
Yes, this doctrine IS important. That's why I studied it so vehemently and with such focus "that afternoon." But, from the various correspondence we have had, albeit brief, I have no doubt either, that you and I will meet on "That Day."

Q.
If you can loose your salvation, one thing is sure, you can never be saved again. Heb.6:4-6 makes that very clear. Look at these verses very closely and you will agree.

A.
This is correct. If you recall, I've stressed this quite emphatically quite a few times.

Q.
Paul was giving a bunch of christians a hypothetical situation. He was saying (IF IT WERE POSSIBLE TO FALL AWAY) you can forget it.

A.
Sorry. This is where this "traditional explanation" for this "problem passage" falls apart. After hearing many explanations, this was the one that I had latched on to for many years. But then, over a period of time if I didn't think about it, if I had forgotten this explanation, I could never "quite" remember it, until some "person" could remind me, as there are no "clues" to this explanation in the passage. Because: the passage DOES NOT SAY this. It is not found in the Word, Itself. Nowhere does he suggest "hypothesis." Nor the thought, "if it were possible." It says, "it is impossible...." [link]

Q.
The key word in these verses is that little word (IF).

A.
What does this word "if" mean? Using the lexical study helps in Online Bible, the word (Strongs 2532) "kai" is defined, "and, also, even, indeed, but... Having copulative and sometimes cumulative force." In other words, "It is impossible for [a person to be saved] AND ALSO [fall away] "to renew them to repentance." The word "if" does not mean, "if they do...if they don't, or...if it were possible." But rather, the idea is, "If they are saved, AND THEN fall away...they cannot be saved AGAIN."

Q.
Eph. 1:13 & 14, After that ye believed ye (were sealed) with that Holy Spirt of promise, Who is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His Glory.

(Three words) to look at here. I think that we both know what it means to be sealed, but it means to be KEPT.

A.
Since this exchange is going to be long, I won't take time on this one. But, essentially, yes. This is the SECURITY part of "Eternal Security" This is God's work. He is reliable. He is sure. His intentions will not change.

However, "Security" is not the issue.

Q.
We also know what the word earnest means, but it means to purchase something, and put something down to show that you are earnest about giving the full payment. God pays His bills. He purchased us, and he gave Himself (His Spirit) to us as a down payment. The deal was made and settled when we belived.

A.
Yes. Like in the article "Eternally Secure?" the "escrow." That deposit is there, you can see it. Just as we have the Holy Spirit in us (Rom8:9) And since it is God making the promise, we know where that deposit comes from, there is "more" where that came from.(Eph1:19)

Again, "Security" is not the issue.

Q.
Probably that little word (UNTIL) is as important as any word in these verses. ((How long are we sealed))? The answer,, "until" the redemption (WHEN WE GO TO BE WITH CHRIST) of the purchased possession. It is so very important to look at the little words like (if) and (until).

A.
Again. Correct. More on "until" below.

But again, this is not the issue.

Q.
If it was left up to you and me, we would all loose our salvation. But it's not up to us...However, if we completely refuse to return He will take us on home early. That is what is called the sin unto death... Yet, it is obvious that God didn't UNSAVE HIM. He was however, ready to let satan kill him PHYSICALLY. But then over in 2 Cor. we see Paul advising the church to take (I believe) this same man back into their midst. He apparently repented, but if he had not repented no doubt, God was going to call him home early. He was not going to UNSEAL HIM.

A.
I see you understand well Christians #5 & #6 (Twelve Kinds of People).

We are not talking about #3-#6. We are talking about #11. But let's continue.

Q.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him shall not perish, but HAVE LIFE UNTIL HE TURNS HIS BACK ON GOD. No, it says (EVERLASTING LIFE). Then there are all those other places where we are told the same thing. It is always either everlasting life, or eternal life, but never does it say (life until we reject God).

A.
OK. You are waxing "clever" as I would have done, too. And supposedly, then, there is no response possible. But again...there are the two parts to salvation. God's provision, and our response. Everlasting life/eternal life is what God offers, if we receive it. "To those who receive Him He gave the right to become children of God."(Jn1:12) And in (3:16) God "gave" His Son. It is His gift. (Eph2:8) But again, as with any gifts, a person can receive the gift, and then "insult" the giver by throwing it back in his face.(Heb10:29) And again, of that "escrow" the purchaser puts down. The seller can back out before the final "closing." Yes, for sure, with penalties. But it can be done. Back to your point above..."until" the redemption. What is that redemption? That is when Christ comes to "receive us to Himself." (Jn14:3) And once thus "redeemed" it is, truly, eternal life.

But, we must remember that as long as we are in these pre-transformed bodies, we are not fully saved yet. We have the promise of salvation.(1Jn2:25) And an inheritance "reserved in heaven."(1Pt1:4) And we who are in "faith" are being "kept" by His power.(vs5) But we haven't actually got it yet. We only have the escrow, the Holy Spirit...but the deal hasn't been closed yet..as Paul yearned for the "adoption, the redemption of our body."(Rom8:23) Christ hasn't yet come to "receive us to Himself."(Jn14:3) That's why Jesus' return is called the "blessed hope and glorious appearing" (Tit2:13) And why the non pre-trib positions are so "deadly." This resurrection/rapture prior to His "Wrath"(Rom5:9) is the fulfillment of our salvation. That's why satan perverts that doctrine, so! But, we digress.... But, when He comes to take possession, in some cases He will be left outside the door "knocking" because He will have been locked out.(Rev3:20) He doesn't accept the rejection of Himself without first pleading for fellowship. This rejection is not entered into lightly!

Q.
Jeses said no man shall pluck them out of my hand, and I will raise him up on the last day. I believe (no man) also includes the one who falls, or turns away from Him.

A.
A person turning his back on, or leaving...consciously, purposely...is not the same thing as "being snatched." How does one snatch himself? Snatching is something a person does to ANOTHER person/thing.

When you say "I believe...it includes..." On something so important, where is the Scriptural support? Scripture should plainly say so, if it is the case. It shouldn't be left up to "I think..or..I suppose."

Q.
Psa. 37:23 & 24, The steps of a good man or ordered by the Lord; and He delighteth in his way, though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with His right hand.

It is God that keeps us from falling, not us. What all the above says to me is that no saved person will ever completely turn against God to the point of saying (I don't want any part of Him).

A.
No they don't say this. We will "fall"...stumble and sin. These verses talk about the same person as 1Jn2:1, "if anyone sins, we have an Advocate." What these are saying is, that if a Believer slips and sins, God's grace covers him. He will not allow the "dirt clinging to the sojourner" to defile the person's being. It will remain on the "outside." He's been "bathed" and only needs his "feet washed."(Jn13:10) Because he is not "unclean" but "holy."(1Cor7:14)

But it says nothing, one way or the other, about turning one's back and saying, "I don't want any part of Him." They don't address that issue.

Again, a different issue.

Q.
The man or woman that does this (was never saved to start with). (They started to build the barn without counting the cost). They are those seeds that were sowed in rocky ground. They come up fast, then they die.

A.
They "start to build." What's the first thing in a building? The "foundation." What is the foundation? Jesus Christ.(1Cor3:11) The "foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God."(Heb6:1) In other words, Salvation.

The seeds "come up fast." How do seeds come up fast, other than popcorn? They have to have sprouted. In other words, the life in the germ of that seed sprung into action. But then, as you rightly stated, "then they die." Something cannot "die" if it didn't originally have "life" can it. Again, Salvation.

Yes...as you state, there are those who were "never saved to start with."(1Jn2:19) But they are different from those who started to build. Different from the seed that sprouted. Again...not catagory #11.

Q.
These people hear the gospel, it sounds good, they go far it without really giving any thought to what they are doing, then later on they find that this Christian life is costly, and they get away from it. They never were saved.

A.
Yes. They "go for it." They were saved. But turn away.

Q.
I believe that Ezek. 18:24, is speaking of that sin unto death that was spoken of in the new testament. The saved person who gets out in sin and stays there, God will take his PHYSICAL life.

A.
Sorry to be so "bold" here. But what "I believe" something says, vs. what it "actually" says... We need to see what it actually says.

Let's dissect this verse:


But when a righteous man turns away...
        "to return, to turn back, go back (from God)"

from his righteousness...
        "righteous, justified, salvation, just"

and commits iniquity...
        "fashion, accomplish, make, produce, attend to, acquire"

shall  he live?
        "continue to have life..forever"

...all the rightousness...shall not be remembered...
        "be mentioned, kept in remembrance, be recorded.."

because of the unfaithfulness...
        "treason"

and the sin which he has committed
        "condition of sin, being a sinner"

he shall die
        "perish" same word as in Gen2:17
In other words, the man starts out "saved." He's been justified. Is in a "position as" righteous. He turns back, away from that "state" of being saved. Not merely just "committing sinful acts." But as he turns back, he EMBRACES sin as his "life." He lives it, gives his whole attention to it. This act of treason results in his righteousness not being remembered. He is not "recorded" [in the Book of Life.] His righteousness will not be mentioned...as Jesus said, "I will deny him before My Father."(Mt10:33) And Paul writes, "If we endure, We shall also reign with Him, if we deny Him He also will deny us."(2Tm2:12) His outcome, "He shall die...perish."

When we consider salvation, we must keep certain things distinct. God's provisions vs. our response. God provides Salvation. He accomplishes the whole thing. And once done, it is secure and eternal. Although, it is not fully complete yet. Not totally fulfilled...right now.

We can either receive or reject. If we receive, we get "signed up" into the "program." The agreement is that the Holy Spirit will come and dwell. And when we die we will be resurrected; or if we don't die, we will be raptured. And at that time we receive the rest of the package.

But as long as we are still on this earth, we still have free will going. And as God was "not well pleased" with most of Israel, who had experienced His salvation through Christ (1Cor10:4-5) because they were in unbelief (Heb3:19), we are exhorted to "fear lest [we] seem to have come short of [His rest]."(Heb4:1) Anyone who reads the writings of Paul comes away with this sober realization that he was always striving before God. The matter of salvation was a serious matter to him. He did not figure, "Well, I'm saved. It's all settled now...la dee dah!" No! "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but...I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."(Phil3:13-14)

But, again, I am glad that the Lord knows those who are His.(2Tm2:19) And each person is answerable to God for himself. If I were to have to guess, it would seem like most people fit catagories 1-10 & 12. But, the fact that catagory #11 exists is quite clear from Scripture.

But, as so many don't seem to be able to understand, this is not an issue of "Eternal Security." It is an issue of a saved person purposefully, deliberately, after knowing all the facts, and what's at stake...turning their back on Christ and throwing Jesus' blood back at Him.(It sends a chill up my spine to even type words like this!!) But this kind of "transaction" goes on at the deepest levels of the heart. When a person so turns from God, their latter state is worse than the first.(2Pt2:20) Their wickedness becomes "seven times worse"(Mt12:45) Just as I found with the lady I had known, who was a Christian, and now is of the Devil, with the foulest tongue I have ever heard in my life.(Mt15:18,12:34) This kind of heart is "desperately wicked"(Jer17:9)

Of these things, not everyone will be convinced. Unless a person himself becomes a #11, the understanding or non-understanding of this issue will not save or condemn a person. For all those years I was a Believer, I would have fought this notion, also, with essentially the same identical arguments this reader wrote. But the Lord presented me with irreconcilable differences that could not be explained with the prevailing doctrines as taught by the "great men." These doctrines, in turn, caused some Scripture passages to be inexplicable (all those years), except by further man-made reasoning...which, for me, I could never remember the "proper explanations" because they didn't appear DIRECTLY in the Scriptures.

When the Lord gave me the "nudge" I spent an intense amount of time seeking the Scriptures. When my eyes were opened, and realized that #11 DOES exist, then, as if "miraculously," all the inexplicable passages were "now" crystal clear, by THEIR OWN WORDS.

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2Tim3:16-17)

Amen!

Q/A -Cannot be Unborn


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