Once saved, always saved ... How does it work?


#1

In another thread someone quoted Hebrews 9:27 “it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment.”

A judgement after death means you a decision is being made about the state of your soul. Hebrews does not say that the judgement or decision about your eternal life is made during your life … it is specific to after death. By its nature a judgement has to be an unknown. You cannot know the outcome beforehand … in this case it is only known to God.

My question is how does someone reconcile the once saved always saved belief with this passage. What would be the purpose of a judgement after death when you are already convinced today your soul is saved for all eternity? In my mind then in once saved always saved any person should already know the outcome of the judgement.

So how does once saved always saved really work?


#2

I will give you my opinion on this, based on what I have read, but I am certainly no expert –

First, it is up to God whether we are saved. People that say “OK, I believe in Jesus Christ, therefore I am saved” are wrong.

Evidence of our salvation is in the growth of our faith - evidence of faith is good works. Living the life of Christ would be evidence of strong faith, hence someone who is saved,

“Once saved always saved” may be true, but I think people are very presumptious in thinking they are saved. Saying you believe in Jesus, then going on and living the same bad life doesn’t work.

Evidence of faith will be a genuine sadness when you sin, a need to get back into God’s graces, a strong interest to do good, prayer, read the Word, etc. All of this is evidence of the Holy Spirit working inside you.

I think the inconsistency of this logic is only God knows whether we are saved or not.


#3

This is how I understood OSAS:

You are judged sometime in the future but the penalty for your sin has already been paid by the redemptive work that Jesus did on the cross. It’s as if you stand before the judgement throne and say, "Don’t look upon my sins God, instead look upon your Son Christ and apply that payment (His death) to my debt. Your faith in Jesus is what gives you the right to make this “claim.” Jesus’ death on the cross covers ALL sin so regardless of the life you’ve lived, if you trusted in Him, your debt is paid.


#4

[quote=awalt]I will give you my opinion on this, based on what I have read, but I am certainly no expert –
[/QUOTEt]
Hi - Im no expert either but I love to give my opinion anyway!

Lots of loose ends. What does the “am” in “I am saved” mean exactly? For OSAS it is “I have achieved eternal salvation”. For Catholics it means “I have entered into the salvific process”

Again, that term. I think it’s more accurate to say, “Living the life of Christ would be evidence of strong faith, hence someone who has entered into the salvific process”

It may be true for a few of the elect, but not for the vast majority. Being presumtious is part of our sin nature.

It’s very simple really. We enter into salvation and we either persist in it until we die, or we exit out of it. St.Paul speaks to this several times, “…but he who perseveres until the end will be saved.” He also says in 1st Corinthians 9:27"…I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize." And what is the prize that he doesn’t wish to be disqualified from? Well he tells us in verse 25 "Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever". What do you suppose the crown that will last forever means? The best the OSAS crowd can
come up with is that it refers to “a” heavenly reward which you store up for yourself through good works. But notice the metaphor and the consequence: disqualification. Heavenly rewards under the OSAS theology are RELATIVE in nature - you can get more or less depending on your works. Disqualification is something different: it means you get nothing, it’s all or none, which is an ABSOLUTE. The crown is salvation. Be confident but persistent in your quest without taking for granted your own status- just like Paul.

Phil
[/quote]


#5

**Once saved, always saved … How does it work?

A daily prayer to Satan for the answer will work best. After all, he came up with the idea.**


#6

Brilliant reply Phil! I am amazed that it took me so long to acatuallly read and understand the scripture and let loose the clever theological structures that filtered out awkward scripture themes.
I come from a line of Baptist preachers (catholic bashers all) and right now I can’t understand what I saw in it.
google under “perseverance of the Saints” or “Preservation of the Saints” for more details on this reformed doctrine.
wayne


#7

Very interesting question! If OSAS is true, then the judgement should happen at the moment of accepting Christ, shouldn’t it? In fact, even then what judgement would there be? Seems like it would be more of a “certification” than a “judgement”. That is, if the judgement spoken of involves the question of heaven or hell.


#8

[quote=VociMike]Very interesting question! If OSAS is true, then the judgement should happen at the moment of accepting Christ, shouldn’t it?
[/quote]

Yes, that’s what I dont understand about the OSAS? I still have not heard from any OSAS subscribers who have been able to answer the question. Do people who believe OSAS believe there is no judgement or you already know the answer or is one not judged at all?

Still it seems that OSAS know their eternal destiny while on earth and that is not biblical at all.


#9

Hello Everyone!

I hope no one will mind, but I am seeing several misrepresentations going on here that I want to correct.

First of all, with regards to the judgement and living a sinful life, it is not that we are saved and all sin is covered and then we just go out and become immoral people. As Ephesians 2:10 says, we are his workmanship created in him for good works. The works that we do are a result of our justification. That is, they are evidence of our right standing in Christ because he unfailingly produces them in our life. It is important to keep in mind that from the reformed perspective, it is by his will alone that we are saved. As Romans says:

Romans 9:11-16 for though *the twins *were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to *His *choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, 12 it was said to her, “THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER.” 13 Just as it is written, “JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.” 14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15 For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” 16 So then it *does *not *depend *on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

Notice that it is God who decides who he will have mercy on. He does not decide his mercy on the basis of works, but before they were born or had done anything good or evil. Notice that it also says that it does not depend upon human willing or running, but upon God who has mercy. The text goes on to say in v.21-23 that God makes vessels of wrath and vessles of mercy. Hence, if one is a vessel of mercy, God makes and fits it for that purpose independent of human will or effort. That is the basis of Eternal Security.

I would agree with all of the critiques of Free-Will eternal security. That is why I believe the foundation is in a denial of the autonomious will, and that is where the discussion needs to focus. The perseverence of the saints is based upon the will of the father for the son. As Jesus says:

**

** John 6:37-39 **

"All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. 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.

Notice what else Jesus says that is important. in this same passage:

**

** John 6:44 **

**"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

Hence, it is not possible to come to Christ outside of the drawing of the father [which shows that it is not possible to get to heaven unless you are elect], and that once you have been drawn by the father, you will be raised up at the last day.

I just felt I needed to correct some misapprehensions about the reformed faith. It is a complete misrepresentation to say that we do not believe that we will be judged at the last day, or we say that we can go out and live an antinomian lifestyle. It is all based upon the total and complete soverignty of God to do as he pleases with us as his creations.

God Bless,
Martin Luther**


#10

ML,

If the elect are chosen from before time to be saved, then what is the purpose of the judgement after death? I think that’s the essence of the OP’s question. What is being judged, and why is it being judged after death, when all was preordained?


#11

Hello VociMike!

If the elect are chosen from before time to be saved, then what is the purpose of the judgement after death? I think that’s the essence of the OP’s question. What is being judged, and why is it being judged after death, when all was preordained?

I think Romans 9 gives the answer to that question:

**

Romans 9:17-18

For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.” 18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.**

It is to demonstrate God’s power and righteousness in the just condemnation of the wicked. For the believer, it is to show his mercy and free love to his particular people. Romans 9 also says:

**

** Romans 9:22-23 **

*What *if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

So, in answer to your question, in judgement God makes his wrath and power known on the vessels of wrath, and does this to show the riches of his mercy upon the vessels of mercy so that, as John Piper says, they love him most completely, and worship him most intensely.

God Bless,
Martin Luther**


#12

[quote=Martin Luther]Hello Everyone!
Notice that it is God who decides who he will have mercy on. He does not decide his mercy on the basis of works, but before they were born or had done anything good or evil. Notice that it also says that it does not depend upon human willing or running, but upon God who has mercy. The text goes on to say in v.21-23 that God makes vessels of wrath and vessles of mercy. Hence, if one is a vessel of mercy, God makes and fits it for that purpose independent of human will or effort. That is the basis of Eternal Security.

I would agree with all of the critiques of Free-Will eternal security. That is why I believe the foundation is in a denial of the autonomious will, and that is where the discussion needs to focus. The perseverence of the saints is based upon the will of the father for the son. As Jesus says:
God Bless,
Martin Luther

[/quote]

There are some on this Forum who are Lutherans, yet they deny the absence of Free-Will toward Salvation. So, all is not complete unity on this point.
I agree that Luther taught concerning free will just as you have stated. Further, this absence of Free-Will is also a tenet of Calvin…called Predestination.
Many Lutherans will deny it as well as modern Presbyterians.
This was vigorously condemned by the Council of Trent.

The assurance of pre-election is a sticky wicket for one to know other than a personal belief.
I’m glad a Lutheran finally admitted what Luther actually taught.

The Catholic Church teaches that God does know who will/will not be saved. BUT, that the person was always acting in his free-will toward or against the Actual Grace given by God to all toward justification /salvation.
The predestination believer will disclaim this as man determining his own destiny and not a Mercy of God.
The Catholic teaches that man CO-OPERATES by free-will, in his Justification toward an UNDESERVED actual Grace.
In other words man never looses free-will toward the Grace given to all, and Grace precedes justification. Nor does man ever lose free-will in any other endeavor. Free-will is an attribute of his Nature of being human and it was never forfeited or taken away by God in ANY respect.
The Predestinationist believes man has free-will in all matters EXCEPT toward his own Justification / salvation.
I’ll go with the Catholic position on this one. But, thanks for you lucid post.
.If I have misrepresented anything that you were intending, I stand corrected.


#13

Once saved, always saved … How does it work?

It doesn’t :wink:


#14

Hello TNT!

As far as Lutherans go, I actually go to a Lutheran school, and I think B.B. Warfield does a good critique of the Lutheran position of the will in “The Plan of Salvation” and demonstrates that they are not really denying free will. The issue has to do with the means of grace and how the person can have the means of grace present, and yet that person still not be saved. For instance, a person can have the word preached to them, but they can reject the message of it, and hence the will of man overruns the grace of God.

I know many Calvinists will not accept the idea that man has free-will in matters other than salvation. I know I don’t, and John MacAurthur doesn’t, and John Piper doesn’t, and R.C. Sproul doesn’t, and just about all of the people at my church don’t. In fact, that is not the traditional Calvinistic position.

I know that Catholics believe that you must act toward the will of God. However, if you believe that free-will is a natural attribute which makes us human it would be interesting to see what you would say in response to Romans 9:14 where the same objection is raised. That is, that the removal of free-will dehumanizes us and makes him unjust. Note how Paul responds:

**

** Romans 9:14-23 **

What shall we say then? *Is there *unrighteousness with God? God forbid. 15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. 17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. 18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. 19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? 20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

**God Bless,
Martin Luther


#15

I am a Mother of four children whom I love equally. What sort of love would that be if I chose two of them to live with me in heaven forever and cast two of them to burn in hell forever? When the two going to hell ask why I’m sending them there, I’d say, “You were no better or worse than your sibblings and you all deserve hell, but I have the power to give mercy to whomever I please and YOU I’m not going to choose. In fact, you didn’t love me because I didn’t MAKE you love me so now I’m going to punish you forever.” How cruel would that be? And yet that’s what you, Martin Luther would have us believe about God who is a million times more loving than me?


#16

Very interesting responses … thanks. From all this I see even more the gap between finite and infinite. We, as finite creatures, are bound by the structure of time. God sees all past, present and future all at once, He knows our destiny yet we can still have Free Will. Amazing.

Romans 9 says to me that God has infinite mercy and gives enough grace for all to be saved but some choose not to be molded by God’s grace. They harden their hearts enough where they become they can no longer accept the grace that God gives. This rejection of God is not a one time event … it is rejected time and time again for I believe God never gives up on his people but there comes a time when God knows the heart is forever hardened.

Still the question is what is the purpose of judgement for either OSAS or pre-destination? Pardon my ramblings but I see the judgement as when we see our lives as God sees them. We are no longer bound by time, we see all in our lives at the same time and therefore we know that God’s judgement is just. When finally confronted face to face with the Truth we can no longer weasel or talk our way out of what we deserve.


#17

Hello CarolMarie!

I really appriciate your comments. However, we need to remember a few things. First of all, we are all born into sin and rebellion. As Paul says "The wages of sin is death [Romans 6:23]. God is our judge, and, hence, since we were born into original sin, as our judge, he has every right to kill us the moment we are born because of the evil state of our heart. The fact that he gives evil, unrepentant hearts their next breath is an act of love. The fact that he gives some vessels of wrath sometimes seventy years of life is an act of love because of what they deserve.

However, not only does he do this, but some of the evil and rebellious sinners he takes for his own possession punishing their sins in Christ. You see, the wonder of Romans 9:13 “Jacob I loved, Esau I hated” is not “Esau I hated.” It is “Jacob I loved.” How could anyone love that kniving, dishonest Jacob!!!??? Notice that the objections you raised, CarolMarie, are right there in Romans 9. I hope that you will look at that text and see yourself as the clay in the hand of the potter doing whatever he wants with you. It is difficult to come to grips with, I know, but it gives life so much meaning, and so much purpose to know that it is he who brought me to believe in him, and it is he who will bring the work of my life to completion for his glory. That is all I or any other Christian should desire.

Romans 9:14-23 What shall we say then? *Is there *unrighteousness with God? God forbid. 15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. 17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. 18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. 19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? 20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

God Bless,
Martin Luther


#18

[quote=carol marie]I am a Mother of four children whom I love equally. What sort of love would that be if I chose two of them to live with me in heaven forever and cast two of them to burn in hell forever? When the two going to hell ask why I’m sending them there, I’d say, “You were no better or worse than your sibblings and you all deserve hell, but I have the power to give mercy to whomever I please and YOU I’m not going to choose. In fact, you didn’t love me because I didn’t MAKE you love me so now I’m going to punish you forever.” How cruel would that be? And yet that’s what you, Martin Luther would have us believe about God who is a million times more loving than me?
[/quote]

Ah…therein lies the rub of the “P” in TULIP. If some are predestined to heaven, then some must be predestined to hell. Consider TULIP, this is the acronym that explains the source of the doctrine of OSAS.

T - total depravity, there is nothing, absolutely nothing about us that a God could love. We are all in the same awful condition.

U - unconditional election, when God chooses it’s all about His action of choosing, He just picks whoever He decides to pick. There are no conditions to be met on the part of the pickee.

L - limited atonement, Jesus died for the pickees, no point in dying for the non-pickees, that would make the atonement on the cross less than efficacious.

I - irresistable grace, an offer you simply cannot refuse, being a pickee and all.

P - there it is, Eternal Security, Once Saved Always Saved. It’s the inevitable Perseverance of the Saints. You simply must be eternally secure, everything Jesus did He did for the elect, the pickees.

I remember hearing John McArthur once say that “humanity is pouring like a raging river over a waterfall into the abyss, every so often God leans over and plucks a soul out of the water to salvation. I don’t know why He picked me, but he did.” Lovely.

It’s been my experience in Protestant circles that folks only know from “P”. They have no idea what you’re talking about when you ask them if they believe in all the aspects of predestination. They’ve cherry picked a doctrine that gives them great comfort. OSAS is quite often used to verify conversions that prove to be less than genuine when put to the road test of life.

I’m with you Carol Marie. I can’t envision a God who won’t genuinely make the offer of salvation to all. If some are predestined for hell, then when Scripture says something like God desires all to be saved it’s not quite true, is it.


#19

Hello ncgolf!

I don’t understand how you are getting this from Romans 9:

Romans 9 says to me that God has infinite mercy and gives enough grace for all to be saved but some choose not to be molded by God’s grace. They harden their hearts enough where they become they can no longer accept the grace that God gives. This rejection of God is not a one time event … it is rejected time and time again for I believe God never gives up on his people but there comes a time when God knows the heart is forever hardened.

Look at what it says about Jacob and Esau:

**


** Romans 9:10-13 **

****And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; 11 for though *the twins ***were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, 12 it was said to her, “THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER.” 13 Just as it is written, “JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.”

Notice that this choice was made before they were born or had done anything good or bad, and this choice is based upon his purpose in election not on their works. However, if you read on this is what I really don’t understand. First, the objection that many people have raised here is going to be brought up, but notice how Paul responds to it:

**

Romans 9:14-18

** What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15 For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH." 18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

Notice what the text says. First of all, there is no injustice with God because it is his very nature to be free with his mercy and to show his wrath against sin, which is the very answer I gave. Second, it cannot be that one chooses to be molded or not because it completely contradicts verses 16-18. Verse 16 very clearly says that it is not dependent on human willing or running but upon God who has mercy. Hence, there is no way to read into this text that the ones who are saved choose to be molded by God’s grace and the ones who are not saved choose not to be molded to God’s grace. The hardening of Pharoah is also firmly against this. Notice that the scripture tells him that he was raised up for the very purpose of being hardened and thus proclaiming the name of the Lord throughout all the earth. That is why Paul concludes with the Lord’s total and complete freedom to have mercy on whom he wants and harden whom he wants. This is all insupport of 9:16 which completely rules out human will or effort in the matter of salvation.

God Bless,
Martin Luther**


#20

Sorry my friend, but this doesn’t even begin to answer the question. You haven’t given us one reason WHY god needs to demonstrate his power and righteous, nor his mercy and free love to a population of people he already has saved or condemned. This revelation will not affect them in any way, according to your theology. All you have done with this answer is run in a circle - you have not reached any endpoint. In addition, the verse you quoted is by no means a GENERAL application, it is a PARTICULAR application and does not, of necessity, apply to ALL of God’s people.


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