Thoughts on Once Saved Always Saved


I honestly don’t know that much about OSAS. I know that it stands for Once Saved Always Saved, implying that the Christian can essentially do almost whatever they want and still not lose their salvation.

I don’t know when the anacronym started, probably sometime around or after the later part of the protestant reformation maybe. Either way, it seems as though some variation of this idea has been around for a while, particularly amongst the heretical gnostic Christians during the days of the apostles.

For example, Jude 1:4 says…

For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

I think that many who hold to some form of OSAS do not necessarilly believe that they are denying the Lord Jesus Christ by believing that once they are saved they are always saved. And some adhere to it more than others do for sure. But, in effect, they do appear to be transforming the grace of our God into a license for immorality by saying that we can sin all we like to without losing our salvation in Christ.

In this sense, in my opinion, they are actually denying our only Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus, by saying that nothing matters except their faith which has saved them. As far as I can tell, they’re placing their own faith in God as being more important than the things God is actually calling them to do by the Holy Spirit.

It isn’t Scriptural as far as I can tell. It’s not a Catholic idea either-- and I think the idea has been condemned on numerous occasions by our Catholic Church.

Check out here for more information.


I’ve noticed that many OSAS believers don’t quite know how to deal with the matter of children. Often they will tell you that a young baby who dies will go to heaven because they have not committed any sin, but that means that each and every person on earth is born saved. So do they all lose their salvation when they reach the age of reason (the age of sin)? And they have to regain it at that point?


That’s a very good point VociMike.

Like I said, I don’t really know that much about this doctrine aside from some conceptions I’ve gotten previous discussions, a little bit of reading on my own, and the article I linked the OP to.

I would, however, like to learn more about it. As it stands, I don’t think this teaching is ‘blasphemous’. More often than not, those who hold to this doctrine often do end up showing many valid fruits of the Spirit.

I do, however, think it’s very dangerous to assume that once one is saved they are always saved. The Scriptures seem to repeatedly warn that one can lose their salvation.


I did not believe it when I was a Protestant (Methodist) and I certainly don’t believe it now. I never knew a Methodist who believed it, as far as I know it only the Evangelicals who believe OSAS.


To my knowledge, OSAS is used almost exclusively by Baptists (especially the Southern Baptists) as their way of “packaging” John Calvin’s doctrine of “double predestination.”


I personally used to hold to this teaching, but then I realized that it is neither biblical nor traditional. The Church has never taught such a doctrine as it is not of Christ. One problem is that one must realize that by consciously choosing to sin, the Holy Spirit may not dwell in them. Now I know that I will get many objections to this teaching, however, it is not only biblical; it is logical.

When I held to OSAS, my defense of it was (1) that once in Christ and in the Book of Life, you had a place among the elect in Heaven and (2) that once you received the Spirit, you were cleansed of sin by Christ’s death - past, present, and future. No deed you could do would get you to Heaven or Hell.

Theoretically, you could sin all you wanted and God would continue to grant forgiveness. The outcome was that even now, I struggle to ask forgiveness for my sins:eek: ! I got into the mindset that asking forgiveness was a mere formality.

The Calvinist doctrinal formulation declared at the Synod of Dordt on “Perseverance of the Saints” teaches that those of the elect of God will ultimately receive salvation; based on two main mistakes regarding predestination and the faith/works issue. For more information on Calvinism:

It is very difficult to “disprove” many of the Calvinist teachings, but we have the Holy Spirit’s guidance…:thumbsup:

Prayers and petitions,


The problem I have with OSAS is that there has to be more to it than that. I don’t believe one can profess being saved, attend church every Sunday, and not really do much of anything for the next 50 years and then expect to go to Heaven without having anything else to show for it.

As for works, think about it: Most Protestants are into “works” just as much as Catholics. They know they’re not going to heaven if they just sit around and don’t do anything but live selfish lives. And they’ll be the first to spout off the passage about how we should not “be hearers only, but doers of the Word” (paraphrasing… don’t have it in front of me) or the passage in James that says “Faith without works is dead.” Protestants believe these things every bit as much as Catholics. And see how they live! See how they’re always so gung-ho about the Missions and stewardship programs and so on. Oh, they believe in works, alright.


Yep, that’s what I’ve always heard too. I grew up United Methodist (my dad is a minister) and he and one of his best friends (who is Southern Baptist) would always get into arguments about it! It was exhausting just to listen.

I also work with all Southern Baptists (with one Assembly of God and two Pentecostals thrown in, and only one other Catholic) so I hear it ALL the time and there are constant religious discussions at the office. OSAS is usually a biggie that is discussed…however NO ONE can seem to point it out to me where it is in scripture…so they ususally end up just getting mad at me and walking away instead of hearing the truth.:smiley:


OSAS has a connection with faith alone…I kinda see why some Protestants held this belief.


I don’t see how an OSAS approach is radically different from the theology that says once you accept Jesus or truly repent or whatever the approrpriate phrase is (my apologies), all your past sins are forgiven.

Both views can be seen as giving one a license to sin. IN the later example, repentance has to come after the fact. But it still gets the job done. Why should it be seen as a morally or theologically inferior position to believe that experiencing a true moment of faith saves one from past, present and future sins?


I agree this is a problem. We discuss this annually with other Catholic teaching issues (RCIA - conversion classes) Here is my understanding. This argument is based on a false understanding of absolution and occurs in many forums, to include what if I forgot to tell the priest something?, what if I was so stressed I forgot what the Priest told me to do? Additionally the sins of presumption and arrogance can be present at all times. The correct view is god told us to repent or sins, and that is what you are doing, the priest is there to assist you and acts persona. The absolution is consummation of the process god told you to perform. The words of the priest do not bind god. You were told to repent your sins you did that move on. When you sin again you must repent again. Remember all penance (basically a sin offering) has to be sincere and the sin not repeated (perfect contrition) . Attrition is failure to achieve contrition which mean that your attempt to fulfill god’s requirement of repenting was not sufficient however you may try, try, try again.
Hope that helps


I’ve never ever heard of ‘once saved always saved’… ever lol

if a person found faith…and then lost their faith in later life… would they still be saved?


The OSAS people would say that this person had never been saved to begin with. Which means, in practice, that no person can ever truly know if they are saved. So OSAS actually buys a person nothing, because even if it is true that once saved, always saved, there is still the unknowable question, but am I actually saved, or am I only deceiving myself?

I like to bring up the case of this man, who obviously once believed he was saved, and acted like a saved Christian. He is thoughtful proof against OSAS.


I know a protestant who believes in OSAS. He thinks that he doesn’t even have to ask for forgiveness for his sins nor does he have to forgive anyone if they hurt him. How ludicrous is that? :whacky:


Very good point. I never thought about that. But then again I don’t have to think about it because I baptized my child as an infant. But it’s something good to think about and I could bring that up to some of my protestant friends.


Not the person that I know. :nope: It’s really sad. :frowning: He thinks that he doesn’t have to forgive the person who hurt it really bad. And that was many years ago and he still holds a grudge to this day.

[quote=Mr. Ex Nihilo]I do, however, think it’s very dangerous to assume that once one is saved they are always saved. The Scriptures seem to repeatedly warn that one can lose their salvation.

It is very dangerous. And I’ve shown many a scripture verse to show this in other threads.


Are Baptists Evangelicals. :confused: Because I know a Baptist who highly believes in OSAS. :frowning:


Yes this is true as I know of a Baptist who is so on OSAS. When I told him that the Truth is very important he told me that getting to heaven is more important. What does he think will get him into Heaven? The Truth will! Jesus Christ! The Way, the Truth and the Life!
And what is better than the Fullness of Truth in the Catholic Church which has the FULL means of Salvation? Nothing and no one! The Church is the Body of Christ and Christ can get us to Heaven if we are open to Him and to His Graces and if we obey His commandments and show Faith, Hope and Love! :heart:


as far as I understand, not unless they found it again.


Nope, since faith is the basis of salvation. :thumbsup:

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