"Well, there were never true christians to begin with"


Genuine question about OSAS…

Correct me if my understanding is faulty anywhere as I do not want to represent that belief inaccurately


  1. If someone is truly saved, they will do what god requests of them the rest of their life
  2. Their Faith will produce good works.
  3. You can test your faith against scripture to see if you are saved.
  4. If at some point, you fall away, you were never a true Christian to begin with.


  1. Some one follows Christ to the fullest, and is Saved for all time.
  2. They can test themselves and know that they are saved.
  3. In the future, they fall away.
  4. OSAS says that they were never really saved.

If someone can test themselves to see if they are saved, and honestly pass the test then

  1. how is it that when they fall away later, they are considered never being saved?
  2. If someone does fall away, then how come they tested ‘positive’ before. Shouldn’t they had failed the test the first time?
  3. If someone can test ‘positive’, and then test ‘negative’ and they ‘never were saved to begin with’, doesn’t that mean then that you CANT test yourself against scripture?
  4. How can OSAS be OK if you can’t test it against scripture. if you could, then how come this person got an ‘positive’ and then a ‘negative’ if they EVER test ‘positive’, they should never test ‘negative’
  5. If we can’t test ourselves then against scripture, does that not therefore mean that OSAS is false primarily because you CANT test yourself. The bible is very clear in many different areas that you can test yourself and ‘know’ if you are in good standing.

Please help me understand this contradiction in theology/bible and/or where I have mistaken something

Also, please do not respond with “well, they didn’t truly test themselves against scripture properly”. hence the reason i underlined honestly when the individual was testing themselves.

In Christ

  1. If at some point, you fall away, you were never a true Christian to begin with.

Pure speculation upon the part of the believer. I have never been around people who say this, although I would imagine it is done. Test to see if they are saved? The terminology is just foreign to me.


Good Day Rightly

Enjoyed the reading you provided by the way…

Maybe I used improper wording, but scripture talks frequently about ‘testing our selves’ against the Word. That this is how we can Know if we are on the Path he has created for all of us. I can know if I am saved by testing myself against the Word. We know what he asks for, if we don’t line up, then we fail… if we fail… obviously, we aren’t saved. Paul is big on talking about ‘testing ourselves’

Anyway… hope that helps :slight_smile:

In Christ


May I add to the confusion?
If a person was never saved to begin with, then they were denied the grace of God to begin with, right? So, it is my understanding that someone who never was saved to begin with never had a snowball’s chance because none of us are saved outside of the grace of God.
Am I understanding correctly?


Must be a different translation, thus my confusion. Perhaps the word “prove” is translated “test” in non-KJV Bibles.


Think of salvation as those running a race,

freewill claim that people can choose to quit the race, out of shape, astma for example.

calvinist believe that all christians will complete the race because they are doing it on God’s power, not on their own.

Hebrews 12:2
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

As for those who leave, the calvinist escape clause in scripture is,

1 John 2:18-20 (New International Version)

Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.** They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.** But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.

Frankly, they would point out that there are people who believe that they are christians, but they are only decieving themsleves,

Matthew 7:22-24 (King James Version)

22Many 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?

23And then will I profess unto them, **I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. **

24Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

So, you ask, how do they know if they are saved?

1 John 5:11-12
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

As for true christians walking away, they will not be out of church for long because,

Hebrews 12:6
because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."

Hebrews 12:10
Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but **God disciplines us for our good, **that we may share in his holiness.


So, the person who is truly a believer, if he rebells, like Isreal God will discipline, spank him to bring him back into the church.

Acts 9:5
And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

There is a saying that it is hard to kick aganist the pricks, that is exactly what a rebellious christian is doing when he rebells.

Basically, there was two pointed sticks used to guide young mules or horses that were draging a plow or pulling an wagon. When the animal started fighting against the harnest or tried to travel in the wrong direction the driver would goad them into the right behavior or right direction. For the very young animal the pointed sticks where fixed in place as a guide.



So… Is it ok that OSAS has this contradiction or is this really a small issue that isn’t important?


I’m not Calvinist or OSAS but I understand OSAS. So I’ll argue their side for a min.

the word honestly is the key one here. You can say, don’t respond with the answer, but how does that explain anything? :shrug:

It’s like asking if someone passes a test because they cheated, isn’t the test at fault? (and don’t blame the cheater!)


Hmm…but since “honestly” was a indeed key word, heisenburg is seemingly saying that the person passing the test wasn’t a cheater…hence for anyone to say anything along the lines of “So you’re saying ‘Don’t blame the cheater’” is unapplicable, because there was no “cheater” in the scenario heisenburg has depicted, only an honest person who happens to pass the test without any cheating, but later fails. To say there must be “cheating” involved is to presume to read the mind of someone else who was supposedly “cheating”.

I think heisenburg’s reasoning (with which I agree) is this: In academic tests, we might say that the person “forgot” the answers between the two times taking the test; but if that were true of the spiritual test, then OSAS is disproven by the very fact that the person could “forget” (fall away). Likewise, in academic tests, we might say the person was just a good guesser the first time…but if in a Spiritual Test the person - who honestly wants to determine the answer, without “cheating” - just happened to accidentally “get the right answers” unworthily then the Test is indeed unreliable to prove whether he/she is “saved” or just accidentally “passed the test”.


The thing is a Calvinist would tell you that anyone who passed the test once and failed it later was NOT taking the test properly. The premise here is against the theology. I don’t think any Calvinist would accept that the scenario listed above is even possible.


Yes, indeed that’s true. That means a Calvinist theology compels those who believe it to sort of play a mind reading game, though. To quote myself -

To say there must be “cheating” involved is to presume to read the mind of someone else who was supposedly “cheating”.

This mind reading fits comfortably into Calvinist/OSAS theology, so far as I know. In fact, the theology seems to require it (not so much in the psychic sense, but in the “It’s simply not possible for you to have been sincere no matter what you say” sense). And you’re quite right about what Calvinists/OSAS would probably say. But it seems that the very theology requires one to be judgmental of others in the worst possible way - by determining that the other person was originally dishonest no matter what they say for themselves. Thus what OSAS hopes to gain in comforting security, it seemingly loses in judgmental mind reading.


a good responce to the person who says, "if a man turns away from the faith, or falls into serious sin, he was never saved to begin with"

“well, do you have absolute, infallible assurance that you will never fall into serious sin? Are you perfectly sinnless right now? If not, how do you know that you will not fall into serious sin ever?”


My two cents can be found here:
Are You Saved?


I don’t think Calvinism is so much to provide comfort for it’s adherents (though some people do point the comforting aspect out) but instead an adamant insistence that God is in charge of everything and people capable of nothing. You have to consider all the tenants of TULIP together for it to make sense. TULIP is logical, though I disagree with it. In Calvinism, to deny OSAS (Eternal Security) is to deny God’s power over His creation and even to call Him a liar. If you really want to convince them OSAS is wrong, you have to begin with Total Depravity and Unconditional Election.


Oh true enough. Though I see flaws with the overall theology of it, I can see the logic to it. I suppose that the two theologies of free will and OSAS are irreconcilable unless the two sides agree to use the same terms (Good Example: What does it mean for God to have total power? Can part of that power be to grant true free will or must He control every human being’s ultimate decision? Etc). I guess that’s what makes such debates so hard to resolve, as no doubt you too have noticed in your musings on the issue.


Sadly, I can’t see how the two can be reconcilable period. They are just so opposite on every point. You have to either convince then the whole thing is wrong or accept they they will never change their mind.


In addition to Mr. Marsh’s comments above…

There are a couple of others that are of interest…

1 Corinthians 15:1-2 NAS95 1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

2 John 1:9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.

Even in the passages that show a loss of salvation, there are phrases that catch our attention…

Hebrews 4:1-5 NAS95 1 Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, “AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST,” although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: “AND GOD RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY FROM ALL HIS WORKS”; 5 and again in this passage, “THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.”

Hebrews 6:4-6 NAS95 4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame…
…Hebrews 6:9 NAS95 9 But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way.

Hebrews 10:38-39 NAS95 38 BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM. 39 But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.

Plus - scriptures on perseverance which include…

Hebrews 3:14 NAS95 14 For we ***have become ***partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,

Here - perseverance is shown as an evidence and not a condition (although we must persevere).

I think the hardest thing to understand is the Soverignty of God and man’s responsibility…There is a passage here in scripture to help us on this…

Look in Acts 27

A group of people including Paul are on a ship and in trouble…Here is what Paul says has been God’s decree…

Acts 27:21-25 KJV 21 But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss. 22 **And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship. **23 For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, 24 Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. 25 Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.

So - God says - you all will be saved - BUT - there is a condition…

Acts 27:30-31 KJV 30 And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship, 31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.

So, if the shipmen got out of the boat - God’s sovereign decree would have failed, correct? But, it required that the shipmen stay in the boat which God must have foreordained as well. This goes along with the true believers of Christ…God says we will be saved…BUT…we receive the same warnings as the shipmen did - DON’T GET OUT OF THE BOAT!! If we get out of the boat, we were not one of the elect. If we stay, we were one of the elect. God ordains the end of our salvation as well as the means. God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility working together - and God ordains both…predestines both.


Thank you for your post, however, there still an inerrant problem with the idea of elected/not elected, and those that 'where never truly elected/saved to begin with"

Yes god talks about those that believe. but he also talks maintaining it to the end. Not because it is evidence of once salvation, but because they MUST to continue to maintain that state.

However, to the original question. I know others have commented that the situation I put forth is NOT possible according to OSAS/Calvinism. While that may be correct according to your understanding of scripture, it is not correct in actual practice. I have personally seen the ‘fall’ of very Christian people. Their hearts were as pure and simple as they are suppose to be, and their actions showed it. They could, and did test themselves in an honest fashion against the word of god, and were able to know that they were on the track to eternal life. Later, they fell away a were completely NOT in a Christian life. So, i have seen this happen many times. not as a hypothetical.

Now, I know the immediate response is “Well, they may have unknowingly deceived themselves when they tested it the first time” This exemplifies the problem i have. They were doing everything they thought God said, believed how they were suppose to, etc. When taking the test, they Passed.

If they deceived themselves unknowingly due to a fatal flaw in their belief, then it still gets back to a They COULDN’T test their salvation. They would have had flawed results regardless. How are you suppose to know if the result you get when you test yourself is a flawed result, or a true result. You can’t, especially if you are unknowingly deceiving yourself.

IOW… You still can’t test yourself. If you cant test yourself, then that means the theology has some serious problems because the bible is very clear that we CAN test our selves…

In Christ


You can’t maintain that state till the end if you are Calvinist, You can’t do anything without God doing it. God maintains it to the end for the elect and not for the non-elect.

Also ANY test that scripture offers will have the possibility of fallible humans administering it incorrectly.



May you be blessed…

While I completely agree that nothing can happen without god allowing it, however, and with respect, taking it to the level you are referring to removes all chance for free will at any point in anyones life. This is counter to scripture. You also indicated the following…

God maintains it to the end for the elect and not for the non-elect.

This is a highly disturbing statement as it implies that God wills people to hell. Something that is also anti-biblical.

with respect to you indicating that any test will be flawed. That is exactly the point I am making. If you cannot test if you are ‘elect’ per OSAS, then the theology cant be right because the bible says we CAN test our state.

In any case, I appreciate you taking the time to respond and thank you for your input…

In Christ

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