Once Saved Always Saved is Eternal Life
BY Ray Stanford, and Edited by Abraham Adeyemi
Eternal security also known as once saved always saved is not a separate doctrine from salvation.
There are so many people that have argued about the beautiful doctrine of once saved always saved, and there are others who do not care to study the subject, but you need to understand that once saved always saved is not a separate doctrine from salvation. If you do not believe in once saved always saved, then you are not saved.
If you are not saved forever, you are not saved.
Those who think they are saved now but could lose their salvation later, have one of two problems: (1) either they are trusting to some degree in their works to save them, or (2) they do not understand that by trusting Christ as their Saviour, their destiny is in God’s hands. Perhaps they have had little or no Bible teaching and do not realize that God has determined that all who believe will go to heaven when they die.
The first group, those who think leading a poor Christian life will result in a loss of their salvation, actually need to have the plan of salvation made clear to them. Somewhere they have not fully understood that Christ’s death paid for ALL their sin, that their works have NOTHING to do with their salvation, and that only their FAITH IN CHRIST will save them. You would answer their questions just as you would almost any lost person’s; it is a clear – cut problem of “grace and works.” You just stay with the gospel until they see the light.
An illustration that has clarified the issue for many with this problem deals with the definition of the word “Saviour.” What is a Saviour? Suppose you are drowning. There you are out in the middle of the ocean. Suppose someone were to throw you a book, Three Easy Lessons on How to Swim. Would he be a Saviour? No! Perhaps he could be called an “educator.”
Now suppose a man got out of his boat, jumped in along side you, and demonstrated various swimming strokes showing you just how you ought to do it. Would he be a Saviour? Of course not. He would merely be an “example.”
All right, what if he took you into his boat, dried you off, fed you, took you ten miles from shore – and then threw you out again into the ocean? Would he be a Saviour? By all means, no! He would be as a “deceiver,” a “probation officer,” one who starts a heroic act and then quits right in the middle. He certainly would not be a Saviour!
A Saviour is one who takes you safely all the way to shore! When God says He gives you eternal life and that He will never cast you out or lose you, He means it because He is the true Saviour! If you do not trust Christ to take you all the way to heaven, then you have not trusted Him as your Saviour. Let’s examine Christ’s own promise in John 6:37, “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” He says those who come to Him will not be cast out for any reason.
To bring home this truth, use an illustration from family life. What kind of a parent would you be if, when your child was disobedient, you kicked him out and said, “Go to hell, I’m through with you!” Rather, the proper parent says, “Come on in!” and the parent has ways and means to deal with the disobedient child.
God never casts out His children! God has other ways and means to deal with them, which we will discuss in Chapter Three.
Some would say, “All right, God won’t cast me out, but I could get out of my own will and choice.” The Lord anticipated such doubts and answers them clearly in John 6:39, “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent Me, that of all which he hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” It is God’s will that no saved person would ever become lost. He says He will “lose nothing,” and you are at least something! You could never be saved and lost again. God saves you forever. This is HIS will!
In witnessing you should use only as many verses as are necessary for the person to see the truth. (Too many verses will confuse the person.) On this point of not losing salvation, you will usually find that John 6:37 and 6:39 are sufficient. They are certainly clear.
At times you might sense that certain cases require additional verses, and the Scriptures abound with clear teaching. Study the passages thoroughly so you will know which verses will best answer the need of the person.
I Peter 1:4, 5, “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” Notice who is keeping our salvation . . . God Himself, by His own almighty power! And He is reserving place in heaven for us.
I Cor. 6:19, “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God . . .?” The Holy Spirit lives inside of every believer. John 14:16, 17 says, “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth . . . for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” The Holy Spirit is in believers forever. If a saved person could go to hell, the Holy Spirit would have to go to hell, too.
Eph. 1:13, 14, “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the Word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.” The Holy Spirit indwells every believer from the moment he trusts Christ as his Saviour for evermore. One important reason for this is to keep us saved and protected until we receive our glorified body. The term “earnest of our inheritance” is like when we make a “down payment on a house.” It is a guarantee that the rest is coming later – now we have the new birth – later we will have our new body.
Why People Do Not Share Their Faith
I Cor. 12:27, “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” The moment you are saved, you become a member of the body of Christ. If you could ever become unsaved, part of Christ’s own body would go to hell.
John 10:28, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.” Notice again that Christ gives eternal life, and they who receive this eternal life shall never perish!
When you look up the word “never” which occurs in John 10:28 in Strong’s Concordance, you find that it comes from five different Greek words which are spelled in English: OU, ME, EIS, HO, and AION. The words OU and ME form a double negative meaning “Not at all, by no means, in no case, never.” This double negative was used to state denials or prohibitions emphatically (Dana and Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, p. 266). The remaining three words combine to form an idiomatic expression meaning “forever” (The Englishman’s Greek New ‘Testament, p. 276).
When you put all of these meanings together, you find that when Christ says “never” here in this verse it carries with it very powerful assurance – much more than one word “never” ordinarily carries with it in our minds. If we were to take this most emphatic way of saying “never” in the Greek and try to bring it across into the English, John 10:28 would read something like this: “And I give unto them eternal life and they shall not at all, by any means, male or female, in any case, forever perish.”
Christians are sanctified through the death of Christ (Heb. 10:10), and Hebrews 10:14 tells us, “For by one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” Believers are sanctified, and Christ gives them the perfection they need to go to heaven. The word “sanctified” means to be made “holy, pure and blameless” (Strong’s Concordance, Greek #37). God would never send a believer to hell . . . He has made the believer holy and blameless and has given him a perfection which will last FOREVER.
John 5:24, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” Christ says those who have everlasting life (they already have it) shall not be condemned (promise for the future). Since God promises believers will not be condemned, why not take Him at His Word and realize they will not be condemned? Believers cannot go to hell: They have already “PASSED from death unto life”!
Philippians 3:9, “And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” Christ’s own righteousness is given to believers. Who would dare say Christ’s righteousness isn’t good enough for heaven?!?
The Gospel of Christ, and It’s Declaration
Colossians 2:13 and Acts 13:39 say the believer is already justified and forgiven of all sins. So what sin could send you to hell? In fact, when Christ died on the cross for our sins, ALL our sins were future. Romans 8:28 – 39 teaches nothing can separate believers from God. HE justified us; nobody could charge a single thing against us! What a Saviour we have!
I John 5:10 – 13 is as clear a passage as could be written. Christ’s death on the cross does not do anything for you unless it gives you everlasting life. If you have Christ as your Saviour, you have this life. Anyone who doubts that God gives eternal life is calling God a liar. Don’t you think it would be very unwise to call God a liar? Personally, I wouldn’t want to be in that category.
There is an illustration which you might find will interest people along this subject. One evening a man was having trouble with doubts about his salvation. His wife came into the bedroom and found her husband running his Bible back and forth under the bed, and she asked him what in the world he was doing. He said he knew Satan was in the darkest places, so he was showing Satan I John 5:13! (And this is a good idea when you have a doubt. Just claim the promise from the Word of God, and Satan will have no ground to give you doubts any more. The Word of God silences Satan.)
Since God tells me I can know I have eternal life, I say, “Thank you!” and I know I have eternal life. I am taking God at His Word. God said it . . . I believe it . . . that settles it! I base my whole eternity on the fact that God cannot lie and His Word cannot fail.
“God is not a man, that He should lie . . . hath He said, and shall He not do it? Or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19)
You will discover that when a person really understands the plan of salvation, he rarely will have a problem with “eternal security.” It has been our experience that the most effective way to deal with those who still doubt their eternal life, after they seemingly understand the gospel, is to go over one or two verses, perhaps John 6:37 and 39, and lovingly and firmly keep going over them until the person really believes what God is saying.