Once Saved, Always Saved?


The question posed above is an important one. The answer is also important. If one insists on using that expression, our answer is in the affirmative as well as the negative. But how can it be answered both ways?

Before we answer, consider how faith is born. Scripture tells us, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). Paul wrote to the Corinthians, ” In Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the Gospel” (1 Corinthians 4:15). Jesus prayed for those “also which believe on Me through their Word” (John 17:20). The Spirit declares through Peter that we are born again by the Word of God (1 Peter 1:23). Faith is born of the Gospel by the power of the Spirit, not by exercise of the sovereign power of God. If in fact God created faith by exercise of His omnipotence, no one could resist. But He works through the word of the Gospel. The Gospel can be rejected!

How is saving faith secured and retained? Again, not by God’s sovereign power. God has created the world and “upholds all things by the Word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3). God has created us. He has not promised to sustain our life if we go on a hunger strike. Once saved, always saved? Not if one rejects the Word of God, or fails to nourish faith with the Gospel. It is a deadly fallacy to think that since God exercised His power upon one a person is saved regardless of whether or not he believes, what he believes, or whether or not he remains in Christ Jesus.

Once saved, always saved? Always and only in connection with Christ Jesus! Never apart from Christ or part from faith in Christ! The believer in Jesus and His cross need not doubt. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father Who has given them to me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29). Note for whom this assurance holds meaning – those who hear the voice of the Good Shepherd. The power of God unto salvation (1 Peter 1:5) is according to Romans 1:16 the Gospel.

Therefore, believer in Jesus, “Continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of…” (2 Timothy 3:14). Continue in the Gospel and the Spirit will keep you in the faith. And to those who remain in the faith until death will come the blessed invitation, “Come you blessed of My Father; inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world …” (Matthew 25:34). Blessed are they who hear the Word of God and keep it” (Luke 11:28).