I believe there are multitudes of souls in hell today because they believed the false doctrine of “once saved, always saved.” I believe this doctrine originated in hell and has been spread by misguided Pastors and Christians who trusted more in the teachings of men than in the word of God.
I have personally met people who were living in sin, far away from God, yet they believed they were going to heaven when they died because at one time in their life they had professed faith in Jesus Christ and were taught in their church that they could never lose their salvation. This false doctrine gave them false security. Not only are they being robbed of the blessings of knowing God in this life but they will be robbed of knowing Him forever unless they repent of their sins and return to the faith. They are in great danger of going to hell when they die.
This is why the scriptures warn us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. There are many warnings in scripture to guard and protect our faith and our salvation.
CAN YOUR DOCTRINE PASS THIS TEST?
When it comes to judging any doctrine, the scriptures should always be the final authority. Regardless of what anyone else has to say about it, the scriptures are ultimately all that matters. If you have believed this false doctrine, then I challenge you to examine the scriptures listed below to see if what you were taught passes the ultimate test.
All of us will one day stand before God to give an account for our lives. God will hold us accountable for knowing the scriptures, especially in America where Bibles are easily available to everyone. Blaming our wrong doctrines on our parents or our Pastor or on anyone else will not be an acceptable excuse when we stand before God. God expects us to study His word to find out for ourselves what it says.
In examining these scriptures, you will have to make a choice about whom you believe. Who you choose to believe reveals whom you really love. If you love God, then you must be willing to let go of anything you have been taught that is contrary to His word. If on the other hand, you refuse to let go then you are proving to God that you love your traditions or your church doctrines more than you love Him or the truth.
Listed below are scripture verses along with my comments on each verse. Any one of these scriptures would be enough to disprove the “once saved, always saved” doctrine, but combining them all together provides overwhelming proof. This is by no means an exhaustive list on this topic and I hope to add more scriptures as I find them. I found these in the first five books of the Old Testament and throughout all of the New Testament. I have not yet completed the remaining books of the Old Testament, but I will do that eventually. If you have believed this doctrine, I hope you will read all of these scriptures and my comments with an open mind and heart.
OLD TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES
On the next day Moses said to the people, “You yourselves have committed a great sin; and now I am going up to the LORD, perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.” Then Moses returned to the LORD, and said, “Alas, this people has committed a great sin, and they have made a god of gold for themselves. But now, if You will, forgive their sin-and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!” The LORD said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book. But go now, lead the people where I told you. Behold, My angel shall go before you; nevertheless in the day when I punish, I will punish them for their sin.” Then the LORD smote the people, because of what they did with the calf, which Aaron had made. (Exodus 32:30-35 NASB)
Comments: When the people of God turned away from God, God said He would blot them out of His book. These are the same people who had trusted Him and praised Him and been delivered from Egypt by Him.
So the sons of Israel did all the work according to all that the LORD had commanded Moses. And Moses examined all the work and behold, they had done it; just as the LORD had commanded, this they had done. So Moses blessed them. (Exodus 39:42, 43 NASB)
Thus the sons of Israel did; according to all which the LORD had commanded Moses, so they did. (Numbers 1:54 NASB)
Comments: These same sons of Israel who obeyed the Lord’s commandments in the construction of the tabernacle are the same sons who perished in the wilderness because of their unbelief. Even though they had known God and walked in obedience they still failed to enter the Promised Land. Even Moses himself failed to enter into it.
Now on the day that the tabernacle was erected the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony, and in the evening it was like the appearance of fire over the tabernacle, until morning. So it was continuously; the cloud would cover it by day, and the appearance of fire by night. Whenever the cloud was lifted from over the tent, afterward the sons of Israel would then set out; and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the sons of Israel would camp. At the command of the LORD the sons of Israel would set out, and at the command of the LORD they would camp; as long as the cloud settled over the tabernacle, they remained camped. Even when the cloud lingered over the tabernacle for many days, the sons of Israel would keep the LORD’S charge and not set out. If sometimes the cloud remained a few days over the tabernacle, according to the command of the LORD they remained camped. Then according to the command of the LORD they set out. If sometimes the cloud remained from evening until morning, when the cloud was lifted in the morning, they would move out; or if it remained in the daytime and at night, whenever the cloud was lifted, they would set out. Whether it was two days or a month or a year that the cloud lingered over the tabernacle, staying above it, the sons of Israel remained camped and did not set out; but when it was lifted, they did set out. At the command of the LORD they camped, and at the command of the LORD they set out; they kept the LORD’S charge, according to the command of the LORD through Moses. (Numbers 9:15-23 NASB)
Comments: These same Israelites who obeyed God by following the cloud are the same people who perished in the wilderness.
Then all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. All the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is the LORD bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt.” Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces in the presence of all the assembly of the congregation of the sons of Israel. Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, of those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, saying, “The land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the LORD is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us-a land, which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the LORD; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them.” But all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Then the glory of the LORD appeared in the tent of meeting to all the sons of Israel. The LORD said to Moses, “How long will this people spurn Me? And how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst? I will smite them with pestilence and dispossess them, and I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they.” (Numbers 14:1-12 NASB)
Comments: Because of their unbelief, God said He would disown, dispossess, and strike with pestilence the very people whom He delivered from Eqypt, the people who had served Him and obeyed Him in building the tabernacle, the people whom the Spirit of God had gifted and rested upon. Unbelief is a serious offense against God.
Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons. (Deuteronomy 4:9 NASB)
Comments: We are warned to give heed to ourselves and to keep our soul diligently so that we do not forget the things we have seen and they do not depart from our heart. So it is possible to forget what God has revealed to us and to allow these most precious things to even depart from our heart. If any man thinks he stands, he should take heed lest he fall. (see 1 Corinthians 10:12).
When you become the father of children and children’s children and have remained long in the land, and act corruptly, and make an idol in the form of anything, and do that which is evil in the sight of the LORD your God so as to provoke Him to anger, I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will surely perish quickly from the land where you are going over the Jordan to possess it. You shall not live long on it, but will be utterly destroyed. (Deuteronomy 4:25, 26 NASB)
Comments: God warns His people their lives will be cut short and they will be destroyed of they act corruptly and do that which is evil in the sight of the Lord. There are severe consequences for those who turn away from God.
But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. It shall come about if you ever forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today that you will surely perish. Like the nations that the LORD makes to perish before you, so you shall perish; because you would not listen to the voice of the LORD your God. (Deuteronomy 8:18-20 NASB)
Comments: If the people of God forget God and worship other gods, they will perish the same way multitudes of other people have perished.
It shall come about if you ever forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today that you will surely perish. Like the nations that the LORD makes to perish before you, so you shall perish; because you would not listen to the voice of the LORD your God. (Deuteronomy 8:19, 20 NASB)
Comments: Contrary to what many people teach, the scriptures clearly tell us those who have known the Lord but then forget Him and go after other gods will perish. Perish does not mean dying and going to heaven. To clarify, verse 20 says it means they will perish like all the heathen nations who never knew the Lord. The fate of backsliders is the same as the fate of those who never knew God. Here again the scriptures contradict the false doctrine of “once saved always saved.” The Hebrew word abad is translated into English as perish. Abad literally means to be utterly destroyed by divine judgment, exterminated, and blotted out. It means these people are not only destroyed but they are destroyed by God. Does this sound like someone going to heaven to be with God? Instead of being eternally secure they will be blotted out of the book of life and cast into eternal fire.
Then the LORD said to me, ‘Arise, go down from here quickly, for your people whom you brought out of Egypt have acted corruptly. They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them; they have made a molten image for themselves.’ The LORD spoke further to me, saying, ‘I have seen this people, and indeed, it is a stubborn people. Let Me alone, that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven; and I will make of you a nation mightier and greater than they.’ (Deuteronomy 9:12-14 NASB)
Comments: God told Moses He wanted to destroy the people of Israel and blot out their name from under heaven. God wanted to start over and make a new nation that would be mightier and greater than the Israelites. This is the same God who many people today are saying would never blot out the names of any of His people, despite having no scriptures to support that claim and many scriptures plainly stating the opposite. People who don’t want to hear the truth will make up lies so they can hear what they want to hear and believe what they want to believe even when it is contrary to the scriptures.
The LORD was angry enough with Aaron to destroy him; so I also prayed for Aaron at the same time. (Deuteronomy 9:20 NASB)
Comments: Not only will God destroy His people who turn away from Him but also He will destroy His chosen leaders, even His very top leaders like Aaron. God is not a respecter of persons. He does not show favoritism to anyone but judges all men fairly by the same standards. No one who falls away is safe. The only place of eternal security is in Him.
Now not with you alone am I making this covenant and this oath, but both with those who stand here with us today in the presence of the LORD our God and with those who are not with us here today (for you know how we lived in the land of Egypt, and how we came through the midst of the nations through which you passed; moreover, you have seen their abominations and their idols of wood, stone, silver, and gold, which they had with them); so that there will not be among you a man or woman, or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of those nations; that there will not be among you a root bearing poisonous fruit and wormwood. It shall be when he hears the words of this curse, that he will boast, saying, ‘I have peace though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart in order to destroy the watered land with the dry.’ The LORD shall never be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of the LORD and His jealousy will burn against that man, and every curse which is written in this book will rest on him, and the LORD will blot out his name from under heaven. Then the LORD will single him out for adversity from all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant, which are written in this book of the law. (Deuteronomy 29:14-21 NASB)
Comments: For the Israelite who turns his heart away from the Lord to follow the gods of other nations, the Lord will blot out his name from under heaven and will never forgive him.
All the nations will say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land? Why this great outburst of anger?’ Then men will say, ‘Because they forsook the covenant of the LORD, the God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods whom they have not known and whom He had not allotted to them. Therefore, the anger of the LORD burned against that land, to bring upon it every curse which is written in this book; and the LORD uprooted them from their land in anger and in fury and in great wrath, and cast them into another land, as it is this day.’ (Deuteronomy 29:24-28 NASB)
Comments: It is better to have never known the Lord than to turn away from Him after having known Him. Nothing is more hurtful to the Lord or more infuriating. This also applies to nations who once followed the Lord but then turned away from Him. America is in this category.
They (referring to the people of Israel) have acted corruptly toward Him, they are not His children, because of their defect; but are a perverse and crooked generation. (Deuteronomy 32:5 NASB)
Comments: In this verse from the song of Moses, Moses declares the people of Israel are not the children of God. Their position and their rights as sons and daughters of God were not to be taken for granted and were not eternally secure. Moses could have called them wayward children or disobedient children but he did not. Instead, Moses saw that their position as children depended on their choice to obey or disobey God’s commandments. Those who disobeyed were no longer His children. We should therefore take note and be warned so we do not make the same mistake.
“But if a man is righteous and practices justice and righteousness, and does not eat at the mountain shrines or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, or defile his neighbor’s wife or approach a woman during her menstrual period— if a man does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, does not commit robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with clothing, if he does not lend money on interest or take increase, if he keeps his hand from iniquity and executes true justice between man and man, if he walks in My statutes and My ordinances so as to deal faithfully. He is righteous and will surely live,” declares the Lord God. (Ezekiel 18:5-9)
But if the wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed and observes all My statutes and practices justice and righteousness, he shall surely live; he shall not die. All his transgressions which he has committed will not be remembered against him; because of his righteousness which he has practiced, he will live. (Ezekiel 18:21-22)
But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity and does according to all the abominations that a wicked man does, will he live? All his righteous deeds which he has done will not be remembered for his treachery which he has committed and his sin which he has committed; for them he will die. Yet you say, ‘ The way of the Lord is not right. ’ Hear now, O house of Israel! Is My way not right? Is it not your ways that are not right? When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity and dies because of it, for his iniquity which he has committed he will die. (Ezekiel 18:24-26)
Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord God, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?’ And you, son of man, say to your fellow citizens, ‘The righteousness of a righteous man will not deliver him in the day of his transgression, and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he will not stumble because of it in the day when he turns from his wickedness; whereas a righteous man will not be able to live by his righteousness on the day when he commits sin.’ When I say to the righteous he will surely live, and he so trusts in his righteousness that he commits iniquity, none of his righteous deeds will be remembered; but in that same iniquity of his which he has committed he will die. (Ezekiel 33:11-13)
Comments: This passage directly contradicts the false doctrine of eternal security, once saved always saved. Both the righteous and the wicked will live or die based on their deeds because faith without works is dead. In the same way that the evil deeds of an evil man will not kill him if he turns away from doing evil, the righteous deeds of a righteous man will not save him if he commits sin. Therefore, the righteous are warned against trusting in their righteousness because it will not deliver them from eternal death. It is a grave error for anyone to assume they can commit sin and get away with it. The only security for the righteous comes from living a holy life, free from sin. If they commit sin, they will die because the wages of sin are death. The only hope for the one who commits sin is to turn away from it, stop doing it immediately, and ask the Lord for forgiveness.
NEW TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES
This is the will of my Father who sent me, that of all he has given to me I should lose nothing, but should raise him up at the last day. This is the will of the one who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son, and believes in him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Comments: This is a favorite scripture of those who believe in the doctrine of once saved always saved. However, this verse does not say people cannot lose their salvation. It only says it is the will of the Father that none would be lost. Other scriptures make it very clear that the will of the Father is not always done in the earth. This is why Jesus instructed us to pray, ‘Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.’ Another scripture tells us God is not willing that any should perish. However, we know there are many who perish.
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31, 32 NASB)
Comments: In verse 31, Jesus clearly states a condition for being his disciple. Only those who continue following his word are truly his disciples. If this is true then the flip side of it is also true. Those who do not continue to follow the word are no longer his disciple and will not know the truth. This directly and clearly contradicts the once saved always saved doctrine, which teaches even those who do not continue to follow the word are still saved and still disciples of the Lord.
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine dresser. “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. “Remain in me, stay with me, and continue to be with me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it remains, stays, and continues to be in the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me, stay with me, and continue to be with me. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who remains in me, stays with me, and continues to be with me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. “If anyone does not remain in me, stay with me, and continue to be with me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. “If you remain in me, stay with me, and continue to be with me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so you become My disciples. “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; remain in my love, stay in my love, and continue to be in My love.
Comments: The word ‘abide’ comes from the Hebrew word ‘meno’, which is defined as ‘to remain, to sojourn, not to depart, tarry, to continue to be present, to stay with. When you replace the word ‘abide’ with the clearer definition of what meno means, it shines a bright light on the meaning of this passage from John 15. In this light, John 15 blows a gaping hole in the doctrine of ‘once saved always saved.’
Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. (Romans 11:20-23)
Comments: Paul gives a strong warning to believers that they should fear God because God would not spare them from being broken off from the tree, cut off from salvation. He explains the Jews were cut off because of their unbelief and the only thing keeping you from being cut off is your faith. When we walk in faith, we experience the kindness and goodness of God, but if we fall into unbelief, then we will experience the same fate the Jews experienced, which is the severity of God as he cuts you off from himself. The Greek word for severity is apotomia, which means roughness and rigor.
Paul explains we must continue in God’s kindness. The word translated as continue is the Greek word Epimeno, which means to stay with, to continue, to remain, to persevere, to tarry in a place. So our salvation is totally conditional based on whether or not we continue to walk in faith, to remain in the place of God’s goodness and kindness. The consequences of not continuing are stated very clear. You will be cut off. You will see another side of God, which is the side of roughness, severity and rigor. Therefore, we would be wise to fear God and not believe anyone who tells us that we cannot lose our salvation.
I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
1 Corinthians 9:27
Comments: Paul says he could be disqualified from receiving the prize. The prize he is referring to is the reward for preaching the good news, for running the race. These rewards go beyond just being saved. He is referring to eternal rewards for obedience and service to God in this life.
The Greek word is adokimos, which means not standing the test, not approved, that which does not prove itself such as it ought, unfit for, unproved. Based on this, I don’t believe Paul was saying he had already qualified and was at risk of losing his qualification. It makes more sense that he was saying he did not want to fail to qualify for the rewards, not be found to be unfit for the prize. I don’t believe this scripture is referring to salvation, just to the rewards that are in addition to salvation.
For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play.” Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. (1 Corinthians 10:1-12 NASB)
Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:1-2)
Comments: Paul clearly identifies he is talking to people who received the gospel, are currently standing in their faith in the gospel, and are currently saved. But then he says they are saved if they hold fast the word preached to them. So what happens if they don’t hold fast? He tell us the answer, they believed in vain. So they believed, received, are standing, and saved, but unless they hold fast it is all in vain, useless, without any benefit. Unless we hold fast, our salvation is lost.
In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:13, 14 NASB)
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30 NASB)
Comments: This is a favorite passage of those who believe in the once saved always saved doctrine. They claim that because we have been sealed, we cannot then be cut off. However, other scriptures clearly state that after we have been grafted in we can still be cut off unless we continue to walk in faith and obedience.
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; (Philippians 2:12 NASB)
Comments: Why would we need to work out our salvation with fear and trembling if there was no risk of losing it? There would be nothing to fear if that was the case.
But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:7-14 NASB)
Comments: Why would Paul have to do all of this to attain to the resurrection from the dead if his salvation was already secure? Why would he say specifically he has not yet obtained the resurrection from the dead but he presses on so that he may lay hold of it?
21 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds,
22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach—
23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister. (Colossians 1:21-23)
Comments: People often quote verses 21-22 without verse 23, distorting the message by leaving out the requirements for reconciliation. We qualify only if we continue in the faith, not moved away from the hope of the gospel. By definition, if we fail to continue or are moved away from it, we are disqualified.
Let no man rob you of your prize by a voluntary humility and worshipping of the angels, dwelling in the things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding firmly to the Head, from whom all the body, being supplied and knit together through the joints and ligaments, grows with God’s growth.
For this cause I also, when I couldn’t stand it any longer, sent that I might know your faith, for fear that by any means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor would have been in vain.
1 Thessalonians 3:5
Comments: How could Paul’s labor be in vain if the Thessalonians had already received guaranteed eternal salvation? It could only be in vain if their salvation required them to continue in the faith to avoid losing it.
If once saved always saved, then why would Paul fear that his labor might have been in vain if the tempter had stolen away their faith?
But when Timothy came just now to us from you, and brought us glad news of your faith and love, and that you have good memories of us always, longing to see us, even as we also long to see you; for this cause, brothers, we were comforted over you in all our distress and affliction through your faith. For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 3:6
Comments: If once saved always saved, why would Paul care so much about the Thessalonians standing fast in the Lord, even to the point of saying “for now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord”?
Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction… (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3)
Comments: Paul tells us the rapture will not happen until after the apostasy and the revealing of the man of lawlessness. The apostasy is the great falling away from the faith. It comes from the Greek word apostasia, which means to fall away, to forsake. If the doctrine of once saved always saved was true then there could be no such thing as the apostasy because it would be impossible to fall away or to forsake the faith without first being in it.
This charge I commit to you, my child Timothy, according to the prophecies which led the way to you, that by them you may wage the good warfare; holding faith and a good conscience; which some having thrust away made a shipwreck concerning the faith; of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I delivered to Satan, that they might be taught not to blaspheme.
1 Timothy 1:18-20
Comments: So clearly it is possible to shipwreck your faith by failing to hold onto faith and a good conscience.
Adam wasn’t deceived, but the woman, being deceived, has fallen into disobedience; but she will be saved through her child-bearing, if they continue in faith, love, and sanctification with sobriety.
1 Timothy 2:14-15
Comments: If once saved always saved, the woman would be saved even if she did not continue in faith, love and sanctification.
But the Spirit says expressly that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, through the hypocrisy of men who speak lies, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron;
1 Timothy 4:1-2
Comments: Clearly people can fall away from the faith and Spirit says they will.
Pay attention to yourself, and to your teaching. Continue in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
1 Timothy 4:16
Comments: Why would we need to ensure our salvation if it was already secured? This scripture only makes sense if it is possible to lose your salvation. If you are always saved anyway, then why is Paul instructing Timothy to pay close attention and to continue in these things and that by doing these things he will save himself? If once saved always saved, then he would already have secured his salvation regardless of whether or not he does these things.
But refuse younger widows, for when they have grown wanton against Messiah, they desire to marry; having condemnation, because they have rejected their first pledge. Besides, they also learn to be idle, going about from house to house. Not only idle, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things, which they ought not. I desire therefore that the younger widows marry, bear children, rule the household, and give no occasion to the adversary for reviling. For already some have turned aside after Satan.
1 Timothy 5:11-15
Comments: The younger widows were turning against Messiah to follow after Satan. If they were turning against Messiah, then that means previously they were following Messiah as believers in Him. Then they turned against Messiah to become followers of Satan. Surely the followers of Satan are not saved!
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some have been led astray from the faith in their greed, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, man of God, flee these things, and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Lay hold of the eternal life, whereunto you were called, and confessed the good confession in the sight of many witnesses.
1 Timothy 6:11-12
Comments: Why do we need to take hold of the eternal life, which we already received previously as identified in the second part of this verse? If our salvation was already secure we would not need to take hold of it. First, verse 10 shows some people have been led astray from the faith due to their greed. This proves people can lose their faith, without which they cannot please God or receive salvation since the scriptures state that both of these require faith. Second, verse 11 shows Paul was clearly writing this letter to someone Paul knew was already a believer (Timothy) because he refers to the person as you man of God. Then in verse 12 he tells the man of God to fight the good fight of faith and lay hold of the eternal life, which the man of God received by confessing it before witnesses. So if the man of God is already a man of God, already saved by confession of salvation before witnesses, then why must the man of God also be instructed after that to lay hold of eternal life? If once saved always saved, then after you are clearly saved it would no longer be necessary to lay hold of eternal life or to fight the good fight of faith because those things are locked in regardless of what we do. Obviously, Paul believed it was important to instruct Timothy in this way. People who teach this false doctrine of once saved, always saved are going contrary to the scripture, confusing many people, and doing more harm than good.
But shun empty chatter, for they will proceed further in ungodliness, and their word will consume like gangrene, of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; men who have erred concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past, and overthrowing the faith of some. However God’s firm foundation stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let every one who names the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness.” Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of clay. Some are for honor, and some for dishonor. If a man therefore purges himself from these, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, and suitable for the master’s use, prepared for every good work.
2 Timothy 2:16-21
Comments: Empty chatter leads to ungodliness and compared to gangrene because of the destructive effect it has on our faith. Verses 16-19 identifies what happens to all who participate in empty chatter:
They will proceed further in ungodliness
Their word will consume like gangrene
They will be like Hymenaeus and Philetus who have erred concerning the truth
Verse 18 identifies another consequence that only applies to some of these people, not to all who participate in empty chatter. That is their faith will be overthrown.
Verses 19-21 are referring to the larger group of all those who participate in empty chatter, not the smaller group of those whose faith is overthrown. Verse 19 explains that participating in empty chatter will not cause them to lose their salvation because God’s firm foundation stands. The seal that God has placed on them, the deposit of the Holy Spirit in them, will not be taken away from them because of their empty chatter. They will still be allowed to dwell in the house of the Lord as vessels of wood and clay, but will not be vessels of gold and silver. They will be vessels of dishonor, not vessels of honor. However, if they purge themselves from participating in empty chatter, they can still become vessels of honor. This verse is not saying that those whose faith is overthrown are still saved or will still be found in the house of the Lord. Verse 21 makes it clear it is referring to empty chatter because it states they can still become vessels of honor if they purge themselves from empty chatter, not purge themselves from having no faith.
Verse 19: First, there are those who participate in empty chatter and have erred concerning the truth. Second, among those who have participated there are some whose faith has been overthrown as a result.
For I am already being offered, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith. From now on, there is stored up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me at that day; and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:6-8
Comments: At the end of his life on earth, Paul equates finishing the course with keeping the faith. Therefore someone who did not keep the faith did not finish the course. Paul’s reward is the crown of righteousness, which will be given to all those who have loved his appearing. Can anyone go to heaven without righteousness? That makes no sense. So the reward of righteousness is one we must have and it is clearly given only to those who meet specific conditions. It was based on what Paul did and on what those others did. There is no mention of any reward going to those who failed to keep the faith, or to those who do not love his appearing.
Therefore we ought to pay greater attention to the things that were heard, lest perhaps we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense; how will we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first having been spoken through the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard;
Comments: Why are we warned not to drift away if there are no consequences of drifting away? This warning is clear, if we neglect our salvation we will not escape judgment.
Moses indeed was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were afterward to be spoken, but Messiah as a Son, over his house; whose house are we, if we hold fast our boldness and the glorying of our hope firm to the end.
Comments: We are the house of the Messiah if we hold fast our boldness and the glorying of our hope firm to the end. The NAS says “if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.” So what if we do not hold fast our confidence? Are we still the house of the Messiah? Not according to this scripture.
Therefore, even as the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) says, “Today if you will hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts, as in the provocation, like as in the day of the trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested me by proving me, And saw my works for forty years. Therefore I was displeased with that generation, And said, ‘They always err in their heart, But they didn’t know my ways;’ As I swore in my wrath, ‘They will not enter into my rest.'” Beware, brothers, lest perhaps there will be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God; but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called “today;” lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Messiah, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm to the end.
Comments: We are warned to take heed of those people of God who went before us who failed to enter into the rest that God had for them. We are warned about having an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God. It was because of their unbelief that they failed to enter in to what God wanted them to have. How do we get an evil, hardened heart? Verse 13 says it comes through the deceitfulness of sin. Verse 14 states it very clearly, we can only continue as partakers of Messiah if we hold fast our confidence, our faith, firm until the end. Therefore, if we do not hold fast and we lose our confidence we will not continue as partakers of Messiah.
Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, while it is said, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS, AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME.” For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief. (Hebrews 3:12-19 NASB)
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. 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. (Hebrews 4:1, 2 NASB)
Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:11 NASB)
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. (Hebrews 4:14 NASB)
For concerning those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh), and tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come, and then fell away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance; seeing they crucify the Son of God for themselves again, and put him to open shame. For the land, which has drunk the rain that comes often on it, and brings forth a crop suitable for them for whose sake it is also tilled, receives blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and thistles, it is rejected and near a curse, whose end is to be burned. But, beloved, we are persuaded of better things for you, and things that accompany salvation, though we speak like this, for God is not unrighteous, so as to forget your work and the labor of love which you shown toward his name, in that you served the holy ones, and still do serve them. We desire that each one of you may show the same diligence to the fullness of hope even to the end, that you won’t be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherited the promises.
Comments: This verse flat out says it and could not possibly say it any more clearly. How anyone can read this and hold onto their man made teaching of once saved always saved is amazing and shows there is demonic deception involved. They are like the scripture, which talks about those who are seeing but not seeing and hearing but not hearing. Verse 5 says very clearly Paul is talking about those who have been partakers of the Holy Spirit. The Greek word is metochos, which means sharing in, partaking, a partner in a work, office, dignity. It is translated correctly. Clearly Paul is referring to people who were once enlightened and partakers of the Holy Spirit. Verse 6 says they fell away.
The Greek word parapipto is defined as to fall beside, to slip aside, to deviate from the right path, to turn aside, to wander to error, to fall away. It is translated correctly. How could they fall away unless they had once entered in and received? They had tasted the word of God and the powers of the age to come. They had received and become a partaker of the Holy Spirit! No one can do that without being saved so these people were saved! After someone falls away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance because they continually crucify the Son of God for themselves again, putting him to an open shame before men, before the angels and before demonic spirits. They are like land that produces only thorns and thistles. They are rejected and ultimately burned up. In verses 9-12, Paul encourages the Hebrews that he does not believe this will be their fate. Then he explains why he believes this. In verse 10 he points out that not only have labored for the Lord in serving his people, but that they still do serve them. So they have not turned away but have continued on the path of life. In verses 11 and 12, Paul expresses his desire that they will continue to show the same diligence to the fullness of hope even to the end, that they would not be sluggish, but be imitators of others who have inherited the promises through faith and patience. Why would Paul desire that they continue until the end if it were not required for them to receive the promise of eternal life? Why would he encourage them to imitate others who have received the promises through faith and patience if enduring faith and patience were not required? It is because they clearly are required. Once saved always saved is a lie. In the following verses, 13-15, Paul spells it out for them using the example of Abraham and showing that Abraham had to patiently endure in order to receive the promise of God.
For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. For finding fault with them, he said, “Behold, the days come,” says the Lord, “That I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, In the day that I took them by the hand to lead them forth out of the land of Mitzrayim; For they didn’t continue in my covenant, And I disregarded them,” says the Lord.
Comments: Regarding those who do not continue to follow Him, God acted the same way in the old covenant as He does in the new. Verse 9 says He disregarded the Israelites who did not continue in his covenant. The Greek work ameleo means to be careless of, to neglect. Those who do not continue to follow him, he will neglect, disregard and not care for them. This contradicts the notion that we receive the same salvation whether we continue to follow him or not.
23 let us hold fast the confession of our hope unyieldingly. For he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23)
Comments: Why are we commanded to hold fast the confession of our hope unyieldingly if we have no risk of losing what we are hoping to receive? This verse only makes sense if there is a real risk of losing what we are hoping to receive. Since we are commanded to hold onto it unyieldingly, it is clear we must make every effort not only to hold on, but not to concede any ground at all.
For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.” And again, “THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.” It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:26-31 NASB)
Comments: This scripture makes it clear we have the choice to sin willingly. We are not locked into a life of obedience just because we were once saved. If this were not possible, this scripture would be an error. Verse 26 asks about people who sin willingly after they have received the knowledge of the truth. This is not referring to people who heard the word, but to those who heard it, understood it, and received it into their hearts and lives. These people had the light of revelation to know the truth. As Jesus told Peter, these things are not revealed by flesh and blood but only by the spirit of God. When these people then sin willfully, there remains no more sacrifice for their sins. If there is no sacrifice for their sins then their sins cannot be forgiven. If their sins cannot be forgiven, then the only thing left for them is what is described in verse 27, a fierceness of fire. Verse 29 says their punishment will be much worse than it was for people who lived under the law of Moses, and they died without compassion. It then asks about a man who was sanctified and then after that he trods under foot the Son of God and counts the blood of the covenant as an unholy thing. God will repay him with vengeance. Therefore, we would be wise to be fearful of sinning willfully.
For you need patience, so that, having done the will of God, you may receive the promise. (Hebrews 10:36)
Comments: Paul tells us we need patience. Why do we need patience if we can pray to receive the Lord and get saved with no risk of losing our salvation? If we are once saved always saved, then there is no patience required. However, Paul is not talking only about salvation but the broader topic of receiving anything that God has promised to give us. Receiving from God works the same way regardless of which promise we are hoping to receive. With all of God’s promises, only those who meet the requirements will receive what was promised. Two of the requirements are identified in this verse. First, you need to do the will of God. Second, you need patience. To say that anyone can just skip those requirements and they will still receive the promise is contrary to scripture and not true.
But the righteous will live by faith. If he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the saving of the soul. (Hebrews 10:38-39)
Comments: Verse 38 makes it very clear the righteous, who live by faith, are able to shrink back. In doing this, God has no pleasure in him. It is impossible for anyone to shrink back unless he first had obtained something. In this case, they had obtained faith and righteousness. In verse 39, Paul does not dispute that it is possible for the righteous to shrink back when he offers encouragement to the Hebrews that we are not among those who are going to shrink back. He is believing the best for them, as we also should do. He explains further what happens to the righteous who shrink back; they go to destruction. This verse makes it clear that righteous people who live by faith are able to shrink back from their life of faith and their end result will be destruction.
Follow after shalom with all men, and the sanctification without which no man will see the Lord, looking carefully lest there be any man who falls short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby the many be defiled; (Hebrews 12:14-15)
Comments: Verses 14 and 15 provide clear instructions that we must follow if we hope to ever see the Lord or attain the grace of God. We are instructed to follow after peace with all men, follow after sanctification, and look carefully. If we fail to do these things, the consequences are that we will not see the Lord, we will fall short of the grace of God, a root of bitterness will spring up which will cause us to be troubled and many to be defiled. Why would Paul warn us of these things if it were not even possible to fall short of the grace of God? How can we be saved if we neglect to do these things?
For you have not come to a mountain that might be touched, and that burned with fire, and to blackness, darkness, tempest, the sound of a shofar, and the voice of words; which those who heard it begged that not one more word should be spoken to them, for they could not stand that which was enjoined, “If even an animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned;” and so fearful was the appearance, that Moses said, “I am terrified and trembling.” But you have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Yerushalayim, and to innumerable hosts of angels, to the general assembly and assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Yeshua, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better than that of Hevel. See that you don’t refuse him who speaks. For if they didn’t escape when they refused him who warned on the Earth, how much more will we not escape who turn away from him who warns from heaven, whose voice shook the earth, then, but now he has promised, saying, “Yet once more will I shake not only the earth, but also the heavens.” (Hebrews 12:18-26)
Comments: This is a severe warning given to those who have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to God and to Yeshua. This is clearly a warning to born again believers telling them do not refuse him who speaks. For if the Jews did not escape when they refused him, how much more will we not escape who turn away from him. These believers could not turn away from him unless they had first come to him as the previous verses describe. Born again believers will not escape if they turn away from God.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4 NASB)
Comments: Why make such a big deal about endurance if we are just as saved without any endurance? This verse says without endurance we will be incomplete and lacking.
Brothers, if any among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know, that he who converts a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins. (James 5:19-20)
Comments: This verse makes it clear it is possible for those who are in the truth to stray from it even to the point where they can lose their soul. Otherwise this warning is not needed.
Verse 19 describes someone who wandered from the truth, which means they once had the truth. Otherwise, they could not wander from it or be turned back to it. This passage is not referring to all heathens but to backslidden believers. These people are called sinners who must be converted or turned from the error of their way. Otherwise, their soul will be put to death and they would face judgment for their multitude of sins. They are only saved from death and forgiven for their sins after they turn away from their error and come back to the truth.
For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER? (1 Peter 4:17, 18 NASB)
Comments: Judgment begins with those who confess Jesus as their Lord. These are the ones who are the household of God because the spirit of God lives in their mortal bodies like a house. Referring to this judgment, everything is judged based on obedience to the good news of God. Believers are judged by what they do, not by what they hoped to do or intended to do or thought about doing. On this basis, verse 18 makes it clear not all believers will pass this test because it is with difficulty that the righteous are saved. It is not a gimee, not a sure thing, not to be taken for granted. If every believer receives eternal security when they are first saved then how could it be with any difficulty the righteous are saved?
Yes, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence; and in moral excellence, knowledge; and in knowledge, self-control; and in self-control patience; and in patience godliness; and in godliness brotherly affection; and in brotherly affection, love. For if these things are yours and abound, they make you to be not idle nor unfruitful to the knowledge of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. For he who lacks these things is blind, seeing only what is near, having forgotten the cleansing from his old sins. Therefore, brothers, be more diligent to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never stumble. For thus will be richly supplied to you the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Yeshua the Messiah. (2 Peter 1:5-11)
Comments: Verse 10 instructs us to be more diligent to make our calling and election sure. Why would we have to make it more sure if it is already sure, according to the false doctrine of once saved, always saved. The only reason for these instructions would be if our lack of diligence could result in us losing our calling and election. Verse 11 makes it clear this warning is not just regarding our ability to live a better, more productive life on the earth. It is spelled out in plain terms this is all about entering into the eternal kingdom of God. The two are connected with a condition that we must meet. It could not be stated any more clearly that this is a conditional relationship, not a guaranteed, unconditional relationship. If we are diligent, the entrance to the eternal kingdom will be richly supplied to us. It is clearly conditional and dependent upon our upholding the specific part required by us. Therefore if we neglect or fail to be diligent, the entrance to the eternal kingdom will not be richly supplied to us. In other words, we were once saved could still miss entering into heaven.
For if God didn’t spare angels when they sinned, but cast them down to Tartarus, and committed them to pits of darkness, to be reserved to judgment; and didn’t spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah with seven others, a preacher of righteousness, when he brought a flood on the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly; and delivered righteous Lot, very distressed by the lustful life of the wicked (for that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, tormented his righteous soul from day to day with lawless deeds): the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment to the day of judgment; but chiefly those who walk after the flesh in the lust of defilement, and despise authority. Daring, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries; whereas angels, though greater in might and power, don’t bring a railing judgment against them before the Lord. But these, as creatures without reason, born mere animals to be taken and destroyed, speaking evil in matters about which they are ignorant, will in their destroying surely be destroyed, receiving the wages of unrighteousness; people who count it pleasure to revel in the day-time, spots and blemishes, reveling in their deceit while they feast with you; having eyes full of adultery, and who can’t cease from sin; enticing unsettled souls; having a heart trained in greed; children of cursing; forsaking the right way, they went astray, having followed the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of wrong-doing; but he was rebuked for his own disobedience. A mute donkey spoke with man’s voice and stopped the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds driven by a storm; for whom the blackness of darkness has been reserved forever. For, uttering great swelling words of emptiness, they entice in the lusts of the flesh, by licentiousness, those who are indeed escaping from those who live in error; promising them liberty, while they themselves are bondservants of corruption; for by whom a man is overcome, by the same is he also brought into bondage. For if, after they have escaped the defilement of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior, Yeshua the Messiah, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the last state has become worse with them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy mitzvah delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb, “The dog turns to his own vomit again,” and “the sow that had washed to wallowing in the mire.” (2 Peter 2:4-22)
Comments: Verses 20-22 make it clear this warning applies to believers as well as unbelievers. The false teaching of once saved, always saved, is proven false by verse, 20 which clearly states these are people who have escaped the defilement of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior, Yeshua the Messiah. It is impossible to escape the defilement of the world without knowing the power of Yeshua. These people not only had heard about Yeshua and been somewhat interested in his teaching, they actually knew him and received power from him to be set free from their sins. Verse 21 further clarifies that they knew the way of righteousness. Jesus said he is the way. Then after all that, they returned to their old sins again and got entangled and overcome. Verse 21 says it would be better for them not to have known than to turn back after knowing. How could this possibly be true if they are locked into being always saved? If they were still going to heaven you could not say they would be better off to have never known the Lord. This could only be true if they were not only going to hell but to a worse place within hell than they otherwise would have gone. Hell has varying levels of torment. The worse torment is given to those who knew the Lord but later turned away from him because to whom much is given, much will be required. All believers should take note of this, turn away from all sin and fear God.
You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (2 Peter 3:17, 18 NASB)
Comments: Peter warns believers to beware of evil men who twist the scriptures lest you be carried away with their errors and fall from your own steadfastness. To avoid this fate, Peter advises believers to grow in the grace and knowledge of Yeshua. Why would Peter warn believers of the danger of falling from their steadfastness if they could not fall? Why would he advise them to grow in grace and knowledge if it were not necessary to attain salvation. The Greek word stayrigmos is translated here as steadfastness but can also be translated as ‘firm condition’. The once saved, always saved doctrine teaches that believers are granted a permanent firm condition when they get saved. But Peter makes it clear it is not permanent but rather it is conditional, depending on choices we make. If believers avoid following after the teachings of evil people and instead make wise choices, they can be in a firm condition. However, if they foolishly listen to evil people and follow them, believers can fall from that firm condition to shaky ground, where they are in danger of losing their salvation. Otherwise, this warning would not be needed.
Why would we need to be warned to be on our guard? Verse 17 gives us the answer, so we are not carried away by error and fall from our steadfastness. If the doctrine of ‘once saved always saved’ were true, this warning would not be needed because the end result would be the same regardless of what we do.
If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:6-7 NASB)
Comments: Contrary to the ‘once saved always saved’ doctrine, this scripture makes it clear that if you walk in darkness you do not have fellowship with him, which means the blood of Jesus does not cleanse you from your sins, which means you are not saved. His blood only cleanses the sins of those who walk in the light. There is no forgiveness of sins for those who walk in darkness, even if they formerly walked in the light. There is no scripture to support that idea. No matter how much light you walked in in the past, even if you prayed the sinner’s prayer and were born again and walked close with God, you must continue walking in the light until the end or you will lose your salvation. Faith without works is dead.
They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. (1 John 2:19 NASB)
Comments: People who believe the doctrine of ‘once saved always saved’ will likely use this verse to support their view that those who fall away were never really saved. However, that view contradicts many other scriptures.
The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:17 NASB)
Comments: This is why the doctrine of ‘once saved always saved’ cannot possibly be true. Eternal life is given only to those who do the will of God. If you say you have been saved but you do not do the will of God then you are deceived and on your way to hell. This is consistent with what Jesus said in Matthew 7:21 when he explained that there will be many people who claim to be Christians who will go to hell because they did not do the will of God.
Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God. (3 John 1:11 NASB)
Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe. And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 1:5-7 NASB)
‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place-unless you repent. (Revelation 2:2-5 NASB)
He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS; AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father; and I will give him the morning star. (Revelation 2:26-28 NASB)
Comments: This passage shows how authority is given only to those whose deeds are obedient to the Lord until the end. It is not given to those who were obedient for a season but then fell away. Everything is based on deeds and continuing until the end. While salvation is not addressed here, this passage shows how God will judge and reward his people. Would God have a different standard for judging salvation? This is clearly contrary to the doctrine of ‘once saved always saved’.
“To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. (Revelation 3:1-5 NASB)
Comments: In this passage, overcoming is clearly defined as having deeds obedient to God and having avoided immoral behavior. A few people in Sardis had been obedient. They had not soiled their garments. They had not participated in immoral deeds. They had remained faithful to God. The rest of the church in Sardis was claiming to be alive spiritually but the Lord tells them plainly here they were dead because their deeds were not right in the sight of God. They did not remain faithful until the end. Only a few people in that church were found worthy. The Lord rewards only those faithful few with three rewards. First, they will be clothed in white garments. Second, they will not have their names erased from the book of life. Third, the Lord Jesus will confess their name before His Father and before His angels. These three rewards go together as a package deal. If you qualify for one you qualify for all three. If this is true, then it follows that the corollary must also be true. He who does not overcome will not be clothed in white garments and the Lord Jesus will erase his name from the book of life and will not confess his name before the Father or before His angels. If the doctrine of ‘once saved always saved was true, then there would be no distinction made here between those who overcome and those who do not overcome. There would be no mention of erasing any names from the book of life. If any names can be erased from the book of life then the doctrine of ‘once saved always saved’ cannot be true.
I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name. (Revelation 3:11, 12 NASB)
Comments: Jesus commands believers to hold fast what they have so that no one will take their crown. From the previous chapter, in Revelations 2:10, the crown is referred to as the crown of life, which is given to those who remain faithful to the Lord until death. This same warning is being repeated here in slightly different words. Repeating the warning adds greater emphasis and importance. It follows that those who fail to heed this warning by failing to hold fast what they have will have their crown of life taken away from them by someone else. Otherwise, the warning would be meaningless. These people must have possessed the crown at one time or else it could not be taken away from them. This is a clear proof that it is possible to possess salvation and then lose it. The warning continues with a list of rewards, which will be given only to those who overcome. To suggest that all believers are automatically granted the status of over-comers would require taking this verse out of context. He who overcomes refers to the people in the previous sentence who hold fast what they have. These are the only ones who qualify to keep the crown of life and receive the other rewards listed.
‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. (Revelation 3:15-19 NASB)
Comments: Does God ever reach the point of giving up on us? According to this passage He does. Other passages give a variety of reasons for losing your salvation including failing to overcome, failing to hold fast what you have, having deeds that are not perfected in the sight of God, and not doing the will of God. Here we see another reason, which is for being lukewarm in our relationship with God. He would prefer us to be either cold or hot. If we are lukewarm He will spit us out of His mouth. By comparing it to spitting, the Lord shows how unpleasant our lukewarm condition is to Him. In verse 17 He explains what it means to be lukewarm. It means we have misjudged ourselves by thinking too highly of ourselves spiritually. We think we are spiritually rich, needing nothing, but in reality we are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. In verse 18 He gives us the remedy for getting free from being lukewarm. He advises us to buy from Him gold refined by fire so that we can become truly rich and white garments so that we may clothe ourselves and eye salve to anoint our eyes so that we may see. We buy from him by investing our time and efforts into doing things that are pleasing to Him as we have been taught by other scriptures such as spending time seeking Him in prayer, studying the word, helping the poor and ministering to the needs of His people. He ends this rebuke in verse 19 with encouraging words explaining that it is only because He loves us that He corrects us. He also gives us the final instructions for fixing our lukewarm condition, which is to be zealous and repent. To be zealous means to act with zeal, with ardent interest, to pursue the things of God with passion, eagerness and fervor.
He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:7, 8 NASB)
Comments: Salvation belongs only to over-comers. In other words, obedience to God’s commandments is required. This is consistent with Matthew 7:21. All liars will go to hell regardless of whether or not they call Jesus their Lord. All means all. This is very bad news for most of the people who are now on the earth because the world is filled with liars, including many who think they are born again and on their way to heaven. We would be wise to fear God and take heed, working out our salvation with fear and trembling (see Philippians 2:12).