“Once saved, always saved?”
Not according to the Bible!
Although we have many great assurances in our faith, it is possible to lose your salvation. Contrary to denominational teaching, the Scriptures warn us in many places against falling away. Jesus explained in the parable of the sower in Matthew 13. Look at verses 20-21:
The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.
Does this mean we are promoting “salvation by works”? Not by any means!
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
It is by God’s grace that mankind has a plan of salvation available! Can you imagine if we didn’t, and we were hopelessly doomed to hell with no possibility of redemption? Just because we are not saved by works, does not mean we must not still be faithful to God in our daily lives. Many use the false doctrine of “once saved, always saved” as a license to sin and justify their immorality and rebellion. But the Word of God warns against this:
acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and
debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage,
selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the
like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not
Could it be any clearer?
Paul told Timothy of those who had turned from the Truth:
Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.
"But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons"
"But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang."
"O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called "knowledge"-which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith."
But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are HYMENAEUS and Philetus, men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and thus they upset the faith of some.
The apostle Peter warned us too:
"But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves."
"You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness"
"For if after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, "A dog returns to its own vomit," and, "A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.""
Hebrews warns us:
For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame.
For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries."
"But My righteous one shall live by faith; And 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 preserving of the soul."
James and John warn us:
"My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth, and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins."
“Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.”
Jesus Himself warned us through John:
"'But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 'Remember therefore 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."
"'He who overcomes shall 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.
'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"
The whole New Testament is chock full and overflowing with warnings and admonitions to lead a life worthy of the calling to which we have received.
You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,
If we were saved with no possibility of falling away, then there would be hardly any reason for the majority of the New Testament. Most of it is to exhort Christians to holy living so they do not loose their crown:
►Be steadfast and immovable-- 1 Corinthians 15:58
►We will reap if we do not give up-- Galatians 6:9
►Be faithful unto death and I will give crown of life-- Revelation 2:10
►Practice these things and God will be with you-- Phil 4:9
…and on and on…
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Page last updated: November 24, 2005