Once Saved, Always Saved?
There is a dangerous doctrine being taught today that once a person is saved, that person is always saved or that person will never fall from grace. This is the same kind of lie Satan used when he told Eve "You won't surely die," (Genesis 3:4). Furthermore, this doctrine leads a person to wrong conclusions. For example, if a person does something wrong that person can either claim it was not a sin or come to the conclusion that they never were a Christian.
Defenders of this doctrine will try to back it up with scripture by using 1 John 3:6-9 and 1 John 5:18. While at first glance one may accept this doctrine, however; I ask every sincere person to read these passages in context. Referring back to the second chapter of this book, 1 John 2:1-2 states "If anyone sins, we have a Counselor with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous." Does this mean John contradicted himself? No, the language used in 1 John 3:6-9 and 1 John 5:18 is strong admonishment for any Christian who wishes to sin. However, any who keep the doctrine of once saved, always saved will have to deal with an incompatibility of their traditions with the Word of God.
The language used in 1 John 3:6-9 is similar to the language Paul uses in Hebrews 10:26. Both John and Paul use this strong admonishment to teach Christians that they are not to continue willfully sinning. For example, in Romans 6:1-2 Paul writes "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? (2) May it never be! We who died to sin, how could we live in it any longer?" This is the attitude every Christian should have! In Galatians 5:1 Paul reaffirms this "Stand firm therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and don't be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." However, just a few passages later (Galatians 5:4) we read "You are alienated from Christ, you who desire to be justified by the law. You have fallen away from grace." This is important because we are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:5).
Some other passages they will try to use are: Romans 8:38-39 and 2 Thessalonians 3:3. While it is true that no outside force can separate us from the love of God, however; an inside force, sin, can. In Isaiah 59:1-2, Isaiah records; "(1) Behold, Yahweh's hand is not shortened, that it can't save; neither his ear heavy, that it can't hear: (2) but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear." Paul establishes this message in the New Testament when he writes; "(24) Don't you know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run like that, that you may win. (25) Every man who strives in the games exercises self-control in all things. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. (26) I therefore run like that, as not uncertainly. I fight like that, as not beating the air, (27) but I beat my body and bring it into submission, lest by any means, after I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected." (1 Corinthians 9:24-27) If Paul, an inspired apostle of Christ can be rejected, what makes a person living today think he cannot?
In Revelation 2:10 John teaches Christians that there is a condition to receive the crown of life, that is, we must be faithful until death. James makes this clear in James 1:12-16 "(12) Blessed is the man who endures temptation, for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to those who love him. (13) Let no man say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God," for God can't be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. (14) But each one is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed. (15) Then the lust, when it has conceived, bears sin; and the sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death. (16) Don't be deceived, my beloved brothers." To conclude this matter let us take the advise of Paul when he writes to the Christians in Corinth "Therefore let him who thinks he stands be careful that he doesn't fall." (1 Corinthians 10:12)
All passages come from the World English Bible (WEB)