Once Saved, Always Saved vs. The Sin Unto Death!

(Ver 1.4)  This is “Part 1” in a series of very important Bible study lessons on a very controversial subject taught by many churches called Once Saved Always Saved.   It is also called eternal security, unconditional security and goes by several other names.  Can a Christian after being saved ever do anything that will cause them not be saved?  There are certainly so many in the church today that say this is impossible.   This is certainly a difficult subject found in the Bible and one that has caused much debate for many Christians.  As you can tell I do not intentionally avoid controversial subjects in my Bible lessons.  I try to talk about the important subjects and the relevant God kind of things that are on everyone’s mind at one time or the other.  But, I want to make sure that when I talk about a subject, I try to do it from a balanced Bible perspective and that I do not ignore any related subjects or scriptures in order to embrace a part of the truth that I like more.  I like to confront religion and religious minded people directly with the Word of God.  I do not intentionally ignore the hard sayings that the Bible contains.  I obviously am still learning new things everyday, so I might be able to add more to a topic later, but I just talk about the things that I’ve learned up until this point in time and that is the best that I can do.  I have heard this philosophy of “Once Saved, Always Saved” being taught in many Christian circles and denominations.  I often wondered about it, why it seemed to me not to be totally accurate truth being taught.  I heard the argument for eternal security and it seemed like a very legitimate good one on the surface.  The Bible tells us that the payment of sin was an all inclusive one-time act of Jesus (Heb 9:26).  Therefore, what sin could I possibly commit that was not already covered under the blood of Jesus for me to lose my salvation and I could at first not think of any.  Until one day I read a verse in the Bible that talked about a new kind of sin that I had never seen before.  This sin was called the “Sin Unto Death” so I started studying the scriptures for a clearer understanding of this topic and this lesson was the beginning of what I found.

Today’s topic is Once Saved Always Saved vs. the Sin Unto Death!   It is a modern Bible debate of the scriptures.  What does it all mean?  Is there a Sin that a Christian can commit to cause them not be saved anymore?  What we must realize is that if there is just one sin that you can commit to lose your salvation then we need to know about it and how to avoid it.  You see in some Christian denominations it is taught as “Once Saved, Always Saved!”  Meaning that there is not any sin of any kind or any human action that a man or women can commit to go to hell after being saved.  After studying the Bible, I would not want to be in that person’s shoes on judgment day if that is really what they believe.  Too many Christian use the Bible and certain verses as a justified license to commit sin and that is not a good interpretation of what God said.   I believe in the eternal power of the blood of Jesus and I believe that Jesus died on the cross once for all people and for all sins, past, present and future.  I believe that there are no more sacrifices for sin that is required to pay for any past or future sin.  However, to say once saved and always saved means that man no longer has any free will rights or future choices or decisions to ever make to stay saved and that forces us to ignore a vast portion of the New Testament that teaches us that we have responsible actions to follow.  This type of thinking causes man to have no future accountability and no further responsibilities after becoming a Christian.   Where in the Bible does it ever say that man loses his right to choose or make decisions?  Where in the Bible does it say that a man will never be judged for what he has done on the earth?  That type of thinking does not fit the complete image of God or the Bible in any form or fashion.   God never makes our decisions for us.  God never chooses or forces your destiny.  God will never control your thoughts.  God will never stop you from doing anything either right or wrong.

If you closely read and study the Bible, it speaks of an ongoing and a continual process of salvation.  Salvation is spoken of in the terms of something that clearly has a beginning or starting point.  For example, Jesus said in John 3:3 that “you must be born again”.  This spiritual birth described by Jesus was exactly like a natural birth and it represents a starting point for your new spiritual life and growth process.  If something like being born again has an observable beginning, then it must also have an observable ending termination point with a specific process of stuff in the middle.  Is this too complicated for you?  Do you understand processes?

Let’s talk briefly about the imedded process of being a Christian from inception to termination.  You see in the Bible we are told to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Php 2:12).  Does that not sound like a process to you?   We are also commanded “to run the race” (Heb 12:1, 1 Cor 9:24).  Isn’t every race a process with a stated ending after a beginning?  We are told to “fight the good fight” (1 Tim 6:12).  Have you ever watched a boxing match?  Do they not start every match with a bell and then go through to the number of predetermined rounds if each boxer survives that long?  That sure sounds like a process to me.  Then we are told to “Hold Fast to what you have been given until Jesus comes back” (Rev 2:25).  If it is necessary to “Hold on” to what Jesus has given to us, then that is also a stated process that can be lost.  All of these verses imply an ongoing process and a continuing effort to contend for a good and a positive outcome.  They also imply the possibility of someone losing, quitting, or giving up.   Any race will always have a winner and a loser,  Any race will always have people who finish and some that quit.  A fight also has a winner and a loser.  A fight can also have a person who throws up his hands and says “no mas” or “I give up”.  To work out your salvation implies a job with an expected outcome attached to it, like a paycheck.  If at any time you give up and do not finish the job or work are you still entitled to the pay?  Then that verse in Revelation 2:25 that Jesus is speaking to the church and telling them to “hold fast on to their salvation until I come back”.  You see salvation is a gift that we have been freely given, yes?  If I gave you a Rolex watch, couldn’t you throw it away?   You see any gift given is dependent upon the receiver holding on to it and taking care of it in order for the gift to be kept safe.   If you have to hold on to your salvation then you can lose your salvation, you can throw it away intentionally, you can treat it casually and even accidently lose it.  Any gift from God a man or a woman has the right to reject it or walk away from it at any point in time.  People never lose their right to choose and they will always have the ability and power to reject salvation.  The Bible is a very tricky book to understand.  You see it says so many things in so many different ways that you have to be very careful on what you base your theology.  You cannot take just a small part of the Bible and make that the complete truth.  It might be only a small part of the truth and you have exalted it to be the complete truth.  That is what I believe people who teach “Once Save, Always Save” have done.   So what is this “Sin Unto Death”?  In 1 John 5:16 God gives us some information that is difficult to understand.  Let’s go through what this verse says and talk about it:

1Jn 5:16  If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto dath: I do not say that he shall pray for it.

God is obviously talking about the subject of sin.  Sin is usually defined as “missing the mark” and the mark is doing the right thing no matter what it costs.  But, in this verse there seems to be two different types of sin being discussed.  One is a normal sin and the other is called a “sin unto death”.  What is the Bible definition of death?  I think that most Christian people think naturally and define death to be when someone’s body just ceases to function.  But, you also have to keep in mind that the Bible says that the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23).  In that verse God is talking about two kinds of death using a single reference.  One type of death is physical or natural and the other type of death is a spiritual death.  You see there is a spiritual death that is simply defined as the separation from God.  The human spirit will never cease to exist but it may not exist within God’s family unit.  Let’s continue reading in 1 John so we can see the definition of sin:

 1Jn 5:17  All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.

This verse starts with the definition for sin, saying it is anything that you do that is unrighteous.  That includes a tremendous number of possible things, doesn’t it?  This verse ends in a contradictory statement to what I just quoted in Romans 6:12 that the wages of all sin was death.  In Romans it clearly teaches us that the “wages of sin is death”.  Wages are what you normally receive for doing good works at a job.  However God is using this concept to teach the consequences of sin as an inverse negative.  We have a paradox given to us in 1 John 5:17 that is truly a mystery.  God clearly teaches that there are sins that are not unto death.   What we have is a major interpretation problem brewing or we could also view it as a misunderstanding based upon our ignorance of the subject.  The only logical way to resolve the conflict is to understand that one verse is talking about both physical and spiritual death and the other verse is just talking about spiritual death.  The “sin unto death” is a referenced spiritual death that separates that individual from God spiritually speaking.  We are told in 1 John 5:16 to only pray for those that are committing the sins that are not unto death, but for those that have committed the sin unto death, it does not do any good to pray for them God says. I also want to emphasize that John was writing about Christians in this verse context calling them spiritual brothers.  This sin unto death is not used in relation to non-Christians even though they are technically already spiritually dead not having been born again.   I do hope that you are beginning to understand the difference between these two types of sins being contrasted.  If not let’s review an example of the types of sin not unto spiritual death:

1Co 5:1  It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.

We are looking at a Bible example of a sin not unto death and trying to see what God says about it.  In this verse found in 1 Corinthians 5 you can read about a man that is committing fornication and sin by taking his father’s wife and sleeping with her.  God tells us very clearly that this action is a sin, but yet He does not say that it is a sin unto to spiritual death, yet the man is still handed over to Satan to be killed a physical death as we can read in the next verse:

1Co 5:5  To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

The man was handed over to Satan by Paul for the destruction of his flesh.  Did you know that Satan had that kind of power and access if you sin?  This is certainly an example of death, but it is only a natural physical death and not a spiritual eternal separation from God.  God still says that the man’s spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.  What we can see is that the man’s sin resulted in him going to heaven early and he didn’t have a long extended life here on the earth.  That is what sin does to you, it opens the door to Satan and it shortens your life here on the earth.  But, notice the difference, he was still potentially saved so this was not the sin that was mentioned earlier called the sin unto spiritual death.  Are you seeing it?  Let’s examine some other New Testmanet scriptural examples concerning those who have comitted this sin unto death:

Heb 10:29  Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

In this verse in Hebrews we can see an example of the “sin unto death”.  It speaks of someone who was once saved, but now they have changed their directions and speak against God.  They appear to disdain the shed blood of Jesus in the new covenant, and God says that they have actually trample on or walked over the Son of God like He was their defeated enemy.  The blood that they once thought was holy they now call unholy and what they use to esteem they now despise.  This verse speaks of someone who was clearly once saved and now has turned back to what they use to be.  This is extremely sad to me, but people will always have the freewill right to go back into the darkness and leave the light of God.  Here is another verse that reveals men on the earth can castaway what God has given to them:

Heb 10:35  Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.

You can see fairly clearly reading throughout this chapter in context and this verse in particular that it says that people can purposefully “cast away” whatever has been given to them.  I tried to talk about this concept earlier, when I said if I came and gave you a Rolex watch, you could choose to not keep it and even throw it in the garbage.  It really depends upon how much you value what is given to you.  If someone has no confidence in God or the blood of Jesus saving them then that could also result in that person losing their salvation.  Look back up in this chapter at another verse in context on the subject of drawing back:

Heb 10:39  But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

Finally, in this verse God talks about some people who were once saved but now they have “drawn back” into perdition.  To “draw back” means to quit or stop running or to not finish or complete the process that I talked about earlier.  It speaks of them entering back into the state of “perdition” which means a state of “loss” or “ruin”.  All of these terms are speaking about someone who was once saved, but chose to depart God and go another foolish way.  It is impossible to draw back into perdition if you were not saved free from perdition.  This is not rocket science you just have to see what the Bible says on the subject.  Can a believer draw back from their salvation?  According to God they can!

So what is this “sin unto death”?  I believe that the only sin that will result in you not making it, is the one where you willfully and intentionally say “I do not want you God anymore”, “I do not want to be saved and you are not my Lord, Jesus”.  If you do this and say this guess what, God will not make you go to heaven and He will let you go to hell.  God will always allow you to choose your destiny right up until your very last breath that you breathe here on this planet.  After you leave this planet your choice has been made and there are no more chances to change.  There is a lot more in the Bible on this subject and I could give you personal testimonies of people, but I am running very long so for now I think I will end this lesson with a restatement of the Christian process that you are in right now:

What are we Christians suppose to be doing right now?  Here are 4 things:

  1. Fight the Good Fight of Faith…
  2. Run the Race that is Set Before Us…
  3. Work Out Our Salvation with Fear and Trembling….
  4. Hold Fast to What God Has Given You…

Perhaps you know something I do not on this subject of why you are saved eternally without the possiblity of being lost again, if you have scriptures that I did not talk about today, I would be happy to hear about them.  I will do a followup lesson in this series and go into more scriptures about the subject of the sin unto death in the future:

God Bless!

If you would like to continue reading this series, please go to “Part 2“.


About agapegeek

Using the Bible to understand the Bible! Advanced Bible study for mature Chrisitians who want to grow.

Posted on March 16, 2010, in Bible Basics, Bible Study, Understanding and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Paul was telling the church to stop accepting him because that yeast affects the whole batch. This was a last resort so that the man was back under the devil’s control with the chance of him realizing his sin and repent before it was to late. He then could be accepted back into the body so that he could enter the Kingdom on THE DAY OF THE LORD


  2. What an awesome teaching! Very clear, sound scripturally! I enjoyed it very much. The Holy Spirit has had me studying and researching this subject for the last couple of weeks. Thank you for sharing. God bless you!


  3. Most people I hear have been speaking of John 10: 28I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all ; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand to support their false doctrine. But when Jesus prayed for his disciples in John 17: 12While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. So believers can be lost and doomed to destruction.

    Also Simon the Sorcerer in the book of Acts believed and was following Simon Peter but when he wanted to buy the Holy Spirit, he was called wicked. These verses are clear but people seem to read over them and ignore them. I think the sin that does not lead to death is what is called in OT ‘unintentional sin’. Once you are made aware you are guilty&you can be forgiven but if one sins knowingly, this is treating the Lord with contempt. Many examples beginning from when people were made aware of the Lord’s commands all the way to Ananias and Sapphira.


  4. Sir don’t you see the explanation you made on 1 Cor 5: as the bases why fornication is spreading like a contageous diesea amoung the believers this days?


    • I believe that Christians not knowing what 1 Cor 5 says or means is one of the main reasons why they are sinning while thinking they live under grace where there are no consequences for their sins. The modern extreme Grace message is creating this wrong impression for the lack of holiness in the Christian life.


      • Not just to experience an early departure to go to Heaven. He is given the opportunity to realize his sin and confess it.Thats the only way he would make it to Heaven!


  5. ” We are told in 1 Corinthians 5:16 to only pray for those that are committing the sins not unto death, but for those that have committed the sin unto death, it does not do any good to pray for them God says.” I think you meant to say 1 John 5:16, as there is no 1 Corinthians 5:16. 🙂


    • Thank you for pointing out my typing mistake. I corrected the post as soon as I read your comment. You are blessing, therefore please continue doing this if you see any others. God Bless!


  6. Is apostasy the same as ‘drawing back to perdition.’


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