Once Saved Always Saved and Eternal Security Versus Man’s Responsibility! Part 4
(Ver 1.2) This is now Part 4 in the series of basic Bible lessons about an old religious philosophy labeled as “Once Saved Always Saved” theology. If you have not read this series from the beginning I would suggest that you go start reading with “Part 1“. The “Once Saved Always Saved” teaching has been in existence for well over 60 years so it is not a new Bible teaching. However, this old religious philosophy has recently been transformed into a more modern Grace extreme theological message called Eternal Security or Unconditional Security or even Unconditional Eternal Security. This has become a very popular message found on the internet and it is taught in many churches today. Christians buy into the message simply because it proclaims a universally safe no fail no fault approach to being a Christian. It makes being a Christian so ultra-simple. However, the message of Unconditional Eternal Security (U.E.S.) completely ignores the fact that there are any spiritual enemies still left in the world that are now trying to deceive or defeat us. The message of U.E.S. has total disregard for the fact that God gave to everyman freewill to choose to depart from their salvation at any time. It ignores any further Christian responsibility to remain a Christian or to live a holy Godly lifestyle. This teaching lumps every type of sin into a common category of all-inclusive forgiveness and makes them all irrelevant, inconsequential and removed from the equation of either the initial salvation process or the continued salvation process. In fact it technically denies there are any processes defined to salvation at all. They claim that by the removal of their sins by the shed blood of Jesus that God now provides us each with eternal security without any further attached conditions. These types of Christian believers think they have no further accountability thus denying the existence of any future judgments from God. They further deny human responsibility to do anything to remain saved. In other words in their minds their salvation was a onetime decision point event on the timeline of their life on this earth and that this one event has now guaranteed them eternal security with God forever. Since they have already accepted Jesus they assume that there are no further decisions to make, no more scriptures to learn, no need to hear from God, no need to listen to God, no need to be taught by God, no need to be led by the Spirit of God, no need to grow up spiritually and I could go on and on. All of this human reasoning allows them to live independent from anything else that God has declared in His Word on any subject. To me that logic does not make any sense and to base my eternal security upon anything so obviously shaky would really scare me.
I still run into this popular belief more frequently than I would like. This modern teaching of Unconditional Eternal Security is just a new type of the older extreme Grace message called “Once Saved Always Saved”. These teachings have departed from a balanced truth approach to Bible interpretation moving into the false realm of extremism simply by leaving out the other subjects that they do not agree with. These Bible teachers take only specific scriptures of truth found in the Bible that they like to see to base their message explaining away all the other verses of a conflicting nature. But, the problem remains that there will always be more than one or even two truths found in the entire Bible and we are required by God to take into account all of the stated truths given to us in the Bible so that we can know that we are preaching what God actually thinks of the subject of eternal security. Rather than give you all of the verses that these Grace preachers so love to exclusively teach on, I am simply focusing on in this series, what else the Bible says about subject of eternal security so we can see that God says there is more to being a Christian than just us getting saved once in our lives. I’m going to start today’s lesson talking about a subject called Christian Responsibility.
GOD’S DELEGATED CHRISTIAN RESPONSIBILITY AFTER SALVATION
Unconditional eternal security is a belief that is based upon the irrelevance of man’s future actions. U.E.S. believes what a man does is independent from the process of their continued salvation. This type of belief removes the obvious freewill participation of the man from any further relevance. It also is a belief that proclaims that a man has no given responsibilities from God to do anything. Maybe we need to stop here and define the word “responsibility” to give us an equal foundation. How you view the definition of responsibility might be completely different to what I see it to be. Here is a definition that I found easily on the internet:
- The state or fact of having a duty to deal with something.
- The state or fact of being accountable or to blame for something.
- the ability or authority to act or decide on one’s own, without supervision
Here are three dictionary definitions for the word responsibility. I agree with every one of them and I understand them. But, do you understand them? On Facebook recently one of my friends posted a sign on their wall about something that I really liked. So I took the sign and put it on my wall and here is what it said. It said “I’m only responsible for what I say; I’m not responsible for what you understand”. Did you notice the word “responsible in that sign message twice? That is exactly what I am discussing here today. That saying from Facebook shows us I have a responsibility for what I say and you have a responsibility for what you hear. According to the Bible, God will hold me personally responsible for what I say when I teach, so I’m very careful what I teach. However, you are now also responsible to learn, but not to just learn what I said but more importantly to understand what I was saying. Any parrot can be taught to say anything repetitively, but the bird will never understand the words that he speaks. Don’t be a parrot type of Christian; learn to understand what is being taught and this will cause the knowledge to never be taken away from you.
Using the definitions of the word “responsibility” can you think of anything in the New Testament that God has spoken to you that reveals you as having any responsibility? Look at the first definition. It says you have to deal with something as a duty or a job. Has God left anything here on the earth for you to deal with? You bet He has! The second definition states that you will have accountability for having done something or take the blame for having failed to do something. Is that applicable for any Christian going forward? If you do not understand the coming judgment of God then you do not yet understand your God given responsibility and your accountability for doing it. Number three is also important to see. It states there was given some task assignment along with the authority to accomplish that job. How does that apply to us as a Christian, let me show you:
Luk 10:19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Here is delegated authority given to the church from Jesus personally. The key word in this verse is the first Greek word translated as “power’. This word is mistranslated and should have been translated as the English word “authority”. This Greek word G1849 means “delegated influence”. Real authority can only be transferred or given to anyone by a higher authority. Since God is the highest authority this means He has the right to give us some of His authority. Anytime anyone gives away part of their authority they have now delegated their responsibility to them from which they will be now held accountable. For example, every police officer of a city is held accountable to uphold the laws fairly for that city. Therefore the police officer has been given direct responsibilities from a higher authority. If they fail to uphold the laws of the city then they will face the consequences for their failure. This is the exact same concept being transferred to us by God in the verse in Luke 10:19. You have been given responsibilities by God the highest authority and you will be held accountable for not doing them. In other words Christians have been given specific gifts, talents, tasks and assignments and these are not optional, but rather our God given responsibility to fulfill or they will not get done. Let’s talk about some more of our Christian responsibilities:
Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Let’s begin our thought process on responsibility by considering how we got saved. Did we have any responsibility in the entire process of our initial salvation? We should know that we began the process by hearing someone preach about Jesus. We continued the salvation process by believing what we heard about Jesus or we ended the process by not believing and then walking away from Jesus’ salvation offer. However if we choose to believe what was being preached the process continues. For example we believed that Jesus was God in the flesh, that He died for our sins and that He was raised from the dead and we conintue on the path to being saved. Next, we must confess Jesus as our Lord and according to Romans 10:9-10 and God says we are now saved! So how did we just get saved? It was a process! In this process of initial salvation there are three realms of delegated responsibility that must be present and working together. First the preacher was given the responsibility by God to preach the Gospel to us or we will not hear it. Second the unsaved person was given the responsibility to hear, believe and confess or they will not begin to be saved. Finally, the Holy Spirit has the responsibility to confirm the Word of God spoken by drawing the unsaved individual to God and then to come into the spirit of the unsaved person after they have heard, believed and confessed. Clearly “initial salvation” is a multi-step and a multi-responsibility process. Any one party could fail in the process and there would be no salvation. Of course God will never fail you, so that is not the weak point or the weak link in the process. However, the human factors that are participating can always fail. Humans will always be the weak link in the initial salvation process.
I firmly believe that we must determine how we were saved in order to determine how we will remain in the state of our salvation. In other words what got us into God’s grace will continue to be exactly what keeps you there. If initial salvation and continued salvation are both mutually exclusive from each other that would represent a new scriptural inconsistency. Ephesians 2:8 states that we are saved by Grace through faith. Therefore salvation was conditional upon us believing in the finished work of Jesus with our faith. Then in Romans 10:9-10 God says we must not only believe that God raised Jesus from the dead but we also must confess Jesus to be our Lord. If we are required to do something like believe and to confess in order to be saved then that makes our initial salvation clearly conditional upon our faithful obedience. If our initial salvation is conditional upon our obedience then by direct association our continued salvation must also be conditional upon our continued obedience or God would be very inconsistent. Do you understand my logic so far? Ephesians 2:8 told us that our faith was a factor for our salvation. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says we must continue to walk by our faith and not by sight after becoming a Christian. Therefore faith is still an ongoing factor for being a Christian. If continued salvation is only the responsibility of God like U.E.S. teaches, then initial salvation must also have been the full responsibility of God and that is clearly not the truth given to us in the Word of God.
The belief of unconditional eternal security after conditional salvation replaces the concept of any further human responsibility for continued salvation and places the full responsibility solely upon God. However God was clearly not the only factor for our initial salvation, so God just cannot be the only factor for our eternal security. If God was the only factor involved in our initial salvation then everyone would be saved today since 2 Peter 3:9 says God is not willing that any should perish. That however is another clear erroneous doctrine of many Bible teachers that want to believe in the invented concept called “Universal Salvation”. However when we study the Bible correctly we must balance more than one truth and see that just because God’s will is for everyone to be saved, that does not mean that everyone is saved. Clearly even Jesus taught us that people will be in hell with the story of the rich man in Luke 16. Clearly Jesus taught us that there will come a division between the sheep on the right hand from the goats on the left hand (Mat 25:32) and those not in His sheepfold will be lost and cast into the fire (Mat 13:40).
From my understanding and belief in a conditional salvation which is dependent upon my faithful obedience, participation and full acceptance causes me to believe in a conditional eternal security also based upon my further obedience, participation and acceptance. Otherwise we would all be saved by our willing participation but now kept safe independent from our participation by divine sovereign control. That type of belief would be completely illogical to me and very inconsistent with what I have observed in the scriptures. If man has no further responsibilities after his initial salvation then God has taken something away from him that he had before he was saved. If this is now missing from man, how can we claim we ever had it to begin with? Let’s examine the subject of continued Christian responsibility after salvation observing a basic truth taught to us in Romans:
Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
We need to begin to understand that we have been given the responsibility as a Christian to remain a Christian. In order to do this we must begin to find our responsibilities given to us by God. Here in this verse God says my children are ONLY those that are led by my Spirit. Is that you? Did you know that this being led by the Spirit of God was a conditional requirement for your continued salvation? This verse was written to Christians and not to unsaved people. Did you hear what I just said? People sometimes simply don’t want to go to hell so they will get saved thinking that is all that is required to keep them from hell, but that is clearly not what God teaches us in His full balanced Word. This verse in Romans displays two separate divisions of people. The two divisions are those that are led by God and those that are not led by God. We can restate this truth by saying it includes those that are His children and those that are not His children. Therefore getting saved and not being led by the Spirit of God defines to us a new state of potential loss. Do you see how conditional your salvation can suddenly become? Today very few Christians understand this concept of even how to be led by the Spirit of God much less to be able to hear and obey Him. But, suddenly in the Grace unconditional eternal salvation message this being led by the Spirit of God to be His child becomes a non-issue. I don’t see it that way. God clearly places responsibility upon Christina to be led. If you do not know how to be led by the Spirit of God I have a Bible series of lesson on this subject “Understanding How to Be Led by the Spirit of God”. Let’s go examine some words spoken by Jesus on the subject of responsibility:
Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Jesus said I will look at some and say to them “depart from me for I never knew you” and these were clearly people that thought they were saved and were even calling Jesus their Lord and thought they were doing many righteous good things that we see people in many churches do today. Do you understand that? I mean use your brain and think with me for a moment. Jesus is not talking to people who were in the bars, the night clubs and the strip joints of the world. God certainly does not know those types of people, no Jesus was talking to people who thought they were doing good things for God and they did not understand they needed to be led by the Spirit of God in what they did. In other words what they did for God they did independent from God and thus they failed to qualify for their continued salvation. In Matthew 7:22-23 Jesus was not talking about people or to people that never got saved! These are clearly people who got saved but went no further with their continuing salvation process to learn how to be led by God to become His child. Let’s look at the following verses in the context of those that Jesus was speaking to saying depart from me to find why they are being instructed to leave:
Mat 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
Mat 7:25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
Mat 7:26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
Mat 7:27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
Read these verses very carefully for they are talking about two types of saved Christians again. These two types of Christians are being compared and separated from each other in these verses. You can try to explain them away as being saved people versus unsaved people but that is not what is being stated. Both types of people had houses built and both heard the same Word of God. These are two types of Christians. First there are those that heard the Word of God and do what they heard and then second there are those that heard the Word of God but ignored what they heard. Both of these people had to sit in the same church services to hear the same word of God being taught. The wise man in this description is stated to be the doer of the word of God and the foolish man is he that is destroyed because he chose to only hear. If you cannot see the stated Christian responsibility given to you in these verses, of Romans 8:14 and Matthew 7:24-27 to become a doer and a follower of what God has said to you by His Word and His Spirit then you are deceived greatly. God has placed conditions upon your continued Christianity and your continued salvation. I could give you many other scriptural salvation conditions but I’m only going to end this lesson with some verses written directly to the church in Revelation spoken to us by the Lord Jesus:
Rev 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
Rev 2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
Rev 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
Rev 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Rev 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
Rev 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
I just gave you seven verses from Revelation chapters 2 and 3 written to the church telling us that we must “overcome” something or someone in order to receive something else from God. What does that teach us? Any time that God promises you something and then tells you what you must do to qualify for it that changes the promise of God to a conditional requirement that is based upon your successful participation. Let’s get the definition for this word translated as the English word “overcome” in order to understand what it means. Here is the definition from the Strong’s:
From G3529; to subdue (literally or figuratively): – conquer, overcome, prevail, get the victory.
Do you understand what subdue means? It means you have an enemy opposed to you. Do you understand what conquer means? It means you have a responsibility to win. Do you understand what “prevail” means? It means you can fail if you do not learn what you are doing. To be defeated as a Christian is as simple as you doing nothing. You are guaranteed failure for your lack of participation. The easiest way for any evil to prevail, is for good people to do nothing to prevent it. Do you know what “get the victory” means? It means God expects you to be a winner. To “overcome” clearly denotes responsibility to be victorious over your enemy and you will be held accountable if you do not do this.
What exactly is there left for us in the church to overcome if Christ has overcome it all already? I think that is a very excellent question that is being ignored by Christian Grace teachers of unconditional eternal security. Clearly we have just been given a major conflict with the belief for unconditional eternal security for all the church if we have anything left to overcome in order to qualify. God tells us repeatedly in these verses that we are to overcome in order to qualify for the participation of any further gifts. This is clearly God’s delegated responsibility that makes God’s gifts conditional. Several of these verses make it sound like even our salvation depends upon us being an overcomer. Read them closely for yourself. For example Revelation 2:7 says if you we overcome we get to eat from the tree of life. What would be the opposite of that truth? Would that be to eat form the tree of death if you don’t overcome? Uh oh? That is a potential problem isn’t it? Read Revelation 3:12 and see what God says to those that overcome He will give His name meaning to those that do not overcome He will not. Then understand that one name that is given to these overcomers is the name of the New Jerusalem and this is identified to be His bride in Revelation 21. Clearly if you do not overcome you are not His bride. If we don’t overcome, then Jesus implies we cannot eat from the tree that gives us life, we cannot be His bride, and we cannot have His name. This is really not that complicated, but it is an unexpected problem for those that believe in U.E.S.
Clearly to me our continued salvation and eternal security is not independent from our future decisions or actions. To me it is very self-evident that our continued salvation is totally dependent upon our continued faithful participation and obedience to God’s Word and His Spirit for the rest of the process of our salvation to make us overcomers. These truths that God gives us in the Bible make the reality of eternal security to be a completely conditional divine proposition. I only gave you a few great examples of continued Delegated Christian Responsibility after salvation. I could give you many others, but I believe I made my point and will move on to another topic that you need to understand in the next lesson in this series that I call the Deception Factor. Therefore, thanks for your time in studying the Bible today and I pray that you learned something that will be a blessing to you. Until next time if you feel like leaving me a comment, please do that. If you want to find me on Facebook and be my friend you are welcome to do that also. God Bless you until next time.
If you would like to continue reading and studying in this series, you may continue to “Part 5“.
Posted on March 11, 2012, in Bible Basics, Bible Study, Understanding and tagged Bible, Christianity, Church, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Religion, Salvation, security, Truth, understanding. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.
Excellent and taught so much which I did not understand before.Now my knowlege has deepen and spiritually glad to get the fruit of spiritual explanation.
Really good teaching!
You’re very nice Angelita, thanks for your comment!
Maybe a little off topic, however, A big topic of discussion amongst Christians round the marketplace right now is based mostly on the “everlasting safety” of the believer. A variety of everyone hold the situation that once a particular person is saved, they are eternally secured in Christ, and subsequently will continue to be saved from that level forward. Many others teach that you can be saved for a period of time of time but then “drop absent” because of to any range of reasons such as certain sins or lack of religion. The Bible is really quite apparent in instructing that a person who is saved by God will be stored saved by God.
Keep up the posts!
Thanks for you comment, God Bless!