ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED?

Does the Bible teach that once a man is saved he can never lose his salvation? There are those who believe that salvation cannot be lost. They offer verses like the following:

John 10:27-28

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish.”

When Jesus says they shall never perish, He is talking about those who follow Him. But what about those sheep who quit following Jesus? It is clear from the passage below that it is possible for believers to quit following Jesus, to become estranged (separated from Him) and thus to fall from grace.

Galatians 5:4

“You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”

In Galatians 5:4, Paul is writing to Christians, giving them this warning. It is important to note that a person could not “fall” from grace if he were not at first “in” grace! Notice these similar warnings:

2 Peter 3:17

“You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked.”

James 5:12

“But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your ‘Yes,’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’” lest you fall into judgment.”

Warnings like these would not be given unless there was a danger present. Evidently, what some folks would have us to believe is that a Christian who has been saved by grace could fall from grace and yet still be saved. If that were the case, then why the repeated warnings?

James 5:19-20

Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.”

Philippians 4:3 says that the saved have their names written in the “the book of life”. Yet, Revelation 3:5 warns us that a Christian’s name can be blotted out of the book. Peter describes an unfaithful Christian:

2 Peter 2:20-22

“For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: ‘A dog returns to his own vomit,’ and, ‘a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.’”

This is an ugly picture. Peter compares a Christian whose sins have been “washed” away by Christ’s blood, but later returning to his sin, to a washed sow returning to the mud and a dog returning to its vomit.

God knows a Christian will not be sinlessly perfect. But He does expect us to be faithful. When we give in to temptations and sin, we are overcome with guilt and as children of God, we must seek forgiveness.

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