ONCE SAVED...NOW AN APOSTATE
The argument between "once saved always saved" and "you can lose your salvation" has been going on for centuries. Nothing I say here, could convince either of these two groups to believe the opposing view. And that is not my motivation at this present time.
However, I offer a remedy to meld the two into scriptural agreement:
"Live a consistently holy, sanctified and perpetually obedient/repentant life, whether you believe salvation can or cannot be lost."
Whichever side you're on, if you are a genuine believer; who could argue with this? Regardless of whether it can or cannot be lost, isn't holiness what is expected of all genuine believers? 1 Peter 1:14-16
Let's examine both sides with living a holy life as the focus:
IF YOU BELIEVE SALVATION CAN BE LOST: Your obedience to the grace that has been bestowed upon you, ought to be resolutely adhered to, in absolute surrender unto the conformity of Christ (Romans 8:29)...which is the very object and intent of salvation. A holy life is imperative, otherwise you prove yourself a hypocrite, not really believing what it is you say you do. If you truly believe salvation can be lost, you mustn't wallow in sin for even one second, nor should you put off repentance. For you know not where the "cut off" is before your salvation is lost. You do not know how much sin it'll take, before your salvation flies away and the "period of grace" comes to a close. You do not know how much (or little) "straw it's going take to break the camel's back". So in light of this vagueness and indelibly gray area; be found abiding in Him daily lest you fall off the vine and rot. You adhere to a salvation that is apart from works but is ONLY recognizable and made active "by them".
Therefore, you must lay aside every weight and sin that so easily entangles you. You must be found in intimate union with Him, casting aside every sin that clings so closely, as you run with endurance the race that is set before you; fixing your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith. Hebrews 12:1-2
IF YOU BELIEVE SALVATION CANNOT BE LOST: You must exhibit true, Spirit-born attributes to give evidence to the salvation you claim to have. If you "believed" but have NEVER, not ONCE...EVER exhibited ANY change whatsoever; we must conclude that you are devoid of the salvation you lay claim to have. Can a fire burn and leave no trace of it EVER being there? Righteousness comes through Christ and Christ alone; but holiness is the outworking and tangible reality of that righteousness. Your righteous stance with God is the indwelling shadow; whereas transformation, holiness and Godly conduct is the reality of the thing that casts the shadow. Salvation and righteousness in Christ is the cause; holiness is the effect. Right standing with God is the spark; a holy life is the flame giving evidence to that spark. So if you have NEVER had the flame of a holy and sanctified life...NEVER had the living reality of the salvation that casts the shadow, transforming who you are and how you live...
not even for a day, a month...a year...we must conclude you are a false convert.
Now to the rest who have exhibited and shown evidence to the salvation that has laid hold of you: Your obedience to the grace that has been bestowed upon you, ought to be just as resolute as the one who feels salvation can be lost. You must have a perpetually resolute state of mind, to live under the adherence of holy precepts, unto the absolute surrender of oneself to God as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). This surrender is to fulfill the intent of salvation, which is conformity unto the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). If these attributes and works are not prevalently active and you hereby indulge in the carnal dictates of the flesh; the heathen will blaspheme God on account of YOU using the grace of God as a means to indulge in the very sins that salvation was meant to save you from. This will make it appear you are using the grace of God to fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Jude 1:4, Peter 2:16, Romans 6:1).
If you truly believe that you're "once saved and always will be" you mustn't have even a hint of using salvation as a means to remain conformed to the world. Because the very intent of salvation is that you'd be delivered from the world and conformed to the image of Christ. This conformity is the exact opposite of what is found in the world. So if you are indeed "always saved" it is natural to conclude, that you should "always" be found feeding, nurturing, tending, increasing, furthering and perpetuating the very purposes behind your salvation...which is; that you'd be conformed unto the image of Christ by walking in a residual state of progressive sanctification. Romans 12:2
As with the one who believes salvation can be lost: You must also be found abiding in Him daily, lest you fall off the vine and rot (which would make it appear you don't "always" possess what it is you say you do). Even though you claim to a "once and always" view, you are nevertheless in danger of running headlong into apostasy.
Assurance of salvation cannot guard against the blatant disobedience that leads to apostasy. That is, free will to turn your back on God is always an option (a bad one at that, but it's clearly still an option). The entirety of 2 Peter and Jude were written with regard to people who once lived a genuine life in Christ...yet they apostatized . Paul warned Timothy concerning apostasy “in the latter times.”
Many at that time would “depart [‘apostatize’] from the faith, giving
heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons.” That is, Christians
would cease to listen to those proclaiming the truth, the doctrine of God; and, instead, they would listen to those proclaiming that which was false — truth which had been twisted, perverted — called, the doctrine of demons (I Tim. 4:1, 2).
For those of you who think it's impossible for someone who is genuinely saved to turn their back on God: The words “falling away,” “depart,” and “departing” are translations of either the Greek noun apostasia or the verb aphistemi (the verb form of apostasia), meaning “apostasy.”
The English word “apostasy” is actually a transliterated form of the
Greek word apostasia, a compound word formed from apo and stasis.
Apo means “from,” and stasis means “to stand,” or “standing.” When
used together, forming the word apostasia, the meaning is “standing
away from.” This “standing away from” pertains to a position previously occupied and refers more specifically (drawing from contexts where the word is used) to a standing away from “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (cf. I Tim. 4:1; Jude 3).
So take heed...it seems your "once and always" stance is subject to change when seen in light of flagrant disregard for the Truth, sin and demonically driven disobedience which leads to apostasy. Therefore, you too MUST lay aside every weight and sin that so easily entangles you. You must be found in intimate union with Him, casting aside every sin that clings so closely, as you run with endurance the race that is set before you; fixing your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith. Hebrews 12:1-2-
(END OF EXAMINATION)
At the end of the day, we are ALL expected to live in holiness. Nether group should use their position as a means to live in carnality. And the group that so often does, is the "once saved always saved" side. And for the folks who believe salvation can be lost; if we really believed this...I mean REALLY believed this: wouldn't our lives look much different than they do right now? This side is the one that's most prominently prone to self-righteousness. This is due to the preoccupation with conduct. Satan is very cunning and subtle. He can take something as pure and as innocent as wanting to be obedient to God and turn it into a self-destructive weapon that perpetuates pride and preoccupation with self.
Both sides have their issues. And both sides are equally in danger of hypocrisy and apostasy. Both sides, within the realm of free will, through the natural outflow of prayerlessness, sin and stubborn disobedience, are in equal danger of completely turning their back on the Lord. For one to even be eligible for the title "apostate" you would have to have been a believer at one time. You can't apostatize from something you never adhered to. So take heed "once saved always saved" adherents...at first apostasy only seems to be a simple lane change, a tweak in doctrine or a few skipped days of prayer...and then calamity is upon you.
One thing I've learned in my 16 years of salvation is this: Within the context of progressive-sanctification, spiritual-maturity and conformity to Christ: a Child of God can lose ANYTHING he sets his mind to. Prayerlessness, willful sin and unrepentance solidify and make this observation a living-reality.
Likewise: Within the context of progressive-sanctification, spiritual-maturity and conformity to Christ: a Child of God can gain ANYTHING he wants to. Prayerfulness, abstaining from sin and repentance solidify and make this observation a living-reality.
At the end of the day, no matter how you crunch the numbers, the Christian Life is a collectivity of choices. It truly is a life of choice. To obey God...or not to obey God. THAT is the question each of us (no matter which side you're on) awake to every morning. Who could argue with this?
Both sides have a common enemy: choosing NOT to obey God. Apostasy is the gravity that wishes to pull BOTH sides down. Apostasy is the effect to the cause of willful disobedience. And because of this, we must be in a perpetual state of abiding in him. In order to take flight against the resistance that is trying to pull us down, we must take shelter under the shadow of His wings. This isn't a doctrine or a fancy cliché...it's the reality of what MUST happen in your day to day Christian life. It's the tangibility and spiritual reality of what must be "common place" IN YOUR DAILY LIFE, for you NOT to be utterly pulled under the heavy influence and intent of apostasy. We are surrounded by the heavy influence of apostasy. Everywhere you look it's laying in wait to pull you under. Abide in Him and let His Word abide in you. This is the ONLY defense!
May we all guard ourselves against the many contaminants that seek to destroy our walk with Christ... regardless to what side you're on.
It is clear that it IS possible to lose something, when we turn our back on the Lord, whore after the world or pay heed to doctrines of devils. Whether you believe that that "something" is SALVATION or REWARDS being completely stripped at the Judgment Seat (2 Cor 5:10, 1 Cor 3:11-15, 2 Timothy 2:12) regardless, we MUST see to it that we endure in holiness every waking second of the day.
AND LET IT BE SAID FROM THE OUTSET: He will NEVER reject you so long as you don't reject the pathway of repentance. Repentance is the gateway that He has provided to lead us back to Him. No sin is so great that His blood won't cover it when we repent. Boldly go before the throne of grace and cast yourself at His feet. WE HAVE AN ADVOCATE IF WE SIN (1 John 2:1). Don't let pride or fear keep you away from that advocate. You must admit you've sinned, confess and be forgiven. He who says he has no sin is a liar...and this is the pathway to apostasy. Do not deny yourself of this advocacy. To deny you are in need of forgiveness is to call yourself a liar. 1 John 1:10
MAY WE ALL JUST LIVE IN HOLINESS...what harm could come from this? Whether you feel salvation can or cannot be lost ceases to be the issue when holiness is at the forefront of all we do and think. Living in holy obedience is really a win-win no matter which side you belong to. It could only end well! And I believe any genuine believer would recognize the necessity of a clean, holy, obedient and sanctified life. It truly is the scriptural method that we all are ordained to walk in.
But whichever position you hold, you must know this: Our holiness of life and living comes from His righteousness alone. We are not made righteous by our holy deeds or works. The only reason we have holy deeds and works, is because of the ultimate holy deed and the ultimate holy work that was wrought upon the Cross of Calvary. We mustn't think our conduct is the author and finisher of our faith. We mustn't think it is by our own strength that we are given the capability to endure in holiness. This thought process breeds self righteousness and legalism. Yes, we are called to be holy and to be conformed unto the image of Christ, by putting to death the carnal deeds of the flesh. But it is only by and through Christ that this is even possible. Lets see to it that we don't allow Satan to influence us to fix our eyes on self...rather than on Jesus.
"I have been crucified with Christ. It is NO LONGER I who live, but CHRIST who lives in me. And the life I NOW live in the flesh I live BY FAITH IN THE SON OF GOD, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
We mustn't rob God of His glory by taking credit for remaining faithful, holy and secure. The only reason we have an option (within the realm of free will) to remain faithful, holy and secure is because He was first faithful, holy and secure.
He is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). He is the beginning and the end...He is the only reason there is ANYTHING good and holy in ANY of us.
Take heed and pay attention to the reasons you are giving, as to why it is you stand ...lest you be proven to be a self righteous Pharisee and fall. 1 Corinthians 10:12 --
When obedience and abidance in Christ is at the forefront of all we think, say and do...both positions cease to be an argument that are diametrically opposed to one another. At this point, they are melded together in perfect unity. True Christian unity knocks upon the doorway of our daily decision to abide in Him.
Let us ALL (whichever side of the coin you're on) abide in the power that He provides, making us capable of living in holiness...according to the strength of His might . Amen.