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Perseverance of the Saints (Once Saved, Always Saved)

There once was a man who loved a certain woman so much that he decided that she was going to marry him even if she didn’t want to marry him. For some strange reason, the woman thought that this man had true love for her, so she accepted his decision. For many years, they were happily married. However, the woman’s love for her husband began to fade. His love remained the same. She began to be unfaithful to him with other men. He warned her to stop, so she stopped for a while. After several months, she started having more affairs with even more men and no matter how much her husband pleaded with her to stop, she would not. So, the husband decided to beat her into submission. After that didn’t work, he locked her up and never allowed her to go out of the house again and they lived happily ever after.

Introduction

Above is an analogy of “Perseverance of the Saints”, or “Once Saved, Always Saved”. This is the “P” in the “T.U.L.I.P” of Calvinism. The husband in the story would be hated by the world for forcing his wife to remain with him, but for some reason, many people have no problem with God being the same way. Some would say that this doctrine began with John Calvin, but as one preacher said, it is as old as the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were told that they could lose their relationship with God, while Satan said they could not.[1]

Does God persevere for the saints without their faithfulness? Or do the saints have something to do? The main point that must be made is that nobody can remain saved without walking in the light after becoming a Christian. Some people may disagree with that. I ask them to finish reading this article, check the scriptures, and be honest with the results.

The Westminster Confession of Faith

According to the Westminster Confess of Faith, the Bible teaches that a saint will never lose their salvation no matter what they do.[2] It says,

“This endurance of Christians does not depend on their free will but on God’s unchangeable decree of election, flowing from his voluntary, unchangeable love…It also depends on the effectiveness of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ, on the indwelling Spirit and indwelling seed of God in believers , and on the nature of the covenant of grace…All these establish the certainty and infallibility of their preservation.”[3]

A Presbyterian pastor was asked if this means that God forces His children to be faithful and he said, “Yes”. Remember the monstrous husband in the story of the introduction? After saying that God forces His children to be faithful, the pastor was told that story. He said that the husband was wicked. He was then asked, “What does that make God?”. He said that God was “on a different level” than humans and the conversation ended.[4] The problem with those who have false views is that they are never consistent. They must follow the implications of their doctrine.

Implications

There are many passages that say Christians can lose their salvation.[5] They are interpreted by the Calvinist as follows: these passages teach that a Christian can become deficient in their sanctification, but the justification remains. But what level of deficiency is acceptable or unacceptable? What does it imply? It implies that any Christian can do whatever they please and ignore several commands to diligently work on holiness.[6] Or at least this is what the pastor who was recently mentioned implied. He was asked, “If a man is ‘truly saved’, can he rape a little girl every day of every week and still go to Heaven?” He said, “Yes, as long as he’s saved.” How monstrous! The ultimate implication of this is that a Christian can rape, murder, lie, fornicate, and so forth without worrying about their eternal security. The pastor may not explicitly teach this, but it is easy to infer.

Someone may disagree by stating that a Christian’s eternal security relies solely upon God, but there are severe implications if that is true. It implies that humans are robots with a useless instruction manual — the Bible. Why would God have twenty-seven books of the New Testament largely dedicated to instruct Christians how to act? Does a robot need an instruction manual? No, the operator does. If the Calvinistic view is true, then God has written the Bible to Himself. However, He has written it to us. It is true that God has a part to play in our eternal security, but we have a part to play too.[7]

God’s Responsibility

The Bible says that God is able to keep Christians from falling away from His grace.[8] This is done in three ways. First, He uses the Bible which is able to reprove, rebuke, and reconcile.[9] Second, He disciplines through various afflictions.[10] Third, He has commanded the church to practice church discipline when there is “sin in the camp”.[11] At no point during these three is free will taken from the child of God because He desires our love to be genuine. The option to walk away from Him makes the choice to stay with Him better.

An objection may be raised about the power of God’s salvation: if one can lose their salvation, then God’s salvation is weak, right? Falling away from God says nothing negative about Him, but about us. This is the point that the Hebrews writer made in Hebrews 8:7-8. It was not God’s fault when people disobeyed the law of Moses. It was their fault. Jeremiah also said that God punished His people in vain.[12] Was God bad at punishing? Or did people simply reject His efforts? If someone falls away from God, it is their fault alone.

Another objection one may have is that those who lose their salvation were never saved in the first place.[13] However, most objectors will agree that being bought by the Lord means being saved by the Lord.[14] In reference to this, Peter said, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.”[15]Since being bought and saved by the Lord are interchangeable words, Peter said that one can be lost after being saved. This verse is also very crucial to 2 Peter 2:20-22 because “they” and “them” are connected to the false prophets earlier in the chapter.

Our Responsibility

Since God is able to keep us from falling without taking our free will away, then we also have the responsibility to remain saved. How do the saints remain saved? Revelation 14:12 says, “Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.” God requires genuine love from His people – a love that is shown by obedience.[16] When that is accomplished, God will work in those who are working in Him, for it is a relationship that involves two individuals working together to accomplish the same goal.[17] That goal is Heaven.

In case someone thinks that a Christian could “earn” their place in Heaven if their eternal security relies partially on their faithfulness, Jesus said “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’ ”[18] Only Jesus earned our eternal security and we must rely on Him by walking in the light. When we do that, the blood of Christ will cover the failures along the way.[19]

Conclusion

It is plain to see that Calvinism leads to a wicked God, wicked people, and a robotic Christianity. The God of the Bible is a righteous and fair God who is able to keep His people from falling away, but that does not mean that Christians just sit around and let God do all the work. Not one soul can remain saved without walking in the light after they become a Christian.

[1] https://youtu.be/imyEm9RkRlg [2] Jude 24; Eph. 4:30 [3] Kelly, Douglas F., McClure III, Hugh W., and Rollinson, Philip, The Westminster Confession of Faith: An Authentic Modern Version: 4th Edition, pg. 45, Summertown Texts. Signal Mountain, TN. 2004. Print. [4] This was said in a phone conversation with me [5] John 15:1ff; 2 Pet. 2:20-22; 2 John 8; Rev. 22:18-19 [6] Heb. 12:14; 1 Pet. 1:13-16 [7] Jude 21, 24 [8] Jude 24 [9] 2 Tim 4:2ff; 2 Tim. 3:16-17 [10] Psa. 119:67; Heb. 12:4-17 [11] 1 Cor. 5 [12] Jer. 2:30 [13] Gal. 5:4 [14] Acts 20:28; 1 Cor. 6:20 [15] 2 Pet. 2:1 [16] John 14:15 [17] Phil. 2:12-13; Eph. 2:10 [18] Luke 17:10 [19] 1 John 1:7

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