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Once Saved, Always Saved

Thots 12

by Michael Heiser. Very insightful about the salvation question. It answers some of the questions concerning verses that sorta seem to indicate that one can "lose their salvation".

Next Environmentalism, the Tower of Babel and the Disintegration of Culture


  • Luz

    • 2 years ago
    For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. Isaiah 55:8

    The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. Luke 18:27

    If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. 2 Tim. 2:13

    O, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and untraceable His ways! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor?” Rom. 11:33,34

    In my opinion, too much emphasis is given in this video to our own will or choice to believe. Is it 100% faith that will save us? Or maybe 50%? Or even 2%? I believe that our loving father and creator can even save us (again) with 0% faith. ... it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Isn't it only grace ALWAYS?

    But of course, this is just my own personal belief. One of my sons willingly chose not to believe any more, feeling treated unjust and bad in his life --- he is so kind and loving. He has stored up in his heart hundreds of verses ... what about: ''Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house''?

  • SD

    • 2 years ago
    There are so many verses in the Gospels that seem to indicate that one can lose his salvation that the issue has never been resolved. This one for example: "On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers'" (Matthew 7:21-23).

    Throughout history, up to today, so many crimes have been committed by professing Christians that it would be hard to believe that God would be so partial in His judgment as to grant salvation to those who reproach His name by acting contrary to Jesus' teachings. It would make him the "capo di tutti capi" of a Mafia family, and His favoritism wouldn't fit the image of a righteous God. In the OT, He did not let His chosen people get away with murder, so to speak. 'Once saved forever saved' was not a part of the Early Church dogma.

  • DB

    • 2 years ago
    I confess, I haven’t had time to listen to Michael Heiser’s talk, nor have I read as much of the writings of the Early Church as I would like to, but after going back and reading through the New Testament again after the reboot, I came to the same conclusion just from the Gospels and Epistles--that “once saved always saved” is simply not what they teach. “He that endureth to the end shall be saved” is found twice in Matthew and again once in Mark, and the book of Hebrews reinforces the need to hang in there quite emphatically. Luke (13:24) has the Lord putting it this way: “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” The great Apostle himself was wary of being a castaway (1Cor. 9:27 ) and said we should work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12). So that, along with our Lord’s multiple exhortations to be very careful, has led me to leave my erstwhile soteriological entitlement position for a humbler and more realistic one.

    I’m quick to qualify that with the many wonderful assurances of the Lord’s faithfulness (he that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out, My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand, etc.) I have total faith in the Lord’s power to save me. It’s myself I’m not so sure about, and throughout the Scriptures and the many testimonies and writings I have read, synchronicity is stressed. While the Lord definitely does the heavy lifting in the arrangement, our participation is key.

  • DB

    • 2 years ago
    Far be it from me to judge others, their eternal state, etc. which is in God’s hands, not mine. I have my hands full working out my own salvation and would only repeat what I have already said, that while there are very powerful statements on “the restoration of all things” that could seem to indicate an eventual universalist position (and I am a great fan of George MacDonald who expounds on this beautifully in his Unspoken Sermons), I think it is incomplete to just take that and disregard the equally powerful statements on the other side.

    There is a tension there, as expressed in “rejoice with trembling” in the second Psalm, and to the best of my understanding, that is the position of the Church on the matter. I am by no means an authority on any of this and merely see what I have perceived so far as through a glass darkly.

    I regard all of this as deeply personal. When you open up the conversation wider and wider you put yourself on a slippery slope that almost invites misunderstanding, jumping to conclusions, etc. I’d hate to stumble or offend anyone. I just say that for me, “once saved always saved” simply does not hold water anymore. I weighed it in the balances of my reading of scripture and the smattering of wiser men I have consulted and it was found wanting. Salvation is simple, yes, but “To men who are not simple, simple words are the most inexplicable of riddles.” (George MacDonald—From Unspoken Sermons. It Shall Not Be Forgiven)

    As was saying about Jordan Peterson and his responses to whether or not he believed in God, what do you mean by “believe”?

  • SD

    • 2 years ago
    There are 13 major religions in the world and they all teach loving-kindness and some form of 'do unto others as you'd have them do to you.' When witnessing in Thailand I would most of the time meet people who had never heard of Jesus. Would God deprive them of a better life in the afterworld just because they were born in a different country and culture? If so, one has to admit that He placed them in that country and culture, and planned their life in such a way that they would be damned.

    If they just happened to be born there "accidentally," you are defending Deism, the doctrine that God created the world and departed, for good. When trying to think on this issue I go to the Gospels, principally to the red letters, that is, Jesus' words. Nonetheless, even Jesus' words in the Gospels on this subject are still being studied and reinterpreted according to Jewish context (in Judaism there is no personal salvation, only collective). Among the nearly 30,000 doctrines of the Protestant faith no denomination has offer a reasonable explanation on how salvation works. The Catholic, Orthodox, Coptic, etc., have not offered a good and definite explanation either.

    Thus Luz' point is also valid, except that she adds an emotional weight to the issue. In my view, although I don't have any better insight into the real meaning of salvation, I view the issue philosophically instead of theologically. If when I am kind and loving I am reflecting an infinitesimal reflection of God's Love, what would my loving judgment be in her son's situation?

  • MD

    • 2 years ago
    Just to say that I have enjoyed this discussion. There were many wise and insightful comments made by all.

    Of late, I have made a few new friends who are very much interested in theology. They often give me books to read, podcasts to watch/listen to, and occasionally we meet for coffee to discuss matters further. My primary takeaway thus far is the positive desire to dig into the word “to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11 ESV).

  • JR

    • 2 years ago
    Thanks for the beautiful write ups on the topic of Salvation, which has been great to read and thought provoking. I learn so much from the comments in the thread.

    I have not listened to the Michael Heiser video yet... it seemed too theological for me, and I felt I didn't have time to get into this. But, your comments are very feeding and thought provoking.

    I have been personally thinking of the question of salvation a lot lately, and the eventuality of that I will be meeting Jesus sooner than later (we are all getting up there in years -- and we are in the midst of a pandemic and I have been in some rather precarious situations in the past decade.) I have been questioning about my personal past, and that of others. Why was it that many of us in the J. Rev and other Christians have focused so much on Matthew 24, and focused so little on what Jesus says in Matthew 25 concerning our eternal fate:

    34. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in ...’

    40. “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ 41. “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink....’

    45. “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 46. “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

    It seems like both groups, the one on the left side and the one on the right side of the throne thought that they knew the “Son of Man”.

    Another verse that has spoken to me personally lately is Ephesians 2:10:

    8. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9. not by works, so that no one can boast. 10. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

    I wondered why we memorized verses eight and nine, they are so well known, but we seem to give less importance to the point that we are created “to do good works.” The good works seems to tie in to the Matthew 25 scenario at the judgment, where the righteous have fed the hungry, clothed the naked etc.

    1 Corinthians 13 brings out the tension that has been brought out in the thread about this topic. If I do not do these works out of love, it profits nothing!

    I find a bit of comfort concerning Salvation in 1 Corinthians 3: 12. “If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13. their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.”

    I question what will happen to some of the works I have done over the years. I do believe if it was done in love, it will last. If it was done for other motives, it will be burnt up and I will suffer loss, some shame in Heaven, but yet I will be saved as the verse says, “even though as one escaping through the flames.”

    I guess that is my theology, I am trusting that He in His Love will save me through the flames, in spite of my errors and hurting others through the years. My hope is in “nothing but the blood of Jesus!”

    I am learning to look at failures as source of blessing, teaching us humility and empathy and hoping that God in His “infinite creativity (and eternal love) can weave both good choices and bad choices into a lovely design.” (Jesus Calling, May 9th)

  • Dina

    • 2 years ago
    I guess this whole topic is linked to our perception of salvation and what is salvation. Is it going to hell/heaven when we die? Or is it entering in the Kingdom of God/Heaven as mentioned in Mark and Mathew now and continuing after we die as CS Lewis expounds in The Great Divorce?

    Another question, if we die without believing in God, does that mean that God is defeated by death, and there is nothing He can do to rescue His beloved for whom Jesus died?

    Here's an excellent half an hour talk by Tim Mackie about this subject, if you are interested. (Moderator: I'll post the talk after the comment here.)

  • Dina

    • 2 years ago
    Two great quotes (Tim Mackie):

    -- The Kingdom of Heaven is not some place that you go after you died, it's something that has arrived in Jesus.

    -- It's not our right or responsibility to predict the temperature of hell or the attendance list of Heaven.

  • CH

    • 2 years ago
    This discussion has been enlightening. I read Romans 11 (ESV) this morning and felt that there was a lot in it touching on this topic of grace vs works, faith vs unbelief ... it's huge! How can we even attempt to think who's saved, or not?

    The Remnant of Israel
    1 I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” 4 But what is God's reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

    7 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, 8 as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.”

    9 And David says, “Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them; 10 let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever.”

    Gentiles Grafted In
    11 So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. 12 Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!

    13 Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry 14 in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. 15 For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? 16 If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

    17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. 19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. 22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. 23 And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.

    The Mystery of Israel's Salvation
    25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; 27 “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.”

    28 As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. 32 For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.

    33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

    34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?”

    36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

  • Chris

    • 2 years ago
    I always had a two questions on this subject "once saved always saved" and praying the sinners prayer especially when meeting Catholics who clearly loved the Lord but had not prayed and asked Jesus into their hearts." Were they not destined for everlasting life?

    Then the question once someone prayed the "sinners pray" and then had no interest in Christianity were still destined for eternal life?

    As a thought experiment say someone prays and asks Jesus into their hearts and believes for awhile then turns their back on Jesus. They then become a atheist and Satan worshipper. Would they then have everlasting life simply because they prayed the prayer?

    My understanding is that you must believe and keep on believing.

    Jn 3:16.... he that BELIEVES on the Son hath everlasting life. Doesn't that infer if you do not believe you don't have ever lasting life?

    Jn 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life.... Nothing to do with works but all to do with believing loyalty.

    Once you see it in the scriptures you can not un-see it and it jumps out at you all over the NT.

    One of the verses that is often quoted to support "once saved always saved" is:

    For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Rom 8:38-39

    The thing that they all have in common is that they have nothing to do with us ourselves. They are all either powers or created things that are external of us and completely separate from us. We are the only ones that can separate our selves from God.
    God bless and keep you all.

  • CH

    • 2 years ago
    The more I read this thread the more all of the above seem right--like the blind men describing different parts of the elephant. I keep coming back to "how unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways." How can we know the mind of God and how He'll judge the secrets of our hearts. "Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God." 1Cor.4:5

    Was the person who believed for a time and then fell away saved while he believed, but then cut off ... how does that work? What if he was just very confused, but honestly so.

    Rom. 11 is talking about a nation, but can't the concept apply individually? "As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all."

    Do we tend to be too black and white about salvation? Can "trying to believe" be a work of the flesh and unbelief like the "I believe, Lord, help my unbelief" guy in Mark 9. Did that guy really believe anything about faith?--Or was he someone who'd say anything just to get his son healed. But it worked. On the other hand the disciples did believe, but couldn't perform. How does that work? Sure prayer and fasting, but what about a grain of mustard faith that can move mountains? The disciples went out on other road trips and performed miracles, why not this time? Maybe faith is not always what we think it is.

    "Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. ... And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting."

    Here's a left-field thought ... maybe the Catholic belief in Purgatory that most Protestants reject, is in fact right--salvation with a little bit of hell to purge out the unforgiven stuff; i.e. still saved, but not for a while.

    The more I think about it the more I like what Tim Mackie said that it's not our right or responsibility to predict the attendance list of Heaven.