Once Saved, Always Saved?
There are two sides to this question that Christians have debated for the last several hundred years:
Ø When someone asks Jesus into their heart, they receive eternal salvation at that moment that can never be lost, regardless of what kind of sinful life they live afterward.
Ø We must repent of all of our sinful ways and turn from seeking after worldly pleasures, devote oneself to seeking God through daily repentance, and making amends for wrongs we commit. Then we are to obediently follow Jesus and devote ourselves to seeking God. Most of all, we should be walking in love and demonstrating by good deeds and gracious and gentle behavior the transformational power of God’s Holy Spirit.
We hear a great deal about grace the forgiveness of our sins today in churches. And references to Genesis and Paul’s recounting in Romans, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” (Romans 4:3) But few read the following verse, “Now, when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation.”
To become a “Believing Christian” requires a transformation. Accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord requires us to repent of our sins. We must NOT stay as we were. Every true Christian is involved daily in the process of seeking earnestly after God’s will and confessing our sins and making amends for them. We are following after Jesus Christa and sincerely trying to live like He wants us to live.
In recent history, we were fortunate to recover an ancient Christian document from the time of the Apostles called the Didache. It outlines what the Church of Jesus Christ required before baptism. Several days of studying the Christian Gospel and the confessing of one’s sins was required before one was accepted as ready for becoming a “chosen one” of God’s Church. Repentance was a standard requirement. That has not been true of much of 20th Century Christian revivals and preaching from the pulpits.
As Christians, we are to use the Bible as our guide or the “Canon” (measuring rod for our behavior) to knowing the accurate Truth and God’s will; yet, since the Reformation there have been a constellation of splintered denominations; conservative, liberal, ecumenical, sects, and heresies; as well as revisions, and adaptations of the message of Gospel to contemporary standards and mores.
But in contrast, this has always been the will of God and prayer of Christ:
I pray for those who will believe in me, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you; that they also be one in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. … I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. … I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known, in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (John 17: 21-26)
Being a Christian, is all about walking in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. Being a Christian means that one has entered into a transformational process by the power of the God’s Holy Spirit within them. Being a Christian means demonstrating by our behavior, words and deeds the LOVE of God: love, joy, peace, forgiveness, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22)
As I read the Bible, especially the Prophets, who all speak of the “last days, and the “end of time,” and then what Jesus said when asked about his second coming, and the signs that we can look for, I am convinced that every Christian should take heed. Remember the lesson of the Ten Virgins, and those who lamps went out versus those whose lamps were lit.
Read Matthew 24 again and contemplate this. “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” “Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
Lastly, let us heed this warning: “This also, knowing the time, that it is already time that we should be aroused out of sleep; for now, is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” (Romans 13:11)