Eternal life has always been an issue of faith not of works. Man can be saved eternally based upon his faith in what God tells him to believe. The content of faith can change from one dispensation to the next but the mechanics stay the same. For example:
1. Noah needed to be saved from God’s wrath,
2. God told Noah what he had to do to escape that wrath,
3. Noah’s faith in what God said caused him to build the ark.
1. Man needs to be saved from God’s coming wrath.
2. God tells us what we must do to escape that wrath.
3. Our faith in what God says causes us to believe the gospel of grace.
The question arises, “Is once saved always saved” a true statement?
The reason this question gets asked is because of a failure to understand the cross work of Christ.
VERSE: 2 Cor 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
VIEWPOINT: When Christ died two thousand years ago all our sin was still in the future. He paid for all sin, for all men, for all time. God is not imputing (charging to one’s account) sin to anyone today. We are not saved by getting rid of our sin but by belief of the truth of the gospel which is “Christ died FOR our sins, was buried and rose again the third day”.
VICTORY: We no longer have to carry around the guilt of our sins. He has set us free from the bondage and domination of sin so that we could do something we could never do before — serve Him!
VERSE: Titus 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
VIEWPOINT: Eternal life is a promise from God, who, by the way, cannot lie!! Eternal life = eternal life, life that is eternal, just as eternal death = death that lasts forever. Notice that God promised eternal life “before the world began”! Before He made a when or a where He had you and me in mind all the time.
VICTORY: God keeps his promise.
VERSE: Eph 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
VIEWPOINT: God hath (past tense!) made us ACCEPTED in the beloved (Christ). All we have, we have because of Calvary. God made us accepted. We were not acceptable on our own but in Christ we have been made accepted.
VICTORY: When God looks at us he sees his Son!
VERSES: Rom 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
2 Tim 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved
Gal 3:3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
VIEWPOINT: We are NOT saved by our good works i.e. trying to stop sin in our lives. We have been saved by grace (the provision of God) through faith (believing what God says).
VICTORY: If we are unable to save ourselves are we foolish enough to think we could keep ourselves? God has provide a better way, he has provided himself for us.
VERSES: 2 Cor 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. 21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; 22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
Eph 1:13…: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
VICTORY: The seal of the Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our redemption in Christ by God.
VERSES: Eph 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
Col 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
VIEWPOINT: From God’s viewpoint we are seated already in the heavens. Our life is hid with Christ in God and when Christ comes back we will go to be with him.
VICTORY: Seated with Christ in glory above, another recipient of his wonderful love.
VERSES: Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
VIEWPOINT: We have been called according to his purpose i.e. He is forming the church the body of Christ. The gospel call goes out. Those who respond are “the called, justified and glorified (present perfect tense) eternal saints of God.
VICTORY: If God be for us, and he is, who can be against us? Answer: Not nobody, not no how!
SUMMARY: Is once saved always saved true? Yes! Why, because we are such good, wonderful, courageous people? No, but because of the total provision of God for us through Christ.