Once saved always saved?
Being sure of your salvation
Can we be sure of our salvation and rejoice in the Lord of our salvation? Yes, absolutely! But first we must know where we stand with God, and what is required of us. What does God require of us? To walk in the light and have fellowship with one another:
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.
It is my belief that to have fellowship with one another refers to fellowship in our hearts with one another, which requires us to love one another as Christ loved us, and not fall into unforgiveness in our heart against one another. If we do these two things, the Blood of Christ will continually wash us clean as we make mistakes and fail at times in our walk with Christ. Jesus made it very clear that we are to have our feet washed by Him, which means that our walk with Him will need to be cleansed from our mistakes and failures along the way. But Jesus is willing to do this for us if we will walk in the light and love one another. Jesus said that it is necessary that our feet be washed, or else we have no part in the kingdom of God:
He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.
Jesus goes on to say afterwards, that if He needs to wash our feet, then we also need to wash each other's feet. This means that if Jesus needs to forgive us as we make mistakes, then we need to forgive our brethren as they too make mistakes.
If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
Paul also tells us to walk in the Spirit and not the flesh (see Romans 8). Even Paul made mistakes and failed at times; he made this clear when he said, "That which I do not, that I do" (See Romans 7:15). Paul realized that even he failed at times in his walk with Christ, but he got back up, dusted himself off, and continued to walk in the Spirit. Shall we continue in sin? According to Romans 6:1-2, God forbid! Is sin a light-hearted thing that we shouldn't be serious about turning from? Absolutely not! If we continue in sin, then it becomes our master and we will die spiritually:
What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
The Bible clearly states that grace is no opportunity to the flesh:
For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
On the other hand, are we to feel condemned each time we fail? Absolutely not! Simply turn from your mistake and trust the Blood of Christ to wash it away. God's Word is clear that His mercy towards those who fear (love and respect) Him is as great as the heavens are above the earth!
He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
Now please understand that there are many cases where a person can be in bondage to pornography, lust, anger, etc. due to a spiritual bondage in their life. This can cause the person to repeatedly fall into the sin, not matter how hard to try to stay away. The temptation is overwhelming, because something on the inside is driving them to fail (not forcing them, but driving or pressuring them). In such cases, do not feel condemned, but know that Jesus is ready to forgive you over and over again (see Matthew 18:21-22) providing that you are not using this bondage as an excuse to continue in sin. This is where it is vital for that person to seek deliverance and spiritual freedom from those bondages. Yes, you can indeed be set free from such bondage, but there's usually more to it than we see on the surface. If it's a mistake once in a while, then turn from it and move on, but if it's a continual bondage / failure that you are facing, then you need to seek deliverance so that you can be set free from that bondage. God deeply desires for us to live a holy life, and therefore it is essential (Children's bread) for us to be delivered from all strongholds, unclean spirits, and bondages in our lives.
What if a person dies while still in bondage in some area of their life? Then what? As long as they were walking in the light and did not hold unforgiveness in their heart, then I can assure you that they are going to heaven, because that is what the Word of God requires of us. The Bible is clear that if a man will abide in Christ, then there is no condemnation in him:
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Fear of losing salvation
This is a very common tactic of the enemy and will torment a person to no end if they have just the right strongholds and unclean spirits present which bring these types of fears. Is it possible to be sure of our salvation, and to serve God without fear of always losing our relationship with Him? YES! The Word of God is clear on this.
That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
The enemies that it is speaking of here are not physical enemies, but spiritual enemies. These are unclean spirits, as the Word is clear that we wrestle against not flesh and blood, but against against principalities, powers, and so forth (in other words, demons).
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
While the devil will always try to tempt us, accuse us, or lie to us, there is a big difference between having a demon on the inside (such as spirits of fear, condemnation, hopelessness, etc.) and merely being approached by him on the outside. When a spirit is on the inside of us, it has much greater access to our emotions, feelings, thoughts, etc. and will use that leverage to torment us or lead us astray. If you are in constant fear of losing your salvation, then I can almost assure you that there's a bondage to dead religion at work in your mind. This always involves strongholds, but can also involve unclean spirits as well. Spirits of religion, legalism, condemnation, and so forth are not uncommon to find in such bondages. See my teachings on Exposing Dead Religion and Religious Spirits for more information on these types of bondages.
God's Word is also clear that perfect love casts out all ungodly fear. One of the biggest bondages that we find in a person's mind, who is afraid of always losing their salvation, is that they do not know the love of God in their heart as they should. There is a healthy fear of God, which is totally different than the kind of fear that we are talking about here. The fear of God does not cause a person to constantly feel like they are losing their salvation. As for all ungodly types of fear, they are disarmed as we come to know the love of God.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
Another teaching that I highly recommend is Condemnation vs Conviction, where I go on to show you how condemnation doesn't come from God, but from the devil. If you feel constant terrifying fear that you're going to lose your salvation, then that is not coming from God; it is a sign that the enemy has been speaking to you, and you've been listening to him.
Walk according to the Spirit, not the flesh
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
The Bible tells us that those who walk according to the Spirit, are sons of God. This is such a powerful area of scripture to understand, because it plays a key role in wiping away the fear of constantly losing our salvation. What many religious people fall prey to is the idea of earning our grace with God, and that is simply not true. On the other hand, it is not acceptable for a person to proclaim Christ and continue to live in sin either. Let's take a brief look at religion versus relationship in our walks with Christ:
Religion takes this flow of events:
1. Be good and earn your favor with God.
2. Rely on your holiness to be made right with God.
3. Never feel good enough, because we cannot justify or make right what we have done.
Relationship takes this flow of events:
1. God's love is lavished upon us by sending His Son to die for the payment of our sins (see Romans 5:8). THAT is how our sins are paid for (see Hebrews 9:22 & Matthew 26:28).
2. We, after receiving such great love and mercy, in return ought to eagerly desire to keep the non-burdensome commands of Jesus to love one another as Christ has loved us. These two commandments, by which all the others fall under, include loving God with all our heart, and loving one another as Christ has loved us (see Matthew 22:36-40).
3. Our faith, therefore, yields obedience and fruit (righteousness) in our lives as we abide in Jesus (see John 15:4). As we continue in this faith and love of God, we are conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).
This doesn't mean that we will never make a mistake, but it means that we are to be constantly in a growing process unto perfection. If we begin to allow our flesh to get the best of us, then we need to turn back, repent, and continue to walk in the Spirit. If we are serious about what Christ has done for us, and thankful for the work of the cross, then we will automatically desire to be obedient to do what He asks of us. So what did Jesus tell us that we must do? What does He want of us? He wants us to go forth and love one another as He has loved us.
...love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Living according to grace is similar to a parent teaching a youngster how to walk. The toddler is expected to learn how to walk, but not without his parent's help, and certainly, requiring the parent's patience and grace as he fails in his learning process at times. But it is not acceptable for the toddler to quit trying and decide to crawl for the rest of his life, is it? The same is true with our walks with Christ. At first we will stumble more, but as we grow in Christ, our mistakes should become fewer as we become more like Christ.
The grace of God
My grandmother was a precious woman, but when she was lying on her deathbed, she was filled with hate and bitterness. This dear woman was precious to my family, and many prayers went up for her salvation. On her death bed, she had the death rattle and was having a hard time breathing. She died a bitter and hateful woman. Everybody present knew she was gone, as there was no pulse, etc. Then suddenly, she came back to life and was breathing perfectly normal with a peaceful countenance, and died with a peace and glow all over her face. Then she died again a peaceful woman. We are convinced that she died, met Jesus at the gates of heaven, and was given a chance to come back to earth and release all the bitterness from her heart before proceeding to her eternal destiny. That was a merciful act of God to give her an extra chance to make things right in her heart before dying.
"But once-saved gives security & confidence!"
Do you want true security based on the Word, or do you want to believe in the once-saved false security and feel good, while you're on your way to hell? Once-saved, always-saved offers no real security in light of scripture.
There are many who are tormented by the idea of losing their salvation, but that is merely torment from evil spirits and has nothing to do with reality. They will try to torment us into believing what "feels safe" in an attempt to undermine the truth in the Word of God. The fact is that once a person is delivered and set free from such spiritual bondage, there's no need to hold tight to the once-saved theology; they know where they are with Christ and it is no longer a concern for them. The Holy Spirit testifies with our spirit telling us that we are sons (Romans 8:15-16), but if you have a demon, the voice of the Holy Spirit may be drowned out, and thus you aren't sure of your salvation. I can assure you that I personally have struggled much with this issue, and have been both (a) to the point where I felt scared stiff and felt apart from God and (b) coming to know His love and glorious presence afterwards.
Some closing thoughts
I realize that many believers find such a teaching very uncomfortable, but I beg to ask, "What if I'm right about all this?" Then there are millions of believers today on their way to hell and they don't even realize it. God's children are destroyed by lack of knowledge (see Hosea 4:6). Should we not do our best to warn our precious brothers and sisters, that they are in danger of eternal damnation? While the church is so eager to go out and get the sinners converted, there are scores of people in our own pews that would arrive in hell, should they die right now. The souls of millions are at stake because the raw Word of God is not being preached from the pulpit as it should in many churches. People need to be warned of the danger of being a "comfortable Christian" and know that it is absolutely essential that we get serious about our love for Christ. They also need to be told of how they can feel secure in their salvation, because the devil will use this subject to bring unbearable torment and condemnation upon precious children of God who happen to be in bondage to religious strongholds and spirits. It is not acceptable to preach one side of the story without the other. We are never to preach in a tone of condemnation, but in a tone of conviction, which prompts a person to change and know that God loves them and that they can feel secure in their salvation! I cannot tell you how many are horrified over the concept of losing their salvation, and demons will use this against people, so it is vital that we preach the Word of God in a non-compromising, yet loving and balanced perspective.
This is a multi-part teaching