10 questions for those who reject “Once Saved, Forever Safe.”

(I send this forth in all sincerity and with the kindness of Christ. If you disagree, please respond graciously also. Let’s see if Godly people can have a serious and Christ-honoring discussion about this hotly debated subject.  Thank you.)

Let me set the table with something the Lord Jesus said.  When the disciples returned from preaching with glowing reports of amazing victories over the devil, our Lord called them back to earth, so to speak, with this:

“Do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you. But rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).

See what He did there?  The Lord changed the basis of their joy and thanksgiving from something that fluctuates–like the visible results of missions, which can be good or bad, up and down–to something permanent, our salvation.

Jesus thought our salvation was secure. Otherwise, wouldn’t He have chosen some other basis for our joy?

No other conclusion is possible. Jesus clearly thought salvation was a one-time-and-done proposition. Something permanent, solid, irreversible.

As far as I am able to tell, you will not find one place in the utterances of the Lord Jesus that say otherwise.

For those who find they cannot accept the teaching of “once saved always saved” (aka, the security of the believer), we have a few questions….

1)  Why would you not accept the clear teachings of the Lord Jesus?

That question alone ought to cinch the matter.  For every objection some can throw up to the doctrine of “the security of the believer” we have perhaps 50 statements from the Lord Jesus that our salvation is eternal and everlasting and untouchable.

2) How is it you think we can undo what God has done?

In Christ, when you were saved, Scripture teaches God erased your sin and gave you eternal life.  He wrote your name down in Heaven’s book and made you His child. You are called both “born again” and “adopted” into the family.  You are sealed with the Holy Spirit.  In fact, Romans 8:30 says you are called, justified, and glorified even. And Romans 8:1 says there is “therefore now NO condemnation.”  That’s fairly strong, it seems to me.

And yet, some believe by an act of their (ahem) free will, they can walk away from all that?  They just decided to leave and so everything God did was suddenly null and void?  My, what powers they have.

3) How is it we are able to do what “no one” can, and that is to “snatch” ourselves out of Christ’s hand and the Father’s hand?

John 10:28-29.  Nothing can be clearer.

Some say, “Well, no one else can, but the devil can.” Oh, then wouldn’t that make the devil stronger than the Lord?  And to those who says “we can snatch ourselves,” same question.  Jesus literally said “no one and nothing can take you out of my hand.”

4) How are we able to unseal ourselves,  something the Holy Spirit did when we were saved? (Ephesians 1:13)  Wouldn’t that be an impossibility?

5) Have you read Galatians and seen what Paul said to people who thought they were perfected by their works?

They said they knew they were saved by faith, but after that, it was all works to them. Good works and they’re in; bad works and they’re cast away. And Paul says they were bad wrong….

“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?  This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfeced by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1-3)

If you believe bad works cancels your salvation, then aren’t you saying your works “keep” you saved?  Certainly, works are important.  Ephesians 2:10 says we were created in Christ Jesus in order to bring forth good works, “that God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

6) Does it make you angry for someone to teach once saved, always saved?  If so, please analyze why.  (It seems to me you would be more charitable toward your brothers and sisters who are taking Jesus’ statements at face value.)

When Charisma magazine posted our article  “7 questions on once saved, always saved” on their website, the comments that rushed in were almost universally hostile. They weren’t just disagreeing, they were angry. Now, I had worked overtime to make sure the tone of my article was gracious toward those who disagree. But I find it hard to comprehend that they grew hostile and mean-spirited over this.   I wonder what this signifies.

7) Do you wish you did have this kind of confidence that salvation, once given, is forever?

A preacher who believes in losing his salvation once told my pastor that “I wish my God were as big as yours.”

My wife once asked a new friend of ours whom we quickly decided was a fine godly man, how he reconciled his denomination’s position on this doctrine (they were Arminian) with Scripture.  Heno Head of Leland, Mississippi, said, “I have never for one minute doubted that my salvation is eternally secure in Jesus Christ from the moment I was saved.”

8) Do you agree that no matter which side you come down on–for this doctrine or against it–there are some difficult scriptures to explain?  And if that’s the case, why then would you choose the position that undermines the very things Jesus said and taught?

“I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than all. And no one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:28-29).

I will readily admit that the passage in Hebrews 6 seems to say that losing one’s salvation is a possibility. However, it goes on to say that if that did happen, “it would be impossible to renew them to repentance.”  And yet, I have never met a person who believed in losing one’s salvation who did not also believe he could get it back and be saved again. And again.  My response is simply: Show me that in the Bible. Not one person in Holy Scripture was ever saved twice. Not one.

9) Are you closed to the subject? or are you still open to considering evidence for the contrary view?

I hope that nothing in these articles of mine has made anyone think Joe believes he has all the answers and that I am closed to something new.  No one possesses all truth, let alone this country boy.

Most especially, I hope no one thinks this is–as some have charged–a man-made doctrine, intended either to say what man wants to hear or to license him to roam as he pleases without fear of jeopardizing his salvation.

10) Why does “eternal life” not mean “eternal life?”  Or, put another way, when the children of the Lord “lose” their salvation, do they quit being HIs children?

Consider this a plea for clear-thinking on the subject, for believing the whole thrust of Scripture’s teaching, for standing on the promises of God’s unchanging Word.

Thank you.  God help us to get this right.  For Jesus’ sake.


24 thoughts on “10 questions for those who reject “Once Saved, Forever Safe.”

  1. I would add:
    You were bought with a price and you are not your own.


    God knew what kind of person you would become after gifting you with eternal life and is not fooled as to take it back.

  2. Excellent article. If one can lose their salvation, what is the sin they must commit and how often must they commit this sin?

  3. Bro. Joe can you explain what it means in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. I hold to the security of the believer but many use this to prove that if you are a homosexual you will go to hell. Which I point out and fornicators and adulterers and liars. Thank you.

    • I wonder about this as well. If a person is saved and as he gets older feels he is gay…..are you saying if he does that he still is saved and will live in Heaven???

  4. A friend of mine believes you can lose your salvation and uses a verse in Revelations about God spewing a church out of his mouth. I believe that a large number of people never actually know true salvation because they repeat a prayer they don’t fully understand and are typically not taught of the need for true repentance. I never know what to respond to that verse from Revelations.

    • This is a verse that many people interpret wrong.
      When it is talking about Jesus telling the Laodiceans that since they were neither Hot nor Cold. He wishes they were one OR the other (notice he said one OR the other), but since they were lukewarm, he was goingto spit them out of His mouth.
      This doesn’t mean that he is condemning us to Hell. Too many people take this out of context.
      First, you must look at the City of Laodicea. It was considered one of the wealthiest of the seven cities that Jesus instructed John to write the letters that are references to in the book of Revelation.

      And we must remember that Jesus when he taught, taught in parables and metaphors. So, I believe that he was writing to the people of Laodicea using their everyday lives to show them what they were lacking in their spiritual lives.

      To the north of them was Heirapolis, which had hot springs running through it. So the were known through out the land that they had Hot Healing Springs and many people when there for healing.

      To the south of them was Colossae, which has a cool water spring running through it. They were known for their cool refreshing water for drinking.

      In scpritpure the Laodicea said that they were ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’

      In their minds the city was self- sufficient, except they didn’t have good drinking water. So they built a water tower outside the city and by the time it got to them running through the mineral filled water pipes
      it was “lukewarm”. And did no one any good.

      So I think Jesus was saying. Because you are not cold, meaning refreshing to others, or because you are not Hot and healing to others, you are like the lukewarm mineral filled water coming into your city and I am going to spit you out of my mouth.

      If you continue to read the scripture, he goes on to say that he is knocking at their door. Remember, this is a church that he is writing to, so he is on the outside knocking on the door to the people of the church.
      So in other words, it indicates that we are in the church doing things about HIM, without HIM.

      He wants us to open the door and invite him in and then sit down with him and have a meal.

      Here is a little bit about the Greek traditions, in ancient days they considered the meal to be the night time meal. This is the meal that they relaxed, sat with friends and family and enjoyed the food and developed relationships. Lasting relationships.

      So, I think Jesus is telling us, invited me in so that we can develop a lasting relationship!

      Jesus does scolding us and disciplines us BUT it is BECAUSE He loves us and wants us to overcome and sit at His Throne and be with Him for eternity!

      I know that I have gone on here, but it still doesn’t explain all of what the scripture is talking about, but we are told to “test the scripture”. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22.

      Hope this helps a little.

      So respond like this. Jesus tells us in Revelation 3:14-22 not to become lukewarm in showing the world that we can do anything without him. He doesn’t want us to fall into mindlessly doing things about him without him. He wants us to change our ways and remember that he is the one that we can accomplish all things through. We must be willing to do all the things that he has commanded us to do and do it with zeal in his Name. He wants to have a relationship with us and that He loves us and still willing to give us a chance to change. And when we do that, we will be with him forever.

      • “He wants to have a relationship with us and that He loves us and still willing to give us a chance to change. And when we do that, we will be with him forever.” Beautiful! The keyword is RELATIONSHIP and that is something no one can be forced into, and guess what? God knows that..This is why He is so patiently willing to wait till we change our mind to join Him in that relationship He so longs for. But what if we’re not as willing as He is?
        Do you remember the Garden of Eden?…God used to come, talk and spend time with Adam and Eve. That was relationship at its best.(maybe not) Then one day, the couple decided not to listen to God and prefered the opinion of the snake better. From that time, the trust was broken and the relationship was gone. As we know it today, Jesus came to win our trust back to God, to show us the way to salvation, and He died for that. He loves us to death.
        But as powerful as God is, He will not force us into loving Him. And as loving as He is, He cannot and will not enjoy our relationship against our will. God is love and love does not seek its own interest. 1 Corinthians 13.
        So, if we don’t believe He loves us and cares, and He is the Life, the Truth, and the Way, if we prefer the companionship of the enemy better than His, what can He does except to sadly let us go. He loves us alot, but if we don’t want to be with Him, He will sadly let us go. Luke chapter 15. The father of the Prodigal Son did just that… you simply cannot hold grown-up people against their will, that’s kidnapping and it’s immoral… and guess what? God knows that.

  5. My response to both of the last questions is a) my own responses are irrelevant; prayerfully seek your own; b) there are plenty of “yes, but” scriptures, but to my knowledge none come from the gospels and the mouth of Jesus; and c) the primary method of interpreting scripture I learned in my youth was that scripture interprets scripture. So, we have to compare texts and see how they fit together, what the bigger picture is, etc. Therefore, d) I like the “I’m not sure what to think of that scripture” as the definitive answer to the “yes, but” friends.

  6. Amen and Amen! I truly like you response on 19 Oct ‘My response to both of the last questions.’ A very gracious and wise response.

  7. Brother Joe, which of d following had no eternal life or eternal salvation? 1. Judas Iscariot 2. Demas 3. Mr & Mrs Ananias & Saphira

  8. What about the person who has been saved as a teenager then in his twenties stops going to church and not living the lifestyle of a believer. I know he believes in God but daily continues in his sin and chooses his new lifestyle over the lifestyle God commands us to live

  9. Yes! Our security does not rest in our ability to hold on to Him but in his ability to hold on to us! We are walking through the book “Because we love Him” by Clyde Cranford and he has a section on security that is great. He says that people doubt their salvation for one of three reasons: “1: they may be saved but have a poor understanding of the bible’s teaching about salvation and security. Thus they fall prey to sometimes paralyzing accusations and lies of the devil. 2: They may be lost, yet because of some deceptive teaching, they may be deluded and think they are saved. Yet now and again they are troubled by doubt. This doubt may be the Holy Spirit awakening them to their condition. 3: They may be saved but plagued with guilt over sinin their lives. Sin often causes Christians to doubt their salvation. Satan tempts them to sin; if they then yield to the temptation, he points an accusing finger. But their distress over sin and the doubts it may cause might actually be an indication of the reality of their Christianity, because sin is so contrary to their new life in Christ.”. By the way, Dr. Mckeever, I enjoy your articles.

  10. IN CHRIST we have salvation. If we are in Christ. Can Christ be done away with .What shall separate us FROM the LOVE OF GOD ? Our believe ,sanctification
    Works ,conversion are the results of not the cause when one truly understands this
    The security will not be a issue. Our doubts come from looking in wrong direction and a wrong understanding of whose work salvation is.
    This will always lead to doubts. Did we believe enough, did we work enough,
    Pray enough, live good enough . He that believe HATH ETERNAL LIFE not will get. Our Lord on the cross said it is finished. He completed it and he is now applying it to his people. IT IS HIM THAT WORKETH IN YOU BOTH TO ” WILL AND DO “his good pleasure . Ephesians tells us it started from him chosen IN CHRIST BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD he purchased it on cross and by his spirit working it out in you. The security of believer is worked out in him. TO GOD BE THE GLORY This the hope and security of his people
    This is our security.

    • Just a pity that many are ignorant of the scripture: from the above subject a believer can loss His/Her salvation. i just want to ask a simple question from the writer and the followers….. can you tell me if Judas Iscariot was among this people that Christ said they should not rejoice because of the miracle but only rejoice that their name is written in the book of life?
      I want to ask was Judas once saved? what happen to Him later.

      The Bible said what are written a fore time are written for our learning. did you know that Israelite were once saved but when they go away from God they were Destroyed. consider Lot Wise she was saved but having looked back she became a pillar of salt. please do not miss lead people God is watching us. i have a lot of reference in the scripture and by The Grace of God i can interpret the verses you quote as your reff for internal security. the Bible said my soul will not have pleasure for those who turn back. Just think about this….. God Bless us.

  11. The criticism that I have received over the years for believing “once saved, always saved” has most often centered on the “license” this doctrine gives for sinful living once a person has made a profession of faith. I usually respond by sharing that 1) scripture does not teach that God is capricious and takes back what He gave at such great cost, 2) no one can clearly point out the “line” one crosses when someone is no longer saved, and 3) the fear of losing one’s salvation does not work as a motivation for clean living. This is why the only motivation for clean living (love for God and His working in my life) really works because it relates effectively to God’s character.

    • i just want to ask a simple question from the writer and the followers….. can you tell me if Judas Iscariot was among this people that Christ said they should not rejoice because of the miracle but only rejoice that their name is written in the book of life?
      I want to ask was Judas once saved? what happen to Him later.

      The Bible said what are written a fore time are written for our learning. did you know that Israelite were once saved but when they go away from God they were Destroyed. consider Lot Wise she was saved but having looked back she became a pillar of salt. please do not miss lead people God is watching us. i have a lot of reference in the scripture and by The Grace of God i can interpret the verses you quote as your reff for internal security. the Bible said my soul will not have pleasure for those who turn back. Just think about this….. God Bless us.

      • I told you–not sure if you read it–that if you’re trying to think of questions I cannot answer, I can help you with that. I have lots of Bible questions I cannot answer. Nor can you. No one knows Judas’ eternal destiny, other than the Lord. So, why spend your time and energies on things of no consequence. As Mark Twain once said, “It’s not the things I don’t understand in the Bible that concern me, but the ones I do.”

  12. Several yrs ago we had a preacher state he disagreed with once saved always saved. Well, I nicely disagreed with him and told him why. This was at a Wed night prayer meeting and I gave him some of the reasons you have mentioned. Afterwards some said they were glad I did but I am sure it didn’t change his mind. But Jesus said it I believe it and that settles it for me!!

  13. I’ve always been confused by people who say they don’t believe in once saved always saved. We are all sinful by nature and at times may backslide. If you are truly saved then you are forgiven. I’m not saying you can be saved and then go live life like you want and sin as much as you want because if you are truly saved you won’t want to live a sinful life. It all boils down to only God knows a persons heart and if they are truly saved and he is all that matters.

  14. The Bible says that once we drink of the Living Water we will never thirst again. If we were able to lose our salvation wouldn’t we be thirsting again and again and again?

  15. Hebrews 6:4-6 is wriiten in the context of Jews whom when they had sinned according to the law, which they are no longer under as believers, they went back to the temple to offer a sacrifice according to the law. That is why later in Hebrews that we read that there is no most offering for sin (read Hebrews 10). Thus, performing an offering for sin, which now the very act of doing is sin and crucifies Christ afresh, denies the High Priesthood of Christ’s final offering. It ignores the need to repent of our sin and confess it to God for forgiveness (1 John 1:9). Likewise the phrase “fallen away” does not mean they lost their salvation, it is referring to “stumbling.” This is evidenced by the Greek Word parapito, which is the same word for parapit. Anyone who has dug a fox hole in the military knows a parapit is the steep berm on the front of a foxhole you create with the dirt in from the hole. If an enemy directly attacks you from the front, they will stumble and lose their footing and fall without getting to you into your fox hole. Finally, as you read a little later in Hebrews 6:7-10, we see the context mentioned that the verses mentioned are discussing our labour of love works, which God is faithful not to forget (at the Judgement Seat of Christ).

    In summary, it tells us that when we stumble, the solution is not to do good works to be forgiven because in doing so it it impossible to bs renewed unto repentance. Instead, we should confess the same to God, Whom is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. Later, at the Judgement Seat of Christ, those unconfessed and forgiven works will be compared to wood, hay, and stubble and tested by fire to see what sort they were. Since they were not based on love of God or neighbor, they are burnt, resulting in no rewards. However, despite this, we will be saved (1 Corinthians 3:8-15). No offering or sacrifice can renew us to repentance because in our mind, we are still believing we are made right before God by performing an offering. This has nothing to do with the repentance, or change of mind, which should motivate us to instead come boldly before the Throne of Grace instead of an alter of disgrace. Thanks be to God!

  16. My name is Joe, too. I was saved and born again March 31, 1968. No one “Led me to Christ”. I was attending a Lutheran church at the time and when they said in the liturgy something about fleeing for refuge to His infinite mercy presented in Christ – I realized I could do that too.
    Then I started Adult Confirmation, although I was 16. There were things I was taught about the mechanics of the new birth that I did not accept. They taught that it was a matter of God overcoming the will of man. I have never believed that. It is the wooing of the Holy Spirit that causes man to change his will and enter the covenant with Christ. Once he does that, there is no going back. As Morpheus says to Neo in the first Matrix movie, “I can’t go back, can I? – Neo.” Morpheus, “No. But if you could, would you really want to?” I have”heard” the Holy Spirit say the same thing for over 52 years now.

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