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Once Saved, Always Saved?  

A common retort from Calvinists is, "You cannot earn your salvation."  Of course you can't.  Every Christian who believes Christ died and paid for their sins on the cross of Calvary knows this, or should know, salvation is free.  Preaching the importance of holiness, as did the apostles, is not to deny that salvation was purchased by the blood of Jesus and is a free gift to all those who believe.  

I will start this commentary with an Old Testament scripture, in that the Old Testament compliments the New Testament and the two cannot be separated.  For example, we must first realize the Passover lamb's blood saved the lives of the firstborn of Israel in the Old Testament (Exodus 12:23), before we can understand why John the Baptist referred to Jesus as "'The Lamb of God' which takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29)," correct?  Solomon, who was not only anointed king over Israel, but was a prophet as well, said in Proverbs 28:13, "He who covers his sins shall not prosper, but whoever confesses his sins and forsakes them shall have mercy."  I will also add, "Know this first, no prophecy of the scripture is of private interpretation" II Peter 1:20; but the scriptures must be "rightly divided" (II Timothy 2:15) and weighed against one another.  Jesus told the woman found committing adultery, "Jesus said to her, 'neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more'" John 8:11.  Jesus also told the man He healed at the pool of Bethesda, "Behold, you are healed, sin no more, lest a worse thing come to you" John 5:14.  Jesus told Nicodemus, "Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" John 3:3.  Jesus clarified a bit later by saying, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" John 3:6.  Jesus was saying to him, in other words, we no longer walk after the flesh when we are born again, but we walk after the Spirit, obeying what the Spirit works in us, not what the flesh desires.  Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."  If someone gets truly saved, he is a new person and he no longer follows after the flesh, staying in sinful habits, he is a new person - all the scriptures "rightly divided" (2 Timothy 2:15) - bear out this fact.  Of course, anyone can isolate some scriptures here and there and come up with a lot of damnable heresies.  This is exactly why Peter said that "no scripture can be privately interpreted" 2 Peter 1:20.            

Last year, as I prayed for a dear friend whose faith is based on the doctrine widely known as John Calvin's reformation doctrine, I wrestled with my friend's comment to me, "You cannot earn your salvation."  The dilemma I faced was knowing that I could not earn my salvation; it is free, yet God requires that we "follow holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord" Hebrews 12:14.  I knew God called His people to holiness, but this is not payment for salvation, so I prayed that the Lord would give me an explanation.  As I stayed on my knees in prayer, an allegory came to me from the Lord.  He demonstrated to me right then and there, "If I give you a home and tell you that you must take very good care of it, especially keep the moat maintained, so torrential rain waters will be diverted from flooding, ruining and bringing down the house; and if you do not take care of the house I have given you and you have neglected to keep the moat surrounding the house, and then the house falls to ruin after the torrential rains and storms come, does this mean I never gave you the house in the first place?  If you take good care of the house, as I instructed you to do, and the house is saved from the rains and storms, does this mean you have paid me for the house I gave to you free of charge, only because I have asked you to take care of it in the proper manner?"  I couldn't have seen anything more clearer than that.  I was later reminded of the words of Jesus, which closely relates to the allegory the Lord gave to me during prayer, when He said, "Whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them, I will compare him to a wise man who built his house upon a rock, and the rain descended, the floods came, the wind blew and beat upon the house and it did not fall, for it was built upon a rock.  Everyone who hears these sayings of mine and does not do them will be compared to a foolish man who built his house on the sand, and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon the house and it fell, and great was the fall of it" Matthew 7:24-27.  Earlier in this same chapter, Jesus said, "Enter in at the straight gate, for wide is the way and broad is the way that leads to destruction and many go in there.  Because straight is the gate and narrow is the way which leads to life, few will find it" Matthew 7:13-14.

Since when is our surrender to God a "works mentality."  When we surrender ourselves to Him, He is faithful to keep us, "...He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him against that day" II Timothy 1:12.  I venture to say that if a person gets saved and does nothing for the Lord in the way of works, but surrenders his life to God, abstaining from evil, they have the right to enter in to the kingdom of God.  Since when is not doing something considered work?  This is the great deception of Calvinism.  These apostates would have you believe that literally to stay away from evil is too hard a fleshly burden, which constitutes work!  Can you believe this lie?  Of course, the Word of God tells us that we will not stay idle after we gain salvation, not because we have to earn our salvation, but simply "a good tree will bring forth good fruit" Matthew 7:17.  The Bible goes on to tell us that it is not of ourselves and it is "not of works, lest any man should boast" Ephesians 2:9.  So, don't be deceived, even those of us who abstain from sin can only do so by the grace and power of God and we are still nothing without Him.  The Word of God is very clear that salvation is free, and we can see that Jesus said to the thief on the cross, "This day you will be with me in paradise" Luke 23:43.  The thief didn't do any works, he only repented and then died - no works involved.  For those who live on after repentance, since when does surrendering ones life to God constitute works.  What hefty job is it to get up every day and say, "Lord, I surrender all."  Romans 12:1 says, "I beseech you therefore, brothers, by the mercy of God, present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service."  Those who repent, but go about their merry way in sin are akin to someone who wobbles around near the edge of a deadly cliff, proclaiming, "I am only flesh, God made me this way and I have to walk recklessly near this cliff; I have no choice."  This is strictly contrary to the scriptures, "...God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted more than you are able to bear, but with the temptation will make a way of escape" I Corinthians 10:13.  This is a promise in the Word of God.  Is God a liar?  Jesus is our example and He was without sin.  When He forgave the woman who committed adultery, He said, "I don't condemn you, go, and sin no more."  Does this mean I am promoting that a person will never sin after they get saved?  No, not at all.  John said in I John 2:1, "My little children, I write to you that you sin not.  If any man does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."  There is a definite difference between repenting once and living carelessly in sin after that; and repenting, surrendering to God daily, but repenting earnestly if you do fall.  Paul said in I Corinthians 15:31, "...I die daily."  What he meant here is that he died to the flesh daily.  He walked "not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" Romans 8:1.  You say it can't be done?  You have just declared Paul a liar!   

Christ lived as a man, subject to passions as you and I suffer (Hebrews 4:15), to lead the way and provide the example of servitude and righteous living.  He died on the cross to pay the punishment for our sins and to set at liberty those taken captive by sin (Luke 4:18).  He did not suffer and pave the way for us to remain captives by sin.  God promised that with every temptation, He would make a way of escape, "You have suffered no temptation, but those common to man, but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above that which you are able to bear, but will make a way of escape with every temptation" I Corinthians 10:13.  I have had people tell me that we, Christians, have to sin; there is no way to escape the flesh.  This, however, is contrary to the promise of I Corinthians 10:13.  Some are also teaching that you need only repent one time in your life for sins, which provides forgiveness for past, present and future sins.  This false teaching contradicts the scriptures:  John wrote to the new Christians (not to the unsaved), "My little children, these things I write to you, sin not, and if any man does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" I John 2:1.  It is also written in Romans 3:25 that "God set forth (Jesus) to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past (says nothing about future sins), through the forbearance of God."  

I encourage you to pray and read the Word of God for yourself and ask God to give you the divine interpretation of His Word.  Don't accept any man's interpretation of the scriptures without having researched them yourself.  Paul, an overseer of the church, wrote to the Philippians in Philippians 2:12, " out your own salvation with fear and trembling."  If you stand guilty before God, you will not be able to point to your pastor and say, "It's all his fault, he beguiled me." Remember Adam and Eve; they were held responsible for themselves by God, even though Adam tried to blame Eve for their sins.  

I am going to share one scripture in the New Testament which is irrefutable when it comes to backsliding, Hebrews 10:39:  "We are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul."  I will put emphasis on the words, "draw back unto perdition."  Some translations change this word from perdition to destruction and the promoters of those translations say that our works and lives can be destroyed by sin, but we ourselves will still be saved.  First, every scripture which contains the word "perdition" always refers to the unsaved, lost, or without hope; numerous times referring to the "son of perdition," or the Antichrist.  Of course, we all know the Antichrist is without hope.  The translation and meaning is the same in Latin (perdicion), lost, without hope.  To further expound on this scripture, when one "draws back," this can only mean that they have been "brought out" in order for them to "draw back."  It is plain for anyone to see, except for those who simply do not wish to see it.  I have a great fear for those who can boldly take the Holy Word of God and change it into a lie.  Some have come along 1,500, 1,900 years after the scriptures were written to declare they now have the correct translation!  How odd that God would let everyone be mislead and deceived, until that special person came along to give us the truth centuries later.  No, I declare that the truth has not changed since the beginning, in fact, since the beginning of time!  Men have come along later to try to pervert the Word of God!  

Revelation 22:18-19 says, "I testify to every man who hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man adds to these things, God shall add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if any man takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life and out of the holy city and from the things which are written in this book."  Men have come along throughout the ages and have changed the scriptures and tweaked the translations just a bit to fit their ideas and have sold lies, "hook, line and sinker" to people who have "itching ears," "The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears" II Timothy 4:3.  Men, not fluent with the original Greek and Hebrew, nor having applied hermeneutics in their endeavors to translate, have come up with newfangled gospels to tickle men's ears.  Does holiness "tickle men's ears?"  I think not.  Does the message, "Once you're saved, you are always saved; no matter what you do after that, you can't lose your salvation" tickle ones ears?  If I was foolhardy enough to believe that unrepentant sin doesn't separate us from God, I would say that tickles my ears a lot!  The Word of God tells us over and over again that doctrines of heresy and doctrines of devils would come, "men-pleasers" and "lovers of themselves," and we need to take heed and take the warnings seriously.  Some would have you think that you can please yourself and float along and God is just going to take care of everything for us; we don't have to do a thing but believe.  The Bible tells us that "devils believe and tremble" (James 2:19).  Because of the day and hour in which we live, we don't hear too many ministers today preach about the fear of God.  "Fear God?," you might say.  Yes, many have gotten away from the fear of God, but the Old Testament Word tells us, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom..." Psalm 111:10; and "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:  Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man" Ecclesiastes 12:13.  The New Testament Word also warns us to fear God, "Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come..." Revelation 14:7.  Will God overlook those who have come along and formulated reasons for changing the Word of God?  No, He will not.    

I don't venture to judge any person or their relationship with God.  I do know what the Bible says and I know what the truth of the matter is.  Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments" John 14:15.  "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him" I John 2:15.  

In conclusion, I can only say this, if John Calvin and others like him were right, I suppose I could have sinned, been worldly and thoroughly enjoyed the sins and pleasures of this life and I would have gotten away with it, and made it to heaven anyway.  However, if the doctrine of holiness is true and John Calvin perverted the Word of God, are you willing to stake your very eternal soul on the fact that maybe he was right in his interpretation?  The Lord never changes, He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).  In II Samuel 6, we read the story about Uzzah who reached out to catch the ark of God because the oxen pulling it were causing it to tilt.  Uzzah intended to save the ark of God from falling down and his intentions were good.  Nevertheless, God struck him dead right then and there for touching the ark.  Uzzah was not anointed to touch the ark of God, only the Levites were allowed by God to touch it.  Any one of us would think, "How cruel," even king David was upset when God killed Uzzah for this reason.  Nevertheless, God is sovereign and we don't have the privilege of doing things our way.  It is God's way, or nothing!  God is God.  We are His servants and He has commanded us to obey Him (period).  "There is a way which seems right to a man, but in the end it is the way of death" Proverbs 14:12; another passage written by the wisest man who ever lived, king Solomon.                    

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