(Part 1 of 4)

Dear Marc, Thank you for your email and for taking the time to write me. I have considered the texts you gave me and they are beautiful texts indeed. They are God's beautiful, enduring truths. The texts in my web page Once Saved, Always Saved are equally as beautiful and precious for they are also God's truths, aren't they?

I respect what you believe about the once-saved always-saved concept. I have many friends who hold this view and they are dear and precious to me.

This is what I believe concerning the texts you gave me that supposedly counter the position I take regarding this topic. NOTE to readers: Everything underlined is Marc's dialogue:

John 13:10 states "He that is bathed (saved) need only to wash his feet (Christian walk)." The bath which is salvation occurs just once while foot washing which is confession of sin occurs often.

I believe that the bath represents baptism, a public confession of an inward spiritual experience and the foot washing represents a type of mini-baptism. Baptism represents burial with Christ and resurrection to a new life in Christ. While a person is baptized 'once', the foot washing occurs more often. Footwashing is a type of cleansing. Christ had come to wash the heart from the stain of sin. In refusing to allow Christ to wash his feet, Peter was refusing the higher cleansing included in the lower. I guess you can use these representations: salvation (bath) and confession of sin (foot washing) and they are just as relevant and beautiful.

Yes, there's one baptism in Christ Jesus per Ephesians 4:4 "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism." But this doesn't infer once saved, always saved nor does it imply there could only be one act of baptism ever to be performed. People could be rebaptized. People who have wandered away from God and have come back to the Fold OR those who have joined a different denomination are usually rebaptized into the denomination they have joined.

Rom 8:30 - All who are justified will be glorified. There is no break between the two.

Marc, there will be no break between the two if all will remain faithful to the end. However, (sad to say) not all will remain faithful to the end, and a break occurs between justification and glorification. As human beings are not robots, they can choose to sever themselves anytime from God and no longer want to serve Him. The Bible is full of admonitions and instructions against the wiles of the Devil because if we are not careful and watching unto prayer, he can get us entangled in his snare. God will never save us against our will. Only those who remain faithful to the end will receive the immortal crown. "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." Matt 24:13.

In my Once Saved Always Saved web page I gave texts to substantiate the fact that one can fall from grace. Even the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Cor 9:27 that he kept his body under subjection lest that by any means after he had preached to others, he, himself, should be a castaway. Paul recognized the fact that he could fall from grace, and rightly so, because he was, like us, a fallible human being. Demas left him in the work of God and went out into the world. Demas fell from grace. There are many examples cited in scriptures of people who had fallen from grace. These are for our admonition today.

Heb 10:26 reads: "For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins."

Rom 8:35-39 - No "power" can separate us from the love of God - this would include the "power" of our sins (1 Corinthians 15:56) and the "power" of Satan (2 Thessalonians 2:9). No created thing (v.39), which includes ourselves and all the demons, can separate us from the love of God.

That's exactly right, Marc. No power on earth or heaven for that matter can separate us from the love of God. We cannot separate anyone from the love of God either, but WE, ourselves, on our own volition, can sever ourselves from that great love of God; and since this text is about God's love, not our love, we can choose not to love God. Again, we are not robots; God will not save us IF WE DON'T WANT TO BE SAVED. He will not take us to heaven if we don't want to go there. Of Ephraim who was joined to his idol, God said: Let him alone. If a supposed Christian is joined to his idol (sin), God would say the same thing: Let him alone. God is not going to save him and take him to heaven to risk a second rebellion. God forbid that that should happen.

Should a Christian wander away from the Fold as the Prodigal Son did, God, through His Holy Spirit will be right there with him to woo his heart and win him back to the Fold. But He would never, never force him against his will. Coercion is not one of God's attributes. God respects the human will too much. He desires for us to yield our will to Him. But He would not take it from us.

The son was always a son.

So, a son who died in his unconfessed sins and rebellion is saved? We are all children of our Heavenly Father. In a sense, the antediluvians were children of the Heavenly Father. They were loved by Him greatly that He sent Noah, a preacher of righteousness, to preach unto them so that they might be saved. Did they choose to be saved? Were they eternally saved against their will as "the children were always the children"? With all my heart, I do not believe that to be true.

A prodigal son who doesn't come out of the pig sty and go to the father in humility, confession and repentance is not going to be saved. He is not going to enjoy the love and fellowship with the Father. He is among this group of people: "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."

1 Cor 1:8 - Even to the carnal church at Corinth were still "confirmed to the end" by Jesus Christ.

To me the word 'carnal' means sensual, impure, unholy, unconsecrated and 'unspiritual'. If you read the verses before verse 8 of 1 Cor 1, you will notice that, contrary to what you said, the Church was not carnal, but spiritual. I know that is strange to say of some of the Corinthians. But notice verse 2. Paul addressed the Church and THOSE who were SANCTIFIED (SET APART FOR A HOLY PURPOSE).

In Chapter 5, you will notice that Paul was emphatic about maintaining purity in God's Church. How? By disfellowshipping from their midst and not associating with a Christian brother who was committing immoral acts. He said in verse 6 "...little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.  Chapter 6 also reiterates moral purity in God's church. What guideline was used to determine what was or wasn't moral? The moral law of ten commandments! Do you see the necessity of the moral law of God in pointing out sin? You see, Jesus Christ came to save us FROM our sins, not IN our sins. "...sin is the transgression of the law." --1 John 3:4.

Yes, Marc, all will be confirmed to the end IF THEY REMAINED FAITHFUL AND PURE. The text in 1 Cor 1:8 didn't say that specifically, but it's a given for the thrust of Bible theology is "He that endureth to the end shall be saved."

Rom 6:23--"For the wages of sin is DEATH; but the gift of God is ETERNAL LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord." Christians cannot be saved IN THEIR SINS. To be saved they have to put away sin; they have to separate themselves from their sins by heartfelt confession and repentance. There will be no sin or sinners in heaven. Had not the Patriarch David confessed his sins, he would have lost his salvation. If you read his confession in Psalm 51, you will notice that he prayed for his salvation to be restored and a right spirit to be renewed in him.

We know from the Bible that the saved would be very few--not because God doesn't want people saved but because people on their own volition would choose not to be saved. Sad, but true.

Matt 7:13-14 - "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

1 Peter 4:18 - "And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?"

In the Bible (in Isaiah 51:16) the word Zion is used to represent God's people or God's Church. Notice that they come in two classes: The washed (Isaiah 4:4) and the unwashed (Isaiah 3:16, Prov 30:12). The washed will go to heaven; the unwashed will not.

Marc, all through the Bible, we find that only the faithful and overcomers are rewarded. On the other hand, the transgressors or sinners are punished. Again Rom 6:23 come into play: "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." This text applies to ALL unconfessed sins whether committed by Christians or non-Christians. To say that once saved you are always saved is contrary to this text because it places people in a position they couldn't be--that is, not ever committing sin after "salvation".

Here's the reward for the righteous who stay faithful and loyal to the end:

The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:7-8 - "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

Those who love His appearing would have been forgiven of sins and cleansed from ALL unrighteouness. 1 John 1:9.

Rev 2:26-27 - "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star."

Rev 3:5 - "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels."

Rev 3:12 - "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name."

Eph 4:30 states that believers are "sealed (by the Holy Spirit) for the day of redemption".

Only those believers who remain faithful to the end--those who are overcomers will retain the seal of the Holy Spirit. The unwashed in Zion will not retain this seal. They grieve the Holy Spirit and sin against Him. Continuous grievings of the Holy Spirit result in committing blasphemy against Him. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the unpardonable sin. Sin separates one from God. Isaiah 59:2.

2 John 2 - The truth now abides in us and will be with us forever.

Yes, for the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us forever. Again, this applies to those who remain faithful to the end. Those who CHOOSE NOT to remain faithful would not receive the starry crown.

There is no losing salvation. Unbelievers do not have the truth in them (2 Thes 2:10).

A classic example of a believer who lost his salvation was the man of God in 1 Kings Chapter 13. He was a righteous man and a prophet of God, but he disobeyed God. He sinned against God and died in his sins. Marc, this prophet of God lost his salvation. Read the whole chapter when you get time.

Eze 3:20 and 18:24 say that a righteous man (one could hardly call a righteous man unconverted) who turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity shall die in his sins. Remember that sin is the transgression of the Law of God (1 John 3:4) and the wages of sin is eternal death.

But praise be to God for 1 John 1:9 - "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

This is all I have for now. Again, thanks, Marc, for your email. I appreciate your feedback. I praise God that you love Him and are interested in spiritual matters. Many people aren't. I pray for the Holy Spirit to be ever present to grace us with openmindedness, wisdom, understanding, and love.


Continuing dialogue with Marc:

What is a mini-baptism?

Mini-baptism is just my word, but it's taught by precept and example by Jesus in John 13:1-15. In verse 15, Jesus said I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done unto you.

Jesus is our example; we must follow his precepts and examples for there are spiritual significance in what he did in Chapter 13 - a type of cleansing, a lesson in humility that the Apostle Peter at first refused. But when he understood the significance, he wanted all parts of his body washed, not just his feet. See, we cannot toss out examples that Jesus gave us labeling them irrelevant. For more on the ordinance of humility, click here.

Those who are justified will be glorified. It doesn't condition it on being faithful. This is what the text states.

I believe that faithfulness to the end is always the condition of the Christian life. To follow your line of reasoning....if I accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Saviour today, then ten years later I decided to renounce Christianity altogether and be a 'devout atheist' if there's ever such a thing, am I still justified as a Christian because there is no condition of faithfulness of the part of the 'believer'--once saved, always saved?

Many scriptures are conditional. Many prophecies are conditional. The prophecy of the destruction of Ninevah is one of them. It didn't happen because the people repented. All of God's promises are conditional. To claim God's promises without meeting the conditions is presumptuous. All the texts I've given you in my previous email pertaining to overcoming are conditional. Many times the conditions are "givens" or "implied" - they are not specifically listed or stated but there are understood to be there based on what the preponderance of scriptures on the subject teach. For the sake of time, here's just two examples. These examples state the conditions. The conditions are very specific:

Matt 19:17 - "...but IF thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

1 John 1:9 - "IF we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Forgiveness and cleansing will not happen unless heartfelt confession is first made.

We were "slaves" to sin before we were saved and accordingly we thus must be a slave to someone.

Please clarify? Thanks.

We are either "slaves" to sin or righteousness (Rom 6:16-22).

You are absolutely right. We can't be slaves to both. We can't serve two masters. We can serve Satan or Christ, never both. The unwashed in Zion (Isaiah 3:16, Prov 30:12) are slaves to sin and, therefore, will not go to heaven. Their reward is eternal death.

All those who believe in Jesus are washed.

I agree wholehearted, but let's go back to Zion (God's people). You said, "the son was always a son" and "God's people are God's people". It doesn't matter whether they are washed or unwashed. They are all children of the Heavenly Father and they will all go to heaven. This is contrary to Bible theology of separation. The goats are separated from the sheep. The fishes in the net are separated--the good from the bad. The five wise virgins are separated from the five foolish virgins.

There is separation in the Parable of the Sower. This parable is not talking about worldlings and infidels. It's talking about Christians. Initially, all believed John 3:16 and gladly accepted the Lord. However, for different reasons and circumstances, not ALL remained faithful to the end. The dross is separated from the gold. The non-fruit bearers are separated from the fruit bearers. The tares are separated from the wheat, the sinners are separated from the saints.

1 Cor 1:8 - Even to the carnal church at Corinth were still "confirmed to the end" by Jesus Christ.

Like I said before, the word 'carnal' means sensual, impure, unholy, unconsecrated and 'unspiritual'. If you read the verses prior to verse 8, you will notice that the Church was sanctified and the people were referred to as 'saints'. The Church was not carnal; it was spiritual.

No, they were carnal (1 Cor 3:1, 2).

God's Church is pure. Christ is the Head. Christ cannot be Head of anything impure. However, in the church, in Paul's day and now, there were/are and will always be those in the Church who are carnal. There will always be those who are unwashed. The wheat and the tares grow together until the harvest at the end of the world. Notice in particular verse 2 of 1 Cor 3. "For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?" The word 'yet' denotes to me that some of the believers at Corinth needed to grow up and be spiritual. They needed to be mature in the Lord.

Spiritual growth is called sanctification. It's a work of a lifetime. Every stage of Christian growth is perfect and acceptable to God, but the ultimate result of sanctification (salvation) is determined at the end of the life. If nurtured and fed, the tiny acorn will develop into a giant, sturdy oak tree. Likewise, a babe in Christ, if fed and nourished spiritually throughout his lifetime, will grow and mature and ultimately be saved.

The doctrine of Once Saved, Always Saved throws sanctification out the window. But, like I said, there are believers, then and now, who were/are pure and follow the example of their Lord. There are Enochs in our day. God's Church militant (those who make up the Church) will be the Church Triumphant because some in Church capacity will grow up to become mature Christians and will be faithful and persevere to the end. Those who do not are sifted out. They lose their salvation. Ephesians 5:27 says God's Church will be without spots, wrinkles, or any such thing.

You have sins that you don't even know of. David says keep me from hidden sins (Psalms 19:12). How can you confess hidden sins when you don't even know what they are?

The role of the Holy Spirit is to bring conviction of sin. He will reveal to us these 'hidden sins' that need to be confessed. David prayed to the Lord to be KEPT from committing these sins.

Have you confessed every sin that you have committed in your entire life? No one can.

That's why we have the Holy Spirit to enlighten us about the Word of God. If we do not have the proper and correct knowledge and understanding of His word, we risk committing 'hidden sins'. We need to read our Bibles with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and obey the instructions written therein. We need to always confess our sins and be in a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

Rom 8:26 - "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."

Regarding the heavenly reward, the more obedient ones will receive more rewards than the less obedient.

May I ask what kind of reward will the 'less obedient ones' receive? The Bible is very clear about reward and punishment--reward for the righteous is ETERNAL LIFE, and the punishment of the wicked is ETERNAL DEATH. There are no inbetween. The disobedient is never rewarded. He's punished! The obedient is rewarded immortality.

More rewards or less rewards pertain only to the obedient--those who endure to the end and are saved. There will be more stars in the crowns of those who have won many people to the Kingdom of God. Those who have not won as many would not receive as many stars. Some will be made rulers over many things, etc.

Sin is the transgression (or breaking) of the Law. 1 John 3:4. Sin will keep anyone out of heaven even if he claims to be a 'Christian'. One 'little disobedience' is still SIN. As far as salvation is concerned there is no such thing as little sins or big sins. Little sins if unconfessed and persisted upon will end in death. As far as saying that the disobedient will be rewarded, though not as much as the more obedient one, is ludicrous. Sin--little, medium, big, or super-big put Jesus on the Cross.

That is false. Jesus said to Pilate that Judas committed the 'greater' sin (John 19:11).

True, there are distinctions of sin, but my point was sin is sin. The degree of sin doesn't matter. If a lessor sin keeps me out of heaven, it wouldn't matter that I did not commit a greater sin. If unconfessed and persisted upon, little sins (even if only a point of a fraction) eat out the life of godliness in the soul and cause the Christian to commit greater sins. If unconfessed, they will lead to eternal death. There will be no sins or sinners in Heaven. This is basic Bible teaching, plain and simple. Did you bring up the text above because you think lesser sin is okay and will be allowed in heaven?

Rev 3:5 - "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels."

It says He will NEVER blot out their name. He won't do it.

The text says "He that overcometh". Jesus is talking about the faithful and obedient who overcomes sin. There will be those in the rank who would not overcome. Their names WILL DEFINITELY BE BLOTTED OUT. YES, HE WILL BLOT OUT THEIR NAMES.

Only the faithful and obedient will enter Heaven. They show by their obedience that they LOVE the Lord with all their heart. "IF YOU LOVE ME, KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS".

Revelation 20:22 - "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." Did you notice the condition? How may one enter through the gates into the city? By doing His commandments; by obeying His commandments. To disobey is a sin and will keep anyone from entering through the gates into the city of God (Heaven).

Eph 4:30 states that believers are "sealed (by the Holy Spirit) for the day of redemption".

Only those believers who remain faithful to the end are overcomers and will retain the seal of the Holy Spirit. The unwashed in Zion will not retain the seal. They grieve the Holy Spirit. They sin against the Holy Spirit; therefore, they lose the seal. They lose their salvation.

No, the text reads that if one has the Spirit they are sealed for the day of redemption.

Obedience is a 'given' in this scripture. The disobedient is a sinner and does not have the Holy Spirit because Jesus through His Holy Spirit cannot coexist in the heart where Satan (sin) is also enthroned. It's one or the other. We cannot be Christians and sinners at the same time. But we are free moral agents. We choose whom to obey--Christ or Satan, never both.

Rom 6:16 - "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."

All believers are overcomers (1 John 5:4).

Only if they stay in a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus till the end. Sanctification is the work of a lifetime. The Righteous Judge knows the heart, the spirit, the sincerity, the motives, the repentance and will reward accordingly.

The key that separates the gold from the dross--the righteous from the sinners is OBEDIENCE. There is no such thing as a disobedient Christian. The Devil himself believes and trembles. He is a believer but he would never obey. There will be many supposed believers who are transgressors of the law and are, therefore, sinners in need for turning from sin, turning from breaking the law, with contrition and humility of heart and having a continuous saving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. If they endure to the end, they will be overcomers! They will be saved!

The very fact that the scripture is worded "He that overcometh to the end" denotes that there will be some who would not overcome. The Devil is as a roaring lion seeking to devour those who are not watchful with much, much prayer and draw nigh to God in order to resist the Devil. In our striving against sin, we are to resist as unto blood. Heb 12:4. We are to look diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God...Heb 12:15. We won't need these warning texts if Christians can be saved in their SINs. Most definitely, Christians can fall from grace if they are not diligent and watchful unto prayer.

You cannot just accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour and sit back and be passive thinking you are an overcomer. Life is a battle and a march. You have a part to do. You have to march! You think the hymn 'Onward, Christian Soldier, Marching As to War' was written for nothing? There's a great controversy between good and evil in the world. The battles waging between the two armies are as real and fierce as those fought by the armies of this world, and on the issue of the spiritual conflict eternal destinies depend. Daily, people are making choices whose side they will be on--the good side or the evil side--the Lord's side or the Devil's side.

Matt 7:21-23 is not talking about infidels and unbelievers. It's talking about Christians--spurious Christians, that is. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Iniquity means sin (lawlessness/disobedience)--breaking God's law. 1 John 3:4.

Well, Marc, that's it for now. As always, thanks for your feedback. May the Holy Spirit be with us always is my prayer and desire.


Continuing with the dialogue:

Many scriptures are conditional. In fact, all of God's promises are conditional. All the texts I've given you in my previous email pertaining to overcoming are conditional.

But salvation is conditional just on belief.

Forgive me for not having a better example, Marc, but I want to bring out my point. The Devil believes and trembles. Is the Devil saved? There's more involved than just belief, that is, love to God, faithfulness, loyalty, obedience, and integrity to Him. This is not putting the cart before the horse. The blood of Jesus is our only merit and we are saved by grace not of works. But always, throughout the Bible, there's that inherent condition of love and faithfulness and integrity toward God TO THE END on the part of the believer.

Why do you suppose we have the book of Job in the Bible? To give us lessons of faithfulness, trust, and integrity toward God no matter what. Trials are there to prove us. The process of sanctification takes a lifetime--a lifetime of growth, of overcoming, and cultivating and developing a character like Christ's. We wouldn't know the result until the end of the lifetime. God is keeping accurate record of what we do and say including our spirit and motives. If there's no condition of faithfulness to the end on the part of the Christian, then we might as well throw out the whole Bible because the Bible contains instructions for the child of God to follow, to obey, to live by, to grow by and be faithful to the end.

All believers are overcomers (1 John 5:4).

Not ALL believers are overcomers. Remember Satan believes and trembles. That doesn't make him an overcomer, does it? He has many followers just like him in character. When all is said and done, only a few will be saved--a remnant, faithful and loyal to the end.

Matt 7:13 "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat."

Click here for Part 2 of Once Saved, Always Saved.
Related topic: Christian Growth and Maturity

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