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Eternal Salvation is Conditional
by Gregory John Monroe
12/01/2013 / Bible Studies
There are some who preach that at the moment of conversion the Christian is saved, and "once saved, you're always saved." Can't they see the danger that some believers would then assume they can resume or go back to their old way of living without there being any consequences?
In their minds, salvation wouldn't have anything to do with obedience or spiritual growth. Instead, their thinking would be that salvation was sealed forever at the moment they believed in and confessed Jesus as their Lord. Case closed!
That's too bad, because although it's true that upon conversion believers are entered into the book of life, they can be removed as is evidenced by Jesus words, "He who overcomes I will not erase his name from the book of life." Rev. 3: 5.
In other words if one's life pattern consists of living in the flesh, as opposed to following the Spirit, that person passes back from life to death. Over and over throughout the New Testament, Jesus and the apostles cite the theme of having to overcome, to endure, in order to keep life, e.g., Matt. 24:13; Mark 13: 13; 2 Tim. 2: 12; Rev. 2: 7, 11, 17, 26; 3: 12, 21; 21: 7.
Eternal life is kept by continuously living in eternal life. Jesus is eternal life. We must abide in Him and He must abide in us. For it is His righteousness that gives entrance to heaven and beyond.
For those who think that a solitary moment of conversion in the past is a guarantee of eternal security, think on this that was written to Christians. "Fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterersnor homosexuals, nor thievesnor drunkards will inherit the kingdom of God." 1 Cor. 6: 9, 10.
If these, or any other sin, is what the professed Christian is known by; if these sins are willfully committed to the extent that they are a lifestyle without repentance, then salvation is lost.
In cases like this, defenders of "once saved, always saved" say that the person wasn't saved to begin with. How, they say, can you lose something you never had? They say the person never was a truly faithful believer. However, scripture begs to differ.
Ezekiel 33:13 says, "When I [God] say to the righteous he will surely live, and he so trusts in his righteousness that he commits iniquity, none of his righteous deeds will be remembered; In that same iniquity of which he has committed he will die."
Hebrews 6: 4-6, "In the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of Godand then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame."
Clearly in the above two passages, those who turned their backs on God were true faithful believers. In the first passage, God called them righteous. (When designated righteous by God, He is speaking of them being clothed in His righteousness.) In the second passage, these shared in the divine nature of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. In both cases, these were true believers who fell away.
Notice "fell away." It was of their choice. God never takes away our will, our freedom to choose. He is not going to drag anyone into heaven that chooses not to be there. He has made it very clear, the qualification to enter. That would be repentance (turning away from a life of sin to godly living through faith In Jesus.) To turn away from God's way is a choice made.
The principle that choice is always retained by the believer, applies also to those stalwart go-to verses loved and used by the "always saved" crowd to prove their point.
The verses say, "I [Jesus] give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the father's hand. I and the Father are one." John 10: 28-30.
Those who remain faithful and choose to continue to follow the voice of Jesus will inherit eternal life (John 10: 27). No outside forces can come along and snatch them away. Those who do fall away, do so of their own accord. They choose to let go of the divine hand.
The thing about salvation is that the Bible speaks of salvation in three phases.
1. Saved (past). This is the moment of conversion when the believer is justified, or declared innocent of all sin.
2. Being saved (present). This is the phase in which the believer is being sanctified, or saved from the power of sin.
3. Shall be saved (future). This is the moment when Jesus returns and the believer is glorified, having been taken away and saved from the presence of sin.
When Jesus and the apostles speak of overcoming and enduring to the end, it is the phase "being saved" that they are referring to. They know that at any time, the believer has the right to turn back to the world. The believer always retains freedom of choice, of which God will always honor.
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