Once saved, always saved; Eternal salvation; Reprobates and Apostates; Falling Away; Drawing Back

Lost or Saved?


Are we always saved no matter what, once saved?

Many people struggle with the fear they're not saved because of the fact they still struggle. The sanctification that salvation initiates is the battle between light and darkness. A struggle implies a fight, friction and war. Since the Christian life is a life of war, how silly is it to doubt your enlistment all because you're engaged in a war? It's the absence of war (not the presence of war) that exposes one as unsaved. See how Satan can twist things around? He seeks for us to reach the point where we give in and stop struggling. He who has no gravity-laden-struggle pulling him in two different directions at once just cannot be saved. At times, the Christian life can feel like being drawn and quartered by two teams of horses pulling us apart in two different directions. Which direction you decide to go with the most is that in which you serve. Too often we feel guilty for merely feeling the tug. We cannot control the tug...all we can control is which tug we pivot our heals and shift our weight toward.

Hebrews 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

It's those that are without a struggle that should fear!

But, can we "depart from the faith"?

1 Tim 4:1-2 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

It's important to know that these being spoken of here are "saved" people, who have DEPARTED from the faith! My question here is; How can you depart from something you weren't already in? Can you depart from faith if you never had faith?

Heb 10:26 For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

The key here is willful sin.  Everyone is human and imperfect and we all make mistakes.  God is loving and merciful and longsuffering!  It's those that turn away and turn back to their own vomit that this is referring to...

2 Peter 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

The above are they that the Lord gives up as apostate or reprobate...

2 Cor 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

Who is Paul addressing in that passage? Professing Christians!

Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

Wait a minute! Works? Disobedient? Reprobate?!? But, they profess Christ! They're saved aren't they??? Think about this! No, they are not saved. Now, go a step further... were they saved when they first believed? Like the seed on the stony ground, or among the thorns?

The parable of the sower and the seed...

Luke 8:13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

Note; they believe for a while, but then temptation overcomes them and they fall away. He goes on to say that those who fell among the thorns get drawn away by the cares and pleasures of life, and bear no fruit. Now, a lot of people would argue this and say that having no fruit (good works) doesn't matter and it certainly doesn't mean you've fallen away or won't be saved!

John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

He takes away the branches that bear no fruit! Don't believe the lies that Satan has sown so deeply in the church!

But aren't we sealed by the Spirit?

2 Cor 1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. 

Yes, and nothing outside of God or yourself can pluck you out of His hand. But can you walk away? We're safe from anything external and can rest assured in God's Hand, but why would there be so many scriptures warning us (be ye separate, give diligence to make your calling and election sure, earnestly contend for the faith, cease from sin, those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God, stand fast in the faith, etc.) if there were no way we could walk away on our own will? What do all the scriptures I have on this page mean, especially when you put them all together, if it were impossible to depart of our own will? And what does he mean when he says "grieve not the holy Spirit" that seals us? Why would that matter if He would not let go when we do so? I invite you to read the context of that verse in Ephesians... read verses 17-32 and see what it means, and read on into chapter 5 verse 7...

2 Peter 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall :

Ex 32:33 And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.

You can't have your name blotted out of a book that your name was not already written in, can you?

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.

Like Simon in Acts 8. There are those who believe, but their heart is not right in the sight of God, and they will eventually turn to their own vomit.

1 Cor 15:2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

What does Paul mean when he said "unless ye have believed in vain"?

Matt 7:21 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. 22 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? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

These people in Matthew 7 professed to know Him!!!

Heb 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

Draw back unto perdition (destruction)...  believers who draw back?  Can you draw back from faith and/or belief?  If not, what is Paul talking about here? And Paul makes a very good point here. "Them that believe to the saving of the soul." Belief, real true honest belief will bring change. It is not just saying you believe and then moving on with your life going about your business like you did before. It's believing to the saving of the soul. Repentance, obedience, change, ceasing from sin.

Heb 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away , to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

It's impossible for those who partake of the Holy Spirit, if they fall away, to renew them again unto repentance...  this is a warning we need to heed fearfully!  Remember, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom! 

Jude 1:1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: ... 3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Notice how in verse one Jude is addressing the called of God, but in verse three he exhorts us to earnestly contend for the faith? He says it is needful for him to write those who are of the common salvation, and exhort them to earnestly contend for the faith! If we believed that we cannot depart from the faith and end up lost, once we have believed, then Jude would have no reason to say this.

Your righteousness cannot save you, and your salvation cannot be cut off by anything outside of yourself. Nothing can take you out of Gods hand. But, if you turn away from God after knowing the truth, with enough perseverance, do you think God will not let you go? If not, who is being referenced in 2 Pet 2 and 1 Tim 4? How do they "turn" from the "way of righteousness", "after they have known it"? How do they "depart from the faith" if they never were "in" the faith before? How could a name be blotted (Rev 3:5) from the book of life if it is not written there in the first place? No, we can't lose our salvation by being human and making mistakes, and as we know, God is very merciful and forgiving testified throughout the Bible, but if we willfully sin (Heb 10:26) without repentance how can we tread Jesus under foot without punishment? Living a holy life in obedience should be our passion, and as Jesus said, we are known by our fruits. If we have no fruit we aren't a part of the true vine...

If belief alone, without repentance, without a change of heart, without picking up our cross and turning to follow Jesus, is all we need, then what does Paul mean when he said "unless ye have believed in vain"?

If we believe in eternal salvation, that once you're saved you always are, then we must concede that if a person appears to be saved and even if they do works in the name of Jesus, but are found living a life of willful sin, then they either were never saved in the first place or they are no longer filled with the Holy Spirit. It is impossible for someone full of the Holy Spirit to live a life of willful sin.

Whichever way we think, that they lost it or that they never had it, what's important is that we live in humble obedience to the Lord and heed these warnings.


For more information, see the following pages:

The Christian Life

What must I do to be saved?