Some of you are probably wondering, will he ever just move on? What is up with this topic? This, quite honestly, is a hot topic for many, not just myself. And as like so many, I want everyone to have as much knowledge and understanding at their fingertips in order to make a truly wise, understandable, knowledgeable, and prayerful decision as to what they truly believe about the subject matter at hand! In the past (August & September of 2015) I wrote a two part blog posting on this very subject (Once Saved, Always Saved? & Once Saved, Always Saved? ~Part 2). The blog postings were cursory and were unassumingly ambiguous, in that, I still was not certain at that time about the subject. However, I desired to get as much of the information out to you so that you could decide for yourselves, despite the fact that I was not 100% sure in either case. Many have the belief that once saved & always saved is a fallacy and a license to sin, because if one cannot lose their salvation then they can do anything without regard to consequences. Remember Father Zosima’s quote, from Dostoevsky’s “Brothers Karamazov“, “If there is no God then all things are permissible.”
This is not what the bible teaches. And if you can lose your salvation then you aren’t truly saved, hmmmmmmm…also, this is not taught within the biblical text. So, this, I hope, is the last of this question and my input on this subject, as I am (as you can see) grasping information from numerous sources. But no promises on this being the last word on this topic of discussion. Also, it is not like I do not have other topics to discuss, as I have in my drafts anywhere up to 40-50+ topics. But as with anything else, your mind is constantly thinking on what NEEDS to be heard and understood by those who follow your blog(s). I hope I keep everyone busy and tantalized by the topics that are posted.
My greatest problem, that which holds me back from this teaching, is the fact that I believe that somehow we (mankind) can subvert our salvation through our God given right to choose (good or bad, right or wrong, righteous or evil, etc.) I understand that the grace of God is how we receive our salvation which is a gift from God. I also understand that many rely on this scripture:
All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. ~John 6:37-38 NASB
My problem with this is that God, Jesus, says, “…the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out…” which leads me to believe that though Jesus will not cast a person out, but if he can chose to be saved by calling on God, can he not also choose to walk away from such a glorious gift, as well? Consider the story of George Wilson, the man who refused a presidential pardon. This is my dilemma, which I hope to solve by the end of this particular blog posting. Therefore, my friends, this will probably be my longest post, or several blog posts, only time and research will tell. Sorry!
So, what is the Doctrine of Free Will? According to Matt Slick of CARM.org he has defined as such:
Free will is the ability to make choices without external coercion. There are debates as to what extent this free will is to be understood as it relates to people. There are two main views: compatibilism and libertarianism…The compatibilist view is the position that a person’s freedom is restricted by his nature as is described in Scripture and that his free will is consistent with God’s foreordination…Libertarian free will says that the person’s will is not restricted by his sinful nature and that he is still able to choose or accept God freely…[see more of this refer to What is free will? ]
The problem of free will assumed quite a new character with the advent of the Christian religion. The doctrine that God has created man, has commanded him to obey the moral law, and has promised to reward or punish him for observance or violation of this law, made the reality of moral liberty an issue of transcendent importance. Unless man is really free, he cannot be justly held responsible for his actions, any more than for the date of his birth or the colour of his eyes. All alike are inexorably predetermined for him. Again, the difficulty of the question was augmented still further by the Christian dogma of the fall of man and his redemption by grace. St. Paul, especially in his Epistle to the Romans, is the great source of the Catholic theology of grace. ~Catholic Encyclopedia
This might be a good segue to ask what was the point of the law? What was the purpose of the law? Remember what the Apostle Paul told us, in Romans 7:
…I would not have come to know sin except through the Law… ~Romans 7:7 NASB
So, the law was a means of accomplishing your salvation, that linked with the blood sacrifice of animals could land you into heaven. Of course, you would have to adhere to all of the 613 laws on the books and properly and morally give your blood sacrifices throughout your life. And Jesus taught us that He was “…the way the truth and the light…” by which we could “…come to the Father” and it was only through He that we could do so. Toward the end of Jesus’ ministry He, during the Lord’s supper, stated (according to the Apostle Matthew):
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” ~Matthew 26:26-29 NKJV
We are reminded of the “My blood of the new covenant”, which was a foretelling of His own trial and tribulation that the Christ had to endure in order to become the final sacrifice…for us all…once and for all! Yes…do you you get it now? He died for you and me, for all of us and for all those not yet born. Now, with the “New Covenant” through the blood of Jesus we are no longer held accountable to the law. Now we are to live as Jesus lived; Jesus being our premier example of how to live.
So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. ~John 19:30 NKJV
When Jesus said, “It is finished!” He meant that His task was completed for all mankind; i.e., He was that final sacrifice. Upon that moment Jesus gave up His Spirit and His blood was spilled on our behalf, as our final sacrifice. We were freed from the law…although, keep in mind the law is what we use to determine if we are sinning in any particular area of our lives. Of course, this is a no braniner since, “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (for better context refer to Romans 3:21-26 NASB.) This is why we are saved by grace through faith [in the blood of Jesus…the lamb which was slaughtered on our behalf.] Further consider what the Apostle Paul had written:
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. ~Ephesians 2:1-10 NASB
Jesus suffered for each and every one of us and He was held accountable for each and every one of our sins. Those nails, the crown of thorns, the cross upon which He bore our sins…it is in our place that he was condemned, it was for our sins He died.This was prophesied by Isaiah, one of the major prophets:
He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. ~Isaiah 53:3 NASB
He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth. ~Isaiah 53:7 NASB
We all think, at some points in time, that we are good people. But what exactly do we use as a basis for our arrogant statement? Why? Because we didn’t kill anyone? Because we aren’t Hitler? Stalin? Mao Tse Tung? Pol Pot? THAT is a bit relativistic, don’t you think? The list could literally go one for quite some time, but for brevity I will leave it there. But, yes, Jesus died for each of them. Yet, they did not accept Jesus…they rejected Him and therefore, Jesus also rejected them. Remember what Jesus taught?
“Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. ~Matthew 10:32-39 NASB
Now, from a moral standpoint we are not given a license to sin. Because as children of God we are to strive to be better than what we once were. Unfortunately, I know people who take this literally as a license to sin. And if they do sin, there is no admission of such a thing, because it wasn’t them but the evil one who sinned within them…hmmmmmmmm.
So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.~Romans 7:17-20 NASB
This is but one, there may be others because the Apostle Paul generally refers to other things he has written about. However, people take this out of context for their benefit in order to sin and continue to keep on sinning. We are meant to understand that we do wrong because of the sinful nature within us. That being said, we are to use Jesus as our Godly example of how we are to live out our lives. But because that is way too hard to do…we should just let our bodies do what they will do, because our souls are saved. That is ungodly thinking and antithetical to the teachings of the bible. Look at the Apostle Paul who killed Christians his brothers & sisters. You can see in his writings that he is tormented due to the memory of what he once was and what he did, but he knew and held on to the hope that Jesus forgave him and he made great strides to do God’s work and fulfill the purpose for which he was created. Let’s look at King David who was a warrior, an adulterer, he lusted, and he killed in order to hide the truth, but God was there and saw it all. Consider, for a moment, that if we were to live as though we have a license to sin then why didn’t the Apostle Paul continue to torment and torture Christians? If what happens while in our flesh truly didn’t matter, then Paul had a license to continue to do what he was doing. And the same could be said of King David. But they each knew they were wrong due to the sin that was within them and they struggled to be better. If God could save David and Saul (Paul), then that gives us great hope…because God wants to save each and every one of us. He desires all of mankind to be saved and to enter into the heavenly realm.
I love the Matt Slick explained his point of view on this, in his article THE ASSURANCE OF SALVATION:
…Let’s say that we are on a 20 foot boat out in the ocean. We are sailing along when we notice two men in the water. There is no other boat around, so it is obvious these two men are in trouble. We take a life preserver, tie it to a rope, and throw it to them. It lands just a few feet short. We start yelling and yelling for them to grab the life preserver so we can pull them in. “Come on,” we yell. “Grab it! Grab it!” One of the men, exhausted, reaches out his arm for the life preserver but falls short. “Grab it!” we yell again. He reaches again and his arm plops down in the water from fatigue. The waves slap his face, but he tries again. The other man is simply floating face down in the water. He isn’t struggling at all. But, the first man is trying for that life preserver. He is fighting against the ocean, the wind, and the waves, all which are greater than he is. That is when I ask the person, “Which one of the two men in the water is alive?” Always, the response is, “The one reaching for the life preserver.” “Right,” I say. “He is struggling for life. Dead people don’t struggle for life…. and spiritually dead people do not struggle against their sin. Only those who are dead, who have no life in them, do not struggle. The fact that you are struggling against your sin is one very good sign that you are very much alive in Christ. If you were not struggling at all, then it might be true that you weren’t saved. But, since you war against your sins, then it sure sounds like you’re saved to me.” Usually, the eyes brighten at this point. I then keep going…
Well, I think I truly kept my word, this is the longest post I have written…<<whew!>>
Here after the teaching of the Beatitudes while still speaking to the multitudes during the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus promised and forewarned us:
“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. ~Matthew 5:17-20 NASB
All in all, I believe the final belief that can be derived from this post is that we are saved eternally from the aspect that Jesus was that final sacrificial lamb to die for all of our sins. Those who have not yet been born and those who have died. We are told that we will answer for our sins, but unless we lived a life antithetical to God’s word without ever seeking God’s forgiveness, we are saved. Though we sin, we will still answer for them but we are heaven-bound.
Do not forget about the thief on the cross…REMEMBER HIM?
One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” ~Luke 23:39-43 NASB
You can be on your deathbed, and if you are truly seeking God’s forgiveness, He will give it. You might consider reading the minor prophet’s Book of Jonah. If God was willing to forgive the Ninevites, how much happier do you think God would be that YOU seek His salvation and forgiveness?
First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.~ 1 Timothy 2:1-4 NASB
So now is the time for you to seek God out, pray to Jesus. Find a bible believing church in your area and start associating with the like minded. Search out a bible that you can read and that is good for your soul. I read the NIV, NASB, NKJV, and the KJV. Most of my references are NASB & NKJV. To help you look here:
Also, one of my other blogs I posted What is the Best Bible to Read? Which has numerous references and articles for you to glean through in order to make your decision.
May the Love of God Shine upon each and everyone of you in your life’s journey toward salvation! I pray for each and every one of you that you find your way, if lost; those of you who are already saved…I pray for you to see and understand God’s will and purpose for you in your lives.
Until next we meet, dear brothers and sisters!
MK Murphy, PhD, DD
The Bible (BibleGateway NKJV & NASB)
The Assurance of Salvation by Matt Slick (CARM.org)
1 John 5:16-17, The sin leading to death
What is once saved always saved? by Matt Slick
What is the Eternal Security of the Believer? by Matt Slick
What is the difference between eternal security, once saved always saved, and perseverance of the saints? by Matt Slick
If eternal security is true, why did the Holy Spirit depart from Saul? by Luke Wayne
Can the Christian believer lose his salvation? by Matt Slick
What is free will? by Matt Slick
Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine by Wayne Grudem