Date written: 9/16/06
Scripture ref: John 15:1-8
SUBJECT: False Doctrine
TITLE: “Once Saved, Always Saved”
PROPOSITION: In this lesson we will look at the doctrine of “Once Saved, Always Saved.” 1) It's historical background, 2) The Bible's teaching on security, 3) Why OSAS is wrong, and 4) The consequences of believing this doctrine.
Objectives: Each ought to be able to explain why this teaching is wrong.
Aim: That each would reject this false doctrine.
1. Read: John 15:1-8
2. About the Text:
1) After Jesus and his disciples celebrated the passover meal, Jesus told them that he was going away.
2) The disciples were troubled that Jesus was leaving.
3) Jesus comforts them with many words found in John 14-16.
4) In John 15, Jesus tells them how they could abide in Him and see Him again one day.
5) Jesus uses the figure of a vine and its branches.
6) Jesus is the vine; the disciples were the branches.
7) Those who continued to abide in the vine would be saved.
8) Those who did not would be cast out and burned with fire.
9) Thus, Jesus sets forth a condition upon which salvation is dependent, namely, abiding in the vine.
3. The doctrine of “Once Saved, Always Saved.”
1) There are many in the religious world today who don't believe that salvation is conditional.
2) They believe that once a person has been saved that he is always saved.
3) They believe that there is nothing that the child of God can do to fall from grace.
4) They believe that once one is a saved child of God they are always a saved child of God.
5) This doctrine is very dangerous because it denies the necessity of righteous living.
6) It implies that one may, after salvation, be a base sinner and still be saved.
4. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.
I. The Background of the Doctrine
1. Where did this doctrine originate?
2. In the times of the apostles, there were false teachers known as the Gnostics.
1) They taught this doctrine.
2) A man named Irenaeus, who lived in the second century, wrote the following regarding their doctrine: “But as to themselves, they hold that they shall be entirely and undoubtedly saved, not by means of conduct, but because they are spiritual by nature. For, just as it is impossible that material substance should partake of salvation (since, indeed, they maintain that it is incapable of receiving it), so again it is impossible that spiritual substance (by which they mean themselves) should ever come under the power of corruption, whatever the sort of actions in which they indulged. For even as gold, when submersed in filth, loses not on that account its beauty, but retains its own native qualities, the filth having no power to injure the gold, so they affirm that they cannot in any measure suffer hurt, or lose their spiritual substance, whatever the material actions in which they may be involved. Wherefore also it comes to pass, that the "most perfect" among them addict themselves without fear to all those kinds of forbidden deeds of which the Scriptures assure us that "they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." And committing many other abominations and impieties, they run us down (who from the fear of God guard against sinning even in thought or word) as utterly contemptible and ignorant persons, while they highly exalt themselves, and claim to be perfect, and the elect seed. For they declare that we simply receive grace for use, wherefore also it will again be taken away from us; but that they themselves have grace as their own special possession, which has descended from above by means of an unspeakable and indescribable conjunction; and on this account more will be given them.”
3) The apostle John responded to the Gnostics also in the book of 1 John.
4) He wrote, “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:7-8).
3. In modern times, this doctrine resurfaced as part of the doctrines of Calvinism.
2) Perseverance of the saints is the Calvinistic doctrine of once saved always saved.
3) The Westminister Confession of Faith acknowledged this doctrine when they said, “They whom God hath accepted in his Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved. This perseverance of the saints depends, not upon their own free-will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ; the abiding of the Spirit and of the seed of God within them; and the nature of the covenant of grace; from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof. ”
4) Billy Graham also holds to this doctrine. He said, “When we do sin, God does not reject us or disown us. Our fellowship with Him may be broken, but our relationship is not; we are still members of His family if we have truly committed our lives to Christ.” He also said, “I am convinced that once a person sincerely and honestly trusts Christ for his or her salvation, they become a member of God's family forever -- and nothing can change that relationship.”
4. Today, thousands of people believe this teaching because that is what they have been told by their denominational leaders and they believe it without question.
5. But does the Bible teach such?
II. The Bibles Teaching on Security
1. The main argument of those who believe the doctrine of OSAS is that God promised security to the believer.
1) And God has promised security to the believer.
2) John 10:27-29 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”
3) Romans 8:38-39 “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
2. The Bible does teach security for the believer, but it is conditional.
1) Jesus says that the security he provides is for those who “hear my voice” and “follow me.”
2) The security of remaining in the love of God is comfort against all external threats.
3) These passages, however, don't discuss what happens if an individual chooses to wander from the fold, or to leave the love of God.
3. That is not to say that the believer has no security at all.
1) 1 John 1:7 says, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
2) 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
3) 1 John 2:1 teaches, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:”
4) The believer has assurance of salvation if he repents and confesses his sins to God.
III. Why is this doctrine wrong?
1. The scriptures teach the opposite in several places.
2. Consider Galatians 5:3-4 says, “For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”
3. Consider also Hebrews 6:4-6 which says, “For as touching those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come, and then fell away, it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”
4. 2 Peter 2:20-22 “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. 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. 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.”
5. Consider also Hebrews 10:26 “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.”
IV. Consequences of This Doctrine
1. Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of this doctrine is the false security that many have regarding their salvation.
2. Since they think they cannot be lost, then they are lackadaisical regarding their relationship with God.
3. They may not see the need to . . .
1) Assemble with the church to worship God (Hebrews 10:25).
2) Be involved in doing good works (Ephesians 2:10).
3) Seek first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33).
4. Moreover, they may embrace sinful practices such as . . .
1) Living in adultery.
2) Committing fornication.
4) The party lifestyle.
5) Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
5. The bottom line is that many who believe this doctrine do not take sin seriously.
6. Paul the apostle wrote, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:1).
7. Sadly, some Christians who don't believe this doctrine, nevertheless, live as if it is true.
8. The Bible teaches that in order for Christians to see eternal life, they must be faithful to the Lord.
9. Revelation 2:10 “be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”
1. We have looked at several things regarding this teaching.
1) It's historical origins were with men, not God.
2) There is no reason to accept it to believe in the believers security.
3) The Bible clearly teaches that the doctrine is wrong.
4) The consequences of believing this doctrine are dangerous to one's eternal salvation.