We read concerning God’s word that “The entirety of Your word is truth…”(Psalm 119:160). When we neglect this profound truth and rather go for a couple of verses that seem to support what we want to believe and build a doctrine out of them, while neglecting the entirety of what the Scriptures say on the subject, we enter into error. Similarly, there is no reason for us to be deceived by the erroneous doctrine of “once saved forever saved” if we make the decision to heed the advice of Jesus to simply know the Scriptures as we ought: “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures…” (Matthew 22:29).
The Scriptures give us four basic truths, which when we know will give us no basis upon which to subscribe to the doctrine of eternal security irrespective of how we choose to live after we are saved, i.e. once saved forever saved.
Firstly, believing in Jesus and being saved by God’s grace (Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8-9) does not make us automatons or fools without a will or power to choose. We are not likened to unreasoning animals who act on instinct, having no will or power to choose after we are saved. On the contrary, the Bible teaches that the born again Christian is a fully cognitive being with the (i) will to choose to hear the Word of the Lord and abide by it or not (Revelation 2:29 ), (ii) the will and choice to allow Jesus to be involved in their daily affairs or keep Him out of their lives (Revelation 3:20; Revelation 3:15-16), (iii) will and choice to keep on deliberately sinning or not (Hebrews 10:26-31, 2 Peter 2:15, 20-22), and (iv) will and choice to continue to stay in the faith or depart from it through practising sin (1 Timothy 4:1, Hebrews 10:26-31, 2 Peter 2:20-22) or renouncing the faith (e.g. Hebrews 6:4-6, 2 Thessalonians 2:3). The Bible does not miss words on the fate of Christians who use their will to deliberately make a practice of sin: eternal damnation in the lake of fire, and a punishment far worse than if they had not known the faith at all than to have known it and depart from it. Just as the Scripture says: For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A dog returns to its own vomit,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.” (2 Peter 2”20-22) and “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.” And again, “THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.” It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:26-31). If we are wise, we will run to the Lord in repentance when we fall instead of relying on the false hope of once saved forever saved.
Secondly, the Bible teaches that it is the spirit of the Christian that is born again (John 1:12-13 and John 3:5-6, Ephesians 4:24) not the flesh or body, which the Bible says is utterly sinful (Galatians 5:19-21) and wars against the spirit (Ephesians 5:17 ) and the soul (1 Peter 2:11). The Bible teaches that when we come to Christ we crucify the flesh and its desires (Galatians 5:24), yet we will still go ahead and fulfill the sinful desires of the flesh if we choose not to live by the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:16) or if we choose to sow to (obey) our flesh instead of the Spirit. Again the Bible, in admonishing Christians, is emphatic that “…I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things, the deeds of the flesh, will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21). Where do you suppose you end up when you don’t inherit the kingdom of heaven? Again in admonishing Christians, the Scripture warns, “Galatians 6:8 – For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption (Greek phthora, which also means perishing, destruction, and eternal misery in hell). When you choose to come to terms with the reality that your born again spirit actually lives in a flesh, the wisdom of Paul, not the deceitfulness of once saved forever saved will be our guiding principle: “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27).
When Paul admonished Christians that those who practice the deeds of the flesh will not enter the kingdom of God, He simply re-echoed the words of Jesus when He said that those who have called on His name but practice lawlessness will not enter the kingdom of God. The Bible teaches that everyone who calls on Jesus will be saved (Romans 10:12 ). And Jesus Christ, Himself adds that “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter (Matthew 7:21). Doubtless, there are many who have called on the name of the Lord and do call Him Lord. Yet Jesus warns that if we do all these and fail to follow God’s will we shall not enter the kingdom of God. Jesus went on to reveal to us what is definitely going to happen at the end of this age to affirm the truth that not everyone who calls Him Lord will enter the kingdom of God: “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matthew 7:22-23). The reason why Jesus asked these group of people to depart from Him was not because they lied to Him that they had used His name to prophesy and to cast out demons. But rather because they had been practising lawlessness. To practice lawlessness is simply to practice the deeds of the flesh. And we find Paul re-echoing the words of Jesus to the church that if we choose to live after our flesh we will have no part in the kingdom of heaven but in the eternal fire forever and forever (Galatians 5: 19-21, Galatians 6:8).
To be continued.
Kwadwo Omari, PhD
May 7, 2019