Patrick Donahue's Fourth Affirmative
Against "Once Saved Always Saved"
Steve begins his third rebuttal by talking about french fries being the "key issue." But I can better state the key issue this way: since Steve agrees "genuine Christians still sin," then it could be any sin, from murder, to rape, to homosexuality. It's hard to imagine, but "once saved always saved" advocates believe it is possible for a truly "born again" Christian to homosexually rape a little boy and then murder the boy to cover the crime, and still be in a saved relationship with God the whole time he is committing the acts. Yes, I would certainly call that "cheap grace." But it is not important what I would call it. It only matters that God contradicts it when He says that sin separates us from Him (Isaiah 59:2, Romans 6:23). The Bible makes it clear that unrepentant homosexuals are lost (I Corinthians 6:9-11).
Steve asserts that I believe in once-transformed-always-transformed, but nothing could be further from the truth. The Bible states clearly in Hebrews 3:12 that a brother in Christ can change his belief to unbelief and depart from God. Read it for yourself. A believer doesn't suddenly lose his free will. It is possible for him to choose to forsake the Lord.
Joshua 6:2-21,24:13 proves beyond any doubt that having to meet conditions in order to receive a blessing from God does not negate the fact that the blessing was unearned, given by grace through faith. Whether you call those conditions works or not makes no difference, because Ephesians 2:8-9 is discussing the earning basis of our salvation, not whether or not our salvation is conditional (as James 2:24 is discussing).
Steve briefly changed the subject to water baptism in his second article when he claimed the fact that Cornelius received the Holy Ghost before he was baptized proves that he was saved without baptism. I proved Steve wrong by bringing up an unsaved Saul receiving the Holy Spirit in I Samuel 19. Steve's reply was to switch the subject back to once-saved-always-saved without addressing my response to him on his water baptism point. Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, 22:16, and I Peter 3:21 prove that water baptism is necessary to salvation. Please read these verses and believe what they say. They are very clear.
Steve's response to II Peter 1:10 is inadequate. No matter how you slice it and dice it, a command for us to make our calling and election sure would imply that our election is not sure unless we make it so.
Steve's response to I Timothy 5:12 was "Judgment on a believer does not mean loss of salvation." But the Bible doesn't just say the believers of I Timothy 5:12 would receive judgment; it says they would have "condemnation" (the strongest word used in the Bible to describe someone who is lost). Does the reader believe a person can be both condemned and saved at the same time?
Steve admits now that the crown in Revelation 2:10 refers to salvation, but says that crown/salvation was never lost. Just taking language at face value, if this verse says "be thou faithful unto death and you will be saved," that would mean that if a Christian does not remain faithful unto death, they won't be saved. It is that simple Steve.
Steve's Proof Texts
If anyone can prove God will not allow His Ephesians 1:13-14 Holy Spirit seal to be broken by the one sealed, then please do so. Otherwise you are only assuming what you are supposed to be proving. Jude 21 makes it clear that we have a part in the "maintenance" of that seal. Jude 21 also refutes Steve's use of Romans 8:31-39. Nothing (except ourselves, Jude 21) can separate us from the love of God. And Romans 8:28-30 does nothing for Steve's position. Justification happens to a person when they initially become a Christian. The passage says nothing about whether such a person can lose his justification.
Ephesians 1:4 agrees with my position that God hath chosen from the very beginning that people will have to be "holy and without blame before him in love" to be part of the saved, and therefore also refutes what I think is Steve's point from Romans 9:22-23 and Matthew 22:14. And Titus 1:2 proves my position when it says Christians have "hope of eternal life," showing it is possible for a Christian to lose the eternal life he possesses. There is obviously no need to "hope" for a result if that result is already 100% settled.
The prevailing tactic of Steve's responses to my proof texts has been to, in effect, deny the inerrancy of the scriptures by saying a particular passage wasn't really talking about brethren, even though "brethren" was specified by the passage. We can prove anything by the Bible if we are allowed to disregard what the texts actually say.
But I must keep this article short. The following verses so clearly teach against once saved always saved - they speak for themselves. If we love God, we will be willing to accept what they plainly say, instead of working to try to get around what they say.
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; YE ARE FALLEN FROM GRACE.
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 ...
BRETHREN, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way, shall SAVE A SOUL FROM DEATH, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
I Corinthians 8:11
And through thy knowledge shall the weak BROTHER PERISH, for whom Christ died?
II Peter 2:20-22
For if after they have ESCAPED the pollutions (defilements, ASV) 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.
II Peter 1:9-11
... And hath forgotten that he was PURGED FROM HIS OLD SINS ... for IF ye do these things, ye shall never FALL.
Take heed, BRETHREN lest there be in any of you an EVIL HEART OF UNBELIF, in DEPARTING FROM THE LIVING GOD.
I Corinthians 9:25-27 (ASV)
... Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible ... but I buffet my body, and bring it into bondage: lest by any means, after that I have preached to others, I myself should be REJECTED.
Conclusion (I can use extremes as well as Steve can)
Because I believe exactly what God says over John Calvin's system, Steve questions if I understand the "heart of the gospel." The very opposite is true. Anybody who would believe it is possible for a true Christian to still be in a saved relationship with God even at the very moment he is having sexual intercourse with an animal, doesn't have a clue about what it means to make Jesus Lord of our life (Luke 6:46). II Corinthians 5:10 reads "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." Revelation 20:12-13 says twice that every man will be judged "according to their works." These passages reflect precisely my position in this debate.
by Steven M. Morrison, PhD.