Monday, December 28, 2009

97 Verses Opposing "Once Saved, Always Saved"

During the Dec. 17, 2009 sermon at Fairwinds Baptist Church, Pastor Carlo made the following statement during a discussion of the doctrine of eternal security, the notion that once people are truly saved, they will never lose their salvation:

"Those people who say you can lose your salvation, I don't know how...what they're reading in the Word of God, but I don't find that in the Word of God."

I was surprised to hear Pastor Carlo make this remark, since I have personally shared with him the very verses from the Word of God that Christians who do not believe "once saved, always saved" [OSAS] cite as support of their denial of this doctrine.  I assume he was using a figure of speech here, but the truth of the matter is, Pastor Carlo does know what verses we cite.  He simply doesn't interpret them as contradicting this doctrine which is clearly so important to his theology.

To further the conversation between Baptists and Catholics regarding this doctrine, I'd like to share 97 verses that seem to oppose the doctrine of eternal security.  Granted, some of them might be debatable, and that is perfectly fine by me.  The Bible is not a series of proof-texts, and I would like to be the last person to treat it that way.  So, I invite you to disregard as many of these 97 verses that you like, but remember, all it takes is one verse breathed by the Holy Spirit and we are bound by the obedience of faith to believe that truly saved persons can lose their salvation.  And don't forget that in accepting the Biblical teaching that truly saved people can lose their salvation, you are joining the vast majority of Christians--both Catholic and Protestant--through all of Christian history who have understood the Bible in this way.

Before launching into the 97 verses themselves, please note the following:

A)  I have a tract that provides these verses and more, including a simple visual diagram that plots out the categories people could be in when they die.  The category that this tract (and this post) deals with is the second category: people who at one point were truly saved but did not persevere to the end, thereby ending up in hell for all eternity.  Catholics and Baptist both agree that categories one (that there exist unsaved people who, naturally, don't persevere in grace to the end) and three (that there exist saved people who DO persevere to the end) exist, but we are not talking about these categories here.  The question is: is there Biblical evidence (either explicit or implicit) that suggests that category 2 exists--that truly saved people can fall away and lose their salvation?

B)  We have to be careful with this final phrase.  When Catholics speak of "losing one's salvation," they do not mean that this person returns to the state they were in before becoming regenerated by God at the first moment of their salvation.  Rather, through serious, mortal sin, Christians can reject God's sanctifying grace through an action of their own will.  Even so, such individuals retain the regenerated nature of their soul, such that through repentance, they can be restored to a state of sanctifying grace without needing to be regenerated all over again.  Still, to enter heaven, one need not merely be regenerated but truly in a state of fellowship--a state of grace--with God.  Indeed, souls that die in friendship with God but are not perfect are, by God's grace and mercy, purified as through fire, so that they can enter heaven. (1 Cor. 3:15).

C)  The last thirty verses are a variety of conditional statements relating to salvation that Biblical writers make.  When the Bible says something like "you will go to heaven, so long as you keep the commandments," this implies (to most readers) that you will NOT go to heaven if you do NOT keep the commandments.  People who believe eternal security, however, believe that anyone who is truly saved will keep the commandments, and thus, these conditional verses only apply to people who are not truly saved to begin with.  Thus, if an apparent "Christian" goes about breaking the commandments, this can only mean (or at least call into question) that they were not truly saved to begin with.

Thus, the critical question going into each of these conditional verses is: to whom is the writer speaking?  Is the writer speaking to saved Christians in his letter?  If so, where does he suddenly make the switch and point out that "the following statements don't apply to you; they apply only to anyone reading this letter who has not been saved"?

I have quite a difficult time finding these exception clauses, and so I would submit that these conditional verses are written to saved Christians (though they apply to non-Christians as well)--the same saved Christians to whom each letter as a whole is written.  If you agree, then each of these conditional statements ASSUMES that saved people can lose their salvation.

D)  After the verses themselves, I will offer a brief discussion of the verses used by Pastor Carlo to support the idea of eternal security.  After all, it is not enough only to provide Biblical support for the Catholic understanding.  It is equally important to see how the verses used to support eternal security are being misinterpreted, which is usually fairly easy to do by simply looking at the Greek verb tenses.  (Which is why the vast majority of Christians simply do not buy this doctrine.)

E)  Finally, this post will have to be a work in progress.  To begin, I'm basically cutting and pasting the verse references from my tract, along with some fragmentary incipits to aid the memory.  As I develop this post, I will unpack how each given verse supports the view that truly saved persons can lose their salvation.  In some cases, I will try to anticipate counterarguments and answer those as well.

So without further ado, here are:

97 Verses Opposing "Once Saved, Always Saved"

1. Luke 8:13           Seeds receive Word with joy, but no root.
2. Luke 12:42-46    Master assigns place w/ unbelievers
3. Luke 15:11-32    Prod. son was “dead but alive x2”
4. John 6:66-71      Disciples turned theirs backs on Jesus
5. John 15:2           no fruit=cut off from vine
6. John 15:6           cut from vine=thrown in fire
7. John 17:12         Judas was lost, doomed to destruction
8. Rom. 6:15-16    slave to sin=death
9. Rom. 11:20        unbelief=broken branches
10. Rom. 11:21     God will not spare you either.
11. Rom. 11:22     Continue in kindness or cut off
12. 1 Cor. 6:9-10   Fornicators [etc.] will not inherit...
13. 1 Cor. 9:23-27  St. Paul disqualified from prize?
14. 1 Cor. 15:1-2   Otherwise, you have believed in vain
15. Gal. 5:1-4; 19-20 You have fallen away from grace
16. Col. 1:21-23    Reconciled...if you continue in faith
17. Heb. 3:6          In house IF we hold on to courage/hope
18. Heb. 3:8          If Today...harden not your hearts
19. Heb. 3:12        Unbelieving hearts turn away from God
20. Heb. 3:14        Share in Christ IF we hold firmly till end
21. Heb. 6:4-6       ...if they [the saved] fall away...
22. Heb. 6:8  the end it will be burned.
23. Heb. 10:23-31 If we deliberately keep sinning..
24. 2 Pet. 2:20-22 If those [saved]...are overcome...
25. Rev. 22:19       Take away words=take away share
26. Matt. 5:27-32   Pluck out lustful eye vs. body to hell
27. Matt. 6:12-15   Forgive we have forgiven
28. Matt. 13:40-42 evildoers thrown in fire like weeds
29. Matt. 18:21-35 Master/servant parable re. debts
30. Rom. 8:13        to live according to sinful nature=death
31. 1 Cor. 10:12     Be careful that you do not fall!
32. Heb. 12:25 will we escape if we turn away?
33. 2 Cor. 11:2-4     Like Eve, your minds...led astray.
34. Gal. 6:7-9        We will reap...IF we do not give up
35. Col. 2:18-19    Don’t let anyone disqualify you...
36. 1 Tim. 1:5-6    ...some have wandred away...
37. 1 Tim. 1:19     ...some have shipwrecked their faith
38. 1 Tim. 1:20     ...these I have handed over to Satan.
39. 1 Tim. 4:1       ...some will abandon the faith...
40. 1 Tim. 5:8       denying faith=worse than unbeliever
41. 1 Tim. 5:15     Some have turned to follow Satan.
42. 1 Tim. 6:10     Some...have wandered from the faith
43. 1 Tim. 6:18-19 do take hold of life
44. Heb. 2:1 that we do not drift away
45. Heb. 2:3 escape if we ignore salvation
46. Heb. 10:35-39 ...those who shrink back=destroyed
47. James 5:19-20 wander from truth = sin = death
48. 2 Pet. 1:5-11   If you do these things=never fall
49. 2 Pet. 2:20-22 Saved+corrupted=worse than before
50. 2 Pet. 3:16-17 the ignorant twist scripture=destr.
51. Jude 4
52. 1 John 2:28
53. Rev. 3:4
54. Rev. 3:5
55. Rev. 3:11
56. Eph. 5:5
57. 2 Tim. 2:12
58. 1 Cor. 11:32
59. 1 Tim 3:6
60. Matt. 18:7-9
61. Heb.4: 1-4
62. Rev. 2:4-7, 10, 19-26
63. Rev. 12:8

Salvation as Contingent

64. John 15:10
65. Romans 11:22
66. 1 Cor. 15:2
67. Gal. 5:2-4
68. Col. 1:23
69. Heb. 3:6
70. Heb. 3:14
71. Rom. 8:13
72. Gal. 6:9
73. 1 Tim. 5:8
74. 1 Tim. 2:15
75. Matt. 6:14-15
76. 2 Pet. 1:5-11
77. 1 John 1:6
78. 1 John 1:7
79. 1 John 1:8
80. 1 John 1:9
81. 1 John 1:10
82. 1 John 2:3
83. 1 John 2:4
84. 1 John 2:5
85. 1 John 2:9-11
86. Matt. 18:35
87. Rom. 8:17
88. 1 John 2:15
89. 1 John 2:24
90. 1 John 3:6
91. 1 John 3:7-10
92. 1 John 3:17
93. 1 John 3:24
94. 1 John 4:7-8
95. 1 John 4:16-18
96. 1 John 5:2-5
97. 2 Tim. 2:12

Verses Used to Support OSAS

[coming soon]

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