Sunday, 26 March 2017

Questions and Answers (Four): Forever Saved?

QUESTION:
Does once saved means forever saved?

ANSWER:
Good and worthwhile question. There is no place in scripture that stipulates, “Once saved forever saved.” I know various men of old, some of whom I respect a great deal, have stipulated this. It is their own understanding and interpretation of scriptures. To fully embrace this doctrine, one would have to tear various parts of scripture away.

John Calvin (1509 – 1564), an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation, advocated this doctrine. This is part of the system of Christian theology known as Calvinism. Jacobus Arminius (1560 – 1609), a Dutch theologian and professor of theology, was much opposed to the Calvinistic doctrine. So also was John Wesley. Charles Spurgeon was aligned with the Calvinistic doctrine.

These two form the major doctrinal divide amongst the protestant church. It is more like some saying, "I belong to Paul," while others say, "I belong to Apollos." Neither Paul nor Apollos saved us, nor are they the epitome of knowledge. Neither John Calvin nor Jacobus Arminius saved us, nor are they the epitome of knowledge. I have the rare privilege of having worshiped amongst the seeming two divides.

Jesus last words and prayer for His church is, “Sanctify them in the truth [set them apart for Your purposes, make them holy]; Your word is truth.” (John 17:17, AMP) Neither John Calvin nor Jacobus Arminius is scripture. We will have to weigh their doctrines in the face of scriptures, knowing we also bear in/with us the Spirit of God.

It was Jacobus study of the Epistle to the Romans as an Amsterdam minister that set him firmly against Calvinism. Faith, he believed, was the cause of election: "It is an eternal and gracious decree of God in Christ, by which he determines to justify and adopt believers, and to endow them with eternal life but to condemn unbelievers, and impenitent persons."

John Calvin, and his followers, on the other hand, thinks we have nothing to do with it. They call it “irresistible” grace. How true is that? What is the essence and meaning of “whosoever” in John 3:16? Why did the “Prodigal son” have to come to the end of him self? What is the basis of judgment if we have no choice in salvation? If we have no choice or part to play, why does Paul ask that, “we work out our salvation with fear and trembling?”

I look at my life and how so very not straight my journey has been on this Christian walk, and I know with all certainty it is not IRRESISTIBLE grace. It is PREVENIENT grace – Grace that requires my participation.

So, there is nothing like "once saved forever saved." Each one has to continue in faith. It is a continually deciding to follow. It is not a one-time decision. It is a continual, everyday decision to remain in the light. It is a continual offering of a living sacrifice, which is our reasonable service, to God. [Romans 12:1]

Hoping I answered your question.

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