Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Pastor, Please Don't Teach your Congregation they can't Lose their Salvation

There's no shame in quietly changing your perspective on this theological concept.  

Now we see many scriptures that tell us about how God maintains the relationship with us. God preserves us in a state of salvation. But we also see numerous, endless scriptures that talk about our need to abide in Christ, remain Christ, hold closely to the teaching we were taught originally, do not fall away, shipwrecked faith, and so on and so forth.  So a good balance would seem to indicate that God preserves the relationship, but falling away is also possible. 

Many prefer to teach that well, if someone appears to fall away, that just means they were never saved in the first place. But that is not what the Bible teaches. Particularly in the book of Hebrews, we see how someone can share in the heavenly gift, have the Holy Spirit, and then go back into the world, and are lost completely again in it, they are actually worse off than they were before, and cannot be restored to salvation.  If they can't be restored, they this implies they were fully saved, and fell away.

Also, let me indicate to you, that Lucifer and one third of the angels were once fully saved, fully pure, in perfect right standing with God.  They were flawless. They were preserved by God, faultless. But Lucifer fell away and rebelled against God. And he deceived one third of the angels to do the same thing.  And as such, Lucifer and one third of the angels lost their salvation.  And we know they can never be restored. 

Additionally, Adam and Eve were once innocent in God's sight, in perfect fellowship with God. But as we know, Adam and Eve sinned against God, and lost their innocence and became sinful. Thankfully they did repent and turn back to God, through faith. 

I've studied numerous near death experiences, from people like Mary K. Baxter, Brian Melvin, Choo Thomas, and others. They all indicate that once saved always saved is a doctrine that leads people to hell. Some even claim to have seen church members crying out in hell, "Pastor you told me I could never lose my salvation!" Truly bone chilling accounts, I'd encourage you to watch some of those accounts on YouTube. Don't despise prophecy, but test it. 

But most importantly, scripture itself. There were seven "I am" statements that Jesus Christ made, that were recorded in the Gospel of John. Each of these "I am" statements taught us something about who Jesus was, and how we interact with Him.  He is the bread of life to us, our sustenance. He is the light of the world, he sustains reality. He is the gate for the sheep, through which we must enter.  He is the good shepherd. he shepherds us along through life. He is the resurrection and the life, if we believe in Him he will resurrect us from the dead and take us to paradise. He is the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Jesus. Jesus is the road home that we follow.  And the 7th I am statement was when Jesus said my father is the gardener and I am the true vine.  Anyone who remains in me, will produce much fruit. We are the branches. But any branch that doesn't produce fruit is thrown into the fire and burned. So remain in Christ's love.  This is the key teaching we need to understand of the 7 I am statements, we must remain in Christ, and if we don't, we will be cast out and burned. This is from John chapter 15.

I know many of us would prefer the theology of not being able to lose our salvation. I admit that would be very comforting. But theology and scripture isn't about what we want.  It's about what it actually says. I can't remove the scriptures I don't like. Or over-emphasize the feel good verses.  And I think that's why many of us believe in once saved always saved, because we're constantly shown the scriptures that talk about God's preservation of the relationship, I will never leave you or forsake you, I have good plans for your life, nothing could separate us from His love, and so on and so forth. Those are scriptures that are very encouraging that are preached on constantly.  But the scriptures like John 15, Hebrews 6:4-6, 1 Tim 4:1, Revelation 2:4-5, 2 Peter 2:20-22, James 5:19-20, and so on are not preached on as often. They aren't feel good verses. But they are just as much the truth as the OSAS (once saved always saved) verses. 

I'd just like to give you a very quick argument why it's more expedient to do so:

If I'm right, and you really can "fall away" and lose your salvation, then you're sending people to hell. And you yourself will probably go to hell, for teaching people they could never lose it and as such encouraging complacency. 

If you're right, and you can never fall away no matter what you do, but you still teach people that they can lose their salvation, there is no loss.  People are just challenged to take their walk with Jesus a bit more seriously. 

Do you see how it's safer to teach people that they can fall away and as such must continue to "abide" in Christ?  

There's no shame in quietly changing your view on this issue. That's exactly what I did. At first I believed in once saved always saved. But I just couldn't reconcile it with the scriptures.  So I quietly changed my perspective.  There isn't anything wrong with that. We're all always learning and growing and developing deep theological concepts.  It's a lifelong process. So that's my encouragement to you today. God bless and take care.