C.H. Spurgeon

Sinners, let me address you with words of life; Jesus wants nothing from you, nothing whatsoever, nothing done, nothing felt; he gives both work and feeling. Ragged, penniless, just as you are, lost, forsaken, desolate, with no good feelings, and no good hopes, still Jesus comes to you, and in these words of pity he addresses you, "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."

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Friday, March 30, 2007

Once Saved Always Saved or Perseverance of the Saints

Eternal Security, the belief that when a person is genuinely converted to salvation by putting their faith in the finished work of Christ, that they are kept by the power of God and sealed by the Holy Spirit whereby it is impossible for them to lose that salvation and be separated again from the love of God. Although one may sin, as all do, following conversion, unconfessed sin is dwelt with by God through chastisement and not the loss of ones gift of salvation.

Within the camps of Eternal Security believers, there lies in this corner Once Saved Always Saved (OSAS) and in this corner Perseverance of the Saints (POTS). At face value one might assume that they mean the same thing just different terminology. But that, my friend, would be an incorrect assumption, for they are very much different. Whereas the ends may meet as the individual crosses over into glory unable to lose his salvation, the means or actions by which he took while on this trip up the narrow road is indeed different.

For the sake of length and clarity, I will do my best to simplify both corners without a multitude of words. This is not a defense of either, but a simple act of trying to show that by no means are they the same. Please feel free to express your thoughts and correct me if you believe my understanding to be wrong.

Once Saved Always Saved (OSAS)
This position holds that a person may be genuinely saved by Christ and become a born again believer. Although saved, one may then return back into their fallen sinful state as if they had never been regenerated. They may have a lifestyle of the unsaved, yet because at one point in their life the trusted Christ, regardless of how they live their life or die, they are saved forevermore. An example would be while witnessing to a person they bow their head and ask Christ to save them, yet they never come to church or display any Christian qualities for the rest of their lives. This position claims that “if they really meant it”, then regardless that they never acted as a Christian, they are indeed one by virtue of them at one point in their life asking Christ to save them. No one can 100% say that they are saved or are not saved, by ones actions, for only God knows our hearts and if someone has actually asked Him to save them then they are indeed saved.

Perseverance of the Saints (POTS)
This position agrees that a person is genuinely saved by Christ and becomes a born again believer. It also agrees that nothing, including sin, can separate a believer from the love of God and that it is impossible for one to fall from grace. Where this camp disagrees is that a true believer cannot and will not return to or remain in their previous unregenerate lifestyle. Not that a believer will be sinless, but that their lifestyle will become and remain that of a person striving to serve God, rather than that of a lost person disobeying God. It is not the individual which causes this, but the working of God within them. Lifestyle of the believer appears to be the difference. Because of the work of God within them, the believer’s desires shall be to serve God, even though they may faultier, yet they never turn to rejection of God, or a total non-desire, and back into their depravity. Although they may agree no one can know 100% who is and is not saved, one can know them almost positively by their fruits, their works and lifestyle.

I have been told that my thinking above is incorrect, but I have sat under teaching that believes one may be saved without acting like a Christian, whereas the others says when one is saved they will act like a Christian. In my opinion that is not the same teaching...

Further reading…


Bob Bliss said...

Tim, I agree wholeheartedly with your summary of the two positions. I have also believed that though OSAS came from POTS the two teachings are quite different. I know that like you I am an outsider concerning the camps that teach these positions, but looking in at the two camps I see them as quite different.

Royce Ogle said...

I hold a third position. I believe in the perseverance of the Holy Spirit, who is Himself God's guarantee that I will make the trip from helpless sinner to glorified saint.

Grace to you,
Royce Ogle

Splinters of Silver said...

Oh there is no doubt that our Great God has indeed secured salvation for those which put faith in Him. We are kept by the power of God and sealed by the Holy Spiirt. We are in the body of Christ and there is no crack that we may slip through.

Thanks for the comments guys.

Anonymous said...

I was "raised" on the OSAS doctrine, but I now believe that it may be the most insidious doctrine to ever infiltrate the church.
Here are some of my views:



Travis Foulks said...

I have an interesting view on once saved always saved. I don’t know. I have searched and studied and I wont even teach on it because I am uncertain. You(blog site administrator) make a strong case along with the other bloggers. You can see my view on it at http://bluecollarblogger.blogspot.com/
It is not byesst or leaning toward one way. It is a heavy topic to me and I will not just teach what I think people want to hear but I will not teach you are not always saved because I just don’t know 100%. Great blog though!

Splinters of Silver said...

Thanks, I have left my comments at your blog.

John Bunyan

To be saved is to be preserved in the faith to the end. 'He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.' (Mt. 24:13) Not that perseverance is an accident in Christianity, or a thing performed by human industry; they that are saved 'are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation.' (1 Pet. 1: 3-6) But perseverance is absolutely necessary to the complete saving of the soul…. He that goeth to sea with a purpose to arrive at Spain, cannot arrive there if he be drowned by the way; wherefore perseverance is absolutely necessary to the saving of the soul.