For those who still care about little things like sound doctrine, the topic of apostasy, once-saved-always-saved and falling from God’s grace is still a vital subject to consider from time to time…we are talking about Heaven, Hell and eternity after all!
There are two opposite extremes when it comes to the issue, both of which have done great spiritual harm to many souls.
The first extreme is that a Christian can never so sin that it leads to he or she losing the reward of their salvation – hence the term “once-saved-always-saved.” This doctrine has managed to convince untold numbers of people that the numerous admonitions of God’s word concerning repentance, sin setting up shop in a believer’s heart and the importance of learning from the major errors of God’s people in the past are actually only hollow warnings for God’s “true” child will never fall into these traps. Unfortunately the very mentality that says there are no traps has become a trap (Jeremiah 16:10).
The second extreme is that a Christian must walk on eggshells and live in constant anxiety concerning one’s judgment and the punishment of Hell. This doctrine has managed to convince untold numbers of people that the numerous scriptures of comfort concerning the assurance that one can have with God and his or her salvation are only hollow promises. Unfortunately the mentality that revolves around this doctrine ends up robbing people of the blessing that relies upon God for his or her perfection and exchanges it with a worrisome and burdensome and impossible task of making one’s self perfect.
The truth of God concerning the doctrine of one’s salvation and the peril of sin lies in between the two extremes found above. Any sin can send a person to Hell – no denying that (Romans 6:23). But God’s grace is also a huge concept – a concept that’s large enough through the blood of Jesus to capture sins that we don’t even realize we’ve committed. Do we need to confess our sins to be forgiven? Absolutely! But must all of our sins be confessed in “numerical” order? Who could ever honestly do such a thing like that every time? The simple truth is that if a person strives to avoid a lifestyle of darkness, strives to walk in God’s essential light lit path, strives to have a willingness that confesses sin of the known and unknown nature, and strives to avoid a self-righteous, I’m above sin, I don’t sin mentality that relies upon the justification and cleansing power of Jesus’ blood then that individual’s salvation is secure in God. Want to lose your security? Then do the opposite! (1 John 1:4-10)
Is a Christian’s salvation ever on the table? Sure it is! But only when we put it on the table and give it up for the world, for the gift of God’s salvation is something that no man can take from us if we keep our heart set on Heaven.
“Let your desire be for peace with all men, and to be made holy, without which no man may see the Lord; Looking with care to see that no man among you in his behaviour comes short of the grace of God; for fear that some bitter root may come up to be a trouble to you, and that some of you may be made unclean by it; And that there may not be any evil liver, or any man without respect for God, like Esau, who let his birthright go for a plate of food. For you have knowledge that even long after, when he was desiring the blessing for his heritage, he was turned away, though he made his request frequently and with weeping; because the past might not be changed…But you have come to the mountain of Zion, to the place of the living God, to the Jerusalem which is in heaven, and to an army of angels which may not be numbered, to the great meeting and church of the first of those who are named in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of good men made complete, And to Jesus by whom the new agreement has been made between God and man, and to the sign of the blood which says better things than Abel’s blood.” (Hebrews 12:14-17, 22-24 – BBE)