“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,” (1 Timothy 4:1)
One of the most dangerous, deadly teachings which have been rooted in certain segments of Christian Denominations is in fact the doctrine of unconditional eternal security (or better known as once saved always saved). It is this doctrine of demons which is leading multitudes upon multitudes to hell, and worse, many more will follow in their footsteps because of a lie many have chosen to believe because of what they were taught.
I was speaking with a pastor friend of mine who relayed to me a particular story in which a man whom had done many bad and wicked things that resulted in prison time, told my friend that even though he had done many evil things to others, lived an evil life and hurt many, explained that regardless of what he did, he would still make it to heaven simply because he got saved when he was a little boy. Yet sadly, there are countless multitudes after multitudes who have died, and will die lost and end up in that place Jesus called Hell simply because they were told that they were saved (born again) at some point in their life, and as a result, they lived how they wanted, counter to the gospel and a life full of rebellion, sin and wickedness.
So what exactly is unconditional eternal security?
In essence, unconditional eternal security simply states that when someone comes to Christ at some point in their life, be it a child, teen, young adult or elderly person, that person is forever saved, never to lose their salvation regardless how they live, and will die with their salvation assured. This is in fact the core belief of unconditional eternal security.
So why is this teaching (doctrine) false? It is false because it’s rooted in a twisted view of scripture. One of Satan’s most deadly attributes to his lies is the ability to twist scripture. When God told Adam not to eat of the tree of good and evil, it was Satan who tempted Eve by twisting God’s word with a half truth “Did God really say?” (Genesis 3:1) It was this subtle twist of the word which Satan used to bring about man’s fall from grace and brought the world into sin and rebellion. Yet even today, nearly 6,000 years since that time in the garden, Satan is once again tempting man by twisting the words of God thru others which another type of gospel by suggesting “Did God really say?” when it comes to salvation and what it means to not only be born again, but to stay in the faith.
So the question that needs to be asked is, can one really lose one’s place in the kingdom of God? The answer is YES! If the object of ones faith fails to continue to be placed in the finished work of Christ and what he did on the cross, then at some point in that persons life, sin will become once again the dominant force in the person and ultimately that person will grow further and further away from the truth, that to a point in time, the person no longer desires the things of God and worse, begins to live a life of sin and eventually they will no longer feel the convicting pull of the Holy Spirit and when that occurs, whatever saving faith they had in Christ will be forgotten, they will become reprobate in action and idea to such a degree that the Holy Spirit will remove himself from such a person and leave that individual to their own demise, hopelessly lost for all eternity if they do not repent.
We see this fact in the lives of several throughout the word who once knew the Lord but fell away from the faith and died eternally lost, Demas (2 Timothy 4:10), Judas Iscariot (Matthew 27:3-8, Acts 1:18-19), Hymenaeus and Philetus (2 Timothy 2:16-18), Alexander the Coppersmith (1 Timothy 1:18-20) and Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11). In each of these men, not only did they indicate a full knowledge of the truth (Christ), but they followed Jesus as well, yet they lost their place in the kingdom of God and fell away from the truth, never to return back to the faith.
Even in the sad case of Judas Iscariot, one who not only was selected by the Lord. Yet even Judas who knew the Lord, called by the Lord and anointed by the Lord, would not only betray the Lord Jesus, but in the end would succumb to his own demise thru suicide, sadly cementing himself forever in the corridors of hell to await his stand at the judgment. Some would suggest that Judas never knew the Lord to begin with, but they fail to read the scriptures which clearly show not only Judas as well as the others doing the will of God, but equally, Judas was mentioned in prophecy found in Psalm 109:8, where we read Judas was foretold of his betrayal and his removal from the faith – “Let his years be few; let someone else take his position.”
In each of those listed above as references, it clearly shows one can forfeit their salvation. The teaching which declares ‘once saved always saved‘ is simply not only untrue, it will damn a soul for eternity. Yet it must be understood by the word, that if the believer continues in sin, continues a lifestyle of sin and not dealt with nor repented of, then that person is at risk of losing their eternal hope.
The word speaks about what a believer can do in regards to losing their standing in the faith:
- Fall from grace – Gal. 5:1-4,13
- Be led away with error – 2 Pet. 3:17
- Err from the truth – James 5:19-20
- Weak brother may perish – 1 Cor. 8:11
- Fall into condemnation – James 5:12
- Be moved away from the hope – Col. 1:21-23
- Deny the Lord who bought them – 2 Pet. 2:1
- Depart from the living God – Heb. 3:12
- Can be a castaway – 1 Cor. 9:27
- Can become accursed children – 2 Pet. 2:14
About a year ago, a young woman no older than 25, stated that she was a Christian, that she believed in Jesus Christ and that she prayed on occasion, but didn’t read her Bible nor could she remember when she had last went to church (not that it’s a requirement for salvation mind you) and that she believed in God. Now, all of this sounded great and encouraging until she further explained that her lifestyle was one of partying, drinking and sleeping around. When asked how she knew she was a Christian, she explained that, “I prayed the sinners prayer when I was a little girl.”
Months ago I received an email from a young teen who took exception to my comments about homosexuality and it’s affect on people’s lives and why God does not permit such behavior. The young woman proceeded to tell me that she was a Christian, she goes to church faithfully, she sings in the choir, goes to teen camp and was baptized. The problem is, she is a lesbian and active in the homosexual lifestyle. Yet she insists that she is a Christian.
What is Salvation? The definition of salvation is the act of saving or protecting someone from harm, risk or destruction. In Biblical terms, salvation is the act in which a person accepts (by faith) the truth of Jesus Christ and the sacrifice he did on the cross. Meaning, when a person realizes that they are a sinner, separated by God due to sin, they accept and believe that Jesus Christ was and is the son of God, they accept that his death on the cross was for the remission of sin and that by faith and repentance for their sins, they believe completely that they are now born again and begin to follow him. That is the Biblical doctrine of salvation. (Eph. 2:8-9, Romans 3:23, Romans 5:12, Luke 13:5, John 3:16, Romans 5:8, Romans 10:9, Romans 10:10 and Romans 10:13)
Now, many will say, “I said a prayer – I’m saved and that’s it. I can go on with my life now.” Sadly, the truth today is, this all too common in the church today. But the truth is much more deeper than just saying a prayer, it’s much more. And let me just say that I by no means discount saying a prayer, I’m not advocating that at all. It is through prayer we talk to God, it is through prayer that our requests are made known as well as answered, but the truth is, salvation is a process, although it is immediate, it is still a process in which one must continually maintain and develop, it’s not something we just use like a coat or sweater, putting it on part of the time and removing it at other times. Salvation is a way of life and the sad truth is, there are untold millions who call themselves saved and they are not! And shocking even more, the church and most Pastors are not confronting this issue head on and they are just as guilty.
When we are born again in Christ, a tremendous change has taken place from the inside outward. A person who has accepted Christ will begin to mold him or herself to the image of Christ in their conduct, in their thinking, in their direction, in their habits, in their day to day life, a person who has accepted Christ willfully turns their life over to Jesus Christ and submits to his prescribed order. Now, does this happen overnight? No it doesn’t, again, I repeat this, this is a process, but there are certain immediate changes which take place or should take place in the new converts life which show that they have been changed. A new desire to put off the old ways is one of those changes.
2 Cor. 5:17 states, “He that is in Christ is a NEW creature, OLD things have passed away, behold all things are brand NEW.” meaning, when a person comes to Christ, they are new in God’s eyes, for he sees the blood of Christ applied to their lives, no longer does that person think the way they used to think, no longer does a person act, behave, conduct their life as they once did, for SOMETHING has taken place and that something was salvation.
The issue we have happening within the church today is that people who merely profess Christ yet they do not strive to serve, conduct or apply his teachings to their life, are sadly being mislead into believing they are believers. Jesus states in John 8:31 “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, then you are truly my disciples.” Salvation comes with a price, while salvation is free, there is a requirement for the follower and that is you are now conformed into the image of God. You have a demand placed upon you to follow Christ and that means giving up the things which led you into sin in the first place.
Sadly, there are people today, who still insist that they can live however they wish, never walk according to the teachings of Christ as we are commanded to do (2 john 1:9) and they insist they are saved. The truth is, they are as lost now as they were then and what’s worse, they have pastors who actually tell them they are saved! This is why God allows tares to be sown with the wheat, for it’s not our place or job to expose those who are false converts, it’s our job as true believers to preach the gospel and lead men to Christ. God will eventually weed them out.
I have sat in services where the Pastor or visiting evangelist would simply tell people to “say a prayer” or simply raise their hands if they want salvation and “BAM!” they are now new in Christ without telling them what is required, i.e., repentance, counting the cost, these are things we have set aside today because we no longer take the time to tell people what salvation requires, that there is a genuine cost to be a Christian. It’s not about simply saying a prayer and going on ones way, it’s about conforming to Christ, taking up one’s cross and following him. We’ve done a disservice to the gospel by advocating such foolishness and we are sending many to hell thinking they are saved when they are not!
Jesus himself stated that does one build a building without going over the cost of such endeavor? (Luke 14:28) Then why are we telling people that they get saved without going through the steps of what salvation really means? What it truly represents to be a Christian? It’s because we are now more focused on building churches through means other than traditional, Biblical teachings which rely on the gospel being preached and the holy spirit having his way and instead, trusting in man made means to an end. This is the new gospel today and why the crowds are so large in many of today’s churches.
I’ve often wondered why so many of these churches are large and enormous to the point of overflow? The answer is found in what they are teaching, not in what they should be preaching. I can guarantee this, if most, if not all, of these mega churches, even the modest ones running into the thousands were to truly preach the gospel as it is required, the numbers would not run consistent. Actually, the numbers would drop! Why? Because people would have to face the real truth that the salvation truth they have accepted is not what Christ offered. Actually, Christ himself had great multitudes which followed him everywhere he went, but toward the last of his life and ministry was near complete, the multitudes vanished! Why? Because they didn’t desire to truly follow him, they wanted a gospel or ideology which tickled their ears and didn’t require a price to be paid for salvation. This is why Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.” (Matt. 7:13)
To follow Christ is to deny ourselves completely. It’s forsaking all for the kingdom, this means, everything that we love, cherish and seek after. It means that we no longer desire our will, we desire his will. Salvation, when one accepts this great gift, does so on the basis that they understand that their life is not their own anymore, a genuine change has taken place and from that point on, their mind has been transformed to mind of Christ.
Salvation by today’s standards in most churches today is not the same as found in the word. This is a new doctrine that advocates personal accountability to no one which considers true salvation as a method which is too strict, too demanding and too costly. It doesn’t lift up self, it doesn’t make us feel good and it doesn’t bring about change where needed. The modern church has adopted this new kind of salvation message which is therapy based and not Bible based.
Let me just say, it saddens me to see so many misguided, misinformed people today who are being deceived almost daily in many of these conforming churches lead by liberal Pastors who have all but rejected the word of God. But I stand firm that there is hope and that hope is that those who truly desire Christ and truly desire to seek him will find him, for God has promised us in his word that if we seek him, we will indeed find him. ( Jeremiah 29:13)
Once again, to set the record clear, to believe in unconditional eternal security is to believe a lie, and those who teach such are not only teaching a damnable heresies (2 Peter 2:1), but to those who would believe such a lie will lose their place in the kingdom of God and find themselves in hell for all eternity. Remember the words of Jesus in Mark 4:16 (Luke 8:13) “And in a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; (they believe for a while) and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away.” Jesus is speaking about those who knew the saving faith of the cross, but later would fall away.
Even the apostle Paul declared in 1 Timothy 4:1 that in the last days, many would fall away from the faith. The word gives us other admonitions to keep the faith:
- Be steadfast immovable: 1 Cor 15:58
- If these qualities are yours…2 Pe 1:5-11
- We will reap if we do not grow weary: Gal 6:9
- Be faithful unto death and I will give crown of life: Rev 2:10
- Practice these things and God will be with you: Phil 4:9
To accept anything other than the truth of continuing in the faith, and instead believe a lie proves that salvation is a daily effort by which we can only do by keeping ourselves in the cross, the finished work of Calvary and keeping our eyes on Christ and allowing him to guide us and lead us into perfect truth. This is why we must discern and weigh all teachings which come along so that we too will not become seduced by the seduction of false teachings, in this case the dangerous false doctrine of unconditional eternal security.