09 June, 2009

Does “Once Saved Always Saved” indicate a just God?

I contend that Scriptures cannot be reconciled with the Calvinist inspired belief in OSAS. OSAS is certainly a doctrine from hell saying that one cannot fall away from the faith regardless of their sinfulness. That all that is required is a one time emotional recognition of Christ and they are forever justified, sanctified and saved for all eternity. They can remain sinful creatures in reality but Christ’s blood will cover that sin so that they can be smuggled into heaven as a dirty sinful soul. Yet the person who is not a sinful person has no hope of heaven unless he has this one emotional recognition of Christ. That would tend to make one question the just nature of God.

Let us start out with Romans 10 that Calvinists use to prove OSAS and site verses 14-17. They read as follows:

(Rom 10:14 DRB) How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? Or how shall they believe him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?

(Rom 10:15 DRB) And how shall they preach unless they be sent, as it is written: How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, of them that bring glad tidings of good things?

(Rom 10:16 DRB) But all do not obey the gospel. For Isaias saith: Lord, who hath believed our report?

(Rom 10:17 DRB) Faith then cometh by hearing; and hearing by the word of Christ.

Obviously these verses have nothing to do with Calvin’s doctrine of eternal security but instead speak of our commission by Christ to spread the Gospel.

Calvinists will then offer as proof John 6 verses 37-40. They read as follows:

(Joh 6:37 DRB) All that the Father giveth to me shall come to me: and him that cometh to me, I will not cast out.

(Joh 6:38 DRB) Because I came down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him that sent me.

(Joh 6:39 DRB) Now this is the will of the Father who sent me: that of all that he hath given me, I should lose nothing; but should raise it up again in the last day.

(Joh 6:40 DRB) And this is the will of my Father that sent me: that every one who seeth the Son and believeth in him may have life everlasting. And I will raise him up in the last day.

There are a couple of things being taught here. First of all Jesus is making it clear that He is not working independently from the Father but is within the will of the Father. Secondly, Jesus was giving assurance of all that come to Him that if they trust in Him and believe that they can rely in Him to overcome the snares of Satan which could cause them to fall away. They are not immune to the seduction of temptation but through the grace given by Christ may endure to the end. If one was to try to use these verses to support OSAS they would have to acknowledge the meaning here to be in support of universal salvation. Theses verses do not support OSAS or universal salvation.

The following is a posting of a portion of John 6:44-45 used to support OSAS. It reads as follows:

(Joh 6:44 DRB) No man can come to me, except the Father, who hath sent me, draw him. And I will raise him up in the last day.

(Joh 6:45 DRB) It is written in the prophets: And they shall all be taught of God. Every one that hath heard of the Father and hath learned cometh forth me.

Again these verses do not support universal salvation as they may appear nor do they support OSAS. In verse 44 Jesus is affirming that it is the Father through the Holy Spirit that brings people to faith and is relating to the teaching of the prophet Isaiah who speaks of the law being written on each person’s heart that is surrendered to for initial salvation. Jesus is reminding us that it is God’s grace and the Spirit in harmony with the Father that initiates salvation and does not come only from a response within ourselves as a result of free will.

In verse 45 is actually presenting prophecy about the Messianic kingdom where people will be taught directly by God and was referring directly to the following prophecies:

(Isa 54:13 DRB) All thy children shall be taught of the Lord: and great shall be the peace of thy children.

(Jer 31:31 DRB) Behold the days shall come, saith the Lord, and I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Juda:

(Jer 31:32 DRB) Not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, the covenant which they made void, and I had dominion over them, saith the Lord.

(Jer 31:33 DRB) But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, after those days, saith the Lord: I will give my law in their bowels, and I will write it in their heart: and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

(Jer 31:34 DRB) And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying: Know the Lord: for all shall know me from the least of them even to the greatest, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Again, neither Jesus nor the prophets are teaching universal salvation or OSAS in verse 45. Jesus is speaking that not mere hearing of the Word is enough but we must learn what the Word of God teaches. We are taught by the prophets, by the apostles and their successors through the Church, by Sacred Tradition which contains the written and oral teaching of God and by the gift of discernment from the Spirit. We must open ourselves to all of these to receive the truth as all of these are God’s gift to humanity so that we may endure to eternity.

Calvinists often use the following as proof texts: John 10:27-30 to support OSAS. Here is what they say:

(Joh 10:27 DRB) My sheep hear my voice. And I know them: and they follow me.

(Joh 10:28 DRB) And I give them life everlasting: and they shall not perish for ever. And no man shall pluck them out of my hand.

(Joh 10:29 DRB) That which my Father hath given me is greater than all: and no one can snatch them out of the hand of my Father.

(Joh 10:30 DRB) I and the Father are one.

The verses provided refer to Jesus’ previous discourse before the festival. He explains who His sheep are. He describes His sheep as follows:

1. Those who hear His voice in faith.
2. Who are known by God as loving Him.
3. Those who follow Him by keeping His commandments.

Jesus goes on to say that those who meet His three conditions also receive three promises:

1. I give them eternal life. (Please note that He did not say, “I will” give them, which would indicate that they must continue in a state of ongoing sanctification and belief.)
2. It is provisional on their abiding in God’s love that they will receive the gift of eternal life.
3. Those that continue to believe and follow Christ and endure to final salvation are assured of eternal life. A perseverance to believe, love, and obey God is necessary to abide in the assurance in the hand of God.

These verses do not support the lawlessness of OSAS

Continuing we are given the following verses in the book of Acts 10 verses 34-45 as support for OSAS:

(Act 10:34 DRB) And Peter opening his mouth, said: in very deed I perceive that God is not a respecter of persons.

(Act 10:35 DRB) But in every nation, he that feareth him and worketh justice is acceptable to him.

(Act 10:36 DRB) God sent the word to the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all).

(Act 10:37 DRB) You know the word which hath been published through all Judea: for it began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached.

(Act 10:38 DRB) Jesus of Nazareth: how God anointed him with the Holy Ghost and with power, who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.

(Act 10:39 DRB) And we are witnesses of all things that he did in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem: whom they killed, hanging him upon a tree.

(Act 10:40 DRB) Him God raised up the third day and gave him to be made manifest,

(Act 10:41 DRB) Not to all the people, but to witnesses preordained by God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him, after he arose again from the dead.

(Act 10:42 DRB) And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that it is he who was appointed by God to be judge of the living and of the dead.

(Act 10:43 DRB) To him all the prophets give testimony, that by his name all receive remission of sins, who believe in him.

(Act 10:44 DRB) While Peter was yet speaking these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word.

(Act 10:45 DRB) And the faithful of the circumcision, who came with Peter, were astonished for that the grace of the Holy Ghost was poured out upon the Gentiles also.

In these verses we see the greater message of the struggle of St. Peter over the issue of Gentile converts with the passage ending with both Cornelius and St Peter realizing that they were dependent on each other: Cornelius needed St Peter to receive the Gospel message and know the way to salvation. Peter needed Cornelius and his salvation experience to realize that the Gentiles were included in God’s plan for salvation.

Verses 37-43 contain one of St. Peter’s greatest sermons stating the Gospel. It includes the servanthood of Jesus, death on the cross and resurrection which he personally experienced. He emphasized the fulfillment of Scriptures by Christ as well as the necessity of ongoing belief in Him. While these verses are some of my personal favorites they do nothing to support a belief in OSAS.

The following are in the book of Acts 15, verses 7-9 that Calvinists claim support OSAS:

(Act 15:7 DRB) And when there had been much disputing, Peter, rising up, said to them: Men, brethren, you know that in former days God made choice among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.

(Act 15:8 DRB) And God, who knoweth the hearts, gave testimony, giving unto them the Holy Ghost, as well as to us:

(Act 15:9 DRB) And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

These verses have nothing to do with OSAS and do not support it in any way but instead deal with the Gentiles coming to faith. It does indicate the Episcopal structure of the Church and is an account of the first Ecumenical Council of the Church held in Jerusalem.

(1Co 9:27 DRB) But I chastise my body and bring it into subjection: lest perhaps, when I have preached to others, I myself should become a castaway.

Verse 27 is recognized by skilled exegetes as one of the best texts at showing us the true biblical teaching of election and reprobation. I brings into focus that no one has been absolute and unconditionally elected to eternal life. Neither does it show that one is absolutely and unconditionally predestined to eternal death. What it does show is that Christians are to enjoy the privileges of being Christian on earth but if they abuse their privilege even though elect they will be among the reprobate. If anyone was among the elect I believe most Christians would agree that St. Paul would be one, but yet he declares that he feared being among the reprobate himself. He makes it clear to each of us that nothing can keep us from the seduction of temptation that can cause us to sin and that we must also strengthen the flesh and make it the slave of our spirit in righteousness, so that neither the flesh nor the spirit will betray our goal to remain among the elect. St. Paul’s message is, it is not enough to run the race well and to be judged to have fallen short of our goal of eternal life.

In Christ
Fr. Joseph


  1. Once a person is saved are they always saved? When people come to know Christ as their Savior, they are brought into a relationship with God that guarantees their salvation as eternally secure. Numerous passages of Scripture declare this fact. (a) Romans 8:30 declares, "And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified." This verse tells us that from the moment God chooses us, it is as if we are glorified in His presence in heaven. There is nothing that can prevent a believer from one day being glorified because God has already purposed it in heaven. Once a person is justified, his salvation is guaranteed - he is as secure as if he is already glorified in heaven.

    (b) Paul asks two crucial questions in Romans 8:33-34 "Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died more than that, who was raised to life - is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us." Who will bring a charge against God's elect? No one will, because Christ is our advocate. Who will condemn us? No one will, because Christ, the One who died for us, is the one who condemns. We have both the advocate and judge as our Savior.

    (c) Believers are born again (regenerated) when they believe (John 3:3; Titus 3:5). For a Christian to lose his salvation, he would have to be un-regenerated. The Bible gives no evidence that the new birth can be taken away. (d) The Holy Spirit indwells all believers (John 14:17; Romans 8:9) and baptizes all believers into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). For a believer to become unsaved, he would have to be "un-indwelt" and detached from the Body of Christ.

    (e) John 3:15 states that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will "have eternal life." If you believe in Christ today and have eternal life, but lose it tomorrow, then it was never "eternal" at all. Hence if you lose your salvation, the promises of eternal life in the Bible would be in error. (f) For the most conclusive argument, I think Scripture says it best itself, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39). Remember the same God who saved you is the same God who will keep you. Once we are saved we are always saved. Our salvation is most definitely eternally secure!

  2. No the truth is that we can refuse salvific grace at any time by refusing to continue to believe.(Joh 3:16)We can also separate ourselves from salvific grace by mortal sin that murders our soul to Christ. It is through a contrite heart of repentance that we are restored in the familial relationship that we previously enjoyed through confession.

    We have eternal life whether that eternity is spent in Hell or in Heaven. It is true that once we are In Christ through our faith that only we can separate ourselves from that familial relationship by sin or by losing faith. God does not force anyone to be faithful or to be conscience of our sin and to restore our relationship when we repent and confess before God. A sinful soul cannot enter the sanctity of heaven and into the presence of God. Sadly you are misled by the doctrines of Calvin in your man-made sect. Christ will always call you home to His Church, may we pray that you respond to this call of obedience. God bless!

    In Christ
    Fr. Joseph