Back to Index

Back to The Good Fight

Question: Do you believe "once saved, always saved"?

Salvation is used to [1] denote deliverance from sins that are
past, and [2] the eternal deliverance to be obtained at the coming
of Christ predicated upon a life of faithfulness (Frost,I.137).
John 14:1ff; 2 Tim.4:6-8.
     When one obeys the Gospel of Christ he is "delivered from the
power of darkness" and is "translated into the kingdom of [God's]
dear Son" (Col.1:13). Raised to walk in newness of life. Must abide
in Christ Jno.14:4-6).

Consider the following position advocated by one who believed in
the impossibility of apostasy: "We take the position that a
Christian's sins do not damn his soul. The way a Christian lives,
what he says, his character, his conduct, or his attitude toward
other people have nothing whatever to do with the salvation of his
soul....All the sins he may commit from idolatry to murder will not
make his soul in any more danger." (Sam Morris, Do a Christian's
Sins Damn His Soul)

1. Passages Gal. 5:4; 1 Tim. 4:1; Heb. 10:38-39; 2 Pet. 2:20; 1
Cor. 9:27; Rev. 2; Acts 8; Gal.6:1f; Jas.5. Heb. 3:12.

2. Emphasis in the N.T. on continuing
     Acts 2:42; 11:22-23; 1 Cor. 15:58; Heb. 12:1,2; 1 Cor. 9:24-

From Bob Waldron:
                   Perseverance of the Saints

     Perseverance of the saints affirms that the elect are in the
grace of God forever and cannot fully apostatize so as to be lost
eternally in hell. It is otherwise known as "once in grace, always
in grace," or "once saved, always saved." The doctrine is stated

     "They whom God hath accepted in His Beloved, effectually
     called and sanctified by His Spirit can neither totally nor
     finally fall away from the status of Grace; but shall
     certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally
     saved" (The Confession of Faith, Chapter XVII, Section 1.

     Every passage used by the Calvinist on this proposition deals
with the security of the believer. The Bible teaches the security
of the believer, and we are committed to the defence of such. The
question at issue, and the one which the Calvinist must answer, is
as follows: Can a believer become an unbeliever? Can a faithful
child of God become an unfaithful child of God? The question is not
what shall happen to the sheep that is securely in the fold, who
hears and heeds the Shepherd's commands, but what will happen to
the sheep that refuses to hear the Shepherd's voice, jumps the
fence, sheds his fleece and dies on the mountains of sin? Here is
the crux of the matter.

     This doctrine is closely related to Calvin's teaching on
irresistible grace. We will quote from Calvin to see what he
          "God, therefore, begins the good work in us by
     exciting in our hearts a desire, a love, and a study of
     righteousness, or (to speak more correctly) by turning,
     training, and guiding our hearts unto righteousness; and
     he completes this good work by confirming us unto 
     perseverance" (Institutes, Book II, Chap. 3, Section 6).

     Having understood how perseverance fits into Calvin's system
of doctrine, and particularly how it relates to irresistible grace,
let us allow Calvin to state the doctrine.

     "As to the common saying, that after we have given admission
to the first grace, our efforts co-operate with subsequent grace,
this is my answer: If it is meant that after we are once subdued by
the power of the Lord to the obedience of righteousness, we proceed
voluntarily, and are inclined to follow the movement of grace, I
have nothing to object. For it is most certain, that where the
grace of God reigns, there is also this readiness to obey. And
whence this readiness, but just that the Spirit of God being
everywhere consistent with himself, after first begetting a
principle of obedience, cherishes and strengthens it for
perseverance?" (Institutes, Book II, Chapter 3, Section 11).

     "...That the original freedom of man was to be able not to
sin, but that we have a much greater freedom--viz. not to be able
to sin," and, "Therefore, to meet the infirmity of the human will,
and prevent it from failing, how weak soever it might be, divine
grace was made to act on it inseparably and uninterrup-tedly"
(Ibid., Section 13).

     However, leaving much confusion as to just what his position
is, he says: "...though purged by His sanctification, we are still
beset by many vices and much weakness, so long as we are enclosed
in the prison of the body..." (Ibid., Section 14).

     As an obvious and familiar explanation for the numerous
apostates in the Bible, he says: "...just as a tree not planted
deep enough may take root, but will in process of time wither away,
though it may for several years not only put forth leaves and
flowers, but produce fruit" (Ibid., Chapter 2, Section 12).

Passages Used To Support Perseverance of the Saints:

     Before we list these passages, we wish to point out that the
Bible teaches the security of the believer, and we need to draw
much comfort and assurance from this fact. But the Bible also
teaches that a believer may become an unbeliever, that the obedient
can become the disobedient. The saint may voluntarily renounce the
gospel and forsake Christ.

1.   Eph. 4:30; 6:10.
2.   John 5:24
3.   John 10:28-29.
4.   1 John 3:1.
5.   Rom. 8:35-39.

The Possibility of Apostasy

     The Bible teaches that it is possible for a child of God to
apostatize and to be finally lost in hell. The following arguments
are a summary of principal examples of apostasy.

I.   The case of Adam and Eve.
     A.   Adam was the son of God (Luke 3:38). He was made in the
          image of God (Gen. 1:26).
     B.   Adam was uncorrupted by sin. Yet he was no more able to
          resist temptation than the one who, according to
          Calvinism, is totally depraved.
     C.   It is not enough to evade the force of these Scriptures
          by saying that Adam and Eve were children by creation,
          but Christians are children by adoption. The same warning
          is given to us (2 Cor. 11:3).

II.  When the righteous turns away (Ezek. 18:26; 33:18).
     A.   This defends the equality of God's ways.

III. If you forsake God, he will forsake you (2 Chron. 15:2).

IV.  If you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever (1 Chron.

V.   The Lord departed from Saul.
     A.   God chooses Saul (1 Sam. 10:24).
     B.   The Spirit of the Lord came upon him (v. 10).
     C.   The Lord anoints him (v. 1).
     D.   He was turned into another man (v. 6).
     E.   God was with him (v. 7).
     F.   God gave him another heart (v. 9).
     G.   Saul said, "I have sinned" (1 Sam. 15:24).
     H.   The Lord departed from him and became his enemy (1 Sam.
     I.   Saul kills himself (1 Sam. 31:4-6). God says, "If thou
          forsake him he will cast thee off forever" (1 Chron.

VI.  The example of the nation of Israel.
     A.   My people (Exod. 3:7).
     B.   People of the inheritance (Deut. 4:20).
     C.   Children of God (Deut. 14:1).
     D.   A holy people (v. 2).
     E.   God favored them (Rom. 9:4).
     F.   The Lord warned them (Deut. 11:26-28).
     G.   A remnant will be saved (Rom. 9:27).
     H.   Natural branches broken off (Rom. 11:21-22).
     I.   Christians can fall after same example of unbelief (Heb.
     J.   These things written for our admonition (1 Cor. 10:11).

VII. Faith and unbelief.
     A.   Faith overthrown (2 Tim. 2:18).
     B.   Cast off faith (1 Tim. 5:12).
     C.   Depart from the faith (1 Tim. 4:1).
     D.   Have made shipwreck (1 Tim. 1:19).

VIII.     The crown at the end.
     A.   If you hold fast in memory (1 Cor. 15:2).
     B.   If you hold fast unto the end (Heb. 3:6, 3, 14).
     C.   If you continue in the faith (Col. 1:23).
     D.   End of faith...salvation of your souls (1 Pet. 1:9).
     E.   Be faithful unto death (martyrdom) (Rev. 2:10).

IX.  Warnings to Christians.
     A.   A falling away first (2 Thess. 2:3).
     B.   Fail of the grace of God (Heb. 12:15).
     C.   Some blind and forgetful (2 Pet. 1:9).
     D.   Give diligence (2 Pet. 1:10).
     E.   Found peace in Him (2 Pet. 3:14).
     F.   Being led away (2 Pet. 3:17).
     G.   Fallen from grace (Gal. 5:4).
     H.   Save a soul from death (Jas. 5:19-20).
     I.   Turned aside after Satan (1 Tim. 5:15).
     J.   Weak brother perish (1 Cor. 8:11).
     K.   Forsaken the right way (2 Pet. 2:14-15).
     L.   Latter end worse than beginning (2 Pet. 2:20).
     M.   Better not to have known the way (2 Pet. 2:21).
     N.   Your adversary the devil (1 Pet. 5:8).
     O.   Lest I should be cast away (1 Cor. 9:27).
     P.   Abide not in me, cast forth as a branch (John 15:1-6).
     Q.   Impossible to renew them again (Heb. 6:4-6).
     R.   God will take away his part (Rev. 22:19; 20:15).
     S.   Watch, therefore (Matt. 25:13).

X.   Individuals who turned away.
     A.   Simon (Acts 8:12-24).
     B.   Demas (2 Tim. 4:10; cf. Col. 4:14; Phile. 24; 1 John
     C.   Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Tim. 1:19-20).
     D.   Judas: called to be an apostle (Matt. 10:1); ordained to
          be with Christ (Mark 3:14); sent out to preach, power to
          cast out demons (Mark 3:14-15). God gave him to Christ
          (John 17:12). None of them is lost but the son of
          perdition (v. 12).

XI.  Churches. Ephesus (Rev. 2:1-7) Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-18).

If you have corrections, questions, comments or suggestions about these questions and answers, please contact Leon Mauldin directly at

Back to Index

Back to The Good Fight