Hot Discussion: Once Saved ≠ Always Saved
By Jin Ling
“That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall . For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation” (Romans 10:9-10). I believe that most of us believers in God are not strangers to these verses. Many people think these verses mean that we shall be saved as long as we call on the name of the Lord and believe in the Lord in our heart, and that salvation is once and for all. Thus, there’s no need to accept any other salvation. Now then, is our such viewpoint compatible with the fact of God’s work? Can we really always be saved once we are saved?
Through seeking, as for “being saved,” I see these verses in the Old Testament, Joel 2:32 says, “that whoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered…”. Psalm 28:8-9 says, “The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed. Save your people, and bless your inheritance: feed them also, and lift them up for ever.” From these two passages, we can see that being saved in the Age of Law was based on calling on the name of Jehovah God and abiding by the laws. Combining the work God did in the Age of Law and the result achieved by it, we can understand the real meaning of being saved in that age. As we know, earliest mankind didn’t know what sin was, so they didn’t have a sense of shame or feel reproached when they murdered, fornicated, committed adultery or incest, or worshiped the fake god. Therefore Jehovah God promulgated the Ten Commandments and more than six hundred laws, and the aim was to let earliest mankind know what sin was and what things they did would cause themselves to be loathed and struck down by God. Because Jehovah God issued the laws and commandments, the Israelites understood what He detested and what He loved. So when acting, they would do according to His requirements. These who listened toand abided by Jehovah’s laws and commandments received God’s protection because of their faith, so that they weren’t burnt by heavenly fire or stoned to death, which means they were saved because they obeyed the laws and commandments Jehovah God issued. If people at that time sinned, they could offer burnt offerings for their sins. In this way, they could be exempted from death because of being forgiven of sins. This is the meaning of being saved in the Age of Law.
Now we understand being saved in the Age of Law is related to God’s work. Let’s think of the work God did in the Age of Grace. Then it is not hard to know the true meaning of “That if you shall confess with your mouth the, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.” In the late phase of the Age of the Law, though people knew Jehovah God’s requirements of them, gradually, they could not abide by the laws as their corruption deepened. They substituted the defective offerings for the good ones to deceive God. For example, they offered the blind, lame or secondary cattle and sheep as sacrifices to God. Therefore, people at that time all lived in sin. If this had continued, they would have finally died in their sins for their violation of the laws. Therefore, the Lord Jesus came to perform the redemptive work, and He took on the sins of all in a holy and sinless flesh. We only needed to call on the name of the Lord Jesus and repent to Him, and then we would be forgiven of our sins, and would not be condemned to death for our sins under the law. In this way, the Lord’s believers were saved before the Lord because of His redemption. This is the meaning of being saved in the Age of Grace.
Many people believe when having the Lord Jesus’ sin offering, they are safe, and they can attend the feast with the Lord and share in the good blessings of Him when He returns. Our sins are forgiven, but can we really be saved forever because God has redeemed us once? In fact, our sins are forgiven because of our belief in the Lord Jesus, but it doesn’t mean that we have no sin. Our sinful nature still exists within us and we can often commit sins. We involuntarily live by Satan’s philosophy of life of “Every man for himself and the devil takes the hindmost.” Just for reputation, position and interest, we jostle with each other and embark on a rampage of mutual destruction. We all deceive and scheme against each other. We, living by Satan’s philosophy, become selfish, arrogant, crafty, self-important and conceited, and completely lose our conscience and sense. When confronted with disasters, persecutions or tribulations, we are still able to misunderstand God, complain to God, and even betray God. Having believed in the Lord for years, we can still be directed by our desire to gain blessings. We make deals with God while working and devoting ourselves. We work hard just for a crown and the blessings of heaven. Because we often can’t practice the Lord’s words, much less have a heart of fearing God, we live in sin, extremely distressed and unable to break free from the bondage and restriction of sins. Just like theRomans 7:18-20 says, “for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me.” From these words, we can see that we are only forgiven of our sins through our belief in the Lord, but our satanic natures haven’t been resolved. We can still slide back into our old ways involuntarily, living in the vicious circle of committing sin by day and confessing sin by night. In the Bible, it says that the wages of sin is death. So, if we don’t have our sins rooted out, we will be bound in sin forever, and will eventually perish as a result committing sins.
So what kind of people can be saved and enter? Revelation prophesied, “And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God” (Revelation 14:5). From the verse, I knew that those who will finally enter God’s kingdom are without fault, while we are defiled all over, committing sins and then repenting for them every day. How could we possibly enter God’s kingdom or be saved once for all because of the Lord Jesus’ sin offering? God says, “you shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45). We all know that God’s substance is holiness. How could people who are of sin and of Satan remain in the ? We live in sin, defiled and corrupted. Will not we be struck down by God if we meet Him? Therefore, we can see that we cannot be saved once for all through the salvation of the Lord Jesus’ crucifixion. Then, what must we do to be truly saved by God? I remembered that it is written in the Bible, “Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:5). “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God …” (1 Peter 4:17). “And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, said the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them” (Zechariah 13:8-9). From these verses, I understood that only by accepting the salvation revealed in the last days, the work of judgment that the Lord Jesus comes back to do in the last days, and His various kinds of trials and refinement can we, those who have gained the salvation of the cross be truly saved by God. Only if we undergo God’s judgment, trials and refinement can we cast away our sinful nature, break free from Satan’s influence of darkness and the corrupt disposition of selfishness. In this way, we will no longer for the sake of grace or conduct transactions with Him, but will worship Him for the purpose of fulfilling the duty as a created being, and believe in Him for the sake of obtaining truth and life. When our viewpoints, outlook on life and values are compatible with God, and we know God’s righteous disposition, and can truly love and satisfy God, we will achieve a total transformation of disposition to become a new creation. That is to say, until then, we will be the remaining third who have undergone the trails, and will obtain God’s commendation, be saved by God and .
Revelation says, “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunder, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigns. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints” (Revelation 19:6-8). Only by accepting God’s judgment in the last days and obtaining the truth and life from Him, casting off our sins and attaining purification can we become the one who is dressed in “fine linen, clean and white.” Only this kind of people can receive the eternal salvation that God bestows and are qualified to be raptured into His kingdom. Thus it can be seen that the word “salvation is once and for all” is man’s conception and imagination and it is untenable. We are not allowed to enter the kingdom of heaven before undergoing God’s judgment and purification in the last days.