Once Saved always Saved? – Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian

Perhaps, therefore, the best resolution of differences between the views of those who claim that it is possible to fall out of grace and lose one’s salvation, and those who believe that salvation is eternally secure (“once saved, always saved”), is to make a distinction between two categories of persons. The first comprises Christians who have committed themselves genuinely and irreversibly to the gospel in a faith relationship that binds them to God and God to them through a covenant that neither wants to be broken. Despite their faltering ways, those Christians will persevere because their yearning is genuine and because God will not abandon them. They enjoy the double protection of being held securely in the hand of Christ from which no power in heaven or earth can snatch them away, and of being covered at the same time by the mighty hand of the Father who is greater than all and from whom no one can snatch them away (John 10:27-29). Consequently, there is no power present or past, physical or spiritual, that can “separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39 NRSV). God always remains faithful to his commitment because he cannot deny his own nature (2 Tim. 2:13). Of course, believers retain the freedom to return to a state of lostness. But they will never want to do so if their faith is authentic. Because God deals with humans according to his grace rather than according to what they deserve, their salvation is dependent on God’s faithfulness to them much more than on their faithfulness to him. God’s love for his children is unconditional. He forces no one to become saved or to remain saved. However, he can be trusted to keep his side of the covenant with Christians who abide by their own commitment to him. And God’s commitment to the salvation of his creatures surpasses by far their ability to remain faithful to him.

 

However, there is also another category that consists of tentative, would-be Christians who remain forever at the stage of inconstant seekers. They are the rocky ground on which the seed of the gospel fell without being able to take hold (Matt. 13:5-6). They are the son who consented to go and work in his father’s vineyard but who never went; there was no genuine commitment on his part (21:30). Of such people it was said, “They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But by going out they made it plain that none of them belongs to us” (I John 2:19 NRSV). Their rejection of Christ is tantamount to his recrucifixion on their own account (Heb. 6:6). By turning away from the faith, those who quit show that their heart was not in it unreservedly or that their Christian experience remained incomplete.

 

In view of this sobering truth, the Scriptures forbid speculating about who will he saved and who will not (Rom. 10:6-10). These are matters that pertain exclusively to the sovereignty of Christ, since he is the one who does the saving work. Rather than making judgments about others, God calls us to look at ourselves to make sure that our own commitment is genuine. Salvation is ours only if the confession of our mouth is a genuine expression of the belief in our heart. God is the one who in Jesus Christ “will judge the secret thoughts of all” (2:16 NRSV).