Your site is great. I appreciate you taking the time to read letters and use a Bible-justified response to each one. I agree with most of what you say. I also agree, for the most part, with your position on "OSAS". I believe that not one sin or any person can take someone from the hand of Christ. You seem to agree with that, but you also say that a saved person becomes lost when he fails to continue in faith. Well although I do agree I would just like to say that anyone who ever denounces his or her faith in Jesus Christ was never saved at all. I don't want to say that as a compromise between you and your opposition, but I think that is a statement you and your readers can agree on. If one was to one day say, "I do not believe in Christ" or something to that extent, and make in sincere, then he or she never sincerely believed in Christ to begin with. The fact that you can have freedom to chose to let go of Christ's hand and reject Him indicates insecurity in the first place. And if you have insecurity, then you never believed in Christ. The day you "received" Jesus may have only been 99.99999% sincere. And we all realize that God knows each and everyone's heart. So receiving Christ must be a total commitment in order to be born again. And total is 100%.
In conclusion, can a saved person lose his salvation? No, it is impossible. Jesus Christ does the saving, and He is God. God never fails. However, can one choose to walk out of the hand of God? Yes, only because he temporarily put himself there, which was due to an insincere "belief" in Christ, whether it be a joke or a 99% skeptical trust. A 100% sincere trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior can garauntee eternal security.
My response is in Green:
Thanks for writing. I am afraid you are wrong about not believing OSAS. There are different 'flavors' so to speak of OSAS and you fall into one of them. You say that if you truly sincerely believe in Jesus Christ, then you will never fall or walk away. So you are saying if you are truly saved you will never fall or walk away, or in other words, once 'truly' saved, always saved.
This might sound like a minor issue, but it isn't. To say that a person who is saved and then later rejects Christ was never saved to begin with is to cloud the issue of free will. You said Jesus does the saving and He never fails. I would take it from that statement that you are a true Calvinist, meaning that you also believe in predestination. Because if Christ never fails and He is the one who draws people, then anyone He draws will have sincere faith and will never walk away. That takes away man's free will to choose to follow Christ or not. It is not a failing on God's part if He allows us to choose and we reject instead of accepting the free gift. It is also not a failure on God's part if after we have chosen to follow Him, we decide that we want instead to live like the world and then reject Him. He has not failed, we have.
Take a look at these passages:
(Mark 14:27 NIV) "You will all fall away," Jesus told them, "for it is written: "'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.'" Did Peter sincerely believe before this point? (Matthew 16:16 NIV) Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." He did believe, yet he fell away.
(Luke 8:13 NIV) Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.Notice that Jesus says these people 'believe' for a while, yet in time of testing they fall away. If they were never saved, why didn't He say that they never really believed and therefore where not really saved?
(Colossians 1:21-23 NIV)  Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.  But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation --  if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. Notice these people are reconciled to God through Christ's death -- if they continue....
(Romans 11:22 NIV) Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. Again we see that these people are told they must continue or they will be cut off.
(John 15:5-6 NIV)  I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. How can a person remain if they were never truly there to start with? If these people were not believers to start with this passage makes no sense.
(1 Corinthians 15:2 NIV) By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. Notice if they don't hold firm they believed in vain. It does not say that this proved they never really believed, but rather their belief was in vain because they did not continue.
You also made the statement that if you have insecurity then you never believed in Christ. Okay, then how do you explain this: (Matthew 11:2-3 NIV)  When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples  to ask him, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?" John seems to have been insecure in his belief that Jesus was the Christ at this point. I say that is human nature. He was in prison, things did not seem to be going the way he thought they should so he had some doubts and insecurities. Does that mean he was not truly a believer? If you think so then you better keep reading:
(Matthew 11:11 NIV) I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. None greater born of woman then John the Baptist. That would include, David, Abraham, Elisha, Elijah, and Moses, just to mention a few.
In fact take a look at Abraham. We know that he believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:5-6 NIV)  He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars -- if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be."  Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Yet we read a little later: (Genesis 17:17 NIV) Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, "Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?" Does that mean that Abraham never truly believed the first time? If that is true, then he fooled God, who says he did believe and it was credited to him as righteousness. No having doubts and insecurities are normal, it is what you do when you are insecure or have doubts that matters.
If God offers salvation to everyone and allows us to choose whether we want to accept it or not, then why would He not allow us to change our minds at a later time? Jesus spoke of this very thing when He talked about the cost of discipleship. He told us that before we decide to follow Him we should count the cost and see if we are willing or able to follow through. Why would He say that if we could not fall short or decide the cost is too much. That does not mean the people weren't sincere, it means that they decide later that they want the world more then they want Christ.
I see why too many times in Scripture where we are told to continue, or to persevere in our faith. Yes we are eternally secure as long as we continue, but if we decide we no longer want Christ as our savior, then I believe we have the ability to walk away even though we were true believers before that time.
E-Mail Ralph (whose comments are in green)