In "I Think I Can Show You Proof of OSAS" on your website, I found some statements of yours I greatly disagree with.
(quoting from the article) "Now here is my question. If our sins are forgiven past, present and future as OSAS teaches, then why should a person go to the drastic steps of cutting off a hand or foot to keep themselves from sinning? Now the only answer would be that Jesus is speaking to unbelievers, but not sinning won't get a non-believer into heaven, only belief in Jesus will do that. So why would He mention this? I say it is because sin is such an important thing that He was trying to show us that anything that causes us to sin should be done away with. That would include any doctrine that would cause us to sin or think lightly about sin." (end of quote)
The doctrine of OSAS does not teach us to take sin lightly. I believe in OSAS, and I take sin to be a very important issue. The doctrine is simply teaching that Christ overcame all sin on the cross, and that it cannot remove you from His saving grace. In fact, I believe that OSAS is the only doctrine that puts sin in its place: a seperating force, but one that Christ is greater than. It is almost giving sin more power than Christ to assume it can remove your salvation.
My response is in Green:
Thank you for writing me. As you already know we have a serious difference of opinion. That is okay, we should be able to have a civil discussion about it. You say you believe OSAS and it does not teach to take sin lightly. This is a point where we disagree. I think when you tell people that once they are saved no matter what they do it does not matter, is the same as taking sin lightly. I have had people write to me and tell me that if they were sure that OSAS was true they would commit suicide that day. Why? Because they know it is a sin, but they are tired of this life and want to go to heaven today. Don't miss the point, the only reason they wrote me was because they were not sure if OSAS was true or not. If they had been convinced they would have committed the sin of suicide and never written to me.
Now you might say that is not taking sin lightly but to me it is. Anytime a believer is told that they can deliberately sin against God without consequences that to me is taking sin lightly. I am sure you will tell me that there are consequences, but you know what I mean. For example, suicide, what are the consequences? The person gets to heaven sooner then God intended, so what, that is a good thing for the person. As you say there is no loss of rewards, there is no punishment, so why shouldn't we all kill ourselves and get to heaven sooner?
I am not trying to be antagonistic, but if what you believe is true, then why not? I will tell you from my point of view why not. Because I owe God my obedience. He paid the price for my sin and I am no longer my own. If I truly love Him then I will be obedient. (1 John 2:3-6 NIV)  We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.  The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him:  Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.
You may say the same thing, but yet you claim it doesn't matter, I say it does matter. If a person totally rejects God and what God wants for them and is deliberately rebellious against God, then I believe it shows that they are no longer in the faith.
You have also done what every other OSAS person who has written me has done. You claim that I am saying that sin can take away our salvation. Please show me anywhere in the 400 plus pages on my website where I said that. You claim I am giving sin more power then Jesus. Again pleases show me where on my site I have made those statements. I have not made them, nor do I believe them.
What I have said is that I believe we must continue in the faith. Sin is the symptom, not the disease, rebellion is the disease. When our sins are forgiven, we are put in the right relationship with God, through the atonement of Jesus Christ on the cross. God requires our faith in Jesus Christ for us to be saved. Now what I am saying is that we must continue in that faith. And how do we know if we are in the faith or not? (1 John 2:3-6 NIV)  We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.  The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him:  Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. When a person goes back into a life of rebellion (sin) they are no longer in the faith and they no longer know Christ. It is not the sin that removes their salvation, they have left their salvation. Look at another passage: (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. "If you hold firmly..." Look at the last sentence; it states these people believed at first, but that it was in vain unless they continue. You can try to explain this passage away if you like, but it says what it says. God is not the author of confusion, His word says what it means and means what it says.
(quoting from the article) "If Jesus is speaking of believers, which I believe He is, then it shows how seriously He takes sin, and it shows that sin can cast us into hell not just take away our rewards as OSAS teaches." (end of quote)
A bit of semantics first: sin does not remove our rewards, I believe, only is tested by fire. Our good deeds are rewarded, and bad deeds are not. One does not remove the other.
Here you are giving power to sin to take away our salvation. If sin could do that, then Christ's work on the cross was insufficient. He would not have died if this is so. In fact, the Bible specifically tells us that believers will sin and still be saved. It even says that commiting one sin is comitting them all. Thus, any sin would be sufficient to remove us from His grace. This is surely false, and proves your statement to be incorrect.
Here is another of my problems with OSAS, it is very open to personal interpretation. You say that sin does not remove our rewards, but many OSAS teachers teach just that. They teach that a person will never lose their salvation, only their rewards. I don't feel like arguing the point, because I don't believe either of those positions.
If you take the sentence you quoted from my page out of context, then it would appear that I am saying that sin is the cause of our lose of salvation, but in context, I was trying to show that Jesus took sin very seriously for the believer and not just because it would take us out of fellowship with Him. Let quote the passage: (Matthew 5:27-30 NIV)  "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'  But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.  And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
Now let me ask you the question; was Jesus speaking to believers or non-believers? If it were to non-believers, what would cutting off their hands or gouging out their eyes get them? Even if it kept them from ever sinning again, would they get to heaven? No because we are all sinners and that includes anyone who at some point quits sinning. So He must have been speaking to believers. Now if He were speaking to believers, how can that be true when their sins are forgiven past, present and future already? Why would they need to cut off a hand or gouge out an eye to keep themselves from sinning and ending up in hell?
God's word says what it says. I know that there are all kinds of OSAS explanations for these passages, but they all have to make the passage not say what it clearly says. I believe, as I said before, that Jesus is teaching that we must maintain our relationship with Him, and sin can draw us away from that relationship. We are tempted and when we allow our flesh to drag us away, we run the risk of apostasy. Been there done that, as they say. If you read my testimony you will see that I was saved at a young age, but when I went into the Marine Corps I started sinning. I wanted to see what life was all about. The more I sinned the more I liked it. I knew it was wrong, I knew that I was in rebellion against God, but I choose to follow the world instead of Christ. There is no way around the fact that I rejected my faith at that point. (James 1:13-15 NIV)  When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;  but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
You keep saying that I am giving sin more power then Christ. That is wrong. Sin is what separated the human race from God in the first place. Yes Jesus' death on the cross gave us the way to be reconciled with God. Yet God does not just apply that sacrifice to every human being, He requires their faith in Jesus as part of their salvation. Why is it so difficult to believe that He requires us to continue in that faith?
Let me ask you a question about two people in the early church; Ananias and Sapphira. I am sure you remember their story. They were part of the early church and they sold some property and claimed that they were giving all the money to the church. Peter asked them to their face if that was all the money and they both said yes. Peter accused them of lying to the Holy Spirit and they both dropped dead. Here is my question; will they be in heaven? The answer hangs on OSAS. See if they weren't believers, then why were they killed? Sinners are sinners and they did nothing more then what all sinners do on a regular basis. In fact to my thinking the idea that they were lying to the Holy Spirit would mean they knew who He was, or in other words were believers. Now if they were believers, then why did God kill them? After all it would be like rewarding them if OSAS is true, because they would have painlessly died and stepped directly into the presence of their Lord and Savior.
(quoting from the article) "Let me address one more point. When Jesus spoke of the little child, I don't believe He only meant the young in physical years. I think He also meant those who are young in their walk and faith. Woe to the person who causes one of the new believers to sin. I know this may sound like an attack, but I don't mean it that way, I just want you to think about it a moment. If a new believer is told that his sins have been forgiven past, present and even future and that no matter how much he might sin in the future he is guaranteed a place in heaven, could it not lead that new believer to be lax and sin because he thinks it does not really matter?" (end of quote)
If you are speaking of the verse I am thinking of, then I believe strongly that the verse was meant only for physically young people. If it is not the same verse, I am sorry, but I am not sure which one you are referring to. Aside from that...: I believe that knowing that you are going to heaven no matter what can allow you reasoning like you described above. However, it is the truth. Sin cannot seperate us from God any longer once we have accepted Christ's work on the cross for ourselves. I always tell people that God still commands them to live as Christians and to live a life apart from sin. However, I will not lie to them and tell them that they are not allowed to sin anymore.
I was speaking of this passage: (Mark 9:42 NIV) "And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck." It is just one verse before the others that I was speaking about. Whether it is referring to physically young believers or just new believers is really not an important issue, because the fact remains that Jesus takes a very serious view of anyone who causes one of these "little ones" to sin. I think you already understand my point, but let me restate it. If these little ones' sins are already forgiven (past, present and future) then what is the big deal if someone causes them to sin? Secondly, who is Jesus speaking about, who causes them to sin. Could it be non-believers? Would it be better for a non-believer to have a millstone tied around his neck and thrown into the sea? Why? The non-believer is already on his way to hell. Could it be believers? If so, then causing them to sin is just one more sin which has already been forgiven, so why would being cast into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck have been better?
This all comes back to the point that I think Jesus was trying to make and that is that sin is corrosive to our faith. If we allow sin to creep into our lives, no it does not nullify out salvation, but it is the first step towards our apostasy which is where we reject our salvation and again become sinners under judgment by a holy and just God.
This brings up a point that I don't think can be over looked. God is fair, just and holy. Yet OSAS teachers (some of whom I have quoted on my page) claim that you can't tell the difference between a believer and a non-believer in some cases because the believer may be living the same kind of life the non-believer is. To me that is profaning God's holy name. If a person is sinning like the rest of the unregenerated world and yet God just winks at his sin and allows him in heaven while holding the sinner responsible for his sin, where is the justice?
I understand the sacrifice of atonement that Jesus made, but I don't believe you can 'plead' the blood over a deliberately sinful life and sidestep responsibility without repentance and obedience. Many places in both the Old Testament and in the New Testament God commands us to be holy because He is holy.
I hope this furthers a productive discussion.
I hope the discussion will help others. I think that OSAS is a destructive, and dangerous doctrine, because I do believe it teaches people that once they are saved sin does not matter. I am not trying to say that is how you believe, I know many others who believe OSAS who also try to live holy lives. I am not trying to personally attack anyone, but I am saying that the doctrine itself does minimize the destructiveness of sin in a believer's life.
If OSAS is true, then my anguish is for nothing, but I am in anguish for those people who have supposed that they were already forgiven for the suicide they were about to commit. How horrible it must have been to realize too late that deliberate rebellion against God will not be tolerated. I truly wish I could believe OSAS but it is not what the Bible says. Our salvation is dependant on our relationship and we must maintain that relationship.
Next message and response:
I believe that some of my misinterpretation of your writing is due to your choice of language. I see that some seemingly contradictary ideas are not necessarily in disagreement with each other when I look at what I believe your intent is.
Reading through your last e-mail, I think we have one major difference in interpretation of the scriptures:
You believe that the discontinuation of belief is the discontinuation of salvation.
I believe that ceasing to believe cannot, as no other thing can, end our salvation, only further a life of sin.
One of the issues you mention repeatedly on your site and in your e-mail is that OSAS gives "a license to sin". I hope that phrase does your thoughts justice. However, Christ commands us to continue our lives as Christians. Hebrews 10:11, 10:14 tell us that Christ's sacrifice is perfect for sins of all time. Also, Hebrews 10:16 tells us that God puts His law on our hearts. We know not to sin. Even with total forgiveness. However, we have our own free will.
In James 4, we read through a whole chapter about Christians being addressed for their sins. It talks about adultery, etc, which you have mentioned, and tells them not to do this. It is sin against Him who is in these people. It is not a seperating force any longer. In fact, Christ overcame all sin, and did away with its power to seperate us from God. We must walk in fellowship, but need not have fear of losing our salvation.
I think that sin can further doubts we have, thus lead to unbelief. But I think that very clearly the Bible states that our salvation is impossible to remove. By us, by God, by anyone or anything.
As far as gouging out our eyes, etc, I believe the intent was to warn us against sin. It never says that we will be cast into hell. The intent was to show the evilness of sin. Also, God never told anyone to cut off their hands. Would that keep you from sinning? NO. God knows our hearts. If we have no eyes, we still lust in our hearts. If we have no hands to steal, we still long to steal with our hearts. I believe this scripture was taken entirely out of ocntext.
You are right, we do disagree on someone who discontinues believing. You even went so far as to say that God can't remove our salvation. I wonder where you got that from? He sure did it in the Old Testament, so why can't He in the New Testament? I think you got that idea from this passage: (Romans 8:38-39 NIV)  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.
The problem is that he is speaking of God's love. God loves sinners too but they are still going to end up in hell for eternity. Nor does this passage address what happens when a person turns from the faith.
I notice that you did not address the passages I gave you. Like 1 Corinthians 15:2. You gave me other passages and I will address them, but I will tell you right up front that you can't just ignore some passages in favor of others. If your theology does not take into account all of the Bible then there is a problem. God does not say one thing one place and something totally different some place else, although there are places that at first glace seem to do just that. The point is that God's word is consistent and it will fit together if we look at it correctly. So if there is a passage that says that we can sin without consequences and yet others that say we can't we have to find where they become consistent. That is the problem with saying that all sin after salvation does not matter; there are too many places in the Bible that says all sin matters.
You are right I do feel that OSAS is a license to sin. How else would you characterize it? You tell a brand new Christian that now that they have been saved nothing (including a sinful lifestyle and even turning from the faith) will ever be held against them, and yet you don't think it is a license to sin? What happens when that person is tempted and really wants to do what is wrong? What is to hold them back? Nothing, after all that sin has already been forgiven.
You also did not tell me if you plan on seeing Ananias and Sapphira in heaven. Like I said these are watershed issues. I like discussing my views, it helps me to hone them and to double check them against Scripture, but if the other person will not respond then it is a waste of time.
What about Judas? Will he be in heaven? Or was he never really a believer? If you say he was never really a believer, then you have a problem because Jesus (who was all knowing) made him an Apostle. Also look at: (Psalm 41:9 NIV) Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.
Jesus quotes that passage here: (John 13:12-18 NIV)  When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them.  "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am.  Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.  I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
 "I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the scripture: 'He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me.'"
Judas was a trusted friend according to that passage. No, it is too pat an answer to just say that Judas was never a believer. You can't prove it from Scripture other than by leaning on your own theology, which means you are reading the entire account of Judas through the lens of your doctrine instead of just taking what God's word says.
That is my major problem with OSAS. It makes a person twist passages to fit their doctrine instead of believing what they say. Have you read the quotes on my index page to my OSAS section? Here is again why I say that OSAS is a license to sin, let me requote a couple of them here:
And so, sometimes out of ignorance or whatever it might be, they attempt to gratify and meet those needs the same way they did before they were saved, and therefore, you can't tell a carnal believer from a lost man.
As far as overt behavior is concerned, a carnal believer cannot be distinguished from an unbeliever.
Those were made by well known OSAS teachers. People you can hear everyday on the radio and TV. Jesus tells us that we can tell a believer by their fruit, but these OSAS teachers tell us we can't. Who do you believe?
You use Hebrews to try to show that OSAS teaches we are to live holy lives. The problem is that you are only half right. Hebrews, and the rest of the Bible for that matter, do teach us to live holy lives, but OSAS says it does not matter because those sins are already forgiven anyway. You go on to say that God puts His law in our hearts. Again I would agree with you, I just disagree that once that happens He no longer cares how we act.
You talk about James 4, but you can't talk about James 4 unless you talk about all of James. What is the book of James about as a whole? It is about the very fact that a true believer's life will show good works or in other words evidence of salvation. Yet, go back and look at those two quotes I gave you from the OSAS teachers. They don't agree with James at all.
You did attempt to address the statements Jesus made about cutting off a hand or gouging out an eye to keep from sinning, but you missed the point. Yes He was trying to say how seriously we should take sin, but what was the second part of His statement? Here it is: (Matthew 5:30b NIV) It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
Why would He mention that if it is impossible as you claim? This is exactly what I mean about reading the Scriptures through the lens of your doctrine. You have to explain that sentence away, or your doctrine falls, so I understand why you will find a way to say it does not mean that a Christian can ever fall, but that is what it says. That is why I asked the question I did. Was Jesus speaking to believers or to non-believers? If they were non-believers they were headed to hell anyway, so why cut off a hand? If they were believers, then nothing they do can ever send them to hell, so why mention it? The only way to make that whole passage fit and consistent is to understand that Jesus IS saying that sin can lead us away from the faith and that can send us to hell. That should not be a frightening thought. I know I am secure, as long as I want to be secure, but I also know that sin is my enemy and will corrupt my soul if I allow it.
What about those people Paul told that if they did not continue in what they were taught they had believed in vain? How do you explain that? Was that out of context too?
You used Hebrews, so let me quote from it too: (Hebrews 10:26-31 NIV)  If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,  but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.  Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?  For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people."  It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Again, who was this written to, believers or non-believers? Who is it that has received the knowledge of the truth? It is the believers. How could it be true of non-believers, that there is no sacrifice left? No, what it means is that if we trample the sacrifice of Christ, by deliberately sinning after being saved there is no sacrifice left. Note the 'deliberately' there. That does not mean that if a Christian stumbles and sins then there is not forgiveness, it means if the Christian walks away and claims they have the freedom to do whatever they want because they are covered by Christ's blood, with no thought to what that implies, then they have trampled on His sacrifice and there is no other sacrifice to cover them. Sinners deliberately sin naturally, that is what sinners do.
We should be teaching believers that they have a responsibility in their lives and that responsibility is to continue following Christ. To teach them that they can (although they really shouldn't) sin and God won't notice is wrong and I believe will send some people to eternal torment.
E-Mail Ralph (whose comments are in green)