One of the arguments I am often confronted with about the doctrine of once saved always saved, is that when we become Christians we are adopted into the family of God as sons and daughters. I agree with that point, it is biblical. The argument goes on and states that since we are adopted into God's family we are eternally secure. They say that a son can't give up his birthright and therefore will always be a son. The meaning of this is clear, God would never punish one of His sons.
I decided to take a look at this and see if it holds up to the light of Scripture. The following is what I have found.
I want to start with Satan, since his sin is the first one recorded. Here is a description of Satan before his fall and during his fall: (Ezekiel 28:14-16 NIV) 14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. 15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. 16 Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. You can see that he was blameless when created.
Now you may be wondering, what does this have to do with the subject at hand. Well often in Hebrew we find the angels called the sons of God. As in this passage: (Job 1:6 KJV) Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.
So if the angels are called sons of God, then Satan before his fall was also a son of God, yet he was driven from the mount of God. And we know his final destination: (Matthew 25:41 NIV) Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.'
This alone should be enough to debunk the argument given by the OSAS doctrine, but we don't have to just lean on this, we can also see the same idea in other places in Scripture. For instance if we look at the genealogy of Jesus as given in Luke we see something very interesting. This genealogy goes backwards from Jesus all the way to Adam. I will only quote the last verse which contains just the last three names: (Luke 3:38 NIV) the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.
We see here that Adam is called the son of God. Even though Adam is called a son of God, he was still removed from the Garden of Eden and we know that God had told him and Eve that the day he sinned he died spiritually. So again we see someone who was a part of God's family, who sinned and lost that status. So why would this be a good argument against a Christian being able to fall back under judgment? I say it wouldn't. But we are not done yet.
Jesus told a parable about another son who left the family. We know it as the Prodigal Son parable. (Luke 15:11-32 NIV) 11 Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them.
13 "Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 "When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' 20 So he got up and went to his father.
"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 "The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'
22 "But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.
25 "Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 'Your brother has come,' he replied, 'and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.'
28"The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, 'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!'
31 "'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'"
This parable shows a couple of things. First it is possible for a son to leave the family. Second when a son does leave he is considered "dead" and "lost" but when he comes back he is considered "alive again" and "found." The OSAS proponents try to say that this son only lost his reward, but that he was still part of the family. Their point is that a Christian and be out of fellowship with God, but there is no danger of them being punished in hell for eternity. That is not what the plain reading of this parable shows. It shows that the son was lost and dead and that only after he came back was he again alive and found.
Also notice that the father in the parable does not go after the son. He does run out to meet him when the son, himself comes back. This also is important in two aspects. First the father let the son go and did not go after him, it had to be the son's decision to come back. However, when the son does come back the father runs out to meet him. This might not mean much to us in our culture but in the middle-east this is something that is not dignified for a man to do. Yet the father did it, because he loved his son.
I think that is a beautiful picture of our Heavenly Father. He gives us free choice to decide if we want to stay with Him or not, but when we decide to come back He is willing to embrace us.
Yes we are adopted into God's family when we are saved, but that does not mean we can't give up our birthright and go back to a lost status.
E-Mail Ralph (whose comments are in green)