Open letter to my OSAS brothers and sisters in Christ:

I have a question I would like to pose to any one who believes OSAS (once saved, always saved). Let me kind of set up the question first. I do not believe in OSAS, which is not the same thing as saying that I believe you can lose your salvation. What I believe is pretty well laid out at other places on my website, but in short I believe that after salvation we retain our free will. That we can if we choose at a later time reject Christ and walk away from our salvation. I believe that we have a responsibility to 'continue in your faith' (Colossians 1:23).

Now my question is this; is it possible for us to have a disagreement about the interpretation of some scripture and still both be headed for heaven as true believers?

I ask that because often when someone writes me about my views they start off very nice asking me to explain certain passages. I will give it my best shot and then ask them to also explain certain passages to me. Soon the problem starts, if I don't change my mind my salvation is called into question. I wonder why?

I want to give an example of what I am talking about. Below is a letter from a gentleman who disagrees with me. He has written me 6 or 7 messages total and I don't have the room to post all of them here, but I want to show you the point I am trying to make.

Dear Ralph,

I must disagree with your point of view that one that is saved can walk away from their salvation.

The Holy Scriptures state in uncertain terms that the believer is already saved. That means that the believer is already SAFE from the penalty of sin. If there were any circumstances that could arise that could negate this safety, then that would mean that the person was not saved to begin with.

The same could be said for the "eternal life" that the believers who received John´s first epistle possessed:

"And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son"(1Jn.5:11).

They already possess "eternal life".If they were somehow able to lose it, that would mean that they never had eternal life to begin with, and that would make John´s words to them a lie.

The Lord spoke a parable, where He compared believers to "sheep". He says:

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give unto them eternal life, and THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH"(Jn.10:27,28).

So it is evident that those who received John´s first epistle were His sheep. The Lord KNOWS them, and He gives to them eternal life. And THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH.

It is that simple. If you want to argue that some of those believers who received John´s first epistle could lose their salvation, then you must argue that the Lord Jesus does not know His sheep. Then you must explain away the words from the lips of the Lord Jesus that "they shall never perish".

There are many more words from the Lord that proves conclusively that once a sinner believes, he is saved.

And I can answer ANY verse you might attempt to prove that one can lose their salvation, but it is impossible to answer the words of the Lord as He spoke them, that is, without adding words to what He said.

I would appreciate it if I heard from you as to your views on what I have said.

Below is my first reply to him. I will admit I did not address each of the passages he quoted but I did try to show him that at least one translation shows these passages to be in present tense and show a continuing in the faith:

I really wonder why I am writing since you have already closed the door. I used many verses in my article and you did not address any of them. There are hundreds of passages which call OSAS into question. Not that a person can lose their salvation but that they can walk away.

Have you ever read or even heard of Young's Literal translation? If so you should read it. It gives the exact tense of the verses from the Greek and Hebrew. It might surprise you for example to see this: John 6:47-50 (YLT) 47 'Verily, verily, I say to you, He who is believing in me, hath life age-during; 48 I am the bread of the life; 49 your fathers did eat the manna in the wilderness, and they died; 50 this is the bread that out of the heaven is coming down, that any one may eat of it, and not die.

I have just one question for you. It may seem like a mean spirited question but it is not meant that way. I have a hard time understanding why OSAS people are so upset to think that they must continue to believe in Jesus to be saved? I have heard from both sides; the one says that they don't have to believe because God is who is in control so they will believe because He makes them. The other side says that they don't have to continue to believe because no matter what they do and no matter what they believe after salvation they are going to heaven; period.

Sorry but God's word does not support either of those views. Ezekiel makes that very clear: Ezekiel 18:24 (NIV) "But if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked man does, will he live? None of the righteous things he has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness he is guilty of and because of the sins he has committed, he will die.

Ralph

Note: The article from which this gentleman e-mailed me had 32 scripture passages quoted. I quoted those 32 passages because I believe they show that a person does need to continue on in the faith after salvation. He did not address even one of those 32 passages. If you would like to read that article it is here: http://www.behindthebadge.net/osas/osas2.html

I received the second message from him the next day after replying to the first one. I did not answer that day or the next because of the large amount of mail I get along with working a full time unrelated job. This gentleman decided that I was avoiding his questions. I wrote him back and explained that because of the amount of mail I get it is not unusual for me not to answer for a couple of days. He was not satisfied with that. From here on out I am only quoting portions of his messages to make a point, however, I am not attempting to hide anything. This is not about our discussion it is about what happened when I did not answer the way he wanted me to.

Your response is just what I expected. Too bad that you are mis-leading many through your web-page, and when confronted with the truth you do not even bother to answer. You would rather close your eyes to the truth and stick your head in the sand than come to the knowledge of the truth.

You are too busy, I guess, to be able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

I can see now that you do not care to even defend your indefensible position, and I do not blame you, because it is impossible to answer my Scriptual passages and continue to teach that one can lose their salvation. But you would rather IGNORE the verses that contadict your position than confront them. I guess after awhile you get tired of denying the plain word of Scripture, so you just ignore the Scriptual passages that do contradict your false teaching, and continue on your mission to deceive those looking for the truth. And we might meet in heaven, if you ever come to a point where you BELIEVE GOD, instead of the teaching of man.

This was the first time he questioned my salvation but not the last. I confronted him on it and asked him why I would want to discuss anything with someone who treated me like this just because I was too busy to write back within three days.

And I am sure that you will not even attempt to let those who read your web-site know that there are Scriptures that you refuse to answer. The blind leading the blind! It is unfortunate that when confronted with all these verses that destroy your untenable position that you would not pull your web-site until you do come to an understanding of the words of the Lord Jesus Christ. You are one of those who can put total trust in what man teaches, but when confronted with the truth you are able to just close your eyes and hope they will go away. But one day there will be a rekoning with God, and you will have your chance to why you did not believe the plain words of the Lord that those that are His and those that He KNOWS "shall never die".

As I said previously, it is the sinner that BELIEVES GOD that is saved. Those who only believe the teaching of man, even though in some instances the teaching of man matches the word of God, the fact remains that you are only believing MAN and not God.

And yes, I call your salvation into question. It is impossible for me to believe that anyone who has "true" faith would even assert that one with "true" faith could walk away from that knowledge of salvation. And I challenge you to address the verses that I brought up on your site. Perhaps then people will see the truth that you will say anything, no matter how outlandish, to deny the plain words of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now let me continue with my question. If OSAS is right and I can do nothing to negate my salvation, no matter what I believe or don't believe from the point of placing my faith in Jesus Christ, then why am I not saved just because I believe I have a responsibility to continue having faith in Jesus Christ? To me this is the height of hypocrisy.

Because of the way this brother treated me I did refuse to answer his questions, I am however, not afraid of these passages and will answer them below. I just don't understand why we can't have a discussion without my salvation being called into question. I have not and will not question his salvation.

Below are the quotes that this gentleman claims I am afraid to address:

"And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son"(1Jn.5:11).

They already possess "eternal life".If they were somehow able to lose it, that would mean that they never had eternal life to begin with, and that would make John's words to them a lie.

The Lord spoke a parable, where He compared believers to "sheep". He says:

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give unto them eternal life, and THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH"(Jn.10:27,28).

So it is evident that those who received John´s first epistle were His sheep. The Lord KNOWS them, and He gives to them eternal life. And THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH.

Let me start with the first passage he quoted 1 John 5:11, but I want to quote a little more of that passage: (1 John 5:10-12 NIV) [10] Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. [11] And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. [12] He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. Notice in verse 10 it says 'anyone who believes' not believed, but believes. I think that is important because is shows a continuing action, not a one moment in time action. Anyone who believes in the Son of God has eternal life. Does that mean that if this person quits believing they still have eternal life? I don't think so. People will say that if you can lose eternal life then it was not eternal to begin with, but that is just a play on words.

Let me give you a real world example. If I give you a brand new car and tell you it is yours forever, does that mean that you can't go down to the dealership and trade it in for cash or another car? Of course not, in fact it means that you have that right, because it is yours. If you go turn in the car, does that mean that I lied when I told you it was your's forever? Of course not. God gives those who believe in His Son eternal life, but I don't believe He padlocks it to you, I believe it is yours for as long as you want it, but that you can give it back if you choose to. Verse 12 says that he who has the Son has life and he who does not have the Son does not have life. So what happens if a person has the Son and has eternal life and then rejects Christ as their Savior? Do they then still have the Son? Do they still have life?

Next he quoted John 10:27-28, again let me quote just a little more: (John 10:25-30 NIV) [25] Jesus answered, "I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me, [26] but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. [27] My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. [28] I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. [29] My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. [30] I and the Father are one." In this passage Jesus does not deal with out free will. He mentions that no-one can snatch us from His hand, I agree of course, but that is not the same thing as saying we no longer have a choice to leave the flock after our salvation. Jesus does say that His sheep follow Him, but if you think about what I am saying I am saying the same thing. Jesus' sheep will continue to place their faith in Him.

Now look at this passage: (2 John 1:8-9 NIV) [8] Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. [9] Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. People will say that this passage only speaks of rewards, but verse 9 shows that not to be true. "Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God..." Would this person still be a sheep in Christ's flock? Next people will say that this person never really believed in the first place, but how can you continue something you never started?

My point is this, John 10 says that Jesus gives His sheep eternal life and they shall never perish, but I believe you have to remain one of His sheep to have that guarantee. If you leave the fold, you are no longer His sheep and this passage no longer applies to you. You must continue on: (Colossians 1:21-23 (NIV) [21] Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. [22] 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--[23] 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. Why would Paul mention "if you continue in your faith" if it was not necessary?

I will admit I have more questions then answers to these difficult issues, but I resent having my salvation called into question just because I want to caution people to continue in the faith. Paul did the same thing but I don't see anyone calling his salvation into question.

I want to post a few other examples of what I am talking about:

I think the first thing that would probably help you would be to beg God to born you into the family of God the more I read of your religion the more I come to the conclusion that you are a modern day Pharisee who will die and go to hell if He don't give up all his preconceived notions about God and beg God to open your eyes and do an operation upon your ears that you might be able to understand the truth amen amen amen amen

***

By the way, if you are saved I plan to see you in Heaven.

***

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%.

***

To the point plain and simple, if you believe that you can loose your salvation for any reason, you never had it to begin with.

***

There is one thing that you can not get away from, the salvation you preach IS based on man's behavior and not on Christ no matter how many times you say it is. The truth stands out from all the rest. Free Grace is the only gospel that has nothing to do with man. Salvation is a work of Christ alone, and not man's. With you, man becomes his ultimate Savior and not Jesus. There is no way you can avoid that.

***

You say that you are still saved even though you teach that a man can lose or forfeit salvation. Well, that depends doesn't Ralph. If you at one time, like John MacArthur, believed the free grace gospel and then which to retained by works, yes, you are still saved but you will answer to Christ for what you have done by teaching false doctrine. However, if you never accepted the free grace gospel but always believed it was received by grace but retained by works, then you need to accept the true gospel of grace for your salvation is not based on grace at all. It is based on works, your own merit, and not on the blood of Christ alone.

***

If you have always believed in this faith plus works gospel of yours (received by grace - retain by works), then you have not yet believed the true gospel of salvation (received by grace, retained by grace). I hope that you did at one point in your life because if you have not, then you have not yet been saved and have not received the gift of the Holy Spirit, His seal of ownership which cannot be broken by man. That would explain why you just cannot understand.

***

Don't miss the point here, according to these people, if I believe Jesus died for my sins and I believe that nothing can ever separate me from Him and my salvation, then I can go murder, rape, lie, cheat and steal and still go to heaven. However, if I believe that Jesus died for my sins, but that I must continue in the faith and follow Him, then I am lost and will spend eternity in hell.

So I will go to hell for following Christ, but lets say that Hitler at 10 years old was saved and then did all the things he did and ended his life without confessing those sins and committed suicide; he (Hitler) will be in heaven, but I will be in hell because my 'sin' was believing I must continue in the faith.

I find that all very sad. I also find it sad that these people are so quick to judge me and condemn me to hell, but then again I guess I should understand, after all their sins don't count.

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