Once saved, always saved?
A question we get asked A LOT is the following:
If I become a Christian and believe that Jesus died for my sins, am I saved forever? Or can I lose my faith again and still go to hell?
Before we can answer that question, we must first look at the question: are you even saved / are you a sincere Christian? Because only if that question can be answered with “yes” we can go forward to look at the question “once I am saved, is that forever”? For that first question: “Are you really saved?” we would like to refer you to this reflection: https://www.emmy.foundation/en/english-blog/are-you-really-saved/ If that is clear to you, read on, if not, read that first and then come back here.
Well, if you’re reading this sentence, we’re going to assume that you’ve read that first part and are now looking for the answer to the question: “If I believe that God sent His son Jesus to earth to pay for my sins.” to die (as John 3:16 so beautifully says) can I still lose my faith? Or am I saved forever?
Well, let’s start with the next Bible verse that is quite important. Because it’s not about what I think or what you think, it’s about what God says. God knows that we sometimes have our doubts and that is why He has written things in His Bible so that we no longer have to doubt, but have certainty:
I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.1 Johannes 5:13
So God wants to give you that certainty. Full stop.
Well, something we hear as a counterargument to “once saved, always saved” that goes as follows:
So, once I become a Christian I can then sin all I want, live like an animal because I’m saved, right?!
And the following verse is also misused with that:
God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant.Romeinen 5:20
In other words, if I sin more, God’s grace also increases, so is there no problem? NO! Paul was also asked that question and he answered the following:
Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death?Romans 6:1-3
If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth.1 John 2:4
In other words, living a consciously sinful life as a true Christian is not possible. Then you have not been a true Christian from the beginning. Full stop. If you really think that, we refer you back to the previous part: https://www.emmy.foundation/en/english-blog/are-you-really-saved/
Suppose you are getting married. Would you also say: “Now that I’m married, I can whore and cheat all I want because I’m married now”? For what love did you marry in the first place i would ask… Was there real love then? Was there really a real marriage? No. So, do you consciously sin as a Christian? That is no option. It is not possible to become a Christian and then use that as a “free pass” to live a leisurely life. Then something isn’t right at the beginning…
OK, let’s move on… do you know this Bible verse?
For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
It says “eternal”. Eternal: something that lasts forever. Not temporarily. That’s clear, right?
Let’s go a little deeper… Let’s be honest, believing in Jesus is quite a step. Huge in human terms! And in all honesty, I am not strong enough for that, but I need God to do that in me. His power to make me believe that, is stronger than my power/powerlessness. He chose you to believe in Him and (fortunately) not the other way around. He can do that, you can’t. He is strong where we are not. He has called you, He has opened your ears so that you could listen to what He asked of you.
If God is so strong (to open your weak human ears), isn’t He strong enough to keep you from “going astray”? No way!
Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.Jude 24
Still not convinced? Then let’s take a VERY clear verse:
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.John 10:28-29
Wow! That verse is very clear, right? This verse confirms at least 5 times in one verse that God NEVER lets go. In one verse! That is more than clear. Oh yes, you are also included under the heading “no one”. So you cannot “can snatch yourself from the Father’s hand”… Indeed… that is HUGE… Wow.
Need more confirmation? Yes… that is possible… and this is what Jesus himself says:
However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day.John 6:37-39
I repeat: “God chose you to believe in Him and (fortunately) not the other way around. He can do that, you can’t. He is strong where we are not. He has called you, He has opened your ears so that you could listen to what He asked of you.” And if God has called you, you have listened and God has therefore given you to Christ, Christ will never let you go. He never sends you away. (now read the above verse again)
And based on all the above verses (and there are more, but I think this is sufficient for this reflection) we can say:
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.Philippians 1:6
When God starts something, He never stops. He never gives up. And if you are a true, authentic Christian, who truly loves Him, you too will continue on that path closer and closer to God. You don’t let go either. Because, please note:
If you love Me, you obey my commandments.John 14:15
Do you see what it says there? It does not say: “If you love Me, you obey my commandments but sometimes consciously not”… nope, that is not possible. If you really love Him, that’s not even possible. Isn’t that beautiful!
Just a quick question: why are you actually reading this contemplation? That says something…! Perhaps you had doubts, perhaps you sinned and something started get to you… and what do you do? You listen to that question and, together with God, you look for the important answers and in this way you come closer to Him again… Is that fascinating or is that fascinating!? Wow!
Okay, let’s move on. Read this verse:
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.Efeziërs 2:8-9
I repeat: “God chose you to believe in Him and (fortunately) not the other way around. He can do that, you can’t. He is strong where we are not. He has called you, He has opened your ears so that you could listen to what He asked of you.” God has given you a gift. A very great gift! You didn’t deserve that gift, but He gave it to you! Wow. That also means that that gift remains, even if your life is not perfect on this earth. It is not your behavior that saves you, but your faith in that gift from God. God knows that we all sin, He knows everything. That is why it is so important to understand that God has taken THE step towards you, He has given you that gift and not you Him… do you understand the difference? That’s crucial.
Jesus gave His life for you. God has chosen you to open your ears so that you can believe that. That’s huge! That is more than enough, and whatever you do…or don’t do…doesn’t change that.
Yes, but now I have sinned again. Now God will kick me out, right?
No. Note: God knew you were going to do that… long before you did…
Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.Ephesians 1:4
God knew that long before you did. And God also knew that your faith would be and remain a real faith. And that is why He chose you to open your ears. That’s why it’s so special to understand that. God already knew that you are a sinful person and despite all that, He chose you! That’s grace! Wow! You! Wow…
He has an eternal plan for you, regardless of what you do… because He loves you and you love Him.
In the Bible there is a story of Abraham, Jacob and Esau, and it says the following:
So it is God who decides to show mercy. We can neither choose it nor work for it.Romans 9:16
Why did God open your ears? I have no idea. In any case, he did not call you based on your actions. What I do know (from scripture) is that if He has done that, He has a plan, especially for you, and He will NEVER let go of what He started. That’s grace…a lot of it. Do not shame His grace, He loves you so much that He will never let you go. Deal with this honestly, every day. Because you love Him.