Finally, A Logical Explanation for ‘Once Saved, Always Saved’

WE ARE SAVED BY GRACE, SAYS PASTOR GREG, BUT REWARDED ACCORDING TO OUR WORKS.

WE ARE SAVED BY GRACE, SAYS PASTOR GREG LAURIE, BUT REWARDED ACCORDING TO OUR WORKS.

I belong to an evangelical Christian church. I subscribe to its tenets.

Among them, that there is but one true God. That He created man in His image. That man sinned against his Creator and is, therefore, fallen.

That God so loved the world He gave His only begotten son, our Lord Jesus Christ, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Yet, there is one doctrine of the church with which I have long struggled: That once someone is “saved,” they are always saved. That if a person but calls upon the name of the Lord, from that point forward he or she has a “Get Out of Hell Free” card.

It doesn’t matter how wicked the life a person leads. It doesn’t matter if he or she abides, unrepentantly, in the sins listed by the Apostle Paul, including fornication, idolatry, adultery, homosexuality, thievery, avarice, drunkenness, slander and swindling.

It doesn’t even matter if someone altogether abandons their Christian faith.

They still have a ticket to Heaven.

Well, that simply didn’t make sense to me. It seemed to contradict Christ’s calling upon those of us who would follow after Him: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Indeed, I’ve asked myself, why dutifully tithe, why crucify the flesh, why feed the hungry, clothe the naked and visit the sick if it doesn’t matter in the eternal scheme of things once you’ve been saved?

Indeed, I’ve prayed often on that question. And, just recently, the Lord provided me an answer that satisfies my spirit.

It came in a recent sermon by Greg Laurie, Senior Pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California.

For those unfamiliar with Pastor Greg, in 1990 he started-up the Harvest Crusade, which will be held this August at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, and which has previously been held in such venues as MadisonSquareGarden in New York and Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles.

Pastor Greg hosts a nationally syndicated radio program, A New Beginning. And, this past May, he led observances at the annual National Day of Prayer in Washington, D.C.

Anyway, in his message, Pastor Greg reaffirmed his belief that, “once saved, always saved.” And that it applies even to those who at one time gave their lives to the Lord, but are not now living for Him now.

“They’ve been forgiven by God,” he told the congregation. “They’re still going to heaven when they die.”

But here’s the caveat the pastor of 40 years added that does not get preached often – if at all – in most churches: “There is a final day of reckoning that is coming” not just for the unsaved, but also for the saved.

The unsaved, said Pastor Greg, will be condemned to hell, eternally separated from God.

The saved, on the other hand, will appear before the judgment seat of Christ, where each one will be rewarded – or unrewarded – according to how they used – or neglected to use – the spiritual gifts with which they were given for the glory of God.

Pastor Greg explained how the heavenly reward system will work, extrapolating from the book of Revelation, which foretells both “a new heaven and a new earth.” All those whom the Lord has saved will inherit the new earth, where, according to the writings of John of Patmos, there will be no more tears, nor death, nor sorrow, nor pain.

But the new earth will not be strictly egalitarian, Pastor Greg posits, but more of a meritocracy.

Those who were good and faithful servants in life – who, in whatever they did, did all to the glory of God – will be lifted up in the afterlife, said Pastor Greg, with position and responsibility.

Indeed, there will be among the saved that inhabit the new earth fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, the avaricious, drunkards, slanderers and swindlers who did little to nothing in their lives to honor and glorify God.

But they’re not going to be on the A-List. That’s reserved for those who dedicated their lives to doing God’s will. Who used the gifts with which they were endowed to glorify their Creator. Who used the blessing He bestowed upon them to bless others.

It also is reserved for those martyred in the name of the Lord. And those who accepted the Great Commission, who have gone, therefore,  and made disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things the Lord has commanded.

So, then, when the Lord encouraged the saved among us to “lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven,” he was referring to good works.

For it is by grace we are saved from the fate that awaits the unsaved. But it is by good works we are rewarded for eternity.

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Comments

  1. skavenger says:

    @frankgrauillustrator
    The answer is simple, man cannot be save nor cannot boast about his good works for there’s nothing on earth or in heaven that can replicate what Jesus did on the cross, we are save by grace and by grace alone, and that we are all rewarded equally the same. Read Mathew 20:1-16
    And also read eph. 2:8-9, gal. 2:16, Romans 3:20 and 28
    We cannot boast nor say we did some good works when we are save, when salvation comes so is good things/works because it’s natural but that doesn’t mean that this will be the measurements of our position in heaven, a man of 50 years serving God is equal to a man dying and have just receive Jesus as his personal savior, read again Mathew 20:1-16 and Luke 23:43 the answer of Jesus to a dying wish of a repenting criminal on the cross. But I am not saying or encouraging that everyone should go and do what they wanted and just repent when their time is near for no one knows or holds his life so we must be vigilant and keep the faith and do not be like the parable of the rich fool on Luke.
    @Vincent V
    God’s demand is not perfection, God’s demand is faithfulness into his words, Jesus came to set an example for us to follow, He didn’t just came to bear our sins so we can just go in our merry way. It’s true that we sin everyday that’s why we cannot boast or anything about our works but for His grace is sufficient everyday they are new every morning. And if you are truly a christian and is saved as you claimed to be then you have to follow Jesus example and turn away from your own wicked ways, we are never perfect but we got the grace of God and the bible to read and meditate everyday so we won’t go astray, all the things that we need and all the questions that we need answers it’s all in the bible, the living word of God. He said lean not on thy own understanding nor the understanding of men, but to God and God alone Proverbs 3:5

  2. Vincent V says:

    EVERY believer struggles with sin. Take anyone’s thoughts from the past week. See if they’re comfortable showing them on a projector in front of people. God’s demand is perfection and Jesus achieved it for us. Besides all this, Christ died for us while we were still sinners. You think he’ll forsake us now that we believe? God Forbid! :)

    • I am right there with you Vincent.I agree whole heartedly. I would suggest you believe that not by the tenets of your Church (even if they are correct) but by your own which you have found by inquiring of the word.Too many have said, “I am of Paul, I am of Cephas. It’s time we believe not on a fantastic preacher of wonderful books on the faith but because of good old fashion Bible searching.

  3. @skavenger:
    You’re knocking down a straw-man. Neither Greg Laurie nor the OP claimed that God “loves sin”. Both were simply echoing 1 Corinthians 3:11-15. Clearly, those on this side of Heaven are in the process of sanctification, i.e., though they may be daily transformed in the image of Christ, they continue to sin. However, why is it offensive or unbiblical to suggest that some should be rewarded for their faithfulness in performing those “good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them”? Obviously, if some are rewarded for their faithfulness, isn’t it obvious others will not be rewarded for failing to serve God to the degree which they could have? I’m not suggesting one can oppose God to His face and somehow still be saved. I would submit that anyone who rejects God was simply never saved to begin with (1 John 2:18-19).

    @Ruhm:
    You criticized the OP as being “shallow” with respect to perseverance. However, all you offered in response were quotes from the Westminster Confession, which is just a statement of belief. It is not scripture nor has any authority to speak on the subject of perseverance.
    You also stated that followers of Arminius hold that “believers may fall into sins inconsistent with a state of grace, and may continue in apostasy to the end of life, and consequently may finally fall into perdition”. However, not all non-calvinists are followers of Arminius or hold to such a doctrine. In fact, there need not be a dilemma in which one must choose between Calvin’s view of perseverance or in Arminius’ view that a true believer can fall into perdition. My own view is simply that once one apprehends truth, he can no longer be convinced of its negation, nor does it require any constant act of will on his part in order to believe, nor must God somehow violate his conscience to force him to believe. To give an example, once one apprehends the truth of the proposition, “2+2=4″, he need not expend any further effort to maintain belief in its truth-status, nor could any amount of torture convince him to abandon belief in its veracity. In like manner, once one has truly experienced the witness of the Holy Spirit and apprehended the truth of Christianity, he cannot be convinced of its negation.

  4. skavenger says:

    That is a very absurd explanation and I am not buying that, where on earth will you find a God who loves sin and a status in heaven for the lesser evil ones? That is blasphemy, where in the bible can you find that fantasy to support that lie?
    For the bible said you cannot serve two masters! matt. 6:24.. So you mean I can just accept Christ then go on and fornicate and do all this evil things and I am still accepted in heaven? Which part of the bible tells you that? What part which it said it is ok to do all the evil things as long as you accepted Christ as personal saviour?
    And FYI good works doesn’t makes you close to heaven, true that when you get saved good deeds comes out naturally but it won’t make you close to heaven I repeat or gives you a ticket to heaven,. (Eph. 2:8-9) If you are a real Christian I suggest to dig in deeper on that bible of yours if you have one and find the truth,. John 8:32
    Finally, be part of the great comission that is our ultimate goal as becoming a christian to impact others and bring the lost to the light, For a faith without deed is considered as DEAD,..

    • This just came across my computer. It is from another anonymous person who seems angry. Like there is not many of them already.
      Anyway, Mr Scavenger, at which point does grace go out the window? How many sins gets one a ticket to hell? Which kind of sin will do that? If Christ died for us, paying the price that we could not pay, why would He now ask us to chip in?
      He is able to keep us from falling. If he doesn’t the Bible lied. No one can take us from the father’s hand–“but we can jump” No way, we are someone also and it says no one.Mr Cruhm quotes John MacArthur’s suff. He is a reformed preacher. You know, God looked down and said, you go to heaven and you go to hell. How can anyone believe that stuff. The Bible said God would that none should perish. It is our rejection that keeps us from happening. Not a Schizophrenic god who says I wish none to perish but you, you and you, go to hell.

      My favorite verse says it best, Choose ye this day. Yes, Choose. Not God will force you to choose or reject him but allow you to choose.

      By the way, I do not follow Greg Laurie either. He thinks catholics are Christians. I used to be one and I wasn’t until I became one. Life is complicated. Read the Bible,
      Laurie is partially right. There are rewards. Our bad works will burn up-wood ,hay, stubble-Gold stuff is Gold, silver…

      Good Night.

  5. Yes. Crowns and rewards are given to believers for the works they have done in the love of Christ according to His Word. However, the discussion of perseverance of the saints, the preservation of sinner is somewhat shallow. I would refer you the Westminster Confession of Faith for a more in-depth treatment. I would also recommend Dr. John MacArthur’s three-part series of the Security of Salvation. Chapter XVII. Of the Perseverance of the Saints

    Section I.–They whom God hath accepted in his Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.

    Section II.–This perseverance of the saints depends, not upon their own freewill, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ; the abiding of the Spirit and of the seed of God within them; and the nature of the covenant of grace; from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.

    Section III.–Nevertheless they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalence of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their perseverance, fall into grievous sins; and for a time continue therein: whereby they incur God’s displeasure, and grieve his Holy Spirit; come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts; have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded; hurt and scandalise others, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves.

    Exposition

    The perseverance of the saints is one of the articles by which the creed of the followers of Calvin is distinguished from that of the followers of Arminius. The latter hold, that true believers may fall into sins inconsistent with a state of grace, and may continue in apostasy to the end of life, and consequently may finally fall into perdition. The same doctrine is avowedly supported by the Church of Rome; for the Council of Trent has decreed, that “If any person shall say that a man who has been justified cannot lose grace, and that, therefore, he who falls and sins was never truly justified, he shall be accursed.” In opposition to this tenet, our Confession affirms, that true believers “can neither totally nor finally fall away from a state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.” There may seem to be a redundancy of language in this statement; for, if believers cannot fall totally, it follows that they cannot fall finally. Both terms, however, are employed with the utmost propriety. “They are intended to oppose the doctrine of Arminians, who affirm, that although a saint may fall totally from grace, he may be restored by repentance; but that since this is uncertain, and does not always take place, he may also fall finally, and die in his sins. Now, we affirm, that the total apostasy of believers is impossible, not in the nature of things, but by the divine constitution; and, consequently, that no man who has been once received into the divine favour can be ultimately deprived of salvation.”

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