“What must I do to be saved?”
See Acts 16:30
Once Saved Always Saved is a touchy subject for those who don’t understand what Christ has fully done for us and to us. To prove that Once Saved Always Saved is true, I need to first build on what saves and what doesn’t.
I was recently scrolling through social media and I read a post about a near-death experience. This person had been in a drowning accident and died in the water. Miraculously, she was revived after being pulled onto a boat; yet she still spent quite some time with no pulse. She was dead.
Her post was her testimony, and testimonies are always amazing to hear or read. I loved it.
However, she said that as she drifted away, all she could feel was shame because her life had “shown no evidence of belief in Him.” Was she already saved? I don’t know, but evidence of belief doesn’t save us, only the actual belief does. If evidence saved us, how can we be sure we’ve got enough of it? Where is the finish-line tape of evidence that we break through of being absolutely, positively, 100% sure?
Sadly, if we have a definitive answer we are placing our faith in ourselves. And even more sad, if we answer that question with a non-definitive answer–yet we still believe it’s evidence that saves us–we will live in fear. Faith in what we do or don’t do, as evidence, is not proof of faith. Faith is the substance of things not seen (see Hebrews 11:1).
This person went on to type, “Nothing we can do can save our soul except accepting His grace.” So which is it? Is it the evidence–as she previously said–or is it grace, as she just finished up her post with? It can’t be both. Paul explains:
“And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” (Romans 11:6)
Why would I reference this verse? Because evidence is created through works–or gifts. I’m not going to go over gifts in this devotional (you can search my past devotionals to find more on that subject). But even when we express our gifts, this only happens organically by way of expressing Christ without effort.
Anyway, back to the matter at hand: evidence of faith by works.
Another verse might come to mind, from the book of James:
“So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:17)
Now, in context, James is writing to his unbelieving Jewish friends. Anytime the Old Testament is mentioned as “ground to stand on” the Jews are in focus–not us stinky Gentiles. This passage is a plea for them to place their faith in Christ–in full. By using the examples of two separate people who expressed a one-time action of faith–Rahab and Abraham–Jesus’ brother builds his case for expressing faith in Christ through action.
The readers of this letter were bent on believing their Scripture, so James gives them two examples of people from their Scripture who had expressed their faith through one-time actions. It wasn’t the actions in themselves that justified their faith but the faith behind their single action.
The truth is, Rahab, who was a non-Jew prostitute, believed God and helped out the Jewish spies. It wasn’t the action, but the faith behind it that mattered. James doesn’t say, “She was a fellow Israelite”–which she had to be if she wanted to be righteous by their Law. Nor does he say she stopped prostituting and lived a righteously behaved life. Instead, his focus was her one-time action backed up by faith–an action which would never have happened if she did not first believe God.
He then uses the example of Abraham offering Issac on an altar. Again, it wasn’t him placing his son on the platform that justified Abraham, but the faith behind it (see James 2:21-26). Abraham was already credited as righteous with God way before Issac was born, by faith alone (see Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:3).
Do you see it? Friend, it’s not our evidence or actions that save us but the faith from within them! Again, Rahab wasn’t even an Israelite–she was a Gentile–and this was before the New Covenant which was brought in by the Cross! Us Gentiles–all non-Jewish people–weren’t even allowed to follow God’s commandments! Therefore, she didn’t have the opportunity to be considered as righteous by obedience, yet she was used as an example of perfect faith!
This proves that mankind has always been justified with God by faith alone, even during the period of Mosaic Law (see Galatians 2:16,21). So yes, faith without works is dead–faith must be the bedrock of all authentic work! But even deeper, works without faith is dead.
This brings us to the conclusion that Once Saved Always Saved is true! Why? Because faith cannot be measured by evidence, and it is our one-time faith alone that saves us! How does a single moment of faith in Christ’s forgiveness save? Because it causes us to be birthed! It is faith that makes us reborn in our spirit, and our supernatural birth is what truly saves! (See John 1:12, 3:6-7).
Let’s look at it like this: If you have a baby and you’re holding it in the hospital, it’s swaddled and oh so cute. But the first thing you speak to your child is this, “I sure hope you live up to our family name. If you don’t, you’re no longer my baby. I’ll turn away from you and I might consider you being my baby again if you prove yourself. However, if your actions and attitudes aren’t just right, you’re going back into the womb and being turned into a sperm and an egg. I’ll undo your birth and I might re-do it if you straighten up. Then, if you keep falling short of who you really are, you will not exist anymore. You need to die to yourself each day so that you don’t die to me. Mess up too much? Ha! I’ll let you try to still be my child, but if you don’t repent and confess regularly–you’re definitely out. So you better stay in line and I might bless you and take care of you–but only if you have plenty of evidence of being in my family and give me 10% of your income.”
You’d be out of your mind. This is madness. Your child can never be unborn from you–no matter what they do. We can never be unborn from God no matter what we do–or don’t do! Birth is not contingent on actions and attitudes!
Yet this is exactly what happens when a Christian is made to think they must have evidence of being a child of God–of being saved once. Friends, this is not okay. We should be teaching believers who God has recreated them to be! We should be nourishing the built-in love inside them! We should be giving them confidence in their heaven-ready lineage and strong supernatural DNA structure! We should be treating them according to who they really are, not by how they always act!
If you’re still not convinced that Once Saved Always Saved is the same as Once Born Always Born, here’s some biblical truths to help build up your blessed assurance even more:
- The New Covenant is based on a promise between the Father and Son–not you. You are simply a beneficiary to that will by faith. According to the Old Covenant there was a big problem: the fault of the people (see Hebrews 8:8). What was their fault? Their inability to keep their promise to God. When Moses gave the Law, the Israelites said, “We will do all of it!” (See Exodus 19:8). Yet before the “ink was even dry”–or the stone tablets cooled off–the people were already breaking the very first commandment. There was nothing wrong with the Old Covenant in itself–it’s actually perfect (see Romans 7:7). Like today’s works-focused Christians who think they are “doing all of it”–which is required in the Covenant–the issue was Israel’s inability to live up to their end of the bargain: follow 613 laws–perfectly (see Galatians 3:10, James 2:10). Because they couldn’t, they were forced to sacrifice their best animals once a year to remind them of how badly they kept breaking their promises–or “sinning” (see Hebrews 10:3-4). So God made a new Covenant with Himself–the Father and the Son–rather than with the people! Israel was cut out of the equation! We Gentiles were never in the equation! (See Colossians 3:11, Galatians 3:28). Perfect blood is required to create a Covenant with God, so Christ shed His blood at the Cross (see Hebrews 9:15). When this happened, the Old Covenant became obsolete (see Hebrews 8:13)–there was no further need for it for all who believed in Jesus. So, 613 commandments given by Moses–which ten of those commandments were the Ten Commandments–were now as a pay-phone or floppy disk for Spirit-filled people (see 2 Corinthians 3). The Law was fulfilled in Christ and now righteousness came by faith to all who would believe! (See Romans Romans 5:1, 10:4). The New Covenant made a new way for us to simply inherit God’s own righteousness by grace through faith alone! This faith causes us to be supernaturally born into God’s own family! We have become beneficiaries rather than promise keepers! (See 2 Corinthians 5:21, Ephesians 1:5, 2:8-9, John 3:16-18, Hebrews 6:13-19).
- The only way a Christian can lose their salvation is if Jesus dies again. Since it’s only blood that forgives us–and our one-time faith in that perfect blood (see Hebrews 9:22, 10:10)–we never have to worry. As long as Jesus stays alive, we stay alive! (See Hebrews 7:25, John 14:19, Colossians 3:4). Christ isn’t dying in heaven again and again for each sin we commit, “It is finished!” were His dying words for a reason! (See John 19:30). The author of Hebrews tells us Jesus isn’t working to keep us forgiven either, He’s resting (see Hebrews 1:3). He presented His blood once (see Hebrews 9:12). His final sacrifice at the Cross–to bring in the New Covenant–believe it or not it actually worked! Sure, just like the Israelites, we think we are “doing our part” but that’s foolish talk. Death is required for every sin–not behavior and attitude repentance–and Jesus already died! (See Romans 6:23, 2 Corinthians 5:21). So since we have inherited Christ’s own righteousness by faith, our job is to simply learn more about who we are–from His Spirit within our spirit–and then be ourselves! (See 1 Corinthians 6:17, Colossians 3:3, Romans 12:2, Philippians 1:6, John 14:16,26, Galatians 5:22-23).
- Hebrews 10:26 is not written to Christians. This is a go-to verse for the grace-confused people. Like the first terrible promise keepers, we can easily start to view a single verse legalistically while missing the big picture of faith. Hebrews 10:26 states, “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left”–and yes, this is true–FOR THE JEWS WHO WERE SACRIFICING ANIMALS TO GET FORGIVENESS. The author is writing to the unbelieving Jews in this part of his message, hence the title, Hebrews. They heard the gospel from the best teachers! But still, they wanted to keep getting forgiveness once a year from animal blood on the Day of Atonement which was presented to God by the levitical priests at the temple. They heard about Jesus in great detail–they had knowledge of the truth–but did not believe. Read all around it and you’ll see the context as the author reiterates the true punishment for those who broke Moses’ Law–and now, for those who trample on faith in the Messiah alone. Like their ancestors who wouldn’t enter the promised land to find rest, these Hebrew people wouldn’t enter the promised rest of believing in Jesus (see Hebrews 4:11). If this part of the letter was written to Christians, then Jesus would need to die again–for each sin we commit. THAT AIN’T HAPPENING. This is not a license to sin, as the person who struggles with self-righteousness will spout. We don’t need a license. We all sin plenty without one and God does not grade on a curve. He requires spiritual perfection! (See Matthew 5:48, John 3:6-7,16-17). Even more, all Christians sin deliberately–a lot. If we say we don’t, then we’re lying, therefore compounding our sinful actions and attitudes with lies. Just get over it. You’re forgiven. If you sin, stop. But stopping won’t make you any more forgiven than you already are. It will just cause you to walk out who you already are–a holy saint.
- Matthew 7:21 is not written to Christians. In this passage, those who have a tendency of legalanity will quote something Jesus said in order to create fear in others–or to make their own religious works the foundation of their faith: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father.” In context, Jesus is rebuking the religious hypocrites as they bragged on their miracles performed and spiritual gifts used, to prove they know God. But–in John 6:40, Jesus said that His Father’s will is to believe in His Son, which they did not. These Israelites were being informed that their amazing works won’t be worth anything when they stand before God–if that’s what they want to go with rather than knowing Him. Just look: “And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness’” (Matthew 7:23). Two things: 1. Jesus never knew them. This is not a Christian who lost their salvation for lack of works, but a person who looked to their works for salvation and not faith in Christ. 2. They were being held to the standard of the Law, that’s why they practiced–as Christ said, “lawlessness”–rather than believe in Him alone! What law could cause a person to practice lawlessness, in context? The only Law the Jews had–Moses’! 613 commandments in which we are dead to as believers in Christ! (See Romans 7:4, 10:4, Galatians 2:19).
So today, my friends, know this: Once Saved Always Saved is the truth! We don’t have the ability to unsave ourselves–to unborn ourselves! If we could, then each time we sinned, Jesus would have to go back in time, climb back on the Cross, take Himself down, become a baby, go back into Mary, go back into heaven, then re-do His birth, life, death, and resurrection all over again! Our incorrect choices and thoughts are not more powerful than His decision to forgive us once and for all time! We cannot maintain our heavenly lineage nor improve it, just the same as we cannot maintain our human lineage nor improve it! We are born! Birth is final! We are children of God who are forever saved into eternity!
A prayer for you: Dad, thank you for teaching me that I’m a child of yours who’s been born into your family for good. Paul told us in Romans 8, we have the right to call you “Abba” which means “Daddy.” My, what an honor! Thank you for sending Jesus here to give us this gift of free righteousness! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. So many of them have been lied to about who they are as a new creation in Christ. Please begin to reveal the truth of Scripture about what you’ve done to them through their faith in Jesus! I pray that you open up the eyes of their mind to match the eyes of their heart, where you live. In Jesus’ name I pray, give them confidence, Dad. Teach them to never be afraid. Amen.
This devotional is from The Christian Identity, Volume 1. Get your copy here!