Once Saved Always Saved? … Yes!

7312544802_bea1d0d246_zWhen I was a child I spent a lot of time in pentecostal churches. We were independent baptists by denomination but when we moved to Florida we didn’t have a home church so my parents attended an Assembly of God church with some friends of ours. We stayed in the assembly most of my adolescent years, which are some of the most impressionable years of a boys life. I grew quite fond of the Assemblies of God and the pentecostal movement as a whole. One reason I think I was so fond of Pentecostal churches was the spiritual lives of its members. In all the denominations I have ever attended, and I have been to most, I would pick the average pentecostal Christian over any other when it comes to commitment to the faith and living holy lives. I truly believe that you can find some of the most God fearing, kingdom focused Christians in pentecostal churches and at the end of the day, the gospel is really all that matters. God does not care at all about the separation of Christians by denomination. As a matter of fact he views it much like divorce. It is not right but due to the sinful nature of man, conflicts in beliefs are inevitable so he made a way for it.  However, after being born into the baptist denomination then switching to an assembly of God church I noticed some conflicts of doctrine even as a child. One of the most disturbing doctrines to me that the pentecostal church holds is the idea that you can lose your salvation.

If you visit a Pentecostal church more than once or twice your will undoubtedly hear the term once saved always saved and always in a negative light. Almost all if not all charismatic Christians believe that you can indeed lose you salvation. Not only that but you can lose it several times and just ask for forgiveness and get it right back. This false doctrine is extremely damaging because it is a very foundational area of doctrine and will skew your entire view on scripture causing confusion in many areas of the bible. I have seen the evidence of this more than a few times. The fact that you have control over whether you can lose and regain your salvation means that man has to work to earn or keep his salvation. We all know that salvation is by grace not works. These very basic doctrines are hard to explain if you believe your works determine whether or not you remain saved. I am not sure where this doctrine originated from or when it crept into the church but I know that it is a slick tongued lie of the devil and has confused many.

The bible negates this doctrine throughout the whole of scripture but there are very few instances in the word where you can even argue the validity of such a claim. The Bible states that if it were possible after having tasting the good gift of the Holy Spirit for one to fall away it would be impossible to restore them in repentance because it would be putting the cross of Christ to shame. To say you can lose your salvation is actually borderline blasphemy because it is effectively denying the power of the cross and putting that power in the ability of man. You cannot earn your salvation. You cannot meet the standard God requires for you to enter the kingdom of heaven. Paul said for by the law no one will be saved. It is impossible for man to keep the law of God. Therefore we need a savior. We don’t just need a savior to wipe the sins from our lives before we got saved or after we got saved but before we got second saved or third or fourth. We need a savior for the sin we have and will commit for our entire sinful human lives. If you are truly saved by grace, every sin that you have committed since you were born until the day you die was nailed to the Cross of Calvary 2000 years ago.

In almost every instance I have heard this doctrine referenced it was in response to a backslidened condition or failure to produce any fruit evident of a blood bought believer. It answers the question, how can he _________ if he is a Christian. Or how can one live like ____________ if he is born again? The answer is he can’t or he won’t if he is born again. Jesus said “all that the Father gives me will come to me and I will in no wise cast them out.” Again he said “I will lose none of what the father gives me but I will raise them up on the last day.” The parable of the sower answers this question about professing Christians and the effects of the gospel on man better than this false view of scripture ever could. There is only one redeemed soil and it is the good soil in which the word takes root and multiplies. All other examples point to false or unregenerate professors of faith. It is not possible to lose salvation once you have it. It is however, a possibility that if people live apart from God after being saved they never received true salvation to start with. It is important for us to test all doctrine against the Word of God and continue in prayer to ensure we are not taken by false teaching. If it can happen to pentecostal Christians, it can most certainly happen to us.