Be Very Alert! – By Val Hollard (NZ)
On Watch at the Door. No 210, February 2, 2016
ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED? (OSAS)
From the Rapture Ready website: “How do I know I’m saved?”
“If you make a confession of faith with your mouth (make a public statement) that you believe Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour, and genuinely repent of your sins the Word of God assures us that we are saved. Salvation in Christ is a deliberate decision to surrender your will to the guidance of the Holy Spirit who will lead you to begin a new life in Christ that reflects the new you. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God (1 John 4:15).”
Many teach eternal security, that is, after you have made your initial declaration of faith, you are saved and your position with Christ cannot be changed (OSAS). I was interested to read about the contemporaries Billy Graham and Charles Templeton. They were evangelists who rose to fame in the 1940s and early in their careers were close friends. Many thought that Templeton would far outstrip Graham as an evangelist. However, he ended up becoming an atheist and died in 2001, shortly after writing a ‘heart-breaking’ book called Farewell to God.
One popular and well-known TV preacher gave a sermon on their life-stories. He used it as a reminder that “we are expected to run the race with endurance the race that has been set before us.” Then in his next breath, this pastor said that while Templeton did not finish the race, he still has a place in God’s kingdom. This is the teaching of OSAS. Why run the race if we are already assured of getting there?
In Philippians 3, the apostle Paul himself did not take his future salvation for granted, but somehow hoped to “attain to the resurrection from the dead.” He did not think that he had already attained all this, but rather saw the need to press on. Paul always stressed the need for endurance and to make sure we win the race set before us. There is never any suggestion that once you have been saved, you are certain to reach the goal. A race involves running to the end, not standing still.
Many use Philippians 1:6 to claim the certainty of their salvation. “…He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” But then fail to take notice of Philippians 2:12-13 which tells us to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and act according to His good purpose.” God can only work in a life fully submitted to Him.
When we commit our lives to Christ, we begin the process of salvation and it is not complete and will never be until we find ourselves with Jesus. In the meantime, we have to work it out “with fear and trembling,” at the same time allowing God to work out His plans for us in our lives. There is no standing still. If you are not going forwards you are going backwards. David Pawson points out that anyone who has studied the Bible without anyone’s help comes to the conclusion that they will have to ‘keep it up’ if they are to finally reach heaven. Those who are taught OSAS by others come to the Bible expecting to find it there and pick on selected verses. However there is as balance in Scripture. Verses which seem to teach OSAS are counterbalanced by those that warn about falling away.
Salvation is a continuing process and we can only achieve it as long as we stay in Christ. A clear warning comes from Jesus’ description of the vine and the branches in John 15. Jesus is the vine and His Father is the gardener. The branches (believers) must remain in Jesus, the vine, so they can bear fruit. Those who don’t remain in Jesus are like a branch that is thrown into the fire and burned. These are the sort of words that are used to describe hell. It is important that we remain in Jesus. Only if we remain in Him, will He remain in us. If we do this, He will never let us go, nor will the Father let us go. (John 10:27-30) However there is the possibility of separating ourselves from the vine and ending up in hell. Judas Iscariot is an example of someone who did not remain in Jesus. In Jesus’ famous prayer on the last night, He freely admitted that He had lost one given to Him by the Father. (John 17)
In 2 Peter 1 there are instructions on how to make one’s calling and election sure. There is a list of things to achieve which, if an effort is made, will enable the believer to be effective and productive. The list includes perseverance and knowledge. If you don’t follow these instructions, you may fall. You can’t fall away from something you never had in the first place.
“Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
Jesus gives another severe warning about not bearing fruit in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25. Those who remain static and do not use the talents God has given them once they are saved will be thrown outside, “into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” This is definitely not a nice outcome for someone who believes that walking up the aisle was all they needed to do. God will not settle for anything less than an interest bearer.
The parable of the 10 virgins in Matthew 25 warns about not keeping oil in one’s lamp. The virgins who were ready with oil in their lamps went with the bridegroom when he came. The others were expecting to go to, but they were late and found the door shut on them. This should warn all Christians to be ready all the time. There are many sitting in churches who fall into this excluded category, believing they are OSAS, but don’t have a drop of oil in their lamps. There are even many who never go to church now but once committed their lives to Christ who believe they are saved.
The Holy Spirit is described as a ‘seal’ and a ‘deposit’ and many consider this a guarantee of salvation. However, there are many seals in the Bible which are not permanent. But the real question is whether the Holy Spirit can be taken away or not. We are never told that the seal is permanent or that a deposit is a guarantee that the deal is final. Seals can be broken. A deposit is only a guarantee if you keep to your part of the deal.
So will Templeton end up in heaven? According to the parable of the vine and the branches, Templeton detached himself from the vine and bore no lasting fruit. He never persevered and worked out his salvation “with fear and trembling.” He appeared to be a committed atheist when he died.
There are many in the church who could easily receive a “double whammy.” If they believe in a pre-tribulational Rapture, they may very well find themselves in the last seven years and faced with the Antichrist. And then when the Rapture does eventually occur before God pours out His wrath at the start of the Day of the Lord, if they have not persevered and borne fruit they will be locked out from that too.
We must not take our salvation for granted but work it out “with fear and trembling.” There is a particular danger of backsliding in the last days. Those who are in Christ are overcomers and are living out what they believe. These people can know whether or not they are saved and their names are in the Book of Life. If you aren’t sure, it is time to do something about it before it is too late.
THE NUCLEAR DEAL
Sanctions have now been lifted on Iran as a result of the nuclear deal. This means the unlocking of access to what could be well over $100 billion. Iran’s President Rouhani says that this is “glorious victory” for the “patient nation of Iran.” Iran will now have more money to pursue terrorism. This would include more support for Hezbollah on the border with Israel, and for Iran’s other proxies in Gaza (Hamas), Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere, as well as for Syria’s Assad regime. They will all be provided with new and modern and much more dangerous weaponry. US Secretary of State John Kerry has a different view. He says that both the world and the Middle East were now safer thanks to the implementation of the nuclear deal.
Of great concern is that Iran will now start to legitimize its illicit nuclear program. Iran has already violated mandatory UN Security Council resolutions by conducting prohibited ballistic missile tests. Do not forget that Shia Islam needs a horrendous war to bring back their Mahdi, the 12th Imam. Iran is now free to become a significantly more dangerous regional power.
Another major effect of the sanctions being lifted is that Iran can now flood the world with more oil. In Saudi Arabia shares have fallen in fears of an even greater global oil glut and global oil prices have dropped. Wall Street firms helped bankroll the North American energy boom which contributed to the world oil glut. Oil prices tumbled. Now with even more oil on the market, banks are cringing, dozens of oil companies are going bankrupt, and thousands are losing their jobs.
Taharrush is the Arabic word for the phenomenon whereby women are encircled by groups of men and sexually harassed, assaulted, groped and raped. This is what happened in Cologne and in other cities in Germany and elsewhere on New Year’s Eve and also at a party held later for immigrants in Bonn. Many women have now armed themselves with pepper spray. Others are too scared to go out on the streets alone. In Germany there is a rush to acquire arms for self-defence.
At a time when Germany has reported that they have lost track of 600,000 asylum seekers, Europol has warned that ISIS has set up secret training camps across Europe to prepare fighters to carry out “special forces style” attacks in the UK and in other EU countries.
It has been revealed that Obama is interested in the position of Secretary-General of the UN when Ban Ki-Moon’s term expires at the end of the year. Netanyahu is drumming up friendly Arab support to try and make certain this does not happen.
In January, Pope Francis released a new video in which he clearly expressed his belief that all of the major religions are different paths to the same God. He also believes that non-believers would be forgiven by God if they followed their consciences. Any idea of a relationship with Jesus Christ has been abandoned.
According to Open Doors USA, 2015 was the most violent year in modern history for persecution of Christians. Islamic extremism is the most common reason for the persecution. Over 7,000 Christians were killed for their faith last year, a rise of almost 3,000 from the previous year.
An event on October 31 is to start a whole year of events marking the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis will lead the “common worship service” along with two Lutheran leaders at the Lund cathedral in Sweden. This is another big move by Francis to bring back the “separated brethren” and is sure to be supported by many evangelicals, including people like Rick Warren, who are seeking unity with Catholics.
An American study on porn addiction has revealed that over half of the pastors and youth pastors who participated in the study said they had either struggled with porn in the past or were currently struggling with it. “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality.” These people will not inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. (Eph 5:3-5)
Prosperity preachers Kenneth Copeland and Jesse Duplantis claim that one reason they need to fly in private luxury jets is so that they won’t have to fly with demons!
Discernment is not a matter of simply telling the difference between what is right and wrong; rather, it is the difference between right and almost right. – C.H. Spurgeon
Once Saved Always Saved? David Pawson
Once Saved Always Saved. Jacob Prasch
Why a fear of Islam and Muslims is perfectly sane and rational. Watch the short video.
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