Article by Mark Alexander
Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you” (Matthew 24:3-4).
In other words what the Lord Jesus was saying, that one of the first signs to recognize that we are in the last days, would be deception (contrary to sound doctrine) that would be hitting the walls of the church.
Apostle Paul ratified the same in 2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers.
So how important is it today for you and me (followers of Christ) to have ‘Sound Doctrine’?The Lord Jesus said that one of the first sign of the last days would be deceptions (contrary to sound doctrine) that would be hitting the walls of the church.
So how important is it today for us believers and followers of Christ to have sound Doctrine?
1Timothy 4:16 warns us “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” Here we see two principles from that one verse. Firstly the Word of God is cautioning a believer that he needs to hold fast to sound doctrine till the end. Secondly, that it’s only in continuing in the right doctrine, can we save ourselves and others. From where? From obviously Hell fire! In other words he meant, drifting away from sound doctrine to a false doctrine can be at the cost of our very souls being lost.
Ephesians 4:14-15 says ‘That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ’.
Many of these doctrines are bought into by millions of people and the end result is if they live these out in their lives, will be people being lost. One of the major denominational doctrines in question ‘Is once saved always saved’? Many genuine Christians also are sitting on the fence of this Doctrine as I was for a long time. But unlike many other doctrines which you can pass it by, this one can cost your soul. As Jeremiah 37:17 says ‘Is there a word from the Lord on this’ or as Paul say in Romans 4:3 ‘For what does scripture say’ about this.
The people who hold on to the doctrine of ‘Once Saved always Saved’ (OSAS) say, that the believer may be punished by God in this world for his sin committed, but he will still go to heaven when he dies. All he needs to do is “accept Christ as his personal Saviour” once, and nothing else matters–he will be saved from going to hell fire. They maintain that a believer did nothing to merit salvation, and so he can do nothing to demerit it.
Today many Christians world over believe, teach and preach that once a believer has “accepted Christ as his Lord and Saviour”, he is saved and cannot lose his salvation, no matter what he does. He can sin and sin seriously, but he will not lose his salvation. If that being true, then Apostle Peter (and so the Bible too) was in great error, when he urged believers (after they are saved), to walk in holiness in the fear of God warning that our God is not an Partial God as we read in 1Peter 1:13-17. Particularly verse 17 which says: ‘And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear’.
They who believe in OSAS, take cover under few scriptures and one of them is, Romans 8:1 ‘There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus’. They fail to realize that the KJV and the NKJV along with the original tongue does not stop there, but that verse continues to go on to say ‘Who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit’ thereby qualifying which Christians would not be condemned. But even taking the first part of that verse if they have other versions which Satan has craftily stolen from the other versions, (the first part) itself says check if you are ‘IN Christ’ in other words you can be ‘out of Christ’. That is you can choose not to abide and walk to the promptings of your flesh and be cut of as withered branches (after being grafted in to the Vine tree) and thrown into hell fire as Christ categorically told His disciples and followers, as we read in John 15:1-6.
A well-known Bible Teacher and a man of God, was recently asked in an interview of what he believes about OSAS. He said that this doctrine is usually picked up by those who have been listening to man and there is no indication in the Bible that gives one this impression. In fact he said in the same interview, that many prisoners who are saved in their prison cells and who have only their bible to read come out on the other side of this doctrine.
This doctrine is creating a lot of foolish virgins (who once were saved). As Christ in His parable of Foolish Virgins, I believe, was really bringing our attention to them who once were witnessing Christians (Represented by the Lamps Lit) and having the Holy Spirit in them (Represented by the Oil) and now were looking forward to Christ second advent (the Bridegrooms return) all great ingredients for a Christian to have, but eventually their faith and fire for the Lord got contaminated by this this misplaced assurance of their salvation leaving them with their lamps going dry, as a result of their spiritual complacency.
Why should Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:1-12 give saved Christians the example of the Israelites who came out of Egypt, saying ‘these things happened as examples for us’ reminding us that they who were baptised in the Red sea (denoting our Water Baptism), ate the Spiritual food manna (denoting our Bible we read), drank from the Spiritual Rock that was Christ, and then scripture says: nevertheless with most of them God was not well-pleased. Was it to confuse the Church of their assured salvation? Surely not, but all he was saying was that God’s promise (to bring them to Cannan) did not change but the people failed to keep their part of the covenant of denying ungodliness and living righteously. Paul ends that examples saying as a warning to us; warning against what?
Yes on one hand we need to acknowledge that there is nothing we (the sinner) could have done to come out of our sins (in Egypt) where we were steeped under the burden of sin and its cravings, but for the pure Grace of God that pulled us out and saved us from Egypt. But we also need to realize that Cannan is not a step away from Egypt. It’s his new faith which calls for action on the part of the believer as he walks, (I repeat ‘he walks in Faith’) towards his spiritual Caanan. Remember that to walk or not to walk, (Christ said made it very clear in Luke 9:23-24) is an everyday choice as Christ followers.
There is indeed a promise from God of Eternal Life to each of us (the saved believer) but the Word of God ratifies a condition that this is true ‘IF ONLY’ we the saved believer continue to abide until the end, in what we had heard from the beginning as we read in 1 John 2:24-25. So where did he get that doctrine from? You see John was only retreating what he heard from his Master and Lord Christ Jesus who said He was the Vine Tree and we who are saved have become His branches. Christ our master also made it very clear that its only in continuing to abide in the Vine (His teachings) that we can bear fruit, lest we wither as dry branches and be cut off and thrown into fire (John 15:1-6).
We see Apostle Paul again endorses the same words of his Master warning us Christian Gentile believers “19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.”20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.See then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you too will be cut off“ (Romans 11:19-22).
We often forget the very essence and purpose of being saved from our sins (and not to go back to it as 2 Peter compares it with a Dog returning to its vomit) for that was the chief purpose of Christ coming – Matthew 1:21 and 1John 3:5. After being saved God calls us to walk in holiness and in His ‘good works’ which He has planned for us to walk in beforehand. It’s funny to see many preachers share from Ephesians 2:8-9 at length of the grace of God, but seldom if not never going on the explain Ephesians 2:10 which reads that now that you are saved, guess what, you have a new set of works to do which the Bible calls ‘good works’ that God has prepared for you and me to walk in His sovereign plan even before we were even saved. Ephesians 2:10 reads ‘For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them’. The choice of walking or not walking in those preordained ‘good works’ is ours. It is making that choice to walk in God’s will daily as we pick up our cross, which makes the world of a difference; of life and death on Judgement Day, the consequences of which Christ warned would be as in Matthew 7:21 with many crying out Lord! Lord!
Apostle Peter says: 20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them (2 Pet. 2:20-21). Peter says they went back to their sins, indicating they once had repented and were saved from their sins, but had gone back to the broad way of the former things that lured them in the world.
The Hebrew writer writes 4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame (Hebrews. 6:4-6).
In Hebrews 10:26-29 we further read 26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
Why should James write to the church in James 5:19-20 says “If any among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turned a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death“ If once saved is always saved, then why the cautioning that a once saved believer from wandering away from the truth back into sin; unless there is a possibility? And note what the Bible says: will save a soul from death meaning he can lose his soul to death, if he wanders from the Truth (and surely it’s talking about ‘eternal death’ for all die natural deaths).
The Devil is always there like a roaring lion (for he is not yet put into the bottomless pit) to shift the truth very slightly, be it with Eve or us the Bride of Christ. He has a way to get our attention to half the truth by saying – Did God really say that you shall not eat of any tree of the garden. Very similarly the Devil (our old foe) has come to the Bride of Christ with the same snare and guess what? With the very same phrase, which he came to Eve with, ‘You will surely not die’ we who now like the second Eve (the bride of Christ) of the Second Adam (Christ Jesus) are being ensnared again with the very same snare – Once you are saved you will surely not die! Think about it, will Satan waste his time with us if he knew that all born again believers are eventually heaven bond.
Galatian 6:8-9 “For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart”. In this passage, we see the sowing and reaping is the onus of the new saved believer and the word “if”, has consequences, which contradicts the notion of “once saved, always saved”. My Friend how much clearer can those above scriptures get, that once saved is definitely not always saved and is indeed a doctrine of demons. If anyone believes otherwise after reading all those scriptures, then either there is great hypocrisy in their attitude or are they questioning that there is hypocrisy in God’s Word.
In Matthew 5:22,28, Christ Jesus warned His disciples that we would be guilty of hell fire if we call our brother ‘You Fool’ and warns again ‘If we look at a woman lustfully we have already committed adultery in the heart’ further In Matthew 6:15, Jesus warned, “If you do not forgive others, neither will your heavenly Father forgive you your transgressions”. Doesn’t all this apply to “born-again Christians” for there are no footnotes in my Bible and I am sure neither in yours, that says ‘exceptions for a born again believer’.
It really pains me to see today, (and I want you to pick it next time too) that many modern day preachers, unfortunately after preaching a fiery message, convicting the believers using various scriptures from the Epistle writers warnings to the church, water down the whole message in the end, as if literally throwing water on their fiery message, by ending saying ‘That’s why you need to come to the cross of Calvary and accept Christ as your Lord and Saviour by inviting Him into your heart’ indirectly saying this whole message with its warnings was for ones who are not yet born again in the church and the rest can breathe a sigh of relief who know they once had a born again experience. Hope you are getting what I mean! How Satan uses these preachers to slightly deflect the truth of God’s Word. That is what Jeremiah prophesied in Jeremiah 48:10, of taking out the sword from its case (which is the Word of God which is a two edged sword) and keeping it back into the case, without shedding blood. The word of God says in the same Jeremiah 48:10 that cursed is that man for doing the Lord’s work negligently.
Today unfortunately as prophesied many broad way preachers preach a man centred gospel, what their itching ears want to hear. These false preachers message focuses around health, wealth and happiness and all about enjoying everyday life. However this Gospel is not found in the Bible 1 Corinthians 15:19 says ‘If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.’ Yes indeed the Bible confirms a gospel as in 2 Timothy 3:10-13 10 But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.
Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:1-4 said that these false teachers bring a different Gospel, talking about a different Christ and a different Spirit that is not found in the bible. They fail to echo the spirit of the Epistle writers to the early church, on things like spiritual growth, reproving, correcting and training in righteousness with many exhortations. The temptation to preach a man centred gospel has always been there, even from Paul’s time, which we should flee from preaching or hearing such preachers. Paul made it clear to the saints of God, that he dared not preach to them a broad road man pleasing messages, in knowing he cannot serve two masters, as we read in Galatians1:6-12; 1 Thessalonians 2:1-6; Colossians 2:4-8.
Notice in knowing all this Paul addressed obedient believes to pull up their socks “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12). Why did Paul give that warning? Because he himself confessed the same saying: “I buffet my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (adokimos–meaning “rejected” or “reprobate). In this passage, we again don’t see any assurance of salvation and a believer who is saved from his past sinful life (Egypt) purely by the grace of God is called to work his way to get to his Eternal Redemption (spiritual Cannan). I should say that I am really intrigued to stop here and ask those who have believed in OASA what Bibles are they reading to gather this attitude.
He who endures to the end shall be saved
In Matthew 10:22-32 and again in Matthew 24:13, we see the Lord Jesus made it crystal clear when He said “He who endures to the end shall be saved” giving no indication that ‘Once saved is always saved’.
In Revelation 2:10 the Lord again repeats: “Remain faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life”.
So let me stop here and ask ourselves; what does hold fast, endure till the end, remain faithful, fight the good fight, persevere, and so on, all mean if we are anyways getting the crown of life? If all the warnings by Christ our Lord and the Epistle writers to the Church had no consequences it would make God’s words and the Bible hypocritical.
Christ our Lord in the first three passages in the book of Revelation was giving a prophetic message to the last day’s church that – “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” That means the one who does not overcome will taste the second death and there is no ambiguity in that. Now surely you are not going to tell me that the Lord was talking about a believer in the church who truly did not have a born again experience. We all obviously know that, such a person will in any case taste the second death. Isn’t it evident that Christ is giving a great revelation for us to make no mistake that this deception ‘Once saved always saved’ is indeed a great deception sweeping the last days church and he who has an ear let him hear this.
So let me ask you, dear reader and beloved of Christ, what do you believe and endorse in the light of all what you just read above? Would it still be your denominational doctrine? Sadly many people have their loyalties to their institutions or pastors belief rather than what is there in the Word of God. The question that now lies is, will you stand in this new truth bold and unashamed (without any peer pressure) for the things of God always requires boldness to stand up for. Otherwise Christ in His foreknowledge wouldn’t have given this warning to as in Mark 8:38 “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
May I share what I believe and endorse – In the light of the Word of God, in all that we read and more, I realise that I need to give my best shot every day as I work out on this precious inheritance of such a great salvation entrusted to me by a loving but holy God, with fear and trembling, knowing that I worship an impartial Holy God, who does not change like shifting shadows. Lest after sharing all this with you I myself may not be disqualified.
In ending I leave you to ponder on the words below of our great Prophet, Lord and King and seek Him of the great revelation of those words below. Among whom was Christ giving those Statistics of ‘Many and Few’? Was he talking about an obvious statistics of born again believers and the world? Or was He giving a prophetic statistics of many born again believers who are going to turn their backs on the truth after listening to the broad way preachers.
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life,and there are few who find it. — (Matthew 7:13-14)