Once saved always saved?
The question is much larger than it used to be back in the 1970′s when I first met Jesus. Back then the question meant ‘Can you lose your salvation?’.
Today however, with the popularity of Universalism (a theology that hell is temporary and all people will ultimately end up in heaven), and grace taken to an extreme that says there is so much ‘no condemnation’ that you can live in various sins and it doesn’t matter because you’ll still end up in heaven, the question is more involved, thus this multi-part series.
The core of Universalism is often expressed in the following question: How can a God of love keep a person in hell for eternity for a mere 20, 50 or 100 years of life on earth?
The flaw in that logic is revealed by this question: How can a God of love keep people in heaven for eternity for a mere 20, 50, or 100 years of life on earth?
For if one is true then the other is, otherwise the logic is flawed from the start. But rather than get into the particulars now…
Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start…
Let me make this statement and give you time to think about it: If all that happened by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was that your sins were forgiven, you’d still go to hell.
I’ll put it another way: Receiving the forgiveness of your sins by believing Jesus is Lord, isn’t what gets you into heaven.
Obviously my point here is to get you to think about what you believe and why. Yet both statements are correct.
So what DOES get you into heaven?
You must be born of the Spirit to get into heaven. So said Jesus to Nicodemus in John 3: 5-8. “You must be born of the Spirit…to enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross paid for the sin of the world, which then allowed the Holy Spirit to be able to recreate the human spirit – the born again experience.
You won’t find a single person in heaven who’s spirit wasn’t recreated by the Holy Spirit. IF it were possible to only have your sins forgiven and still go to heaven, it would mean people who’s spirits are ‘of their father the devil’ are in heaven…(even if they don’t want to be there)
Your ticket to heaven is your recreated spirit, not just the fact you are forgiven.
It IS all about the human spirit
I’ll have to destroy a Middle Ages Roman Catholic doctrine here with the Word of God folks, but here it is: Human beings are not born spiritually ‘dead’. We are conceived and born ‘spiritually alive’.
In other words, babies aren’t born with Satan’s nature, nor with dead spirits with the only reason a baby that dies goes to heaven is they aren’t accountable…no, they go to heaven because their spirits are right with God.
God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all – I John 1:5
Shall we not be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? – Hebrews 12:9
Thus says the Lord…who forms the spirit of man within him – Zechariah 12:1
The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty has given me life – Job 33:4
You send your Spirit, and they are created – Psalm 104:30
Of the Rock that gave me birth you have forgotten, and have forgotten the God that formed you – Deut 33:4
Do not err my beloved brethren; Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, of whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning (of his nature & character) – James 1:16-17
Our heavenly Father is light, love, and life. He cannot produce anything but life, and as seen above, creates the human spirit alive, able to function in the Spirit realm and with Him. This is why Adam and Eve were able to walk with the Lord in the garden long before they chose from which tree to eat.
They were created alive to God, alive spiritually but not sealed by the Holy Spirit. Every baby conceived is created just as our father Adam was, alive to God, having not yet chosen which ‘tree’ to eat from.
What’s loosed in earth is loosed in heaven, so no matter how conception happened – loving parents, rape, accident, ‘surprise’ at age 42 – the act of conception on earth moves God from heaven to create a human spirit which is the spark of life at that moment of conception – and that little human spirit is alive to his/her creator from conception on. And He has love and provision for that child planned before earth ever was…
Think about it…
ONLY when Adam and Eve sinned did they realize they were naked. I ask, which group of people today are so innocent they don’t know they are naked? The answer obviously is babies up to little children, or the profoundly retarded. Why? Because their spirits are alive to God, as innocent as Adam and Eve were as adults in the Garden of Eden, having not yet reached an age they could knowingly choose which ‘tree’.
The difference of course is that Adam and Eve were more brilliant than Einstein, yet with the innocence we see in toddlers. Imagine that! This is why little children so often see angels and even the Lord – and then often lose that sensitivity as they get older and choose the wrong ‘tree’.
Paul said it like this of people who refused to belief in God, even from something as basic as creation: “Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor Him as God, nor give Him thanks, but they became futile in their imaginations and their foolish heart was darkened.” Romans 1:20
Their hearts were not darkened until after they recognized God and then refused to honor Him as God, then started thinking vain thoughts, and their spirit was darkened – they chose the wrong tree – they could have chosen to honor Him as God, and been sealed by the Holy Spirit, but chose otherwise and were darkened.
Paul gave his own life as an example of this process in Romans 7:7-12 where he talked about how when he was younger and learned the Mosaic Law, the Law taught him the knowledge of good and evil: “For I was alive (spiritually) without the law once; but when the commandment came sin became alive and I died (spiritually).” v9
This is what happens to us folks
Just like our father Adam, we are born alive to God, able to operate in the things of God but not having yet chosen life or death. Once we choose the knowledge of good and evil our hearts are darkened, and we must be born again to get into heaven – our spirits must be recreated by the Holy Spirit to get into heaven.
I realize in this limited space, measured out in weekly doses, that this is a broad brush stroke on this subject, but stay with me and allow me to build a picture from the Word on what it says.
What we know for sure thus far in this series is this; To think that just because Jesus took away the sin of the world, all will end up in heaven, is error. Jesus stated clearly a person’s spirit must be born again by the Spirit of God in order to get into heaven.
No where can we find in scripture that God will one day reach down into hell to force people who’s spirits were darkened (by their own choice) to be born anew by the Spirit of God and then transferred to heaven.
So maybe we should look at what scripture says of hell, and heaven for that matter…next week!