“For it pleased the Father that in [H]im should all the [F]ulness dwell; And having made peace through the [B]lood of [H]is cross, by [H]im to reconcile all things unto [H]imself; by [H]im, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and ememies in your mind buy wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled. In the [B]ody of [H]is [F]lesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in [H]is sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel…” (Colossians 1:19-23a.)
There is a very real danger in proclaiming “Once saved always saved” in the presence of a mixed multitude. A mixed multitude is groups of persons and in these groups there consists the Biblically literate men and women in Christ and are striving to become more Christ-like. Also present in this multitude are those not in Christ but falsley profess Him anyway and still those that are in Christ but have fallen away for whatever reason. Another group that might be present is the men and women that are in Christ but are not yet born again…some of these may be pretending to be born again.
Each person that represents (1) one of the above mentioned groups in our mixed multitude will hear something different when a preacher proclaims “Once saved always saved.”
The Biblically literate hear a doctrine that has Biblical basis but is being presented improperly. This doctrine is being preached in such a way that might lead a false believer or a back-slidden believer to the false assumption that they can continue in their wayward state without consequence. The person who is not in Christ may hear this proclamation and though s/he is not under any Spiritual conviction “will receive Christ” just to play it safe. The other persons present will hear it however they will hear it but it will not be sound.
Further danger is realized when the preacher that proclaimed “Once saved…” approaches a church attendee and questions his or her non-Christ-like life style and the attendee responds with “You’re right, Padre, you’re right I should be better.” However, this person never does better and one could be assured that it is due to their lost condition and that dangerous doctrine that was improperly taught and proclaimed over and over.
How should the eternal security be taught and proclaimed? This doctrine of eternal security should be, must be taught as Scripture presents it. We saw in our last article the words of our Lord, Who is eternal Truth, “He that endures until the end shall be saved.” We can cite other Scripture: “Your salvation is nearer than when you first believed,” “Your salvation draweth nigh.” as well as the text from above. These passages rightly teach the perseverance of the saints.
Before we write upon the doctrine of the persevering saint allow us to define, “Salvation.” Salvation is more than the forgiveness of one’s sins by God. The term, salvation includes the doctrines of Foreknowledge, election, the calling of God, justification and the predestination of the saint to become Christ-like and our coming glorification. Therefore salvation is both complete and continuing. Salvation is complete as God has determined it complete yet it is continuing as we continue to become more like Christ through the progessive and deepening sanctification of the Holy Spirit and our upcoming glorification which God states as past, “glorified” (Romans 8:30)
The doctrine of perseverance then is the saint continuing in salvation or working out one’s salvation with fear and trembling. This doctrine however, should not cause anxiety in the truly born again child of God for the child of God will continue in the faith grounded and settled and [shall] not be moved away from the hope of the gospel and s/he shall endure until the end. This doctrine should cause anxiety to the person that continues to live in sin after making a profession of faith and it should be a cause of anxiety for the back-slidden for often times very little separate the two in their lifestyles.
This doctrine of perseverance is an important tool in the minister’s tool box. It is to be used when he reproves or rebukes a professing saint. If the minister misapplies the “once saved always saved” the warning of perseverance is lost to him and impurity shall set in in the House of God.
The minister of God should hold high the standard of holiness that is a part and parcel of a person’s salvation. “Be ye holy for [God] is holy” should ever be upon his lips. The exhortation to faithfulness unto the Lord should ever be proclaimed from the pulpit. The minister of God should always be aware of his example of holy living and it should be taken with the utmost of seriousness. The minister of God must “Take heed unto [himself] and His walk…perpetual, unceasing walk with God. He must “live in the Spirit,” “walk in the Spirit,” “Be led of the Spirit,” “War in the Spirit,” and “Pray in the Spirit.” The minister of God must remember that he is part of the message he preaches. The minister, by his righteous life, should “condemn” the wicked around him as did Noah. The minister of God should encourage those that desire Christ-likeness.
Let us all be conscious of the things we say for people are listening. Let us all be certain that we are clear and correct upon that which we proclaim to be God’s Word lest we be false teaches, preachers, and prophets…God forbid.