Sunday, July 8, 2018

Once Saved, Always Saved?

Sometimes Christian denominations have different ways of talking about or describing salvation, so I will only talk about my thoughts. I was baptized Lutheran as a baby, and later as an adult in a Messianic Jewish congregation, and have also attended services at other churches, including Wesleyan, Episcopalian, Catholic, Methodist, and a few more. Non-denominational churches are a good fit for me. Though there is something in each that I love, that's Jesus. One kind of church I have not been to, but want to, is Orthodox. I have a photo of a Russian Orthodox church on my fridge. It's blue, white, and gold and surrounded by snow. I have a similar picture I post on my blog. 

To me, to be saved means changed, transformed, once was that, now is this, freed, forgiven, doesn't even smell like smoke. There was a definite Before and After when I got saved. I went forward at a church. I was that and now I am this. I struggle to find words to describe the purity I felt wash over me. Jesus is real. A real being. Meeting Him changed me internally.

Like many things in life, maybe it can best be expressed by Star Trek. In episode 23 of season 3, the original 1960's series, "All Our Yesterdays," Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, beam down to a planet whose sun is about to go supernova. They soon discover the inhabitants have safely escaped into the past. They meet a caretaker who wants to transform them with a machine called the Atavachron so they, too, can escape. But before any transforming can take place, Kirk goes one way and Spock and Bones go another. In the distant past of the planet's history, they discover that the people they meet have been transformed and cannot be changed back, and without transformation it is deadly for our heroes to stay where they are. With only seconds remaining they...well, I'll let you watch it.

The point is, once changed they cannot change back. I feel like that. It was a transformation for me. I am not the same. There is no back.

I think someone can reject the things of God or just simply not be interested in Him anymore, even no longer believe. But God is faithful. Even when we're not. Didn't He call us before we knew Him? 

Psalm 139:7-10
Where shall I go from your Spirit? 
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there! 
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning and 
dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 
even there your hand shall lead me, 
and your right hand shall hold me.

John 6:39
And this is the will of him who sent me, 
that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, 
but raise them up at the last day.

John 18:7-9
So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” 
And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 
 Jesus answered, 
“I told you that I am he. 
So, if you seek me, let these men go.” 
 This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: 
“Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.”

Romans 8:38
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, 
neither angels nor demons, 
neither the present nor the future, 
nor any powers, neither height nor depth, 
nor anything else in all creation, 
will be able to separate us from the love of God 
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

But this one is my favorite:

John 10:28
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, 
and no one will snatch them out of my hand.


I know, I know. 
Old, bearded, wise men of the ages have argued this. They studied. They read.  
Maybe they would disagree with ordinary me.  
They thought deep, important thoughts. 


But what do you think? 
 


49 comments:

  1. Once saved always saved. Jesus doesn't leave us. However it is us, who walk away from Jesus.

    Gods grace isn't cheap nor is it fire insurance to sin.

    I guess we will see in Heaven, whether or not those who accepted Jesus as little children, then fell away to do their own thing...are there.

    We'll see. It's a gamble I wouldn't want to make.

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    1. "It's a gamble I wouldn't want to make."

      SO true...

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  2. I think we are for ever changing but God is our constant, always there, no matter what, all forgiving. He is everywhere, or she,, this too is debate able!

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    1. Thanks, Laurie. It is good to remember He doesn't change.

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  3. Once saved, always saved. But even when we back-step God's Grace and Mercy are always there.

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    1. Thanks, Terri. I believe He pursues us.

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  4. Beautifully written. Once saved always saved through Jesus Christ. God is faithful and true to His word.

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  5. Once saved, always saved. He promises NEVER to leave us.

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  6. A priest I know, Fr Francis Maple, once said in a sermon:

    "I think of a life as a tree. If a tree leans in one direction when it dies it will fall in that direction. It is not going to fall in the opposite direction. So, too, with our lives. If all the time we are leaning towards God, very likely, with God's grace we shall fall into His arms when we die. But if our lives never point to God, it is very likely that when we die we shall die in enmity with God."

    So to answer Sandi's question. Yes, we are all saved by Christ and His sacrifice for us. But we retain the free will to walk our own way ... and suffer the consequences of our choice.

    God bless.

    Fr Francis sermons: http://fatherfrancismaple.co.uk/home

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    1. Thank you, Victor. This should be a blog post!

      I have am touched my the Frair's story of why he became a priest. I like that picture too. He looks peaceful and dedicated.

      What do you mean by "lean toward God"?

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    2. In life, we have a choice. Some people believe in God, they love and obey Him according to Scripture, they believe in Christ as His Son and our Saviour and in the Holy Trinity. By keeping this position, they are leaning towards God throughout their lives; and when they die they will most likely fall into His arms.

      Other people, throughout their lives take a position in direct opposition and in enmity with God. It is that very position, freely chosen, freely maintained throughout life, that excludes them from God's love. It is they who have chosen to turn away from God. Indeed, God still loves them, by His grace they have been saved by Christ's sacrifice, as indeed we all have. But their obstinacy, their stubbornness, their rebellion, distances them from God and shuts them out of His love.

      Please feel free to write to me at enquiries@holyvisions.co.uk if you wish to discuss this further off-line.

      I have known Fr Francis for years. He sings in malls and shopping centres to raise money for the poor and over the years he has raised more than £1 million for charity. He also writes books and contributes articles to several papers.

      I have uploaded his songs on You Tube. Just check out Father Francis Maple.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDkeQvsGyKU&list=PLCGLgIPutQI8RLMu5avYQgoERNg3NHgRt

      God bless.

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    3. Victor, thank you for that very detailed answer. I appreciate your taking the time to explain.

      That's about what I thought you meant, but you don't always know where someone is coming from and it is good to ask.

      "I have known Fr Francis for years. He sings in malls and shopping centres to raise money for the poor..."

      He sings in malls?? Ok, that is about the coolest thing I have ever heard. :-D

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  7. I believe in eternal salvation! And your bible verses are very compelling for this. Long ago, we read a book by Charles Stanley called "Eternal Salvation"". And this is what helped us make our minds up.

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  8. One of the things i say is, "He never left you, even if you turned away. He is always there for you."

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  9. Even though you may forget about God, he is always there when you need him. Janice

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  10. God is a universal powerfor me and all things are connected. I have studied theology and gone on a pilgrimage and while I understand christianity i have moved to a personal ideaology that all of us are capable of convincing ourselves of truths and allow ourselves a feeling of change that then becomes what we deeply long for. It is our chouce, our will and our determination and choice of obedience to a deity that is very human and has been as we seek spiritual connections to that great power that sparked and gave us life. I too was a Catholic, a Lutheran, an Anglican and more. God is a power. Faith in that is more natural now that our world is more divided than ever. Let us join all our faiths and feel the power of goodness and oneness. Divisions weaken us all.

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    1. Thank you, Heidrun.

      "...have moved to a personal ideaology..."

      What made you move on?

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  11. God's love is everlasting but it is people who choose to remain or turn away. And He gave us our free will choice to choose.

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  12. Today I was reminded that even if we fail to listen (to God and to each other) He is the one who always listens. I like this idea. He is always present - even if we try to go astray...

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  13. Oh, thank you for asking! Yes!! Once saved, we are always saved. We may wander from the fold, but Jesus NEVER lets go of His children. He knows where we are at every moment, and and He knows how to bring us back home safely on His shoulders (remember the story of the 90 and 9 sheep, and that one who went astray?) I am so thankful that I can trust the One Who died for me...He will not let me get too far from His grace and love. We have some things in common...I was also christened a Lutheran, brought up in the Methodist church (confirmed there), baptized as an adult in a C&MA church, served in that denomination for years with my husband who was a pastor, then we ended up in Baptist churches for a while, and now we are back to Methodist! But through it all, we have JESUS! He is our Rock and Fortress, Our Strong Deliverer, and He knows exactly where we are at all times, and He will never let us go!!!! Praise God!!!! He calls me His child no matter what label the world may see. Praise God!!!

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    1. Thank you, Pamela. I so appreciate your words here. Usually, I read comments before I post them in case it is someone selling shoes or saying something mean just to start a fight, but in your case I just post the comment and then read it because I know it will be good. :)

      "...remember the story of the 90 and 9 sheep, and that one who went astray?"

      OH! Yes. I wish I had put that in my list of bible verses! Well, it is HERE.

      God bless you, Pamela. It's neat that we were both christened Lutheran. Ha...I picture a Lutheran minister going, "Where did everyone go?" ;-) I have fond memories of the Lutheran
      church. My Dad's childhood church was the site of a memorial service we had for him. They were very welcoming.

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  14. Sandi: When we find Jesus, we follow Him and his teachings. When we stray from Him, He is always there to welcome us back into the fold. Should we walk away from God, it is our choice. He allows us the free will to do that. However, He is ALWAYS waiting for us to return to Him. Remember the story of the prodigal son.

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  15. Kind of like our country, we are divided! And --Christians are divided.. As a society (especially now), we are not doing a good job of accepting each other's beliefs and cultures --like we did years ago. Even as Christians, we all interpret things differently and that is okay. We don't all think alike or 'speak' (certain words) alike. BUT---as you said, whether one uses the word "saved" or not ---we do ALL have a common denominator, Jesus Christ.... My prayer is that we quit trying to make everyone believe exactly as we believe --but that , through love of humankind, we accept one another and go about showing this love and helping to find PEACE, HARMONY, FORGIVENESS and HONESTY in our country and world.

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  16. There is no hiding from God. I have tried, but I hear His voice. He is gracious and faithful. I have walked away from Catholic doctrine and have walked into the Bible. You are right. There is no back. I am home.

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  17. I think every man has his mountain of faith.

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  18. I've been raised Protestant and that holds -- I'm always protesting something! I've tried loads of denominations and basically what I believe in is good and living the Golden Rule. Everyone's faith may be different but all have good and good will always be rewarded in the beyond.

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  19. I've been in an Orthodox church here a couple of times as part of our Doors Open program. My own background is from Reformed and Presbyterian denominations.

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  20. Dear Sandi, thank you very much for a thoughtful and candid post. An individual definition of salvation is different. Love is, for me, the greatest. It enables us to carry out a miracle on the earth. And I'd live life simply like a child. Best wishes, Sadami

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  21. Hi Sandi,
    we all have to work out our own salvation as stated in Philippians ch. 2 v. 12 - it actually says 'with fear and trembling'. We are told in Hebrews ch. 6 vs. 4 -8:-
    'It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen[c] away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.'

    I have always seen the Word of God as a 'vocabulary' that speaks to each person according to the situation they are in. God loves all of mankind and wants all to be saved, but mankind has a choice. The Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth once we have repented, been baptized, and been born a child of God.
    To me it is like a shaft of light - it is out choice whether we walk away into darkness. God however understands we are flesh and is loving and longsuffering. Praise God for Jesus, the One mediator between man and God.

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    1. I had forgotten about this verse.

      Hebrews 6:4-6

      For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

      Thank you, Brenda.

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  22. Good question, Sandi. I didn't know who owns Filoli now, so I looked it up on their website. I read that it was donated in the 70's to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. I also thought this was interesting: The name Filoli was created by William Bourn (the original owner) by "combining the first two letters from the key words of his personal credo: 'FIght for a just cause; LOve your fellow man; LIve a good life.'" You learn something every day. :-)

    ~Jess

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  23. I think you are right about this message and I will remember it

    -E

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  24. Salvation is simply mankind relying upon the reconciliatory blood given sacrifice of the Messiah, as YHWH's fulfilled plan. God supplied the sacrifice require of you. You accept this replacement sacrifice. God's Spirit lives within you, as a gift of your faithfulness, in order to become Echad, one with/of him, through the Messiah. However, those who receive this gift, then consciously rejects it are guilty of Blasphemy of the Spirit. That's what Hebrews 6:4-6 is talking about.

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