In our series on once-saved-always-saved we have looked at the issue from several different directions. They all lead to the same conclusion: salvation is by grace through faith. It is not a reward for good behavior.
But, this raises the question of just what grace and faith are--since salvation is by grace through faith. As we have seen, salvation is not fire-insurance against Hell. Rather, it is the restoration of life through the reestablishment of a personal relationship between God and the human being He has saved. This is critical to the issue of once-saved-always-saved because the real issue is whether God enters into a relationship with a sinner based upon grace--and then later discards the sinner and the relationship because of sin.
Just what is grace? That depends upon where we go for an answer. If we go to some church dogma, we will get a definition that fits that church's theology. If may be correct; it may be partially correct; it may be altogether wrong. It depends upon where the church got its definition. So, the only safe place to go is the Word of God where we find out what God wants men to know.
In Paul's letter to the Romans, chapter 4, verse 4, he wrote: "Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt." (KJV). This is a plain declaration that grace is something given without a demand for labor attached. If I get what I have labored for, the reward is not of grace. It is due me because I labored. Thus, if salvation is given to me because of things I have done, it is not salvation by grace. It is only salvation by grace if it is given freely. Just so we wouldn't get this wrong, Paul repeated himself in Romans 11:6, where he wrote: "And if by grace, then [is it] no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if [it be] of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work." (KJV).
These verses make it very plain (except to those who don't want to believe them) that salvation is by the kind of grace that doesn't make it the result of good work. And, if it isn't because of good work, it cannot be taken away because of bad work.
There are three basic concepts of grace among the churches these days: 1) grace is God offering you another chance to behave and go to heaven because you behave; 2) grace is God offering you an opportunity for life and giving you the means to earn that life; and 3) grace is God providing you with life. All but the last one are in serious error because they do not conform to the Word of God through the apostle. Grace is not God making an offer. Grace is God providing what He required so that He can give freely. God did not offer heaven as the reward of a second effort of great diligence. He did not offer heaven as the reward of faithful diligence. He gave life. People who have His life got it by grace. People who think they have His life because they are doing what they should, don't have his life.
Which are you? A believer in the true grace of God? or a believer in your own righteousness? Are you good enough for heaven, or is God good enough to give you heaven?