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Topic: Once Saved, Always Saved

Ticket to Heaven Mentality

by Darrel Cline

We have been looking at the issue of once-saved-always-saved. In another article (100) we said that the Bible teaches that Jesus died for our sins so that if we believe that, our sins cannot separate us from God. Therefore, the issue is whether we believe it or not. This directly addresses whether a person can be lost once he has been saved. If Jesus died for our sins, our sins cannot cause us to be lost once we have believed.

But some will say (and their condemnation is just--Romans 3:8) that such a teaching automatically leads to the conclusion that I can sin all I want and still go to heaven. This response is a thoughtless smokescreen.

The thoughtlessness of this response can be easily illustrated. The objective of God's salvation program is a restored relationship between Him and man who has sinned. God doesn't save anyone who does not approach salvation from this vantage point--regardless of what they say or do. Therefore, a precondition to salvation by grace through faith is the desire to be rightly related to God. To claim that the promise of eternal security is a permission to sin all I want and still be saved is fundamentally contradictory to this. It would be like someone who wants to remain physically alive and in good health asking how long can I hold my hands and feet in a fire and still live? The question makes no sense except to belie the claim that I really want to live and enjoy good health.

In like manner, the person who approaches the issues of eternal life through the mind set of how many sins can I sin and still enter into God's heaven and eternal fellowship? is simply saying that a restored relationship with God is not what he really wants. Instead, what he wants is to be able to sin and not have to suffer the consequences. There is no salvation for anyone like that.

The flaw is not with those who teach the truth that God saves sinners and does not revoke His salvation because of their sin. Jesus either died for our sins or He did not. The flaw is with those who think that the preaching of eternal security makes sinning OK. These people invariably have a ticket to heaven mentality about salvation and God doesn't save those kind of people.

The real issue behind the once-saved-always-saved debate is not whether sins keep us from God's salvation (Jesus died for all of our sins). Rather, it is whether God saves people who only want to escape the consequences of their sins, and have no real interest in having a restored relationship with God. Those who have a real interest in a relationship do not use their security with God as an excuse to sin. A man who is married to a woman who is totally committed to him does not use his security with her as a basis to commit adultery. Likewise, men who really want a restored relationship with God do not use the security He gives as an excuse to attack the relationship. Anyone who does claim salvation and lives godlessly is a liar (1 John 2:4), but so are those who tell us that God revokes His gifts and calling (Romans 11:29).

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This is article #101.
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