Personally, I don’t like the phrase “once saved, always saved”. If what Paul describes regarding predestination is true, then Christians are already marked for salvation PRIOR to the moment of justification. (The moment they awaken to the fact that they are a sinner, and they then confidently trust and hope in Jesus Christ as the Savior.)
“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”
Therefore, in a sense, from God’s perspective, we (Christians) are already saved before we even hear the Gospel. We just don’t know it yet at the pre-justified stage of our existence. However, God does, because He, “chose us (Christians) in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.” (Eph 1:4-5)
Did you catch that ending? “According to the kind intention of His will.” God’s choosing is not according to us. It’s according to Him, and His kind intention only. And nothing can change it:
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
No “created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God.” Are we (Christians) created things? Yep. That means that we have no bearing on whether or not salvation, which was granted to us PRIOR to our existence (which I pointed out above), can be lost due to anything we do. It’s all in God’s hands. Not in ours. And speaking of God’s hands:
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;
and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”
Jesus holds the Christian, and the Father holds the Christian, and there is nothing that can change it. God predestines the individual for salvation PRIOR to the individual existing, and two members of the Godhead hold them for eternity.
So, what does the third member of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit, do? He seals the Christian at the moment of justification:
“In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.”
The Holy Spirit not only seals the Christian, but He also dwells in the Christian. Here’s Paul reminding the Romans that those who have the Spirit, the Spirit dwells in them:
“However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit, he does not belong to Him.”
It’s quite amazing how the Christian is so frequently lacking in the confidence of their salvation. God predestines salvation to whom He chooses PRIOR to the foundation of the world. God the Son and God the Father each hold the Christian for eternity, while the Holy Spirit seals the Christian and also dwells within the Christian. And NOTHING in creation can change it, not even the Christian, because the Christian is of creation, which has no power to thwart God’s will.
To say, “once saved, always saved” is inaccurate. God chose the Christian PRIOR to creation, which means prior to the existence of time, which means (in a sense) there is no beginning to the Christian’s salvation. It always was, is, and will be, because it was done by the Eternal: God.
However, justification is a moment in time, therefore…
Once justified, always justified!
Godspeed, to the brethren!
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“……I will raise them up at the last day” (John 6:44). Encouraging post! I find it interesting that many of those Christians who are lacking assurance ARE the ones who are opposed to the total sovereignty of God in salvation. What they are so opposed to actually would give them the assurance they are seeking. My pastor always says while unbelievers only need the Gospel, believers (looking back) need to bask in the doctrine of election…..
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