I truly appreciate your webpage, and as the son of a Police Officer I can relate to much of what you've said concerning your job.
But that is not why I have written. I feel that I can point you to scripture that does support a "Once Saved Always Saved period end of discussion position". In the parable of the seeds, we have a farmer who spreads his seeds over his field, some of which falls in good soil (representing true christians) those that fall on the path where birds eat them (satan trapping them) those that fall among the rocks where the seeds spring up fast but are burnt by the sun (people who accept the gospel at first hearing but when faced with tough times fall away) these people as far as God is concerned were lost the whole time, so anyone who later rejects Jesus, never truly accepted Him. Then in one of the letters of Paul (I cannot for the life of me remember which one.) Paul said ' Those who were here and then left, were among us but not of us.' That's a paraphrase, and I hope you have tools at your disposal to find it, because I don't. I think these support the once saved always saved position, and I hope that we can work together to find the truth of this matter
My response is in Green:
Thank you for your message. I appreciate your gentle spirit in this matter. I get a lot of attack mail and it was nice to get yours which was much more just discussion. I will tell you that you have not changed my mind. I would love to believe what you said but I just don't see it as what scripture says.
For example you mentioned the parable of the sower. I would also point to that parable as supporting the idea that a person can walk away from their faith. You even said it yourself. You explained the seed that fell on rocky ground as "people who accept the gospel at first hearing but when faced with tough times they fall away." Now you went on to say you believe those people were never saved to start with, but where do you get that idea? It is not what the parable says, it is not even what you said. These people accept the gospel. Well what is the gospel? It is what salvation is all about. It literally means 'good news.' I believe the people represented by the rocky soil are believers, but those who never put down any real root and therefore when the tough times come they can't handle it and walk away from Christ.
You have done something that many people do, they take one thought in scripture and link it to another one as you did with the first thought and then with what was said about those who departed. I believe this is the passage you were speaking about: (1 John 2:15-19 NIV)  Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world.  The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.  Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.  They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. You can't combine those two passages because they have nothing to do with each other.
John is not talking about just anyone who walks away, he is speaking of those who loved the world, that they were not saved. That does not address the person who truly does love God but then walks away. Notice too that in verse 17 John states that the person who "does" the will of God lives forever. Wouldn't that mean that the person who doesn't wouldn't live forever?
Again none of what John wrote here has anything to do with the parable that Jesus told.
Now let me ask you a question. Jesus said almost the same thing in two places, let me quote them: (Matthew 5:27-30 NIV)  "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'  But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.  And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
(Matthew 18:5-9 NIV)  "And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.  But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.  "Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!  If your hand or your foot causes you to sin cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.  And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.
Now here is my question. If our sins are forgiven past, present and future as OSAS teaches, then why should a person go to the drastic steps of cutting off a hand or foot to keep themselves from sinning? Now the only answer would be that Jesus is speaking to unbelievers, but not sinning won't get a non-believer into heaven, only belief in Jesus will do that. So why would He mention this? I say it is because sin is such an important thing that He was trying to show us that anything that causes us to sin should be done away with. That would include any doctrine that would cause us to sin or think lightly about sin.
Another question, notice that Jesus spoke about little children that believe in Him. Now would you not agree that if they believe in Him, they are believers? According to OSAS if they are believers then their sins are forgiven past, present and future. So why would Jesus make such a statement about someone who causes one of them to sin? Not only that but He goes directly from that thought into the seriousness of sin by talking about cutting off a hand or foot if it causes us to sin. Again let me stress that this makes no sense if you try to apply it to non-believers. Sinning is what sinners do until they come to knowledge and faith in Jesus Christ. There is no reason for them to cut off a hand or foot to save themselves. God has never told someone who came to Him in true repentance to cut off a foot or hand before He will forgive them. This is a watershed issue. If Jesus is speaking of believers, which I believe He is, then it shows how seriously He takes sin, and it shows that sin can cast us into hell not just take away our rewards as OSAS teaches.
Let me address one more point. When Jesus spoke of the little child, I don't believe He only meant the young in physical years. I think He also meant those who are young in their walk and faith. Woe to the person who causes one of the new believers to sin. I know this may sound like an attack, but I don't mean it that way, I just want you to think about it a moment. If a new believer is told that his sins have been forgiven past, present and even future and that no matter how much he might sin in the future he is guaranteed a place in heaven, could it not lead that new believer to be lax and sin because he thinks it does not really matter?
I love the Lord, but I am also human. I would love to believe OSAS and feel that I no longer have any responsibility to God, that He is in charge of my destiny, but I will tell you I see way too many passages of scripture that tell me I need to continue in the faith and that I am to live a holy life (with God's help of course).
I have read many OSAS teachers writings on this subject and to tell you the truth, the one thing I have found is that they always say passages that call OSAS into question were directed at non-believers. If that is true then the majority of the New Testament was not written for us, but for non-believers. I can't buy that either.
Again I thank you for your gentle spirit and I hope that you will take what I have said in the spirit it is meant, as a discussion. I believe that we can disagree on this subject and still both love the Lord with all our hearts. Whether OSAS is true or false does not matter if we both keep our eyes on Christ and continue to follow Him.
I most certainly did not expect to change your mind as you seem very grounded in your belife. I also would like to encourage you, I realize that anytime a christian puts his or her belifes before the world they will inevitably come under attack. You stood fast and I congratulate and encourage you to continue. Back to OSAS, the matter at hand. I suppose I should have more clearly stated my basic thoughts on the matter before throwing around scripture. I would say that my experience as a christian has taught me one thing more than anything else, that being a christian is not a prayer or a physical baptism but a matter of the heart. In my example of the parable of the sower, my view on this particular scripture is this, those people who are represented by the seed among the rocks is their 'conversion' was not authentic. That is it was superficia, that is "did not take root".
Another main basis of my particular belife is the statement in Matthew 12:31 and 12:32 which makes clear all sins are forgiven except blasphemy or rejection of the Holy Spirit. "Every sin or blasphemy can be forgiven except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which can never be forgiven." If this is true, and if we accept that Jesus did indeed die for the sins of the world, then it is reasonable to accept that no sin will seperate a believer from God, ever, period except blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. So we must now ask, would a true believer ever commit this sin? It is doubtful, because every true believer would never say (based on the context of the passage) that the work of the Spirit, or the Spirit itself is evil.
Finally, my last primary premise I'm going to present at this time. In your website, you profess that God foreknows the actions of all human beings. If this is true, God knows who will, and who will not accept Jesus, who is and who is not saved when all is said and done. If this is true, an authentic conversion would mean that person is permanently saved. Despite any sin that true follower commits, while we can question the authenticity of their belife, on the grounds of their actions, we do not know their hearts, so we cannot say with %100 certainty. So to say Mr. X is not saved based on sin X, would be a difficult statement to make, if they openly state Christ as being their savior. At least without further investigation and understanding, the bible gives requirements for this. They basically state that if the person is un-repentant, then kick them out of fellowship.
As a side note, I do agree with you on the idea that people who commit seriously heinous sins, ie the Crusades, the massacre of Muslims in Lebannon and in Yugoslavia.
So my question to you is this, if a christian brother stumbles, or if they fall into the grasp of addiction, or other spiritually ill state, in your opinion, under what standards do we use to state, "Mr. X is not saved, based on action(s) X."?
I am sorry but I miss your point about blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. You say that it is the only sin which will not be forgiven. Okay I agree with you, but so what? You make it sound as if that proves that our sins are forgiven past, present and future. That has nothing to do with it. Let me give you an example, if I take what you are saying to it's logical conclusion then you are saying that once I place faith in Jesus Christ I can do nothing that wasn't already paid for on the cross and therefore already forgiven, right? What about the person who doesn't put faith in Jesus Christ? Why aren't their sins forgiven too, as long as they don't commit blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? What is the point of 1 John 1:9 if those sins are already forgiven?
I don't understand your point about God knowing the future either. Of course He knows what our choices will be but if He does not allow a person to truly put faith in Jesus just because He knows that they will later walk away, then they don't truly have free will. You can't have it both ways. Either God decides who goes to heaven or man decides. If man decides then why can't a person decide later to change their mind?
Let me quote a letter I received just a week ago:
I gave my life to christ when I was twelve years old. I am now twenty seven and deeply regret ever hearing or knowing about jesus. I agree with your line of reasoning in regards to loss of salvation for christians who commit suicide. You may raise your eyebrows at my first statement, but quite frankly I don't want to be in the presence of a god who delights in capriciousness, cruelty, favouritism.
Why would a creator place in his "very good" world he just created a fallen supernatural being? why not banish satan immediately to hell once he staged his rebellion? I think god wanted his beloved children to fall into sin so he could have something to keep him occupied. Why did god have to tempt adam and eve? YES god DID! satan may been the tool but god is ultimately responsible for that mess. He Created lucifer and human beings with the full knowledge that both would fall.
King David is another prime example of god and his blatant injustice. Why would a man who has been found guilty of adultery and murder be left off with a rap across the knuckles. Under the LAW david should have been put to death! Instead unbelievably god chooses to kill his unborn son! What ever happened to a man dying for his own sins. Not those committed by his father! Its not as if David was indispensable I'm sure there was plenty of sons to carry on the family name.
Just two noteworthy examples of an unjust god and a prime source of my personal anguish.
I can't wait to die. Unfortunately the only thing holding me back is a rotten bank loan which I have to pay off. If I suicide with my loan unpaid it falls to my next of kin to pay off. I don't want that.
***End of letter to me***
Now let me ask you to make just one assumption. Lets assume that this man did truly put his faith in Jesus Christ when he was twelve. Is God going to force him to spend eternity in heaven? This man does not want to be with God, will God force him to have fellowship with Him against his will?
Now I will be the first to tell you that this man's problem is that he does not truly know God, but it is too simplistic to claim he never had a true faith conversion. Many people are just like the parable of the sower, they are happy to have their sins forgiven and truly place their faith in Jesus Christ, but they never go deeper. All they want is a ticket to heaven. Then when things in their lives get hard they blame God for not helping them, etc... But my main point remains if they decide that they no longer want anything to do with God will He force them? Or like you said well He not truly allow them to place faith in Jesus to start with, meaning that they did not really have a choice?
I will tell you there are way too many passages of Scripture which tell us to continue in the faith, and to watch that we don't stray for me to believe a person can't quit loving the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:2 NIV) By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
There are many more. They say it very clearly.
(2 Corinthians 13:5 NIV) Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you-unless, of course, you fail the test?
Why would Paul tell them to examine themselves, if it were not possible to walk away from your faith. You can tell me he was speaking to those who have never believed, but if you do, you better go back and read this whole letter (2 Corinthians) again.
I am not trying to change your mind either, but I am telling you that scripture has a lot to say about our responsibility after our salvation. If I am wrong, then there will be lots of people in heaven who did not continue in the faith, but if I am right, then I am afraid that there will be many people who have believed OSAS all their lives and therefore did not continue in the faith and will be lost. That would be horrible.
One last thing, I may have said this before, but if you and I continue in our faith, then this is a moot subject for us, because we are both eternally secure. Please don't ever think that I am saying anything else. I have no fear of losing my salvation, I am eternally secure until I choose to give that security up and I don't plan on doing that.
E-Mail Ralph (whose comments are in green)