What follows is a discussion I had with a man who is miserable. It is long, but I think it illustrates the problems with the OSAS view point. This man is so miserable that he is thinking of suicide. He knows he has sinned, but since he believes in OSAS he does not think he needs to come back to Christ or confess his sin and ask for forgiveness. He e-mailed me and I responded, he then sent my response to his pastor and he responded and then he sent the whole thing back to me and again I responded to him.
ralph, I don't know how much you know god. but I asked Jesus into my life about 5 years ago. I was more than happy to leave my old life behind. it was a good year. but I then went and sinned against God with a young girl I meet at church. its been three or more years since I'm so misserable and losing my mind. I want to die. but I really don't or else I would have done it by now.
After the summer I spent with that girl I also ended up going back to all the sins I begged Jesus to forgive me of. I know I left but it seems god is gone also, and doesn't want anything to do with me. and I don't blame him I've been gross. but I need him as I always have. but I don't know where to find him.if hes still waiting 4 me. now I know that when a person gets saved he is sealed for eternity. but my life has been very difficult. I'm reaping what I sowed, I know that. but something happened to me when I asked Jesus to save me. and it wasn't my imagination. I'm 33 now, I have always been discouraged so that doesn't help. i also have done alot of drugs at least for 11 years. so I know I don't think straight I've been into porn since I was a kid. these two r mostly the hardest to over come now. not to mention the anger frustration and the horrible saddness over people going to hell and me maybe not sure aymore. im afraid god wont forgive me anymore.
I wish god would talk to me. hes gone because of what I did and do. I dont know how to hate sin the way he does I'm in trouble need help if possible. I tell christian friends about my thoughts of suicide but they don't know what to do. and pastors won't talk to me about suicide except for telling me not to do it. But that dont help me overcome. It gets better sounding almost everyday. if u can help or no someone who can please e-mail me thanks
My response is in Green:
I think I can help you, but it will mean that you have to put aside some of your preconceived notions. For example you said that you knew that when a person is saved they are sealed for eternity. That is true, but I think you are taking that the wrong way. I will tell you right up front that I don't believe in Once Saved Always Saved. I believe that our salvation is dependant on our faith and our relationship with Jesus Christ. In other words once we are saved we must keep walking in faith. If we go back into sin and walk away from Christ then we give back our salvation. I think that is what has happened to you. You were saved, but you went back to being a sinner by living a sinful lifestyle.
You need to come back to Christ the same way you did when you were first saved. Admit to Him that you have sinned, that you realize that you deserve death (separation from Him), that you realize that there is nothing you can do to save yourself and ask Him to forgive you and cleanse you with His blood. You must also turn from your sin, you cannot keep on sinning and remain a Christian. Yes some things are harder than others to quit doing, but God will help you if you will allow Him complete control over your life. If you try to remain in control you are fooling yourself and will end up staying in your sin.
Let me give you a passage of scripture which illustrates what I am talking about: (Romans 6:16-18 NIV)  Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey-- whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?  But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.  You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
Notice that we are never set free to control our own lives. We are either a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness. That is what most people don't understand. I did not understand it. God will never help you take control of your own life, He wants control and either you give it to Him or you remain a slave to sin. That does not mean you are not saved, it means that your sinful nature is still in control.
This is not talked about much anymore, but it is what the Bible calls sanctification. This is when we are freed from the bondage of sin and God takes control of our lives. I will tell you that I have never felt such freedom as I did when I finally gave up and let God have control of my life.
Here is another passage that deals with this: (Romans 8:1-8 NIV)  Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,  because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man,  in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.  Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.  The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;  the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so.  Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
Notice in verse 6 Paul tells us that the mind controlled by the Spirit is life! God will help you, but you have to be willing to give complete control to Him. Admit that you can't do it. There truly is victory in Jesus. Believe me I still struggle with temptation, but it is different now. Before the temptation over took me like a giant wave. I would get caught up in it and swept away. I felt like I had no control, I could not resist. But now, it is like I see the wave coming and I just quickly pray that God will deliver me and He does.
Give God control.
The next section is a message this man sent to his pastor:
please help, this just adds to my confusion. I thought the bible said u cant lose ur salvation. o by the way I know ur going to say come back to church and the bible... etc., but doing this doesn't change the madness in my mind.its not a madness that makes me dangerous to people but only to myself. the lies r so real and overwelming that I cant seem to make a lasting stand. please help i'm scared of myself, i mean thoughts of suicide r in my mind everyday and it gets more convincing as time goes on. i really beleive I cant change the way I am. then u will say only god can change me but nothing is changing for the better I cant tell anymore but I sware that I asked jesus to save me the way I was told to ask. i wish I never sinned. there is no more light at the end of the tunnel just hoplessness and a strong desire to find releif no matter what the cost. I'm not good at walking with god there's so much wrong with me, I'm lossing it. and I cant seem to find anyone who knows how to help me. fitting this way is making me tierd. :( please if u know where I can get help please tell me. And I know u will say come to church but my mind and others make me feel unwelcomed.
The sections in purple are his pastor's response to him.
No we can not lose our salvation (I know you know that already). You do not say what the "madness in your mind" is. Coming to church, reading the bible, memorizing scripture, serving others is part of Christian living, but it is not a try it for a couple weeks and see what happens method. We all battle with our old nature. The old nature can only be overcome by "overkill" in feeding the new nature AND crucifying the "Old Man" with its affections and lusts. It is a commitment that must be exercised over a consistent amount of time. The frustration you experience is only there because of the decisions you have made yourself!
There is a wonderful seminar that has been life changing for many that may help you deal with root problems as well as lasting solutions. Like all help in the Christian life though, it will take a commitment on your part regarding time! It is a week long seminar (Monday through Thursday each night, Friday and Saturday all day). The next seminar closest to us is in New Jersey , Nov. 4-9. If you want a brochure sent to you or more info the phone number is ***-***-****. If you commit yourself to attending each session, I believe you will be helped greatly!
You say no one can help you. Not many Christians that I know of have friends like you do in the **********. They have been available to you more than any Christian was ever available to me when I started my Christian Life!
Also, once a person receives proper counsel, it is up to them to act upon it. No one else can make you do right. It is your decision. James speaks of being "hearers only, deceiving our own selves." Multitudes of people experience the same frustration you do, but they don't have the answer....you do. The old hymn of the faith "Trust and Obey" puts it as simply as I know. "Trust and obey, for there's no other way, to be happy in Jesus, then to trust and obey." While God uses certain things to motivate us toward obedience (like maybe this seminar, or a church service or some friend like the **********) the bottom line is what we do with what we know!
One more thing, when you read the literature I gave you, it seemed as though you had some understanding about needing to get into a proper relationship to "authority." Have you done anything with that? Have you made any commitments that you are going to put yourself "under" your God-given authorities? Things like getting consistent at church. Staying at one job for a long time ( no matter how many silly rules they have) are all part of the character training you need.
God's way really does work. I don't think its a matter of you not knowing Gods way. I'm praying for you!
He then sent me his message to his pastor and the pastor's reply.
I don't know what to tell you. Your pastor is telling you that no matter what you do you will never come back under judgment from God. I am telling you that is not what the Bible says. You say you are miserable, you admitted to me that you have sinned, I say that you need to come back to Christ. You can listen to your pastor and believe that no matter what you do you will go to heaven or you can listen to what God has to say:
(Hebrews 10:26-27 NIV)  If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,  but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
We can't just keep living like the world and remain in our salvation. This does not mean there is no hope, it means that if we do deliberately sin, we need to come back to Christ and obtain forgiveness. Let me give you another passage which shows what I am talking about.
(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.
Notice Paul says "if" we hold firmly. He is speaking about what Jesus spoke about: (Matthew 16:24 NIV) Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."
What does following Him mean? (1 John 2:3-6 NIV)  We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.  The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him:  Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.
We must walk as Jesus did, we cannot just go on sinning. There are hundreds of other passages which show the same thing, here is one of my favorites: (Ezekiel 18:21-24 NIV)  "But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die.  None of the offenses he has committed will be remembered against him. Because of the righteous things he has done, he will live.  Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?
 "But if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked man does, will he live? None of the righteous things he has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness he is guilty of and because of the sins he has committed, he will die.
When you accepted Christ as your Savior you became a righteous man, but when you sinned against God you in affect turned from your righteousness and became a wicked man. This passage makes it very clear what the consequences of that are. Now your pastor can tell you that this is the Old Testament and we are under grace in the New Testament, but I have a question for you to think about. Why do you think you are so miserable? Could it be God calling you back? Let me show you another passage, also from the Old Testament which shows what I am talking about:
(Amos 4:6-10 NIV)  "I gave you empty stomachs in every city and lack of bread in every town, yet you have not returned to me, declares the LORD.  "I also withheld rain from you when the harvest was still three months away. I sent rain on one town, but withheld it from another. One field had rain; another had none and dried up.  People staggered from town to town for water but did not get enough to drink, yet you have not returned to me, declares the LORD.  "Many times I struck your gardens and vineyards, I struck them with blight and mildew. Locusts devoured your fig and olive trees, yet you have not returned to me, declares the LORD.  "I sent plagues among you as I did to Egypt. I killed your young men with the sword, along with your captured horses. I filled your nostrils with the stench of your camps, yet you have not returned to me, declares the LORD."
Following the rules and going to seminars and going to church are all good things, but the only thing that truly matters is your relationship with God through Jesus Christ. You can believe that nothing you do can ever harm that relationship if you choose, but your life shows vividly what can happen when we turn away and commit sin. God is calling you back, ignore Him at your own peril.
(Hebrews 10:28-31 NIV)  Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?  For we know him who said, 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' and again, 'The Lord will judge his people.'  It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Look carefully at the above passage. It speaks of the man who sins and that the person treats as unholy the covenant that sanctified him. Now ask yourself is a sinner sanctified? No, so it has to be talking about a believer. Yet it talks about punishment and what a horrible thing it is to falling God's hands. Does that really sound like it does not matter how you live after you are saved? I don't want to argue with your pastor, but he is dead wrong. Come back to Christ confess your sins and obtain forgiveness and a new life.
E-Mail Ralph (whose comments are in green)