Once-Saved Always Saved, Chapter 2

Table of Contents

How Fruit Turns Bad

  • Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but ones inner destroys much good. (Ecclesiastes 9:18)

It smells sweet at first and then it stinks to high heaven. Such is the nature of apples when they first begin to rot and the nature of a doctrine called eternal security.

One bad apple can rot an entire basket of apples, just as one sinner destroys much good. Good fruit begins to rot after wounds inflicted by animals or processing machines allow fungi to eat away at the fruit. Likewise, one sin or false teaching can destroy all the good in a ministry. Take all the correct doctrines in a church or ministry, add false teaching and all the good will start to rot. The teaching that has probably caused the most damage in Christianity as a whole is eternal security. We now have the advantage of centuries of experience to examine the belief that once you are saved, you are always saved. The idea that, no matter what a person does or doesn’t do, their salvation remains secure and their ticket to heaven punched. We will trace the sad state of the church today back to this error in doctrine. Throughout this book we will compare the effects of this doctrine to the results of bad fruit. As Jesus stated, “by their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:20). We too will recognize the bad fruit of once saved, always saved.

Once an apple receives a wound, fungi can begin to eat away at the fruit. There are two types of fungi that destroy an apple. The first one feeds off the apple while still allowing it to grow. Like this fungus, there are those who believe in eternal security, but still call for repentance in the church. Though their teaching appears beneficial and the church continues to grow, they only siphon off nutrients and life, since such a teaching never crucifies the sinful nature. Such people merely use the Scriptures to benefit themselves or their ministry.

Scientists call this biotrophic fungi. It feeds off the healthy fruit without actually destroying it outright. In comparison, similar individuals and churches stay content to live their comfortable Christian lives, going about their ministry work, without actively focusing on eternal security. But the rot remains and, with every new “apple” that appears, they begin to weaken the life that God tries to produce in others. Whether intentional or not, bad fruit is still produced within God’s orchard.

Most apples, however, are destroyed by the second type of fungus which destroys every living cell in order to absorb the nutrients in the fruit. This exemplifies the way most churches spiritually die today. They offer no real call for repentance but remain satisfied with just claiming salvation for themselves. The vast majority of those who believe in once saved always saved fall into this category.

Rotten Fruit

Placing a rotten apple in a barrel will cause the whole barrel to decay over time. The rot is very contagious and sometimes inconspicuous. As the fungus eats the flesh of the apple, it creates a gas that weakens the other apples before the fungus even infects them directly. At first, the gas smells sweet, but as the gas increases the smell turns sour. So it is with the doctrine of eternal security.

At first, all the talk about once saved always saved “smells” sweet to the flesh, but later it produces weakened, if not dead, lives. Like a rotten apple in the bottom of the barrel, you don’t even realize it’s causing so much damage. Have you ever noticed how much a person who believes in once saved always saved talks? They participate in a great deal of talk, stories, debates, circular reasoning, and “what if” scenarios. This “gas” weakens obedience to Scripture and begins to injure those still young and healthy in the Lord. An advocate of once saved always saved has forgotten that the “kingdom of God is not a matter of talk, but of power.” They can spread their false hopes because they feel so secure, never realizing that their spiritual lives are rotting away.

Crushing the Worm

Jesus spoke of another major cause of apples going bad—a worm that never dies. The apple maggot or railroad worm, as it is often called, eats a tunnel into the apple and deposits its eggs. Certain apples remain so strong that they literally crush the worm as they continue to grow and no damage occurs. We can compare this to the type of person who crushes the false doctrine of eternal security by Holy Spirit inspired understanding of Scripture. If the worm dies before it can deposit its eggs, the damage to the apple is minimal. Likewise, if we crush this teaching before it lays hold of our hearts, it will never cause damage.

These worms can quickly ruin entire orchards if the trees stand close together. In the same way, the doctrine of once saved always saved can destroy whole groups and churches. Just as an orchard owner would never leave his trees unguarded against possible infection, so too the church must wake up and stand against a doctrine that has caused more damage than any cult or heresy in the history of the church.

Fresh apples have a sweet smell, but rotting apples contaminate and attract flies. Likewise the doctrine that teaches that a man’s salvation remains secure no matter how much he sins, defiles the sweet perfume of the Lord’s grace, mercy, and love. As we look around, after generations of doctrinal “gas” building up, we see that even the flies are beginning to die. The church today has so little fruit left that the multitude of flies cannot find anything worthwhile to feed upon. The folly of eternal security causes many good souls to be near the verge of Scriptural starvation. For all the good a church might boast of, the folly of once saved always saved outweighs it all.

  • As dead flies give perfume a bad smell, so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor. (Ecclesiastes 10:1)

Protection of the Lord

The rough bark of an apple tree protects it from a hostile world and has a unique beauty for its designed purpose. This protection allows the life giving sap to move throughout the tree in order to produce the fruit. In the same way, the cross, a “roughness” from the Lord, allows the Holy Spirit to move in our lives so that we might bear fruit. Defective or wounded bark cannot protect a tree. Likewise, if a person’s concept of the crucified live is wounded, they stand unprotected from their own flesh and from Satan. We must examine the offensive message of the cross just as an apple farmer inspects a tree’s bark to insure its health. In addition, the farmer measures and tests the sap of the tree to see how healthy it is. We too must measure and test, but to merely test doctrine without testing the life makes one a Pharisee. On the other hand, to scrutinize a life and yet have a shallow understanding of doctrine makes a person a Sadducee, someone who doesn’t really believe anything and has no clue what it means to call on the name of the Lord.

  • Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Timothy 4:16)

Aman’s thoughts affect his life. What we choose to believe influences not only ourselves, but those who listen to us and witness our lives. Scripture tells us to watch our lives and doctrine closely, and Christians must examine both aspects by the power of the Holy Spirit. By testing both, we look at what Jesus called our “fruit.”

In this book we will be looking at the teaching of once saved always saved, but we will also examine the fruit it produces in the lives of those who believe it. We will observe, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the life and doctrine of once saved always saved or eternal security.

In order to have correct doctrine and an acceptable life, we must first follow Jesus’ command to “hate” our own life.

  • The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12:25)

Even if a man’s belief appears to agree with Scripture, he must “hate” that belief. The reason for this is simple. Our sinful flesh is incapable of agreeing with God, even when it seems as if it does. Jesus told us that our natural condition is so sinful and wretched that we cannot be in unity with God on anything. I might, for example, claim to believe with all my heart that Jesus is Lord. But, if I do this in the power of the flesh, it amounts to a big fat zero. Jesus put it this way:

  • The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. (John 6:63)

Think of the demon possessed girl in Acts 16:17. Though she shouted truthfully that Paul preached correctly about Jesus, she remained demon possessed, until Paul cast it out. Just as God does not require the confirmation of demons concerning His Son, He also does not need our flesh’s agreement about correct doctrine. Indeed both demons and our flesh are actually liars trying to express truth—an impossible combination.

Crucifying Doctrine

Men pick and choose which doctrines to believe in based on what their flesh likes. Some of those teachings may actually be true, but they are worthless if motivated by the flesh. As a result we find many churches with many different beliefs. Most men remain unwilling to hate their own opinions enough to allow God to work perfect unity in the church. We must therefore approach the doctrine of once saved always saved with a holy hatred of our own mind and flesh.

In my own flesh I would prefer once saved always saved to be true. Nothing would give my sinful flesh greater joy than to know that, no matter what I do, I will still be saved and go to heaven. People will always search for a church that makes them feel safe and cozy, and leaves their flesh intact. Men choose their own doctrines, rather than letting the words of Jesus kill their opinions and give them the mind of Christ. Instead of worshiping God by letting Him crucify our lives, we fashion an idol for ourselves and call it Jesus Christ.

No man can step outside of himself and see the Truth objectively. Only the cross, which has the power to crucify a man, can allow the Holy Spirit to show us the Truth. Where you find the message of the cross watered down or rejected, the power of enlightenment concerning Scripture will be absent. If you are unwilling to hate your own life, pick up a cross, and let Jesus lead you, this book will not make any difference. The depth of sin in man causes most to lock their heels in and refuse to accept the Truth, in spite of any and every evidence to the contrary. Just like the crowds yelling “Crucify him,” men would rather crucify the Truth than give up their lies and false hopes. Only when we treasure the offensive message of the cross will we find freedom from this trap. Only a cross, that offends our doctrines and our life, can give us the eyes of Christ to see the Truth.

Satan can lead us down paths that end in our own injury. Our sinfulness causes us to falsely think we walk on the path of life, when we have really wandered off into the thorn bushes of compromise. If you choose to stop being a fool who delights in his own opinion, then an inexpressible joy awaits you. This same joy awaits all those willing to sacrifice their flesh-pleasing doctrine of eternal security and gain understanding by the cross of Jesus Christ.

  • A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions. (Proverbs 18:2)

We would do well to examine ourselves to see if we are rotten apples, or if we have worms tunneling through our lives. We must humbly ask, just how much rot and fungi has attached itself to our lives because of a foolish doctrine? As Paul told fellow Christians in Corinth—and don’t miss the subtle point here—as Paul told Christians, “examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith.”

  • 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? (2 Corinthians 13:5)

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Disclaimer

The Consider Podcast attempts to express opinions through God’s holiness. Nothing concerning justice or injustice should be taken as legal advice or a call to action. There is no political agenda. There is no individual moral life advice. Indeed, each person is solely responsible before God and man for their actions or inactions. The Consider Podcast is narrowly focused on one thing, and only one thing – the need for all to surrender to a life of repentance according to the whole gospel.

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