Once-Saved Always Saved, Chapter 9

Table of Contents

If You Think You Are Falling Away

  • It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, (Hebrews 6:4)

If you have fallen away from the Lord there is no point in reading this chapter. It is impossible for you to repent and to be saved. For when a person has been enlightened, tasting the heavenly gift of grace and sharing in fellowship with the Holy Spirit—if they fall away— to be brought back again. In fact, let us read on in Hebrews through verses 5 and 6.

  • . . . who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. (Hebrews 6:5–6)

If a man or woman tasted the power of God’s Word and the power “of the coming age” verse 6 tells us that they cannot be “brought back to repentance.” The reason God will not permit this is because Jesus would have to die a second time. To their “loss” they would force God to crucify “the Son of God all over again” and subject “him to public disgrace. But since God’s Son is so precious to Him God would never permit such a unholy thing to take place. God would never have Jesus come to earth again and die on the cross just to allow someone to come back in who has fallen away. In other words, if a person doesn’t value Jesus enough the first time they certainly would not the second time. Cheap grace always produces cheap attitudes towards what Jesus did on the cross. And in no greater arena does one find this unholy attitude than in the eternal security camp. This is why it is so important to understand that Jesus is a source of eternal salvation only for those who obey Him!

  • and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. (Hebrews 5:9)

However, if you have been cut off from Jesus and have not yet reached that point, there remains a slim chance of hope. But you will need to make every effort, and I do mean every effort, to return.

You may have been cut off from the vine for any number of reasons. Or you may have wandered from the faith or chosen in some way not to remain in Jesus. However, you may still have enough “sap” to allow a grafting back in. When a branch withers it normally does so slowly. This means there remains possible a brief period for repentance and return to the Lord. If you fail to seize that opportunity, you will be picked up and thrown into the fire and burned.

  • If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. (John 15:6)

We see this situation clearly in the letter Paul wrote to the Galatians. Paul flat out declared that they had “fallen away from grace.”

  • You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. (Galatians 5:4)

The spirit of Jesus will never put out a smoldering wick, and so we see a rare offer of mercy. The Galatians killed the new birth of Jesus given to them. They had stopped the flow of mercy and grace that worked the new life and were cut off.

Paul sees their condition and responds with great zeal and urgency, something those who believe in eternal security cannot do. They cannot love like this because in their minds no such danger even exists. They are like people who stand by and don’t even attempt to save a drowning man, because all they see is the surface and so they don’t believe the water is deep enough to drown in.

Eternal security really is an excuse to live a selfish and loveless life. Those who believe in eternal security just do not have enough love to go through the pains of childbirth again with a fallen Christian. Because, in order for a person to come back to the Lord, someone must go through the “pains of childbirth” until Jesus again is “formed” in them. Note well the word “again.” They had at one time gone through the pains that accompany being born again but along the way mortally wounded the new life. For a person in such a condition to be restored, much pain, labor, prayer, and suffering will take place in those trying to restore the person to the new life of Christ.

  • My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)

Just as no baby can deliver itself and grow up to become a healthy child without help, so you cannot help yourself if you have fallen away. You must humble yourself and seek out those who can go through the requirements to have Christ formed in you again. This is no easy process and requires around the clock attention, fellowship, and prayer, until the heart softens again and pride breaks.

Most likely your doctrine will be corrected, the secret things of your heart laid bare, and action required to gain Jesus once again.

It is a matter of taking Jesus at His word when He declares that we should make “every effort” to be saved. Below are a list of the efforts and steps required.

Act today. Do not delay at the first tugging of grace. To refuse is to slip even further towards damnation.

Admit the truth. Admit that you have fallen away. Lay your excuses and self-justification at the cross to be crucified. You stand in grave danger, and now is the time to give up all pretense of having something left in Jesus. There may be some sap left in you, but it dries up hour by hour. Don’t be so foolish as to look at yourself and say, “Oh, here is some green, something good. Something of God in me.” If you are cut off, you must fully see and admit that. Only then do you have any hope of being grafted back in again.

Find someone skilled in “childbirth.” Someone that can encourage and rebuke and guide you by the Holy Spirit through the periods of pain and rest that accompany labor.

Prepare to leave everything. Act decisively and to do whatever it takes to have Christ again. Your heart and life will be dealt with and the cross will seek to put it to death. Be prepared to feel shocked, and to weep more than you ever have before. For to experience the resurrected life you must first be crucified.

Confront your sin head on. Remember you are in this position because you failed to surrender something, or someone, before the Lord. God will bring into the Light, in front of others, such idols and sins. Prepare yourself to really learn what it means to walk in the Light.

Ignore your feelings, fears, and questions. The spiritual battle will grow intense. Satan will not let go easily. Desperately seek the help of others.

Above all, do not accept a sloppy and easy faith or a “quick fix” solution. You must return to being saved by grace and not by the efforts of religious man. Do not associate with those who believe in eternal security for they will only pull you from the narrow road once again.

All of this will take time. No baby grows up in one day. We do not consider a baby fully developed on the day of birth. It takes years of worry, watching, and caring before one can say a child is on safe ground. You must find a church that will point out when you start to drift away.

If you do not allow God to deal with the thorns and thistles that cut you off from Jesus, in the end you will be “burned.” You are in grave danger of being cursed, so run and repent fully to Jesus. Then it will be said of you that “we are confident of better things in your case—things that accompany salvation.”

  • But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case—things that accompany salvation. (Hebrews 6:8–9)

Do these things and you can say “Amen” to the final Scripture in this chapter. Fail to do so and your “Amen” will be judged for taking the Lord’s name in vain, and added to the list of things that will torture you in hell.

Not only have we seen the obvious fact that men can fall from grace and become alienated from Christ, but we have also seen that, for a brief moment, when the Holy Spirit makes this reality clear, some backsliders can possibly repent. If you should find yourself in this position and you hear God telling you these words, do not harden your heart. Repent, with all energy and strength which God desires to work. You have not a moment to lose. Begin now to tell the Lord you will surrender moment by moment to the leading of His voice and do all He commands and directs. Don’t brush off the conviction or ignore the calling. This could be your last chance, for as Scripture says:

  • As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” (Hebrews 3:15)

Let us end by praising God, to whom all glory and power belongs. For, in Jesus, all glory, majesty, power, and authority reigns, and He, in the greatest of love and mercy, can keep you from falling from grace. He will graft you in and mature you, so that you will put complete confidence in Him who is able to keep you as you work out your salvation with fear and trembling.

  • To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forever- more! Amen. (Jude 1:24–25)

Amen!

Everything Said

Now that you know these things, stand firm against once saved always saved and grow in grace and knowledge.

  • Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. (2 Peter 3:17)

Who Is Timothy Williams?

Because of the volatile nature of this topic, it is probably best to give some details about the author of this book. For some of those who do not want to believe the plain truth of Scripture that is here will inevitably attempt to avoid the issue by seeking to discredit the author.

Like the disciples, Timothy Williams is unschooled and ordinary. He never attended Bible college. In fact, God called him to drop out of secular college and then began to press the cross into his life. The things you read here result from God working the foolishness of the cross. He grew up attending the Methodist church from time to time. He pastors a non-denominational church in Washington state and fellowships with all who love and embrace the offensive message of the cross. Below is a list of basic beliefs.

Basic Beliefs

We do not preach “ink,” therefore the beliefs listed below are something alive and active by the power of the Holy Spirit, (2 Corinthians 3:3). Sound Doctrine is a church where everyone picks up the cross Jesus has for them. You are sure to find something you disagree with. We encourage you to first seek your own cross that God might deal with any flesh that would drive you away.

We agree with Jesus that:

  • Love from the Holy Spirit is the most important matter. Love for God, our fellow man and family is the fruit of Jesus. A love that flows from a crucified life is full of truth and no compromise. (1 Corinthians 13:1–13; Luke 1:17; Matthew 10:34). Request the free sermon entitled “The Most Important Sermon” at www.freesd.org

  • We are saved by true faith alone in Jesus. (Romans 1:17; James 2:14)

  • Mercy and salvation are by faith as much as obedience is by faith. (Romans 1:5; James 2:17)

  • The Bible is the inspired Word of God and only through the Holy Spirit may we under- stand the Word and fellowship with the living God. (2 Timothy 3:16; Luke 24:45)

  • It is only through Jesus, God’s Son, that a man can be saved. (Acts 4:12)

  • He rose from the dead and will return. (1 Thessalonians 4:17–18)

  • There is a heaven and a hell. (Revelation 20:10)

  • God is one, yet in three persons. (John 14:9)

  • Salvation is a gift from God that He works in those being saved who have faith in Jesus. (2 Corinthians 2:15)

  • Only those who hate their own lives, pick up a cross and follow Jesus by faith are Christians. (John 12:25; Luke 14:25–35; Luke 9:23)

  • Only those who “hate and despise” money through faith in Jesus are serving God. (Matthew 6:24)

  • Spiritual insanity is not to be allowed in the church. (2 Corinthians 11:23)

  • We preach a full message of faith, which includes the blood, Spirit and water of Jesus. (Acts 5:20; 1 John 5:6–8)

  • Leadership can and should be held accountable by the power of the Holy Spirit. (1 Timothy 5:20; 1 John 1:7)

  • The grace of God, received by faith, is the power to obey, not an excuse for sin and disobedience. (Titus 2:11–14)

  • We do not think we are the only church. (Luke 9:49–50)

  • We do not preach hermeneutics or miracles; we preach the gospel of faith alone in Jesus. (1 Corinthians 1:22–23; 2:1)

  • Any one not picking up and embracing the offensive message of the cross by faith in Jesus will miss all the doctrine’s listed above and true faith in Jesus. (1 Corinthians 2:2; Galatians 5:11)

Appendix: Salvation by Works

  • . . . not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:9)

We are not saved by works!” is usually the knee-jerk reaction to any suggestion today that we should actually obey Scripture. We need, however, to stop acting like brute beasts that believe by instinct rather than by enlightened faith.

We must understand one thing very clearly. A person does not become legalistic by obeying Scripture. If that were the case then all the Apostles would have fallen from grace. Indeed, remember that Paul preached obedience—obedience that comes from faith, but obedience nonetheless. The bottom line is that if a man has true faith in Jesus, his life conforming to Scripture testifies of that faith. As a preacher I am to preach obedience, to “call” for an obedience that comes faith.

  • Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. (Romans 1:5, emphasis added)

Three kinds of “obedience” take place in the church today. Only one, however, is the true obedience that comes from honest belief in Jesus.

“Spirit-filled” and “charismatic” obedience: The claiming of the Holy Spirit without obedience. Where emotions and the flesh feels elevated to the position of God. It is an emotional, fleshly application of Scripture with each person doing whatever feels comfortable to them.

  • Legalistic and logical obedience: Scripture is obeyed selectively, but without surrender to the Holy Spirit and cross. This is true legalism.

  • The obedience of true discipleship: Surrender to the Holy Spirit that allows grace to work obedience to Scripture. This is the new life that Jesus came to bring.

Let us look at these points in greater detail.

True Rebellion

First of all, some believers claim to have the Holy Spirit, but they do not obey Scripture. Such is the case for the vast majority of “Spirit-filled” or “charismatic” Christians. Those on the outside can easily see that such people claim to follow the Word of God, but merely please themselves in the name of Jesus. They are the golden calf worshipers of today that will not wait for the commands of God to flow down from the holy mountain. They desire only to have liberty, fun, and freedom in the name of Jesus. The same thing happened in Exodus 32 when the Israelites made themselves a golden calf and danced around it with great joy and zeal; all in the name of the Lord.

  • When Aaron saw this, he build an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord.” (Exodus 32:5)

Many people say they are filled with the Holy Spirit, yet refuse to obey God. They will often use the tired old excuse that they do not want to be “legalistic” or fall into salvation by works. But simply obeying God’s commands does not constitute trying to earn salvation. Nor does doing a work in Christ mean that a man nullifies the free gift of God. Indeed God creates us to do good works that He “prepared in advance for us to do.”

  • For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

If we refuse to allow God to “work” in us, we cut ourselves off from saving grace. A man cannot just do as he pleases, refusing to be moved by God’s saving, working grace, and then expect to go to heaven. That would be like the Israelites standing beside the parted Red Sea and whining to God, “This is salvation by works! Why are you asking us to do something? Why do we have to walk across? Why do we have to be baptized in Moses? Why do we have to pass through this water?” If they had stood there with that attitude Pharaoh’s army would have destroyed them. Sin and worldliness would have overtaken them. As Jesus would say, “Let the reader understand.”

A faith in God unaccompanied by obedience is not a saving faith, but a demonic one that takes selfish liberty in the name of God’s mercy. True “friends” of God demonstrate that they receive a true faith, and their actions prove it. For this reason water baptism can save a person without it being a work to earn salvation. For if the Holy Spirit works true faith in a person, there will also be, at the same time, obedience to what God commands. The man or woman who takes the prompting of the Holy Spirit and responds in a manner that God does not command is a rebel and liar. Such a faith cannot save them. If Abraham had tried to offer up a cow instead of his son, he would not have been called a “friend” of God. If a person refuses to obey God’s command to be baptized, but instead tries to earn his salvation with a canned prayer, he shouldn’t expect to enter heaven.

  • Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. (James 2:21–23)

True Legalism

Secondly, we find the group made up of legalists and “logical” thinkers. They form most of what we consider the mainstream Protestant churches—such as Baptist, church of Christ, Methodist, etc. Though many now embrace the foolishness of the Charismatic type churches, the majority remain very conservative and, in their approach to Scripture, greatly concerned with things like the “historical context” and the Greek or Hebrew. Like the first group, they claim something that they do not really have. They claim a belief in the Holy Spirit, but have no cross to make this a true reality. Such people very logically approach the Scriptures, and base their beliefs on human wisdom, not enlightenment by the Holy Spirit and a mind crucified by Christ.

As we have already seen, it is how we obey that determines whether a person has fallen into legalism. The test of legalism is not the number of Scriptures we obey but how we obey those Scriptures. Jesus condemned Bible study by human effort when He declared that many people refused to come to Him to have true life. Christians can “diligently study the Scriptures” but refuse to submit to the cross of Jesus, so their Bible studies and debates have no life. They are legalists that seek to obey Scripture apart from the power of Jesus Christ, even as they lay claim to that power.

  • You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. (John 5:39–40)

If a person seeks to obey by human effort or, in other words, if they try to use their own mind to apply Scripture to their life, they fall under legalism. On the next page is the Scripture that defines legalism. It is trying to apply the Bible to our own life in the best manner we can. Legalism is choosing how we view Scriptures and how we will apply them. It uses our own minds to understand and obey Scripture.

  • Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? (Galatians 3:3)

Everyone who goes to church obeys some set of rules or principles, which must be crucified. The only kind of obedience that counts is one that comes from death to self by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Legalists and logical thinkers do not want to give up their lives and follow the Holy Spirit in everything, so they turn to outlines, Biblical principals, and their own concepts of what Scripture commands us to obey. This is actually the kind of Christianity most people walk in, even though they may talk about being Spirit-filled. Legalism is merely a man taking some idea out of the Bible and seeking to live it in his own strength and understanding. Salvation by works is nothing less than living by godly principles or getting oneself pumped up from a sermon and setting out to live those principles. It is the Garden of Eden lived out all over again, where each man decides what is right and wrong for himself. This is true salvation by works and in the end it cannot save a person. Fig leaf faith will never cover our sin.

True Life

The third and last type of obedience is demonstrated by those who have found the narrow gate and walk the narrow road. They allow the Holy Spirit to crucify human effort in their life and do not rebel against the demands of grace. They understand that God’s grace provides the power to live the Christian life. Indeed, they see no excuse for not living it. True humility marks their walk, along with rich obedience.

  • His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3)

Look above again at what Peter wrote. The kind of faith that comes from heaven is loaded with power to obey. We have no excuse when we fail. We must admit our stubbornness and self-righteousness, for “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness.” The church today so easily shouts “legalism” because it overflows with rebels that have no honest desire to obey God by grace. The church claims to know God but, by their actions, prove the opposite and are “unfit for doing anything good.”

  • They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good. (Titus 1:16)

If anyone says they have faith in God but does not have a life full of obedience, then they do not have a faith that comes from heaven. Instead it is man’s faith, man’s opinion, man’s religion, and man’s idea of the Bible. That kind of faith is man working to follow Jesus—it is salvation by works.

God only gives the Holy Spirit to those who “obey him.” Obey “Him,” and not our idea of what Scripture says or what a denomination declares. Those unwilling to submit to God’s commands by saving grace simply do not have the Holy Spirit.

  • We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him. (Acts 5:32)

Only those who are willing to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit leading and instructing them daily, will find the New Life. All others are liars, thieves, and robbers trying to earn their salvation in some other way.

True Saving Faith

Can faith without deeds save a man?

Can faith without . . .

. . .denying self

. . .taking the Lord’s Supper

. . .hearing God’s voice

. . .baptism

. . .hating one’s own life

. . .despising the dollar

. . .prayer

. . .going to church

. . .taking proper roles in church

. . .watching what we watch

. . .giving to the poor

. . .watching what we say

. . .being led by the Spirit

. . .hating our father, mother, brother and sisters

. . .giving up all

. . .hair length that glorifies God

. . .becoming aliens and strangers in the world

. . .and all the many other Scriptures save a man or woman?

God, through James, has already given us the answer.

  • What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? (James 2:14)

So, finally, what is salvation by works? What is legalism? Simply, man trying to obey anything apart from the guidance and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. It is not the fact that a man obeys God’s commands in Scripture. To only claim that we are saved by faith, as currently understood by the church, is to deliberately ignore the Bible and rebel against how God defines His grace. Such belief rebels against God’s actual grace and mercy. What a heavy judgment will befall such individuals for they have trampled on the blood of Jesus they claim so strongly to have faith in. After all, mercy gives man time to repent, act, obey, and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Let us not sin against heaven itself by misunderstanding mercy.

  • The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

Let me recap again what we have covered, because those who hold to once saved always saved will inevitably try to confuse the issue. We are not saved by our works. Every true Christian can agree with Paul that works do not save us. We all agree that salvation is a free gift from God.

Most people have never really thought about the true meaning of “salvation by works.” They may have some vague ideas about trying to earn their salvation, but they rarely turn to Scripture for a true definition. The most common current understanding usually boils down to this: if you teach that a person has to “do” anything in order to be saved, then you preach salvation by works. We have already seen the blatant hypocrisy of such a statement. Even teaching that we just have to ask Jesus into our hearts still advocates that we “do” something.

We must accept on Jesus’ terms an understanding of what it means to trust Him for salvation, not what we wish He meant. “Trust” has come to mean just a shallow verbal acknowledgment that Jesus died for our sins. Nowhere in Scripture will we find such a concept. Even the demons know that. To trust or have faith in Jesus means that we obey Him by the power of the Holy Spirit as the cross is allowed to crucify self. To sum up our choices in the Lord:

  • Holy Spirit without Obedience = Rebellion

  • Obedience without the Holy Spirit = Legalism

  • Holy Spirit with Obedience = The New Life

  • Which choice will you make?

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