Once Saved Always Saved teaching
Plus "Never Question Your Salvation"
There are essentially four different schools of thought on the "Once Saved Always Saved" teaching. The first is that once you have professed to know Christ, and have asked him into your heart, you are saved no matter what you do afterwards, and you should never question your salvation. Questioning your salvation is tantamount to saying, "I don't think that Christ's sacrifice was sufficient for covering my sins, and I have to add my own works to His sacrifice."
The second is that you can lose and re-gain your salvation over and over again by confessing your sins and turning away from them... until you fall again. At this point, you lose your salvation, and have to regain it by starting the cycle all over again.
The third view is that those who profess to have a knowledge of Christ, yet continue in the flesh were never truly saved in the first place. This is Biblical. The idea of false converts was such an important teaching that Jesus spoke on it many times. The Parable of the Sower is one such teaching about true and false converts.
In Mark 4, Jesus gives us the parable of the sower. When the Bible uses the words, "harken", and "behold", these are meant to say, "listen up! What I am about to tell you is important!" At the beginning of the parable, Jesus used both.
The Parable of the Sower: Mark 41 And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.
2 And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,
3 Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:
4 And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.
5 And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:
6 But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.
8 And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.
9 And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
10 And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.
11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
13 And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?
14 The sower soweth the word.
15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.
16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended.
18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.
21 And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?
22 For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.
23 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.
In verse 10, we see that the disciples did not understand the parable, so they asked about it. Jesus answered, "Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?" So we can see that the parable of the sower is the key to understanding the other parables. Once we understand that the parable is about true and false conversion, the other parables make sense. The wise virgins and the foolish virgins, the two debtors, the two sons, the unmerciful servant. All of these speak of true and false Christians.
The fourth view is that you can have salvation, but willingly turn from your salvation. This is similar to, but distinctly different from the second view. The second view on this is that you lose your salvation each and every time you sin. Since we cannot in this lifetime be free from sin, we would constantly be losing and regaining our salvation. The fourth view says that we can willingly turn away from our faith - It is a conscious decision to love the world rather than God. This can be supporsted by scripture as well.
Perhaps the clearest illustration of this is the parable of the unjust servant, found in Matthew 18:
Both servants were given forgiveness, but one deliberately chose to visit evil upon the one who owed him, rather than show that same forgiveness. Because of this, his own forgiveness, which had been given to him, was lost. This is not the story of one who "thought he was forgiven, but was mistaken". This was the story of someone who had complete and total redemption, but through his own actions, had it taken away.
The Bible also speaks of others who once walked as believers, but turned away. In these cases, the Bible does not say whether they were truly saved in the first place and turned away, or if they were false converts from the beginning. Demas was one. (1 Timothy 4: For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world)
However, the idea that we can lose our salvation lacks a certain logic, given the nature of God.
We know that God is omniscient. Nothing is hidden from Him, and he knows every thing that has ever happened or ever will happen. If God knows that we had faith at one time, but that we would lose it at some time, then He knows for sure whether or not we will continue or not, even though we don't. Does it make sense, knowing that God knows all things, past, present and future, would grant salvation to somebody who he knew would fall away? Why would He? He knew before He created the universe who would and would not be saved. To say that God would take away salvation is the same as saying that God made a mistake when He granted salvation in the first place. To say that God made a mistake is pure blasphemy.
However, given that we are finite, and do not have infinite wisdom, it is easy to see how we could be fooled into thinking that someone was truly saved, when they actually are not. We may see ourselves as saved, but not actually be saved. This is why 1 John gives us a clear illustration of what the behaviors, and more importantly, attitudes and heart condition of a saved person are, so that we will be able to determine whether we truly are in the faith. Our salvation is not conditional, but our assurance of salvation surely is conditional, just as the Bible teaches.
Given what the scripture teaches as a whole, I believe that we ARE saved once and for all, and that we cannot lose our salvation. However, teaching people not to question their salvatin because of this is anti-Biblical. (2 Corinthians 13:5) Because it is anti-Biblical, it is therefore dangerous. Those teaching the message are guilty of preaching a false gospel.