Reposted from the Kineti blog and authored by Judah Gabriel Himango, one of Tabernacle of David’s teachers.
A local believing friend asked me,
“What’s your stance on once-saved-always-saved?”
And this person also asked,
“Do you believe in salvation by faith alone, or salvation through faith and actions?”
Candidly speaking, I consider these kinds of questions to be theological bikeshedding: everyone’s got an opinion, and none of them really matter.
Both questions could be sufficiently answered with, “It’s up to God.”
Here, let’s try it now:
Q. Is a person who was once saved always saved?
A. It’s up to God.
Q. Is a person saved by faith alone, or by faith and actions?
A. It’s up to God.
Wow, it really does work. (I wonder how many theological questions could be sufficiently answered – and schisms avoided – by the same answer…)
The personal opinion of a human being on whether the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe will do this or that is totally irrelevant.
My opinion doesn’t matter. Your opinion doesn’t matter. Evangelical Christianity and Orthodox Judaism and every religion on the planet – their opinions don’t matter. Because you know who decides which people receive eternal life?
Who’s opinion on eternal life matters? Jim Carrey answers.
Human behavior affected by view on eternal life
Our answer here doesn’t matter to God; our opinions won’t change God’s mind about who receives eternal life.
Still, there is value in these questions because the answer affects how people live.
If once saved always saved is true, then I can just live my life however I want and stop worrying about all those pesky commandments.
If actions don’t affect my eternal status, LAS VEGAS HERE I COME!!!
(Or as the Apostle Paul said, if eternal life isn’t real then “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”)
But if eternal life is real and my actions affect my eternal status, then my view about life after death matters; it will affect the way I live today.
So what’s the answer to these questions? What’s the Messianic position on these questions of salvation? Here’s my best stab at answering them from a Messianic perspective:
Answering Once Saved Always Saved
No. Saying a sinner’s prayer in 1973 doesn’t excuse a wicked life lived afterwards. I know of people who have walked away from God after once believing; when they die, they probably won’t be with the Lord.
Suppose I’m wrong (I hope I am!) – suppose God decides to save even the people that walked away in unbelief – OK, glory to God. But from what I know of God’s character from the Bible, God will probably judge those people, rather than reward them with eternal life. That precludes “once saved always saved.”
Answering Salvation by Faith Alone
Yes. The Bible shows that eternal life with God is a gift for anyone who trusts in Him. It’s not an entitlement of people who do good works.
That said, faith includes works. Faith is faithfulness. If you actually trust in God (“have faith”), then you’ll do what God said (“do works”). If a believer doesn’t do the things the Lord told us to do, that person probably doesn’t honestly believe in God.
Messiah’s last words in the Bible include, “Behold, I am coming quickly to judge every man according to his works.” If you believe that (“faith”), you’ll do what He commanded (“works”).
Our faith should make us better people. We are better people when we do what God told us to do. Keeping the 10 commandments is a good start. Messiah told us to expand on that and feed the hungry, clothe the poor, visit the sick. Those sorts of things are works. God’s people should be known by doing them.