As always when Disciples answer questions we get our answers from Jesus in the 3 Gospels and YHWH only: “For One is your teacher, the Christ…for One is your Father, He who is in Heaven…For One is your teacher, the Christ”. – Jesus Matthew 23.8-10
The quick answer is NO. Once saved always saved is not a thing in the sense that they use it. For the long comprehensive answer, keep reading.
Let’s start with defining the term ‘once saved always saved’. From the website that teaches YHWH is cool with rape, “Got Questions”. Here is their definition: “when people come to know Christ as their Savior, they are brought into a relationship with God that guarantees their salvation as eternally secure”. Other then Ezekiel 36.26, the verses they use to justify this are all from the added texts, they never once quote YHWH or Jesus.
But Jesus said,”For one is your teacher, The Christ”. Not two human teachers, not three, not four, one.
So let’s examine what they are saying. They place the whole of salvation on this action, “when people come to know Christ as Savior”. On another page they define what it means to receive Jesus as Savior:
- “When we “receive” Jesus, we take Him to ourselves and cling to the truth about Him.” Mental decision, no action, no works, no law.
“To receive Jesus as our Savior means we look to Him and Him alone as the One who forgives our sin, mends our relationship with God, and provides us entrance to heaven.” Mental decision, no action, no works, no law.
“To receive Jesus as our Lord means we let go of the lesser gods we have built our lives around.” Mental decision, no action, no works, no law.
“To receive Jesus means we acknowledge that He is who He said He is.” Mental decision, no action, no works, no law.
“To receive Jesus is to recognize that we are sinners separated from a holy God.” Mental decision, no action, no works, no law.
“To receive Jesus is to call out to Him in faith, trusting that only His blood can cleanse us from sin and restore us to a right relationship with God”. Mental decision, no works, no law. “Call out to him in faith”, this is an action.
So to the Once Saved Always Saved crowd, we are saved:
- By making mental decisions: In their words “we look to him”, “we let go of lesser gods”, “we acknowledge he is who he said he is”, “we recognize that we are sinners separated from a holy God”,
- By prayer: “”we call out to him in faith, trusting that only His blood can cleanse us from sin”.
So is this true? Does salvation come instantly upon prayer (“call out”) and making mental decisions?
Lets see what Jesus teaches.
The word for saved occurs 44 times in the 3 Gospels. Click HERE to see all the verses. Also, down below, we go through all the verses in the 3 Gospels. Some of the verses that are duplicates of what Jesus said, are left out. The 3 Gospels have many of the sayings of Jesus repeated in 2 or 3 of them. The word for ‘saved’ in the Greek manuscripts is Sozo, in the three Gospels it means 1. Saved Bodily: To be made whole physically, to be healed of a deadly disease. 2. Soul Salvation: To be saved from going to hell. To have eternal life.
The question at hand has to do with definition #2, going to heaven, saved from going to Hell,inheriting eternal life, saved from the wrath of God. Jesus answered direct questions about inheriting eternal life, he spoke about people who would be cast away at the Judgment, and how to be forgiven of Sin. We will go through the passages that have to do with eternal life, the passages where he uses the word ‘saved’ in the sense we are inquiring about, the people who are denied entry into the kingdom, and those who are cast away, and warnings about Hell.
Here are all the passages where “Eternal Life” is mentioned Verbatim:
Matthew 19:16-17 NKJV
Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
In this passage Eternal Life is something given in the future based on our keeping the commandments. From this passage being saved now is not possible. It will be determined later, namely at the Judgment.
Matthew 19:29 NKJV [also in Mark 10.30, Luke 18.30]
“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.
In this passage Eternal Life is something given at a later time. It is based upon people leaving family and lands they own “for My name’s sake”.
Matthew 25:46 NKJV
“And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
In this passage Eternal Life is determined at the judgment. At the Judgment those who have done certain works are called “righteous”, those who have not are called “cursed”, and cast away. Again we see Salvation coming at the Judgement, not before.
Mark 10:17 NKJV
Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”
Here is another instance of someone asking what can they do to inherit eternal life. Jesus gives the same answer, “You know the commandments”. Again Jesus attached Eternal Life to keeping the commandments. The man says to Jesus he has kept these commandments, then Jesus adds some more things. Here is the full passage:
Mark 10.18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ” 20 And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.” 21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” 22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. 23 Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
This is a passage often neglected or twisted by Christian leaders. Many are very wealthy, and have no desire to give up all or most of their possessions. The people saying “Once saved always saved” do so for a reason. They need that doctrine to avoid actually doing the things Jesus said to do. But we are Disciples of Jesus, and we actually do DO the things Jesus commands.
So then, according to Jesus in this passage, how can this particular person inherit eternal life? First Jesus mentions the commandments as he did in the other instance when this question was asked. Second Jesus commands him to “sell whatever you have and give to the poor“. Again, eternal life is something given at a later date, and it is based on what the man did and didn’t do, faith is never mentioned. The proponents of Once Saved Always Saved, say once you have put your faith in Jesus, you are saved forever and nothing can change that. This idea is absent totally from the mouth of Jesus. It was likely invented in the added texts in order to make the religion more popular. But all they did was create a different faith and not spread the Gospel as Jesus taught it. “When the Son of Man returns, will he find the Faith?” -Jesus The Faith Jesus taught is hard to find coming from the mouths of people who claim to be followers of Jesus.
Jesus continues by saying its all but impossible for a rich man to “enter the Kingdom of God”, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” If the reader is wealthy, and wants to inherit eternal life and enter the Kingdom of God, this passage should keep him up at night.
Luke 10:25 NKJV
And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
Luke 18:18 NKJV
Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?“
Again Jesus is asked this question. The question is possibly the most asked question people have for Jesus and YHWH. Hell is a horrible place, death scares many, and we want life to continue. Jesus answers the same way he did the other two times, by going straight to The Law and the commandments: “He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” Again eternal life is something given later. It is conditioned on keeping the commandments, not once does Jesus mention faith.
The most obvious place to go to see who will be saved is the passages that discuss the Judgement. We’ve already read how when asked 3 times how one inherits eternal life, Jesus brought up the law. From those passages we gather the actual acting of saving a soul is later determined. So what are the qualifiers to enter the Kingdom of God at the judgement? Let’s begin with Matthew 25.
- Faith and Grace are never mentioned.
- Jesus decides based on what people do.
- Salvation didn’t come before the judgement.
31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ 41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ 44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life“.
A Quick Run Down of all the other quotes, of or about Jesus, in the 3 True Gospels, with Sozo/Saved
Matthew 1:21 NKJV – “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” This doesn’t speak to when or how someone is saved, only that Jesus would save people from their sins.
Matthew 8:25 NKJV – Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” This is definition 2 of the word Sozo/save, it means to be save from bodily harm or from dying.
Matthew 9:21-22 NKJV – For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.” This is definition 2 of the word Sozo/save, it means to be save from bodily harm or from dying.
Matthew 10:22 NKJV – “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.” Its unclear if Jesus is talking about defintion 1 or 2 of Sozo. Verse 21 speaks of bodily harm.
Matthew 14:30 NKJV – But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” This is the same story as in Matthew 8.25.
Matthew 16:25 NKJV – “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it”. It’s unclear what Jesus means by this. What does finding and losing our life look like?
Matthew 18:11 NKJV – “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10 NKJV – “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” This is Jesus’ overall message. He is referring to the lost. He has come to save souls.
Matthew 24:13, 22 NKJV – “But he who endures to the end shall be saved. … “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” “No flesh”, this is talking about saving the body.
Matthew 27:40, 42, 49 NKJV – and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” … “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. … The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.” The are mocking him. This is referring to saving the body.
Mark 3:4 NKJV – Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent.” This is talking about the body.
Mark 5:23, 28, 34 NKJV – and begged Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.” … For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” … And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.” This is talking about saving the body.
Mark 6:56 NKJV – Wherever He entered, into villages, cities, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged Him that they might just touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched Him were made well.” The word Sozo here is in the english ‘made well’. This is talking about saving the body.
Mark 8:35 NKJV – “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” This is different than the verse in Matthew. The life is saved in this passage. In Matthew it is “whoever loses his life for my sake will find it“. This isn’t a discrepancy, these are two different things Jesus said. In this passage the ‘life’ is saved after death. And since it is after death, then we must be referring to soul salvation. The qualifier here is a person losing their life for Jesus and the Gospel. By going that, their soul is saved. Salvation in this case is determined when the martyr dies.
Mark 10:26 NKJV – And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, “Who then can be saved?” Matthew 19:25 NKJV – When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” This is referring to soul salvation. It doesn’t speak to once saved always saved.
Mark 10:52 NKJV – Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.” In this passage “made you well” is sozo in Greek. This is talking about the body being saved.
Mark 13:13, 20 NKJV – “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. … “And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days.” This is the same passage in Matthew which we already went over. “No flesh would be saved/Sozo”, this is talking about saving the body.
Mark 15:30-31 NKJV – “save Yourself, and come down from the cross!” Likewise the chief priests also, mocking among themselves with the scribes, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save.”. They are mocking him. They are referring to bodily salvation.
Mark 16:16 NKJV [see also Luke 8:12] – “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” This is talking about Soul salvation. The word ‘believe’ here is pistis, which in Greek means to Rely on, Lean on, Trust in, and Roll on. Pistis is a verb. Its a continuous action, not a one time event. In the parable of the sower in Luke 8:13, we read about people who believed and then fell away. This verse has been used for Once Saved Always Saved proponents. But no where in the text does this indicate that doctrine. We pistis/believe in Jesus when we trust him as out only teacher, as the Messiah. Trusting him as a teacher means we keep the law, we have compassion on people, we work as peace-makers, we desire righteousness, we repent, we share the Gospel. We also trust him to forgive us of our sins. We do this from the moment we enter the covenant. If we die believing in Jesus and we have been baptized, we will be saved.
Luke 6:9 NKJV – Then Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one thing: Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy?” This isn’t talking about soul-salvation.
Luke 7:50 NKJV – Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” In this passage, and in Luke 8:50, being saved in body is what is being referred to.
Luke 8:12 [see also Mark 16.16] “Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.” This is referring to soul salvation. Once Saved Always Saved people believe once you believe you are always saved. If you read this passage you will get to this verse: Luke 8:13 KJV “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.” As you can see, they believe for a while, and yet fall away. In Mark is says people who believe and are baptized will be saved. The combination of these two passages tells us that believing must be something continuous. It’s not a one time event. And if you believe and fall away, you will have to come back to believing.
Luke 8:36, 48, 50 NKJV -They also who had seen it told them by what means he who had been demon-possessed was healed. … And He said to her, “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” … But when Jesus heard it, He answered him, saying, “Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well.” Just like Luke 7:50, this is referring to the body being saved.
Luke 9:24, 56 NKJV – “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”
Luke 9:56 NKJV “‘For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.'” And they went to another village.” The context of this passage is bodily harm. Jesus is likely referring to the body being saved. If he is referring to both body and soul, this passage doesn’t speak to when and how someone is saved, only that he came to save men.
Luke 17:19, 33 NKJV – And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.” The body being saved.
Luke 23:35, 37, 39 NKJV – And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.” … and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.” … Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” This is talking about being saved bodily from the crucifixion that was occurring at that moment. They were mocking him.