Reasonings Of An OSAS Teacher
January 10, 2012
I have had some correspondence with a Bible teacher over the last month over the issue of OSAS (once-saved, always-saved), and yesterday I received from him another email. (The original was in paragraph form, but I inserted my responses amid his comments, putting my statements to him in blue.) Since it was lengthy, I am pasting only the second half of it, though in a different format for easier reading.
**HIM: “When we move into the NT era, we see that people are saved by simply believing in and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.”
~~ME: The demons believe (James 2:19) and saw what happened –at the cross– to their power (Col. 2:15), but since Christ “became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him” (Heb. 5:9), the demons are not saved because they will not repent, trust, follow, and obey Christ. It’s that old wheelbarrow analogy over Niagara Falls. The one who has genuine belief / genuine faith will trust the tightrope walker to take him across the rope in the wheelbarrow. For as James 2:22 points out, our faith is made complete by what we do. Therefore, “You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.” (v. 24) For true saving faith, obeys Christ (John 14:15 and 1 John 2:3,4) and holds to His teaching. (John 8:31) Without this knowing God and obedience to Christ’s Gospel, everlasting destruction is in store, as 2 Thes. 1:8,9 make clear.
**HIM: “I see no statement in the NT that the salvation process includes a condition of obedience.”
~~ME: I am astounded that you say such a thing. There are multitudes of statements, but we could start with Matt. 7:21-23: Those who called Jesus “Lord” and even served Him (supposedly) by prophesying in His name, even doing miracles, Jesus said that because they were actually not doing God’s will, they would be refused Heaven. For only those who do God’s will belong to Christ (12:50) and will inherit eternal life. (1 John 2:17)
**HIM: “Indeed there are passages that state we should believe and obey, but they do not state that lack of obedience will result in a loss of salvation.”
~~ME: To not be allowed entrance into God’s Kingdom and to not inherit life, means no entrance into Heaven. Those in Luke 13:22-28 believed in Jesus and listened to His teachings. And though they stood outside pleading for Jesus to open the door, He sent them away on account of their evil deeds. (v. 27) For as Jesus warns, “Those who have done evil will rise to be condemned” (John 5:29) for ungodly actions “deny Him.” (Titus 1:16) Also, Heb. 10:26,27 is abundantly clear about it.
**HIM: “God certainly wants us to obey, and although we do not have a clear statement of promised blessings as we see in Deuteronomy 28, it is only reasonable to assume that our blessings (rewards) are dependent on our obeying Him.”
~~ME: Again I’ll quote Jesus’s words in John 5:29: “Those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” And as Eph. 5:5,6 say, “For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person –such a man is an idolater– has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.” In other words, “Being disobedient to God’s moral law reaps God’s wrath.”
**HIM: “We cannot keep the Law any more than could the Israelites.”
~~ME: Yes, we can, and we are commanded to do just that (God’s moral law, that is), but it is done in the new way of the Spirit. (Rom. 7:6 & 8:9) “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (Gal. 5:16)
**HIM: “In fact, Matthew 5, 6 and 7 multiply the commands of the Law exponentially.If you really believe you can always recognize when you have sinned and repent immediately to not lose your salvation, I feel you are sorely mistaken.In fact, God tells us in Isaiah that our righteousness is as used menstrual cloths to Him”.
~~ME: You can do a word study on “righteousness” and find that righteous acts done by the natural man, not those done in the Spirit, is what is being expressed in such passages. The righteous requirements of the law are fully met in those who live according to the Spirit. (Rom. 8:4) This is how we please God (v. 5-8 & 1 Tim. 2:2,3) –or how we “please the Spirit” as Gal. 6:8 puts it.
**HIM: “Even the best thoughts and actions you have are but filthiness to Him.”
~~ME: Not for the person who has been crucified with Christ so that HE is the one living in her. [Here I forgot to put the supporting verse I’d planned to put –Gal. 2:20.]
**HIM: “Who do you think you are?”
~~ME: I know that I am one who has been buried with Christ (Col. 2:12 & Rom. 6:4) unto a new creation, the old gone (2 Cor. 5:17), set free from sin (Rom. 6:6,7,18), a slave to righteousness (v. 18), to God (v. 22), and to holiness. (same verse)
**HIM: “Even Paul, in Romans 7, regrets that he does the very things that he does not want to do.”
~~ME: That is his description of himself outside of being rescued by Christ (7: 24,25) while still “a prisoner of the law of sin” (v. 23) and while “unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.” (v. 14) For as Jesus says, “Everyone who sins is a slave to sin” (John 8:34) and thus has no permanent place in Christ’s family. (v. 35) But the Good News is all about being set free from sin by Christ (v. 36) if we hold to His teaching (v. 31) and remain in Him through obedience. (John 14:23 & 15:10)
**HIM: “We do see Paul worrying that he not lose the race he is running, but this was certainly to not lose the rewards (blessings) promised to those who do obey. We see no statement of him fearing the loss of his salvation. Again, God is consistent in how He treats both OT and NT believers.”
~~ME: “The prize” in 1 Cor. 9:27 which Paul does not want to be disqualified for is He who is our Eternal Life (1 John 5:20) –in other words, salvation (Phil. 3:14), the “crown that will last forever.” (1 Cor. 9:25) Therefore, we must finish the course (2 Tim. 4:7), keep the faith (same verse) and do so “according to the rules” (2:5), for only “he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matt. 10:22) Otherwise, no victor’s crown will be received. (2 Tim. 2:5)
**HIM: “Have you ever wondered why God uses the idiom of “sheep” for mankind? Simply stated, sheep are stupid; so are we humans.”
~~ME: Compared to God, we are. However, I’d be careful when saying this, for “we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor. 2:16) The analogy of sheep is meant to teach us that we are to trustingly rely on the Good Shepherd who protects us, provides for us, comforts us, and trains us. And to remember that unless we “change and become like little children, we will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matt. 18:3) These are the sheep who listen to Christ’s voice, are thus known by Him, who follow Him (John 10:27), and as a result inherit eternal life. (v. 28)
**HIM: “We think that we are smart and on top of situations, only to find out that we are not. We may absolutely want to obey His commands, and we may earnestly try to keep them, yet He even sees our attempts at being righteous as filthy rags.”
~~ME: No, He does not. He encourages us and lovingly coaches us on.
**HIM: “You raise many interesting observations, and there are many other sheep who are confused by these statements. As I have said before, it is dangerous to embrace anything that has come out of the church of Sardis, and both Calvinism and Arminianism come from that period.”
~~ME: I hold to God’s Word. Whatever doctrines overlap with its Truth, is of no consequence to me.
**HIM: “I will continue to rely on OSAS because it makes eminent sense to me”
~~ME: Truth is our concern, not “fine-sounding arguments” –Col. 2:4– which even a good Jehovah’s Witness can present.
**HIM: “and because it is certainly consistent with what Scripture says about God and His love for us. I pray you seriously reconsider the very basics of His Word to us. It will not change your status as saved because I assume you spend endless hours repenting of what you think you have done,”
~~ME: Using Ps. 51 as a guide, I actually spend only about 5 minutes a day on this, asking Him to enlighten me as to anything I may have displeased Him about, for I try to walk in the Spirit continuously –which Christ has given us the power to do –2 Peter 1:3,4 & 1 Cor. 4:20 & Gal. 5:16,18,25– if we have been born of God. –1 John 3:9. The rest of my day I use to study His Word, pray, intercede, praise Him, worship Him, and serve Him.
**HIM: “but it will make your walk much better.”
~~ME: Yes, I progress daily with much joy, for Col. 2:11,12 is true of me: “In Him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with Him in baptism and raised with Him through your faith in the power of God…” If we are in Christ, we’ve been circumcised, meaning that the fleshly, sinful, natural man, with its passions and desires (Gal. 5:24) has been crucified (same verse & Rom. 6:6) and discarded. (Eph. 4:17-24 & Col. 3:3-10 & Rom. 13:11-14) It is our daily choice to walk in this freedom, this power, this new-creation life. Yet how many choose to do so? Few. This is why Jesus says, “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matt. 7:14) For it’s not just a gate, but a road; a road of daily choices.