One of the difficult doctrines to wrap one’s head around is the doctrine of eternal security monikered as “Once Saved Always Saved”. The controversy around this doctrine is the misconception that maintaining good works doesn’t matter. One can live as they want; after all they are saved. This misconception showed up in a conversation with a friend, who on the basis of Titus 3:8 pointed to me that “Receiving salvation should also be coupled with maintaining good works”. The text reads:
This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
You see, this friend holds a misconception that Once Saved Always Saved means a cavielier attitude towards grace. Now, it is important for all to understand that salvation is the complete work of God; It was initiated by God, and it will be sustained and brought to an end when we are glorified by God (Phil. 1:6; Jude 1:24). Many people seem to misunderstand the doctrine of works and perhaps Paul’s words “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12) has been erroneously interpreted by many to mean working to earn our salvation. It must be noted that works–good works– is always a consequence of the great work of salvation done by God in us. It is the fruit we show that we are saved and no believer worth their profession will think works can earn them their salvation.
Every regenerated child of God has or must have the longing and desire to live a holy life…if that is not the case that person we can argue is not genuinely born again. When you are truly saved by The Lord you are in a state of grace that will carry you through to the end of your life into glory. God is able to keep us to the end. This is an important element to understand the doctrine. Believers must work out their salvation not because of the fear of losing it but rather; because obedience is a hallmark of a regenerated life. Even what we call good works is initiated by the Holy Spirit who enables us to carry out those works and not us. There is no good in us but as scripture has said the Holy Spirit works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
Now, picture the relationship between a parent and their child. Under what condition will that child cease to be a child of the parent? Will they ever disown a child because of disobedience?Will a parent who loves their child throw her out and take their family name off? Would you? If we as earthly parents will not disown our children because of disobedience, how much more our heavenly father? Ephesians 1:14 tells us our salvation is sealed by the Holy Spirit.
In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory (Ephesians 1:11-14).
Those who are genuinely saved are those who bear fruits. There is always an evidence of the new birth in the life of the disciple of Christ Jesus. Fruit bearing follows along with being born again. It does not lead to the new birth but it stands with the believer after the new birth. “The Christian is Justified by faith alone but not faith that is alone” Luther said. Throughout scripture, the assurance of the believer’s security is outlined:
Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;(Hebrews 7:25-26).
Come to think of it, when the Sovereign God takes someone in His mighty hands the devil cannot take that person away from His hands. If Jesus died for us to be born again and for us to lose it then there is a problem. However, Scripture tells us “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
Once you are in Christ, there is no more condemnation. Your salvation is sealed.