I attended a former church that believed once saved always saved. Their belief was that once you were saved you were born into the family of God. Once you were born of God you were a son forever and nothing could change that fact. Once saved you was Godís son no matter what may happen. There is merit to that reasoning for the bible says,
for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable. Romans 11:29
When we blend in other scripture we can make this a convincing argument with scripture such as,
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith ó and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of Godó Ephesians 2:8
However, in this church they used a human argument rather reveal it through scripture. Here on Earth, you can establish your own identity by the work you perform and those you choose to associate with. You can distance yourself from your parents and ignore them altogether, but regardless of what you do they will still be your mother and father. In a court of law, man has allowed children to divorce their parents, but even that does not break the genetic and biological ties that God has created.
It is evident in this church being saved relies solely on the relationship the member has with his or her Father in heaven. Yet in this church the need to repent is just as strong, and every Sunday you can hear the salvation message. However I question the need for preaching on the subject of backsliding and returning to the life of sin when they believe once saved always saved.
This church reason that those found in sin was never saved in the first place. This doctrine of once saved always saved is becoming confusing. Once saved always saved tells me that you canít lose your salvation but if you backslide itís a sin and you are in jeopardy of losing everything.
If there real need to preach backsliding there has to be a falling away from God. It doesnít mean you have lost your salvation but it does mean that you are a slave (a possession) of sin.
Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. John 8:34
Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey ó whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? Romans 6:16
This makes it possible to flip back and forth making it hard just to know who owns you life whether it be God or sin. In addition, the bible also talks of apostasy, which is the deliberate abandoning of your faith in God. Apostasy in on the order of defecting or the abandoning of your position in Christ to join the opposition. Apostasy is a doctrine that is seen as the great falling away prior to Christís return.
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition 2 Thessalonians 2:3 kjv
In regards to whom you obey, most everyone has heard the child that blatantly stands before you and says, you canít make me obey you, youíre not my father. In the same way when we sin are we not saying to God, youíre not my father? While this is easy to say most children disobey their parents to see how far they can go before the see their fatherís wrath. By nature a child is rebellious, we are stiff necked, arrogant and proud that is until our parents take corrective action. Jesus said.
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' Matthew 7:21-23
"If you love me, you will obey what I command. John 14:15
In addition when we first repented did we not give an oath to obey or serve God the rest of our lives?
In the Old Testament Israel parents had a duty to the camp and to God keep it pure and free from wickedness. The parents had the responsibility to guide their children into a life acceptable to God. Most of the children adapted to disciple and fared well in the camp, but others were the strong willed child that were more rebellious to the point they became uncontrollable. This is where the parents responsibility was almost unbearable for Godís instructions were,
If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard." Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid. Deuteronomy 21:18-21
Stoning the rebellious child seems a little harsh, but that is the way God deals with sin. Paul said, donít you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Evil starts as a seed and men are prone to peer pressure. When seed is planted in an environment such as the camp of God, that seed will grow and infect its environment. God is harsh on sin because it destroys the pure life he desires and makes the effort to keep. Stoning may be harsh yet it is a part of Gods plan to eradicate sin when he returns.
From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible. Rev 16:21
Stoning may be Godís way to cleanse the camp of sin, but it is also an effective method of inflicting pain and punishment on those who refuse to serve God. Today as in the days the Bible, God has rebellious children. It is natural for children to obey, retain respect and then display love for their parents. Any correction makes the children know that their mother and father love them and are deeply concerned about them.
Children do things that their parents have not trained them to do. Parents will not love their children any less after several warnings go unheeded. However, parents will disown their children and sever all relations with them when their children show no intentions of ever obeying them. These parents have been hurt deeply and want nothing to do with a son or daughter who has no respect for them.
However, God is different, it is not the person he hates but the sin he commits. God can not tolerate sin so anyone who causes sin and does evil is subject to his wrath. Yet his wrath is given in love to bring you to your senses and return you to his loving care. To God sin is disgusting and his son paid the horrific cost of bearing our sins on the cross of Calvary. Yet his wrath had the purpose of bringing you to your senses drawing you back to him where you found his mercy and forgiveness. And with his mercy and grace God gave you the right to be his child.
However birthrights can be sold for a mere pittance and denied by the father for shameful deeds. Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of lentils, Reuben slept with his father's concubine and lost his rights of birthright. Israel was the chosen people of God. but they rejected God by turning to idols for refuge. It was the continual sin of worshipping false gods after repeated warnings by his prophets and seeing no signs of repenting that God reacted to. God rejected them driving them out of his presence and allowed harsh taskmasters to scatter them throughout the Babylonian Empire.
Then doctrine of once saved always saved made sense the way this church believed it. However the idea that you will never lose you place with God is always balanced with absolutely no tolerance for sin. This doctrine has a lot of human logic that favors a strong and unseparable relationship with God the father. Still no matter how you say it sin separates you from God. The bible says.
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Revelation 2:4
People can drift apart when they do not see each other over long periods of time. Because being saved is a relationship with God you can drift from God for the same reasons. Your relationship with God is a commitment that will last an eternity and like the marriage relationship with your spouse demands upkeep. Keeping strong relationships is coupled with the desire to find new ways to be more intimate and agreeable.