Below is a letter I wrote to Pastor Tim Henderson that I emailed him the other day along with a few other teachers on youtube.
Once Saved Always Saved Versus Salvation through Obedience
I enjoy your teaching videos and am looking forward to the rapture taking place soon. I have also been watching the debate online about the “Once Saved always Saved” doctrine versus “Salvation through Works”. I wanted to offer my perspective on this subject, which is a little different then most and try to clear up the confusion on this topic.
I think this whole debate comes down to simply how we define the definition of works versus what I would call obedience. Pastor Sandy Armstrong has taught on this several times and explains it much better than I can, but I want to give it a shot. In my estimation works is something people do as a sort of extra credit when we get to heaven. I would define works as doing things like feeding the homeless, giving money to your church, helping your neighbor with a problem, going on a mission’s trip, sponsoring a child in need, donating food to a food bank, and there are thousands more. I think everyone would agree on both sides of the debate, that a person’s salvation is not based on this and nothing someone does to help others has anything to do with determining if that person is saved or not. As you know the bible does talk about rewards people receive in heaven for good works that they do, but no one’s salvation is based on these good deeds.
On the other side of the coin there is obedience to how God wants us to live. This in my view is not considered works, but a person’s obligations as a Christian. Think of it like this. If you forget to pay your electric bill one month the electric company might turn off your electricity, but you are not going to get any extra credit from the electric company if you pay the bill, just that your electricity will stay on. So, if you continue to meet your obligations such as paying your bills each month, doing the dishes after dinner, taking your kids to school, going to work everyday to provide for you family, and many others you will not get into trouble and generally stay in good standing with your family and friends in your life. These are obligations that people have, but no one will acknowledge these tasks that are everyday chores so to speak. Your wife will not give you any extra credit for paying the mortgage each month, but she might reward you in some way if you buy her flowers on a whim.
In the old testament if someone sinned, they would have to go and make some kind of sacrifice at the temple in order to atone for that sin. Jesus changed the old laws, but still said we must repent of our sins when we knowingly do something wrong. I would not consider repenting of our sins as a work, such as what I talked about in the 2nd paragraph of this letter. I think when a person gets saved, they have to make an effort to change their heart and try to change their lifestyle in order to live a Christian life and stay right with God. Again, I would not consider this to be works, but obligations we must live under in a Christian life. We are all going to sin and make mistakes, but we should not live in perpetual sin. God created this system to ask for forgiveness when we do sin in order to get back in line with Gods plan for our life.
I have people in my own family who said the salvation prayer when they were young, but have lived in perpetual sin ever since and have not made any effort to change their lives. These people openly reject Christianity and Jesus at this time and want nothing to do with it, but did say the prayer 20 to 30 years ago now. While only God knows for sure, I seriously question if they are saved now and if they would go in the rapture if it happened today. I pray for them every day that they will see the light and come back to Jesus as soon as possible, but they outright reject the notion of coming back to him at this time. I think it is very dangerous to say that you are saved and then go back to living as you were before, without making any effort to turn away from sin and change your lifestyle. I do not know about you, but I would not want to live that way and be in that boat, if the rapture takes place, or I die suddenly.
I suppose the other argument that can be made is that someone who said the salvation prayer, just speaking the words but did not really believe in their heart may not be saved. That could be another explanation for it. I believe that someone who is truly saved and has the holy spirit inside of them will make an effort to change from their old life and move away from perpetual sin as much as possible. It has certainly changed my life and I have changed a lot of things about my life since becoming saved back in 2011.
What I question about the “Once Saved Always Saved” teaching is if everyone who just says the prayer is actually saved in the end or not. Again, I believe there is a difference between works and being obedient to God’s system once a person is saved. I hate to see such disagreement with this issue with so many biblical teachers online. I respect everyone out there who is teaching the bible and how to be saved, but it is sad to see Christians disagreeing on this issue so much, because it is the most important issue in the bible above anything else. Let me know what you think.
Thanks and God Bless
PS- As always the first step to all of this is to become saved. In order to do that you need to accept Jesus into your heart as your Lord and Savior. It is very simple to do this and with all the crazy events happening in the world these days I would encourage you to do it as soon as possible if you are not already a believer. Just say the prayer below or something similar and believe it in your heart. If you truly believe it the Holy Spirit will then indwell in you from that moment forward. Once the holy spirit comes into you, it will start to change you from the inside out. This will be the start of your new life walking in Christ Jesus and living for him.
I am a sinner. Please forgive me. Come into my life and cleanse me of my sins and unbelief. I believe in you and in salvation through the blood of Jesus. I turn from sin and trust in Jesus alone as my savior. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
If you prayed that prayer for the first time, let me welcome you to the family of Christ, through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Please get a bible if you do not have one and try to get set up in a church or a group of believers in order to grow in your new life. We live in incredible times and I think we are very close to the final 7 years beginning, so there is not much time left of so-called normal life. Everything is about the change in a drastic way, so please learn as much as you can ASAP and get ready both spiritually and physically for what is coming.
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