Many of the older “once saved always saved” adherents believed, and some still do believe, that a person who has forsaken the Lord by living in egregious sin was never truly saved to begin with.
While I differ with this assessment, it certainly is true in some cases (see 1 John 2:18-19). Those who hold to this particular view of OSAS know in their hearts that a saved person has a responsibly to live for Jesus or else that person’s faith is not valid, and that is a good thing to believe.
This view is not the case with some of the modern day OSAS’ers, who have taken the teachings of eternal security to whole new level. By promoting a salvation which is completely free – freely given (and it is) and freely taken, with no responsibility to give anything back, not even obedience to the call to live godly – they have truly turned the grace of God into lasciviousness.
It’s truly amazing how some in this modern OSAS crowd have turned living godly into some sort of repudiated “works righteousness.” Yet Paul tells us in his letter to Titus that a person can claim to know God and deny him in their works. According to Paul, those who do so are abominable, disobedient, and reprobate (See Titus 1:16).
Those who teach this sloppy view of eternal security, advocate that faith should, but may not produce works of obedience. In fact, I once had someone who was defending this position say to me: “I do believe that a person is not born again due to his faith.”
Wait! You don’t even have to believe to be saved? If this is true, heaven will receive saved unbelievers! Where will such madness end?!
The Bible tells us that those who are saved are justified by faith, and according to scripture, the just (those who are justified by faith) shall LIVE by faith (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38).
In Hebrews 10:38 those who live by faith are set in opposition to those who turn back and depart from the faith, and concerning those who turn back, God’s word says: “my soul will have no pleasure in them.” Faith is not a onetime decision, but a lifetime commitment.
One of the reasons that this sloppy view of eternal security spreads so easy is because of the mixture of false teachers and Biblically illiterate debaters on social media who aren’t firmly planted in sound Biblical doctrine.
According to the Bible, doctrine isn’t what you believe (mentally assent to). Doctrine is what you live. If your life isn’t lived in a way that promotes what you say you believe, you are in deception. 1 John 2:4 says: “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
If your life isn’t lived in a way that promotes godliness, you do not have sound doctrine. For this reason, Paul tells us that those who teach or minister of God’s word must live godly and promote godly living in their teachings. Consider for example 1 Timothy 6:1-5:
Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, THAT THE NAME OF GOD AND HIS DOCTRINE BE NOT BLASPHEMED. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. THESE THINGS TEACH AND EXHORT. If any man TEACH OTHERWISE, and consent not to WHOLESOME WORDS, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to THE DOCTRINE WHICH IS ACCORDING TO GODLINESS; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. (1 Timothy 6:1-5)
Therefore, those who advocate the sloppy teachings of free grace without godly living, prove by their sloppy teachings that they are false! If folks would simply read the Bible, every argument of those who teach contrary to sound doctrine would be shut down. It would be like a walk off home run in the bottom of the 9th inning – GAME OVER!
There is no need to be confused about this. The book of Titus gives undeniable clarity on the issue. At the outset of Paul’s letter to Titus, Paul says that faith and the acknowledgement of the truth is ACCORDING TO GODLINESS in the hope of eternal life (Titus 1:1-2).
True faith in Christ leads a person into godliness, not as a requirement for salvation based on works, but as the fruit of a genuine faith. James tells us that we are to prove our faith by our works because faith without works is dead (see James 2).
According to Paul, the salvation which comes through faith leads to godliness, and this is the faith which leads to eternal life. Real faith is followed with spiritual fruit from godly living.
In Titus 2:1 we read that we are to promote the kind of living which reflects wholesome Biblical teaching. Titus 2 gives instructions concerning how older men, younger men, older women, and younger women are to live as believers in Jesus Christ.
In Titus 2:7-8 Paul tells Titus to be “an example of good works,” so that everything he did would reflect integrity which would give him creditability as a minister of the gospel.
7 And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.
8 Teach the truth so that your teaching can’t be criticized. Then those who oppose us will be ashamed and have nothing bad to say about us.
In verses 9 and 10 Paul gives instructions for how servants should live so that the doctrine of God will be adorned in all things.
Those who teach the sloppy error mentioned in this article do not adorn the doctrine of God with their version of God’s grace which they claim is freely given with no strings attached. Yet there are strings attached.
Consider Titus 2:11-15:
11 For THE GRACE OF GOD THAT BRINGETH SALVATION hath appeared to all men,
12 TEACHING US that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should *LIVE* soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, ZEALOUS OF GOOD WORKS.
15 These things SPEAK, and EXHORT, and REBUKE with ALL AUTHORITY. Let no man despise thee.
Ironically, it is Paul’s words elsewhere which are often taken and abused by those who promote a sloppy view of grace. Yet Paul tells Titus that the SAVING GRACE of God teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts by LIVING soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.
Those who oppose the necessity of godly living as evidence of our faith are in opposition to the very thing Paul told Titus to speak, exhort, and rebuke with all authority.
In closing consider the words of Paul to Titus in chapter 3:1-11. I have selected the New Living Translation for clarity.
1 Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good.
2 They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.
3 Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other.
4 But — When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love,
5 He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.
6 He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior.
7 Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.
8 This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings SO THAT ALL WHO TRUST IN GOD WILL DEVOTE THEMSELVES TO DOING GOOD. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone.
9 Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws. These things are useless and a waste of time.
10 If people are causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with them.
11 For people like that have TURNED AWAY FROM THE TRUTH, and their own sins condemn them.
Verse 14 goes on to say, “Our people must learn TO DO GOOD by meeting the urgent needs of others; then they will not be UNPRODUCTIVE.”
- Faith in the true grace of God in not a decision, it is a commitment.
- It is not a momentary highlight, it is a marriage instead.
- It doesn’t make you a spiritual welfare recipient; it makes you a productive citizen in the Kingdom.
- It isn’t a handout, it is a new life.
- It is not a get out of Hell free card. It is a call to be a disciple.
- It doesn’t see good works as legalism. It sees them as service.
- It doesn’t take. It gives.
- It doesn’t free load because of the cross, it lays down its life with the crucified Christ.
- It doesn’t look for a way to justify sin. It walks with Jesus and gains victory over sin.
- Heaven is not its ultimate prize. Jesus Christ, and conformity to him is its prize.
For more teaching on the topic of eternal security, follow the links below:
ANSWERING OSAS PART ONE: KEPT BY THE POWER OF GOD
ANSWERING OSAS PART TWO: JOHN 10:27-30
ANSWERING OSAS PART THREE: THE NEW BIRTH
ANSWERING OSAS PART 4: SEALED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT (PART 1)
ANSWERING OSAS PART 4: SEALED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT (PART 2)
ANSWERING OSAS PART 5: IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS
ANSWERING OSAS PART 6: DOES SIN AFFECT A BELIEVER OUTWARDLY ONLY AND NOT INWARDLY?
SAVING FAITH IS SOMETHING WE LIVE
DOES A SAVED PERSON HAVE TO STOP LIVING IN SIN?
DOES GOD CONVICT CHRISTIANS OF SIN?
THE BIBLE AND ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED THEOLOGY
ONCE FOR ALL
HEBREWS, A BOOK OF EXHORTATION TO BELIEVERS
IS PAUL MAKING AN EXCUSE FOR SIN IN ROMANS 7?
WERE PAUL AND JAMES ON THE SAME PAGE
FAITH THAT SAVES