THE BIBLE & ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED THEOLOGY

INTRODUCTION 

I grew up in a denomination that taught once saved always saved theology (AKA OSAS theology) and heard OSAS theology preached a lot. During my teenage years, after I came to the Lord for salvation, I made the decision to read my Bible.

As I read the scriptures, I read verses which appeared to be in opposition to the OSAS theology I was taught. I sought God because I wanted to know the truth. I was hearing one thing preached and reading another in the Bible. My prayer was, “Lord what do you say?” That prayer has been the foundation for my sincere approach to scripture over the years. Many times I have had to change what I previously thought or believed because I found out that I was wrong.

As a teenager I was insecure, and for me, OSAS theology was a welcomed way of thinking. I wasn’t looking to disprove it, not in the least. Yet, as I read the Bible with a heart seeking to know God, I would read verses that contradicted the OSAS theology I had learned. What was I to do? Should I have ignored those verses as if they weren’t there?

My only option was to seek God and find out the truth for myself because it doesn’t matter what I or anyone else thinks. I had to find the truth so I could believe itregardless if my current beliefs were right or wrong.

I am convinced that there is wrong thinking on both sides of the issue. Those who think a person loses their salvation every time they fail are just as wrong as those who think once you are saved, you can never harden your heart and become apostate in your faith.

We must be careful not to side with one group of scriptures at the expense of others. Anytime we turn a deaf ear to Bible texts which challenge to our current beliefs, we are deliberately choosing to handle the Word of God without the utmost integrity.

I am sure that those of you who believe OSAS theology also believe in a literal hell and eternal punishment for rejecting Christ. I certainly do. Imagine for a moment I did not believe in a literal hell or eternal punishment.

Now, imagine what it would be like if you were to show me clear undeniable evidence in the scriptures that hell is real and there is eternal punishment for those who reject Christ, and then, in response, I said: “God has reconciled all things to himself (Col 1:20). He has reconciled the world, and he does not hold our sins against us (2 Cor 5:19). He has dealt with sin by putting sin away (Heb 9:26). Therefore, no one is going to be punished for all eternity – everyone will be saved in the end.”

One who espouses Universalism might make such an argument. Yet it is error because the balance of scripture refutes any such private interpretation regarding the verses I presented above. If a person does not reconcile those verses with the immediate context and the whole counsel of scripture they could come away with the ideology ideas presented above.

The scriptures have much to say about our security in Christ but according to the balance of scripture, that security is conditional based on our continued faith in Jesus. In scripture, true faith in Jesus is never considered a one time believing experience.

CONTINUE IN THE FAITH

Throughout the New Testament, believing in Jesus means that we must continue in the faith. Consider Paul’s words in Colossians 1:

21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled

22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister…

Notice that Paul, writing to believers, says, we will be presented holy and unblameable and unreproveable in God’s sight if we continue in the faith and are settled, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel.

The hope of the gospel belongs to those who continue or persevere in the faith, because even after one comes to faith there are many temptations to forsake the truth.

Consider Paul’s admonishment to the Corinthians:

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures…  ~ 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

Notice that Paul says the following:

1. He preached the gospel to them.
2. They received the gospel.
3. They were standing in the gospel.

According to OSAS theology, God honors the original belief in him and we are saved even if we forsake him and live a life of egregious sin. If this is so, why does Paul tell the Corinthians that they are saved if they keep in memory, or hold fast to, what he has preached to them, otherwise they will have believed in vain?

Paul did not seem to think the original belief of the Corinthians would profit them if they did not continue in the faithPaul says they would have believed in vain if they do not hold fast to what he preached to them.

In John 8:31 Jesus said to the Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed. We must continue in the faith as Hebrews 3:6 and 14 also tels us.

We are his house, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.  ~ Hebrews 3:6 

We are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.  ~ Hebrews 3:14

As for God, he will never leave us or forsake us. The eternal life which he gives us is secure in him so long as we continue in the faith. No matter how difficult the road gets, and no matter how difficult our struggles with any sin may be, God will continue to be faithful to help us if we will trust in him. Yet if we harden our hearts, the possibility exists that we can depart from him.

PERSEVERING FAITH 

The scriptures teach that we are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation (1 Peter 1:5,) and when we see Jesus we will be rewarded for the end of our faith, which is the salvation of our souls (1 Peter 1:9). The scriptures never teach that we are kept by God if we stop believing. Neither do the scriptures ever teach that it is impossible to turn away from Christ after we have believed to him.

The concept that God will be faithful to keep us if we are faithless and no longer trust him is not a biblical teaching. It is a very deceitful concept.

In Romans 11 the apostle Paul says the following:

18 Boast not against the branches (the Israelites who did not believe). But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.

20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:

21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again. ~ Romans 11:18-23

I am not sure how anyone could fit OSAS theology into these verses. They tell us that we are not to be high minded  – prideful or haughty – but fear the Lord because if we do not continue in God’s goodness through faith we will be cut off.

There is so much in the new testament that refutes the notion that holding fast to our faith isn’t necessary. It is necessary and the concept it isn’t necessary is at the heart of the error in the OSAS theology.

The Bible teaches that we must continue in the faith and to teach otherwise is unsound and unwholesome doctrine.

THE WORDS OF JESUS

OSAS theology fails to be consistent with the rebukes Jesus gave to the churches in the book of the Revelation. For instance, Jesus says to the church in Ephesus, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love… ~ Revelation 2:4

If it were impossible to become apostate once we are saved, why did Jesus say this?

Consider the words of Jesus to the church at Sardis:

1 …I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.

Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.  ~ Revelation. 3:1-3

These words of Jesus in the book of the Revelation are consistent with his words elsewhere. Consider the following from the gospel of Matthew:

48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;

49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;

50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,

51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  ~ Matthew 24:48-51

These words were spoken in contrast to the servant who kept himself ready and was doing the will of God.  Now consider the words of Jesus from Luke 21:

34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.

35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.

36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. ~ Luke 21: 34-36

If OSAS is true, why were exhortations such as the ones above given? 

The New Testament gives many exhortations and prayers instructing us to be ready at the coming of the Lord. Consider the following:

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;

10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. ~ Philippians 1:9-10

Why is it important to be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ?

Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. ~ Revelation 16:15 

If OSAS theology is true, why do we need to be watching and keeping our garments: living godly lives in the faith?

1 John 2:28 says, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

Consider also the sobering message in 2 Peter:

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. ~ 2 Peter 3: 10-14

Why are such admonitions to be ready at the coming of the Lord given to believers if OSAS theology is true?

Why did Jesus threaten to spit the Laodicea congregation out of his mouth, and why did he tell them they were wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked, if OSAS theology is a true biblical doctrine? ~ See Revelation 3:16-17

If OSAS theology were true biblical teaching it would harmonize with Jesus’ message to the churches in Revelation, but it doesn’t.

God loves us and that is why he rebukes us, not to condemn us. Perpetual sin in the life of a believer will bring about a hardened heart and lead a person away from the faith, as the writer of Hebrews tells us.

12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. ~ Hebrews 3:12-13

SHIPWRECKED FAITH 

Paul tells us we are to hold on to faith and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck (1 Timothy 1:9).

Notice that the putting away of a good conscience, leads to shipwrecked faith. Can shipwrecked faith save us?

In 2 Timothy Paul speaks of Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have departed from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and destroy the faith of some. ~ 2 Timothy 2:17-18 

How is departing from the truth and destroying the faith of some consistent with OSAS theology?

In Galatians, Paul warns the believers that if they seek justification by the works of the Law, they will be cut off from Christ and will have fallen from grace.

How does cut off from Christ, and fallen from grace work within OSAS theology?

In 1 Corinthians 8:11 Paul speaks of a weak brother perishing because he is embolden to violate his conscience.

How does this work with OSAS theology?

Consider the words of the apostle Peter:

20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. ~ 2 Peter 2:20-22

Peter did not think it was impossible for a person to forsake the truth after coming to the saving knowledge of Christ. He later says the following in chapter 3:

17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.2 Peter 3:17-18

Whereas the KJV says, fall from your own stedfastness.” The New Living Translations says, lose your own secure footing.”

We are to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ so we will not be carried away and lose our secure footing. We have secure footing in Christ if we abide in him, but if we go away from the truth in Christ we can lose that secure footing.

James also tells us that if someone (a believer) among us, wanders away from the truth and is restored, whoever brings the sinner back (the one who fell into sin) will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins. ~ see James 5:9-20

All the scriptures which tell us of God’s power, and faithfulness, and love to keep us are true. They are strength to us, for he will never leave us or forsake us. He is faithful and these verses reveal God’s character. Yet, we must comply. We must continue in faith.

There is not one scripture in all of the New Testament which supports the notion we will be saved if we forsake the Lord. In fact the scripture tells us, if we deny him, he will deny us, and this is said to believers and not unbelievers.

11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:

12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.  ~ 2 Timothy 2:11-13

The Biblical view that we must continue is the faith isn’t bad news. God is faithful and he will keep us secure in him so long as we trust him – that is good news!

It certainly is good news because God gives us the grace to serve him if we will keep our trust in him. God will always uphold his promises. If we do not cast away our confidence, as the writer of Hebrews puts it, we will have a great reward.

SAVING GRACE 

Many of the older once saved always saved advocates 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 conclusion, it certainly is true in some cases (see 1 John 2:18-19). Those who hold to this particular view of OSAS theology 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 proponents of OSAS theology, 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 who hold to this extreme view of eternal security 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 yet deny him in their works. According to Paul, those who do so are abominable, disobedient, and reprobate. ~ See Titus 1:16

It has become so bad with some OSAS advocates, that belief in Jesus is no longer necessary for salvation once a person has been saved, thus Heaven will receive saved people who no longer believe.

On the contrary, 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 one time decision, but a lifetime commitment.

According to the Bible, doctrine isn’t what you claim to believe or 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 God’s word must live godly and promote godly living in their teachings. Consider for example 1 Timothy 6:

1 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, 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. 1 Timothy 6:1-4

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 works based salvation, 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 to be followed with the spiritual fruit of 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 about 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 show integrity, giving him credibility 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 eternal security with no emphasis on godliness as evidence of true faith, fail to adorn the doctrine of God with their version of grace. Yet the true grace of God teaches a person to live godly.

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 Savior 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. ~ Titus 2:11-15

Ironically, Paul’s words elsewhere 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.

WERE PAUL AND JAMES ON THE SAME PAGE?

Paul’s teachings regarding justification by faith is sometimes misunderstood because there is a tendency to interpret Paul’s view of justification based on a few random verses from Romans and Galatians.  However, Paul’s argument in those places is that justification does not come through the works of Jewish Law but through faith in Jesus Christ.

Paul did not teach a different message about faith than the one we read about in the book of James. Contrary to the belief of some, Paul did not view saving faith as a one time event which had nothing to do with how one lives afterwards. Paul believed that faith without works is dead just as the apostle James taught in his epistle.

Paul tells the Galatians, “I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain” and “I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.~ Galatians 4:11, 20

Paul says these things not because he was second guessing if they had actually believed the gospel at one time. Instead he says these things because they were not living according to the faith he had preached to them and taught them to live by.

In chapter 5 Paul says to them, “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.(v 7-9)

Paul affirms that they had been running well in their faith, but had since been hindered by the leaven of those teaching that they should obey Jewish law. The Galatians were having their faith undermined by the Judaizers who were attempting to make Jewish proselytes of them.

Paul did not teach the Galatians to simply pray a prayer and believe one time and “wa-la” they’d be in like flynn. Paul had taught the Galatians “the just shall live by faith.” ~ See Galatians 3:11

In Paul’s theology justification by faith in Jesus Christ is not a reference to a one time believing experience. It is a reference to living your life by faith in Jesus Christ.

When James says faith without works is dead, he uses examples of showing love and kindness as the works he is referring to. Paul says basically the same thing in Galatians when he says, “faith works by love.

Paul also agreed with James’ statement – “faith without works is dead” – when he says to Titus that those who “profess to know God but deny him in their works are abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” ~ Titus 1:16 

Also in 1 Thessalonians Paul speaks of “the work of faith.”

2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;

3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.

5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.

7 So that ye were examples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. ~1 Thessalonians 1:2-7

Reading Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians, and to Timothy, and to Titus, we can see that Paul did not think of faith as something that was merely a one time gift bestowed which had nothing to do with how we live afterwards.

It is error to think that Paul taught that there is a chasm between saving faith and faith we are called to live by. Paul refutes such notions much throughout his epistles. Paul did not teach that saving faith stands alone as an independent entity from faith which produces godly living. Saving faith is the faith we are to live by.

In Romans, Paul’s doctrine of faith is that we become servants to righteousness through belief in Jesus Christ.

16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.

22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life

23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  ~ Romans 6:16-23

Notice verse 23 (For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lordis not written within the context of a one time believing experience, but rather within the context of becoming a servant to Jesus Christ.

In Romans, Paul never communicates a faith that isn’t lived out, otherwise he wouldn’t have written chapters 12-16 which deal with living out our faith in practicality.

DOES A SAVED PERSON HAVE TO STOP LIVING IN SIN?

Here is  the opening comment of another persons’s teaching, addressing the question of whether or not a saved person has to give up their sin.

“The answer is no! You do NOT have to stop sinning to be saved. No one can stop sinning (Romans 3:23)! No one can live above sin-no one (Isaiah 64:6). Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. You do NOT have to give up anything to be saved except your UNBELIEF. However, you DO need to realize your sinful condition and “confess” (or admit) to God that you are a sinner, deserving to hell. This is Biblical repentance, i.e. “a change of mind.”

There is so much wrong in this one paragraph. The author of this article is actually perpetrating that Biblical salvation brings no real effective change into a person’s life. You would have to ignore thousands of scriptures throughout the Bible to believe such ideology.

Allow me to begin with his opening comment; “you do not have to stop sinning to be saved”. Compare this comment with the following verse from Romans 6:

1 What shall we say then? shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? ~ Romans 6:1-3

Biblical salvation is a call to live a holy life. ~ See Titus 2:11-15: 1 Peter 1:13-18.

Secondly, the author peddles an ideology which is very pervasive among some Christians and that is the concept that no one can stop sinning. He references Romans 3:23 to support this notion. Yet Romans 3:23 has nothing to do with whether or not a believer in Jesus Christ can stop sinning. Romans 3:23 is a reference regarding Jews and Gentiles alike, as sinners, in need of salvation. It is a reference to the unsaved, not those who have been born again.

We see from Paul’s comments (Romans 6:1-3 above) that we are not to continue in sin once we have experienced the grace of God.

The author of the aforementioned article continues by saying, “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. You do NOT have to give up anything to be saved except your unbelief.”

He is, in essence, peddling the idea that Biblical salvation brings no real change into a person’s life. According to his doctrine, a person could go on living as an adulterer, an ax-murderer, or a blasphemer. There is no end to how far someone might take such teachings.

In view of this author’s comments, notice what Paul continues to say throughout Romans 6:

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

For he that is dead is freed from sin.

Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:

Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.

22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. ~ Romans 6:4-23 

Finally the concept that repentance means to “change your mind” is misleading within the context of how it is used by the author whose teaching is being refuted. He is not teaching Biblical repentance, but mental assent which brings about no fruit unto holiness. True Biblical repentance brings a change of heart, resulting in a holy lifestyle.

Notice Romans 6:17 again:

But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.


KEPT BY THE POWER OF GOD 

If once saved always saved were true, God would have provided a salvation through Christ which is in opposition to his holy and righteous character. Such salvation would prove to be unfaithful to the holiness and righteousness of God, for God would be obligated to permit iniquity into his eternal Kingdom.

The Kingdom of heaven would then be filled, not only with faithful believers in Jesus Christ, but also with those who chose to become blasphemers, murders, adulterers and the such like after their initial faith which they had since denied.

Those who advocate once saved always saved doctrine will often cite 1 Peter 1:5: Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

From this verse, the OSAS’ers focus on the phrase: kept by the power of God. Yet according to the context it is the obedient children of God who are kept by the power of God, and when we see Jesus we will rewarded for the end of our faith, which is the salvation of our souls. ~ See 1 Peter 1:9

The apostle Peter tells us in 1 Peter 1:2 saved people are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father by the sanctifying work of the Spirit TO BE OBEDIENT to Jesus Christ and to be sprinkled with His blood. (Amplified Bible)

The gift of salvation and the call to obedience to Jesus Christ are inseparable in the New Testament. God calls his people to obey him through Jesus Christ. Those who submit to Jesus and follow him receive saving grace and their sins are washed away.

God does not save anyone who refuses to obey Jesus. In view of the saving grace which comes through Jesus Christ, Peter tells us the following:

13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

16 Because it is written, be ye holy; for I am holy. 

17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear (the fear of the Lord):

18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

22 Seeing that you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. ~ 1 Peter 1:13-23 

Obedience to Christ does not mean that we live in such a way that we are under condemnation when we fail, because we are all going to fail from time to time. Obedience to Jesus means that we choose to follow him and we live as followers of Jesus seeking to do God’s will and to please him.

THE PROMISE OF ETERNAL LIFE

Having been raised in a church denomination which often taught once saved always saved theology, I became familiar with John 10:27-29

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. ~ John 10:27-29

These verses are often used by those who teach OSAS theology, and  I’d dare say that these verses are the “go –to” text more than any other when defending OSAS teachings. Those who cite these verses make their case by appealing primarily to verses 28 and 29. They claim that in these verses is the promise of unconditional eternal security.

With this in mind, let’s look again at verses 28-29.

28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

The problem with citing these verses as evidence of unconditional eternal security is that those who do so actually do so in view of a one time believing experience. Yet the context of Jesus’ words does not apply to those who have had a one time believing experience. Instead, they apply to those who follow Jesus. Consider verse 27:

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me

The eternal life promised by Jesus in John 10:27-29 is said within the context of the Shepherd and the sheep. A sheep that follows the shepherd will be safe. A sheep who wanders away from the shepherd will not.

Those who follow Jesus have eternal life, and they are the ones who are securely held in his hand and in his Father’s hand. Jesus is the good Shepherd and he will keep us in his care if we follow him. If we do not follow him, there is no promise of eternal security.

Consider the following from John 8:

30 As he spake these words, many believed on him. 

31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, if ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. ~ John 8:30-32

One does not have the promise of eternal life through a one time believing experience if he refuses to become a disciple. The promise of eternal life applies only to those who follow Jesus.

He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
Matthew 10:38

THE NEW BIRTH & SANCTIFICATION 

The theology known as once saved always saved is founded on human logic rather than on Biblical truth, especially when addressing what it means to be born again. One popular argument claims that you cannot be unborn once you have been reborn. Therefore you cannot lose out in your relationship with God.

The twin sister to this argument is the argument that salvation is a gift freely given with no strings attach. Therefore, those who receive this gift are under no obligation to live a set apart life for God. Therefore the gift of salvation is offered entirely as a free gift apart from sanctification.

This is not so according to the apostle Peter.

22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.  ~ 1 Peter 1:22-23

The purifying of your soul through obedience in verse 22 and being born again in verse 23 are two descriptions of the same thing. Thus salvation is not a separate issue from sanctification but the beginning of a life of sanctification.

Those who claim that a person can be saved without sanctification at work in a person’s life are teaching Biblical error and promoting false conversions.

The language “born again” and “born of God” is employed by the apostle John more than any other writer in the new testament. In fact, the other new testament writers use this language very little in reference to salvation. Therefore if we wish to get a handle of what it means to be born again we need to examine the writings John in the new testament.

Consider the following from 1 John:

If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. ~ 1 John 2:29

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit (habitually practice) sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot (habitually practice) sin, because he is born of God. ~ 1 John 3:9

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. ~1 John 4:7

Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. ~1 John 5:1 

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. ~1 John 5:4

We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not (does not habitually practice sin); but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. ~1 John 5:18

As you can see, every one of these scriptures speak of being born again in view of sanctification. Notice the immediate context surrounding 1 John 3:9

He that committeth (habitually practices) sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit (habitually practice) sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot (habitually practice) sin, because he is born of God.

10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. 1 John 3:8-10 

The very thing that many OSAS’ers defend as having no bearing on a person’s salvation –habitually practicing sin– is the very thing that distinguishes the children of God from the children of the devil.

SEALED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT (Part One)

A wonderful promise given to believers in Jesus Christ is the promise of being sealed with the Holy Spirit  ~ See 2 Corinthians 1:22; & Ephesians 1:13; 4:30.

In Ephesians 1 we read the following:

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

11 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:

12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

13 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 the holy Spirit of promise. ~ Ephesians 1:7-13 

Does being sealed with the Holy Spirit mean that after a person has a one time believing experience, eternal security is unequivocally promised, even if a person chooses to abandon his faith and live an egregiously sinful life?

Those who defend OSAS theology will sometimes take the phrase, sealed with the Holy Spirit, and argue that the seal cannot be broken, even though the text itself does not make this argument.

The words in Ephesians 1:7-13 say absolutely nothing regarding eternal security as advocated by those who teach once saved always saved theology. How then should we interpret the meaning of being sealed with the Holy Spirit?

To begin, it would behoove us to read other scriptures which speak of being sealed with the Holy Spirit, especially any others that would appear in the same letter. Do we have any such verses? Yes we do.

Ephesians 4 warns us to “grieve not the Holy Spirit whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). The questions we must ask then are these: (1) What grieves the Holy Spirit? (2) What are the consequences of grieving the Holy Spirit?

Let’s begin with the question, What grieves the Holy Spirit?

Obviously forsaking Christ and living in sin would grieve God’s Spirit, and with this in view let’s consider the wider context of Ephesians 4:30 beginning with verse 17 through the end of the chapter.

17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 

18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 

20 But ye have not so learned Christ; 

21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 

22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to deceitful lusts; 

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 

25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.

26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

27 Neither give place to the devil.

28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. ~ Ephesians 4:17-32 

At this point it would be profitable to recognize that the conduct of the old man grieves the holy Spirit with whom we are sealed. Therefore we are told to put off the old man and put on the new which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

At the very least we can conclude at this point that Paul is not relaying the message that a person can live in a way that grieves the Holy Spirit with no worries regarding his salvation. There is absolutely nothing in Ephesians which communicates this belief.

Now let’s go on and consider what Paul says on the other side of the Ephesians 4:30 as we read into chapter 5. Keep in mind that the instruction to “grieve not the holy Spirit whereby you are SEALED unto the day of redemption,”is within the context of what we just read and what we are about to read.

Consider verses 1-17.

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;

Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. ~ Ephesians 5:1-17

If nothing else, the honest reader ought to be able to come to the conclusion that Paul is in no way advocating that a person can live ungodly because the seal whereby they were sealed cannot be broken. There is absolutely nothing within the book of Ephesians which supports such a conclusion. The flow of thought is quite the opposite.

SEALED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT (PART 2)

In Part One we saw that the train of thought in Ephesians regarding being sealed with the Holy Spirit has nothing to do with the promise of eternal security for those who forsake God and live ungodly. The train of thought is to live a life of  godliness, in righteousness and true holiness because we are sealed with the Holy Spirit.

The scriptures do not say we are sealed with eternal security, but rather sealed with the Holy Spirit. It is a twisted way of thinking to claim that a person can live in adultery, or be a child molester, or a sex trafficker, or a murderer and have eternal life because they are sealed with the Holy Spirit.

Remember it is the Holy Spirit with whom we are sealed and our life should reflect His influence and not be lived according to the old person we were before we were saved.

In 1 Timothy 2:19, we read the following:

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

Consider also the following from 1 Thessalonians 4:

For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. 

He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit. ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8

Notice, according to 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8, we are not to despise the call of God unto holiness. Paul says emphatically that God has not called us to uncleanness but to holiness instead, and if anyone despises this, they are despising God who has given us His Holy Spirit.

In view of such statements, and the context of Ephesians, wherein we read of being sealed with the Holy Spirit, we can conclude that nowhere is Paul, or any New Testament writer promoting that anyone will be saved if they live in a way that despises God’s call to live holy.

Now consider these words from Hebrews 10:

28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherein he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. ~ Hebrews 10: 28-31 

Notice that in Hebrews 10:28-31 (above) those referenced are Christians who turn away from the Lord, for they had been at one time sanctified by the blood of the covenant, but had despised the Spirit of grace.

This does not mean that all backslidden people are beyond the reach of God’s mercy and grace because James tells us; “brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20)

The warnings in Hebrews reveal that a person can turn away from the faith completely if they so chose. Consider Hebrews 6:

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. ~ Hebrews 6:4:-6

There are those who are backslidden, who come to repentance and there are some who knowingly turn away completely. Notice the qualifications concerning these as mentioned in Hebrews 6:

1. They were enlightened (they heard the gospel and were convicted).

2. They tasted the heavenly gift (this is salvation, for Jesus is the heavenly gift).

3. They were partakers of the Holy Spirit (they walked in the fullness of the Spirit).

4. They had tasted the good word of God (they were spiritually mature having gone beyond the milk of the word).

5. They had tasted the powers of the world to come (Hebrews 2:4-5 refers to “signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost” as that which has to do with the world to come. So God’s power was evident in their lives).

Nowhere in scripture is the ideology taught that a person who chooses to live unholy and ungodly by despising God’s call to holiness, has eternal security simply because of a one time believing experience.

Consider again Romans 6:17- 23.

17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness

19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.

22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. ~ Romans 6:17- 23

IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS 

One of the many errors of the modern day once saved always saved theology is the belief that the saving grace of God is a free gift with no obligation to live for Jesus.

This version of the free gift of grace is accompanied with the belief that the personal righteousness of Jesus is imputed at the time of a one time believing experience, and all who receive this imputed righteousness have it regardless if they live a godly or godless life.

In this theology, it is possible for one who has been “once saved” to live as an adulterer, a child molester, a sex trafficker, an ax murderer, a blasphemer, a drunkard, a drug war Lord, etc.., and still have eternal life, because the gift of saving grace and the imputed righteousness of Christ is irrevocable.

Consider what has just been said. In this theology, an adulterer, a child molester, a sex trafficker, an ax murderer, a blasphemer, a drunkard, and a drug war Lord, are exempt from condemnation for their sins because they have Christ’s righteousness imputed to them, even while they are doing such things.

In contrast to such perverse theology, consider again 1 John 3:7-10

7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

8 He that committeth (habitually practices) sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 

9 Whosoever is born of God doeth not commit (habitually practice) sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot (habitually practice) sin, because he is born of God.

10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. ~ 1 John 3:7-10 

Those who teach imputed righteousness apart from faithfulness to Jesus teach serious and egregious error. There is no freeloading on the righteousness of Jesus Christ for those who love their sin and refuse to give it up.

DOES SIN AFFECT A BELIEVER OUTWARDLY ONLY AND NOT INWARDLY?

Here is a quote from someone commenting on 1 John 3:9 in defense of OSAS theology: “Outwardly one can sin, but their soul doesn’t sin. That’s why they cannot sin; their inner being does not sin.”

This is the kind of conclusion that a person comes to based on eisegesis (interpreting a text or portion of text in such a way that the process introduces one’s own presuppositions,) rather than exegesis (interpreting the text based on the context).

The explanation above “outwardly one can sin, but their soul doesn’t sin” is a mystical belief and nowhere in the flow of thought in 1 John.

The words, commit sin, actually means habitually practices sin. Other good translations of the Bible, such as the Amplified Bible, bear this out, as well as a thorough reading of 1 John.

In 1 John he that commits (habitually practices) sin is set in opposition to the one who habitually practice righteous living. Consider the immediate context:

7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

8 He that committeth (habitually practices) sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

9 Whosoever is born of God doeth not commit (habitually practice) sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot (habitually practice) sin, because he is born of God.

10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. ~ 1 John 3:7-10

As you can see, it has nothing to do with any sort of concept that your soul or spirit cannot sin. It actually is referring to your conduct and actions.

With regards to sin not being able to affect a person’s soul, Paul tells the believers at Corinth “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” ~ 2 Corinthians 7:1

Notice that Paul tells them to cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. The letters of first and second Corinthians were written to believers and not to a mix of believers and unbelievers. Notice that Paul includes himself in the statement above, using the pronoun us“let us cleanses ourselves…”

In 1 Corinthians Paul had rebuked the Corinthian believers for allowing fornication of go on in their midst. In 2 Corinthians, after they repented and dealt this sin, Paul writes the following:

For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.

Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.

10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter. ~ 2 Corinthians 7:8-11 

Notice that the repentance of the Corinthians had an effect on their spiritual disposition. Sin absolutely does have an effect on our soul, that is why we need cleansing with the precious blood of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit when we sin.

Consider also 1 Thessalonians 5:23:

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Notice that Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians was that their whole spirit, soul and bodies would be preserved blameless until the coming of the Lord.

In the book of the Revelation, Jesus said the following to the church at Sardis:

2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shall not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shall not know what hour I will come upon thee.

4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.

5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. ~ Revelation 3:2-5 

Notice that some of these had defiled their spiritual garments and Jesus had not found their works perfect in the sight of God. Now, going back to 1 John notice the reference to works:

VERSE 8: He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the works of the devil.

VERSES 9-12 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit (habitually practice) sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot (habitually practice) sin, because he is born of God.

10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.

The works being referred to by John are our actions. John goes on to say the following:

13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.

14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.

15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. ~ 1 john 3:10-15

Sin affects the whole man, not just outwardly.

DOES GOD CONVICT CHRISTIANS OF SIN?

Does the Holy Spirit convict the believer of sin?

Some claim that He doesn’t and even go as far as to say that God no longer sees any of our sins. Is this claim supported by the scriptures?

Allow me to ask the following question:

Was the Apostle Paul inspired by the Spirit of the Lord to write to the Corinthian Church?

Certainly he was.

If God doesn’t see the believer’s sins and the Holy Spirit doesn’t convict believers of sin, why did God, through His Holy Spirit, inspire Paul to address the sin of fornication within the church at Corinth? Why did Paul, inspired by God, rebuke the Corinthians for not grieving because this severe sin was in their midst?

In 1 Corinthians Paul says: It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. ~ 1 Corinthians 5:1-2

Then in 2 Corinthians Paul says the following:

8 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season.

9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.

10 For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world works death.

11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter. ~ 2 Corinthians 7:8-11

So I ask again, was Paul inspired by God to deal with the issue of sin among the Corinthian believers? If so then God knew about their sin and admonished them to deal with it, therefore it is scriptural to say that the Holy Spirit will convict a believer who is in sin.

ONCE FOR ALL

The author of Hebrews places emphasis on the finished work of Christ and refers to it as once and for all. Does this mean that those who have been saved can’t err from the truth and be entangled again in sin?  Not exactly, for the Book of Hebrews would then contradict its own exhortation?

Contextually, the putting away of sin and the once for all references have to do with the superiority of the New Covenant in contrast to the Old: with the permanency of the finished work of Christ in contrast to the imperfect atonement under the Law which was merely as shadow of things to come.

Notice the following from Hebrews 7.

25 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.

26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

28 For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore. ~ Hebrews 7:25-28 

Notice also the following from Hebrews 10.

10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:

12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God… ~ Hebrews 10:10-12

The blood of animals could not purify man’s conscience in the sight of God and those offerings were not sufficient to provide lasting atonement for all sin, therefore atonement had to be made annually for the nation, and daily, for individuals. Furthermore, those sacrifices could not take away sin and cleanse the conscience from guilt. Jesus’ sacrifice, however, provided atonement once and for all. His sacrifice is perfect and avails forever.

Again, Christ’s sacrifice being, once for all, does not mean that God can’t see our sins. It does not mean that we do not need to repent when we know we have sinned. It simply means that there is no longer any need for offerings for sins. Jesus’ sacrifice will cleanse us and keep on cleaning us when we sin if we continue in faith towards Christ.

Jesus is a priest forever after the order of Melchisedek (He is both Priest and King seated at the right hand of the Majesty on High). There will never, ever, be a need for another sacrifice or another priest. In fact, the Book of Hebrews tells us that if we go on sinning (living in sin and rejecting Jesus) after we have received the knowledge of the truth there is no more offering for sin.

Jesus’ ministry as our priest is unlike those who were ordained under the Law: He does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this first for their own sins and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins. ~ Hebrews 7:27

HEBREWS, A BOOK OF EXHORTATION TO BELIEVERS

Many view the book of Hebrews as a doctrinal book and it does contain many very helpful doctrinal truths but in the mind of its author, it was a letter of exhortation to believers. In 13:22 he says, I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto YOU in few words.”

Notice that the author of Hebrews addresses his epistle as an exhortation to the brethren.

He does not say exhortations (plural) but exhortation (singular). Why is this important? It is important because some who choose to hold to OSAS theology dismiss the warnings given in Hebrews, claiming that Hebrews was written to a mixture of saved and unsaved Hebrew people.

They claim that as a fellow Hebrew, the author refers to the saved and unsaved as brethren and therefore we must determine to whom the writer is speaking in a particular verse based on its content.  Therefore if it’s a warning, the conclusion is that verse pertains to unbelievers. If it is encouraging, that verse belongs to believers.

Quite honestly this is not only a strange way to interpret scripture, it is very telling of the how far those who embrace OSAS ideology will go to make the words of scripture fit into their way of believing.

First, those who take such a position make the assumption that the book of Hebrews was absolutely written by a believing Hebrew Christian such as Paul. While I personally believe that Hebrews was most likely written by Paul, and if not by Paul, certainly a believing Hebrew, there is no definitive evidence that this is so, because, historically, the author is unknown.

Those who claim that the writer of Hebrews uses the term brethren as a description of his fellow Hebrews (saved and unsaved) eliminate any possibility that Hebrews could have been written by a Gentile believer. There is no hard evidence which supports this.

Secondly, the belief that the author uses the term brethren to refer to saved and unsaved Hebrews alike, simply does not work with the letter itself. No good communicator would ever craft a letter wherein the recipients had to break it apart to figure out to whom he is speaking based on what he’s saying in a particular sentence as he goes back and forth from one group to another. The entire reasoning is flawed.

When we consider the content of the book of Hebrews we can conclude that it was written before the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. because the writer of Hebrews makes reference to the temple service, the priests, and the sacrifices in the present tense. In the present tense, he makes a comparison between the superiority of Jesus’ ministry in the heavens (in the greater and more perfect tabernacle) in contrast to that which was on earth (which only served as a shadow and an example) to point men to Christ.

Many who continued in the old Jewish system rejected the Christian faith and persecuted the Jewish Christians. We see this play out in Paul’s ministry in the book of Acts. In Hebrews 10, the writer of Hebrews addresses it as well.

32 Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering.

33 Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and were beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things.

34 You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever. ~ Hebrews 10:32-34 (The New Living Translation)

According to the author, his audience had suffered for their faith in Christ.

In chapter 2, he tells them that they are sanctified by Jesus as brethren to Christ and as the church. He goes on to say that Jesus is a faithful high priest for them: his brethren.

In 3:1, the author of Hebrews addresses his audience as holy brethren and partakers of the heavenly calling. He tells them that Jesus is the apostle and high priest of their profession of faith. This would no doubt be believers and not unbelievers.

Nowhere in the entire letter is he talking to unbelievers. He calls them brethren throughout the letter (2:11, 12, 17; 3:1, 12; 7:5; 10:19; 13:22). He also includes himself by using the pronouns we (51 times) us (31 times) and our (16 times). He also refers to his audience as “beloved” in 6:9.

The author of Hebrews tells them they are partakers of Christ’s house if the hold fast to the faith (3:6,14). In chapters 5 and 6 he admonishes them to move on from the elementary stages of the Christian faith to maturity.

12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Hebrews 5:12-14 

According to the author of Hebrews his audience was still living as babes in Christ in their spiritual growth and unable to teach others because they were not yet skillful in the word of righteousness. In chapter 6, he urges them to move on to perfection (i.e., spiritual maturity).

He admonished them regarding those who turn back (6:4-5) and declares that he is persuaded differently about them:

For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:

But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.

But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. Hebrews 6:7-9

Verse 9 (above) speaks volumes of the author’s view of those to whom he is writing. Though he gives them repeated warnings concerning the danger of apostasy, he constantly affirms them as believers and admonishes them to continue going forward. Notice verses 10-12 which follows the previous verses of Hebrews 6:7-9 above:

10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:

12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. ~ Hebrews 6:10-12 

Again, notice how the author of Hebrews mixes admonition with encouragement; encouragement that God has not forgotten, and admonishment not to give up but to preserver until the end.

Exhortation mixed with admonition is weaved all throughout the letter to the Hebrews as he repeatedly explains and admonishes them concerning the importance of perseverance in the faith.

Later in his letter, in chapter 11, he speaks of many of the old testament saints who persevered in faith, referring to them as a great cloud of witnesses as he urges his audience to lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets them. He tells them run with patience the race set before them as they look to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.

He admonishes them concerning the chastisement of the Lord which comes through in the stern warnings given in his letter as he reminds them to whom they belong:

18 For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,

19 And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:

20 (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart:

21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)

22 Ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,

23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. ~ Hebrews 12:22-24

He exhorts them to not refuse him who speaks from heaven but rather to have grace so that they will serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire. ~ See Hebrews 12:25-29.

As he begins to close his letter (chapter 13) he tells them to do the following:

  • continue in brotherly love
  • entertain strangers
  • remember those who are in prison
  • remember those who are being mistreated
  • be faithful in marriage
  • do not love money
  • remember God’s promise to never fail or leave them
  • remember those who have taught them the word of God and follow their faith
  • do not be carried away by various and strange doctrines
  • establish your hearts in grace
  • bear the Lord’s reproach (i.e., suffer for his name)
  • offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually in the name of Jesus
  • don’t neglect doing good to the needy
  • submit to those who are their leaders in the Lord
  • continue praying for him (the writer) and those with him.

Finally, he closes his letter with the following words:

20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,

21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

22 And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words.

23 Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.

24 Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. they of Italy salute you. 

25 Grace be with you all. Amen. ~ Hebrews 13:20-25 

One reading the book of Hebrews on its own merit would never come away with the notion that Hebrews was written to a mixture of saved and unsaved Hebrews. The letter speaks for itself.

THE WARNINGS IN HEBREWS 

The first warning, found in Hebrews 2:1-3, tells us that neglecting our great salvation will result in punishment just as disobedience to the words spoken by angels, under the Law, also resulted in punishment.

1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.

For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him… ~ Hebrews 2:1-3

If it were not possible to fall away from God’s grace, then why would the author of Hebrews admonish his readers not to allow the things concerning the great salvation they had received, slip? What would be the purpose for the warning: How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?

Escape what? What are we in danger of?

If it is impossible to never depart from the Lord once we have known the way of righteousness what are we in danger of? Is it just a gold ole scolding before the judgment seat of Christ for not being a good Christian? What are we in danger of? The repeated warning throughout Hebrews is the danger of apostasy or abandoning our faith which has eternal reward if we continue in the faith, and eternal consequences if we abandon the faith.

The second warning (Hebrews 3:7- 4:1) exhorts us not to harden our hearts to the voice of the Holy Spirit through unbelief. In this section we are reminded that God swore in his wrath that those who provoked Him in the wilderness also died in the wilderness and did not enter into His rest.

We are warned that we need to fear God so that we do not become like those in the wilderness who fell short of entering His rest (which according to the context is eternal rest). It is clear from the context that the same God who swore in his wrath: “they shall not enter my rest,” and did not spare those who rebelled in the wilderness, will not spare us either, if we harden our hearts through unbelief and the deceitfulness of sin.

12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end… ~ Hebrews 3:12-14 

Jude, in his brief epistle, also draws on this account when he writes to the brethren exhorting them to contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Jude 1:3-5 says the following:

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. ~ Jude 1:3-5

Why would this exhortation be necessary if it were impossible to fall from (abandon) the grace of God once we have been saved? Both Jude and the writer of Hebrews address the importance of persevering in the true faith.

If we embrace OSAS theology we are rejecting the New Testament admonitions that Israel’s unbelief and disobedience in the wilderness serves as an example to us. (See Hebrews 3-4; 1 Corinthians 10:1-12; Jude 1:3-7)

The third warning (Hebrews 5:11- 6:20) is against slothfulness which results in apostasy. We are told in very clear and precise terms that if we become slothful in our faith we are in danger of being condemned and cursed.

In 1 Timothy Paul says, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, Giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” ~ 1 Timothy 4:1 

Departing from the faith is the same language that the writer of Hebrews employs, and the exhortations to continue steadfastly in the faith comes through loud and clear throughout the book of Hebrews.

The fourth warning (Hebrews 10:26-39) is against willfully sinning and drawing back. Here is what Hebrews 10:26-31 says:

26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. ~ Hebrews 10:26-31 

The fifth warning (Hebrews 12:14-29) sums up all the other warnings – beware of sin and rejection of Jesus.

Many of you recognize the words, our God is a consuming fire, but do you know the context of these words? Many quote this in connection with God’s love, but the scripture do not use it that way. These words, in both the Old and New Testament, are used in connection with God’s holiness and righteous judgment against sin (i.e. His jealously expressed in anger which results in the punishment of our sins).

Here is how Moses used the words:

21 Furthermore the Lord was angry with me for your sakes, and sware that I should not go over Jordan, and that I should not go in unto that good land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance:

22 But I must die in this land, I must not go over Jordan: but ye shall go over, and possess that good land.

23 Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the Lord thy God hath forbidden thee.

24 For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.

25 When thou shalt beget children, and children’s children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the Lord thy God, to provoke him to anger … ~ Deuteronomy 4:21-25 

Now notice the context from Hebrews 12:25-29:

25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:

26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.

27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

2For our God is a consuming fire. ~ Hebrews 12:25-29

Notice the words:…let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.”

IS PAUL MAKING AN EXCUSE FOR SIN IN ROMANS 7?

In Romans 7 Paul is speaking from the vantage point of one who is under the Law. Paul’s statements are not about his lack of power to deal with sin now that he has come to Christ. Instead, these words are a part of his expounding on the Law and grace and the effects the Law has on a person in the flesh without the grace of Christ.

In Romans 8, Paul says “the law was weak through the flesh.” The Law can only bring the sinner under condemnation, but grace gives us victory over sin and condemnation.

Throughout the entirely of Romans 6 Paul shows how the one who has received saving grace is dead to sin through Jesus Christ, and therefore sin is not to reign over them.

In Titus 2:11-15 Paul says that saving grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts by living soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. Saving grace does not teach us that we cannot overcome sin. Saving grace teaches us how to overcome sin.

In 2 Timothy 2:19 Paul tells us the following:

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. 

In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul says the following:

2 For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.

3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:

4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;

5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:

6 That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.

7 For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:2-7

In Romans 7 Paul, as a skillful teacher, speaks figuratively from the vantage point of one who is under the Law, to explain the influence that the Law has on the one who is under the bondage of sin. The Law had no power to give life to the one entrapped in his sins. Only Christ Jesus can set a person free from sin.

1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. ~ Romans 8:1-4

The law was weak through the flesh and therefore could not deliver man from his sins, and this is exactly what Paul in explaining in Romans 7:7-25, as he speaks from the vantage point of the effects of the law on those who are under it’s condemnation.

FAITH THAT SAVES

Many are familiar with Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Again, here is the flow of thought that Romans 6:23 belongs to:

17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.

22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:17-23 

Notice the progression:

(1) You obeyed the doctrine delivered to you: that’s the gospel.

(2) You were made free from sin.

(3) You became servants to God and righteousness.

(4) You live a holy life.

(5) The end of these is eternal life.