Once Saved, Not Always Saved…
Today’s passage from Hebrews rejects the once saved, always saved idea:
If we sin deliberately after receiving knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains sacrifice for sins but a fearful prospect of judgment and a flaming fire that is going to consume the adversaries… It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. -Hebrews 10:26-27, 31 NAB
In some Protestant denominations, the notion of being once saved, always saved is a cornerstone of their faith, and one of the many doctrines that divide Protestants and Catholics. The theory originated with John Calvin in the 16th century.
The doctrine stems from verses like Romans 8:39 which states nothing can separate us from God, and it gives a short list of things that cannot separate us from Him. The one thing it fails to mention, however, is our own power to separate ourselves from God.
Here’s the difference: nothing will stop God from loving us, but we can willfully reject God’s love by our sins. God still loves us. He always will. But that does not mean we must accept it. In fact, God loves all of us, even those who have not accepted Christ yet. Accepting God’s love, which includes the rejection of sin, is not a one time occurrence then. It’s continual.
Hebrews 10 directly tells us that our sins will bring judgment upon us, even after we become Christians (receive knowledge of the truth). We are rejecting God’s love, just like someone who has not accepted Christ yet. There is little difference.
The idea of being once saved, always saved is a dangerous notion. God will always love us, but we reject that love with our sins. We must embrace God’s love by accepting Christ and letting go of our sinful ways.