Biblical answers to the questions of your heart

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(By Adaora Nwankwo)

Patrick had been a Christian for 4 years and had never heard any preaching like it. His pastor was simply on fire that day as he trudged from one end of the altar to the other. He was preaching on Grace. He said:

Grace is that which Christ released on the Cross for all who would accept Him. Grace is an unmerited favor from God. Once you accept Christ, Grace is that which ensures God will always take you back regardless of how much you sin or how far you fall from Him. Grace is the reason God will seek you out even if you do not seek him. Grace is the reason a man who was once a Christian though he turns away from God and sins, he will never be at the risk of hell when he dies. Grace is the believer’s sure proof of eternity. Grace means that once you are saved you will always remain saved no matter how you live your life. Grace frees you from the legalisms that many Church people want to hang around your neck.”

It suddenly dawned on Patrick that he was being too careful a Christian, too afraid of God, and had not been living life fully. He looked back at all the years he could have enjoyed life and didn’t because he wanted to live holy and righteous. He looked back now and realized he had missed out on so much. After all, his pastor had just proven he was already secure eternally and could never fall. That day when Patrick walked out of Church, he was a ‘liberated’ soul, no restraints, no hold backs. He would simply live!

Hello friends, you may not be like Patrick but may know someone like him.
There has been a raging contention within the body of Christ for years now on the issue of eternal security and the major questions are:

  1. Once we are saved, are we always saved?
  2. Can a Christian lose his salvation?
  3. If a person who was once a believer dies in sin, is he going to heaven?
  4. What about Grace, what does it really mean?

All these questions are related and to answer one, you must give consideration to the others.
These are not insignificant questions because they are matters of eternity. Incidentally, the issue did not start today – it started with the likes of John Calvin hundreds of years ago. By God’s grace, we will be discussing the topic fully. We will look at it in these broad headings:

  1. Once Saved Always Saved
  2. Once Saved NOT Always Saved (the bulk of our study will be here)
  3. Grace, what is it?
  4. How much sin is too much sin?
  5. Discussing some References (This would discuss a few bible references often used to argue in favor of ‘once saved is always saved’)

There are those who have argued and are still arguing that once a man is saved and at a definite time accepted Jesus Christ as his savior, he is saved eternally and can never fall away again. This is also known as eternal security. Well, the Bible teaches very differently.
However, for the sake of argument, I will highlight the points and bible references from the camp of those who say once saved is always saved.

Here is what they say:

Once a person is truly born of God and regenerated by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, he cannot be separated from the love of God. John 6:37, Romans 8:38-39

The salvation of Christ is not temporal, it is eternal. John 10:28-30

The forgiveness of God through Christ is sufficient to cover all of our sins; past, present, and future. Romans 8:38-39, Ephesians 4:30, and Jude 24

Those who live a life of sin after salvation were never really saved in the first place. 1 John 2:19

Man is inherently sinful so we will sin from time to time even after being saved. Therefore it would be wrong for us to be disqualified if we sin after salvation because, after all, sin is inherent in us, whether saved or not. Romans 3:10

If we are not eternally secure and if sinning will cause us to lose our salvation, how much sin is too much sin?

Without eternal security then we will be alternating from condemnation to salvation every time we sin and confess, hence we never know if we are saved or not.

Our attempts at good deeds will never earn us a place in heaven hence not doing good deeds after getting saved cannot detract from our salvation. Ephesians 2:8-9, Isaiah 64:6

To deny eternal security because the believer sins, is to endorse a “faith plus works” salvation system.

I might have missed out some of the well-known points, but I’m quite sure you have a general idea now.


Let me start by making very important clarifications.

The blood of Jesus Christ shed on the Cross is able to save to the uttermost. 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.” (KJV)

We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ alone according to Romans 10:9-10, “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.” (NLT)

Therefore, we are saved by Grace according to Ephesians 2:8, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.” Also Romans 3:28 says, “If you have Christ, you have eternal life.” (NIV)

1 John 5:12-13 says, “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (NIV)

On all those points listed I hope we can all agree. No matter how far gone a person is in sin, he can be saved by Christ. It is only by putting one’s faith in Christ as the Savior who died for our sins can a person be saved. We are thus saved by the Grace and Mercy of a loving and merciful God. We are not saved because we willed ourselves or made ourselves saved, we are saved because of God’s abounding Grace that came to our rescue through salvation, we accepted that offer of salvation and became saved. Once we are saved, our previous life is exchanged for the eternal life of God simply because we now have the Son of God (Christ). These are true sayings.

What then is the issue? The problem of the Once saved always saved (I shall call it OSAS from now for short) gospel is that they argue that after a person has been saved there is nothing that can make him lose his salvation or be separated from God again. Some have gone to the extent of assuring parents of a wayward child who is living in sin that because the child accepted Christ sometime as a teenager, if he dies in his sins he would still go to heaven. I’m really sorry, but this is not true at all, a person can lose their salvation when they turn from the path of righteousness and start living in sin.

How can this be if we received eternal life when we became saved?
Now, becoming born again is not the end of the salvation experience, in fact, it is the very beginning of the journey. Perhaps it is because many people look at our salvation as a one stop destination that is why they miss out on this truth. Let us examine two verses of Scripture:
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (and others like it, Acts 2:21, Mark 16:16) Matthew 24:13, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” They sound similar yet differ in the sense that while the first states categorically that we are saved when we call upon the name of the Lord, the second verse says we have to endure to the end to be saved. What is the missing link?

When Paul spoke in Romans, he was talking about Israel’s need for salvation just like every unbeliever today is in need of Christ. In Matthew, Jesus was talking about the end times when sin will abound and the love of many will wax cold. He then admonishes his listeners to endure till the end. Why didn’t Christ say their salvation was enough? Why did he tell them that it was their enduring to the end that would make them saved? I’ll explain.

Let us examine salvation properly. There are three senses in which the Bible uses to refer to the word ‘Saved’;

1. We have been saved: this refers to what happens at the point of repentance from sin and accepting the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. This is the ‘Born Again’ experience. Romans 10:13, Acts 2:21, Mark 16:16 and a whole host of other verses confirm this. This is an instantaneous event – there is a definite time and place where it happened for each Christian. But ‘saved’ doesn’t end there, it goes further.

2. We are being saved: this refers to the process of maturing spiritually and persevering in the faith. The life of the Christian after repentance is at this level until he dies or Christ returns. 1 Corinthians 1:18 says in its NIV rendering, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. “It is in this second phase of our ‘saved’ experience that Paul commands the Believers in Philippians 2:12-13 to work out their salvation with fear and trembling. Why does the Bible still tell us to work out our salvation when we are already born again? 2 Peter 1:10 also says, “Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble.” We have been called and elected yet Peter says to confirm it by doing. Why? Go a few verses above to 5-9 and see that Peter says to add a series of things to our faith, including virtue, knowledge, etc. He says further that if anyone lacks these things he is short-sighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Now things are getting serious! How is it that we have faith and yet it isn’t enough? Our salvation clearly doesn’t end at the sinner’s prayer, the journey only begins there. At this second phase we must bear the fruit of the life we received when we got born again, as in phase 1. Brethren, it is at this phase 2 that the Believer is at the risk of falling away if he does not take care.

3. We shall be saved: This is the third and final phase in which only those who persevered in faithfulness will receive the reward of the physical kingdom of God. Let us look at a few Scriptures that point to another salvation yet in the future for Believers in Romans 13:11, “And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.”
James 1:21, “Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.”

1 Timothy 4:16, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

Hebrews 10:39, “But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”

In every passage mentioned, the writer was speaking to Christians, people who had already been born again, yet he told them to take care so that they will be saved!
Some people have termed these 3 phases as Justification, Sanctification, and Glorification. Please let us not get hung on the terminologies but rather stick to the essence of what is most important. Though at the point of repentance and salvation we are translated into eternal life and the Holy Spirit is given to us to empower us to live righteously, yet there is a need to strive daily through the help of the Holy Spirit for the eternal life that is the reward of our faithfulness. Now having understood salvation better, let us look at various passages of Scripture that warn Christians to be careful lest they fall away and lose their salvation. Yes, lest they LOSE their salvation!


I am often amazed at God and I am learning every day that He does not behave or think like us at all and that if I want to understand Him then I need to go to the Word of God.
We all know the story of the Israelites, it spans several chapters and books of the Bible. Starting from Exodus up to Numbers 14:22 and 23 where God finally made the decision not to allow most of the Israelites into Canaan, the Promised Land. Let’s ask some critical questions;

How is it that the King of all the earth took the time and effort to orchestrate the salvation of the people of Israel from Egypt? He brought them out in their numbers in the most miraculous ways ever known to man. The 10 plagues showcasing His power and willingness to defend and save His people, the parting of the Red sea showing his very control of the physical elements and the provision of Manna for their food, these were all His wonderful acts. But they were a stiff-necked people, very disobedient and ungrateful. Things got to a head and God swore that none of them except three would enter into His rest prepared for them (Numbers 14:22-23). And for many years they wandered in the wilderness while the Word of God was fulfilled and the generation that sinned against God died off one by one.

Take a minute to imagine the magnitude of what happened in those days -the effort it took God, the investment, yet there got to a time when those for whom He did all these refused to quit testing Him but rather chose instead to continue in sin. God washed His hands off them and their judgement was that they never entered into the Promised Land. Does that sound like a salvation story to you? No? But it does and it is.

Now, let’s draw parallels:

The Mighty works of God to deliver the IsraelitesThe work of Salvation/ Christ dying on the Cross
The Israelites crossing the red seaNew Believers who have accepted Christ’s work on the cross (Phase 1 of their salvation)
The Israelites wandering in the wildernessBelievers in Phase 2 of their salvation whom the Holy Spirit is teaching what it means to be led by Him.
The Israelites who died in the wilderness without seeing CanaanBelievers who though saved rather lived a life of sin or went back to their life of sin and therefore missed out on eternal life.

The Israelites that entered the Promised LandBelievers who endured to the end and laid hold of eternal life

I believe we need to start taking God seriously when He says “I am a Holy God”. God doesn’t save us and then accept whatever junk of a life we live afterwards all under the guise that we are ‘already saved’. He is serious about making disciples out of us. And if there is any erstwhile child of His that is so stiff-necked that he exhausts God’s litany of mercies then he will have himself to blame because God’s spirit will not suffer with man forever. He will extend mercy-very great mercy and grace as well, but because neither is a license to continue in sin, God will one day withdraw from any man or woman who willfully continues in sin. There is one very insightful Scripture I want to bring to your notice here, Exodus 32:31-33,
“So Moses went back to the LORD and said, “Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. But now, please forgive their sin–but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.” The LORD replied to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book.” Why would the Bible tell us of a book where people’s names are written and people’s names can be blotted out if they sin against God?

Friends, God has a book, the Book of Life with His children’s names in it, however that Book is not done being edited. Any of His children who make a mockery of their salvation by willfully living a life of sin is in danger of being blotted out of that Book. If there was no danger of blotting out, the Bible would not have said so. It hurts God’s heart to do this, but His Holiness is a very important part of who He is. It is because He is Holy that He can be just. We shall still discuss this blotting a bit further in the future.

I imagine someone saying, ‘but that is the old testament you’ve shown us, we are now under the dispensation of Christ. Well then, can I invite you to join me as we discover what Brother Jude says about the matter?

Jude was a New Testament writer. He was living in a time that the dispensation of Christ had been ushered. He was a brother of Jesus and was writing to Believers. His original intent according to verse 3 was to write to them about ‘our common salvation’ as he put it, but realized he needed to write to them to contend earnestly for the faith. As he begins to unburden his heart the reader can almost tell of the same problems of Grace and OSAS we have today, which is what Jude encountered in his day. I enjoin you to read that one chapter in one sitting. Let us now take it step by step.

He starts by saying, verse 4, that certain people had crept into the Church by stealth. He calls them ungodly people who were turning the grace of God into promiscuity and denying our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Then he goes on in verse 5 to remind his readers of what we just discussed about Israel. Here is Jude in his own words: “Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe.” The following verses, 6-11, then beginto list a number of people whom God judged – angels, Sodom and Gomorrah, Balaam, and Korah. Please read it for yourself. Notice that Jude puts both Israel (after they turned from God) and Angels with Sodom and Gomorrah (an unbelieving sinful nation) together. When God’s own people would not live for Him, their sins put them in the same position as unregenerate men. Jude carries on in verse 12-16 describing what an apostate truly becomes. They who were once upon a time, believers, began to live a life of sin up to the point where they eventually denied Christ. Remember where they began, turning the grace of God into promiscuity.

Promiscuity (noun): licentiousness, lack of sexual discrimination, immorality, wantonness, debauchery, dissoluteness, dissipation, libertinism, profligacy, incontinence, etc.
In other words, they took the Grace of God to mean they could live anyhow. Jude says in vs 16 that they walked according to their desires. Funny, isn’t it?

Then Jude says in verse 17 and 18, “But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, “In the last times, there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” In verse 20 and 21, Jude prescribes the antidote for this kind of malady;

1. Verse 20-21, “But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.” The admonition is simple, build yourself in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit. Brethren, it’s a holy faith we have, it is not an anything-goes-kind-of-faith. It is a holy faith. You must build up your faith, you must spend time in prayer where the Holy Spirit continues to fashion your desires to be like that of Christ.

Keep yourself in God’s love as you wait . . . There is only one way I know you can keep yourself in God’s love – Obedience! Jesus said it so clearly in John 14:15, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” It’s that simple. A life of sin is a clear testament of hatred for God, it sounds like a stark statement, but it is true. God is not human for whom we may need to hug, or stroke or pet or buy gifts for to prove our love. He is God and He only asks us to obey Him. Are you beginning to see the depth of where careless living as believers can lead? “Keep yourself in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.” This is Jude speaking to Believers telling them to wait to be brought into eternal life. Can you see that third phase of salvation we spoke about showing up again?

2. Verse 22-23, “Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear–hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.” This is Jude giving instruction on how to deal with believers who have begun to doubt, we must show mercy to them. For others, we must do what we can to snatch them from the fire of eternal damnation, and for some (The MSG rendering calls this last group sinners), be merciful to the sinner but not soft on the sin. Here is how MSG translation puts it: “Go easy on those who hesitate in the faith. Go after those who take the wrong way. Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin. The sin itself stinks to high heaven.”

Lastly, Jude prays in verse 24-25, “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” Can I say this to you? We can live for Christ without falling.

If you have been reading this and have begun to think that surely there is no hope for you because you still sin and disobey God – not because you enjoy doing so or because you want to, or because you have deliberately become careless, but because sometimes you just fall short, know that this is not a condemnation to you, it is an encouragement to remind you to press into God more. Many have the same challenges as you, but they keep pressing forward to the upward call. Remember that God is working in you, enabling you both to will and do His good pleasure – Philippians 2:13. He simply needs you to co-operate with Him in obedience.
And if you are reading and thinking to yourself that you are not doing bad at all, please watch it. Philippians 2:12 tells you “to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” and 1 Corinthians 10:12 says, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”

Keep your eyes on the goal not on your past successes. Our only aim is to get to that day and hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”


EXAMPLE: Please open your Bible to the book of Revelations 1:3. In introducing his book on the revelations that God gave him, John says very clearly: “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” This is a clear instruction to us living in this day and time to pay attention to the words in this revelatory book. Now let’s go to Revelations 3 where John penned Christ’s letters to 3 Churches – Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.

Church in Sardis: Jesus starts by telling this church that he knew their works. How interesting. Works! The proponents of OSAS argue against telling a believer he should walk righteously as a proof of his salvation in legalism, yet when Jesus writes to these churches he tells them he knows their works. 5 of the 7 churches written to in Revelations chapters 2 and 3, Christ started by telling them He knew their works. So I ask you today, if Jesus were to write to us today, what would He say about our works? Careless, sloppy, ungodly, non-Christ-like? Let us read what He said to Sardis: Revelations 3:1-3, “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.” I believe this passage speaks completely for itself and does not need further explaining. If you are out there and reading this, and you have given up on Holy Christian living because you’ve been told you are now eternally secure and thus need not be frivolous on these things, please reconsider and hear the Holy Spirit today. God is actually paying attention to our works, why aren’t we? The Church in Sardis had the reputation of being alive but before Christ was indeed dead. He calls them to wake up and strengthen what is left of the life they have. Some translations put the next line as, ‘for I have not found your works complete before My God. He admonished them to repent and hold fast to what they previously received and heard. The chilling warning was there, ‘if you don’t wake up, then I am coming at a time you won’t even suspect it.’ Why all this chilling warnings if they were already an eternally secure Church? Were they not born again as OSAS people claim? Did they not have Grace as we claim today? Why then did they still need to be warned? You can answer that question for yourself. Verse 4 says, “Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.” Glory to God! He will always leave for Himself a remnant. In case you are thinking, ‘I can’t do it, no one can do it, it’s much too hard.’ I want to assure you that there are those who are living for Jesus truly and utilizing His grace in the right way. Verse 5: “The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.’’

Again friends, we see that there is a Book of Life that God has in which the names of Believers are written, that book is not yet complete, names are still being written in and taken off. Verse 6 like many others says very instructively, “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Church in Philadelphia: Again Christ declares to this church that He knew their works and what a testimony they got in Revelations 3:8, “I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” What a joy it must be to hear our Lord say this of a church. They had little strength, but the little which they had, they used to do one thing, keep God’s word. Wow! What are you doing with your spiritual strength? Are you naming and claiming things by faith? Are you calling forth materials things alone? What about building your spirit up to live for God and obeying His word? Do you realize that this is the foremost thing spiritual power ought to do for you? Not to fight enemies or demons or witches, but to obey God! Wake up people, the battle we are engaged in is for the word of God to prevail in our everyday lives! It is not simply to prosper materially, it is to prosper in obeying God.

This letter carries on thus in Revelations 3:9-10, “I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars–I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.” Verse 10 says it beautifully, “because you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you…” Realize that we have a commandment from God to endure patiently to the end. We endure because it will be difficult sometimes, it will not be the popular way of living, we may even be mocked and persecuted for righteousness, but remember, only those who endure to the end will be saved. Verse 11-12, “Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.”

Jesus is coming again, and soon, and when He comes, He will have eyes only for His own. Let him that has an ear, hear.

Church in Laodicea: Revelations 3: 15-20, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”

The gospel of ‘Once Saved Always Saved’ is the gospel of Luke-warmness as it places no demand on believers to pursue holiness or to strive unto perfection. It gives them the backdoor escape from a life of consecration because it trivializes sin and makes it of no real consequence to a Christian. God has no place for Luke-warmness. I ask you today, whose are you, what are you? God’s or not? Cold or hot? I’d like to mention quickly the significance of ‘White clothes’ which we have seen mentioned a few times in Revelations 3:5 and 18.

Come with me to Revelations 19:8, “Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)

Don’t let anyone lie to you again that righteous acts are legalism, they are not. They are the fruits expected of you to bear as one who is now a Christian. They only become legalism when you do them from a wrong motive. So in as much as we have been inputted with righteousness when we became born again, we must practice righteousness as fruit of the born again life. However, watch your heart for our God judges even to the intents of the heart. If you are practicing righteousness because you want to show off, I’m sorry, you are legalistic and in fact walking in the flesh.

Also, if you always want to do just enough to get by as a Christian without being in overt sin, you are also being legalistic because you have shown that you do not understand righteousness.
Is the Lord rebuking you today, disciplining you? Then rejoice because He loves you. Repent and the Lord will come and dine with you again.

As an aside, you know we have often used Revelations 3:20 as an evangelistic verse, but in fact, it is a verse that was referring to Christians. Think about it. That one can be a believer yet the Lord Jesus is outside of his heart knocking desperately trying to get in and fellowship with him.


Grace is a very powerful thing! It is the single most important difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. In fact, you can even say that the whole point of Christ dying on the Cross was to make Grace available. He defeated sin and gave Grace so that those who must live righteously thereafter might have Grace as the power enabling them to live above sin.

Grace also very importantly makes the mercy of God more easily accessible to us. He does not treat us like He did His people in the Old Testament where punishment for disobedience was meted out swiftly. However, while grace does this for us in the New Covenant, it does not permit us to live a life of sin. Let me say it plainly, the standard of God revealed in the New Testament is so high that none of us can reach it on our own, God therefore has given us His Grace which lifts us to His acceptable standard. Praise God! Grace is power. Grace gives us the ability to obey God.

Let us examine a few Scriptures; Titus 2:11-13 says, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;”

Grace is a teacher of righteousness: 2 Timothy 2:1, “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus,” (ESV)

Grace strengthens: 2 Peter 3:17-18, “I am warning you ahead of time, dear friends. Be on guard so that you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

Growing in Grace keeps you from falling and protects you from error.
Romans 5:20-6:2, “The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”

Grace reigns through righteousness. Grace is not a license to sin, it is the power to live above sin!
As a Bible reader, you would have noticed countless number of times when Paul would greet the believers and commend them to Grace. We all need grace daily, every second.
If this spiritual substance is of such great value that Christ had to die for us to obtain it, then why are men teaching us falsely to trivialize it? Why are they telling us it is that which gives us the freedom to sin at will and still be acceptable to God? I have a theory to answer that question – I believe that this is all a ploy of the evil one to demean Grace since he knows he cannot take away Grace. If he can get us not to use Grace for what it was meant to do for us, then we can never get to live above sin. Do you not see the goal here? If the enemy cannot tempt you outrightly to sin, he will try to at least distort or take from you that which empowers you to live above sin.


I do not have a numerical or descriptive answer to this question and I don’t believe there is one. In other words I have not found from Scripture where it says if you sin so and so number of times, then God blots your name from His book. Also, apart from the sin against the Holy Spirit, I do not know of any other sin or group of sins that is too much, after which God blots a person’s name out. However, let me help you understand holiness a bit better. It is not a group of things you do to be okay before God. Rather, it is a lifestyle of constantly aiming to be like Jesus. You will fall, you will make mistakes, but it is how you live before falling and what you do after the fall/mistake that will matter most. Were you careless? Did you have the mindset that you cannot be faulted as you’re already a believer and hence your future sins are already taken care of and therefore are of no consequence? When you realized you had sinned, did you repent immediately? Have you shown fruits of true repentance? Are you spending time in prayer and the Word to receive power to live above sin? Do you now see that there isn’t a particular number of sin that mars a person, but something more holistic? From the physical perspective, if you compare the sin of Saul with that of David, you would judge that David was the wicked one, while Saul was the better one, yet he had no heart for God. Saul did not understand godly sorrow that leads to repentance. All he wanted was for Samuel to stand by him like of old so he would still look good and holy before the people. I have learnt it pays to yield to the restraining power of God’s spirit. There will be times you may not know what is wrong or right and there will be times things may not even be wrong in themselves yet you feel that tug in your spirit. My friends, please yield. That is why prayer is important. It refines your spirit to be more and more like Christ to the point where you come across things that your physical person cannot assess but your spirit is able to decipher what is right and what is not. Remember that we have help from on high! God is working in us to will and to do those things that please Him. We have not been left as fatherless children to fend for ourselves. Praise God! I realize that I cannot answer all the questions you have on this issue of OSAS and I don’t intend to. But if you will take the time to start looking into God’s Word again, the answers are in there. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you.
I want to say this to you, if you are a Christian and have not yet read through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation (and continuing to do so), you are living a risky life. Get acquainted with God’s word, study, listen to preachers whose lives are in line with Scripture, learn every way you can, never stop taking in this Word of God. If I were you, I would take the warning of how perilous the end times are and how dangerous it would be for those who do not know God’s word. Get back to the Bible again, not ‘my pastor said, my pastor said,’ but rather, what is God saying?


I will continue by highlighting a few Scripture references often used by proponents of OSAS.

First Reference: The argument of OSAS has been that we are already sealed by God’s Holy Spirit for the day of redemption. This verse in Ephesians 4:30 reads thus; “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
It is true that we are sealed by God’s Holy Spirit, but reading that verse does not connote that we are not in danger of falling because we have already been ‘sealed’. Let us read the proper context of this passage bearing in mind that the letter from Paul was not originally in chapters and verses but was a continuous read as one document. We will read from chapter 4:25 to chapter 5:5
Ephesians 4:25-5:25, Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”[a]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
5:1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”[b] (NIV)

If you follow Paul’s train of thoughts you’ll see that he was telling his readers that since they have now become born again, they must begin to live lives worthy of Christ. He was telling believers, to put off falsehood, stealing, anger, coarse talking, etc. If it made no difference to their salvation, why ask them to be careful not to do these? Very importantly, I have put emphasis on a verse I wanted you to pay close attention to. In chapter 5:5, Paul puts his exhortation in perspective for the Church in Ephesus, he tells them they can count on it that no immoral, impure or greedy person (sins he had told them to run away from) would inherit God’s kingdom.

Second Reference: 1 John 2:19, “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.” In defending OSAS, many quickly quote this verse and say, “Oh well, if you see Christians who backslide after they became born again, then they were never really born again in the first place because if they did, then they would not have fallen. I think that is just plain wrong! To suggest that those who backslide were never really saved is a dangerous route to follow. In this day and age, we know there are many who profess salvation who have never really been saved in the first instance. That is true and the Church should tackle this issue. However, there are those who were once truly saved and were on fire for the Lord who neglected to guard their hearts and finally ended up turning against God. And just in case you don’t know, not all of them lost faith due to what many of us would identify as ‘sin’ but some lost faith because their hearts failed when they saw all the suffering around them. I shall tell you a story about this shortly. First, let us read that passage in proper context. We will read verse 18-22 from the Amplified version to help us understand what was being referred to.
1 John 2:18-22, “Children, it is the last hour [the end of this age]; and just as you heard that the antichrist is coming [the one who will oppose Christ and attempt to replace Him], even now many antichrists (false teachers) have appeared, which confirms our belief that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us [seeming at first to be Christians], but they were not really of us [because they were not truly born again and spiritually transformed]; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out [teaching false doctrine], so that it would be clearly shown that none of them are of us. 20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One [you have been set apart, specially gifted and prepared by the Holy Spirit], and all of you know [the truth because He teaches us, illuminates our minds, and guards us from error]. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie [nothing false, no deception] is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed)? This is the antichrist [the enemy and antagonist of Christ], the one who denies and consistently refuses to acknowledge the Father and the Son.” (AMP)

Careful reading of this passage shows he was talking specifically about false teachers whom he called antichrists. They first masqueraded as believers but then soon showed themselves as people who were turning others away from Christ. This is not what we are discussing, per se, in this study. We are discussing how a true believer can fall because he has not guarded his heart. In fact, it is these false teachers that often teach the doctrines that get the believers in trouble and cause them to fall away. This passage is not suggesting that every Christian who is backslidden was never truly saved. He most likely threw his salvation away rather than to say that he didn’t have the true salvation in the first place. Remember Brother Demas? In Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 1:24, he was a fellow worker of Luke and Paul, but in 2 Timothy 4:10 we see that he began to love the things of this world and it caused him to abandon the work of ministry. Some believe he actually turned away from God.

Lastly on this point, let us consider the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13. Please take time to sit and read it. There were 4 types of soil/heart mentioned, and of the 4, only 3 received the seed/word. Of the 3 who received, only 1 bore fruit. Jesus in explaining this parable tells His listeners of the various things that can choke the word from people’s lives: worries, seduction of wealth, pressures and persecution. These hearts are like people who become born again but somewhere along the line, they fall.

The story of Demas and the parable of Jesus helpus see that it is wrong to simply lump all those who ‘fall’ into one basket of ‘they never truly were born again’. Many were once born again but did not lay hold on eternal life because they were seduced by this world.

I promised to tell a story, right? This is the story of Charles Templeton, a man who was a contemporary of Billy Graham in the early days. They preached together, and many times roomed together during their crusades. He even pastored a church. Yet one day he turned away from it all because he began to doubt. He doubted Creation, believed Darwinism, and doubted the concept of eternal punishment. He is dead today, and even wrote a book on bidding God farewell. But one day Lee Strobel, author of The Case For Christ asked him how he was doing after leaving his Christian faith and he said, “I miss God.” Yet, he never came back.
I don’t consider Templeton as a man who never believed or never was once a Christian, I consider him a person who fell as a casualty in this our eternal race.
Yes, eternal race! It was Paul who asked us to run as those seeking to get the Prize. Those who run competitively must run according to rules. If you run outside your lane you get disqualified. Friends, this is a serious matter we are talking about here. Don’t joke with your eternity. We have received a precious gift at our salvation, and we are commanded to defend it. Shut out every voice that tells you this salvation has been given to you on a platter and hence you can live as you like. Grace makes higher the standard of God, it never lowers it. What God is doing in the life of Christians through His Spirit every day is fashioning out Christ!
About this dangerous teaching of Once Saved Always Saved, I am yet to find one Christian who read the Bible on his own and came away with the OSAS conclusion. All those whom I know had sat down under certain teachings and came away with this idea.
Finally, this road is strait, it is narrow – but we have a staying power within. Encourage one another as the day of the Lord approaches. Do not neglect the Word of God, pray always and above all, STAND! I would like to finish off our study with a few prayer declarations.
Wherever you may be reading this at this instant, take a minute to pray and declare these:

In the name of Jesus Christ, I am not a slave to sin, I am a slave of Christ. Sin shall not have dominion over me because I am under the grace of God and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I have eternal life, the very life of Christ is in me.
In the name of Jesus, I overcome all the works of the Devil in my life. From today I live fully for Christ. Where I have made room for sin in my life because of wrong doctrines, Lord I repent and I ask that you show them to me, Put your rein on my spirit to check me when I am about to step outside of your grace. Lord, today I repent of making a mockery of your grace.
I ask that you change my mindset towards the gift that you have given through your death.
Where I have taken them in vain, please Lord forgive me. I receive your grace anew today and I no longer take it for granted. I receive the power to live holy even in these difficult days.Thank you Lord because you are at work in me causing me to will and do of Your good pleasures. Never again will I shirk from my responsibility to live Holy. I have the ability to obey God. I receive the calling of consecration with joy. I delight in righteous living. I do not live carelessly, rather I walk circumspectly. I have understanding of the times and know how to live for You. I can please God, I live holy because Christ is in me.