Once you are saved, are you always saved, or do you need to be saved every day?

Scripture: Ezekiel 18:24, Hebrews 10:23-26, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Once you are saved, are you always saved, or do you need to be saved every day? There are many examples in the Bible of people who had a saving relationship with God and filled with the Spirit, but then turned away ... such as King Saul and Judas. Jesus will never let go of us, but we can let go of Him. God allows us to have freedom.
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Caller:  The church I grew up in always taught me that once saved always saved and the church I now attend they teach not always saved—once saved, you have to be saved every day.  I don’t understand that.

Pastor Doug:  It seems to me that between those two extremes we find the truth.  The concept that once you’re saved you cannot be lost is very unbiblical.  I can cite you several examples in the Bible of people who had a saved relationship—they were spirit-filled—and for whatever reason they turned from the Lord, they backslid.  Peter puts it this way, as the pig who is washed, they return to wallowing in the mire.  King Saul was chosen by the Lord, anointed, filled with the Spirit, but he became proud and grieved away the Holy Spirit and took his own life. 

Even Judas was sent out preaching with the other eleven apostles but he kept clinging to that sin of covetousness until he denied the Lord and sold Him, and Judas lost his salvation, he lost his relationship with the Lord.  So there are a number of examples in the Bible.  But on the other extreme, some people think that you need to walk every day in doubt of your relationship with the Lord.  And the Bible is very clear that we can have an assurance of our relationship with Him.  The Bible says we can know that He who has begun a good work in us will perform unto the day of Christ Jesus He is the Author and Finisher of our faith, that we might know that we have everlasting life. 

So though it is untrue that once a person is saved he cannot be lost—let me give you a scripture, Ezekiel 18:24: But when the righteous man turns away from his righteousness, and this is talking about a saved man and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live?  All his righteousness that he has done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he has trespassed, and in his sin that he has sinned, in them shall he die.  In other words, a person who was righteous can turn away and they’ll be lost.  Hebrews 10:23, 24, 26, here Paul says: Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering.  Once a person is saved, why would they need to hold fast? 

Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works, for if we sin willfully this is verse 26 if we sin willfully after we have received a knowledge of the truth there remains no more sacrifice for sins but a certain fearful looking forward to of judgment.  The Bible doesn’t tell us once we’re saved that we turn from all responsibility of continuing to hold onto God’s hand.  Now Jesus will never let go of us, but we can let go of Him. 

The danger of the teaching that once you’re saved you can’t be lost, takes away our free will.  We’re always free to choose to love the Lord.  God does not take away our freedom once we accept Him.  Here’s another example:  1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Christian, know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.  And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. 

Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown but we an incorruptible.  I therefore so run, not as uncertainly so fight I, not as one that beateth the air But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: he says he fights this fight of faith lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.  In other words, Paul is saying that it was possible, even though he had this spirit-filled saved relationship, to be cast away.  That’s why Jesus said, Not everyone that says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but they that do the will of my Father in heaven. 

Jesus goes on to say, Many will come in that day saying, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, and in your name cast out devils, and in your name done many wonderful works, and He will profess to those people, I don’t know you. 

So that’s one side of the issue.  The other side of the issue is that God does not want us to live in fear.  Jesus said: Perfect love casts out fear.  He said that we can know that we have eternal life.  We can know as long as we abide in Him we have nothing to be afraid of.  It’s when we take our hand out of His hand and we choose to turn from His will and go our own way.  But as long as we, every day, are placing our lives in the hands of the Almighty we don’t have to live in fear and doubt.  God does not want us to have that kind of experience.  Now I do believe that it’s important for us to daily rededicate our lives. 

That doesn’t mean you’re lost every day.  Paul said I die daily.  What he meant by that was “I choose every day to say no to living for myself, to die to self, and be born again unto God.”  On a daily basis we rededicate ourselves to God.  It doesn’t mean you’re lost and saved, and lost and saved, and lost and saved, like a roller coaster.  You know how Jesus said, Give us this day or daily bread?  We as Christians live on a basis of daily trusting the Lord. 

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