Can the Saved Be Lost?

Scripture: Luke 9:9-10, John 3:17, Acts 2:47
Date: 06/30/2018 
Can a saved person be lost?

Can a Saved Man Choose to Be Lost? - Paper or Digital PDF

Can a Saved Man Choose to Be Lost? - Paper or Digital PDF
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Doug Batchelor: My friends that believe once saved, always saved, they say, "So, once I am saved, it doesn't matter what I do. I could, you know, turn from the Lord and go back to the world, and sin like the devil, but God's promised I am saved." So, there's millions of people out there that have this false security. It is deadly.

Typically, you come to church, and you hear the pastor talk about how the lost can be saved, how the lost can be saved. It's a wonderful message in the Bible, and I think everyone here knows that but in case you don't and you're lost, I want you to know you can be saved. "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which is lost." Jesus comes to save the lost. John 3:17, "God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but through Him the world might be saved." 1 Timothy 1:15, "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance that Jesus Christ came into the world," for what reason? "To save sinners." Jesus comes to save the lost.

But our message isn't today that Jesus can save the lost. That's part of the message. The question we want to address today is, Can saved be lost? That's a very important question because whether you know it or not, there are a lot of dangerous doctrines that are out in the world. Among Protestants, about 30% of Protestants believe in predestination. They actually believe in the-- it's, you know, Calvinist or Reformed theology. You've heard the expression, "Once saved, always saved." Now, that's really a package of different beliefs. And don't misunderstand, Calvin was a great reformer. He was a tremendous theologian. He wrote the book "Institutes of the Christian Religion" when he was in his 20's. He had an incredible mind, and he contributed a great deal. But some things, they were coming out of such darkness I believe that he misunderstood, that can be dangerous.

The idea that once you're saved, you can't be lost is, I think, a dangerous belief. Another part of that is the idea that Jesus's death on the cross wasn't to save everybody, but He only shed enough blood and only suffered enough for those He knew would be saved, better known as the elect. And then, the third, which I find the most egregious of all, is the idea that God has predetermined who He's going to save and there are others that He has deemed He created to be lost, and nobody really has any choice. It's all only based on God's choice. So, this fatalistic idea, it's almost like Hinduism that's just, you know, "You are what you are, you can't change your circumstances, or you don't have a choice," I believe flies in the face of what the Bible says when Joshua said, 'Choose ye this day who you will serve."

We very much do have a choice and we very much do have responsibility. And the choices we make every day do lend themselves towards our ultimate destiny. So, for any who might be fuzzy on the subject, let's just make it clear what the Bible teaches. And so, I've just got to the heart of the question, can the saved be lost? And there's other things we're going to talk about in the process. Now, you might think, well, as long as you're sincere, it doesn't matter what you believe. Wrong. The Bible tells us Matthew 7:21, "Not everyone that says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but He that does the will of My Father in Heaven."

Now, my friends that believe once saved, always saved, they sort of believe that once you're saved, you get a new heart. You're born again. God said, "You know, I will never lose any that come to Me." And there's some key verses they have, I don't want to undermine there are some verses that not rightly placed or in the wrong context, it can confuse you. They say, "So once I am saved, it doesn't matter what I do. I could, you know, turn from the Lord and go back to the world and the sin like the devil, but God's promised I am saved and I'm gonna be there." And Pastor Ross and I hear it all the time when people call in with Bible questions. They say, "Well, I was saved back when I was nine years old. I gave my heart to the Lord." They say, "I haven't been walking with the Lord for 20 years now, and I've got this drinking problem. And I'm having an affair, and I want to know--" And we're going, "Brother, you are not saved." "Oh, I was saved. I was saved." We're going, "No, you're not. 'Cause Jesus said, you'll know them by their fruit.

So, there's millions of people out there that have this false security that is deadly. That's as bad as having a defibrillator with a dead battery. You know what I mean? Clear. Wait, nothing's happening. Wouldn't that be a bad time to find out there's no power? And so, this is what's going to happen. "Many will say to Me in that day," what day's He talking about?" The day of the Lord, the great judgment day. 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and cast out devils in Your name, and done many wonderful works in Your name?' And I'll declare to them, 'I never knew you depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.'"

So, it doesn't matter what a profession is if a person's practicing lawlessness, then are they really converted? Is the question. Well, I want to first do this in sequence. Let's address the big question that I started with, did Jesus, in His sacrifice, only die for the elect, a certain group, or did He die for everybody? 2 Corinthians 5:15, "And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them." John 1:29, "The next day John the Baptist saw Jesus coming and He said, "Behold, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the elect." Is that what He said? The sin of who? The whole world. First John 2:2, "And He himself is the appropriation for our sins, and not ours only but for the whole world." I mean, if God wants to say the whole world, if that was inadequate, what other words would He use? The whole, whole world. What else could He say? He's trying to make it clear for everybody. He's not talking about this planet and the dirt. He's talking about the people.

So now, is salvation available to everybody? That's the other question. They say, "No, He didn't die for all. It's just available for the elect." Romans 5:18, "Therefore, as through one man's offense, judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one man's righteousness, at one man's righteous act, Jesus's sacrifice, the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life." Romans 10:12, "For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord is over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

Is that clear? Anybody who calls on the name of the Lord. Now, some Calvinists will take that verse, all you gotta do is call on the name of the Lord and you're saved. So, you pray, you call on the Lord, you're saved and then go on and live the way you want. That's not what that verse is saying. Calling on the Lord means those who have a life of calling upon God. And so, it's an ongoing behavior. 1 Timothy 2, verse 3 and 4, "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved." It's not just a few elect that are going to be saved. He doesn't want anyone to be lost. So, this idea that God said, "Well, you know, I've gotta-- I've gotta make some sinners out there." Or I've heard people say, "Well, you know, Jesus said, I'm saving the apostles, except for Judas, 'cause somebody had to be the fall guy, that the prophecies might be fulfilled." So, Judas had no choice.

No, Jesus-- God knew He would do it, but He did it because of His choice. Or you read the verse where it says, "And God hardened Pharaoh's heart." So, God is looking down from Heaven He's going, "Let me see, who will I save? Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, you can be the Pharaoh, I'm gonna harden your heart. No matter what happens, you are not gonna repent because I'm not giving you the capacity to repent. You're just gonna be lost because it makes for good story so Pharaoh, you're lost, so I'm hardening your heart." Keep reading, you’ve got to compare Scripture with Scripture. You'll find it says many more times, "Pharaoh hardened his heart."

See, it's the way that God hardened Pharaoh's heart it's simply saying that the circumstances that God sent, because Pharaoh was proud, it hardened him. It's like someone said one time, "The sun can shine on wax, and it will melt it. The sun can shine on clay and it will harden it." It's the same sun, it's shining on different substance. So, if a person has a proud heart, the circumstances that might humble one king like David or Manasseh, they humbled themself, when the circumstances came, will harden somebody like the pharaoh. And so, it really is, what is the substance? Does that make sense? John 3:16, Who knows that one? "That whosoever believes in Him might not perish, but have everlasting life." Go to 2 Peter 3:9, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness." Talking about, why is it taking them so long to come back?

So, He hasn't forgotten His promise. "But He's longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish." And so, yeah, there's a battle between good and evil. It is not God's will that innocent people suffer. It's not God's will that the devil rebelled. None of the evil is God's will. If you want to know God's will, you look in Genesis, chapter 1 and 2, and you see a perfect paradise with creatures made in His image, completely happy. They're living in bliss, everything is good, good, very good. That's God's will. When the devil came in and He brought the sin, that's not His will. He doesn't want you to perish, which is why He sent Jesus so you have an option. But He can't force love and He can't change your heart. That's something we must do.

That leads us to the big question, once saved, always saved? Once a person is saved, can they then be lost? Now, I'll tell you why this doctrine developed, and there are two extremes. Who wants an experience where you come to Jesus to be saved, but you just never feel you're good enough. And every time you think a bad thought, or do a wrong thing, you say, "Now I'm lost. I'm sorry, Lord. Now, I'm saved. Oh, but what if I do something wrong, now I'm lost. Now I'm saved, now--" Repent, confess, repent, confess, sin, repent, committed sin, and you're going back and forth and it's like, you can go crazy like that. You have no assurance.

So, theologians who said, "Does God want us to always be living, and wondering, and hoping, that we might be saved and always in doubt." You're miserable because you're just always wondering, "Did I do something wrong?" And there's no peace, there's no assurance. And they said that that can't be the answer so it must be that once you are saved, you can't be lost. That's the only way you would have that assurance and that security. They call it eternal security, is one of the names for once saved, always saved. Well, that's the extreme solution. That's also the other problem, the idea, "Okay, I'm saved now, I can do whatever I want."

Doug: Don't go anywhere, friends, in just a moment, we're going to return for the rest of today's presentation. You know, the power of choice is an amazing gift from God, but when a person is saved, do they choose God or does He choose them? And once a person is saved, do they still have the freedom to reverse that decision? Well, this is probably one of the most deeply discussed concepts in the Bible. But if we're confused about what really constitutes true salvation, well, that could be the most expensive mistake we ever make. Fortunately, you don't have to be confused about the good news. Amazing Facts would like to send you a special gift called, "Can a Saved Man Choose To be Lost?" This is a short but very insightful book for anyone who has questions about the once saved, always saved teaching that's now exploding through the Christian church. It'll help you to find clarity and lasting meaning for your life, while inspiring you with the goodness and the fairness of God's kingdom. So, don't wait, friend. To get your free copy, call the number on the screen and ask for offer number 112, or visit the web address. And after you read this incredible resource, make sure and share it with a friend. Well, let's return to today's presentation and learn some more amazing facts from the Word of God.

Doug: "No matter what I do, I have peace, I'm saved, but don't you dare tell me otherwise because you're going to shake me. You're going to take away my peace and my security." And so, that's the other extreme. Now, you know, I have a lot of Baptist friends believe in eternal security, and they're very godly people. They don't try to exploit it, but I've also preached in some Baptist churches where people said, "You better not go long with a sermon because the football game starts at 12." And so, you know, you and I saw them gathering outside and smoking right after church, and then go home and drink beer and watch football. And they say, "Yeah, I was saved at 12 years old, I gave my heart to the Lord." But they're not living for God.

And so, you've got these two extremes of people that are constantly in fear. They're always looking at their works. And you got the other group that they're they say, "Once I was saved and I'm saved by faith, it doesn't matter what I do." Now, I want to make it clear, we are saved entirely by grace through faith. We are not saved by works, but that is not a license to live a life of sin. So, I'm just going to tell you straight up, yes, if you are not continuing to daily walk in the Lord, you can lose that assurance and you can lose eternal life.

Let me give you some verses. Galatians 5, verse 4, "You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by the law; you have fallen from grace." Now, no matter what you think about grace and the law there, Paul says grace-- these are people, he's writing to the church in Galatians. You can fall from it. Now if you've fallen from grace, are you saved? If you're only saved by grace and you've fallen from grace, are you still saved? No. So, Paul said it. Mark 13:13 Jesus said, "He that endures to the end will be saved."

So, when do you finally know? At the end. You've got to continue enduring. Now, that doesn't mean you can't have peace that you're saved. And I'll explain that because the word "saved" is used different ways. Paul said, 1 Corinthians 9:27, "But I keep my body under and I bring it into subjection, lest, that by any means when I preach to others, I myself should be a castaway." Paul was saying, "I need to continually bring my body into subjection." Paul said, "I die daily." Now if once you're saved, you're always saved, why would you need to die daily? But Paul said, "Daily I must deny myself." Jesus said, "Whoever takes up his cross daily denies himself and follows Me." Those are the terms of Jesus, "Daily take up your cross, deny yourself, follow Me." And if you should cease to daily have that ongoing relationship, you're--it's dangerous. Hebrews 10:26, "If we sin willfully," and that there means if we continue to live a life of sin, doesn't mean if you once sin. "But if we sin willfully after we've received the knowledge of the truth," All right, so he's talking right now to somebody. "They received the knowledge of the truth." But they turn from it for willful, ongoing sin. "There no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation that will devour the adversaries." Go--same chapter, Hebrews 10:35, "Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you need endurance." He that endures will be saved. "So that after you've done the will of God, you may receive the promise."

"So, what in the world is going on here, Pastor Doug, can we have any peace?" The secret to the Christian life is you've got to keep moving. A lot of Christians think you come to the Lord, you say a prayer, that is done with now. You come to the Lord and you are saved from your past sins, you are justified, that is true. You are saved by grace and justified when you come to the Lord. When you get off your knees after you've asked Him to forgive your sins, you have salvation, of justification. But you have not been saved yet from the power of sin in the world. The devil is going to be there tempting you. And so, you continually day by day, you've got the freedom to choose. And we are encouraged all through the Scriptures to continue choosing God. But can we have peace?

Where does the word "confidence" come from? When you say con means with, fidelity or fidence means faith, with faith. He who believes and is baptized will be saved. Can you have security? If you believe. John 3:36, "He who believes in Son has everlasting life." Now, isn't that a good promise? What does it mean to believe? That's a big question. Some people think that means just believe that He exists or believe that He died, believe that He lived, believe that He rose. All those things I just mentioned, does the devil believe all of those? Does the devil believe that God lives? He knows it better than you, used to see Him in His glory. Does the devil know that Jesus came to earth? Does he know that He died for our sins? Does he know that He rose again? He does. He knows all that. He even knows He loves you. It's not going to save him. It's a kind of belief where it means the word "believe" means to be live.

The word believe means to be live. It means to live in something. It's not just the mental assent because James said the devils believe like that. It means saying, "I'm willing to do Your will, Lord." You know, the reason that it's important to understand that God can give us power not only to justify us, but He can give us power to save us from the power of temptation and sin, is when you know that God will do His part, you have more security.

What is righteousness by faith? When you believe that God hears your prayer for forgiveness, and you are justified, and you believe that the moment you prayed, that He forgives all your past sins, and He gives you power, and He is going to begin creating a new heart in you, that gives you confidence that, "Hey, I've got eternal life."

If you have eternal life, how will that motivate you to be different? If you know that God says, "I am the author and the finisher of your faith, I will stay with you if you continue to turn to Me. You may fall, but turn right back to Me," and see if He doesn't grow you. That should give you confidence.

I remember reading when they were building the Golden Gate Bridge, at first they had no safety precautions, and 23 men slipped and fell to their deaths in the water below. Finally, they thought, "You know, we need to do something," because it was in the early stages. They'd already lost 23 men, and a guy named Strauss helped develop, he was an engineer, a net that was spread all the way across. They'd never had a safety device like this on a big project. They built a net at $100,000. And for us, it would be like $10 million today, that went across the entire span. You know what they discovered after they put the net under there? First of all, the net saved like 19 men. But the other thing they noticed was once the net showed up, the men, because of their confidence, were a lot braver and the work went a lot faster, and it was a lot more successful because the men had security.

Now, do you hear what I'm saying? Because you cannot say, "Once saved, always saved," doesn't mean you cannot have security in your relationship with the Lord. You've just got to be careful about being presumptuous. I've used this illustration before. Karen and I got married. We've actually got witnesses to the wedding today. You make very restrictive vows. You promise to keep yourself only unto that other person, and we love each other. We made those promises. Now, if I want to, I could break that promise tomorrow. I could break it today. I am free. I never have, God willing I never will. I don't worry about it. I don't worry about her because when you've got love and faith, you can have confidence. But that doesn't mean we don't have the freedom. See what I'm saying?

And so, this is how it is in our relationship with the Lord. He loves you. He accepts you. He adopts you, and He'll never let go of you. But you can let go of Him. His love for years non-failing. Life and death cannot separate you from His love. My Calvinist friends say, "That means you can't be lost." No, it means He will not stop loving you, but you are still free because you can't force love. The idea once God saves someone He takes away their freedom, what does that mean, you're a robot now? That's not loving anymore. "Therefore let him who thinks He stands take heed lest you fall."

So, you want to have confidence, but you don't want to have arrogance. You need to have faith, but be careful. Again, Hebrews 4:1, "Therefore since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of us seem to come short of it." We need to be God-fearing and yet have peace. See, there's a balance here in the Christian life. Romans 10:13, "Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." And if we are calling on God, He promises to save us, but we need to press on. Revelation 3:5, "He who overcomes will be clothed in white raiment," again, He's speaking to the church, "and I will not blot his name from the Book of Life." Now, why would Jesus even say that unless it was possible for a name to be taken from the Book of Life? If your name, once put in the Book of Life, could never be taken out, why would He say that? Matter of fact, Exodus 33, didn't expect me to go to the Old Testament. Exodus 32, verse 33, "And the Lord said to Moses, 'Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.'" So, even in the Old Testament, this is what Jesus is referring to here in Revelation 3, God enters a person in His book, when you come to Christ and you're justified, you're saved, your name is entered in the Book of Life, but then you must press on through sanctification and faith, and you have the victory, amen?

So, He doesn't want us to live in fear. 1 John 3:18, "There is no fear in love. The perfect love casts out fear." God has promised in Hebrews 13, verse 5, "I will never leave you or forsake you." "Being confident," Philippians 1:6, "Of this very thing, He that has begun a good work and you will complete it." God gives you so many promises not to be discouraged, not to think He doesn't want to save you. He's desperate to save every one of us, but you need to cooperate. Don't--there's two ditches you can fall in, one is get discouraged and say, "I'm never gonna make it," the others say, "Once I'm saved, I can't be lost." You need to be mature and biblical about what it means to be saved. So, God wants us to have some assurance, doesn't He? He doesn't want us to live in fear. Ezekiel chapter 33. He says in verse 12, "Therefore, O son of man, say to the children of your people, 'The righteousness of the righteous will not deliver him in the day of his transgression; as for the wickedness of the wicked, it will not-- He will not fall because of it in the day of his--he turns from his wickedness; nor shall the right just be able to live because of his righteousness and the day that He sins."

That's pretty clear. "When I say to the righteous that he will surely live, but he trusts in his own righteousness and he commits iniquity," this is describing the "Once saved, always saved" people. He says to the righteous, "You'll live, I've saved you. You're forgiven." "But he trusts in his own righteousness and commits iniquity, none of his righteous works shall be remembered; but because of the iniquity that he has committed, he shall die. Again, when I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' if he turns from his sin and does what is lawful and right, if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has stolen, and walks in the statutes of life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he will not die. None of his sins that he has committed will be remembered against him; he shall surely live." God is telling us he's covering the two extremes, right, and that wonder is He's saying, "Look, if you follow Me, you can live."

Now, we're saved by His grace because if we're going to get what we deserve, we're all doomed, right? Penalty for sin is death, none of us has hope. So, if anyone makes it, it's grace for everyone. But when you are saved by grace and you accept that, embrace that by faith, the Bible says we should walk in a newness of life, amen?

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