I have gone to great lengths elsewhere answering the false doctrines of those who teach "Once saved, always saved," otherwise known as the doctrine of Eternal Security, but the belief is such a misleading one held by so many Christians in all sincerity that I simply must give answer again here. To be perfectly clear, I am opposed to the false teaching that anyone who falls away was never truly saved at all. I am also opposed to another deception frequently partnered with it which holds that the one who still feels guilt for missing the mark is safe because their guilt is evidence that they are not too far gone. This blog entry is the essence of my answer to their teaching as dictated by the Holy Spirit, distilled to its purest, simplest form for clarity and ease of understanding, that no foxhole might remain for these deceived deceivers, and that those who've been misled by such false teachings would see their error and abandon their mistaken, if heartfelt, beliefs. So, if you're still here and care to hear what the Spirit says, read on:
First Response Point
What do we learn from the parable of the unforgiving servant? Jesus tells us there was a certain man who came before his king and was condemned on account of his debt, that the man sought forgiveness from the king and received it, and that he then refused to forgive others as he himself had been forgiven and so, in the end, through his own improper behavior, that man came back under condemnation. Consider that. The condemned man sought forgiveness from the king and received it. The master of that servant had compassion upon him, released him, and forgave his debt. If the story had ended there, the man would have to be considered saved, would he not? But the story does not end there, does it? No. And what is the end state of that man? Handed over by the very one who had forgiven his debt to the torturers, the tormentors, until he should repay all that he owed. When shall that be? Who can pay the penalty of their own sins? Who among us is worthy? And so the heavenly Father shall also do to each one who does not forgive his brother and sister from the heart. Those who say that the true convert can in no wise fall are ignoring this parable of Christ.
Second Response Point
What do we learn from the writer of Hebrews regarding guilt concerning disobedience toward God? We learn that if we continue to sin willfully after actively taking hold of the full true knowledge (it does not say "after rejecting" the Truth, but "after actively taking hold of" it), there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but only a certain fearful expectation of judgment and a raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. This does not refer to those who have rejected the message outright. It refers specifically to those who have embraced the Gospel and gone on, only to turn aside from the Way at some point, willfully in sin. True enough, the follower of Christ who has knowingly sinned will feel guilt. True enough, there are those who have burned away the sensitivity of their conscience in willful sin. But there are those who have fallen who feel the fear of the wrath of Almighty God which will one day fall upon them. So there is a guilt that may remain in one who is lost which does not offer hope of a healthy relationship with God.
Third Response Point
What do we learn from the prophet in Ezekiel but that the watchman must be cautious in assuring life to the righteous in a way that causes them to stumble? Will the righteous who go willfully into sin be saved? Do not claim these are only false converts. These are the righteous who have stumbled. Do we not know that we have been grafted into the vine of Christ? Where have the natural branches gone? What do we learn in Romans regarding certainty with respect to our standing before God? Do we not learn that if God did not spare the natural branches, it may well be that He will not spare us either? We ought not dwell in arrogance, but fear, or do we choose only to remember the verses that make our arguments for us? Observe the kindness and severity of God with humility and awe.