Eternal Security, Once Saved Always Saved and Falling From Grace
Contending for the faith against the Galatian Judaizers, Paul warned, “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace” (Gal 5:4). No effect. None. Fallen from grace. Once in grace, but no longer. Think of it friend, by diluting the gospel Christ may become of no effect! Could language be any clearer or stronger? That Christ may become of no effect to a Christian is surely not popular – but it is biblical.
Please note that Christ became of no effect, denoting that He once had an effect. “The phrase [is become of no effect],” notes one expositor, “combines the two ideas- separation, and the cessation of a work.”1 James Strong says that the term “usually denotes separation, departure, cessation, completion, reversal.”2 If I am separated from something, I must first be connected to it. If a work has ceased, it must first have begun. These awful words fell, not from the lips of some obscure heretic or biased, modern theologian, but from those of the Apostle Paul. The extreme eternal security/once saved always saved teaching of the doctors of the modern church can not tolerate such notions and will go to great lengths to twist this truth.
Not all, however, share their antinomian notions. “No unrepentant sinner will ever get into Heaven,” declared D.L. Moody, “unless they forsake their sin they cannot enter there.”3 Mr. Moody never claimed to be a theologian, yet this very humble servant of God understood the simple truth that saving faith is always working faith. Sadly, many in our day who preach, teach and write under the banner of his name, such as Charles R. (Chuck) Swindoll, Erwin W. Lutzer and Anthony T. (Tony) Evans overlook this critical truth. Many popular institutions such as Dallas Theological Seminary, Moody Press and Moody Broadcasting do not understand this truth. Mr. Moody was right, however, when he wrote that “if the unrighteous man says: ‘I will not turn away from sin; I will hold on to sin and have heaven,’ he is deceiving himself.”4
The one who holds onto sin is deceiving himself? “Mr. Moody,” some may ask, “I thought you believed in the eternal security of the Christian?” “I thought D. L. Moody believed in the doctrine “Once Saved Always Saved?” “How can he say that the one who holds on to sin can not have heaven?” Gentle reader, Mr. Moody indeed believed in the security of the Christian as any honest bible student should. The promises of Christ to his sheep are undeniable and lend needed assurance and confidence to every saint.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
Indeed friend, such assurance to the followers of the Shepherd of souls is quite comforting. However, the security enjoyed by those who follow the Lord should never be applied to or confused with the biblically inevitable insecurity of every hypocrite who may “profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him” (Titus 1:16). Christian security belongs to Christians, not to hypocrites, as “he that committeth sin is of the devil” (I John 3:8). The assurance of John 10:27, 28 applies only to those who follow Christ, as the text plainly states. Many teachers quote Jesus in this passage as if He had said, “They shall never perish whether they follow me or not!”
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1The Pulpit Commentary, Electronic Database, 2001, Biblesoft, Gal 5:4
2James Strong, Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary, 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc., Gal 5:4
3Dwight L. Moody, Heaven: Its Inhabitants, Public Domain, 1908
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