The will of God concerning our salvation

By Allan Martin (emphasis mine)

Calvinistic theory concerning the will of God

There is a theory by those of a Calvinistic persuasion that God from eternity did, in accordance with the counsel of his own will, ordain whatsoever comes to pass (what will be, will be). The Westminster Confession of Faith (1643) is typical of Confessions of Faith of this nature and states:

“God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby neither is God the author of sin; nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.” (Chap III - Article I)

Obviously, the writers of the confession realized that their statement that “God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass” leaves them vulnerable to the charge that they are making God the author of sin. And so, they are quick to deny the charge by stating in their Confession that their doctrine does not make God the author of sin. But they lack an explanation as to why they think this is not the case.

Further, the Westminster Confession incorporates Calvinistic theology called the TULIP theory:

Total Hereditary Depravity (Original Sin, men are conceived and born in a totally depraved, lost condition, inherited from Adam, CH VI, Sect. III, IV)

But if men are born in a totally depraved condition, they could not grow worse, but 2 Timothy 3:13 certainly says they do.

Unconditional Election (men ultimately have no personal choice in salvation, CH III, Sect. III, IV, V)

Yet, the Word says that Jesus pleaded with men to come to him and follow him (Matt 11:28-30, Mark 8:34-38). They had a choice.

Limited Atonement (Christ died only for the elect, CH III, Sect. VI)

The Word says that Christ died for all men (Rom 5:18, 1 Tim 2:4, 1 Tim 4:10, Titus 2:11).

Irresistible Grace (those called are irresistibly, although altogether passively, quickened and renewed by the Spirit to answer the call, CH X, Sect. I, II)

The Spirit through the unbelievably powerful Word of God moves men to answer the call (Heb 4:12, Isa 55:8-11, Heb 11:3, Rom 1:16, John 5:19-27, John 6:62-66). Have faith in God’s powerful word!

Perseverance of the Saints (Eternal Security, or Once saved, always saved, CH XVII, Sect. I, II, III).

More on this point later.

Regarding Confessions of Faith of a Calvinistic persuasion, some proponents do not accept as a whole the above TULIP theory. However, to reject part of the theory while holding to other parts, causes one to become involved in inconsistencies. This is because each step of the theory (although wrong at its core), logically leads to the subsequent steps. However, the theory is like a house of cards, and the whole house falls if the foundation falls.

The foundation of the theory is Total Hereditary Depravity.

The Westminster Confession of Faith, CH 6, Sect. I, II, III, says that Adam and Eve, due to their sin, “became dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all faculties and parts of soul and body.” The Confession says that, “They being the root of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed, and the same death in sin and corrupted nature conveyed, to all their posterity, descending from them by ordinary generation.”

The Methodist Discipline says the same thing in the Articles of Religion, Article VII, Of Original or Birth Sin, where it says, “it is the corruption of nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and of his own nature inclined to evil, and that continually.”

Total Hereditary Depravity, as the foundation of the house of cards falls, because the Lord tells us, regarding the nature of little children, that they are the standard of purity and humility, and that we should imitate them to enter the kingdom of heaven.

“And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.” Luke 18:15-17

“At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.” Matt 18:1-5

So, God says that infants, little children, are the standard of purity and humility, and that we should imitate them to enter the kingdom of heaven. According to his own will God made that determination before the foundation of the world, and in Matt 11 Jesus said that it was good in his sight. He hid the things concerning the gospel from the wise and prudent as to the ways of this world, and has revealed them unto those who are humble and willing to receive them, like babes.

“At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.” Matt 11:25-26

This is why Jesus and Paul said that we don’t see many rich in the kingdom, or many of the high, mighty, and arrogant-minded in the kingdom of God. They have to make too much of a change, a sacrifice, to humble themselves to the Lord, and submit to his ways. See the following passages for verification that this is the case.

“And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” Luke 18:18-25

“My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?” James 2:1-7

“But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.” 1 Cor 1:23-29

Note that God has chosen the poor before the rich, because they humbly have a need for God. And God has chosen those with characteristics of meekness and humility, before those with characteristics of pride and arrogance brought on by high positions and power.

Most, if not all, Calvinistic proponents hold at least to the doctrine of “Perseverance of the Saints” or “Eternal Security,” most commonly known as “Once saved, always saved.” As we think about it, its attraction becomes obvious. The doctrine guarantees Eternal Security to the adherents, regardless of the deeds done in the flesh. This philosophy encourages evil deeds done in the flesh. Some will say, “Oh well, It’s just my nature.”

It is this writer’s firm conviction that the doctrine of “once saved, always saved” is a false doctrine, that it is of the devil, and that it causes much danger and destruction. It gives those who believe in it a dangerous false sense of security, which condition is undeniably there in some. This writer has worked in heavy industry, and has been around professed believers who were church goers, who (not all but many) could curse and use dirty language and drink alcoholic beverages, and in so doing could keep up with the the worst of evil men.

Paul said, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor 10:12). We need to look no further than the book of Genesis, chapters 2 and 3 to see this is the case. Here we see that Adam and Eve were originally in a state of safety and tranquility, and were at peace with God in the Garden of Eden. They were secure, but they were not “Eternally Secure.” God gave them one restriction. In Genesis 2 the Scriptures say:

“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Gen 2:16-17

They were not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for in the day that they did, they would surely die. The devil came along, and added one word to God’s statement, “Thou shalt surely die,” and made it “Ye shall not surely die” (Gen 3:4). Eve was deceived into disobeying God and eating, and gave to her husband and he also did eat. As a result, they suffered death (separation from God), shame, and loss of their original safe condition (Isaiah 59:1-2). They were no longer at peace with God, but suffered severe penalties for what they had done. They were cast out of the garden, denied access to the tree of life leading to their eventual physical death, Eve was to suffer pain in childbearing, and was to be ruled over by her husband. Adam would have to work for a living from a ground that also produced thorns and thistles. And in introducing sin into the world, Adam’s posterity was placed in spiritual jeopardy, as Paul said:

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” Rom 5:12

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Rom 3:23

So Adam and Eve were originally safe, but not guaranteed eternally so. Jesus certainly did not subscribe to the doctrine of “Once saved, always saved,” as we shall see. It is the purpose of this booklet to show why Jesus didn’t advocate and teach it.

As Jesus sought to do God’s will and not his own, we also should seek to do God’s will and not our own.

Jesus came to earth as a servant of God (Phil 2:5-8), and gave us an example as to how a servant of God was to behave before his Father. He came to do his Father’s will, and so he said that he, the Son, could “do nothing of himself.”

“Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” John 5:19

“I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” John 5:30

The KJV says, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear I judge:” The NASV says, “I can do nothing on my own initiative. As I hear, I judge,” and the RSV says, “I can do nothing on my own authority. As I hear, I judge.”

“Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.” John 8:28

“He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.” John 12:48-50

Following the example of Jesus, we are to seek not our own will, but act and speak as the will of God directs us. What does the term “the will of God” mean? What does the Bible say about the will of God? Does the Bible teach that “God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass” (Westminster Confession of Faith), and that the children of God, the saved, are Eternally Secure? Or do men have free will to make their own choices?

Let’s look at the term “will” as it pertains to the will of God. The word “will” is defined as:

“Will” (definition in Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon)

1. to be resolved or determined, to purpose ...

2. to desire, to wish …

The will of God is pre-determined and absolute. He declares the end from the beginning. His counsel stands, and he does all his pleasure. The prophet Isaiah wrote concerning things God purposes. What he purposes by his determinate counsel and foreknowledge, he brings to pass.

“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.” Isa 46:9-11

For instance, God has purposed and it is his good pleasure to show mercy on whom he would choose to show mercy (Exodus 33:19). Man has absolutely nothing to do with this determination. Man has no choice as upon whom God chooses to show mercy. It is completely in the hands of God, pre-determined in accordance with His will, as Paul says in Romans:

“What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?” Rom 9:14-24

What is the pre-determined will of God on this matter? To whom does God choose to show mercy? He plainly tells us he has mercy on who he will have mercy, and he plainly tells us who those are to whom he wills, decrees, to show mercy.

God has purposed and chosen in accordance with the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of his own will to show mercy to those that are merciful!

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” Matt 5:7

And the God of all mercy chose before the foundation of the world to show mercy on those who confess and forsake their sins!

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” Prov 28:13

There are many other things that the Scriptures say showing that God’s will is absolute and pre-determined. For instance take the case of the crucifixion of Christ. It was the pre-determined will of God that Jesus would be crucified and die for our sins.

“And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.” Acts 4:23-28

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you” 1 Peter 1:18-20

“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Rev 13:7-8

Furthermore, it was by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God that those who were to become Christians should have certain characteristics:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.” Eph 1:3-12

God chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be his purified people: “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love”

He predestinated us to be adopted as his children, by his grace, accepted in the beloved: “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved”

He predestinated that in Jesus we would be redeemed through his blood, having forgiveness, by his grace: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”

He predestinated that he would make known to us the mystery of his will, to wit, that he would gather together in one all things in Christ: “Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ,”

And he predestinated that we would have a part in his promised inheritance: “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will”

And he predestinated that we should be to the praise of his glory: “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ”

Carefully notice that in no place in these passages do the Scriptures say that we are to have no choice as whether or not to be saved, to say “Yea” or “Nay.” We do have a choice.

God works all things after the counsel of his own will (Eph 1:11).

God, by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of his own will, determined that we would be able to make the choice to serve God, and have his blessings. Jesus said:

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” Matt 7:21-27

The contrast is made between the doers of God’s will and the workers of iniquity. The word “iniquity” is translated “lawlessness” in some other translations, and means:

“properly, the condition of one without law — either because ignorant of it, or because violating it.” (Thayer)

Those without law will not receive the blessings of God. They have chosen to ignore the will of God and go their own way, ignoring God’s law. They have made bad choices. Paul said he was “under law” to Christ, and he chose to follow Christ:

“To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.” 1 Cor 9:21

Men have always had a choice whether or not to serve God and receive his blessings. That is the decision of God, who works all things after the counsel of his own will.

God wills that man should obey him. But he wills that man should have the choice of complying with his will. And God, by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of his own will, has willed that, depending on man’s compliance or non-compliance with his will, he will give him glory and honor, or indignation and wrath.

“Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God.” Rom 2:6-11

The same is said concerning God’s providential dealing with “vessels of wrath” versus “vessels of mercy.”

“What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?” Rom 9:22-24

God, in the parable or allegory of the potter and the clay in Jeremiah, shows that it is the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of his own will that determines how he will utilize us to make vessels. God’s usage of us depends on whether or not we have marred as clay in the potter’s hands.

“The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.” Jer 18:1-10

The New Testament teaches us the same thing, that God has already by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of his own will, decided the type of vessel he will make of us, depending on the choices we make in our service to him.

“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.” 2 Tim 2:19-21

So men always have choices to make, and being created in the image of God he allows us to make our own choices. He teaches us to make the right choices, but the choices are still ours to make.

Adam and Eve had a choice. They chose unwisely. Cain and Abel had a choice. Abel chose wisely, but Cain chose unwisely. The pre-Flood population had a choice. Noah and his family chose wisely, but the world chose unwisely. The post-Flood population had a choice. Abraham and his family chose wisely, but the world chose unwisely. The Israelites had a choice:

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” Deut 30:19-20

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Josh 24:15

And, today we also have a choice as to whether or not to do the will of God and be saved. Peter set forth that choice in Acts 2:

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” Acts 2:36-41

To receive the blessing, these men on the day of Pentacost had to make the choice to believe in Jesus, repent of their sins, and be baptized into Jesus for the remission of sins. Obviously, as we can see in these verses, the doing of God’s will by man is not automatic. Man definitely has a choice. He can choose to do God’s will or not do it. And if man chooses not to do His will and be saved, then it won’t happen. And Peter said the promise of salvation was to them, to their children, and to all that are afar off. The choice is ours today.

What we need to do to carry out God’s will on earth for man.

To further understand God’s will for man, and how to carry out God’s will, consider the following. In the New Testament, Jesus wants us to pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is done in heaven:

“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” Matt 6:9-10

“And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.” Luke 11:2

If God’s will being done on earth is always a done deal, then why does Jesus emphasize that we should pray that it be done? Jesus didn’t deceive us. Obviously, there is a great need to pray that God’s will on earth might prevail. Man does have a choice in the matter.

So, we can see that there are some things that God wills, desires to happen, where He has given man the choice as to whether God’s will on earth is to be accomplished. And there are many passages that teach us that many times when man is involved, God has made the doing of his will dependent on the choices that men make. Examples follow:

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matt 7:21-23

Entrance into heaven is contingent on man’s choices, on man choosing to do God’s will. Obviously, on judgment day there will be found many who did not choose to do the will of God, who went their own way, and will be denied entrance. The doing of God’s will by man is not automatic. Man has a choice.

“But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.” Matt 21:28-32

In the parable of the two sons, Jesus taught that one did his father’s will, and one did not. Jesus likens the chief priests and elders of the Jews to the son who said he would do his father’s will but then refused to do it. And then he likens the publicans and harlots to the son that said no at first to the father, but then finally did his will. Obviously, doing the will of God is contingent on the choices that men make.

“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;” 1 Thess 4:3-4

It is the will of God that we abstain from fornication. But God has given us a choice in this matter. We can abstain from fornication and fulfill the will of God, or We can commit fornication and disregard the will of God.

“Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thess 5:17-18

It is the will of God that we give thanks for all the blessing we enjoy. But God has given us a choice in this matter. We can give thanks and fulfill the will of God, or we can choose to not give thanks and not fulfill the will of God.

“Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” Col 4:12

Fervent prayer is made by others that we might stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. Our choice to pray one for another is essential for the welfare of others for whom we pray, that the will of God might be done.

That is why we pray, “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10), and, “Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth” (Luke 11:2). If man’s choices concerning prayer have no effect on the accomplishment of God’s will here on earth, then prayer becomes useless.

“For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” Heb 10:34-39

Patiently and steadfastly doing the will of God is necessary that, after so doing, we might receive the promise. If we choose to patiently continue in doing the will of God, we will receive the promise (a better and enduring possession in heaven, Heb 10:34). The opposite is obvious. If we choose to not patiently continue in doing the will of God, but draw back, then we will not receive the promise. The choice is ours.

God’s assistance in helping us to carry out his will

Note that the writer of Hebrews is very encouraging to the brethren in that he is confident they will believe to the saving of the soul. This shows that we truly have a God, a loving Father, that deeply cares about us and will do everything, consistent with his holy and righteous nature, to bring about our eternal salvation. We cannot make it without his help. Only a fool thinks he can make it on his own. Reference the following passages that show the loving care God has for his children, and what he does to help us to reach the eternal goal:

“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.” Heb 12:5-13

So, God chastens us as a loving Father does his children, that we might be partakers of his holiness.

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.” Phil 2:12-16

God works in us to will and to do of his good pleasure. We are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, and God assures us that he will be there assisting and strengthening us.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom 8:28-39

Carefully read the passage. The passage teaches us that nothing external can separate us from the love of Christ. All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose. Most assuredly, God will not allow the devil to tempt us more than we can bear (1 Cor 10:13). Remember, trials help us to grow and develop patience (James 1:2-4). But if we choose of our own volition to forsake the Lord, he has promised that he will forsake us.

“And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.” 2 Chron 15:1-2

Some try to maneuver around the admonitions in the Scriptures, like in Heb 10:35-36 and other similar passages, by saying that whether the saved take action and either do or not do his will has nothing to do with our eternal salvation, but only how many blessings we will receive or how many stars will be in our crown. They say that the saved can fall into sin and disrepute, whereby “they incur God’s displeasure, grieve the Holy Spirit, come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts, have their hearts hardened, and their conscience wounded, hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves” (Westminster Confession, CH XVII, Article III). Temporal judgments may occur for their sins, but according to the theory, they cannot be lost. Of course, all this reasoning is human reasoning and is vain.

But, contradicting the above Confession, the Scriptures say God will not tolerate those among the saints who are hypocritically and stubbornly disobedient. The doctrine of “Once saved, always saved” makes God a respecter of persons, but the Scriptures anticipate this fallacy and say:

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” Gal 6:7-8

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.” Col 3:23-25

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Gal 5:19-21

God’s will is done by our choice to do his will, not by Faith Only

Some say that justification is obtained by “faith only” (The Methodist Discipline) or “solely through faith” (Hiscox’s Standard Manual for Baptist Churches) which is nowhere taught in the Scriptures. But action, obedience is needed on our part to receive God’s promises, not “faith only” (Heb 10:36; James 2:21-24). Use the common sense that the Lord gave us. The Lord’s word is sure. By choosing the right course, we will receive the promise. The Lord does not show partiality. Patiently doing the will of God shows a love for God who loves us (I John 5:1-3), and will result in us receiving the promise (Heb 10:36). The choice is ours, and it does take effort, as we will see below:

“For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:” 1 Peter 2:15

We can and choose to do well and fulfill the will of God, and in so doing put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. Or we can choose to not do well and not fulfill the will of God, and we will not put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. God has given us a choice. The choice is ours.

“Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” 1 Peter 4:19

We can choose to suffer according to the will of God (2 Tim 3:12), and commit the keeping or our souls to God in well doing. He is faithful to so do he has promised. Or we can choose to not suffer for the cause of Christ, and not do well. The will of the Lord will not be done, and our souls will not be kept by God. The choice is ours. The Lord Indicated that we will all be taught of God (John 6:45). Hear and follow the teaching of the Lord, and all will be well. He has so promised (1 Peter 4:19).

“That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.” 1 Peter 4:2

Don’t live here on earth in the lust of the flesh. If we choose to so do, we will not fulfill the will of God. If we abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul (1 Peter 2:11), then we will fulfill the will of God. The choice is ours.

“And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” 1 John 2:17

The world with its lust is destined to pass away. We can choose to do the will of God and abide forever. Or we can choose to not do the will of God, and live in the fulfillment of lusts, and be doomed forever. The choice is ours. Use common sense. The choice becomes easy (1 John 5:1-5).

So, we do have choices. God has created us in his own image, after his likeness, and has given us the right of choice. We can choose to do good or do evil. But there are consequences to our choices. God does not show partiality. Choose carefully, and be not like the Israelites in the wilderness:

“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Cor 10:1-13

The Israelites were called a holy nation, a peculiar people, the children of God (Deut 7:6-8; Deut 14:1-2). God had promised them the land of Canaan as an inheritance (Lev 20:23-24). He did everything needed to protect and bring them through to the land of promise. He destroyed the Egyptian army in the Red Sea. As they crossed the wilderness he guided them with the pillar of cloud in the day and a pillar of fire at night. He kept them in food and water, and their clothes did not wear out. When the Israelites first prepared to enter the promised land, they sent twelve spies to spy out the land. Ten of the twelve brought back an evil report and said the land could not be taken. Only Joshua and Caleb brought back a good report. As a result God told the Israelites that they had provoked him ten times in the wilderness, and now that they refused to enter and possess the land, God said he would smite them with the pestilence and disinherit them.

“And the Lord said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them? I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.” Num 14:11-12

Moses pleaded with God to not take their lives, and God did not destroy them with the pestilence. But he did say he would make a breach of promise (go back on his promise) and not allow rebellious ones to enter the land. They would have to wander in the wilderness for 40 years, and then when those 20 years old and upward were dead, he would allow Joshua and Caleb, and those under 20 years old to enter the promised land.

“And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise. I the Lord have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.” Num 14:26-35

So, let us not provoke the Lord, as the Israelites did through disobedience, and have the Lord disinherit us and make us to know a breach of promise regarding God’s promise of the gift of eternal life (see below), the promise of entering the promised land of heaven itself.

“Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that he promised us, even eternal life.” 1 John 2:24-25

So, let us watch and pray, that we not lose that which the Lord has granted us. The devil is like a roaring lion, walking about, trying to discourage us, and waiting for us to have a moment of weakness when he can devour us. We should not dabble around with worldliness and get too close to him, or he will spring out and like a lion, devour us. But God has given us faith, to help us steadfastly resist the devil.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” 1 Peter 5:8-9

But remember, God is there for us, and will provide the way of escape.

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Cor 10:13

We need to choose to watch and pray, that we enter not into temptation.

“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matt 26:41

Impact of the doctrine of “Faith only” on salvation

The virtual whole of the denominational world holds to the doctrine of “faith only.” This doctrine of justification by “faith only” (The Methodist Discipline, Articles of Religion, Article IX) or “solely through faith” (Hiscox’s Standard Manual for Baptist Churches, Articles of Faith, Article V) is nowhere taught in the Scriptures. This writer once saw a young lady wearing a tee shirt in public that said, “For by grace are ye saved through faith only (Eph 2:8).” Go to Ephesians 2:8 and see what it really says. Remember that the devil changed the whole concept of things when he changed one word and said, “Ye shall not surely die” (Gen 3:4).

Teaching and accepting the human doctrine of “Soley through faith” and “Once saved, always saved” logically eliminates all consideration of human effort as having anything to do with salvation. Accepting and teaching this erroneous concept, eliminating the responsibility of human choice and effort for salvation, would destroy basically everything Jesus and his apostles taught and stressed about our responsibility of obedience to God. It makes the Bible seem to contradict itself. So, it is a very dangerous doctrine. The doctrine denies that baptism has anything to do with our soul’s salvation, and eliminates the necessity for baptism (Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, 1 Peter 3:21). Consequently, the doctrine teaches that it is not necessary for baptism be done the same day (Acts 2:36-41), without hindrance (Acts 8:35-39), without forbiddance (Acts 10:47-48), the same hour of the night, immediately (Acts 16:29-34), and without tarrying (Acts 22:16). And the doctrine, if logically applied, eliminates the necessity of any works for our soul’s salvation, and leads to the erroneous doctrine of “Once saved, always saved.”

A couple of passages are misused to teach this erroneous concept that grace eliminates the necessity for works/obedience.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Eph 2:8-10

“But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:4-7 (KJV)

“But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7 (NASV)

Important! We can see that, as Titus 3:4-8 (NASV) says, Paul is clearly making a contrast between the basis of salvation, which is, God’s “mercy” as opposed to “works of righteousness which we have done.” Reference the New American Standard Version where the term “basis” is used to describe this comparison. Paul is contrasting the workmanship of God (his mercy and grace) versus the workmanship of man (works of righteousness which we have done). A million works that we have done cannot remove (atone for) one sin! It takes the blood of the Lamb of God to wash away our sins (Rev 1:5).

The workmanship of God is based on his grace and glorifies God. The workmanship of man is based on his own ability, and leads to boasting. What kind of law leads to boasting? The law of works, or the law of faith? Paul taught the Romans that the law of Moses could not save a man. He said the law of Moses led to boasting, and not to thankfulness for the grace of God. See below:

“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” Rom 3:19-28

Paul said that keeping the law made him have his own righteousness, from which he, if he chose to, could boast of his own accomplishments. See below:

“Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:” Phil 3:4-9

And Paul said salvation by the law depended on man keeping the law perfectly, which no man could do. See below:

“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Gal 3:10-14

So, laws like the law of Moses, have as their basis works as the means of salvation. They have no way to truly remove the sinner’s transgressions of the law. Under the law of Moses the sins of the people were brought to mind on a yearly basis, as the High Priest went into the Most Holy place to offer a blood sacrifice for sin, which sacrifice could never remove sin (Heb 10:1-4). So the works of the law could never remove sin, and Paul is reinforcing that in his comparison of works versus grace as the basis of salvation in Eph 2:8-10 and Titus 3:4-7.

Lest some get the wrong idea that human choice and effort, obedience to the gospel, has nothing to do with salvation (which some of the Calvinistic persuasion have done), the apostle Paul (and others) taught that obedience to the gospel is absolutely essential for salvation.

“But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Rom 10:16-17

“And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:” 2 Thess 1:7-8

“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” 1 Peter 4:17-18

“But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God.” Rom 2:5-11

“Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.” 2 Cor 5:9-11

“For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” Gal 5:6-7

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Phil 2:12-13

“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” Acts 10:34-35

“And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” 2 Thess 1:7-10

“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. Matt 25:31-46

“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Rev 20:11-15

James makes clarification about faith and works (obedience) in the book of James, chapter 2.

“What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” James 2:14-26

Note that James is talking about a faith that saves (James 2:14). He’s not talking about something to just make us feel good or appeal to others. He’s talking about being justified (James 2:21, 25). “By works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:24). Faith without works is dead, just as the body without the spirit is dead (James 2:26).

The book of James is plain, simple, straightforward, easy to understand, and filled with the wisdom of God. The book has given fits to those of a Calvinistic leaning, because it clearly and totally contradicts their theory that works have nothing to do with salvation. Some, like Luther, gave up on trying to reconcile it with their pre-conceived theology of “faith only” and pronounced it “an epistle of straw.” Such a shame for a beautiful, practical book, accepted from the beginning as canonical.

Arguments used to try to teach that the saved are eternally secure

Regarding the nature of the will of God, he has certain things that he decides by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of his own will. But in the case of man’s participation in the fulfillment of God’s will for him, we understand that man has a choice as to whether to do or not to do the will of God.

One of the “proof texts” that men use to try to teach Eternal Security (once saved, always saved) is John 6:36-40. Applying what we have learned about the will of God, we can come to see exactly what the Lord is teaching. In John 6 Jesus was talking to the unbelieving Jews concerning the Father’s will.

“But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:36-40

Who comes to Jesus? “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me” (John 6:37). And Jesus rejects none of them that come to him. “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). He doesn’t push away those who sincerely desire to come to him. He pleads with them to come to him.

“I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Rev 22:16-17

The words of Jesus are an encouragement to all who labor and are heavy laden to come to him.

“At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matt 11:25-30

What causes men to come to Jesus? The Scriptures plainly tell us the Father draws men to Jesus through teaching.

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” John 6:44-45

So, the Father draws men to Jesus through teaching. Plain and simple. This is a principle clearly taught in the Scriptures, but so many reject it because it conflicts with their theology.

“And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” John 6:45

In this regard the prophet Isaiah said:

“And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.” Isa 54:13

The preaching of the cross of Christ draws men to Jesus, and God ordained from eternity that Jesus would die on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins.

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:14-16

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. John 12:32

“But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” 1 Cor 1:23-24

Jesus died for all, that all might have the opportunity to be saved.

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” 2 Cor 5:14-15

But remember, man still must make his own choices in the matter. He must choose to hear the word, believe it, and obey it. Thereby he comes to Jesus.

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Rom 10:13-17

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Mark 16:15-16

Did Jesus teach Once saved, always saved?

Is it possible for any of those who God gives to Jesus (John 6:39) to ever be lost? Jesus’ statement in John 6:38-40 is sometimes erroneously used to teach “Once saves, always saved.”

“For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:38-40

Jesus came to do his Father’s will. And Jesus worked long and hard to see that the Father’s will be done. What is the Father’s will concerning those given to Jesus?

“And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” John 6:39

“And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:40

So, it is obvious that it is God’s will, his desire, that of all given to Jesus he should lose nothing. It is his will that all given be saved and none lost. But the Scriptures teach that there can be exceptions, due to the wicked choices that men sometimes make. Look at the case of Judas. It is an indisputable fact that Judas was given to Jesus by the Father, but it is also an indisputable fact that Judas sinned and perished.

‘While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” John 17:12

It was God’s will that none of the apostles given to Jesus be lost, but there was an exception. Judas without disputation was given to Jesus by the Father, as the Scriptures say (John 17:12). But it is also without disputation, that through his own choice, through transgression he fell, was lost, and perished, as the Scriptures say (John 17:12, Acts 1:25). No amount of fancy wresting of the Scriptures can negate this point (2 Peter 3:15-18).

It is the will of God that all believers should continue in the faith, and have life eternal. But even though he wills that it should so be, it is not his purpose to force us to so continue in the faith. God allows man to make his own choices. As we have seen, God may will something to be, without willing that it indeed shall so be. The example of Judas shows that one can be given to Jesus by the Father, but through his own transgression can be lost (John 17:12). God does not save men unconditionally. God made man in his own image, after his likeness (Gen 1:26-27). Man has the right of choice as did Adam and Eve, as free moral agents. We also have the choice to do good or evil, as did the men of Israel that Peter and the apostles preached to on Pentecost. In their case, they had chosen to perform the unspeakable crime of crucifying the Son of God:

Acts 2:36-41

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”

Jesus had prayed for the Father to forgive those who crucified him (Luke 23:34). Now, here on Pentecost God’s grace comes to fruition to those who had either directly or tacitly crucified the Lord (Acts 2:36). Salvation is being offered to sinners. They had come to the conclusion that Peter was right in what he said, that Jesus is the Son of God, both Lord and Christ, and that they had crucified him. “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37).

Through God’s grace they were now given the choice to take action and receive the forgiveness of sins: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). And Peter assured them, “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:29). This promise of God was to them, to their children, and to all that were afar off, including us today.

They were not being saved unconditionally. They had to make the choice to take action. The Scriptures continue relating Peter’s sermon, “And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:40). This is a concept that most Calvinist cannot bring themselves to accept, even though the Scriptures say it. And a great number responded, “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41).

And these souls, now in Christ (Rom 6:3, Gal 3:27) and redeemed by the blood of the Lamb (1 Peter 1:18-19), rejoiced, having believed in God (Acts 2:42-47).

Those called come to Jesus by the will of God

Since it is obvious that it is God’s will that all given to Jesus, all believers, be saved and none lost, did Jesus just assume it was a done deal, and no further need was there to strive to bring it about? Or did Jesus and his chosen apostles, realizing that the fulfilling of God’s will toward man depends on the choices that men make, labor long and hard to strengthen and bring about the eternal salvation of those given to Jesus?

Jesus, being the good shepherd, explicitly told the unbelieving Jews precisely who they were that were of his flock.

“Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 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. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.” John 10:24-31

Jesus tells them explicitly who are his sheep.

“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. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.” John 10:27-29

The sheep of Jesus, plain and simple, are those who hear his voice and follow him. And he knows who they are that choose to do this. He is using the metaphor “sheep” to describe his disciples, because that is exactly what real sheep will do. They hear the voice of the shepherd, and they follow his lead. That is what Jesus taught in the parable of the good shepherd (John 10:1-18).

Nothing external can ever pluck the sheep of Jesus (those who hear his voice and follow him) from his hand or from God’s hand. They are safe in the hand of God. But the Bible teaches that it is possible for sheep, of their own accord, to be tempted and leave the safety of the hand of God. It is possible for sheep to cease to hear the voice of the shepherd and cease to follow him. Jesus certainly so taught.

“My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace. All that found them have devoured them: and their adversaries said, We offend not, because they have sinned against the Lord, the habitation of justice, even the Lord, the hope of their fathers.” Jer 50:6-7

These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Matt 10:5-6

“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” Luke 15:4-7

All through his ministry on earth, Jesus labored long and hard to warn his followers of judgment to come, and to prepare his disciples for the trials they would go through with the temptations of the devil.

Jesus did not just assume that eternal salvation was a done deal, and that no further need was there to strive to bring it about? Jesus labored long and hard to bring about the eternal salvation of those given to him.

Many of his parables were designed to warn his followers to be faithful, to pray and be watchful, to stay the course, to persevere unto the end, in order to receive the crown of life.

Sower Matt 13:3-23, Luke 8:4-15

Virgins Matt 25:1-13; John 10:1-18

Talents Matt 25:14-30

Faithful & unfaithful servants Luke 12:41-48

Barren fig tree Luke 13:6-9

Lost sheep Luke 15:3-10

Ten pounds Luke 19:11-27

He also taught continually on the necessity for disciples to persevere to the end in order to receive the crown of life.

Matt 6:19-20, Matt 7:13-14, Matt 7:24-27, Matt 10:16-22, Matt 10:34-39, Matt 16:24-27, Matt 18:21-35, Matt 25:31-46, Mark 9:42-59, Luke 6:46-49, Luke 9:57-62, Luke 12:31-40, Luke 14:25-33, John 15:1-10, Luke 16:1-16

He laid foundational principles of the kingdom of God in the sermon on the mount (see Matt 5-7). Over and over Jesus laid down the abiding principles of what we need to be and to do to be considered disciples of his and heirs of heaven.

And his apostles certainly warned the saints about straying from their Master, the good shepherd

The book of Hebrews is replete with warnings about departing from the living God.

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?” Heb 2:1-4

“Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” Heb 3:1-6

“Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.” Heb 3:7-11

“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” Heb 3:12-19

“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” Heb 4:1-11

“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” Heb 6:1-12

“And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Heb 10:21-31

“For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” Heb 10:34-39

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Heb 12:1-4

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears. Heb 12:14-17

“See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:” Heb 12:25

“For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” Heb 13:14-17

And many times the apostle Paul in his epistles warned the brethren about departing from the faith.

“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: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” 1 Cor 9:24-27

“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” 1 Cor 10:1-12

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” Gal 1:6-10

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.” Gal 3:1-4

“But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.” Gal 4:9-11

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” Gal 5:1-7

This is without a doubt different teaching than “Once saved, always saved.” Paul addressed his remarks to “the churches of Galatia.” To those in the churches who were relying on salvation through the law and circumcision, Paul said that “Christ shall profit you nothing,” that “Christ is become of no effect unto you,” and that “ye are fallen from grace.”

The Creed writers were aware of the impact of what the inspired apostle Paul was saying, and so use some fancy maneuvering to try to soften the impact by saying that once we are saved, we “can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved” (The Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter XVII, Article I). Edward T. Hiscox in “The Standard Manual for Baptist Churches” says much the same thing by saying that the saved “will not utterly fall away and perish, but will endure unto the end” (Chapter VIII, Articles of Faith, XI). So, these documents say that the saved “can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace,” and they “will not utterly fall away and perish.” “Totally” and “utterly” are the catch words here. The creed writers are saying that the saved can fall, but it is not a complete fall, that it not totally or utterly from the state of grace. This statement in the Creed flatly means that if they fall, they are still in the state of grace. But this directly contradicts Paul’s statements in Galatians 5:2-4, where he says, “Christ shall profit you nothing” and “Christ has become of no effect unto you” and “Ye are fallen from grace.” So, by taking that erroneous position, Paul’s inspired words in Galatians 5:1-7 (and in many other places, as we shall see) become meaningless and misleading.

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” Gal 5:19-24

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Gal 6:7-9

“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them.” Eph 5:1-7

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” Eph 6:10-18

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.” Phil 2:12-16

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.” Col 3:1-11

We could go on and on about the multitude of warnings in the Scriptures that we not falter in our service to God, but remain steadfast to the end. But these will suffice to show that the doctrine of “Once saved, always saved,” if accepted, would defeat the very core of what Jesus and his apostles are trying to instill in us, that it is necessary that we strive to remain faithful to the end. We should constantly watch out for the wiles of the devil, and pray for God’s help to overcome.

“And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; 9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. 10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. 11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.” Rev 2:8-11

Summary of the study of the will of God as relates to our salvation

Which brings us to the end of this study. My appeal is that we all strive to do the blessed will of God and walk in the footsteps of Jesus (1 Peter 2:21), speak nothing of ourselves (John 12:48-50), all speak the same thing (1 Peter 4:11), walk in the light (1 John1:7), depend on God for guidance and strength (Psalm 23:1-6), trust in the Lord for salvation (1 Tim 1:14-15), and look forward to that eternal home with Jesus in the heavens (Rev 22:1-5). And make the right choices that we might inherit eternal life and glorify God (Matt 7:21-23). God’s grace given through Jesus Christ makes it all possible.