There is a danger of believing “Once saved, always saved.” Some teach that it is not a biblical doctrine. They believe a person is only guaranteed eternal life if they persevere after salvation. There are others who do believe in “Once saved, always saved,” yet there are dangers to believing that. I strongly believe that once genuine faith is made, that person is a new creation and is eternally saved. However, what are the dangers of it?
There are three main dangers to believing the doctrine, “Once saved, always saved.” They are the dangers of laziness, lack of spiritual growth and a lack of concern for others. The first danger is laziness in the spiritual life. Some genuine believers believe they have their fire insurance paid up, their eternal security, so now they don’t have to pursue knowing Jesus. Sometimes Christians become lazy in their theology, or study of God, because they believe they have the most important thing, salvation, so why pursue hard to understand truths. Why not just enjoy and pursue all the stimulation of the world. Often Christians become lazy and maintain a temporal focus, because after all the eternal is secure. There are no more sorrows or tears in heaven, so let’s work at making this life “as comfortable as possible for me.” It reminds me of the person who lays up his treasure on earth or the person who builds bigger barns on earth to store all of his things, even though he has become lazy spiritually.
The second danger is a lack of spiritual growth. Many Christians choose to live any way they want because they know they are going to heaven. “What difference does it make?” they think and they don’t grow up spiritually. In fact, some Christians choose to not grow up spiritually, because the busyness of work, family and life leaves “little” time for God. That is foolishness of course and God makes it clear in Hebrews 6:1-8 that that Christian is going to miss out on rewards in life and eternity. It also means many Christians will fall into the danger of earthly contentment and sit in their spiritual infancy, spiritual childhood, or even spiritual young adult hood status. God wants His children to grow up to become spiritual parents who are discipling other people. Of course all of this is because of the danger of complacency, which leads to the attitude and actions that “I don’t have to work at sanctification.” God made it clear through Paul when he wrote,
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation [sanctification] with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Phil. 2:12-13 NKJ)
The third danger is lack of concern for others. The danger is very subtle, but is killing the American church. This danger follows the preceding two in that personal gain becomes more and more important and concern for others is not expressed in evangelism or discipleship. Christians are not discipling others or reaching out to be instruments in the Redeemers hands to save others. The attitude almost seems to be, “I have it, so let me enjoy what I see in the world. People can figure it out for themselves.”
There are dangers of “Once saved, always saved.” HOWEVER, it is more dangerous to think I have something to do to keep my salvation. There are some who believe a theology that once they are saved, they must be producing fruit, or they weren’t saved. There are two greater dangers of this. First, it is more dangerous, because people may begin to think their good works keep them saved. There is nothing a person can do for salvation, therefore, there is nothing a person can do to lose his salvation. If a person has no works, then his faith is not operational and is like it is dead (Jam. 2:14), just like a child who has run away from home and has no relationship with the family. That is a “dead” relationship because there is no relationship. If there are no works, then the person is not trusting God and he is characterized by a “dead faith.” God DID design His children for good works (Eph. 2:10). Every child of God will show his love for Jesus by his good works in obedience (John 14:15). Because people put such an emphasis on their works, in persevering, they may fail to depend on the power of the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, they may think that they have to add to the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. I cannot add one thing to what Jesus has already done. That is dangerous.
The second greater danger is that a person may think that his salvation depends on him doing things. Grace was already done and it was a gift of salvation. It depends on me letting Jesus work through me (Gal. 2:20), not me doing things. I cannot be more accepted by God if I do anything in the flesh apart from God’s Spirit.
A person could miss out on salvation altogether if this is what is presented prior to salvation, because it sounds like the Christian life is dependent on works, rather than God’s grace in Jesus. In fact, it may make the person the judge, rather than falling at the foot of the Judge and accepting His forgiveness and work of regeneration.