Once Saved Always Saved?

A reader recently shared a fear of losing her salvation. She was taught, “once saved always saved”, but more recently she began to have doubts.

“I’ve been overwhelmed for a long time with a fear of losing salvation. I was brought up under a good gospel message and was saved age 9 but taught once saved always saved. A few years ago I was reading my bible much more and it seemed to me that perhaps this teaching wasn’t true. I’m still unsure on it but I began to feel terrified and not long after having my baby who us now 3 I became extremely anxious and was battling unwanted thoughts that I couldn’t control. I began to fear that God would not forgive these thoughts and so this new fear of God led to uncontrolled thoughts towards God which I hated so much. Anyhow it’s a long story but it has been a long road. The scriptures I did know we’re invaluable and I’m much better but I struggle to have the joy I once had, I still have lingering fears and lack assurance at times. I really believe God has been gracious and patient with my lack of faith but always worry He will finally say enough is enough. Not sure what you will make if this but thanks for any prayers.”

So: Is the doctrine of “once saved always saved” true?

Short answer: YES!


If the person is truly saved!

So the real question on the table is:

Are you truly saved?

Are you “walking the walk”?


Are you just “talking the talk?”

Is everyone who SAYS they are saved, really saved?

To be sure: everyone who truly is saved did not appear to be saved the day after they got saved. At first, you can’t tell whether someone else is saved or not. They APPEAR to be the same as they were the day before. But over time — if the person truly is saved — they will begin to exhibit evidence of being what theologians call “sanctified”. They are being transformed. Their hearts are less and less for the priorities of the world, and more and more for Jesus.

Example of “talking the talk”

Here’s an image of a burning fireplace, snipped from a YouTube video. When I played the video, it looked like a real fire; it even made a “crackling” sound just like a real fire. Judging from it’s appearance, it promised warmth.



Do you see my point? The fireplace in the video looked real. It sounded real. But it was fake! It was a LIE! It could not fulfill the purpose that real fireplaces are created for.

Jesus wants us to be “on fire” for Him.

5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

Jesus is all about “bearing fruit”

And the only reason the you and I are still here is so that we can take up His ministry in whatever way He calls us to do, and help to “bear fruit” for the kingdom of God.


Many (most?) churches today have “dumbed-down” the Gospel message. It’s as though the pastors believe that their congregations would be so unwilling to hear and take to heart messages that focus on topics such as spiritual warfare, Scripture memory, financial stewardship, and Christian apologetics that many will be so outraged and walk out. And some of the people will.

But I have observed that, where challenging topics ARE preached, congregations are GROWING, not shrinking!

2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world — the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life — is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15~17)

I have found that when you are no longer willing to be “of the world” the “push-back” from those who are “of the world” is very challenging.

Jesus would agree with that:

14 I have given them Your Word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the Truth; Your Word is Truth. 18 As you sent Me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate Myself, that they also may be sanctified in Truth. (John 17:14~19)

I have written another article discussing the question of salvation that has many more details and some great examples. A few of the examples are:

Are you a “casual Christian” or a “captive Christian”? Are you suffering from spiritual apathy? Do you pretend to believe God in order to impress others? Do you believe in God — but He makes no significant difference in your life? You can know the answers!

I strongly urge you to read:

Believe God? Of Course I Believe God!

Having said all that…

I want to reassure you from the Bible how we can indeed be confident that we cannot lose our salvation.

In my email replying to the lady who wrote the message, I told her I was glad she had shared this part of her struggle — especially her concern about losing her salvation — because it’s likely that there are others experiencing the same struggles.

This is one of Satan’s most effective strategies: fill the minds of people with doubt and unbelief as to what God has said.

The devil holds people hostage:

Satan will cast doubt into your mind so that you will be enslaved throughout your entire life about your salvation. In this way Satan keeps your focus on your fear and you will be totally ineffective for being fruitful for God.

Note the underlined text:

14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. (Hebrews 2:14~15)

The result:

From the beginning in the Garden of Eden, the snake (Satan) got Eve to doubt God’s Word, AND to believe that there would be no consequences if she disobeyed God.

In society today…

Those same deceptions by the devil are taking place in the minds of people — including many Christians — everywhere!

Essentially, what are they saying?

“God’s Word cannot be trusted — or even believed!”

Now that I have identified Satan as the culprit behind most of the chaos in the world, I urge you to read my articles:
What The Devil Does NOT Want You To Know
 How To Banish Unwanted Thoughts 

In contrast to Satan’s lies, Jesus said:

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27~30)

If you are one of His sheep — if you are diligently following His ways — He has already given you salvation!

And the Apostle John — writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit — said:

Note the underlined text:
That You May Know

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.(1 John 5:13)

Paul wrote to the Ephesians — and to us:

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8~9)

I don’t see a whole lot of “wiggle-room” in those Scripture passages; do you?

Nevertheless, someone will ask…
“But… what if I commit sins in the future?”

I’m Glad You Asked!

You have to realize:

ALL of our sins were in the future back when Jesus died on a cross in order to pay the penalty for them!

And there’s even more!

Note the underlined text:

12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:12~14)

The key phrase there is “for all time”

That includes:
  • past sins
  • present sins
  • AND…

You cannot sin your way out from under God’s grace!! Jesus paid the penalty IN FULL for your sins and for mine as well.

Paul provides additional proof:

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37~39)

Here’s where God’s heart is toward YOU!

Here is the entire Scripture passage:

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)


Jesus loves you so much that He suffered and died on a cross FOR YOU!

And even if you were the only person in the world, He would have died for your sins!

The Lord does not want ANY to perish.

Here is the entire Scripture passage:

9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

As If That were Not Enough:

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26~27)

34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died — more than that, who was raised — who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us (Romans 8:34)

Who is interceding for you?

In verses 26 and 27, the Holy Spirit is interceding for you according to the will of Father God! And in verse 34, Jesus is INDEED interceding for you!

Jesus Came to Save the World

44 And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45 And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. 47 If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment — what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.” (John 12:44~50)

Positive Thoughts:

God’s Word will actually talk to you throughout each day! This REALLY HAPPENS!!

20 My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. 21 Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you. 23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life (Proverbs 6:20~23)

Even when the Bible doesn’t use the words “saved” or “salvation”, sometimes they can be implied:

23 But this command I gave them: ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’ (Jeremiah 7:23)

The Bible uses the word “saved” or “salvation” 284 times! To view them in a separate window, Click / Tap Here

Doesn’t it seem obvious that God is on our side and wants us to come to heaven?

Here is the entire Scripture passage:

21 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: 22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” 25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. 26 It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. (Lamentations 3:21~26)

Another day? Another chance!

Isn’t this the most wonderful news you could ever find to reassure you of your salvation?

But we do have a responsibility to each other:

12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. (Colossians 3:12~13)

You are His masterpiece!

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

Jesus created you so that you could help Him to advance the discipleship program that He began while He was on Earth in human form. He wants each of us to discover the assignment that He has prepared for us, so that you and I and many others can help each other to get ready to go home!

- Jan



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  • Jackie 11/25/2018, 8:29 AM

    Jan, I am struggling with setting boundaries and fear. We happen to live with my 81 year old mother in law for the time being. She is very controlling I would say even manipulative. I struggle with anger when she is invasive (asking questions about my divorce settlement over and over again.) She calls and I do not answer sometimes because I really need the peace rather than go through an iquisition. She is angry and suspicious when I do not answer.I am so angry when she begins to put pressure that we drop what we are doing to accomodate her. We contribute to household financially and with keeping things straightened. She has often commented that she is lazy and wants others to take of everything. I feel trapped. If I speak up or set boundaries I feel defensive. Right now we cannot afford to live anywhere else. I am fearful and angry at the same time.I am in God’s word. I know what be says about anger and fear. I’m just not seeing the big picture or something. Help. Thank you.

    Reply Link
    • Jan Smith 11/27/2018, 8:57 PM

      Hi, Jackie,
      It’s a struggle for sure, isn’t it? If only everyone knew about and lived according to the following Scripture:

      4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

      But as I said, not everyone does this. So we who know the Truth are given the task of modeling the Christian response, even when it seems just impossible. Takes lots of endurance. That’s what being a disciple of Jesus is all about.

      Reply Link
  • Kathryn R Smith 11/06/2018, 11:43 AM

    Ours is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and NOT the Gospel of the Kingdom which has not yet happened and they thought it would but they crucified Him instead.

    Reply Link
  • Alvin Sang 11/06/2018, 9:14 AM

    Thanks for the teaching. I also wanted to know this for sure. How about a truly born again Christian who tell lies once in a while or doesn’t pray for others (sin according to 1 Sam 12.23) or even cowards. Will this not stop them from going to heaven despite being saved?

    Reply Link
    • Kathryn R Smith 11/06/2018, 11:42 AM

      Not read the article yet but we did not earn it so we cannot lose it. We cannot add to our salvation by works. It is all God or not God at all. He does not need our help. We need to concentrate on the epistles written to the Gentiles who did not need to repent of the Law (Gentiles were not sacrificing animals and doing rituals to keep or gain salvation so they had nothing to repent of – they just need to believe to have eternal. Our Gospel is 1 Corinthians 15 and also the book of Romans.

      Reply Link
    • Jan Smith 11/06/2018, 9:24 PM

      Alvin, thanks for commenting.
      I won’t presume to know anyone’s inner being to know the “thoughts and intentions of their heart” (see Hebrews 4:12). But I do know that we have to distinguish between “relationship” and “fellowship”. When we sin, we break fellowship with God. Yet at the same time, we can still have an unbroken relationship with Him.
      Suppose you had a child that disobeyed something you had established as to “how we do things here at our home”. You might have to punish the child, but don’t dis-own the child. “Once my child, Always my child”!! Does that make sense to you?
      I urge you (and whomever reads this) to read chapters 6,7, and 8 from the book of Romans. Read them daily for a month or two. As you do that by faith, you will begin to experience “illumination!” You’ll begin to “get it”!

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