Posted by: Dan | July 3, 2004

Hope and Salvation

Well, I usually try and stay away from this sort of debate but my brother asked me about my thoughts on the “once saved, always saved” debate and I ended up coming to a completely new (at least to me) conclusion. Usually I just point out that people focused on this question are completely missing the point of what it means to live as a member of the people of God, so I was talking about that with my brother when I had this idea.

I think that it is correct to say we are once saved, always saved. However (and this is the kicker), the question then follows, when does salvation occur? And here's the thing – salvation has not yet been fully enacted. Not for any of us. The completion of salvation occurs when Jesus returns and enacts judgment over the living and the dead. Therefore, when judgment results in grace, when we are not damned to the experience of God's wrath, THEN we are saved. Until then we only have the hope of salvation. So of course it is once saved always saved. Once God judges in our favor we are saved, and once we enter into the consummated kingdom we are always saved. But until then we only have the hope of salvation.

All this, of course, makes us rethink the popular Christian understanding of the moment you ask Jesus into your heart being the moment when you are saved. Actually it makes us rethink a lot of popular Christianity's ideas about what it means to be a Christian. Maybe, all of a sudden, we're starting to discover what the point really is. The question of how much can I get away with now that I'm saved, is transformed to the question of how I should live as a member of a people defined by hope.

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Responses

  1. As an alternative explanation about the process of salvation:
    a) God saves our spirits – immediate change upon acceptance of Jesus as Lord and forgiveness of our sins. (Acts 2:47)
    b) God saves our souls – daily forgiveness of sins, gradual process we live out, maturing in character. (Phillipians 2:12 & Lord’s Prayer)
    c) God saves our bodies – Jesus’ return and our physical resurrection.
    (John 11:24)

  2. Hey Poserorprophet (POP?),

    Thanks for your thoughts on my question. My gut feeling was that the answer to the question of eternal security wasn’t important and shouldn’t have an impact on the way in which we live our lives, but both of the popular viewpoints would have some kind of effect. Those in the “once saved, always saved” camp might be tempted to live knowing that the work is done and they have no further responsibilities (as an extreme example), and those who go with the opposite view may tend towards legalism. (I don’t know if this has anything to do with your “completely missing the point of what it means to live as a member of the people of God” statement.) However, your theory as stated here really clarifies the whole issue for me. So thanks!

  3. I’m in full agreement with you that people spend way too much time debating this issue. God’s ability to live with a complete perspective of holiness and absolute truth is far beyond our comprehension. We are left to process the knowledge we have and the warped way in which we interpret it. I greatly fear the human inclination to live a works based life. I thrive on the concept that “His love compels me” and I choose Him because the alternatives aren’t anywhere near enough. I’m also wary of grace abuse and the tendancy to justify everything with “God is love”. Basically I trust in God’s complete grace and pure love. I also strive to believe in His commitment to righteousness and truth. All these concepts will not become truly clear to me until God decides they should be.
    Every day I carry with me the choice to live my life in any way I choose. God didn’t rip us off when He handed out wisdom and intellect (okay some more than others :). If someone would love me enough to suffer with such intensity, spending my short existence honouring Him is the least I can do.
    Thanks. If this made no sense, I apologize. Too much thinking these days….

  4. Yo POP,

    Romans 8:23-25 would seem to support what you are saying here.

  5. Further contemplation of your entry here raises some more questions for me:

    1) Why do you “usually try and stay away from this sort of debate”? Some people would argue that this is a very important issue.

    2) What do you mean by “people focused on this question are completely missing the point of what it means to live as a member of the people of God”?

    3) What DOES it mean to “live as a member of a people defined by hope”?

    I’m sure there are no short and easy answers to these questions, but if you have the time I would love to hear what you think.

  6. I disagree…I think you should review the conversation b/e Jesus and Nicademus(sp). This conversation entailed salvation and the spirit being reborn. Once saved always saved, it’s not on hold until judgement day or any other future events. Just something to think about. :)


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