One of the things that has always bothered me about Christianity is the doctrine of once saved, always saved. Simply put, this doctrine claims that once you sincerely say the sinners' prayer and accept Jesus into your heart you're permanently saved; nothing you do from then on can unsave you.
On the surface, this idea sounds good; it sure makes God appear loving. He places no demands on our behaviour, all He's looking for is an emotional acknowledgement of His Son's sacrifice. Great! The problem for me is it's just too easy.
But the Gospel is that easy, Christians will say. It's man-made traditions that have complicated it. Ok, fine. But where does behaviour or, dare I say it, works fit in? The problem is this: if we're saved forever once we say the sinners' prayer, why not live any way we want to afterwards?
Modern Christians are constantly condemning the rampant sin in today's society. Yet they seem totally blind to how the "once save, always saved" doctrine undermines their anti-sin struggle. If our salvation can't be lost by anything we do, then there's no reason not to do anything we want once we're saved. Christians will counter that we're saved from sin, not to sin. But if that's true, then doesn't salvation obligate us not to sin? And if that's true, then doesn't willful, unrepentant sin cancel our salvation? And if such sin doesn't cancel our salvation then, I ask again, why not sin boldly after we're saved?
Some Christians might say that after salvation we should behave in certain ways, i.e. not sin, because our behaviour is the outward sign of our salvation to a non-believing world. Unbelievers love to accuse Christians of hypocrisy and challenge them by pointing to all the bad things done in Christ's name. Consequently, Christians must strive to bring honor to Christ's name by living as He did when He was on earth. So, not sinning is about protecting Christ's name, not about protecting our salvation. I can buy that to a certain extent, but it still seems to me that behaviour--works--should play a part in keeping, if not receiving, salvation.
Suppose someone sincerely says the sinners' prayer and accepts Jesus into his heart. For several years after that he lives a Christian life. Then, bad things start happening to him. His business goes bust; his wife leaves him; his child gets cancer. All of this causes him to question God and to start living less and less like a Christian. Finally, he gives up on God completely and commits to living however he wants to, regardless of how sinful it may be. He's still living that way when he dies. Am I to believe that this person will go to heaven just because, years earlier, he gave his life to Christ? The "once saved, always saved" doctrine says he will. My heart says he won't.
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Hello everyone! Well, I moved over the week-end. My brother and a friend from church helped me. I've moved in with my Mom so I can get caught up on my bills without having to worry abut another rent payment. My brother and my friend, Henry, helped move my furniture then I moved the "little" stuff myself. That "little" stuff really added up! It took me two and a half days to get it all in storage. Fortunately, it all fit in the storage unit I rented so I didn't have to rent two units. I missed Sunday school this past Sunday because I was moving all that "little" stuff. I told Henry that I probably wouldn't be there and he said he understood (I'm attending Henry's class). I'm planning on going to Sunday school this coming Sunday. I really missed it last Sunday,which is sort of strange considering I haven't been to Sunday school in about six years and didn't feel like I was missing anything, but I now know I was. God apparently wants me to be with real believers because I sure didn't expect to feel like this. I hope I won't be disappointed. I will let you know how it turns out.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Hello everyone! Just wanted to let you know that you might not hear from me for a few days or longer. I'm moving and I'm using all of my spare time to pack. I'm not sure where I'm going. I thought I was going to move into an apartment complex near my job, but it only has a year's lease. I don't want to be stuck in a lease for that long plus, I can only get a one bedroom apartment which would mean most of my furniture would have to go into storage. I don't have the money for that kind of storage! Please pray that I find the right new place to live, and that I find it soon! Thanks!