The amazing thing about the lukewarm is that they don’t recognize their need or the danger they are in. In their wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked (NIV) spiritual condition, they think they do not need a thing. They are this deceived! Therefore, the vital need to change is hidden from their blinded eyes and isn’t the priority it should be. Imagine being in such spiritual danger and thinking all is well. This, in fact, is reality for many in our modern day.
Regarding their deception, Adam Clarke comments on Rev. 3:17 (Adam Clarke’s Commentary On The Bible, p. 1338):
17. I am rich. You suppose yourself to be in a safe state, perfectly sure of final salvation, because you have begun well and laid the right foundation. It was this most deceitful conviction that cut the nerves of their spiritual diligence; they rested in what they had already received, and seemed to think that once in grace must be still in grace.
Dan Corner Comments
Besides the affluence of Laodicea adversely affecting them, the teachers in that region might have been “sleepy time.” By that, it is meant after the opening Scripture for the sermon (if any is cited), there is no need for a Bible since stories and the like would then fill up the rest of the twenty minute “sermon.” If such “pastors” could bottle their ability to induce natural sleep, they would knock the sleeping pill companies out of business. Besides story telling, joke telling from the pulpit is also used to make everybody feel happy and relaxed, but which also will destroy Holy Spirit conviction and take time away from correcting, rebuking and encouraging (2 Tim. 4:2).
In our day there exists another way to create lukewarmness that didn’t exist in the days of the Laodiceans, and that is TV watching. This vile tool of the adversary not only uses up precious free time that we have to serve God but instills the world’s values while it promotes lust, violence, materialism, deceit and the like!
Copyright, Dan Corner. Brother Corner has many more insightful teachings available through his ministry, Evangelical Outreach.
Regarding persecution, a very important parable (the Parable of the Sower) declares there are four different types of people who hear the word of God. The second type mentioned “believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away” (Lk. 8:13). In Mt. 13:21, the explanation of this type of person is given:
But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.
This type of person does not continue to live spiritually because of persecution.
Please realize, therefore, that persecution does not come to build us up or promote growth, as some Once Saved Always Saved teachers wrongly proclaim. Neither does it come to weed out the mere professing believers from the real Christians, as others teach. The word of God is given to build us up (Acts 20:32) and for growth (1 Pet. 2:2). Persecution comes as a test (Lk. 8:13 cf. Mt. 13:21; Acts 20:19; Rev. 2:10) which will cause some genuine Christians to fall away or die spiritually!
Furthermore, the Scriptural meaning of fall away in context is die as evidenced by the withered plants. To fall away is equated here with ceasing to believe. The seed (or word of God) produced (spiritual) life, for there was a living plant that afterwards withered, or as Jesus taught, such “believe for a while, but in the time of testing, they fall away.”
Notice: after they initially believed through the word of God in such a way as to produce life, they ceased believing. Such occurred because of the persecution or trouble in their lives that came from the word of God. Clearly then, persecution for godly living can potentially be spiritually fatal to the real Christian!
Again, from the Parable of the Sower, we see that it is possible for a Christian to have a genuine, life-producing faith that doesn’t continue, as evident in Jesus’ words, believe for a while.
The Once Saved Always Saved teachers are wrong to say it was “a temporary faith,” meaning that such people never had a true faith, since it didn’t endure. One can only wonder, how could a temporary faith be equated with a false faith, since such did produce spiritual life?
Similar to that faulty interpretation is what we read in the notes for Lk. 8:13 of The NIV Study Bible. It wrongly states:
This kind of belief is superficial and does not save. It is similar to what James calls ‘dead’ (Jas 2:17,26) or ‘useless’ faith (Jas 2:20). (The NIV Study Bible, p. 1,554)
The point made by Jesus regarding this type of person, is that there was real spiritual life produced by the word of God and personal faith that didn’t endure. It wasn’t a dead faith, as James 2 mentions, for it produced genuine, spiritual life that lasted until the persecution came and the spiritual life, at that point, was terminated. In other words, it wasn’t a dead faith, but a living faith that became dead!
Unfortunately, besides The NIV Study Bible, other study Bibles (and reference Bibles) slip in Once Saved Always Saved from time to time. The Ryrie Study Bible, MacArthur Study Bible and the Scofield Reference Bible are some other examples.
There are many erroneous beliefs regarding the Book of Life. David Breese said the following:
I believe that every person who is born has their names written in the book of life. God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance, so the will of God is that everybody be saved. If, however, they do not believe Christ, then on the basis of their not receiving Christ, then their names are taken out of the book of life whereas it could have been otherwise. But it does not say that a person’s name is blotted out of the book of life because he has committed a sin. But it’s because he has not believed in the Savior from sin, namely Christ. (Front Page, Unconditional Eternal Security, WWIB-FM, 11/10/94)
J. Vernon McGee wrote:
Our churches are filled with a great many people who are not saved. I’m sure you agree with me. Are they in the Lamb’s Book of Life? I think so. But their names are not going to stay there unless they make a decision for Christ. (Questions and Answers, p. 104)
What are the Scriptural facts about the Book of Life? First, we know the names of the saved only are written in it:
And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life (Phil. 4:3).
Paul could not have written that verse if every person who was physically alive had his name in it.
Also Lk. 10:20 must refer to the Book of Life, since this is the only book in heaven, mentioned in Scripture, that has names recorded in it. That verse reads:
… rejoice that your names are written in heaven.
That was also clearly directed to the saved, but the ultimate question here is: Can the names of the saved be blotted out of God’s book through sin?
Then Moses returned to the LORD and said, “Oh, these people have committed a great sin, and have made for themselves a God of gold! Yet now, if You will forgive their sin; but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written.” And the LORD said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book” (Exo. 32:31-33).
According to God himself, personal sin committed can cause God to blot the names of the righteous out of his book in heaven. Furthermore, we read:
Charge them with crime upon crime; do not let them share in your salvation. May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous (Psa. 69:27,28).
Clearly, the righteous can get their names blotted out of the Book of Life, according to Scripture.
With all of this in mind, notice the following warning given to Christians:
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book (Rev. 22:18,19).
Since those who don’t have their names written in the Book of Life get thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15), and the names of the saved can be blotted out by personal sin (Exo. 32:33 cf. Psa. 69:27,28), then it’s impossible for Once Saved Always Saved to be true!
By comparing Rev. 20:15 and 21:8, we learn that those who don’t have their names written in the Book of Life are also the cowardly, unbelieving, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, those who practice the magic arts, idolaters and liars. This is obvious since these people will be thrown into the lake of fire. Again, note the list doesn’t end with the unbeliever!
Conversely, those that do have their names written in the Book of Life are not the cowardly, unbelieving, vile, murderers, sexually immoral, those that practice the magic arts, idolaters or liars, according to the two passages.
Robert Glenn Gromacki gives his strange interpretation of Rev. 22:18,19:
This was a double-sided warning. For addition, God would add these plagues. This was basically a physical judgment. But how could God add the plagues of the great tribulation (Rev 6-16) to a person who has lived and died within the church age? It could only be possible to the unsaved person living at the time of the rapture of the church. In that case, he would enter the tribulation and be exposed to these plagues. For subtraction, God would remove a man’s part from the book of life. (Most Greek texts read this as the “tree of life.”) Again, if this person was living at the end of the church age, he would lose his life during the tribulation and would not be able to enter into the millennial kingdom or into the holy city, which may be on earth during Christ’s earthly reign. (Salvation is Forever, p. 155)
Robert Glenn Gromacki’s strange interpretation crumbles with the fact those warnings were given to the saved not the unsaved!
Also, when it comes to Rev. 22:18,19, Once Saved Always Saved teachers like to quote some translation other than the KJV! Harold Barker gives his reason for this:
The Greek manuscripts do not say “book of life” but rather “tree of life” (italics his).
But does it really make a difference regarding the believer’s security? Let’s look at the NASB version:
I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book (Rev. 22:18,19).
Even if one goes by this version of the Bible, Once Saved Always Saved is still refuted by this passage! This is true because:
That warning was still given to Christians (1:4-6,11); and
A Christian can still have his part taken away from the holy city, according to all reputable translations, even the ones the Once Saved Always Saved proponents will cite to show verse 19 should say tree of life not book of life.
For one to have his share in the holy city negated means the only other place to be is outside that city:
Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying (Rev. 22:14,15, NASB).
The overlap between verse 15 and Rev. 21:8 shows such will be in the lake of fire. Hence, in the end one will either be in the holy city with access to the tree of life and his name in the book of life, or he will be in the lake of fire. Since a Christian’s share in the holy city (and to the tree of life) can be revoked by taking words away from the book of this prophecy, as John cites, then Once Saved Always Saved can’t be true!
Joseph Dillow has a strange interpretation of Rev. 22:18,19:
To have a share in the tree of life and in the holy city does not, as discussed above, refer to going to heaven. (Reign of the Servant Kings, p. 487)
Remember, only those who have their names in the book of life will enter the holy city (Rev. 21:27). All others will be thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15).
Once we overcome in the sense of Rev. 3:5 and enter the kingdom of God, we won’t have our names blotted out of the book of life. This is a promise for all who enter the kingdom of God, as all the other promises cited in Revelation 2 and 3 are also given to overcomers. This can’t be the same kind of overcomers mentioned in 1 Jn. 5:5, since those addressed in Revelation 2 and 3 already overcame in that sense, which refers to initial salvation!
By the way, Robert Glenn Gromacki states the following about the warning given to Christians in Rev. 22:18,19:
Would any genuine believer ever add to or take away from the revealed truth of the Bible? Certainly not.
For this Once Saved Always Saved teacher to write such is to render meaningless that warning given to Christians. Why would anyone give a warning not to do something if it was impossible for them to do it? Such doesn’t hold up in Scripture regarding God’s warnings (2 Ki. 17:13-15 cf. v. 23).
Apparently, Robert Glenn Gromacki understands the implication of Rev. 22:18,19 to Once Saved Always Saved and therefore tries to nullify the obvious meaning of that warning given to Christians.
Harold Barker takes a different approach and says:
The one spoken of here has never been saved and has never had his name in the book of life and so will not be allowed in the Holy City where the “tree of life” is (Revelation 22:2), and will, therefore, have no part in the “tree of life.” (Secure Forever, p. 154)
So now a Once Saved Always Saved defender has people who were never saved not being allowed in the holy city for some sin other than unbelief in Christ! Harold Barker also has people who never had a part in the holy city losing that share which never existed in the first place. This is a strange interpretation indeed.
Contrary to popular opinion, Samson did not commit suicide. Samson prayed that God would let him die with the Philistines, but he left the matter completely in God’s hands. Judges 16:28-30 read:
Then Samson prayed to the LORD, “O Sovereign LORD, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.
Unlike Samson, suicide victims take the termination of their own physical lives into their own hands. God did honor Samson’s prayer, but God didn’t honor Jonah’s similar prayer (Jonah 4:3) or Elijah’s prayer (1 Ki. 19:4)!
In addition, Psa. 66:18 states:
If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
This means at the very end of Samson’s life, he apparently was forgiven. Otherwise, God would not have heard his prayer.
For many more Biblical answers to eternal security arguments, please consult the 801 page volume entitled, The Believer’s Conditional Security by Dan Corner.
The following is an email received by Evangelical Outreach regarding how a person gets sins forgiven after conversion. Below the letter please read the response.
Thank you for the teaching on the Eucharist. I have another question. I never believed in “once saved, always saved.” Since Protestants don’t have confession how is a persons sins forgiven? What are we judged on after we die? My friend (a protestant who believes in once saved always saved said we are not judged by our sins, we are judged on gaining or losing rewards. This I don’t understand. If this is true then how are we held accountable for our sins? Please don’t see these questions as a debate or argument. I am just confused and I am trying to learn the truth. Thank you for any help you can give me regarding these questions.
[Evangelical Outreach’s Response: Greetings in Jesus’ name. Let me answer your question like this: There is ONLY ONE WAY to get sins forgiven. This is at the point of a trusting and submitting faith in Jesus, when a person turns from his sins (Acts 20:21 cf. 20:26; 1 Thess. 1:9b; Prov. 28:13; etc.). That point in time is when he/she gets “born again.” (Catholics are NOT “born again” at infant baptism, like they think.) After conversion, if a Christian yields to the devil’s temptations, to be cleansed of those sins he MUST:
confess them to God, 1 John 1:9; Psa. 32:5
turn away from them with an attitude to SERVE God as the Prodigal did, Luke 15:18, 19 and
forgive those who have sinned against him (Mt. 6:14,15).
(Catholics do NOT get their sins forgiven by confessing to the priest and saying three Our Fathers and three Hail Marys, even though they have been taught this.) A person will enter the kingdom of God or go to hell based on his spiritual condition at the end of his life. If person X has spiritual life in him, he goes to Paradise. If not he goes to eternal fire.
Sin can cause a Christian to lose his salvation by bringing him to spiritual death. A faithful Christian, known as an “overcomer” in the book of Revelation, will be rewarded based on his labors while saved which were done with the right motive.
Please carefully read Mt. 6:1-18 where Jesus teaches about this. Rewards will be lost if a good deed (like praying, fasting and almsgivings) is done to be honored now by man. Such a person will receive no reward. Heretics, like Charles Stanley, teach that Christians will see their rewards burn up in heaven because of adultery, theft, murder, etc. His message, though popular, is NOT the message of the Bible, so don’t be deceived.
PLEASE, for your own SOUL’S sake, go by the Bible. Catholicism has a FALSE salvation message. Don’t believe their message. Your soul hangs in the balance. GOD BLESS YOU. Remember 2 Tim. 3:15-17.]
Some Once Saved Always Saved teachers, like influential John Ankerberg and John Weldon, who openly teach Once Saved Always Saved, state it must be taught only to genuine children of God or a deception could result regarding one’s salvation:
Obviously, the doctrine of security must be taught only to genuine children of God lest those who wrongly think they are Christians become deceived as to their true status before God. (The Ankerberg Theological Research Institute News Magazine, Vol. 4, No. 6, June 1997, p. 6)
Several observations need to be made here:
(1) Once Saved Always Saved is openly taught everywhere! It often gushes forth over radio, TV, in literature and from pulpits with no apparent concern if those who wrongly think they are Christians are listening!
In fact, some salvation tracts actually have this message attached to the plan of salvation!
Even John Ankerberg and John Weldon, who recognize this danger and wrote about it, aren’t very guarded over who will read their message, for how can they know who will read their News Magazine?
(2) Since Once Saved Always Saved teachers say one can’t be sure who is truly regenerate and who isn’t, how could the Once Saved Always Saved people identify a genuine child of God from one who isn’t to teach Once Saved Always Saved to him?
For more information about the widespread problem of eternal security, consult The Believer’s Conditional Security by Dan Corner.
Dan Corner responds to an email received by Evangelical Outreach.
If after salvation, a person is sexually immoral, an idolater, drunkard, slanderer, swindler, thief, or greedy … where is there support in the New Testament that that person (someone previously saved) can receive forgiveness of those sins? This is an honest question. I have been struggling with this question. Especially taking into consideration I Corinthians 6:9-11 and Hebrews 6:4-6 and 10:26-31. I would appreciate an answer. Thank you.
[Response: Greetings in Jesus’ name. If a Christian turns to immorality such as sexual sin, he must get forgiven or he’ll go to hell. This means he must confess his sin to God, turn from that wickedness and draw near to God with a willingness to serve him. Please ponder 1 John 1:9; Lk. 15:18,19; Prov. 28:13; Psa. 51 and 2 Cor. 7:10. Hebrews 6 and 10 are referring to people who committed eternal sin to return to the synagogues. That is not like getting forgiven as David did or Peter. Please consider getting our 801 page book refuting eternal security. There is MUCH in it that can help you. GOD BLESS YOU.]
Buy The Believer’s Conditional Security by Dan Corner. http://www.evangelicaloutreach.org/evangelical-books.htm
A woman sent this sincere letter to which Dan Corner responds.
I have read some of the messages. When I came across the article Once Saved Always Saved I was so afraid. I came to know the Lord in 1982 and was Baptised and started fellowship with the Independant Baptist Church, I have always believed this Once Saved Always Saved, until I read the article and I was pricked to the heart and asked the Lord to forgive me for the life I have lived. I am afraid all my children have gone away from the Lord and I am concern for them also. I am afraid I have much to learn and ask forgiveness for all I can do now is to call upon the Lord to make me strong so that I can with the Lords help try and sort out the mess I am in. Please pray for me and my children. Your articles are a real blessing. Please pray for the Lords healing for all my family. Thank you.
[Response from EO:] Greetings in Jesus’ name. Please know you are not alone. We have received other emails/letters from people with the same kind of problems caused by a belief in eternal security. That teaching is a license for immorality and it is not until people learn it is false that they repent of their sins. We believe it is the best doctrine the devil has ever deceived protestant people with. You should get our book “The Believer’s Conditional Security.” It is a powerful 801 page volume comprehensively dealing with eternal security. We also have powerful CD teachings on this subject. These CDs are 10 hours of actual radio broadcasts on eternal security. These would help you and your family MUCH. Certainly you will have many issues regarding eternal security that will need answers. Regardless if you want to order our materials or not, we would like to send you FREE materials. If you want a free ministry packet, send your address. Please know we did pray for you and your family. Remember Gal. 6:8,9 is a SALVATION passage, not a rewards passage. GOD BLESS YOU. Following Jesus]
Fruitless Christians are in the greatest danger that exists in the universe. Unless they repent and bear fruit, they will be severed from Christ and will be thrown into the fire and burned, according to Jesus! What a shock it must be to some to hear statements like this, but Jesus taught this truth more than once!
In Jn. 15:2, Jesus taught about the Father:
He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he trims clean so that it will be even more fruitful (NIV).
Notice how the Father wants fruit. But what happens to people who do not remain in Christ, namely the branches that get cut off because they bear no fruit? Verse 6 gives the answer:
If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned (NIV).
Remember, Jesus taught in Jn. 15:1-10 that there are two types of Christians—those who do remain in him and bring forth fruit and those who do not remain (the fruitless) and end up in the fire! Though the moderate form of OSAS teaches that a real Christian has to remain, the Lord taught otherwise!
The KJV uses the word abide in this passage instead of remain. The reader should be aware that the Greek meaning of abide is remain:
abide, continue, dwell in, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry (for) X thine own.
Similarly, in Mt. 25:14-30 we read the Parable of the Talents. The servant of the Master who was entrusted with one talent never lost that one talent, but gained absolutely nothing. His Master returned from his journey and called him to account. The Master of that servant then said:
And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (v. 30, NIV).
Similarly, in Lk. 13:6-9, Jesus taught about a fruit tree that wasn’t bearing fruit. The owner of the vineyard went to it for three years without finding any fruit. It would be given just one more year to bear fruit—with special attention of digging around it and fertilizing—then it would be cut down (or killed), if it remained fruitless! Fruitlessness leads to termination of life.
To read more about Dan Corner’s book, visit http://www.evangelicaloutreach.org
If you know anyone who claims to be a present day apostle, ask him or her if the following Bible passages describe them.
The things that mark an apostle–signs, wonders and miracles–were done among you with great perseverance. (2 Cor 12:12)
For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world. (1 Cor 4:9-13)
Remember that the devil masquerades as an angel of light and his servants disguise themselves too. Don’t be deceived by any kind of self-exalting false claims. BE GUARDED.
Dan Corner is a Bible teacher and evangelist. Check out his website at http://www.dancorner.com
Listen to this eye-opening sermon by Dan Corner on Satan’s Servants: