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Is “once saved, always saved” true?

What happens if you continue to sin after you’re “saved”? Can you still go to heaven?

When Jesus fulfilled his mission on earth, which was to die, he redeemed everyone who ever lived in the past and everyone who was yet to live. Numerous scriptures bring out this fact. 

For example, 1 Timothy 2:3-6 (KJV) says, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” 

And again in 1 Timothy 4:10 (NASB1995) we read, “For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.” 

These scriptures indicate that all men will have an opportunity for salvation, however, there is a special group (a heavenly class) who are to be favored first. 

John 5:28-29 says, “…a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done good will rise to life, (the heavenly class will rise to eternal life) and those who have done evil will rise to judgment.” 

This scripture implies a separation of the two classes that are to be saved—one in heaven and one class on earth who will be judged at a time yet future. 

When most Christians think of being saved, they think only of the heavenly phase of salvation. Some of them may cite a scripture such as Acts 16:31, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” 

They forget that there is a condition attached to heavenly salvation per Matthew 10:22, “He that endures to the end shall be saved,” which makes heavenly salvation contingent upon faithfulness through life, not just at the beginning of their Christian walk. 

What must a Christian do to attain heavenly salvation? He must first believe that he is a sinner and turn his back on sin. He must believe and have complete faith that Jesus died for his sins and for the sins of the entire world. Then he must devote himself to serving God by doing His will and not his own. By so doing he will receive a greater and greater measure of the holy spirit. 

His decision to follow in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus is an inward on-going character transformation that should be outwardly manifested by full water immersion (baptism). As he progresses along on his Christian walk with Jesus he will be developing the fruits of the spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). 

Will a person who accepts Jesus as his personal Savior but continues in willful sin, receive a heavenly reward? The scriptures are clear that he will not. 

“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21) 

In order to receive the heavenly reward, holiness must be manifested in all aspects of life. The Apostle Paul tells us, “Do not offer parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourself to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.” (Romans 6:13) 

Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) 

This statement denotes more than just righteous living. It denotes sacrificial living as well.

The Apostle elaborates: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2) 

Many may be called to the heavenly inheritance, but few are chosen. Heaven is the reward only for those who have made the choice to give up their personal wills to do the will of God and manifest this choice by their development of Christian character, expressed by their conduct, service and sacrifice throughout their entire Christian walk. 

“To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” (Revelation 3:21) 

To learn more about salvation listen to, “What Does it Mean to Be Saved,” and “Did Jesus Really Die for Everyone?”

To learn more about salvation on earth and in heaven listen to, “Are Jesus’ Ransom and Our Salvation the Same?”