I have always had a huge problem with the saying: "once saved, always saved." And even though one of my favorite Christian authors/ministers uses the saying, I still cringe when I hear it.
So, what's the problem? I think so many of us take the expression seriously without thinking of its consequences.
There are two key words in "once saved, always saved" - key words that will either get us to heaven or keep us out of heaven - key words that many of us don't take the time to see clearly - key words that, because of modern-day preaching, we don't fully comprehend. What are they?
The key words are: "once saved." Sounds simple doesn't it? Yet, they are the most important words of the entire expression.
Are we saved? Do we have assurance of our savedness? Do we rely on our churches to tell us we are saved? or do we have our assurance from heaven?
You see, when we are truly saved, we know it! Something happens inside us. It can be deeply felt or of a lesser degree, but we experience something of heavenly origin deep within our heart and soul, we feel the holiness of God, or the lingering, pure love of Christ, the inward knowledge of our savedness. We know, in various ways that heaven has responded to our desire to be saved!
But, and this is a huge "but", if we only attend church as a show of our faith without a pure need of Christ in our lives, if we see no real change in our hearts for heavenly things, if we are baptized only as a show of our belief, if there is no change in our secret time with God (talking with Him, praying for others, praising and loving Him); if there is no change between our inward and outward lives, no change in our praises and love and joy for Christ - then ours is an intellectual performance only, and not coming from a heart fully gracious in being a child of God. If all these things are in our lives, then I would seriously question whether we are truly saved. There must be some sort of inner blessing within us to assure us that we truly are eternity bound. God works secretly, it is true, but not to those He is working in!!
I ask again: is the expression "once saved, always saved" true in our hearts? Oh! that the Holy Spirit would come down to each of us individually and make it so!! Amen
~A Disciple of Christ~