Once saved, always saved! I grew up hearing this repeated over and over, like a mantra. The problem is that it’s deceiving. Most people I hear using the phrase are referring to salvation as being something that happened at some point in the past, an event that makes one’s eternity secure regardless of what might happen later. And it gives peace to those who love a believer who has turned from the truth. But no matter how sincere and real a person’s commitment to God was in the past, salvation is not a single point in time event.
But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation — if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.Colossians 1:22-23a NIV
Paul here tells me that I have been reconciled to God, holy, without blemish, and free from accusation, through Christ’s death on the cross: in other words, I have been saved. But there is a big ‘if’ here that is frequently overlooked. If I continue in my faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope of the gospel. Salvation is not based on a one-time event. It is the result of being faithful to the end. It’s as much how you finish as it is how you start.
Those Who Endure to the End
While I agree that once one is saved, they are saved eternally. I also hold that it is the one who has endured to the end who is saved, not the one who puts their hand to the plow and then turns back. God knew from creation who would prove faithful. And they are his elect. But I still have to live out that life, walking in faith before my creator. Those who start but do not finish have not lost their salvation. They never had it in the first place.
Please, don’t rest on your past. Be faithful to the end. Don’t be moved from the hope held out for you in the gospel. Finish the race set out for you!
The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.
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2 thoughts on “Continue in your Faith – Colossians 1:22-23”
Ed thanks for your blog.
I take some issue with what you're saying, and I get that my argument can be seen as semantic – or not. Are you saying a backslidden person (to use the vernacular of my youth) was never saved? Even if when you asked them they know their only hope of salvation is through faith along by grace alone?
I believe the verse above means to remain a believer – one who has faith in Christ Jesus as their savior – not one who successfully practiced faith.
If you are saying instead – "once you are saved if you really are then you'll never once falter 'in the faith' " then I do take issue. Even Paul recorded his own failings, "I don't do what I should and I do what I should not" etc.
None of us are perfect, we all fall short of the mark, even as believers. I have 'faltered', or sinned, more times than I care to admit. But my desire to walk with my creator remains. I am walking in faith, even though stumbling along the way.
My position is that it is the person who comes to the end of their life here, and is walking by faith, who will be saved. Not the one who at some point in their past confessed Jesus as Lord and maybe walked with him for a while before returning to their old way of life.