A married couple in West Texas had some sad news as they welcomed me in to our weekly Bible study. We sat down at the table and they told me their neighbor’s son had just been shot and killed in another city in a shoot-out with police, after being caught in an armed robbery. They explained he had been living a life of drugs and crime his entire adult life, and it finally caught up with him and cost him his life. The wife then paused in the middle of her tragic saga and, foldingher hands beneath her face, she looked towards heaven, and said, “But thank God when he was twelve, he was baptized. So we know we will see him in heaven!”
I was at a loss for words. I said nothing that night, because it just didn’t seem like the appropriate time for a sermon. Those who teach “once saved,” do not realize how legalistic that is. They were baptized – the legal paper work was completed – and so they are in. However doesn’t Wednesdays section of this week’s lesson tell us something? If once saved always saved were true, then how did Lucifer lose heaven?
I have also heard people say “Once a child of God, always a child of God.” But my Bible tells me,
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.Romans 8:14 NKJV
That would lead me to believe those who aren’t led by the Spirit are not the sons of God. Didn’t Jesus tell some Pharisees in John 8 that their father was the devil? Granted, I did not know the young man’s heart. I am not the judge. God alone will separate the wheat from the tares and His children from those who are not. However, I need to examine my life to be sure I am indeed still a child of God today.
There is another comforting passage that has misconstrued by those teaching once saved always saved:
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. John 10:27-28 NKJV
They say Jesus gives us eternal life, and we can never be snatched out of His hand. That is truly a wonderful promise! However, notice that He gives eternal life to those who are following Him. Furthermore, even though no one can snatch us out of His hand, we are still always free to go our own way. We were not created as robots, and we never will be robots. We will always have free choice. When we are sealed, we do not lose the power of choice, but rather, our choice seals our destiny. Those who suffer from the plagues in Revelation 16 are lost because they do not repent, and not because God is no longer forgiving. Free choice works both ways when the angel says,
He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still. Revelation 22:11 NKJV
I was baptized when I was seven years old, but every morning I have a choice to make. I can follow Jesus or I can walk away. If I walk away it no longer matters that I was baptized when I was seven. As a matter of fact even though my baptism was way back in another century, if a ten-year-old was baptized yesterday and chooses to follow Jesus today, while I choose to do my own thing, then the ten-year-old becomes the more mature Christian between the two of us.
The story the couple shared with me that night was very sad. I do not want that story to be my story. I chose to follow Jesus was I was seven. I also choose to follow Him right now. I hope you choose Jesus too, each and every day!
You may study this week’s SS lesson here.