To Calvinists and many Evangelicals, salvation is a one-time event that takes place when one “believes that Jesus is the Christ and accepts Him as his or her personal Savior.” On the contrary, the Bible teaches there are conditions one must meet in order to be saved and stay saved. In what follows, we’ll take a look at what the Bible says about the conditional nature of this continued salvation.
And you, who were once alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works [this is what they once were], yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death [that is, He saved them], to present you holy, and blameless, and irreproachable in His sight [this is talking about something He will do]—if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard… (Col 1:21-23).
Notice that the “if indeed you continue in the faith….” is a conditional statement that says Jesus will present us holy, blameless, and irreproachable if we continue in the faith. The unavoidable implication is that one may choose not to “continue in the faith” and, as a result, be “moved away from the hope of the gospel.” This would not be due to a lapse in the Lord’s protection, nor would it be the triumph of an enemy power. Instead, this would be due to the free exercise of one’s will. But if the “once saved, always saved” doctrine that Calvinists/Evangelicals advocate is true, then why this warning from Paul? Truth is, continued salvation is conditioned upon our continuing in the faith?
When writing 1 Thessalonians 3:5, Paul wanted to know whether the brethren at Thessalonica were continuing in their journey of faith, or whether Satan had been successful in tempting them to go astray. If so, he believed the labor he expended on them would have been “in vain.” How could this even be possible if a child of God cannot fall from grace?
If the “once saved, always saved” doctrine were really true, then Paul’s concern would have been not just nonsensical, but completely heretical as well. Truth is, OSAS is a doctrine not taught in the Scriptures.