Question #4: Why Is It Possible For A Person To Be Lost After Being Baptized?
This “question” presents a pretty pessimistic view of Christian Living!
No, your “best opportunity” would not be to die in the baptistry. Your “best opportunity” would be to go on your way rejoicing, having had your sins washed away in the blood of Christ (Acts 8:39).
If you died in the baptistry you would never have the opportunity to live the fruitful and fulfilling life that God intended for man to have (John 10:10). If you died in the baptistry you would never have the blessing of rejoicing in the work of the Lord (Romans 12:12). If you died in the baptistry you would never have the joy of serving the cause of Christ (Acts 5:41). You would never have the opportunity to fully experience the greatest life a person can live – the life of a Christian!
It never ceases to amaze me how far people will go in their attempts to deny the plain teaching of Scripture. Here we have one saying that it would be better to die as an infant (newborn babe in Christ) than to grow to maturity because, gasp, God requires obedience.
Let me state the “question” another way, and if you don’t think it says the same thing be sure to let me know why; “If God requires me to be obedient for my salvation after I have been baptized then it would be better for me to die in the baptistry.” So, for God to require obedience on man’s part is to expect too much of man. Man cannot be faithful to God. That is absurd!
The “once-saved-always-saved” doctrine requires certain things to be true. It must be true that man’s salvation is completely an act of God – man has nothing to do with his own salvation. It must be true that man’s staying saved is completely an act of God – man has nothing to do with staying saved. It must be true that a person’s seeming obedience to God is actually imposed on him by God. So, obedience cannot be a requirement of man’s becoming saved and obedience cannot be a requirement of man’s staying saved. Man has nothing do with it whatsoever! And, if man has nothing to do with it at all then when one seemingly falls away that must be God’s doing also (cf. 1 Timothy 2:4). It cannot be the result of free will. Man cannot have anything to do with it at all.
But, if all these things are true, why all the admonitions to obey? Why all the exhortations to faithfulness? Why all the warnings of falling away? Why all the warnings about false teachers? If Calvinists are correct then we should find none of these things in the Bible. For that matter, if man doesn’t have to do anything to be saved or to stay saved, why even have the Bible? The whole grand theme of the Bible is salvation in Christ through obedience to the will of God!
If we can find even one passage that talks about people being lost after they were saved then Calvinists will be found to be arguing against God.
Writing to Christians, those who were already saved, the Hebrews writer said:
So, according to the once-saved-always-saved doctrine, the Hebrews writer should have told them that it would have been batter for them to have died in the baptistry rather than to warn them about the danger of falling away.
And don’t try to tell us that these “brethren” weren’t really Christians or else they would not have been in danger of “departing.” If they were not really Christians then they could not have been referred to as “brethren” (Hebrews 2:11, 12). If they were not really Christians then how could they depart from a place they were never in?
The once-saved-always-saved doctrine is unscriptural heresy!
The word “if” sets forth a conditional statement. “If you go to work then you will get paid.” The condition for getting paid is going to work. Likewise, “if you don’t go to work then you will not get paid.” If the conditions are met the stated result will occur and vice versa. Look at how the Holy Spirit uses “if…then” statements when talking about salvation:
The Holy Spirit, by Paul, said if we continue in the faith then Christ will present us holy and blameless and above reproach in the site of God. So, according to the nature of a conditional statement, if we do not continue in the faith then Christ will not so present us before the father.
According to the once-saved-always-saved doctrine, whenever the Bible seems to refer to a person falling away after they have been saved it is actually referring to one who has never truly been converted. Is that so? Paul was writing to the Colossian church! He says that they had been reconciled! Was Paul wrong? Did he not know that anyone failing to continue in the faith had never really been converted anyway? Did the Holy Spirit not fill Paul in on this point? Calvinism makes an inspired writer of the Bible into a liar! Who can accept it?
Here’s another conditional statement by the Holy Spirit:
The stated condition is walking in the light; with the two results of meeting the condition being, fellowship with God and the cleansing of Christ’s blood. Now, what if we don’t walk in the light? Then we do not have fellowship with God and we do not have the cleansing of Christ’s blood. Who is John writing this to? “Brethren” (1 John 2:7). So, the condition for those who have contacted the blood of Christ through baptism (Acts 22:16; Revelation 1:5; Romans 6:3-5) to continue receiving the benefits of his blood is to continue in the faith (Colossians 1:23), which is to say, walking in the light.
When I rephrased the submitted statement into a simple question I wrote it as, “why can one be lost after they have been saved?” The passages above, among many more, give us the very clear answer – because we can choose to stop walking in the light. We can choose not to continue in the faith. We can choose to depart from God through rebellion and disobedience.
How many times does the Bible have to say that a person must continue faithfully after they have been saved for people to believe it? When men, like John Calvin, contradict Scripture, it is Scripture that must be upheld, not fallible men! (Mark 7:7).
Despite the Bible’s undeniable clarity on the subject of apostasy, the skeptic attempts to draw doubt on the doctrine of baptism by the use of false premises. If the starting point of someone’s argument is false then their conclusions are going to be false. The problem here isn’t the doctrine of baptism. It is a problem with the biblical doctrine of obedience. A person must obey Christ to be saved by Christ!
Now, if it be said that obedience is not the issue, but the necessity of baptism is the issue, then the problem with the original “question” is compounded even further. From the standpoint of the “question,” i.e. loosing salvation after a required act of obedience has been met, what difference does it make if that required act of obedience is baptism or believing? If the impossibility of falling away, which I have already shown to be a false premise, disproves the necessity of baptism then why would it not also disprove the necessity of faith? If baptism cannot be a requirement for salvation based on the idea of once-saved-always-saved then neither can anything else be a requirement for salvation.
So, does a person have to believe in Christ to be saved or not? If they do then there is an act of obedience that must be met for salvation. And, if there is one required act of obedience then this argument cannot be used against any required act of obedience.
The Bible is unmistakably clear on the fact that a person must believe that Jesus is the Son of God in order to be saved (Hebrews 11:6; John 8:24; Mark 16:16). The only way a person can have that required faith is to receive it by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17). So, hearing the word of God and believing it are required acts of obedience for salvation.
After hearing and believing, the Bible says a person must repent of their sins (Acts 17:30). So, just like hearing and believing, repentance is a required act of obedience for salvation. And, having repented, a person must confess their faith in Christ (Acts 8:37; Romans 10:10).
Now, which one of these can a person be saved without? Does the Bible not say that all of these acs of obedience are required for salvation? If there are four required acts of obedience why can there not be five or six? In fact, the Bible says a person must be baptized for the remission of sins to be saved (Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Peter 3:21). And, after having been baptized into Christ, a person must live faithfully in the faith (Colossians 1:23; Revelation 2:10).
I pray that the skeptics, who make every attempt to deny God’s simple plan of salvation, will turn from their man-made doctrine and obey the word of God (1 Peter 1:23-25), before it is too late (2 Thessalonians 1:8).