The Misuse Of Romans 8:38-39 To Teach “Once Saved Always Saved”

Romans 8:38-39 reads, For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus …

The "once saved always saved" argument is that nothing can separate us from the love of God (salvation). But the passage only mentions outside factors being involved, not the person himself. And that’s the truth of the matter; no outside factor can separate a Christian from the love of God. The issue is, can a Christian separate himself from the love of God? The following verses (and many others) prove that he can:

  • Jude verse 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God …
  • John 15:9-10 … continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love
  • John 14:23 … If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him …
  • Hebrews 3:12 Take heed brethren (holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, verse 1), lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

In addition, the Bible teaches it is possible to let another person pull us away from God – Revelation 3:11 … hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown (of life – Revelation 2:10, James 1:12). Again, that would be on us, because we would still be the one choosing to forsake God.

The seeming conflict that some see between Romans 8:38-39 and passages like Jude 21 and John 15:9-10 illustrates a very important principle of Bible interpretation. Most so called Christians will start out with a view on a subject that they already believe or want to believe, latch on to a verse like Romans 8:38-39 that on the surface seems to teach their view, and then simply ignore any verse to the contrary. This is not the method of the true seeker (Matthew 7:7, Acts 17:11). The true seeker understands that all of God’s word is important and there are no contradictions. He will find a way to reconcile the apparent conflict and thereby find the honed truth on the topic. If we examine Romans 8:38-39 more closely, we see that it names a full gambit of examples of things that cannot separate us from God’s love, but does not name the person himself. That’s where passages like Jude 21, John 14:23, and John 15:9-10 come in. They make it clear that we can separate ourselves from God’s love. Since the Bible was written by God and therefore can’t contradict itself, we must reconcile the two scriptural concepts with one another. There is no contradiction if we take Romans 8:38-39 only for what it actually says and assume no more, and also accept what Jude 21, John 14:23, and John 15:9-10 actually say → nothing can cause a person to lose his salvation, except that person himself.

Only you can cause you to lose your salvation. God will not allow any other person or thing to take it away. That is the point of Romans 8:38-39.

One Response to “The Misuse Of Romans 8:38-39 To Teach “Once Saved Always Saved””

  1. Catherine Says:

    Thank you Patrick for this beautiful insight. My husband and I have been struggling with some of our church members, including our pastor in the belief of “once saved always saved.” I honestly believe that salvation is conditional. If one chooses not to walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit, then yes his salvation is assured.

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