I got the idea to do a Once Saved, Always Saved Study Bible (OSAS). It’s a really great idea because if I’m ever at a loss for a blog post, this is an easy one.
The first “Once Saved, Always Saved Study Bible” post is 1 John, which was definitely the easiest one to do.
OSAS Study Bible Audience
Before I post 1 John from the OSAS version, I need to identify the audience. That is very important.
The OSAS version is not directed at all believers in eternal security (“once saved, always saved” or “you can’t lose your salvation”). It is directed only at those who deny/disbelieve 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and dozens (hundreds?) of verses like it:
Or don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s Kingdom? Don’t be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor extortionists, will inherit God’s Kingdom. Such were some of you, but you were washed. But you were sanctified. But you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and in the Spirit of our God.
Note: Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations on this blog are from the World English Bible (WEB), a public domain, literal-style translation available free at ebible.org. This includes the translation given in the OSAS version, though the OSAS Bible is extensively edited, as you will see below.
Two Types of Believers in Eternal Security
There are those who believe in eternal security, and by that they mean a person who is born again will be moved by the grace of God to live a life that is pleasing to God, though not necessarily without some stumbling along the way. Anyone who falls away, they would say, was never really born again.
What matters to me is that people like this agree that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. They warn adulterers that they will not go to heaven rather than assuring them that they are saved even if they continue in adultery. Such eternal security believers preach righteousness and teach their hearers to obey the commands of Jesus (Matt. 28:20).
My Once Saved, Always Saved Study Bible is directed at eternal security believers who have misconstrued faith and salvation by faith alone so badly that they they assure “the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, etc.” of salvation and heaven because, in a bizarre misinterpration of John 6:47, believing means having eternal life no matter what you do.
I’m not going to argue that sort of eternal security. Anyone willing to read a Bible can know that it is false without my help. I refer you to the New Testament. Open any page at random, read it, and there’s about a 90% chance that “go to heaven no matter how you live” will be directly refuted on that page. There’s, by my estimation, about a 10% chance you’ll have to look on a second page and about a 1% chance you’ll have to look at three pages.
Charles Ryrie, whose Ryrie Study Bible is still sold in bookstores, wrote a book promoting that outrageous gospel called So Great Salvation. Let him be anathema along with all those who embrace and proclaim that false gospel, which includes Charles Stanley.
I’ve been called liberal before, but I am not that liberal. If you justify the unrepentant, specifically those mentioned in several lists like the one in 1 Cor. 6:9-10, then you are preaching a false Gospel. If those who turn a “brother” from the error of his ways “save a soul from death” (Jam. 5:19-20), then those who justify him in his error condemn his soul to death.
Let such be anathema.
My introduction is ended. Let us proceed to the OSAS Study Bible, which, I assure you, will not contain James 5:19-20 and only retain 1 Cor. 6:9-10 with editing and notes.
1 John 1-5 (OSAS)
Italics indicate additions or notes:
16 By this we know love, because he laid down his life for us …
It is amazing that John 3:16 and 1 John 3:16 have the same message of God’s love through the death of Jesus by faith alone. Is it possible that God did this on purpose to get us to focus on these two verses?
13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
Obviously, since he wrote everything else in this letter (“these things”) so that those of us who believe on the name of the Son of God will know we have eternal life, we can ignore the rest of this letter. We already know we have eternal life, so why bother with all that other stuff, some of which is pretty shocking.
1 John 3:16
I don’t mean to take anything away from the slight similarity between John 3:16 and 1 John 3:16. I personally find it an interesting and possibly divine coincidence. I believe God pays attention to small things, and that all around those of us who are paying attention, he is leaving tiny reminders of his love.
However, when I reference 1 John 3:16 I like to include the full verse. For every truth, every simple fact in Scripture, there is an exhortation or command to go with it.
By this we know love, because he laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
A similar example is 1 Peter 1:17-19:
If you call on him as Father, who without respect of persons judges according to each man’s work, pass the time of your living as foreigners here in reverent fear: knowing that you were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from the useless way of life handed down from your fathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish or spot, the blood of Christ.
The blood of Christ is indeed precious, and one response we should have is gratefulness and praise. Another response is that we should come boldly to the throne of grace to find mercy and grace to help in time of need because a way has been made into the most holy place so that we can enter with confidence (Heb. 4:16; 10:19).
In this passage, however, we are told to respond by living as foreigners on earth with fear [reverent is added, without textual justification and based only on our possibly accurate theology, by the translators].
There are many things in the Scripture that are wonderful, and which rightfully draw our praise and adoration. We should watch, if we are to call ourselves disciples as the Scriptures do (97% of the time in the Book of Acts), for the response the Scripture itself calls for.