How do Adventists view the statement "once saved always saved"?
Answer: In the Bible, salvation (to be saved) can be described as both past, present, and future. This is not because the Bible is not logical, but because salvation contains several aspects. When these aspects are not understood, confusion often arises.
The past aspect is found in the following texts:
“By grace we have been saved.” “God saved us.” The focus here is on the guilt of sin. Jesus has died on the cross and has taken our guilt away. We do not have to die his death.
But at the same time, salvation is also a present experience. This is very clear in Ephesians 2:1-10. The focus here is on the power of sin. The Christian is no longer a slave to past sin (see also Romans 6:12-14).
But the Bible also speaks about salvation in the future. We “shall be saved” (Romans 5:9-10). The focus here is on the presence of sin. Its consequences will be with us in our bodies and minds until the Second Coming of Jesus. We inherit and live with weakness and sickness and also suffer from the results of our own sins and foolishness.
Now, as long as you trust in Jesus and walk with him in faith, you have the assurance of salvation. You can truly say, "I am saved by the blood of the Lamb". Read the wonderful ending of Romans 8:31-39. No one can separate you from God’s love in Jesus, except yourself.
God does not take away your freedom of choice, you can walk away from Jesus by disobedience and disloyalty.
This is why it is dangerous to claim “once saved, always saved.” This saying tends to make salvation impersonal and mechanical.
We have been saved from the guilt of our sins by:
- the blood of the Lamb;
- the Holy Spirit who empowers us not to be slaves of sin;
- an ongoing personal relationship of faith and confidence in Jesus, since sin is still present and you can only be saved from sin through Jesus;
It is not, as if I once received Jesus as my Saviour, and after that I can say to myself, “wow, now I do not have to care about Jesus anymore, and I can do whatever I like to, without being responsible to anyone.”
And after all, why would we do that if we love Jesus? If we love Jesus, we want to know Him and His will for our lives and choose to follow His commands (see John 15:9-15).