Romans 8:38-39 Once Saved Always Saved

Romans 8:38-39 Once Saved Always Saved

In this study, we're going to look into Romans 8:38-39 which is another famous passage used to support the famous "Once Saved Always Saved" doctrine. The other major passage being John 10:28 which we covered in another study.

Bible Study

Here are the verses they use in the King James Version:



Romans 8:38-39

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord


Main Objection of “Once Saved Always Saved” Believers

As already known, the doctrine of “Once Saved Always Saved” assumes that once a person is born again, there is nothing that can make that person lose their salvation even if they go back to a deliberate lifestyle of sin. 

For this passage in Romans 8, the objection goes like this:


Objection: NOTHING (including ourselves) will separate us from the love of God

For “Once Saved Always Saved” believers, this objection supposes that all things listed in verses 38 and 39 (death, life, angels, principalities, powers, things present, things to come, height, depth and other creature) include us and our deliberate sins. 

The emphasis is usually put on “things present” and on “other creature” to say that we are part of present things and that we are also creatures. 

For this passage, I am going to give two responses, with the first response reasoning from scriptures themselves and the second response just using common sense.


Response 1: Romans 8 supposes that we are already conquerors of the flesh 

To understand this response, we need to look in more detail into chapter 8 of the book of Romans. It’s important also to notice that chapters 6, 7 and 8 all go together as one section. 

For this article, I will just mention that chapter 7 speaks about the curse and problem of being under the law and chapter 8 about the freedom from this problem by being born again and being freed through the Spirit.

Now let’s look at chapter 8 from the beginning. If you are looking for the truth, you will take the time to read this, if you are not looking for truth, you probably will not do this simple study.

Romans 8

There is therefore now no condemnation to them (who is this “them”) which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (it is them who walk after the Spirit). (Please keep this theme in your mind:  there is no condemnation to them who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit)

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (again same thing)

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, (Paul is now talking to his readers, telling them the same thing) if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

13 For IF ye live after the flesh, ye shall die (notice he is telling them that if they are in the flesh, they will die): but IF ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body (so if they are in the Spirit, they will mortify the deeds of the flesh), ye shall live.(and shall live)

14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, THEY are the sons of God.

15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we (Paul starts using “we” including himself with his readers) cry, Abba, Father. 

16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God (so again “we” are the children of God means we have the Spirit and are walking after the Spirit and have mortified the deeds of the flesh): (now please follow the words “we” “our” to see that it is the same people walking after the Spirit and not after the flesh)

17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer (Paul introduces a new theme that those who walk after the Spirit will suffer TRIBULATION, remember this new theme) with him, that we may be also glorified together.

18 For I reckon that the sufferings (again enduring in the Spirit will cause tribulation, you will see that this is the new theme with which Paul will end the chapter) of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us

19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,

21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain (theme of tribulation) ogether until now.

23 And not only they (the creation), but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan (same theme of tribulation) within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

24 For we (now please notice that we are still talking about the same “we“, Paul is now encouraging his readers through tribulation) are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?

25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities (same theme of tribulation): for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

31 What shall we then say to THESE THINGS? (What are “these things”? All the things that Paul said from the beginning, that we through the Spirit cannot be condemned because we are not walking in the flesh, including the new theme of the tribulation that will come on us because of this walk) If God be for us, who can be against us? (no one can do something against us when we walk according to the Spirit)

32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (So we see here that all these things mentioned talk about TRIBULATION coming to those who walk according to the Spirit)

36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed (again same theme tribulation) all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

37 Nay, in ALL THESE THINGS (what things, same things we mentioned in verse 31, the tribulation that comes to those who walk in the Spirit) we are more than CONQUERERS (we are conquerers in all these things, HOW?) THROUGH HIM (it is through Him, through His Spirit, that we conquer the flesh and tribulation) that loved us.

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate US (so we see who that “US” is now, it is the conquerers of the FLESH and TRIBULATION through the Spirit which is the whole theme of the chapter) from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


So, in summary, Paul is saying there will be now no condemnation to them which are IN Christ Jesus, who walk NOT after the flesh, BUT who are obedient to walk after the SpiritIF we live after the flesh we shall die, but IF we THROUGH the SPIRIT mortify the deeds of the body, THEN and ONLY THEN we shall live.

Paul then reckons that the sufferings and tribulation of this present time to fight the good fight of faith, to resist and overcome sin are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed. Then after expounding, Paul concludes that, If God is for us, who can be against us? No one shall separate us from the love of Christ

So you see my friend, in context, verses 38 and 39 suppose we are already conquerors against the deeds of the flesh. So we cant say that wilfull sin will not separate us from the love of Christ. That’s not even the theme of the passage which is about being conquerors of the flesh and tribulation through the Spirit and being no longer under condemnation because we are IN CHRIST.


Response 2: It is common sense that we’re not included in verses 38 and 39

Suppose I were determined to get a degree in some medical field and I say to you:

“I am persuaded that neither my parents, nor friends, nor some complicated tests, nor bad grades, nor teachers, nor things present, nor homework to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to prevent me from getting my degree”

Would you conclude that I meant “not even I can willingly prevent myself from getting my degree”? Of course not, you would maybe just say “wow this guy is really determined” which we should be if we want to follow our Lord Jesus Christ:

Matthew 16:24 – Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.



In conclusion, to use this verse to back up the false doctrine of “Once Saved Always Saved” would be to take verses 38 and 39 completely out of context. This is obviously done to back up a preconceived doctrine we have learned somewhere and that is surely not reading out of the scriptures but INTO them what we want to get them to say. 

Dear friend, if you believe in “Once Saved Always Saved”, do you still want to put your salvation in jeopardy because of this lie? I care about your soul. To keep yourself in the love of God is not salvation by works, it is salvation by continued faith, the same faith you had when you come to Jesus, the same faith you have to continue having while keeping with repentance.

May the Lord guide each genuine Christian away from this lie.

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