TABLE OF CONTENTS
Let’s dive right into the passage in the King James Version:
3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,
5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;
6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
7 Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.
8 For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.
Objections 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. They are set and sealed for heaven and they use this passage above of Philippians to back up this objection.
Let’s look at how this objection goes
God will complete the work He started
In this passage, verse 6 is used by OSAS believers as one of their key verses to imply that whenever God starts a good work in a believer by putting in them His Holy Spirit, He will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. In other words, He will never withdraw salvation from a believer whom He justified by the Holy Spirit, otherwise, that would mean that He did not complete the work He began in them. This work God will be complete when Jesus Christ returns at His second coming.
It is clear that “Once Saved Always Saved” believers are using verse 6 to say that this happens to EVERY believer to whom God gives His Spirit. This is another example of selecting verses out of context to make them fit with preconceived ideas due to learned doctrine.
Firstly, it is important to notice that verse 6 is part of a typical commendation the apostle Paul always does at the beginning of his epistles (except for the epistle to the Galatians). So the central intended message in the mind of Paul is to commend this church that he thought already had citizenship in heaven (Philippians 3:20-21).
So, in this context, Paul was commending this church and this church particularly, that in their case, God will complete the work He began in them.
This is clear because of these reasons:
- This church was the only one that supported Paul financially by sending their apostle Epaphroditus to assist him. So we have to understand that this church, in particular, had an intimate relationship with Paul and that among all the other churches, he said that they had citizenship in heaven.
- The Epistle to the Philippians is the only epistle that is very warm and which doesn’t deal with important problems. Paul had nothing but good things to say.
- The use of the word “confident” in verse 6 proves this further because it means rather “very high hopes“.
Now let’s look at point 3 above and specifically at the word “confident” or “persuaded” as used elsewhere in the New Testament.
The word transliterated from the original Greek is:
Original Word: πείθω
And let’s look at how this same word is used in other similar verses:
Romans 15:14 – And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.
Galatians 5:10 – I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.
Philippians 1:25 – And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;
2 timothy 1:5 – When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
The point of these verses is to show the simplicity with which Paul was using this word with his readers.
In Philippians 1:25, Paul is saying that he would rather die and be with Christ but that instead he is confident and has very high hopes that God will keep him alive to continue to spread the gospel and for the furtherance of the Philippians.
In 2 Timothy 1:5, Paul is pretty much confident that Timothy has the same kind of unfeigned faith his grandmother Lois had.
That is to show that Paul is talking of him having high hopes of something being true.
Look at the use in the following passage:
so soon as I shall see how it will go with me.Him therefore I hope to send presently,
Here Paul is saying that He has high hopes that the Lord will allow him to come shortly to them. How do we know that? look at verse 23. The apostle Paul will see how things will go with him and hopefully he will get to visit them.
Another interesting instance is in Hebrews chapter 6:
4For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
We see here that the author is hoping that the situation described in verses 4 to 6 will not be that of these believers he is writing to. We know that the author is not talking about a 100% absolute certainty but more about having high hopes because he is still warning them of not falling away after being made partakers of the Holy Ghost.
In conclusion, to use this verse to back up the false doctrine of “Once Saved Always Saved” would be to push too much into this verse. That is not reading out of the scriptures but reading INTO them what we want to get out of them. That is especially when we consider how the same word “persuaded” is being used in other similar verses in the New Testament and that is to signify “to have high hopes that in your case, such and such”.
Dear reader, if you believe in “Once Saved Always Saved”, to hang onto a verse like this shows how the evidence for this false doctrine is lacking. I mean you can use it but I am persuaded of this very thing, that it is a very weak objection.
When my sister went to high school, she didn’t know if she would be able to finish and get her degree. To encourage her, I told her:
“I am confident that you will finish what you have started”.
May the Lord keep you dear brothers.