Although I do not label myself as a die-hard Calvinist, I do lean towards the Reformed Theology. However, the views I present are quite different to the mainstream/postmodern Calvinism. Here I wish to tackle the whole issue of this theology esp. focusing on the OSAS (once saved always saved) and losing of salvation according to how I believe the Bible carries it.
Many major theologians and Christian organization are perhaps Calvinistic. What they might believe is since God is going to save His elect anyway, the means and the doctrines used to proclaim the Gospel justify the end. The famous once-saved-always-saved (OSAS) is easily misinterpreted into believing that regardless of who the person is, how they live their lives, their obedience to the Lord they will be saved anyway if God has elected them. Hence most Christian youth organizations have their own way of spreading the Gospel since they believe that regardless of the methods used, those who are predestined are bound to be saved nonetheless. The concept of OSAS is biblical, but it is applicable to those who obey the Lord and do His will, and not applicable to any kind of Christian. The Lord “preserves” His saints; He will not allow them to be carried away by the manner of this world. The teaching of losing salvation isn’t accurate either because those who have never really believed will fall away. They were not elected, hence not saved, to begin with. Therefore there’s no ‘salvation’ to lose.
When a person of a pagan background comes to the knowledge of Christ, he is well aware that he didn’t choose Christ but He chose him. However, those with a ‘christian’ background seem to think otherwise. A person never chooses to reconcile himself to the true God. Mankind has never sought Him on its own. There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God (Rom 3:11) and the fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. 2The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. 3They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (Ps 14:1-3). Nonetheless, there has always been something inside the heart that makes man believe in a higher entity, a supreme being; and they have come up with their own means to appease this being. However, the Lord cannot be known of them without Him revealing Himself to them first. And when a man comes to the realization of his sins and of who God is and what He has done on the cross, there’s no such thing as “losing salvation” for such a convert because such a one will never fall away, and OSAS is applicable to such a soul. And this realization of His mercy and love can only come to those to whom He pleases to reveal.
When a person backslides, he had never moved forward in the first place. Many backslide because their own personal needs/wants were not met by God to whom they had prayed asking for these things. However, their motive to become Christians was for the fulfillment of their own desires, and not for the sake of repenting and believing and obeying Christ. This takes us back to the same argument: God didn’t choose to reveal Himself to such a person and hence such a person does not have the revelation of who Christ is, and cannot know the need for repentance. Christian celebrities make the Gospel sound like an antidote to psychological problems, an ATM, a prescription to be healed by, a guide to self-help etc. Although I do not deny that the Lord heals, cures and blesses financially, this is not what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is about: it is about our sins, our need to be reconciled to God and be saved, and God in His love sent a Savior who died and rose again, in whom is found forgiveness of sins through His blood and salvation from eternal damnation, and therefore the need to repent and believe. When a quick fix gospel is taught, masses are deceived into becoming Christians. They have not truly known the depth of their sins and the urgent need for repentance and God’s forgiveness. So when this man-made gospel does not fulfill its promises, people leave God, whom they have not known to start with.
The Lord preserves His saints when He has called them. But to think that regardless of what people do they are saved is a lie. To think that since the elect are already chosen, the means justify the end is again a lie. The Lord Himself has willed that by the foolishness of preaching will He make His Gospel known. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. (1 Cor 1:18-21) (Preaching is still foolishness in today’s culture, yet that’s what pleases God.) It’s not our business to come up with ‘creative’ strategies to lure as many to the Gospel. God wants His elect to be saved through the foolishness of preaching Christ crucified, not through human wisdom of strategies. (In most cases such strategies result in syncretism.) So means do not justify the end as ‘any’ means are not God’s means. Moreover God’s expectation of His saints is that they live a holy life. The majority of the NT teachings are instructions and directions on living a sanctified life rather than strategies and trends on evangelism. (Interestingly Christians tend to focus more on evangelism while their lifestyle consists of crude jokes, filthy talks, lying, hating, deceiving etc.)
Calvinism itself has been twisted, making evangelists and other Christians believe that all ‘Christians’ are OSAS regardless of their lifestyle in the light of Christ, as long as they have ‘accepted Jesus in to their hearts’ at the altar call after hearing a therapeutic Gospel. Jesus said, Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt 7:20-21). While on the other hand, the elect is the one that does the will of His Father, and hence can never lose his salvation because he has been chosen of God to be predestined into His Kingdom and He will preserve/protect such a one: There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1Cor 10:13
As for myself, I prefer not to call myself a Calvinist, I do not title myself after another man but only by the name of Christ; to obey Him and to examine teachings in light of His Word. Those who are called to be His know they are His because they hear His voice and obey it. Let us therefore strive to live in holiness for the voice we hear and follow calls us to be holy!