I once was challenged by an email correspondent to show him where is the book / chapter / verse that supports my claim that a believer in full possession of the gift of eternal life can be cut off.
Now, before I could answer him though, I needed him to clarify what he meant exactly by the phrase “a believer in full possession of the gift of eternal life”. This turn of phrase was something new that he introduced and so I needed to make sure I understood exactly what he meant before we could go ahead and debate the truth or falsehood of the doctrine of “Once Saved, Always Saved” (OSAS).
And so I asked him a yes or no question. I asked him that “if one receives the Grace of God and is described as being a member of the Body of Christ, would you call that person 'saved', ie to have full possession of the gift of eternal life?”
I’m unsure if my question unnerved him or that he knew where I was going with this but instead of answering with a yes or no he avoids my question altogether and in its place brings other verses that he believes proves his position.
Rather than show him that these new verses don’t prove what he thinks they prove, I kept pressing him on answering my question so that we may move on. My question was rather simple. From the perspective of my Protestant friend, an individual who he considers to be ‘saved’, is that individual a member of the Body of Christ and therefore in full possession of the gift of eternal life?
If he answered no, then I would ask him to clarify exactly what he means by having “full possession of the gift of eternal life.” But if he answered that yes, when one is a member of the Body of Christ then he is in “full possession of the gift of eternal life”, which I suspect he would have to if he were honest with himself. Then all I would have to do is bring a verse which shows that even when one is a member of the Body of Christ, i.e. in full possession of the gift of eternal life, can still be cut off from the Body of Christ.
That verse is in John 15. Jesus said: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit […] I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.” (John 15:1-6)
Notice that Jesus is talking about those ones who are the branches while He is the vine. The branches are part of the body of the vine. These branches, these people therefore are in ‘full possession of the gift of eternal life’ by virtue of being members of the Body of Christ. These ‘branches’, these ‘saved’ individuals though can still be taken away and burned (v.6).
Rest assured that if he ever comes back to start a new subject that I will bring back this exact exchange so that he might finally answer my question. If he won’t then he will show his true colors to all the others who are reading along of his intentions of not of finding the truth but to avoid all that might confuse him of his current mindset that “Once Saved, Always Saved” must be correct.
And that is the reason that I continue in my efforts to evangelize on internet groups. I don’t put so much time and effort in this to convince those that I’m talking to but for those many who might be reading along that I may not ever know are there.