If I am saved once, am I always saved?
In the denominational church where I was raised, I was taught that Paul preached another gospel than the rest of the apostles preached. Since he received his gospel by revelation, we are to preach the gospel that Paul preached, which is the grace fo God. According to this teaching, miracles have all ceased along with speaking by tongues. Salvation is strictly by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, and all works such as baptism and holy living have nothing to do with salvation. Although I have been baptized in Jesus’ name and received the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues, this teaching, which I received earlier, keeps coming to my mind to confuse me. Can you help me?
I am well aware of the teaching to which you refer. It is put forward in an attempt to prevent people from obeying such verses of Scripture as Acts 2:38 and becoming filled with the Holy Ghost. It is an insidious doctrine because it is quite appealing to the flesh, and it allows people to sin and live worldly and still claim salvation.
However, it is a false and unscriptural teaching, and I hope that with the Lord’s help you will be delivered from it as you consider the following verses of Scripture and the points made about them.
- Paul received the gospel from the lips of Ananias, obeyed it, was baptized in Jesus’ name; he also received the Holy Ghost and spoil in tongues (Acts 9:17-18; Acts 22:16; I Corinthians 14:18). This is exactly the same experience which all the apostles received.
- Paul preached the same message to both Jew and Gentile; his message was the same that peter preached in Acts 2:38. The one message consists of repentance, baptism in Jesus’ name, and the gift of the Holy Ghost evidenced by speaking in tongues (acts 26:19-20; Acts 13;38-39; Acts 19:1-7).
- Miracles were performed in the ministry of Paul just as with the other apostles (Acts 14:8-10; Acts 15:12; Acts 16:16-18; Acts 19:11-12; I Corinthians 2:4; Hebrews 2:3-4).
- The revelation Paul received (evidently while he was in Arabia following his conversion, Galatians 1:17), he compared with the apostle Peter upon his return (Galatians 1:18), and later with the church leaders (Galatians 2:1-2). These all agreed that Paul’s message was the same as theirs, which they had received directly from the lips of the Lord Jesus Christ, They had nothing to add to the revelation which Paul had received (Galatians 2:6-9).
- The portion of Paul’s revelation that the other apostles had not previously understood fully had to do with the fact that the Gentiles could be fellow heirs with the Jewish Christians by obeying the gospel without being circumcised as were the Jews (Ephesians 3:1-7). Peter and the other apostles accepted this doctrinal position. At the first church council in Jerusalem the entire apostolic council agreed that Gentile Christians need not be circumcised (Acts 15). The plan of salvation that was preached by all the apostles including Paul is stated in Acts 2:38. Paul added this warning: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8).
We can be sure Paul did not preach “any other gospel.” Thank God, contrary to your former denomination’s teaching, we are preaching today the very same gospel that Paul and all the other apostles preached in their day.