Gospel of God, The (2 volume set), by Watchman Nee

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I once heard an evangelist from Shanghai say that the teaching of "once saved, eternally saved" makes a person irresponsible, loose, and not very watchful. One can only make such a statement because he does not fully understand the Word of God. Only those who do not understand God’s salvation can say that a man will be irresponsible and loose because he knows that he is eternally saved.

Such people are ignorant of at least three things. First, they are ignorant of God’s way of salvation. They do not know how God has saved them. In saying this, we are not talking about the way of preservation, but the manner in which God has saved us. God does not threaten us with going to hell in order to gain our belief in Jesus. He does not scare people into heaven. Man always thinks that if he does not repent of his sins, change a little, and perform meritorious works, he cannot be saved. For this reason, he continues to look for ways to be saved. Is this God’s way of saving us? Does God put the question of sin continually before man, threatening him to solve it right away? Does God threaten people with the judgment seat and His wrath, coerce them to do various things, and hold in suspense those who do not know what their future holds, to strive with all their strength? If a man has any knowledge of God, he will say a thousand no’s to these questions. Those who do not know God will say that it is a good way to cause man’s heart to be in fear and trembling and in suspense, not knowing what lies ahead. But those who understand the salvation of God know that this is an evil tiding from hell. It is not the glad tidings. God said the judgment is over. The problem of sin is solved. God’s way of salvation is not to hold us in suspense or to scare us into pursuit. He has never coerced us into holiness, righteousness, and sanctification. He said that all things are prepared. The servants said all things are ready (Luke 14:17); God has prepared everything. Now He is coming to give things to you. However, we have changed things around today. We think that a man can be scared into being good. Please remember that a man can only be scared into fainting; he can never be scared into being good.

Second, those people mentioned above are not only ignorant of the way of God’s salvation, they are also ignorant of the content of this salvation. What is salvation? It is not just a matter of God solving our problem of sin by His Son. Salvation not only causes our sins to be forgiven, it also gives us eternal life. God’s salvation justifies us, and it also gives us the Son of God, putting Him inside of us. Salvation not only causes us not to be condemned by God, but it has put the Holy Spirit within us. Not only does it enable us to live forever in the future, but it has imparted to us God’s nature today. This is the content of salvation. Not only do we have forgiveness and justification, and not only are we not condemned and judged, but we have God’s nature, Christ, and the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. As a result, man will spontaneously have a new desire, a new inclination, and a new aspiration. God’s salvation adds something new to us.

(Gospel of God, The (2 volume set), Chapter 17, by Watchman Nee)