Author: Ron Graham
If Jesus Prays for Your Salvation...
—Can you possibly be lost?
This lesson addresses an argument sometimes presented in favor of the Once Saved Always Saved doctrine. This doctrine says that salvation is unconditional and once granted cannot be revoked.
1 The Argument
The doctrine holds that once you are saved you are always saved and can never be lost; once in grace, you cannot fall, regardless of what you do. An argument for this doctrine is drawn from the fact that Jesus prays for our salvation. If Jesus prays for something, his Father will grant it. So if Jesus prays for our salvation, then saved we will be, and it is impossible for us to fall.
It has been the prayer of Jesus that the saved remain saved.
- Jesus prayed for Peter, that his faith might not fail (Luke 22:31-32).
- Jesus prayed for all Christians that they might enter heaven (John 17:9-24).
- Jesus ever lives to make intercession for the saints (Hebrews 7:25).
The Calvinistic Argument
The argument made from the above facts is as follows. If any of the saved become lost, then the Father has refused to grant the prayer of his Son. His prayer has failed. Since it is inconceivable that the Father would reject his Son's prayer, the saved cannot be lost. That is the argument. Now let's see the false basis on which this argument rests.
2 The False Basis
The argument rests on the assumption that God would never refuse to grant a prayer of his Son. However that assumption is not correct.
- In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed that he would not have to endure the crucifixion. "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me..." But it was not the Father's will (Matthew 26:39).
- Jesus prayed for what he wished could be so, however he kept himself in submission to God's will. If God is bound to grant everything that Jesus asks, then the Father is subject to the Son. But he is not. It is the other way round —the Son is subject to the Father (1Corinthians 11:3, 1Corinthians 15:27-28).
The Argument’s False Basis
The basis for the argument is false because it assumes that the prayers of Jesus are unconditional, and God grants his requests unconditionally. That is not so. There are certain conditions under which God will or will not grant Christ's prayer for the saved. Let's now show what these conditions are.
3 The Conditions
Fortunately, the scripture is very clear about the conditions which must be met by us, if our Saviour's prayer for us is to avail rather than fail.
- If we are sinning wilfully in rebellion against God, if we disobey the gospel and don't continue in the faith, then the Saviour's prayer does not avail for us —not even his sacrifice on the cross avails for us (Hebrews 10:26-31, Colossians 1:21-23).
- When we walk in the light, confessing our sins to God, and when we rebel against sin and refuse to let it reign over us, then God certainly grants our Saviour's prayer for us (1John 1:5-10, 1John 2:1-2, Romans 6:11-14,17-18).
The Argument Sidesteps Conditions
The Calvinistic argument does not take into account that God imposes conditions or things we must do. We receive the answer to Christ’s prayer if we subject ourselves to God. God actively, yet conditionally, assists us, thereby answering his Son’s prayer for us (1Corinthians 10:12-13).
If we set our hearts upon what Christ prays for, then God actively works in us and for us. Under those conditions, he will not let anyone snatch us away from Jesus our Saviour (1Corinthians 10:12-13, John 10:27-30).