The phrase 'once saved always saved' does not occur in the Bible, or any other wording which means the same. We believe that the Bible does, in fact, not teach that. The belief has mainly arisen from faulty translation of the Bible; in such verses as:
1 Corinthians 1:18. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (KJV)
2 Corinthians 2:15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:
However, compare them with the same verses from the NIV
1 Cor:1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
2 Cor.2:15 15 For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.
It is acknowledged by modern translations that the tense of the word saved in the Greek is not a complete tense and is continuing to happen.
James did not believe that works were not required:
James 2:14 " What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?...17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18 But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do."
James is saying that what we do is our faith put into practice. If we do not put our faith into practice, then it is theoretical knowledge only and does not come from our heart as God wants, and does not direct our lives.
There are other pointers in the New Testament:
"To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations -" Revelation 2:26
"Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you." Revelation 3:3
"I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God." Revelation 3:12
These are some verses from the final book of the Bible, in which Jesus warns the believers that the end-result of their lives lies within their own hands. Obedience to God and Jesus is required throughout one's life. If it was true that once baptised one was saved from that point in time onwards, then there would be no need of the future judgment seat. (Baptism
by immersion is required for those who want to be considered for salvation).
"For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. It is written: 'As surely as I live, ' says the Lord, 'every knee shall bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.'" So then each of us will give account of himself to God." Romans 14:10-12.
The Bible speaks of eternal life as an award, a prize, and one can be disqualified.
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run...I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."
But we have reassuring words from the apostle Paul,
"God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure." Hebrews 6:10,11
God also understands that we all fail and allows us to be forgiven if we are repentant. Paul himself knew well that at times he failed to do what he knew was asked of him, yet he asked to be forgiven and had the faith that he had been forgiven.