Q. There is a TV preacher who teaches that believers who practice the acts of the sinful nature will not inherit the Kingdom based on Galatians 5:16-21. Does that mean any believer who does those things will have his or her salvation revoked? Doesn’t that conflict with OSAS?
A. First of all, Paul didn’t say “believers who practice the acts of the sinful nature,”in Galatians 5:21, he said “those who practice the acts of the sinful nature.”
Second, when you see the word “practice” think of the doctor who practices medicine or the lawyer who practices law. They are immersed in their professions all day every day. This is what I think Paul meant by “those who practice the acts of the sinful nature.” They are immersed in a sinful lifestyle all day every day.
Every believer has repeatedly committed one or more of the sins mentioned in Galatians 5:16-21, and Paul spoke of his own struggle with sin in Romans 7:14-20. Therefore, if he had meant to condemn every believer who sins he would have to condemn himself as well. But in Romans 8:1 he said, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
I believe Paul was referring to people who sin without regard for what the Bible says about it. In my opinion these people identify themselves as non-believers, because while I’ve never met a true believer who has no struggle with sin, neither have I met one who had a complete disregard for his or her sinfulness. The Holy Spirit convicts believers when we sin, and that conviction brings remorse which leads us to confession. Knowing how we’ll feel after we sin is part of what leads us to struggle against our inherent sinfulness. Non-believers don’t feel any of that.
The fact that we sin identifies us as human. The fact that we struggle against our sinfulness identifies us as believers. Rather than being a denial of OSAS it’s a confirmation of it, because our inability to completely stop sinning does not jeopardize our eternal security. We’re saved because of what we believe, not because of how we behave.