Is Revelation 21:8 Works Salvation? Zane Hodges Once Saved Always Saved

After citing Revelation 21:8, Zane Hodges comments in his book, The Gospel Under Siege (p. 123):

This is not, of course, salvation by works after all! It is rather a declaration that in the new heavens and the new earth (cf. Rev. 21:1), there are no more cowards, no more idolators, no more liars—except those who have been consigned to the lake of fire!

But what about born again Christians who have done these things? To be specific, what about wise Solomon who ended his life with defection from his God and with idolatry (1 Kings 11:1-10)! The answer is that they will all be in the presence of God as citizens of the eternal world. And whatever their failures on earth may have been, these are gone. If they had been liars, they are liars no more. If idolators, they are idolators no more. For now they are immortal and sinless. They are conformed to the image of God’s Son.

How did they come to this place. By the grace of God.

It’s very disturbing that Zane Hodges would comment on the clear truth of Rev. 21:8 and say it is “not, of course, salvation by works.” One must wonder from this if he is trying to cloud the issue.

Zane Hodges also reveals how he understands works! If one resists sinful temptations as commanded (Jam. 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:9), he is living in accord with Biblical grace (Titus 2:12; 2 Cor. 1:12), not believing in works salvation! If not being sexually immoral, an idolater, liar, etc. was believing works for salvation as suggested, then Paul actually contradicted himself, for he is the one who gave us Eph. 2:8,9 and other passages about such not inheriting the kingdom (1 Cor. 6:9,10; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:5-7).

The problem here is also the way the Once Saved Always Saved people understand grace. By Hodges’ definition of grace, it should be apparent that he is allowing people into the kingdom (liars and idolaters) whom God clearly stated will be thrown into the lake of fire. This reflects the infinite difference between the grace of Once Saved Always Saved and the grace taught in the Scriptures!

If one would carefully read Rev. 21:1-8, he would see that verses 7 and 8 are contrasting passages describing first the overcomer—those who actually enter the kingdom—and second, those who get thrown into the lake of fire (or the non-overcomer). Verse 8 describes the latter. That passage is very shocking to today’s Once Saved Always Saved gospel, for it does not state that only the unbelieving will be thrown into the lake of fire, as one might expect. In fact, the unbelieving are not even mentioned at the top of the list!

God himself, who knows everything there is to know about grace, his own faithfulness, love and keeping power, etc. spoke these words after the infinite and finished work of Christ on the cross. Along with 1 Cor. 6:9,10, Rev. 21:8 best describes all of those who will spend their eternity, with the devil, in burning sulfur.

Rev. 21:8 is an irreconcilable problem text for all of the Once Saved Always Saved proponents and their grace message, since they believe one can actually do those things after their salvation, never repent, and still not be in the danger that God clearly says they are in! We should not, therefore, be surprised that Rev. 21:8 will be avoided or distorted by the grace changers, through some strange interpretation, because it is so antithetical to Once Saved Always Saved.

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