When you hear that phrase, what emotions, ideas, pictures, feelings and faces come to mind?
For some people, when they hear the phrase, “eternal security” their blood starts to boil and they have trouble keeping their tongue from shouting, “Heresy!” For them, the words convey danger and an excuse to sin, and they think of people who claim to be Christians but who certainly don’t act like it.
For others, the words are like a soothing blanket and a hot cup of tea. For them, the words convey love and acceptance. They may think of loved ones or family members who became Christians but are now living in sin, and they rest in the confidence that these loved ones will go to heaven when they die.
On both sides of the issues, tempers sometimes flare, Scripture is thrown about like confetti and both believe the other has a Gospel message which, in the words of Paul, is no Gospel at all (Gal 1:7). Books are written. Sermons are preached. Debates are held. And the lines are solidly drawn. Sometimes, people switch from one side to the other, but this seems to be the exception rather than the rule. It is very difficult to determine who has the majority position.
Because of all of this, it has been argued, and I would agree, that the issue of eternal security may well be the most hotly debated and theologically divisive issue in the church today. Music styles might possibly be in first place, but if so, the issue of eternal security is not far behind. Donald Cole, who used to host the Open Line Bible Answer Call in Radio Show says that without fail, he receives at least one, sometimes as many as five questions about eternal security during every single show. Eternal security is a big issue and a huge question in the minds of most Christians.
There are many people who don’t care too much what kind of music a church plays. The only thing they care about is whether the church teaches eternal security or not. Many don’t really care what kind of preaching a pastor does, they only care whether he teaches eternal security or not. There are many who don’t care about the children’s ministries, they only want to know whether their children will be taught eternal security or not.
In one church I pastored, some families started attending when they heard I held to eternal security, while a couple other families stopped attending. Some families look for a church that preaches against eternal security, while others look for a church that preaches in favor of it.
Many pastors, knowing that this is such a divisive issue, try to ride the fence and appease both sides. I understand why they do this, but that is not my personality. If I believe something is firmly taught in Scripture, I teach it. I cannot keep silent on it. In fact, I have tried to keep silent on certain issues over the years, but the problem, or maybe I should say the benefit, of teaching through books of the Bible the way I do, is that I cannot avoid certain issues for long.
Eventually, I must tackle certain Bible passages that I would rather avoid, and address certain Bible topics that seem controversial. I have found over the years that when I am trying to avoid an issue, that is the issue the next passage in our study addresses. When that happens, I must choose between trying to teach Scripture the way I understand it, or trying to avoid what I think a Scripture passage teaches. I have done both, and never have I felt that God is pleased with me when I try to avoid the issue.
But here is the problem with teaching through the Bible book by book, line by line. When we come to one of those controversial passages, I teach it. But then, without fail, I get someone coming up to me after the service on Sunday, or someone who gives me a call on Monday, or someone who writes a letter or e-mail on Tuesday, or someone who comes to debate with me at Wednesday night Bible study. And their comments always go something like this: “Thank you for your message on Sunday, but I disagree with you because of these other passages. What about this passage which says this? And what about that passage over there which teaches that? And what about such and such a verse which clearly contradicts your teaching?” I call this Shotgun Hermeneutics.
I am not saying that people should not disagree with me. They can and they should if they believe I have taught error. I am not God. I am not infallible. I do make errors. I have taught error. I will teach error. The greatest church a pastor can have is one where every single person is like the noble Bereans of Acts 17:11 where they search the Scriptures daily to see if the things he teaches are correct.
But what people need to understand is that I too have read and studied the Bible. I too know about all the passages which some people use against eternal security. I am aware of them all and have studied them all. And I don’t think they disprove eternal security. Quite the contrary, I am convinced that when Scripture is studied in its various contexts, eternal security is the clear teaching of the Bible.
Why Teach on Eternal Security?
That is why a topical study like this one is so important. I want to give you my beliefs about the issue of eternal security, and why I believe what I do. Then, beginning next week, we will look at several passages that I believe support my position, and following that we will look at several passages that seem to contradict it. We will not look at many passages in this lesson, but will save them for later. Currently I have about ten passages to look at so far.
In this message, I just want to introduce you to the position I hold on eternal security and why I hold it. I know that there are many in the church who hold different beliefs than those I hold to. If you discover that you are one who disagrees with me, the worst thing you can do is leave the church. That will accomplish nothing. You see, one of us is wrong. And if I am wrong, I want to know it. If you are wrong, I hope you want to know it. Nobody wants to believe error. But the only way we will learn is if you stay. You can teach me and I can teach you as we trust the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth.
So why should we teach about eternal security if it is such a divisive issue? Well, first of all, because it is such a divisive issue. God wants Christians to be unified, not divided. And second, because none of us want to believe error. We can only come to unity as we talk about this issue with one another in love.
So having said all of that, let me state my position. I believe the Bible teaches eternal security. I believe that once a person has eternal life, they always have eternal life. I believe that on this earth, from the moment we first believe in Jesus, we can have full assurance that we are headed for heaven (Note: Assurance is different than security, but that’s a distinction I don’t want to address right now). For the rest of our time tonight, let me explain why I believe in Eternal Security. Eleven reasons why.
(Note that I do NOT use the phrase “Once Saved, Always Saved.” This is NOT a biblical term, and it is unclear at best, and extremely confusing and misleading at worst.)
Why I Believe in Eternal Security
1. The Bible teaches Eternal Security
First of all, I believe in eternal security because the Bible teaches it. Of course, having said that, those on the other side believe the Bible doesn’t teach it. But at least we both agree that we must begin with the Bible rather than our own emotions, experiences, or theological system.
Most people seem to make a decision about eternal security based on their experiences. For example, somebody becomes a Christian, but then they go and gossip about you around town, and divorces their spouse, abuses their children and gets arrested for dealing drugs. And we think, “How can that person be a Christian? Christians don’t act like that. He must have never been a Christian in the first place, or maybe He had eternal life, but he lost it, but one thing is for sure, there is no way that person will be in heaven.” You see, this person doesn’t believe in eternal security because certain people who claim to be Christians certainly don’t act like Christians.
But then there are those on the other side of the spectrum. They believe in eternal security because it is comforting to them. A son made a decision for Christ when he was six years old, but then in high school got involved in drugs and drinking, and died one night in a car accident. It is very comforting for those parents to believe that their son is in heaven even though he didn’t really act like a Christian and died while he was sinning.
But here is the warning. We must not, we dare not, base our decision about eternal security on our own experiences or people we know who have claimed to be Christians but have not lived like Christ. We must not make a decision based on a worry that people will live in sin if eternal security is true. We must not make a decision based on our hope that we can still go to heaven even when we purposefully and blatantly rebel against God. If we are going to make a decision about eternal security, we must base that decision on what the Bible says and nothing else. And of course, that is the challenge. What does the Bible say?
Both sides have lots of verses which seem to defend their position, but only one side can be Biblically correct. And the goal is to determine, through proper Bible study methods and a careful analysis of the pertinent passages, what exactly the Bible teaches. We will look at many of these passages in weeks to come, but let’s continue with our overview tonight. One of the basic things we must understand is that eternal security does not depend on us, but on God. It is He who makes promises to us, not we who make promises to Him.
2. It is God who Promises Us, not We who promise Him
I think that much of the confusion about the security of eternal life comes from this simple misunderstanding. God knows that we are weak, that we are sinners, that we break our promises. And so how thankful we can be that He never, not once in all of Scripture, tells us that in order to receive eternal life, we have to promise Him certain things or a certain level of obedience. No matter how small the promise, we could never keep it. Eternal life is centered not on our promises, but on God’s promises. When we know that we have believed in Jesus for eternal life, and yet we doubt whether or not we have it, we are doubting God and the promises He has made (2 Tim. 1:1; Heb. 10:23; 1 John 2:25).
The promise of God – who never lies, and who never breaks a promises – is based not on our faithfulness, but on the faithfulness of Christ – who is always faithful. And what does he promise? He promises everlasting life to those who will believe in Him for it. Which brings us to the third reason I believe in Eternal Security.
3. Everlasting Life is Everlasting
I do not see how people who believe that we can lose eternal life can speak of it as everlasting or eternal life. Earl Radmacher likes to say that if everlasting life can be lost, it has the wrong name. It should be called temporary life, or life until you sin. But God calls it eternal life and everlasting life. And everlasting life is just that – it is everlasting. Those who reject eternal security say that it is everlasting as long as we obey. We have eternal life if we continue to believe. But that is not everlasting life. This brings us to my fourth conviction about eternal security.
4. There is only one condition for receiving everlasting life – Believing in Jesus Christ for it
We have already seen how everywhere in the Bible, 99 times in the book of John alone, the single and only condition for receiving eternal life is believing in Jesus Christ for it. Faith alone in Christ alone. Never does the Bible teach that to get eternal life, or to keep eternal life, or to prove that we have eternal life, we must perform good works. The truth is that it is impossible to reconcile “faith alone in Christ alone” with the necessity of works. If eternal life is not forever, it cannot be through faith alone. If eternal life can be lost, or if simple faith in Christ is not enough, works have been added somewhere into the equation. But fifthly, works play no role whatsoever in getting us to heaven.
5. Works play no role whatsoever in getting us to heaven.
The eternal life equation is this: God’s Grace + Our Faith = Eternal life. Another way to put it is, “Justification is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.” This is what Jesus teaches, what Peter teaches, and what Paul teaches. And nowhere do we ever read that we must have good works in order to get into heaven. How do you get to heaven? You believe in Jesus.
Anytime you hear somebody say that in order to get to heaven you must believe in Jesus AND _________ (fill in the blank), believe in Jesus and get baptized, believe in Jesus and repent of your sins, believe in Jesus and have good works, believe in Jesus and submit your life to Christ, they have added an extra requirement which is not found in the Bible.
Now, this does not mean that works are unimportant, or that works are not vital. The Bible talks a lot about the place of works in the life of the Christian, but we must keep them in their proper place. We must understand that works do a lot for the Christian, both now and for eternity, but one thing works do not do is help us get into heaven. Entrance into heaven is based on one condition alone – and that is faith alone in Christ alone. The reason for this is because Jesus Christ died for all of our sins. The ones in our past, the ones in our present, and even the ones that are yet future.
6. Jesus Christ died for all of our sins: past, present and future
The Bible tells us that Jesus is constantly interceding for us before God. Among other things, this means that when we sin, he tells God, “Yep, I died for that one too. And that one. And that one. And, yes, that one too.”
But some people who reject eternal security teach that he only died for the sins that were prior to us believing in Jesus. So if we committed a thousand sins, and then believed in Jesus for eternal life, Jesus died for all of those 1000 sins. But we better be careful, because if we sin again, Jesus will take eternal life away from us. But does this make any sense? When Christ died for our sin, how many of them were future to him? All of them. When Christ died for our sins, he died for all of our sins. The timing of our sin is irrelevant from Christ’s perspective.
Look at it another way. 2000 years ago, Christ died on the cross for all of your sins. 2000 years later, you are born, you grow up, you hear the Gospel message, and you believe in Jesus Christ for eternal life. You believe that He paid the entire penalty for your sin. Because of your belief in Jesus, God justifies you – He declares you “not guilty.” He gives you eternal life. But then a few hours, or days later, you sin. You lie to your spouse. You gossip. You get drunk. If that sin causes you to become guilty again, then that is a sin that Jesus did not die for. And if he did not die for it, then there is no hope for you.
Jesus is not going to die again to take care of that sin. God declared you “not guilty” the first time based on Christ’s death for your sin, but if all of a sudden you become guilty again, then that means that Christ did not cover that sin. And if Christ didn’t cover it, nothing will. The fact of the matter is that God’s grace is so great, it removes all of our sin from us, as far as the east is from the west.
7. God’s grace is so great, it removes all of our sin from us
This ultimately is what it all boils down to – the grace of God. A person’s position on eternal security is ultimately determined by their view of God’s grace. Do we deserve it or not? Is it earned or not? Is it limited or not? Is it infinite or not? If we don’t deserve God’s grace, then we can’t do anything to earn it. And if we don’t do anything to earn it, we can do anything to keep it. And if can’t do anything to keep it, then we come full circle and discover that all we can do is trust and rely on God to keep us in His family. And that is exactly what God’s grace does. Paul explains to us in Romans 5 that if God, by His grace, can save us while we were yet sinners, it is a simple thing for Him to keep us when we are justified and righteous in His eyes (5:6-11).
Paul says the same thing over in Galatians 3:1-9. He berates the Galatians for thinking that they could keep eternal life by the works of the law when they didn’t do anything to earn eternal life in the first place. He says, if you didn’t do anything to earn eternal life, you can’t do anything to continue in it either. It’s all by God’s grace. The foundation of eternal security is an understanding of the matchless grace of God. Grace, by definition, is a free gift that cannot be earned. And once we have received the grace of God freely, He is not going to take it away from us because of something we do or fail to do. And that brings us to the next point. Just as God will not remove his grace from us, there are certain other things about conversion that can never be removed from us, or repeated in us. Conversion is irreversible.
8. Conversion is Irreversible
Lewis Sperry Chafer, in his systematic theology, lists 33 things which happen to us at the moment we believe in Jesus for eternal life. Most of them cannot be undone or reversed. For example, when we become Christians, we are born into the family of God. It is impossible spiritually just as it is impossible physically to reverse someone’s birth. When you came into this earth, you automatically had a father and a mother. Even if they gave you up for adoption and you never knew who they were, they were biologically your father and mother. If you grew up with them, but then in your teenage years rebelled against your parents, told them that you hate them, tell them that you wish they weren’t your parents and that you wish you had different parents, and then you run away from home and never see them again for your entire life, they are still your parents. Even if you take another name, and they write you out of their will, and refuse to ever see you again, they are still your parents. It is exactly the same when we become part of the family of God. It cannot be reversed. God loves all of his children, and even if you stop loving Him, even if you begin to hate Him, even if you rebel and run away and refuse to associate yourself with Him, the fact that you are born of God cannot be reversed. And you will be glad of it once you get to heaven.
Another example is our baptism by the Spirit. That is a one time event which cannot be undone or reversed or repeated. Take water baptism for example. Most of us, if not all of us, have been water baptized. It is in our past. How many of us can become unbaptized? You can’t do it. It’s in your past. You cannot change the past. Now, Spirit baptism is even more permanent, if I can put it that way, because it actually does something to us whereas water baptism is simply an outward symbol of an inward reality. Once you have received the baptism of the Spirit, which all Christians do at the moment they believe in Jesus for eternal life, there is no reversing or undoing it. It is in your past, and you cannot change it.
Again, the sealing of the Holy Spirit. This is a mark, a down payment, a guarantee which God gives to you to show you and everybody else that He will come and receive you unto Himself. God put this seal on us, and nothing we do can break the seal, or take it off from us, and God has promised that the seal is permanent, that it cannot be removed, and that He will not remove it (Eph 1:13-14; 4:30; 2 Cor 1:21-22).
Now at some time in the eternal security debate, after all this talk about grace, someone says something like, “I think you’re taking this grace thing a little bit too far. I think you’re emphasizing grace a little too much. If you continue to teach about grace this way, won’t people abuse it? If what you say is true, why can’t people sin all they want?” And do you want to know what? When somebody asks me those sorts of questions, that is when I know I am right on track. That is when I know I am teaching the Biblical Gospel. You see, those are the questions and accusations that Paul received when he explained the Gospel. You can read about it in Romans 6:1, 15. When you emphasize grace and eternal security, those are the questions and accusations you receive. So here is another reason I hold to eternal security. Only genuine eternal security results in Romans 6:1 questions.
9. Only genuine eternal security results in Romans 6:1
The question that Paul receives in Romans 6:1 is, “Well Paul, if what you are saying about grace is true, why can’t we just sin all we want?” This question is a litmus test for whether or not someone is teaching the Biblical Gospel. And I’ll tell you what. No cult or religious system other then Christianity will ever result in this question. They all teach that in order to get to heaven, or reach nirvana, or be reincarnated into a better life, you must live as good as possible. After listening to their teachings, nobody would ever say, “Well, if that’s true, why can’t we sin all we want?”
But even among Christianity, there are branches of teaching that will never result in this question. Take Catholicism for example. They teach that Jesus Christ does his 99%, but we must do our 1%. And if you don’t do your 1%, too bad, you’re going to hell. They teach that while we are initially saved by faith alone, we are not really justified until we die, and only if you have lived a good life up to that time. You see, justification for the Catholic is a process by which we are being saved, not a declaration by God that we are saved. Nobody who listens to the Catholic teaching will ever ask the Romans 6:1 question.
But let’s go beyond even Catholicism. Those of the Arminian persuasion, those who believe you can lose eternal life if you sin will never get asked the Romans 6:1 question either. You see, they say that if you sin, you may lose eternal life. Some hold to a “three strikes and your out” mentality. Others say, “No, it has to be certain grievous sins. The big ones like adultery, murder or suicide.” Others say, “Well, it has to be an extended period of time that the Christian lives in sin.” Others say, “No, it is only if they die while sinning.” But no matter which brand of Arminianism we listen to, no one who listens to Arminian teaching would ever say, “Well, why can’t I sin all I want then?”
And then there are those of the Calvinistic/Lordship theology. They say that though we are saved through faith alone, true saving faith results in good works. So if somebody doesn’t have good works, then they were never saved in the first place. But isn’t this the same thing? Whether one is a Catholic, an Arminian, or a Calvinist, if a person does not have good works in their life, they will not make it to heaven. And none of these systems of theology would ever have Romans 6:1 leveled against them.
Only one theological position has ever resulted in the Romans 6:1 question, and it is the position which says that eternal life is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, and that once a person has received eternal life in this way, it can never be lost.And when we realize the truth of this, it is incredibly liberating. It frees us from so many burdens and fears. This is the truth that Paul goes on to express in Romans 6, 7 and 8 – the freedom that we have in Christ because of the infinite grace of God. And this is my tenth point. Eternal security is essential to discipleship and freedom living.
10. Eternal Security is essential to discipleship and freedom living
A belief that you can lose eternal life causes you to be motivated by fear. But we are not to be motivated by fear, but by love. When we know God loves us unconditionally, we do not fear messing up. We do not fear making a mistake. Perfect love drives out fear, and God loves us perfectly. Bob Wilkin talks about daisy theology. It is the belief that God’s love for us is always a little uncertain. When people do not know where they are in their standing with God, when people are uncertain whether a sin they committed caused God to take away their eternal life or not, it is like the little girl who picks a daisy and one by one, takes off the petals saying with each one, “He loves me – He loves me not.”
When we do not believe in eternal security, you can never be certain that at that moment, God loves you. You can never be sure that at that moment, you truly have everlasting life. Maybe you sinned without knowing it. Maybe you didn’t commit a sin, but you didn’t do something that you should have done (Jas 4:17). That’s a sin of omission. And the most you can do is hope that when you come to the last petal of the daisy which is your life, you end on a petal which says, “He loves me.” Only then will you get into heaven. That’s daisy theology.
And what a horrible way to live! Eternal security tells me that God loves me unconditionally, and therefore, I can move forward in my Christian life at breakneck speed. If I make a mistake, or drive off the track a little, that’s okay. God will still love me and accept me.
Imagine that there is a car race from here to Miami, and you are given the choice between two cars. The first car has quite a few instructions and warnings. If it goes over 7 miles per hour, it stops working. If you roll the window down past half way, it stops working. If you carry more than 327 pounds in the car, it stops working. If you drive it on Saturday, it stops working. If you drive it in Texas, it stops working. If you ever think that you hate your car, it stops working. If you get mad at the person who gave you the car, it stops working. If you eat in the car, it stops working. If you run a red light, it collapses and you will die. If you accidentally hit an animal, you will have to start over from the very beginning of your drive.
And on and on the instructions go. How anxious are you going to be to get in that car and drive it across the country? Not very. In fact, because of the frustrations and danger, you may not ever drive it out of the garage.
But imagine if the other car, you are told, will never get into an accident. You can drive as fast as you want, you can go anywhere you want. It will always keep you safe. In this car, you might be a bit skeptical. You might be a little timid at first. You would gently back it into a tree just to see what would happen. When nothing happens, you try to drive it through your garage door when it’s shut. The car somehow passes right through it. You don’t like your cat, and so you try to run him over, but it is unharmed! “This is amazing!” you think. I can drive at 200 miles per hour and get to the Miami in no time. And that is exactly what you do.
Now, this is a poor illustration because it doesn’t reveal that there are in fact very serious negative consequences for sin both in this life and the life to come. But what this illustration does show is that the car of eternal life helps us along the road of discipleship.
Paul talks about this frequently as does the writer of Hebrews. Another way to describe the race is the path of discipleship. And it is my conviction, it is my observation that those who believe in eternal security move a lot faster down the road of discipleship than those who are constantly afraid of making mistakes. Those who understand God’s amazing grace, live their lives full of joy and excitement and the thrill of the ride. But those who live without security are constantly afraid they may have to start over if they drive off the road.
God wants us to move rapidly down the path of discipleship, and He wants us to live joyfully and to live in the freedom for which Christ has set us free, and to help us in this, He has given to us His amazing and infinite grace. Grace that pardons all our sin. The opposite of this confident rest in the grace of God, is a constant effort to please and appease God and keep the eternal life that we don’t want to lose. In other words, a lack of eternal security leads to legalism.
11. A Lack of Eternal Security Leads to Legalism
Legalism is the conviction that you must do something to earn your eternal life, keep your eternal life, or prove you have eternal life. Legalism is revealed whenever there are a set of rules or regulations or law that a person must maintain in order to get eternal life, keep eternal life, or prove that they have eternal life.
Legalism is a cancer in churches across America. I am reading a book right now by Greg Albrecht called Bad News Religion. He grew up in a legalistic church, and became a prominent leader in a well known, legalistic, Christian denomination. But then, through time and prayer and Bible study, he came to the conclusion that eternal life is freely given to all who simply and only believe in Jesus Christ for it.
But the best book I have ever read on legalism and how to avoid it and how to defeat it is a book by Chuck Swindoll called The Grace Awakening. There are very few books aside from the Bible that I wish every Christian would read, but that is one of them. I’ve talked a lot of about grace tonight but that’s because grace and eternal security are inseparably linked. A weak grasp of grace leads to a lack of security. But a strong, Biblical understanding of God’s grace, a grace that gives us everything for free, a grace that is not earned, not worked for, and cannot be lost or destroyed, a grace that covers over all our sins, this kind of grace leads to one thing – eternal security.
There is nothing we did to earn eternal life – it was all of grace. And there is nothing we can do to lose eternal life – it is all of grace.
K.W. Leslie says
Good point about Romans 6.1. Yep, if grace wasn’t so radical, Christians wouldn’t have so many concerns about Christians behaving badly. We’d just denounce ’em all as hell-bound, and move on.
While I believe in eternal security, I still get the question, “What about someone who grew up a Christian, lived as a Christian for years, then quit, denounced Christ, and hasn’t followed him since?” How do you answer that one? (No, this isn’t a test for orthodoxy. There are lots of right answers. I’m just curious about your favorites. You might’ve posted them elsewhere.)
Jeremy Myers says
Good questions. I cannot say for certain about anyone’s eternal destiny. Lots of people have “lived as a Christian” for years, but never actually believed in Jesus for eternal life. In those cases, they never had eternal life to begin with. But if a person truly did believe in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life, and later fell away, I believe they still have eternal life, and God is actively working to restore such a person into fellowship with Him and other believers.
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 1 John 2:19
“What about someone who grew up a Christian, lived as a Christian for
years, then quit, denounced Christ, and hasn’t followed him since?”
Did they ever believe in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life? If yes, they go to heaven. If no, they still need to get saved.
Jeremy Myers says
Right. I agree.
Regarding your point #2. An oft-quoted and familiar verse related to God’s promise of eternal life to those who would simply believe is John 3:16. This verse tells us that at the moment of belief, then one is saved. This is in part true but it does not reveal the whole truth. The word “believe” should actually be rendered as “believing” as the Greek verb tense is constructed in the present continuous sense. Therefore one has eternal life as long as one continues to believe – not just from a past moment of belief as would have been otherwise indicated from the aorist or past tense.
Moreover your assertion that God’s promise of eternal life is unilateral and without any conditions on our part is an argument based on synecdoche. – as if the requirement of belief represents the entirety of what it means to be saved. If the Bible only contained verses which maintain that belief is the sole requirement for salvation then you would indeed be correct. However such is not the case. In Heb 5:9, salvation is directly equated with one’s obedience: “and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who OBEY him.” Therefore it seems to me that one cannot ignore obedience as part and parcel of what it means to be saved. Furthermore, in Revelation 14:12 obedience and faith are characteristic of the saints: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, AND the faith of Jesus.”
Jeremy Myers says
The “present tense” = continuous action idea is common, but misguided. A quick survey of present tense verbs in the Bible reveals that there are countless actions in the present tense which are clearly one time events with ongoing consequences.
Regarding Hebrew 5:9 and Revelation 14:12, I don’t think that either reference is talking about how to receive eternal life. Though many people think that “salvation” refers to eternal life in the Bible, it most often does not. That is why in my article above, I tried to only refer to “eternal life” when I was writing about what could not be lost.
The verb in question is “pisteuo” and the Apostle John employs this word almost 100 times in his gospel. He could have chosen the noun form “pistis” but pistis is totally absent from his narrative, indicating that John is focusing on the active nature of faith. His gospel is about belief coupled with action as opposed to belief as mere cognitive assent.
Without getting into all of the parsing nuances, your claim about whether pisteuo is a one time event or ongoing action is addressed in Jn 20:31 where the Apostle himself defines the purpose of his gospel: “these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Note that both belief (one-time) and believing (ongoing, continuous action) are requisite to having life in his name. Therefore I maintain that one has life only as long as one continues to believe.
Also, you don’t elaborate on your generalized statement in distinguishing between salvation and eternal life. As for myself, I don’t employ such a fine-toothed comb in distinguishing between the two. I’m guessing that you distinguish salvation as the process or steps leading to redemption vs. eternal life which per your view cannot be lost. However Heb 5:9 is pretty clear cut as the words eternal and salvation are conflated in this verse which I think for all practical purposes equates to eternal life.
Jeremy Myers says
I have written extensively about faith and salvation elsewhere on this blog. I do not distinguish salvation as you have suggested, and the biblical data does not support such a conclusion (as you point out). But it does support a different conclusion, which is the one I present on this blog in various places.
As to faith, John could have chosen the noun form, but that would not make sense where a verb was needed. And regarding John 20:31, even this text says that life is the result of believing. It doesn’t say that life is the result of continuing to believe forever.
Because you are alive, you were born in the flesh. Do you have to continue to be born on a moment-by-moment basis in order to remain alive? No.
Regarding your point #3. I’m sure you would probably agree that a relationship with God is the heart of what it means to have everlasting life. As such, can not God establish the parameters of what it means to have a relationship with him? Did not Adam & Eve not have an everlasting relationship with God in the Garden until they violated his parameters and partook of the fruit? According to John 15:10, IF we keep his commandments, we will abide in his love. Similarly in 1 John 3, no saved person can keep on practicing sin and still claim that they are abiding in Christ. Those believers who are engaged in willful habitual sin run the risk of becoming children of the devil instead of children of God, thus severing their relationship with God and “eternal” life itself.
Jeremy Myers says
Yes, of course a relationship with God is part of eternal life. But there is a vast difference between relationship and fellowship. I might have an everlasting relationship to a parent or sibling by birth and blood, but if I do not see them or talk to them for years on end, then I have no fellowship with them. John 15 and 1 John are pretty clearly talking about the fellowship aspect of our relationship with God. We can be children of God and born again into His family, but if we do not obey Him or do what He says, then we will have little fellowship with our Heavenly Father.
Your appeal to anthropomorphism in framing eternal life is a risky proposition. While I agree that certainly our disobedience negatively affects our relationship with our Father, Scripture itself goes beyond defining the consequences of disobedience as just having “little fellowship” to use your term. 1 John 3 plainly warns those who persist in practicing sin that they are actually children of the devil; not children of God entailing complete severance of relationship – not just little fellowship.
Jeremy Myers says
Do you sin? How often? How frequently? Those who want to argue your position from 1 John 3 often forget what John has already stated in 1 John 1 about how all of us still sin all the time. So does this then mean that all of us are children of the devil? To understand 1 John, we must understanding the early form of Gnosticism he was writing against and what they were teaching. Without this, 1 John makes little sense.
CONDITIONAL SECURITY by DanCer.ever read or know about him.if not..do some quick research on his book and let me know your thoughts?? THANK YOU IN ADVANCE. LOVE YOUR ARTICLE
Onlyoneking2003@Yahoo…email me your thoughts about Dan corner and his conditional security book…wow..justthe ththought of Conditional security seems Christ just didn’t accomplish it on the cross
Regarding your points 4 & 5: Your contention that belief is the sole criterion for eternal life does not account for the whole of Scripture which indicates otherwise. An interesting juxtaposition between belief and disobedience is found in Jn 3:36: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” These two clauses illustrate that belief and obedience are two sides of the same coin. If saving faith is contingent upon belief only, then there would be no reason for the existence of verses that reference “the obedience of faith” (Rom 1:5; 16:26) and “faith working through love” (Gal 5:6). Belief, obedience and love are some of the outward manifestations of true saving faith. That is why Paul is able to admonish the brethren without contradiction when he wrote “just as you have always obeyed…work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12).
Repentance is also mentioned as a condition in addition to belief. We are commanded to repent and believe in the gospel (Mk 1:15). Contrary to your claim that “works play no role whatsoever in getting us to heaven, Acts 26:20 depicts the whole gospel message: “that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.” This is wholly consistent with James’ statement that “a person is justified by works and Not By Faith Alone” (Js 2:24). Works in themselves do not save however we are created to do good works (Eph 2:10) which are the outward manifestation of trusting faith.
Jeremy Myers says
Again, most of the references you refer to are talking about something other than eternal life. Go back and look through them. “Salvation” is most often in view, or some other aspect of the Gospel, neither of which is equivalent to eternal life.
Regarding John 3:36, the phrase “he who does not obey” is apitheo, which according to BAGD, is a technical term referring to an “unbeliever.” If you look in other translations (KJV, NKJV), it is translated “he who does not believe.”
And there you have it. Salvation without obedience is what Satan has but faith with obedience is what is empowered by the Cross because otherwise we are powerless over sin.
Jeremy Myers says
So you believe that we must work and earn our way into God’s family, that eternal life is by faith plus works? Who then could ever receive it? How good do you have to be?
I have terrible religion Ocd so sorry if this is a stupid comment but jermey how do you believe we are saved.
Regarding your point #6: Your argument is a bit of a red herring. You claim that those who reject eternal security believe that only sins committed prior to receiving Jesus are forgiven but you also go on to warn that we better be careful or else the next time we sin, Jesus will take eternal life away from us. While it is true that our past sins are remitted upon redemption, no such claim is made that any single sin committed in the future automatically disqualifies one from eternal life. 1 Jn 1:8-9 makes it clear that we all sin and forgiveness for sin is obtained upon confession. However, this is vastly different from the practice of willful and habitual sin for which there is no guarantee of forgiveness (1 Jn 3). If all future sins are unconditionally forgiven then there would be no need of conditional verses such as those which warn us of the need to forgive others, lest God not forgive us. If one examines the promises of God regarding his forgiveness, much of the time the little word “if” is attached indicating that a conditional action is required on our part.
Jeremy Myers says
There is great need. Again, think of any human relationship (which are given to use to help us understand our relationship with God).
When I married my wife, she vowed to love me “for better or for worse.” Does this mean that when I commit a sin against her, I can just say, “Oh well, she forgives me and loves me because she promised to”? No. I must confess and repent to restore the fellowship and intimacy in our marriage. If I do not confess, the marriage will still remain intact, but the fellowship and intimacy will not. Again, it is this vital relationship vs. fellowship idea that is crucial.
Regarding your point #7: “God’s grace is so great, it removes all of our sin from us.” God’s grace or rather mercy to be exact, is indeed great but it does not automatically remove all of our sin. As I pointed out earlier we still sin and God’s forgiveness is conditioned upon our confession/repentance. Your assumption that the blood of Jesus automatically cleanses us of all sin is simply not true as 1 Jn 1:7 states that Jesus’ blood cleanses us from all sin IF are lives are characterized by walking in the light – again a conditional stipulation required of us.
If grace is so great that it removes all sin then why would the Apostle Paul specifically addressing the brethren in Rome warn them that “For IF you live according to the flesh you will die, but IF by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Rom 8:13).
Jeremy Myers says
No! There is a vast difference between mercy and grace. Mercy does not give us what we do deserve. Grace gives us freely what we do not deserve.
Again, regarding 1 John 1 and Romans 8, we have to understand that eternal life is not in view, but fellowship, “salvation,” and other aspects of the Christian life.
Regarding your point 8: Does your anthropomorphic analogy really square with what Scripture says? Your chosen analogy is reminiscent of the parable of the prodigal son so let’s examine if your view parallels Jesus’ teaching. We know that Jesus’ employment of the parable was his most widely used method of teaching spiritual truth. We also know that anytime something is repeated twice or more times in a given passage of scripture, it is usually the emphasis or main point of the teaching. With that in mind let’s examine Lk 15:11-32. Most often this scripture passage is used to preach or teach about God’s unconditional love and his patient mercy, etc., and the primary focus is usually upon the father. However notice that v24 is essentially repeated again in v32. Verse 32 is also the concluding verse of this passage and thus summarizes this teaching. Therefore it begs us to take notice of what these two verses emphasize. The focus rather is on the son and he is described as formerly being dead and now alive; lost but is now found. We know that these verses do not refer to physical death because the son does not die in the story. Therefore being dead can only refer to spiritual death. Furthermore, v24 describes the prodigal as being alive AGAIN. How can someone become spiritually alive again? The only explanation is that when the youngest son was abiding in his father’s house he was spiritually alive. When he rebelled and left his father’s house to pursue a lifestyle of sin, he became spiritually dead. When returned to his father and admitted his sins, he received his father’s mercy and forgiveness and was made alive again. Thus Jesus’ teaching is that an heir or child of God who is alive in Christ can indeed experience spiritual death if he/she sows to a lifestyle of unrepentant sin. If the prodigal had not taken action to repent, he would have remained dead in his sins. Fortunately, God’s mercy remains available IF the lost one seeks to return to God. This parable therefore demonstrates that a believer is not eternally secure and it carries great weight because Jesus himself taught it.
Jeremy Myers says
I understand the story of the Prodigal son in a completely different way. The son was a son before he ever left. It has nothing to do with becoming spiritually alive, but is talking about restoration to fellowship again.
If your son leaves you and you don’t hear from him for 10 years, it is as if he were dead. You may even think he might be dead. But if/when he returns, it is as if he has come back to life. That is all the parable is talking about. Don’t read “eternal life” into passages where it is not the subject.
As I pointed out earlier you keep appealing to anthropomorphic analogies which I suppose is fine except that they do not mirror Scripture. You continue to give your opinion but do not engage with the specifics of the text in question. How do you suppose someone becomes spiritually alive AGAIN? Yes, the son was a son before he left his father’s house but Jesus himself described the son as being DEAD when he pursued a lifestyle of sin. We would commonly refer to such a person as dead in their sin, unsaved, lost and having no saving relationship with the father whatsoever (not just loss of fellowship) which is the same terminology employed in this parable and elsewhere in the Bible. However you somehow decline to recognize the commonly understood meanings of such terms when it comes to this specific scripture passage. In doing so, you are basing your argument upon appealing to the exception rather than the rule which makes for a weak argument in my opinion.
The Apostle Paul echoed the same message to the brethren in Rome when warned them: “So then, BROTHERS, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. “FOR IF you live according to the flesh YOU WILL DIE, BUT IF by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, YOU WILL LIVE” (Rom 8:12-13). I believe Paul’s language is forceful and clear. Sowing to the flesh results in spiritual death and loss of saving relationship; not merely loss of fellowship.
It is obvious that you and I disagree so I shall not belabor the point and go on anymore. Thank you for the opportunity to express my view on your blog and as always you have the last word.
Jeremy Myers says
Zalmon, the anthropomorphic analogies are everywhere in Scripture. We are called the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, the sons of God, the children of God. We are referred to as a family. Our relationship with Jesus is equated to a marriage. Jesus talks about the prodigal son, and invites us to have faith like little children. I could go on and on. I am convinced that one of the main reasons God created marriage and family is to teach us about his relationship with us.
Hi, I did enjoy your teaching. I don’t currently agree with it, although I am willing to be wrong. For me, we receive the free gift of salvation by God’s grace through faith. God will never take that gift away from us, but just as we had the freedom to accept it or reject it in the first place, we also have the freedom to reject it at a later date. We do not and cannot keep our salvation by good works or by sinlessess, this is true, and if we did, then NONE of us would make it to heaven!. But we do need to remain connected to Jesus by faith – the same thing that connected us to Him initially. This is why Jesus gave the eleven disciples, who were genuine believers, the warning that they needed to remain in the Vine in John 15:1-6. Similarly, I agree that everlasting life means exactly that, but CONTINUING POSSESSION of that everlasting life is conditional upon remaining connected to Christ through faith. And faith as the Bible repeatedly tells us, is not a work. Regarding the argument that we can’t be “unborn” etc, I think we have to be very careful building doctrine upon analogies, because analogies can never give us the whole truth, they only illustrate an aspect of it. So for example, how can we part of the Body of Christ, and at the same time be part of the Bride of Christ, and at the same time be sheep, branches, and living stones!
Jeremy Myers says
I agree about the analogies. I do try to base my theology on Scripture. So based on this idea about being able to give up the gift of eternal life if we want to, is there a Scripture reference for that?
Dan Murphy says
Thank you so much for your words of truth, they were needed and appreciated at a time when condemnation was overcoming my thinking.
excellent defense on eternal security. I especially enjoyed the talk on perfect love and how we can rely on Gods love for us with no
fear. fear comes from the devil Heb 2:15 with the threat of death but Jesus came to break that fear and set us free John 8:36. Truly
Gods Grace is sufficient 2 Cor 12:9 and it is the power of salvation to everyone who believes Rom 1:16-17, Acts 20:24. thanks brother
much love and gratitude. May Jesus continue to be rich towards you as you call on His Name Rom 10:12.
Jeremy Myers says
Thanks! This is an older study, and if I were to rewrite it today, it might appear differently, but I still do hold to eternal security.
J.L. Gill says
“fear comes from the devil”?! “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge”. My goodness! The Lord Jesus tells us explicitly that we ought to fear God.
“There are very few books aside from the Bible that I wish every Christian would read, but that is one of them.”
Do you have a list going Jeremy?
I’d be keen to see it?!
Jeremy Myers says
Sure! Some of them are here: https://redeeminggod.com/burning-books/
I add to this list as I find more…
God’s love is unconditional but eternal life is conditional. Works are not required to be saved but they are required to be saved eternally. We are commanded to work out our salvation, maintain good works, endure to the end, stay connected to the Vine, continue to obey God, walk in the Spirit, sow to the Spirit, overcome the world, keep ourselves pure, be doers of the word n not just hearers only to be eternally saved. To do otherwise will result in eternal separation from God in Hell. U can’t be saved without being born again but u can be born again yet unsaved.
Jeremy, older post, just popped up on a surf – appreciated it, and your willingness to wade into the comments – which speaks to the accuracy of your introduction. I don’t wade into the arguments myself very often, I have found that the word “entrenched” falls upon all of us in one way or another. My young experience in the pulpit has shown me that people generally love to have a place to voice their views, interpretation, or conviction, without a willingness to sit and learn, love, discuss, differ, and still love (perhaps at times I am no different!) – which is why I generally dislike blogs. Without oversimplifying the argument – it seems to reduce to lifestyle…and rarely our own. Usually its about someone else, and usually about what is visible. It blurs the sanctification process (our part of that process at least) with salvation or at worst brings them into union. Yet Jesus said our thought life is worse than our actions (hate = murder) (lust=adultery) none of which is seen. It has always been about the heart. I believe if Jesus has our heart, he has everything.
That said, I have found the strongest peace in my own heart on my own eternally secure life to be the new birth and union with Christ (His life now my own life – indistinguishable), the present existence God views me in (sanctified, glorified, seated, etc) and simply that I am purchased and no longer my own. The motivation for holy living has been a process of realizing the Greatness of God, the beauty of following his path in life, and the longing for His fame and glory in my life – the heart that loves motivates the actions… and yes I do get a bit afraid when I transgress His commands. That fear of discipline, the ache of relational distance is what draws/drives me to keep short accounts and desire righteousness in my decisions, thought life and acts. My “keptedness” is secure. My intimacy is variable.
Thanks for your courage, your gentleness, your honesty, and your thoughts. Keep teaching the word, loving the people, and glorifying the King. See you in heaven!
I’m curious about the believers of conditional security, since conditional security means grace plus works, and by Romans 11:6 clearly says Grace plus works is no longer grace. Now if we’re saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, what happens to those who add works into salvation? Are they saved? or not really saved?
Jeremy Myers says
Good questions. Only God knows. I think that many of them at one point believed in Jesus alone for eternal life, but over time, have come to accept the lies of religion that they need to have the performance and good works in order to keep or prove their eternal life.
I seemed to have joined the party a bit late here in 2016 but I hope you’ll still respond. I accept your teaching that belief in Christ coupled with God’s grace is all we need to have eternal life. I am however having problems with the question of whether or not someone can lose this belief. If a person completely believes a fact, for example that a chair can hold their weight, because of the evidence provided surely other evidence that is contrary to his initial conclusion could convince him otherwise, that the chair would not in fact hold his weight? Is this a case where the evidence for Christ sacrifice is so strong that no opposing evidence could supersede it or is faith in Christ vastly different from other lesser beliefs? Please get back to me on this.
Craig Giddens says
Unlike other beliefs faith in Christ brings one in union with Christ. The believer is united with Christ through the indwelling Holy Spirit. IMO the believer will never lose their belief because the very life of God indwells them. However they can be deceived through false teaching bringing confusion into their life.
Jeremy Myers says
I am not able to respond to all comments, but try to respond to as many as I can… even on these old posts.
Once we believe in Jesus for eternal life, we have eternal life forever, even if we later stop believing. Eternal life is not dependent upon our ongoing faith, but is instead dependent on Jesus keeping His promises. He promises that once He gives us eternal life, we will never lose it.
This means that faith in Jesus Christ is not vastly different from any other faith. It is the same. What gives eternal life its staying power is not our faith, but the promises of Jesus to us.
I am currently creating an online course which answers more of these types of questions. Make sure you subscribe to my email newsletter to be notified of the course when it becomes available (Probably in September 2016).
Bassey Akang says
thanks for taking pains to write and explain though we belong on opposing sides. eternal life has no end but human will does. grace and mercy mean exactly the same thing. God is not a theologian and he has no business with our high sounding words. Both judas and peter rejected christ one hanged himself and one repented. you wont believe judas was born again but he was. his problem was habitual sinning. All said and done you will not accept my position but the word is very clear: “but when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness and committeth iniquity and does according to all the abomination that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his riteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trsspass that he hath tresspassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned in them shall he die” EXEKIEL18:24
We have to remember God is the one who gave us a new nature we have been changed we are no longer who we use to be,because of what he has done .but in this world we will always stuggle with the flesh because we still have an earthly body .But the holy spirit is greater !whosoever calls on his name shall be saved!oh he is waiting .he loves us Oh How He Loves Us!
Monica Johnson says
You said, ” That is why a topical study like this one is so important. I want to give you my beliefs about the issue of eternal security, and why I believe what I do. Then, beginning next week, we will look at several passages that I believe support my position, and following that we will look at several passages that seem to contradict it.”
Do you have a link to these sermons. My son is asking questions about verses that may seem to contradict eternal security. A few of his friends do not believe in eternal security. So he has questions about some of the scriptures they use to defend their belief that you can lose your salvation if you have turned away from God, and in a backslid state.
Alan Finch says
My name is Alan Finch. I became a Christian 42 years ago.
A Christian cannot lose their Eternal Security. However, a Christian can lose their eternal reward of ruling & reigning with Christ. There is a lack of understanding in the Church today of what a person is actually being saved from when they accept the gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ.
The traditional teaching of the Church today teaches that when a person accepts the gift of Salvation, that they are being saved from the judgment of “eternal torment” in “hellfire.” However, the “Scriptures” teach that when a person accepts the gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ, it is not the judgment of “eternal torment” that they are being saved from, but it is the judgment of having to go through the process of the future refining FIRE of God’s Spirit for the purpose of divine purification that they are being saved from.
I have written an article that over the course of 4 years, there always seems to be something more to add to the article. In the article that I have written, which has now grown to 24 pages, I have done a very detailed and in-depth Scriptural study on the contents that are contained in the article.
If anyone would like a copy of the article in it’s original Word Document Format, feel free to e-mail me and request a copy. (email@example.com)
………. What is the “GOOD NEWS” of the Gospel of Christ? ……….
(Re-examining the widely held belief of “eternal torment” in “Hellfire”)
Hamilton Rowan says
Jeremy – thank you for this article – I have heard so many Christians teaching that we must “keep” our eternal life by good works and repentance after becoming saved by grace initially. Here’s the problem – how “good” do we have to be to keep our eternal life? OK someone says if we deliberately sin after receiving eternal life we are lost. How is that different from if we accidentally sin after receiving eternal life? Sin is sin and if we must stop sinning in order to keep our eternal life then Christianity becomes no different than any other world religion; we can never know if we were “good” enough until we die and find ourselves either in heaven or hell! I knew a man who was an alcoholic – he came to faith and turned his life around. He got married, had a family, joined a church etc. But years later he “fell off the wagon” and started drinking again. When he drinks he is deliberately sinning. Is he now lost? I too have struggled with addiction. When I went through withdrawal I was in pain. Real physical pain. Sometimes I gave in and sinned deliberately. Am I now lost? I did repent and ask for God’s forgiveness, but I cannot say I will never give in to some sort of deliberate sin. I am certain I trusted in Christ alone by faith alone once I heard the Gospel. So I’m either saved forever and going to heaven or else it’s a roll of the dice…will I make it or not? And like Ephesians 1:13 – 14 says “We are sealed with the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of deposit…” paraphrased I know – but if I was sealed and my friend was sealed are we now lost due to our sin. If we are not secure in eternal life only a tiny fraction of Christian believers will enter heaven!
Andrew James Patton says
Where is that doctrine in the Bible? On the contrary, it is written, “All wrongdoing is sin, but not all sin is deadly.” Deadly sin will cause you to forfeit salvation, but there is sin that is not deadly, which merely injures the soul. Now, even if one commits deadly sin, it is not fatal unless one dies in that state. If you repent and confess your sins, you shall be restored, as it is written, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.”
Also, when were you sealed with the Holy Spirit? In Acts, when someone came to faith in Christ, the Apostles laid hands on that person, so that he would receive the Holy Spirit. In Acts 8, we see a case where many people believed and were baptized, but they did not receive the Holy Spirit until the Apostles came to lay hands on them. As to the fraction of believers who will ultimately make it to Heaven, I do not know, but Christ did warn, “Many will try to enter but will not be strong enough.” In the Parable of the Sower, there were four groups of seed sown, three of which germinated, but only one produced fruit. In the Parable of the Ten Virgins, five foolish virgins let their lamps go out and locked out of the marriage feast when the Bridegroom returned and they were not ready.
Gregg Powers says
simply untrue; the only way this conclusion can be reached is if a) only 1/2 the gospel is considered, b) the nature of God is misunderstood, or c) people don’t understand what faith really is. it is an extreme position denying many scriptures but the lukewarmness it produces is all the evidence one needs to see where it comes from.
James Young says
God Bless You Pastor Myers on the teaching on Eternal Security. Like you, I believe 100% in Eternal Security or Once Saved Always Saved. This is biblical and as believers we need to defend this doctrine wholeheartedly.
Thomas Davidson says
I enjoyed your article. I grew up under an Arminian theology, but after decades of wrestling with scripture I have come to believe in the security of the believer. I also believe that Justification is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. And as the early reformers stated it, I also believe that “it is by grace alone, but not a grace that is alone.”
If saving faith is a gift from God and not of ourselves, does he give it to the unrepentant? When Paul summarized his teaching in front of King Agrippa he said, “Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. ”
Jesus said you will know a tree by its fruits. John wrote, “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.” Those statements are either true or they or not. Paul said to “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.”
Surely in cannot be true that regardless of a person’s life being full of nothing but bad fruit, that it remains unknowable whether their is evidence of regeneration or not. If so, then why did Jesus say we could know?
Josh Sanderson says
This brought much freedom and assurance, and was very timely as I have often wondered, since I was saved at an early age and then lived in addiction for 15 years, was I truly saved? I think that was probably the enemy talking, but using many sources, including those within the church. I have now been off drugs for 10 years and work for an addiction ministry leading others to Christ to break the bondage of addiction and offer the same hope and freedom that the Lord provided for me
Loved your article. It’s weird for me. When I believe I cannot loose salvation, I sin less. When I fear I could loose it, I loose my strength and motivation to stop sinning. Love, not fear, motivates me to fight on. Knowing I may lose some battles, but I will make it, motivates me to keep trying. It doesn’t cause me to sin more. Loved your article.
Andrew James Patton says
You say that the requirement to be baptized is adding a condition not in the Bible, but Jesus says, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.” Therefore, to deny the necessity of baptism is to deny the Gospel. Indeed, Peter testifies of Noah’s Ark, “This prefigured baptism, which now saves you, not a removal of dirt from the body, but an appeal to a clean conscience before God.” Therefore, baptism is no mere symbolic act, but a salvific act because Christ decreed that it be so. That completely destroys your premise of faith alone, and with it, your so-called security. It is written of those who fell from grace, “It would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to be re-entangled with the world.” Eternal security was also completely alien to the Old Testament, as Ezekiel warns, “If the righteous man, presuming his righteousness, does evil, he shall die for it, and none of his former righteousness will be remembered.” God even warns Ezekiel that if he should fail to warn the righteous to persevere, and they sin and perish because of it, he will hold Ezekiel accountable for that man’s blood.