Back in 1997 I spoke with a pastor and the subject of the eternal security of the believer came up. This pastor is a lovely, gracious man and is doing many things to reach people in the community with the gospel. He obviously loves the Lord and loves people. When I questioned him regarding the contents of one of the theological books he was reading, it came out that he believed in the doctrine that a truly born again believer is eternally secure, no matter what he may do from that time on. In other words, if a person was truly born again of the Spirit of God, even if he or she backslides and gets into open wilful sin of any kind – even to the point of becoming an atheist, a witch, a Christ-hater, and a bitter opponent of the gospel – that person will go to heaven when they die, even if they never repent in this life and come back to Christ. All this because they at one point became part of God�s family through a real spiritual birth. I asked this pastor about this kind of example, and I assure you that I am not misrepresenting his point of view. Doubtless many other spiritual leaders in North America believe the same way as he does (though others may not be willing to go that far).
All this is so different to what I have read in the writings of so many revival leaders. It is a 20th century doctrine. Even Calvinist leaders of the past such as Whitefield and Spurgeon would never have embraced this doctrine. I thought that it would be worth writing an article to explore the issue. I would like us to consider the Scriptural evidence for the various points of view, the testimonies of various prominent Christians, and consider various theological possibilities. It needs also to be stated that this issue is not merely a theoretical issue. There are huge numbers of people who believe this doctrine. There are huge numbers of people who say with confidence that they are born again Christians, and yet demonstrate by the way they live that they do not believe their eternal salvation depends in any way on their willingness to turn from sin and live for God.
The purpose of this article is by no means to put anyone under a cloud of hopelessness. The good news of the gospel is that God is merciful to those who fear him! He freely forgives those who confess their sin and repent, and He wants us to have victory. We don't have to be perfect to be right with God. Its just that a true born again Christian really wants to please God.
- The truth or otherwise of the doctrine of eternal security has real consequences in the way we preach the gospel, the way we instruct new converts, and our attitude towards temptation and compromise in our own lives. It affects the way we read the Bible, the way we understand God�s character and a host of other issues.
- Scriptural Evidence and Arguments for this Doctrine
- Scriptural Evidence against this Doctrine and some Counter-Arguments
A Poem by Dr. Michael Brown
God loves me and God loves you
Smile sinner, don't be sad,
God's not angry, he's not mad,
And even if you leave the path,
there's no hell and there's no wrath!
God sees your heart, and that's enough.
The judgment seat won't be that tough.
You can't sin away His grace,
Or take that smile from His face.
Trust me, sinner, to the end,
My name is Satan, I'm your friend".
- – from a message by Dr. Michael Brown.
- Things I May Get into Later
- Quotes from Past Revivalists
- Quotes from Present Day Leaders and Ministries
- The Practical Consequences of this doctrine
a. Eternal life is just that – eternal or everlasting.
�For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.� (John 3:16)
Some teach that since what is being offered to the believer is eternal life, that once this gift is received, it is impossible for this gift of life ever to cease or be lost, since it is eternal or everlasting. It is not a temporary life but an eternal life which is offered.
Problems with this View
There are other ways of considering this phrase – "to have eternal life" which would not guarantee eternal security to a born again person who later denies the Lord and never turns back to Him.
The kind of life that God is gives to the believer is eternal. It belongs to the eternal, spiritual realm. It is a quality of divine life imparted to the believer's spirit. However, the fact that the life is eternal does not mean that thepossession of it is necessarily eternal. For example, one could have a diamond that will last for a million years. But that does not imply that the owner of that durable diamond will not lose it next week! Believers have a precious gift when they receive eternal life. They must not throw that gift away.
A Christian loving God need not fear that he will easily lose eternal life. God is a good Father and delights in showing mercy. He has prepared our salvation for a long time and does not want us to lose it. God promises a way of escape for every temptation. If we sin we can come to Jesus, confess, repent and be cleansed. If we don't know our sin we can still be justified before God because of the blood. And if we walk away from God He will do all He can to draw us back. But the possibility is still there that a backslider may die in his sins – having refused to come back to the Lord, and possibly even having blasphemed Christ and the gospel.
God tells us that we are God's house "if we hold fast the confidence and rejoicing of the hope firm to the end" (Hebrews 3:6). Should that "if" be there or not? Is it misleading?
This verse tells us that we need to keep trusting God to the end. If not, there may come a point where God no longer lives in us because we persistently reject His presence in our lives.
It is worth noting that the true faith which leads to justification is more than mere "mental assent" that certain doctrines are true. Neither is it believing in a Jesus of our own imagination, who would not say the kinds of things that are recorded for us in the four gospels.
The nature of Eternal Life
"Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." (John 17:3)
The "knowing" here speaks of a personal relationship with Christ. The measure of eternal life we enjoy depends on our intimacy with God and with Christ. There is a big difference between knowing the Lord and knowing about Him. If a person gets to the point where they no longer want to know God and don't want to do His will, do they still know Him? Allow the Scriptures to speak on this point:
"We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands. The man who says, 'I know Him', but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in Him." (1 John 2:3,4)
There are other Scriptures which would indicate that caution is wise before we make too much out of the word "eternal". For example God's words to Eli, the priest:
" 'I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before me forever.' But now the Lord says: 'Far be it from Me; for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed.' " (1 Samuel 2:30)
Instead of seeing all of Scripture through our presuppositions we would do well to consider that there may be other possible meanings to the phrase 'having eternal life' which do not imply eternal security. Perhaps we would be wise to look at the whole counsel of Scripture before we decide what the Scripture must be saying.
b. God will make sure that a born again believer is not lost. Even the believer can do nothing to stop God's will in the matter, because the believer belongs to Jesus now.
"And this is the will of Him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that He has given me, but raise them up at the last day." (John 6:39)
"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand." (John 10:27-29)
Using these Scriptures, it is taught as follows: Anyone who believes in Jesus has everlasting life (which as stated before, can never cease). These people who believe are given to Jesus by the Father. They no longer belong to themselves. The verse in John 6:39 teaches that it is that will of God that Jesus lose none of these people that God has given Him.
Because these people no longer belong to themselves (1 Corinthians 6:19,20), they can no longer decide who they belong to. They (the truly born again ones) belong to Jesus, and cannot choose not to belong to Jesus anymore. They cannot snatch themselves out of Jesus' hand, or the Father's hand. Nothing they do can change the fact that they belong to Jesus. And for this reason, it is argued that they will go to heaven and not be lost.
Problems with This
Jesus said that his sheep listen to his voice (John 10:27). So if a person is either cannot hear the voice of God or gets to the point where they never want to listen to the voice of Jesus, how can they be sure that they are His sheep? It is these ones who are listening to the voice of Jesus that cannot be snatched out of the Father's hand. They are choosing to listen – God will not allow anyone or anything to destroy them. God has made provision for everyone who listens to Jesus to overcome any assault of the enemy directed against them with the purpose of shipwrecking their faith.
Can people who are not wanting to listen to God's voice be sure that they are Jesus' sheep? Can a person who no longer believes or trusts in Jesus truly claim that they have eternal life?
How could a person who no longer wishes to listen to Jesus or believe in Him be confident that in fact they are "given by the Father to Jesus"? How can such a person be confident of their election to eternal life, when their unbelief and attitude so flagrantly opposes the demands of the gospel to repent and believe (trust) in Jesus. Can they be sure they ever believed with true saving faith if they arrive at such a condition of heart? If not, do they have any "eternal security" in their sins?
c. Once you are born again – you cannot be unborn again. Its a done deal.
"I tell you the truth, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again." (John 3:3)
"For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God." (1 Peter 1:23)
"You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:26)
From these Scriptures it is taught as follows: A truly born again person has the imperishable seed of God's word in them. That seed or that life can never die within them. And since through faith they are sons of God by birth, they can never lose that status of being a son or a child of God. It is argued that if a man has a son, the bad things that son does do not take away the fact that he is still that man's son. He is his son by birth, and will remain so forever. So, in the spiritual realm, believers are spiritually sons of God by a real spiritual birth, and therefore will always be God's sons, no matter what they do. Furthermore, God will receive these sons into eternal bliss because all their sins – past, present and future, were all forgiven in advance when Jesus died on the cross for them.
Problems with This
This argument from the nature of sonship "goes beyond what is written" in the Scriptures and argues from a natural viewpoint "once a son, always a son". However, our sonship is not physical, but spiritual. Even fallen angels are referred to as sons of God (Genesis 6:2). If they were not there would be nothing wrong in these sons of God marrying daughters of men, would there? Job 1:6 could mean that Satan himself is counted among the sons of God. Adam is called a son of God in Luke 3:38. If this be true then the argument from sonship is no guarantee against the fires of hell. Is there biblical proof that Adam is in heaven now?
Jesus said that being born of water and the Spirit (or the new birth) was necessary to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but He did not say in those verses that it was all that was necessary. He did not say in John 3, "If you are born again you will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.".
We are sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. But if we no longer have faith in Christ Jesus, are we true sons of God justified by faith?
The seed of God may be imperishable, but does that imply that the seed cannot be deliberately rejected and cast out of our lives? The Word of God is also imperishable and eternal. How is it then that in Mark 4:15 that "Satan comes and immediately takes away the word that was sown in their hearts"? If some of the imperishable word can be stolen by Satan even in the believer's life, what guarantee is the word "imperishable" against the possibility of totally rejecting the gospel that was sown in the heart?
All this does not mean that one loses the relationship with the Father by just one deliberate sin. However, we are told that we stand only by faith. "Because of unbelief they [the Jews] were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he may not spare you either. Therefore, consider the goodnessand the severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in his goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off." (Romans 11:20-22)
Wilful unbelief is very dangerous, and if we embrace such unbelief thinking we are eternally secure, we could be in for a rude and terrifying shock at the end of our lives. Will it be enough to appeal to our doctrines and interpretations when we stand before the Lord?
According to Jesus, "He who commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever." (John 8:31). This seems to say at the very least that one who continues in sin is a slave of sin and will not remain in God's house.
While this verse could be used to argue that a true son will always remain in God's house, it cannot be denied that it is also describing who is a true son and who is not, in terms of the kind of choices they go on making. Even Paul, writing to the church in Rome said,
"Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?" (Romans 6:16)
Paul should have added, "unless you are a born again Christian, in which case if you present yourselves as a slave to obey sin you will not surely die, but you are righteous anyway" if the teachers of eternal security are right. Should we believe that the death mentioned in verse 16 is somehow only physical, while the death in verse 23 ("the wages of sin is death") is spiritual? For what reason, if not simply to defend a doctrine we have already chosen to believe no matter what?
So then, if the true sons won't fall away and die in unbelief, how can you be sure you are a true son if you go into wilful unbelief? But if some people truly born again do fall and die in their sin and unbelief, where is the Scriptural guarantee that heaven awaits them? Are there not warnings seeking to discourage exactly that kind of presumption?
d. Nothing Can Separate Us from the Love of God
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38,39)
It is taught that not only can no demonic power or other trouble separate us from the love of God – but that not even we ourselves can separate ourselves from the love of God. The phrase, anything else in all creation, it is argued, must surely include ourselves. Therefore, since we cannot be separated from the love of God, we will most assuredly go to heaven and not to hell, which, we are often told, means "eternal separation from God".
Problems with This
These verses were written to encourage believers, not those who were considering apostacy as an easy way out. God will protect us from satanic forces that wish to harm us. They cannot so act as to forcibly separate us from the love of God.
However, words like "all" or "anything" should not be pushed too far in establishing a doctrine. For example, in Mark 1:4,5 it says:
"John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan river, confessing their sins."
We cannot insist that the word "all" here means every single person. In the same way, it would not be wise to assume that Romans 8:38, 39 means that a person cannot separate themselves from the love of God.
Even if it did mean that, then there is still a problem to consider. It may be that God still loves the people in hell, and that God knows it would be worse for a rebel to be in heaven than to endure the agonies in hell. Therefore even in hell the rebel is not separated from the love of God, though he or she is certainly suffering the wrath and righteous judgment of God there.
It is often taught that hell means "eternal separation from God". This is not directly taught in the Bible. On the contrary, David the Psalmist said,
"If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there." (Psalm 139:8). "For a fire is kindled in my anger, it shall burn to the lowest hell." (Deuteronomy 32:22). In the book of Revelation it speaks of people being tormented in the presence of the Lamb and of his angels.
In many of the parables Jesus speaks of unprofitable servants being cast into outer darkness and the fire. We will not be unprofitable if we keep our eyes on Jesus and walk in simple trust towards Him.
e. Eternal Security is Promised in Romans 10:9, 10 and 13.
"That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it with your mouth that you confess and are saved." (Romans 10:9,10)
"… no one can say, 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit." (1 Corinthians 12:3)
"for, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' " (Romans 10:13)
Teachers of eternal security teach that according to these Scriptures, if a person once ever truly belives in his heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, and that if they actually confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord, they are at that moment irrevocably born again and can never be lost, since the promise clearly states concerning such people, "you will be saved".
Again, Romans 10:13 tells us that whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. Again, this is seen as a promise or guarantee of salvation to all who truly call upon the name of the Lord. No conditions can be added to this promise.
Problems with This
Lots of people have quoted the words "Jesus is Lord" as they read the Bible out loud. But reading the Bible does not mean a person has the Holy Spirit. Neither does an empty confession which has no place in the heart.
Even if we insist that the Holy Spirit gave such people the ability to utter such words, it does not prove that they were born again.
The tense for the word "confess" in Romans 10:9 can imply an ongoing confession. If this is the true meaning then there is no unconditional promise of salvation to those who are no longer willing to confess Christ." We are told to "hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful" (Hebrews 10:23). Paul also states in 2 Timothy 2:12 speaking of Jesus, that "if we deny Him, He also will deny us". Jesus said, "But whoever denies me before men, him I will also deny before my Father in heaven." (Matthew 10:33). This does not paint an encoouraging picture for those who once confess Christ but later deny him.
Calling on the name of the Lord [Jesus] with a sincere heart and desire to be changed by God will cause a man to come into a salvation experience, but that salvation needs to be ongoing. I don't see any promise of eternal salvation in either of these verses to those who later reject Jesus as Lord and Savior.
f. John wrote his letter that we may know that we have eternal life.
"And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life." (1 John 5:11-13)
It is argued that once a person receives Jesus (see John 1:12) and therefore has the Son, they have life – the eternal life which God has given. Then they may know that they have eternal life.
If our eternal life was depending on our faithfulness, it is argued, we could never know if we have been faithful enough, or good enough. But John wrote these verses that we might know that having once truly received Jesus, we know that we have Him in our life, and thus we have eternal life.
Problems with This
The first question is: to whom was John writing these verses of assurance? To all who would pick up copies of his letter – including skeptics, agnostics and God-haters? Obviously not to all. He said he was writing to those who believe in the name of Jesus Christ. You can know you have eternal life at that time when you truly believe from the heart in the name of Jesus Christ. But the fact that the life is eternal does not prove that your possession of it is eternal. As stated before, that is not the only possible interpretation for the words.
John's whole letter here, which is the context of this promise, has strong words to say to those who deliberately keep on sinning, as do other portions of Scripture such as Hebrews 10:26-39. John wrote:
"No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known Him. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God." (1 John 3:6-9 NIV)
This would seem to indicate that the one God recognizes as his child won't go on sinning. If we are going on sinning wilfully, how can we be sure in the light of these verses that we are God's child – truly born of God?
Also, John wrote: "The man who says, "I know Him," but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in Him." (1 John 2:4 NIV)
"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 John 2:15)
These and other verses are part of "these things" that John wrote to true believers that they might know that they have eternal life. A true believer will repent when God convicts him of sin – since he wants to please God because he loves God and wants God to have joy, not because he "has to" and "its a tragedy" – as if doing the will of God was a burdensome, horrible obligation.
It needs to be stated that Scripture must be interpreted in the light of Scripture. If the Scripture is interpreted in such a way as to contradict the plain meaning of other parts of Scripture, we can be sure that the Scripture has not been interpreted correctly and thus deception has entered.
To correctly intepret the Scripture we need to understand what the words we are using mean. At times it is important to know the true tenses of the greek verbs used in the Bible, and what they mean. Otherwise we could understand something that the original readers would not have understood.
Also, it needs to be asked to what extent the declarations of the Old Testament concerning righteousness are abrogated by the declarations of the New Testament.
Undoubtably counter-arguments can be constructed against the Scriptural evidence presented below. Some of these objections will be looked at also.
1. Some Plain Warnings of Scripture
a. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the Kingdom of God."
(1 Corithians 6:9,10)
Most of us have fallen into one of these categories before we knew Christ. If you could be a heaven-bound Christian and still be one of these listed above, Paul should have written it differently. To avoid misleading the people and risking them getting all worried when it was needless, he should have written something like, "Unless of course they've been born again in the past, neither fornicators, nor idolaters .. will inherit the Kingdom of God".
Now a Christian might do these things, and then truly repent. The blood of Jesus then washes that person clean, and they enjoy acceptance before God again. But if there is no repentance, and the person lives a lifestyle of open, wilful sin, then they should not be deceived. The plain meaning of the verse is that such people can expect hell. There is no excuse for sin, much less for a person who has known the power of God to overcome sin.
b. Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murder, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told YOU in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God." (Galatians 5:19-21)
Paul repeats himself here. These are strong words. The word 'will not inherit' in these passages refer to something yet future. It is vain to pretend they are merely saying that such a person will miss out on some blessings of the Kingdom of God in this life only. These verses talk of future possession, not present enjoyment.
2. Jesus taught that small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:13, 14)
According to Jesus, only relatively few people will enter life. Jesus is obviously not speaking of natural life, but of eternal life. According to Jesus, there is both a gate AND a road which lead to life. Gates are entered in a moment, but a road is something that you have to stay on to get to your destination. But if eternal security teachers are right, there is nothing you have to stay on once you have entered through the gate. "And even if you leave the path, there's no hell and there's no wrath."
3. Jesus said that he would have servants that would be cast into hell.
"And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 25:30)
4. Those who never did anything practical for Jesus will go to hell.
See the parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-46). "The they [the ones who did not do it for the least of Jesus' brothers] will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
Those who truly believe in Jesus, if they live even a short time beyond that, will surely have an expression of that belief in works of mercy to others. A religious person who never expresses practical mercy to others may well come into the category of being a "goat", not a sheep.
5. The Book of Hebrews has many warnings against apostacy.
The Book of Hebrews was written to new believers under pressure to return to the old Judaistic system. Read
Hebrews 2:3 asks "How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?"
"We have come to share in Christ if we hold to the end the confidence we had at first." (Hebrews 3:14)
"Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience." (Hebrews 4:11)
Hebrews 12:14 "Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord." See verses 15-17 also.
Hebrews 12:25 "See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns from heaven?"
There is nothing in these verses to suggest that the people reading the letter should be encouraged that they are born again and thus take a relaxed attitude towards the things regarding salvation.
6. Jesus taught that adultery, anger and unforgiveness could put a man in danger of the fires of hell.
"If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell." (Matthew 5:29)
"But anyone who says, 'You fool' will be in danger of the fire of hell." (Matthew 5:22)
How misleading this teaching would be if in fact, as some teach, "The only thing that would keep you out of hell is the sin of not accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior". Why would Jesus say these things if that were the case?
Jesus said that God will not forgive us if we do not forgive others.
"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." (Matthew 6:14,15)
Should we believe that this verse does not apply to a born again Christian? How do we know which ones are supposed to apply or not? Who was Jesus teaching?
Should we believe that a believer can be both forgiven by God and not forgiven at the same time? What gives?
7. Some have known the way of righteousness and turned away from it
"If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them." (2 Peter 2:20,21)
How can this be so if the eternal security doctrine is true? For if they knew the Lord, knew the way of righteousness and escaped the corruption of the world can we suppose that they were never born again? They must have been born again for only those born of God overcome the world.
If born again believers have eternal security of heaven regardless of subsequent wilful sin, how could Peter truly say that it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness if they are later entangled and overcome by the world's corruptions. At least such believers would be better off because they were sure of heaven, right? Wrong!
Other Scriptures could be added or quoted. This article is not supposed to exhaustively treat the subject, but rather to begin to point out some of the problems with the eternal security doctrine.
Not all the possible objections have been answered here. The purpose is not to create a "works mentality" in believers but rather to provide a sound, scriptural warning to all to continue in the faith and hold fast to the gospel of the grace of God as found in the Scriptures.
I believe that one does not have to believe in eternal security in order to serve God out of a correct motivation – one of love. I don't believe that it is impossible to respect a God who does not guarantee eternal salvation to those who reject Him and His ways.
If God is going to force people to obey Him in heaven who were unwilling to do so on earth, then what possible reason could He have for allowing anyone to go to hell? After all, Jesus did pay the price for the sins of the whole world.
I don't believe that one automatically loses everything the moment a wilful sin is committed. But I do believe that a true believer need not sin wilfully. And such a believer, if they do, should and ought to come quickly to the cross for cleansing, forgiveness and mercy.
May the Lord help us all to love Him truly, to flee from idolatry, and to keep ourselves unspotted from the world.