Eternal Security – Dare we believe it?

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

“Koo-chi-koo-chi-koo-chi-koo

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

Scriptural Arguments and Evidence for
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 the possession 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)

“I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.” (John
6:47; John 3:36).

“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 goodness
and 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.

Scriptural Evidence and Arguments Against the
Doctrine of Eternal Security

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 6:4-12

Hebrews 10:26-39

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!

Conclusion

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.

Michael Fackerell

What do YOU think?

comments

About Michael Fackerell

The Christian faith is about Jesus. He came to save the lost. About Jesus Christ, Bible teaching, Testimonies, Salvation, Prayer, Faith, Networking.

Comments

  1. If you are not saved once and for all, you are not and were not saved at all.

    Christ died once, rose again once and you are saved once and for all.

    Anything else is heresy.

    But the following is the truth, without quoting a hundred scriptures:

    Jude 1:1
    Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:

    preserved in
    preserved in …. if one is Born Again one is PRESERVED IN

    Cased closed. Time to get out there and witness asap. before the
    imminent harpazo.

    Titus 3:9 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and …

    … But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings
    about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. …

    2 Timothy 2:23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid …

    … But foolish and ignorant questions avoid, knowing that they do produce strifes. … But
    foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. …

    Get out there and warn the lost at any cost … Christ is at the doors.
    Jesus Christ is Jehovah the Son, the Son of Jehovah, Jehovah manifest in Human flesh, all the fullness of the Godhead (Elohim) bodily. Now, get out there and tell the unsaved, cultists, agnostics and atheists … and false
    ‘christians’ that.

    Maranatha

    • I applaud your desire for people to get on with soulwinning … However, if your case is closed because of one word “preserved” it is a pretty weak case. Jude was writing to people who were preserved in Jesus Christ. He is writing about people that are coming in and perverting the message and turning the grace of God into lewdness (that is sexual sin). He writes: ” I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”

      Why would it be necessary? If everyone who is truly saved is guaranteed to be preserved without any guarding of their own heart or choices to be loyal to Christ, why is it necessary?

      We are living in an era baptized in sexual and moral filth, as they were also to whom this letter was written. It is perilous and what makes it more perilous are Bible teachers that teach that you can’t lose your salvation by indulging persistently in sexual filth, dishonesty or other forms of sin.

      If you look at the whole letter of Jude you will see that Jude teaches there is something for Christians to do in order to keep in the faith and love of the Lord.

      20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

      There are two sides. God preserves us, but we also keep ourselves in the love of God. Without Him, we can’t. Without us, He won’t.

      • Hebrews 10:17: “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”

        1 Corinthians 11:31-32: “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.”

        1 Corinthians 3:11-15: “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

        2 Timothy 1:12: “… I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”

        Jude 1:24: “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”

        • Hebrews 10:17: “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”
          This obviously refers to past sins. You can’t remember something in the future.

          1 Corinthians 11:31-32: “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.”

          So the Lord chastens disobedient Christians. His purpose is that they REPENT. Otherwise they will be condemned with the world. “Should not be condemned” implies it is an intention of God to avoid that scenario, which is a possible scenario.

          2 Timothy 1:2. He is ABLE to keep our soul. That doesn’t mean He will if we haven’t truly committed it to Him, or if we go back on that commitment. Still there is encouragement for every sincere trusting Christian in that verse, no doubt about that.

          1 Cor 3:11-15. People who work for God in the wrong way will lose rewards. Nowhere does it say here that fornicators, liars, homosexuals, adulterers, swindlers and so on will make it to heaven though they call themselves Christians. In fact in the same book, 1 Cor 6:9,10 this is explicitly denied.

          Jude 24. You can fall, but God is able to keep you from falling. The book itself was a warning to Christians who were in danger of falling away due to the false teaching that the grace of God gives you a license for sexual impurity.

          • Eternal Security is the position that what Christ has accomplished on the cross and in us cannot be undone. Though we may sin, even as Christians, Jesus will never leave us. We are always His.
            “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day,” (John 6:39). Is there Scriptural proof that Christians cannot lose their salvation? Yes, there is, and it is found in the words of Christ.
            John 8:29, “And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.”
            John 6:39, “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”

            From these two verses we can learn several things. First, those who are Christians have been given to the Son by the Father. We know this is the case because Jesus said in John 6:37, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will certainly not cast out.” God the Father has given a select group of people to the Son. Not all people are given to the Son. For more information on this, see What does it mean that God the Father gave people to the Son?

            Second, in John 8:29 Jesus told us that He always does the will of the Father because He says that He always does the things that are pleasing to Him. So, Jesus can never fail to do the will of the Father. If He did, then He would have sinned.

            Third, we see in John 6:39 Jesus said that it is the will of the Father that of all who have been given to Jesus that He would “lose nothing but raise it up on the last day.” From this we can conclude that Jesus cannot lose anyone and that those who are given to Him by the Father will also be resurrected. These are believers because Jesus says in John 6:37, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” Therefore, the context means that those who are raised are believers and is speaking of the resurrection to glory–which occurs on “the last day,” (John 6:44, 11:24). So, it is the will of the Father that of those whom are given to Jesus . . .
            •Jesus will lose none
            •Jesus will resurrect them on the last day

            If people lose their salvation, then Jesus fails to do the will of the Father by both losing some and by not resurrecting them. If Jesus were to fail in doing this, He would have sinned, but Jesus cannot sin. Therefore, we must necessarily conclude that not only will Jesus do the will of the Father by not losing anyone who has been given to Him but also He will do the will of the Father by resurrecting those same people to glory. So if people can lose their salvation, then it necessarily follows that Jesus would fail to do the will of the Father by resurrecting them. But this can’t be. Therefore, Christians cannot lose their salvation. Simple, isn’t it? Still, objections remain.

            The will of the Father is not always done

            It is true that the will of the Father is not always done. For example, God does not want people to sin, yet they do sin. But John 8:29 and John 6:39 are not about those who fail to do the will of the Father. They are about Jesus who always does the will of the Father. Therefore, this couplet, particularly John 6:39, cannot mean that the will of the Father is not accomplished by Jesus.

            Raising them up on the last day is not only for the Christians

            It is true that all people will be resurrected on the Day of Judgment. The wicked will be judged and cast into eternal damnation and the righteous into eternal life but in the context of what Jesus is speaking, of the ones raised are only the believers. Please take a look at the following verses:
            John 6:44, “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.”
            John 6:54, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

            In John 6:44, Jesus is talking of those who come to Him. Those are believers. In John 6:54, He says that those who have eternal life He will raise on the last day. Therefore, the context is speaking of the believer’s resurrection to glory.

            You can lose yourself

            Some people shift the burden of responsibility from Christ to the Christian when it comes to not being lost. They say that Jesus will not lose anyone but the person can lose himself. Therefore, it is not Jesus who is doing the losing but the individual who rebels against God. This objection cannot work because if someone were to turn from Christ (if that is even possible after being regenerate), then Jesus would fail to resurrect those given to Him by God the Father. Notice that in John 6:39 the will of the Father is that all who have been given to the Son will be raised on the last day. Again, Jesus said that He always does the Father’s will. So, Jesus must resurrect them (to glory) on the last day, or he has failed even if “they lose themselves.” Jesus is performing the action of the resurrection because He says so in John 6:40, ” . . . and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” So, if a person can “lose himself,” then Jesus will not be able to do the will of the Father by resurrecting to glory that person who has been given to Him by the Father. Again, that would mean Jesus failed to do the will of the Father, which cannot happen.

            There are Scriptures that tell us we can lose our salvation

            If the analysis of Jesus’ words in the couplet above is correct, then there can be no Scriptures to tell us we lose our salvation because the Bible does not contradict itself. If someone still maintains that salvation can be lost, then he must address what Christ says in John 8:29 and John 6:39. Nevertheless, the Bible must be understood as a whole. And if we have a set of verses on the subject of eternal security and one set of Scriptures can only be interpreted in one way and other Scriptures can be interpreted in different ways, then the latter must be interpreted in a manner consistent with the former. Otherwise, we are setting Scripture against Scripture.

            John 6:37-40

            When we examine John 6:39 in context, we can see even more clearly that none will be lost. I’ve color coded the verses to highlight related concepts to aid in explaination.

            John 6:37-40
            37 “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.
            38 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
            39 “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.
            40 “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

            In verse 37, Jesus says that He will not cast out any who come to Him. In verse 38, Jesus is telling us He came from Heaven to do the will of the Father. In verse 39, Jesus tells us that the will of the Father is that He lose none and that He also raise them up on the last day. In verse 40, Jesus continues to tell us the will of the Father which is that of all who behold the Son and believe in Him will have eternal life and that Jesus will also raise them up on the last day.

            So, Jesus came from Heaven to do the will of the Father (v. 38). The will of the Father is that Jesus lose none (v. 39) and all who believe in Jesus will have eternal life (v. 40) and Jesus also will raise them up on the last day (v 39, 40). If Jesus fails to accomplish the will of the Father by losing some, then does Jesus also not accomplish the will of the Father that says when someone believes in Christ they have eternal life? Neither would make sense. If someone believes in Jesus, he has eternal life. But if it is true that some are lost, then Jesus has not accomplished the will of the Father by not losing any, by not raising them up on the last day, and also by not giving them eternal life. It makes no sense.

            Does God the Father fail?

            If some of the ones that are given to Jesus by the Father end up being lost, then wouldn’t that mean God the Father Himself failed because some of the ones the Father decided to give to the Son for the Son to keep ended up being lost? Doesn’t the Father, in all His omniscience, know who to give to the Son so that they will not be lost? And, does the Father also know that the Son will accomplish His will and not lose any? Of course He does. Does not the Son know how to carry out the will of the Father and keep those given to Him? Of course He does. So, to say that some of the ones given to the Son by God the Father will be lost is to accuse God the Father of making a mistake in His judgment of whom to trust with those He has chosen to have eternal life.

            Do you see the humongous problem that is laid at the feet of those who would say that they can lose their salvation by saying they have to keep the law and/or remain faithful? The verses that we’re talking about here speak of the work and the will of God the Father giving to the Son a special group of people and not giving others to Him. If they can be lost, then Jesus failed to do the will of God the Father, and it would also mean God the Father made a mistake in giving those to the Son for safe keeping.

          • Marilena Fackerell says:

            God says ”He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I WILL NOT ERASE HIS NAME FROM THE BOOK OF LIFE, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. ” Rev 3: 5 – God is capable of erasing, unregenerating as you called it people’s name from His book. It is obvious from this Scripture. If you overcome (with the help of the Holy Spirit, but you are co-worker with Him), then He will not erase your name. The opposite is easily clear from here – if you don’t overcome He WILL erase your name from the book of life.

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