Eternal Security

  ETERNAL SECURITY

(Pastor Lee Jackson – FFWC)

The doctrine of eternal security, held by some, says that once we have believed in Christ that we are eternally secure, even if we fall back into a life of sin. I believe that a fundamental principle of scriptural interpretation is that we read what it says and not interpret it through the bias of some doctrine or previously held theological position without examination. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…”.  2Timothy 3:16  I believe we must let scripture speak for itself.  Let’s see what the scriptures say regarding this doctrine. I have emphasized passages that seem to refute this.  – Pastor Lee Jackson

Romans  8:7 – 13 (NIV) the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.  8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. 9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. 12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation–but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live

2 Peter 2:17-3:1 (NIV) These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity-for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. 20 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 they were at the beginning. 21 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. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.”

Heb 10:26-31 (NIV)   If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”  31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Col 1:21-23 (NIV) Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation- 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

Heb 3:6-4:1 (NIV)  But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast. 7 So, as the Holy Spirit says:

“Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, 9 where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did. 10 That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, `Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’ 11 So I declared on oath in my anger, `They shall never enter my rest.'”  12 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. 15 As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”  16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

Rev 22:19 (NIV)  And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

James 5:19-20 (NIV)  My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

1 Tim 4:1 (NIV) 4:1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. NIV

1 Tim 4:15-16 (NIV) Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

2 Peter 1:5-11 (NIV)  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. 10 Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Heb 2:1-4 (NIV)  We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. NIV

1 John 2:24-27 (NIV)  See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is what he promised us-even eternal life. 26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray.

John 15:1-6 (NIV) “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

Matt 24:10-13 (NIV)  At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved

Gal 6:7-9 (NIV)  Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

1 Corinthians 15:2 (NIV)  By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NIV)  Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders [10] nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

1 John 2:3-6 (NIV)  We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. [4] The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. [5] But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: [6] Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

Two of the primary verses used to support the doctrine of eternal security are John 10:27-28 and Romans 8:35-39.  Let’s examine these scriptures closely to see if they really do support this doctrine.

John 10:27 – 28 (NIV) My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.

In the Greek text, the hearing and following are in the present tense. What does this mean? It means that only those who are hearing and following Christ right now are his sheep. Those that are living in a state of continual sin are not his sheep because they are neither hearing nor following Jesus. Who are secure? The sheep. Who cannot be snatched (taken away by force)? The sheep. Who is Jesus giving (present tense) eternal life? Those who are sheep. Who are the sheep? Who shall never perish? Who is Christ giving eternal life? Only those who are hearing and following right now! Whom do Jesus and the Father protect in their hands? Not the one who heard and followed, but only those who are actively believing now with an obedient faith. Is this not works? No! It is genuine faith! This is true biblical security.  The term “snatch” means to take by force. This promise guarantees that the devil cannot remove the believer (present tense) from the hand of God. This safety is only from forces outside the believer and God Himself. A backslider removes himself from the promises of safety and security. He is not removed against his own will. Now, looking at this passage in its plain and obvious meaning, it renders no credence to the theory of unconditional eternal security.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39

First, these verses do not say, “Who shall separate us from the salvation of God?” Secondly, nowhere in these verses is Paul saying that sin cannot separate the one who rebels against the true and holy God.  To read the doctrine of eternal security into these verses is not warranted, since the conditionality of God’s love is asserted throughout the Scriptures as a whole. God has an unconditional love for the lost as we can see in John 3:16. Other passages, such as the account in Mark 10:21,22 of the rich young ruler, who Jesus “beholding him loved him,” further show the unconditional love of God, yet the ruler went away lost and grieved.

Why does Jude 21 warn us to “keep yourselves in the love of God” if the possibility of separation from God’s love is impossible? In John 14:21 the conditionality of God’s love is expressed this way, “He that hath my commandments, and keeps them, is he that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and manifest myself to him.” Notice the clear and unambiguous words of Jesus, He that hath my commandments and keeps them . . . is loved of my Father, and I will love him.Only bias and prejudice could impel one to deny the obvious conclusion that sin and rebellion is not the keeping of Christ’s commandments, and that rebellious sinners are not in the love of God. In John 15:10 Jesus makes the same point again by inference, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.”

Clearly, there is a general love of God that goes out to all mankind regardless of their lost condition, and a specific and intimate love that God has only for those that are in fellowship with him through the atoning work of Jesus Christ. It is plain to see that this passage in Romans is this latter type of love.

Who shall separate us? Paul is addressing two elements here, one being “us.” It is only those who are “in Christ” that Paul is concerned with here, and not humanity overall. Notice that the designation “who” is not the believer himself, but that influence or circumstance that is outside the believer. The entire listing of Paul is consistent with this context! Death, life, angels, principalities, powers, et cetera, are all elements that do not include the moral choice of the individual who is now a believer. God’s love is present in those who are in Christ, regardless if their circumstances in this life seem to give the impression that his love and protection is being withheld from them.

 

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