I do not understand for the life of me why some Christians get so upset when another Christian says they believe in the eternal security of their soul; i.e. once saved, always saved. The only explanation that comes to mind, is the innate desire of mankind to take credit for his own good fortune. Any other time, the “credit” is passed on to someone else, usually God. For example, if sickness, death, job loss, no job promotion, financial problems, family problems, the car breaks down, sin, lost love, rotten children, weeds in the lawn, roof leak, nagging spouse, in-laws, out-laws, snow, rain, and other “misfortunes” occur, we are quick to blame God. But if the good things come our way, it is because we have done such a great job, e.g. salvation.
I do believe in eternal security; i.e. “once saved, always saved”. Those who do not believe in eternity security argue against an “easy believe-ism”, and I agree. There is no such thing as “easy believe-ism”. Does our opinion really matter though? What really matters is what the Bible says. So let’s take a look.
There are three falsehoods I would like to address about this issue.
1. To become a Christian is easy, just say, “I believe”, and you’re in.
2. “Once saved, always saved” gives the Christian a license to sin.
3. A “Christian” can lose his/her salvation.
TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN IS EASY, JUST SAY, “I BELIEVE”, AND YOU’RE IN.
This usually comes from Acts 16:31 which says, “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Scripture MUST be compared with Scripture. So let’s look at a few others. “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62) “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” (John 15:14) “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24) “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” (John 10:27) “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” John 12:26) I can assure you that this is a miniscule sampling of verses.
It is not a matter of just saying, “I believe”. The Lord says in James 2:19, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” It is all about a “repentant” heart, for “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) Notice the following passage, “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican[tax collector]. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 18:11-14) The publican had a changed heart and cried out to God in true repentance. The Pharisee did not.
Neither can one be saved by works, for the Scripture says “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit;” (Titus 3:5) Also, notice Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Some become confused when comparing what Paul and James say about faith, but there is NO CONTRADICTION IN SCRIPTURE. All Scripture is the Word of God in written form. “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21) “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2 Timothy 3:16)
James says, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” (James 2:17-18) “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:20) “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” (James 2:24) “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (James 2:26) The Holy Spirit, through James, is simply making it very clear that there is no such thing as “easy believe-ism”. Jesus, Paul, James, and others make two things very clear:
1. Our works do not save us, but
2. if we are truly saved, we will produce good works via the Holy Spirit living within us.
Paul makes it clear, when speaking of faith, that God assures the way is not blocked to His Son, except by a non-repentant heart. Simply “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved and thy house.” (Acts 16:31) In this respect, it is easy to believe, but only from a repentant heart. James expands the same doctrine to say that true belief will be verified by works. If the faith is genuine, it will produce good works by the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within the new believer. If the faith is not genuine, only corrupt works devised by human effort will exist, if there be any at all.
So it boils down to this, “genuine faith”. If your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is genuine, you will follow Him. If your faith in Him is not genuine, you will not follow Him.
“ONCE SAVED, ALWAYS SAVED” GIVES THE CHRISTIAN A LICENSE TO SIN:
Some believe that “once saved, always saved” gives Christians a license to sin as often as they like without any repercussions. That is not so. I agree wholeheartedly with others who are opposed to this Devil’s lie. The Apostle Paul addressed this very subject in Romans chapter six. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (verses 1-2) For he that is dead is freed from sin. (verse 7) Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” (verses 12-15) Romans chapter six should be read in its entirety.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:12, 19-20, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” He adds in Galatians 2:17, “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.” And Galatians 6:14, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
It is abundantly evident that “once saved, always saved” is NOT a license to sin. Anyone who would come to Christ with the attitude that they can say a few magic words and then live as they please, is not saved. They are still in their sins, and just as lost as they ever were. Their faith was not genuine. It is a mockery. Any person who says they are a Christian and thinks they have a license to sin because they can never be lost, is not a Christian at all, and never has been. They need desperately to come to the Lord Jesus Christ, with the right attitude, a repentant heart, and be saved.
Do Christians sin? Of course we do. We still live in this body of sin. Read Romans chapter seven. But a real Christian desires freedom FROM sin, not freedom TO sin. His/her pleasure is to please the Lord and be in the Father’s will, desperately seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit Who lives within him/her.
Also keep these verses in mind, “You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you.” (Deuteronomy 8:5) and “For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.” (Hebrews 12:6) (These verses can also be applied to the next heading, “A Christian Can Lose His/Her Salvation”.) Our Father is not an “Indian giver”. He is not going to take away something, i.e. salvation, that He has given us, but He will chasten (discipline) His own children if necessary.
A CHRISTIAN CAN LOSE HIS/HER SALVATION:
If this were true, and it is not, how many sins would you have to commit to lose your salvation? Would it matter as to the type of sin? Which one would “put you over the edge”? These are all ridiculous questions of course, since there is no truth in the basis.
Jesus said in John 10:27-30, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.”
Jesus says that He gives His sheep eternal life. From Strong’s Lexicon, “eternal” means:
1) without beginning and end, that which always has been and always will be
2) without beginning
3) without end, never to cease, everlasting
Jesus’ sheep receive life that will carry them through eternity, because it is eternal (everlasting). It does not end. Since this life comes from God, it is without beginning and end. It has always been and always will be. It has no end. It never ceases. It is everlasting. Jesus gives this eternal life to those who come to Him in true repentance, seeking forgiveness of their sins and willing to follow Him.
Jesus also makes it crystal clear that His sheep shall never perish. No man can remove His sheep from His or the Father’s hand. His Father is greater than all, and He and His Father are One.
To say that a true child of God, Christ’s sheep, a true Christian, can lose his/her salvation, is to question the omnipotence of God, to put it mildly. To make such a preposterous claim is to announce your supremacy over God Himself. This teaching is straight from the prideful heart of Satan. Satan wants to dethrone God, and what better way than to make mankind believe that God just doesn’t have the power to keep what belongs to Him. God has sealed every believer with the Holy Spirit, guaranteeing our security as a child of God, and guaranteeing our home with Him in eternity. “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30) “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22) “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14) “Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Corinthians 5:5) Again, God performs the work in us. We are helpless without Him. We, His children, succeed, because He sees to it that we do, just as good earthly parents try to lead their children to succeed in life. Unfortunately, sometimes earthly parents fail, but God cannot fail, because He is God, and He has the means to assure victory in all of His children. The Holy Spirit is our seal, our guarantee. God cannot and will not allow even one of His own to be stolen away by Satan or man.
Satan tried to convince Adam and Eve that they could be greater than God. Now he is working on the rest of us. Can we actually believe that we, mortal man, can take away from God that which belongs to Him? Jesus was very clear about this. His sheep are His own, and no power could remove them from His protective hand. He is the Almighty God on high. (John 10:29-30)
Folks, think about this. Better yet, pray about it. If you can’t see what Jesus is clearly saying, ask Him to open your eyes to the truth. These verses are indisputable in their meaning and clarity.
To be so “in-your-face” as to think we can sin all we want and laugh at God while doing so, would be unthinkable for a Christian. The Holy Spirit helps the Christian look at sin for what it is, and will discipline us if we need it.
To be so arrogant to think that I am greater than God is equally frightening. I thank my God that my eternal soul is in HIS hands and not mine. I don’t have to worry about my eternal security, because no one is greater than He, and nothing can take what belongs to Him away from Him.
Before closing, I need to address four passages that some have trouble with. They are Galatians 5:4; Philippians 2:12; Hebrews 6:4-6 and Hebrews 10:26-27.
“Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” The phrase “of no effect” means to be separated from Christ. The term “fallen” means to reject something or lose one’s grasp of it. The people Paul was speaking to in verse four had a decision to make. They were at the crossroads. They could take the broad road to destruction, or the narrow road which leads to God by His Son, Jesus Christ. It was either the law or grace. If they chose the law, then they were separated from Christ, because they rejected His grace. Notice in verse five that the pronoun changes from “you” in verse four to “we” in verse five. In verse five he says, “For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.” Verse four is speaking to a group of people who are not saved. Verse five is speaking to a group of people who are saved, because they have chosen grace over the law by their faith in Jesus Christ. Keep in mind too, that no one, apart from Jesus Christ, can keep the law (James 2:10).
Also keep in mind that the Law cannot save anyone. The Law is good, even though it condemns us, because it makes us recognize sin. The second intent of the Law, is to guide us to the One who can saves us; i.e. Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” When Paul tells this group of Christians (not unbelievers) to “work out their own salvation”, he is simply saying “grow in Christ Jesus”. After a person is saved (salvation), the Holy Spirit works in the sanctification (maturing) process within the believer. This is done by studying and applying God’s Word in their own personal life and mixing it with prayer. It takes work by the power of God within us to live as He would have us to live. Work on our part is not involved in salvation, but it is in sanctification. We cannot just sit back and rock our life away after becoming a Christian, and expect to grow spiritually. Working out our salvation is growing spiritually.
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” These are people who have heard the Gospel, witnessed its power upon others, and even shared in its blessings via food, healing, etc., but have not gone all the way and put their trust in Jesus Christ. They have sat in the congregation, sung the hymns, listened to the sermons, gripped the back of the pew, seen others accept Christ, but have failed to give their own lives to Jesus. They have rejected Christ. They have chosen works (the Law) over Grace for salvation. They cannot be provided any other message than the true Gospel they have already heard. To give another gospel, other than the one true Gospel, would crucify the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.
“For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” Again we see those who are apostates, as in Hebrews 6:26-27. They have heard and understood the Gospel, even been on the verge of accepting Christ, but have turned away. There is no other sacrifice that can be made accept the One they have been told about … Jesus Christ. There are no other sacrifices for sin, only the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, whom they have rejected. They have received the knowledge of the Truth via the eyes and ears to their mind. If they reject that, there is no other sacrifice for sins, but there is judgment.
You can have security in Jesus Christ, not a license to sin, and not your eternal destiny depending on you, but your whole being wrapped in the secure arms of the Almighty God. Turn from sin. Live for Him. Trust Him.