The Bible teachings for eternal security of the believer has been doubted, denied and debated for centuries. That is not my intention at this time to follow any of these courses.
However, I do recognize that those who doubt and deny it, do so many times as they allege that it is a license to sin.
But the Bible doctrine of the security of the believer is anything but a license to sin. When a person is born again his affections are changed. He desires then not to sin, but he desires the will of God for his life.
But we must be realistic. Christians do sin. The question then arises – what happens when a child of God lapses into momentary sin? Does he lose his salvation, or is the loss that is sustained of another nature? The consistent testimony of the Bible, when all of the relevant passages are considered is that a sinning Christian loses not his salvation, but fellowship; not union but communion.
It is to substantiate this thesis that we will examine some Bible reasons why a Christian can never be lost. However the doctrine of the security of the believer is important for other reasons than that of establishing the permanency of salvation itself.
- It is important because the entire philosophy of the Christian experience is based on a right understanding of its truths. If one’s salvation can be lost, then it must be kept by the absence of sin/ To achieve absence of sin one must exercise himself. Thus salvation would become a matter of works and not of grace.
- It is important because it elevates, and refines, and matures one’s motives. If salvation can be lost, then service is a matter of slavish fear. But if salvation is secure, one will serve Christ not out of fear of losing salvation, but out of an entirely different motive – that of love.
- It is important because it solves many problems that would naturally arise if salvation could be lost. For example, those who believe in salvation by good works never agree about how many good works are necessary to obtain salvation. Just so, those who teach that salvation can be lost, never agree on how much sin is necessary to negate salvation. But pushed to its logical conclusion, the answer to both positions would be: a maximum amount of good works are necessary for salvation and a minimum amount of sin is all that is necessary to cause one to be lost after once being saved. One sin will do it, if it can be done. Hence, to be saved one would have to obtain absolute perfection immediately. For just one sin after salvation would immediately revoke it. But since absolute perfection is an attribute of God alone, salvation would be completely impossible for anyone. This is but one example of the spiritual dilemma that arises if salvation can be lost!
In presenting these Bible reasons why a Christian can never be lost, I do not resort to the proof text method. Proof text will be read, but they are used after carefully considering the context of each.
A CHRISTIAN CAN NEVER BE LOST BECAUSE OF THE NATURE OF THE NEW BIRTH ITSELF.
The nature of the new birth determines whether it can be destroyed or not. Is it dissoluble or is it indestructible? If it is of such substance that it can be destroyed, then a Christian can be lost. But if the nature of the new birth is indissoluble, then a Christian cannot be lost. In II Peter 1:4 we find these words that tell us exactly the substance of the new birth. “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
In the new birth a believer becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Actually, God’s nature is imparted to the believing soul in the experience of regeneration or the new birth. That means the new nature is as indestructible as God himself is!
A CHRISTIAN CAN NEVER BE LOST BECAUSE OF THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
The Holy Spirit is the producer of new life and the projector of that new life. The production of new life we call regeneration. The projection of it is called sanctification. In the beginning, Genesis 1:2 tells us, the Holy Spirit brooded over the primal mass of chaos and produced life. It was the same Holy Spirit that hovered over the womb of the Virgin Mary and there produced divine life which was the incarnate Christ. It is the same Holy Spirit that moves all and the repentant, believing soul of the sinner and produces new life there. But what about this work of the Holy Spirit? Philippians 1:6, tells us “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” There is the promise that the Holy Spirit, once beginning a work in the human soul, will perform it until life’s experience is terminated by the second coming of Jesus Christ. There is a prefix that’s used in the original language behind this verse that would make the word translated here “performed” literally mean “fully finished.” That is why the Revised Version reads, “…he who began a good work in you will perfect it…” So the Holy Spirit once beginning a work in the soul of man, will completely finish it. What God has begun He will fully consummate.
A CHRISTIAN CAN NEVER BE LOST BECAUSE OF THE PRONOUNCEMENT OF JESUS ON THE SUBJECT.
In John 10:27-29 we find Jesus speaking on this very issue. “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.” Let me make several observations about this verse, anyone of which is sufficient to underscore the fact that Jesus believed and taught the security of the believer.
- Jesus says, “My sheep…follow me and I give unto them eternal life…” Now, one does not earn eternal life in the sense that he works for it by following Christ. Rather, Jesus means that the proof of salvation lies in following Him. One gets eternal life and then because he has it, follows Christ. It is this thing of following Christ that proves the possession of eternal life. It is just at this point that many folks confuse the issue. If one is saved he will follow Christ. If he does not follow Christ, he has never been born again.
- Note the new kind of life that Jesus gives. It is eternal life. Now, the word “eternal life” as John uses it has to do with the quality of it rather than the quantity of it. The quantity is secondary to the quality. It is only quantitative because it is qualitative! In other words, the quality of this life dictates the quantity of it. It lasts forever because of its nature. It is God’s life and it lasts forever because of this. This then is the sort of life that the believer has thru receiving Christ as personal Saviour. That is why he is secure. His new life will endure forever because God endures forever.
- The Holy Spirit inspired a construction in the original language that further accents the fact of eternal security. In English a double negative makes a positive. Thence a certain meaning can be completely reversed by the use of a double negative in our language. But in the language in which the Bible was written, a double negative is used to give emphasis to that which is being propounded. Such a construction occurs in verse 28 where Jesus said”…they shall never perish.”Literally the use of the double negative would translate “they shall never no, never perish.”
- In the King James Version we read, “Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” The word “man” is in italics, that means it was supplied by the translators in 1611, and does not appear in the language in which the Bible was written. Actually the meaning is more comprehensive in the verses read omitting the word “man.” What it means is that nothing – man or demonic force – is able to pluck the believer out of the hand of God.
A CHRISTIAN CAN NEVER BE LOST BECAUSE HE IS A PRESENT POSSESSOR OF ETERNAL LIFE.
WE READ IN John 5:24 the following words. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” Salvation is not something that one gets after death—it is a present possession of the believer. Having it now, it will last forever. He will not come into condemnation because he “is passed from death unto life,” It has already taken place. Some have said that this verse is not germane to the issue because it teaches that a believing God is all that this verse says is necessary to obtain a secure salvation. But observe. One must believe on “Him that sent me.” Not just an abstract belief in God, but faith in the God of the incarnate Saviour. Only a person believing in Jesus Christ as personal Saviour would concede to this sort of belief in God.
A CHRISTIAN CAN NEVER BE LOST BECAUSE OF THE NATURE OF THE CLEANSING OF THE BLOOD OF CHRIST.
I John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.” This is more than merely initial cleansing that is experienced when one first receives Jesus as personal Savior. The language in which John writes has two basic types of tense. One that suggests a point of action in past time that is finished and done. The other that suggests a continuous action. It is the latter that is used here. So that actually this verse reads, “…the blood of Jesus Christ His Son keeps continually cleansing us from every sin.” The blood of Christ does not merely do its work at the beginning of our salvation and then it is left up to us to keep ourselves clean. The blood has a constant action of cleansing.
When the coal miner comes out of the pits his face is covered with coal dust. He is covered from head to toe not a spot of white shows – except two. The whites of his eyes are spotless. What happens? The moment a speck of coal dust lights on the whites of the eye the tear ducts begin to work and the speck is washed away. The eyes are kept continually clean by the cleansing power of the tears. That is exactly the meaning of this verse. All of the believer’s sin, past, present, future, is washed away thru the continual cleansing process of the blood. So that whether one is hearing salvation from the legal or the practical standpoint, the child of God is kept constantly cleansed.
A CHRISTIAN CAN NEVER BE LOST BECAUSE OF HIS POSITION “IN CHRIST.”
Colossians 3:3 describes this position when it says, “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in Body.” I want you to picture three barrels. One is a very large barrel. One is regular barrel. The other a little nail keg. The largest barrel represents God, the next barrel represents Christ, the little nail keg represents the Christian. Now put the little nail keg representing the Christian inside the barrel which represents Christ. Nail it up. Then place the barrel with the keg inside it into the largest barrel which represents God. Nail that up. Now, before the nail keg can be destroyed the large barrel must be destroyed and then the smaller barrel must be destroyed. Only then is the little nail keg vulnerable to destruction. There you have the picture suggested by this verse.
We are “in Christ” and Christ is “in God!” Before man can ever be exposed to the destructive powers of evil and thus lose his salvation God must be destroyed and then Christ must be destroyed. Only then is the believer subject to destruction. Again we come back to the truth that we have focused on throughout this message. Our salvation is as secure as God is permanent and indestructible.
Salvation is an experience that is certain, noble and permanent. You do not achieve it by good works, you do not keep it by good works. It is all of grace from start to finish. That’s why Paul wrote the words to the Ephesians church which is found in Ephesians 2:8 and following. “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” You may have this sort of salvation by repenting of your sins and receiving Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour.