The Doctrine of Eternal Security
Grace Bible Church Pastor Robert R. McLaughlin
The Doctrine of Eternal Security
Preface Introduction Exegesis
Ephesians 2:8-9 Acts 16:31 John 5:24
The Work of God the Father
The Common Sense, Logical Approach to Eternal Security
(The A Fortiori Rationale)
The Family of God—Joint Heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ The Essence of God
The Work of God the Holy Spirit Positional Truth
The New Creature
The “Sealing” Metaphor
The Work of God the Son
The Lord’s Redeeming Work
Our High Priest
The “Body” Metaphor
Confidence in the Christian Life
Eternal Security can be defined as the believer’s unbreakable relationship with the integrity of God. It remains unbreakable because of who and what God is, not who and what we are. It is what God does for us in salvation that makes this relationship permanent. Salvation is a gift of God and at the moment of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,God gave us at least forty grace gifts that are irrevocable. He cannot and will not ever
take these gifts away, Romans 11:29. We cannot negate them; no other creature can negate them; even God Himself cannot negate them, Romans 8:38-39. We are kept and guarded by the power of God, 1 Peter 1:5.
Before you read any further, be sure that as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you have confessed your known sins, if any, privately to God. This will bring you into fellowship with God, and the Holy Spirit will be able to communicate Bible doctrine to you from the Word of God.
1Jo 1:9* If we acknowledge (name and cite) our sins, He is faithful and just with the result that He forgives us our sins (known sins) and purifies us from all unrighteousness (unknown sins).
Eph 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.
If you are an unbeliever, the issue is faith in Christ. You must be born again.
Acts 16:31b “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved…”
Joh 3:17-18 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
It is only through faith in the One who took your place on the Cross, and paid the price for your sins, that you can become born again and saved. Therefore, if you have never become born again and saved, take this opportunity to tell God the Father, in the privacy of your own soul, that you believe in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as your personal Savior.
All verses are taken from the New American Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted. Corrected translations by Robert McLaughlin are marked with an asterisk (*).
Robert R. McLaughlin, The Grace Gifts Given at Salvation (Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries,
1. Introduction to the Doctrine of Eternal Security
In John 11:25, the Lord Jesus Christ said to a woman named Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.” As Christians our greatest hope and confidence lies in the fact that at the moment of salvation we have eternal life. Our salvation, from the moment we become born again to the day we die, depends entirely upon our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and does not depend on anything in us. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself ensures that you can never lose your salvation. As our Lord said in the Gospel of John, the only works we can do to receive salvation is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God and our personal Savior.
Joh 6:28-29* Then they asked Him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.”
You can destroy your life to the utmost, you can fail miserably, and you can even live worse than an unbeliever, but you still cannot lose your salvation. You cannot commit a sin or get involved with anything that could ever cause you to lose your salvation. Jesus Christ indwells your body for security and protection and as a guarantee that you have eternal life. In fact, when you die you are immediately “absent from the body and face to face with the Lord,” 2 Corinthians 5:8*. And the moment that you die, even though you cannot see Him now, you will be face to face with the Lord. The first Person you will see when you leave your body through physical death is the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, the indwelling of the Trinity, especially the indwelling of the Lord Jesus Christ, is related to the fantastic eternal security that God’s people should appreciate. Every Church-age believer is indwelt by God the Father (Ephesians 4:6), God the Son (Galatians 2:20), and God the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). As we will see, the Bible is very clear regarding the reality of eternal security, even though there are so many believers who are ignorant of this fact.
Salvation has its foundation in five basic truths:
Depravity. There is nothing in fallen man in which God can take pleasure or that He can accept in any way. Man is the object of divine grace; he can never earn God’s favor, Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”
Efficacious grace. Efficacious grace is the ministry of the Holy Spirit in making the faith of the spiritually dead person effective for eternal salvation. Both common and efficacious grace emphasize the total helplessness of the understandable to the person who is spiritually brain dead, i.e., to all unbelievers.
Common grace is the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in making the Gospel clear, perspicuous, and
unbeliever. No matter what a spiritually dead person can do, he can never attain salvation. Salvation is accomplished by faith alone in Christ alone, which God the Holy Spirit makes effective for salvation, 2 Corinthians 6:1-2.
Unlimited Atonement. The unlimited atonement is the efficacious sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the entire human race. This sacrifice was His spiritual death—not His physical death. The sacrifice was made for every sin of the entire human race. Unlimited atonement results from the efficacious sacrifice of Christ being judged for the sins of the entire world, satisfying the righteousness and justice of God the Father in propitiation.
Election and Predestination. Those who are saved have been chosen by God for great blessing and privilege from before the foundation of the world. Election is the expression of the sovereign will of God in eternity past before the universe existed. In the Word of God, it is applied to believers only, as in Ephesians 1:4, “For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight.”
Eternal Security.Those chosen by God and saved by grace are preserved to “the Day of the Lord Jesus Christ.” This the Scriptures declare without reservation or complication.
Joh 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”
The first two words in this sentence are very important to understand; the Lord Jesus Christ says, “Amen, amen” (“Amen, amen”). These two words actually mean “surely,” “without a doubt,” or “indeed.” Whenever the Lord Jesus Christ says “amen” or “truly,” a very vital truth of tremendous importance is being introduced. The Lord Jesus Christ knew exactly what doctrinal principles Satan would attack, and “Truly, truly” is a warning that what is about to be said will be attacked by the kingdom of darkness.This phrase “Truly, truly” or “Amen, amen” is used twenty-five times in the Bible, and it is used exclusively in the Gospel of John. Examples include the following:
In John 1:51 it is used to introduce our Lord’s role in the angelic conflict : “And He said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man [the Lord Jesus Christ].’”
Efficacious grace is the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in making the faith of the spiritually dead person effective for eternal salvation. Common and efficacious grace emphasizes the total helplessness of the spiritually dead person. No matter what a spiritually dead person can do, it is not salvation. Salvation is accomplished by faith alone in Christ alone, the one thing that God the Holy Spirit can make effective.
Before human history, a conflict began in heaven when Satan and one third of the angels rebelled against God. Satan and his followers were later sentenced to the lake of fire. Satan appealed the sentence, and God then created a third party (mankind) to resolve the angelic conflict. Human history is the actual function of this appeal trial, during which Satan attempts (to no avail) to prove himself equal with God. Periodically, God will call a mature believer (such as Job) as His witness, and allow Satan to test (cross-examine) him.
In John 3:3, it is used to introduce the significance of being born again: “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, He cannot see the kingdom of God.’”
In John 5:19, it is used to reveal our Lord’s equality with the Father: “‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.’”
In John 6:26, it is used to warn us against false motivation: “‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves, and were filled.’”
In John 8:34, it is used to warn us about the bondage of sin: “‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin [habitually] is the slave of sin.’”
In John 8:58, it is used to present the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ: “‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.’”
In John 10:7, it is used to describe the Lord Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation: “‘Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the Sheep.’”
In John 12:24-25, it is used to bring out the importance of losing your life for the cause of Christ: “‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it; and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal.’”
In John 16:23, it is used to describe the importance of prayer: “‘Truly, truly, I say to you, if you shall ask the Father for anything, He will give it to you in My name.’”
As previously noted in John 5:24, it introduces the importance of eternal security.
Joh 3:16-17 “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. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.”
“Everlasting life” in the King James Version is actually a very inaccurate translation. Even unbelievers have everlasting life, which simply means having a soul that will exist forever. Unbelievers will have a resurrection, called the “resurrection of judgment” in John 5:29, when they will stand before God at the Great White Throne Judgment, Revelation 20:11-15. The New American Standard Bible correctly translates John 3:16, “Whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” Eternal life belongs to believers only.
Act 24:15 “There shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.” Dan 12:2 “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.”
The angelic conflict, which is coterminous with human history, explains the purpose for mankind’s existence.
The unbeliever will live forever after he has been judged on the basis of his works. He will always have soul life (everlasting life), and this is the only life he will have when he stands at the last judgment. He is judged on the basis of his works, and human works can never satisfy God. He is cast into the lake of fire forever with everlasting life but no eternal life.Eternal life has no beginning and no end. It is the very life of God. It means living with God forever and ever.“Everlasting life” means eternity in the Lake of Fire where the conscience never dies. In everlasting life, after death, unbelievers will experience and feel the pain of spiritual death and everything associated with it forever and ever. They will be in pain for all eternity because they rejected the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior.The unbeliever will go to a place that the Bible describes with such phrases as… torment, Luke 16:23,28.a place where desire is never met, Luke 16:24-31.unspeakable misery in “eternal fire,” Matthew 25:41.a place where the “worm” (conscience) never dies, and the fire is never quenched, Mark 9:44.“the lake (which many believe to be a liquid form of lava) that burns with fire and brimstone,” Revelation 21:8.“a bottomless pit,” Revelation 9:1-2. outer darkness, Matthew 8:12.fire unquenchable, Luke 3:17.a “furnace of fire,” Matthew 13:42.as “blackness of darkness,” Jude 1:13. everlasting torment, Rev 14:11.Mat 13:42 “And will cast them into the furnace of fire; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”Mar 9:49 “For everyone will be salted with fire.”Rev 14:11* “The smoke of their torment ascends up for ever and ever and they have no rest day or night.”As you can see, this is not a figure of speech. It is a very real place. It is beyond the power of words to describe. And nearly every one of these expressions mentioned came from the lips of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is as though no one else could be depended upon to speak this terrible truth.
2Co 6:2* Now is the time of acceptance; now is the day of salvation.
“Now” is the moment to be prepared for eternity by personal faith in Jesus Christ. We never know when our life on this earth will be over.
The Word of God, which gives us this great salvation message, also warns us about something very evil—legalism.
Gal 5:1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
Legalism is simply man’s futile attempt to gain salvation or continue in God’s plan through some system of do’s and don’ts; it is performing human good for the purpose of gaining God’s approbation. There are two major doctrinal principles that legalists cannot stand:
Eternal security (once saved, always saved).
Rebound (being forgiven by simply confessing one’s sins in prayer ).
The fact that all anyone has to do is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and they will receive eternal life just ruffles their legalistic feathers and sends them out on the warpath! Also, the fact that once you name and cite your sins, not with tears in your eyes, or promising God to do better, but by simply acknowledging them, you are immediately restored to fellowship with God, gets the legalists very upset! Both subjects, eternal security and rebound (“homologeo,” translated “confess” in 1 John 1:9), depend on your understanding of salvation by grace and what God has accomplished for you. God has provided unbelievable grace! And part of the extraordinary manifestation of His grace is understanding the indwelling of the Trinity and the doctrine of eternal security.
This is not to say that we can “turn our freedom into an opportunity for the flesh,” Galatians 5:13. The believer will still go to heaven even if he rejects the plan of God , but he will face consequences such as…
The law of volitional responsibility (reaping what we sow), Galatians 6:7-8. Bad decisions bring bad results.
Divine discipline, Hebrews 12:6-7. God, as a loving Father, will discipline His children for their disobedience, never to make them pay for their sins, but to guide them back to the right path. Divine discipline culminates in the sin unto death (the “sin leading to death” of 1 John 5:16), in which God takes the believer home early (after years, even decades, of rejection of His plan) through a death filled with misery and regret.
Loss of escrow blessings in time, 2 Timothy 2:12. Great blessing is waiting for every believer, but only inside the predesigned plan of God.
Loss of eternal rewards, 1 Corinthians 3:15. Special privileges and decorations have been provided for all believers in eternity, but those who reject God’s plan in time also reject these special blessings.
All believers continue to sin after salvation.
“Rebound” is the means by which born-again believers are restored to fellowship with God after they sin.
A great example of this principle is King Saul, a born-again believer and also one of the most evil men in the Bible. In 1 Samuel 28, he has rebelled against God for about 20 years, and he is about to die under the sin unto death. He has become so apostate that he has gone to a medium (witch) in the hope that she can enable him to talk to the prophet Samuel, who has died and is now in Paradise. God actually allows Samuel to return momentarily, and he says to Saul in 1 Samuel 28:19, “Moreover, the Lord will also give over Israel along with you into the hands of the Philistines; therefore, tomorrow you and your sons will be with me [in Paradise].”
Shame at the Judgment Seat of Christ, 1 John 2:28. Although all believers will have fantastic perfect happiness for all eternity, losers will experience a temporary shame when their deeds are evaluated.
Most of God’s grace is actually unknown to believers because they never learn enough doctrine to realize it! As 2 Corinthians 6:1 says, they “receive the grace of God in vain.” For this reason, so many believers spend all their time and strength trying to get their salvation back or hoping to remain “good enough” to have eternal life by the time they die. Not only were Old Testament believers also saved by grace, but Ephesians 3:2-4
teaches that we are now living in the dispensation of the grace of God, and that by revelation God has made known to us the “mystery” doctrine .
In 2 Thessalonians 1:12 the Apostle Paul says, “In order that the name of our
Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ can only come from the grace of God.
In 1 Peter 5:12, Peter writes, “I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!”
In 2 Timothy 2:1 Paul says, “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
The only way to be strong is in the grace of God, and eternal security serves as the basis of grace motivation. God will not simply let us get away with anything (divine discipline), but we can never lose our salvation; what we can lose is our rewards and blessings. Grace means we do not earn or deserve anything from God. We did nothing to earn or deserve salvation. Therefore, we can do nothing to lose it.
Rom 11:6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace.
Rom 5:1-2a Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace [or prosperity] with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand.
We do not stand on our own strength; if so, we would collapse. We stand in the grace of God. As Paul said in Romans 14:4, “Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”
Jud 1:24 He is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy.
Joh 10:27-30 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
We stand in grace, not in merit. The Bible never says we stand on the basis of works, or “fruit.” We stand in the grace provided by God. He provides our foundation. And if we stand in grace, when we fall, we fall in grace. Therefore, Psalm 37:24* says, “When we fall, we shall not be utterly cast down because the Lord is the One who makes us stand.” Psalm 94:18 is very similar: “If I should say, ‘My foot has slipped,’ Thy lovingkindness, O Lord, will hold me up.” The psalmist does not say, “The Lord condemns me,” but “He will hold me up!”
We are kept and guarded by the power of God, 1 Peter 1:5, “You who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” Unfortunately, many believers do not understand that they are kept by the power of God and saved by the grace of God because they do not know the thinking of God (i.e., Bible doctrine). Even God cannot cancel eternal life. What God gives, He does not take back. He has given us His righteousness and His life, so that we are qualified to live with Him forever. This does not guarantee, however, that we will succeed as believers. Whether we succeed or fail in executing the predesigned plan of God for the Church-age, and whether we become invisible heroes or losers, depends entirely upon our attitude toward Bible doctrine.
Jon 2:9b “Salvation is from the Lord.”
What God gives He does not withdraw. He gives us at least forty fantastic grace gifts at salvation and does not take back any of them. We can have peace with God because He gave us His righteousness. We cannot have peace with God in our own self- righteousness. When we “stand in grace,” we are not standing in our own morality or self-righteousness, but in the virtue of God. The Christian way of life is not mere morality; it goes far above and beyond morality. Virtue is infinitely greater than morality, but virtue can only be produced by the filling of the Spirit and the perception of doctrine. Morality can be produced by human self-determination and the energy of the flesh. Many unbelievers actually have a morality greater than that of believers. Therefore, we stand in grace, and not in merit. It is God alone who provides that grace and enables us to stand.Psa 37:39 But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord.
You did nothing to gain salvation, and can you do nothing to maintain it; it is totally the work of God. Therefore, your failure cannot annul the work of God. God imputed His perfect righteousness to you at salvation; therefore, you cannot lose what the integrity of God gives you. You have to be extremely arrogant to think that you can commit a sin or make a renunciation of God that can cancel the work of God! There is nothing the believer can do to cancel the split-second decision of believing in Christ. You do not have the power or ability to cancel it, no matter how evil you are. In other words, God is greater than you, 1 Corinthians 1:25, “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
Joh 6:26-29 Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves, and were filled. “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you, for on Him the Father, even God, has set His seal.” They said therefore to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”
Sadly enough, people are so arrogant that they think they are greater than God. They actually think they can commit a sin greater than the power of God to keep them. The most foolish of believers are those who reject eternal security and who attempt to cancel the grace of God. Contrary to their apostate and pompous opinion, knowing the doctrine of eternal security will not cause you to go out and raise hell. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously, and godly in the present age [Titus 2:11- 12].” Realizing you are eternally secure motivates you to want to know this wonderful God who has provided such fantastic grace and comfort for you, because of one non- meritorious decision you made in a moment of time. To think you can help God is sheer arrogance. God doesn’t need our help; we need His help! This is the grace policy of the plan of God. Man’s failure does not cancel or abrogate the integrity of God. Man’s weakness does not override God’s strength. Therefore, any lack of integrity in the believer cannot negate the integrity of God. Failure to execute the predesigned plan of God does not cancel your eternal salvation.
Psa 18:35 Thou hast also given me the shield of Thy salvation, and Thy right hand upholds me; and Thy gentleness makes me great.
The problem we all have as basically arrogant creatures is that we are more easily occupied with our failures than with the integrity of God. Most believers know nothing about the doctrine of hamartiology (the study of sin); otherwise, they would never believe that they could commit a sin that would undo their salvation. We need to be more impressed with the integrity of God and less impressed with our failures.
Psa 130:3 If Thou, Lord, shouldst mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
The answer: No one could!
Psa 130:4 But there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be respected.
Jam 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.
Think of the arrogance in born-again believers who actually think that they do not commit “willful” sins! How arrogant it is to think that your “holy” lifestyle is keeping you saved.
The perfect integrity of God is infinitely greater than the sinfulness of man, and cannot be canceled by any failure or renunciation committed by any believer living on earth, according to 2 Timothy 2:11-13. Even when we are unfaithful and become losers in the Christian way of life, the faithfulness of God does not change. Every believer is indwelt by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; therefore, if God were to deny us, He would be denying Himself! People are erratic and unreliable, but that doesn’t mean God is! We have a tendency to superimpose our own stupid thinking on God.
Joh 3:16* “For God loved the world so much that He gave His Son [deity of Christ], the uniquely-born One [humanity of Christ], that whosoever believes in Him shall never perish but have eternal life.”
No conditions of any kind are added to this phrase “shall never perish.” All you have to do is believe in Jesus Christ; nothing can be added to faith.
Bible doctrine is the mind, or the thinking, of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) and is our only protection against arrogance. One must be extremely arrogant to believe that he is capable of renouncing his eternal salvation. How arrogant it is to think that we can commit a sin, enter into a system of evil, or make a renunciation of God that will cancel everything God gave us at the moment of salvation. There is nothing a believer can do to reverse his one-time decision to believe in Christ. We simply do not have the power or the ability to undo what God has done.
The Lord Jesus Christ was the Lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world, and salvation was designed by God before the world existed, 1 Peter 1:20, Acts 2:23. Salvation is exclusively the work of God, and, as Deuteronomy 32:4 says, “His work is perfect.”
1Pe 1:20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you.
Act 2:23 “[He was] delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God.”
Mankind was not even around when salvation was provided. God did not work with mankind in salvation. He alone provided the salvation. He has already done all the work, and there is no work left for us to do. Rejection of eternal security, therefore, is rejection of the grace of God, while understanding eternal security provides motivation based on grace. Eternal security motivates us to get to know this wonderful God who has provided these fantastic things. Man’s weakness cannot hinder God’s power. The Lord said in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for [My] power is perfected in [your] weakness.”
1Pe 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Salvation through faith in Christ results in receiving the perfect righteousness of God. Our possession of the righteousness of God forever eliminates the possibility of ever losing our salvation through any personal failure or sins. Our so-called “righteousness” will inevitably break down because we still have an old sin nature after salvation. God’s righteousness, however, will never let us down, and it is one of the many free gifts we received at salvation. We stand before Him, not on the basis of our righteousness, but on the basis of His righteousness in us.
Joh 3:14-18* “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life. For God loved the world so much that He gave His Son, the uniquely born one, that whosoever believes in Him shall never perish but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Notice the phrase “shall never perish,” “mee apoleetai” (mh\ a)po/lhtai), in verse 16. It does not say, “Shall never perish as long as…” The Greek says dogmatically (indicative mood), “shall never perish,” a direct reference to eternal security. “Whosoever believes in Him shall never perish.” Let us focus on the word “pisteuoon” (pisteu/wn), translated “believes…”
It is “believe” only.
It is not “believe and commit.”
It is not “believe and make Christ Lord of all.”
It is not “invite Christ into your heart or your life.” It is not “believe and be baptized.”
It is simply “whoever believes in Him.”
Do you understand that? Is that clear to you? Do you realize that God is far greater than you ever imagined? Do you truly believe that “Whoever believes in Him shall never perish but have eternal life?”
In this study we are going to examine the reasons why salvation, once obtained, is eternally secure. We will prove the reality of eternal security based on the respective roles of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, as well as the exegesis of Biblical passages (the analysis of the original languages of Scripture). As we study this doctrine from these four basic categories, we will see that in the concept of eternal security, God’s own integrity is at stake.
It is vital for all believers to understand the importance of studying the Bible from the original languages. We call this exegesis, in this case, studying the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, because the Bible is inspired only in the original languages. Translations are sometimes inaccurate. We have already noted the disparity between what the King James Version calls “everlasting” life and the New American Standard Bible calls “eternal” life. We will now continue our study of eternal security by noting a few verses that dogmatically teach this truth from the inspired original language of the Bible. We will begin with Ephesians 2:8, which is an excellent description of eternal security. Ephesians 2:8-9 is a very familiar but vital approach to this subject.
Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.
The first phrase in this verse uses two very important words concerning our subject of eternal security. The first is the dative singular noun chariti (xa/riti/<), translated “grace.” The second is the genitive singular feminine noun pisteos (pi/stew$), translated “faith.” “For by grace you have been saved through faith.” This is written to the believer while looking back at the moment he believed in Christ. He is saved by grace alone, and grace is only what God does for us; it excludes everything we try to do for God, Romans 11:6.
Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved…
The verb for “have been saved” is in the periphrastic perfect tense, which is composed of two Greek verbs, the perfect passive participle (tense, voice, and mood) form of sozo (saved) and the present active indicative form of eimi (have been). This periphrasis is carried over from the Attic (classic) Greek to the Koine (common) Greek used here. The periphrasis, one of the most powerful and forceful of all expressions in any language, indicates that the writer cannot get all the details into one verbal form. Therefore, he uses two verbal forms to provide a more forceful expression. Nothing is more forceful than the expression of the eternal security of the believer in this periphrastic perfect tense. The Greek language here is so strong and powerful that it leaves no loopholes or leaks of any kind. We are saved forever through simple faith. The first verb in the Greek is the perfect passive participle verb sesosmenoi (sesw|sme/noi), from the root verb sozo, meaning salvation. The intensive perfect form of sesosmenoi emphasizes the present state from a past action. In the present tense, the person is now saved. The past action is faith in Christ. This verb indicates the completion of an action at the moment of faith in Jesus Christ with an emphasis on the existing results. In other words, once saved, always saved. It emphasizes the finished product, meaning you are permanently saved and eternally secure. The intensive perfect is the strongest, most emphatic way of saying that something is true or real; there is nothing more real than eternal security. This is the emphatic method in the Greek of presenting the reality of eternal security after salvation.
The passive voice of sesosmenoi means that, at the point of faith in Jesus Christ, the believer receives the action of the verb; we receive at least forty grace gifts at salvation. Greek verbs in the passive voice are generally intransitive. (A transitive verb makes an incomplete affirmation and requires a direct object to complete its meaning. For example, “believe” is a transitive verb, as in Acts 16:31, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved.” The direct object of believe is the Lord Jesus. In contrast, no direct object is found in our verse, Ephesians 2:8.) The intransitive verb (saved) in Ephesians 2:8 makes a complete affirmation of eternal security and does not require an object to complete its meaning.
Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been [present active indicative] saved [perfect passive participle]…
Again, “have been” is the present active indicative form of the root verb eimi, which is este (e)ste). The gnomic present form of eimi here expresses a universal doctrine (eternal security). It expresses a doctrine or fact, an absolute truth, and a state of condition that perpetually exists and will never be changed. You could never lose your salvation for even a second. This verb also qualifies as a static present because eternal security is a condition that perpetually exists. The active voice of eimi points to you, the believer, and your simple, one-shot choice to accept the work of Jesus Christ rather than your own works. The believer, the one producing the action of the verb, is now in a perpetual state of salvation. The declarative indicative mood of eimi is used for a dogmatic statement of doctrine and truth. Salvation is not relative; it is an absolute. In a single moment of your life, you believed in Jesus Christ and received eternal life. Therefore, a periphrasis denotes a completed action with eternal results, and so reveals the principle of eternal security. Always remember our Lord’s dying words on the Cross (John 19:30), “It is finished!” What is finished? When the Lord Jesus Christ uttered these words, He evidenced the fact that salvation was complete. “It is finished” is one single word in the original language—Tetelestai. Upon the completion of bearing our sins in His own body, 1 Peter 2:24, He said, “Tetelestai” (Tete/lestai), the perfect passive indicative form of the verb teleo, meaning “It is finished in the past, with the result that it keeps on being finished forever.” The Cross will stand forever and ever as God’s Masterpiece. Paul, the greatest of the apostles, declared that he would not glory in anything except the Cross of Christ.
Gal 6:14 But may it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
At the point of faith in Christ, the believer has eternal salvation, which would not be eternal to begin with, if it could be lost.
It is also important to note that grace (chariti) and faith (pisteos) are both in the feminine gender in Ephesians 2:8 (“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves…”). The demonstrative pronoun touto (tou=to), translated “that,” is in the neuter gender (as opposed to the feminine gender of grace and faith). Therefore,touto, the near demonstrative pronoun, refers to neither grace nor faith by themselves; in the neuter gender of the Greek language, it refers to “this” in general, the whole idea of salvation. In other words, “This [the grace, the faith, and being saved] is not from yourselves.” There is no form of human effort in the entire realm of salvation. If “that” (touto) were in the feminine gender (like grace and faith), it would refer exclusively to grace and faith; however, since it is in the neuter gender, it encompasses the much broader concept of salvation in its entirety.
Eph 2:8 For by grace [feminine gender] you have been saved through faith [feminine gender]; and that [neuter gender, referring to salvation in its entirety] not of yourselves…
As you can see, following the words grace and faith, there is a break in the original Greek, where it switches from the feminine to the neuter. We now have the immediate demonstrative pronoun touto in the neuter gender, because it does not only refer to grace and faith, but to salvation in general. Faith is a non-meritorious system of perception and is the absence of human merit. (We are spiritually dead before we believe in Christ. In efficacious grace, God the Holy Spirit takes only faith in Christ and makes it effective for salvation. Mankind does nothing to attain salvation, and he can do nothing to lose his salvation. Salvation and eternal security are both the work of God alone.) Again, a periphrasis is an extremely forceful expression. It is so powerful that it leaves absolutely no room for doubt—no if’s, but’s, or maybe’s. The periphrasis indicates that the writer cannot get the importance and the details of the statement into one verbal form; therefore, he uses two verbal forms to drive home his point. What this means is that the grace, the faith, and the salvation are “not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” The word gift is the singular neuter noun doron (dw=ron), which refers to something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without any compensation or obligation.
Eph 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, that no one should boast.
The original Greek here is actually saying that by grace we have been saved, through faith, and that the grace, the faith, and the salvation are all the gift of God! Therefore, Ephesians 2:9 goes on to say, “Not as a result of works, that no one should boast.” The Greek word translated “not” is the participle ouk (ou)k), the strongest negative in the Greek language. The Greek scholar Joseph Thayer states that when the negative ouk appears with a verb, it is used to simply deny that what is being declared in the verb will ever happen to the subject of the sentence. There will never come a time when anyone can be saved or please God with human works. Mankind does nothing to attain salvation; mankind can do nothing to lose salvation once he has believed.
In Acts 16, the original language of the Koine Greek is again very clear concerning the work of salvation.
Act 16:25-31 But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains were unfastened. And when the jailer had been roused out of sleep and had seen the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here!” And he called for lights and rushed in and, trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household.”
The jailer was not even thinking of spiritual deliverance, but actually of deliverance from the punishment of the Roman government. What he really wanted to know was how he could get out of this jam. However, although this man was occupied with physical deliverance, he had been prepared by God the Holy Spirit for spiritual deliverance. This man, like many, needed a tragedy to wake up his “God consciousness.” Disasters, whether local or national, can be great soul-winning devices. This is crisis evangelism, which is often misunderstood, and which many use to attack the integrity of God. For some people, disaster is the only way to wake them up. God may even choose to use you as He used Paul, to be a light in the midst of a disaster. Many people will not give one thought to God or salvation unless they are placed in a disaster. Therefore, in verse 31, we see the real answer to this man’s problems.
Act 16:31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household.”
Here, again, we can see eternal security in the Greek verb. The word “believe” is the aorist active imperative form of the root verb pisteuo, which is pisteuson (Pi/steuson), referring to a system of perception. Faith is something that actually goes on continuously in the minds of normal people; we believe more things by faith than we even realize (e.g., our parents, our schoolbooks, the newspaper, etc.). The Bible teaches that all men have faith perception, to which the invitation is given; therefore, “whosoever believes” will be saved.
2Th 3:2 And that we may be delivered from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith.
In this verse, we have the same word (in its noun form), translated “faith,” and it actually refers to Bible doctrine, a system of belief. Faith (pisteuo) is a system of perception. There are only three systems of perception:
Rationalism, relying on reason or knowledge. Empiricism, relying on observation and experience. Faith, requiring no merit.
In faith we have a non-meritorious system of perception. Believing is a non-meritorious decision. The object of faith has to have all the merit, and the object of faith in this passage is the Lord Jesus Christ. The emphasis in faith is always on the object; the object of one’s faith does all the work and gets all the credit. This is totally compatible with the principle of grace. In grace God does the work, and man simply receives what God has provided. Grace gives all the glory to God. Therefore, religion and legalism are the greatest enemy of mankind. Religion is the antithesis of grace; in religion, man must do the work, and man inevitably gets the credit. Under religion and legalism man attempts to gain salvation or spirituality through some form of works and taboos. It may be as subtle as…
baptism,repenting from sins,
raising your hand,
asking Jesus into your heart, walking down the aisle, giving money,
joining the church,
Act 16:31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household.”
Pisteuo (believe) is in the aorist tense. The aorist tense means that, at the point of time that you believed, God saved you. This is very different from a present tense; you do not need to “keep on believing” to maintain your salvation. To teach such legalism is not only academically dishonest, but it is also blasphemous, and puts believers under the fear of losing their salvation and being forsaken by God. This verb is in the active voice (which disproves hyper-Calvinism and those who deny the existence of a free will), which indicates that the subject produces the action of the verb and that there is no violation of human volition. The imperative mood tells us that this is a command; in fact, it is the only way of salvation.
Act 16:31 “Believe [aorist active imperative] in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved [future passive indicative]…”
“Shall be saved” is the future passive indicative form of sozo, which is sothese (swqh/sh), referring to eternal salvation. The future tense is what is known as a logical future, which reveals the fact that when you believe, it automatically follows that you will be saved. In the passive voice, you receive the action of the verb. The indicative mood reveals a dogmatic statement that cannot be changed. The Word of God contains many more passages with salvation in the passive voice, revealing the fact that mankind can do nothing for salvation, and he can do nothing from his own nature to please God after he has been saved; “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him [Colossians 2:6].”
Eph 2:5 …even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved [este sesosmenoi (e)ste sesw|sme/noi)]).
In all the following passages, the verb sozo appears in the passive voice, indicating eternal security.
Joh 3:17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved [aorist passive subjunctive sothe (swqh=|)] through Him.”
Joh 5:34 “But the witness which I receive is not from man, but I say these things that you may be saved [aorist passive imperative sothete (swqh=te)].”
Joh 10:9 “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved [future passive indicative sothesetai (swqh/setai)].”
Act 2:21 “And it shall be, that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved [future passive indicative sothesetai (swqh/setai)].”
Act 15:11 “But we believe that we are saved [aorist passive infinitive sothenai (swqh=nai)] through the grace of the Lord Jesus.”
Rom 5:9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved [future passive indicative sothesometha (swqhso/meqa)] from the wrath of God through Him.
Rom 10:9 …that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved [future passive indicative sothese (swqh/sh|)].
Rom 10:13 …for “Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved [future passive indicative sothesetai (swqh/setai)].”
1Ti 2:4 …Who desires all men to be saved [aorist passive infinitive sothenai (swqh=nai)] and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
We are saved by “the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity [2 Timothy 1:8b-9].” In all those passages listed above, salvation is in the passive voice, revealing eternal security. It is the Lord, not us, who performs the action in salvation.
Joh 12:47 “And if anyone hears My sayings, and does not keep them, I [the Lord Jesus Christ] do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save [aorist active subjunctive soso (sw/sw)] the world.”
Going back to John 5:24, the original Greek language again shows the clarity of eternal security. As we have already seen, this vital statement of Bible doctrine is introduced by the words “Amen, amen” (“Amen, amen,” meaning “Truly, truly”). As born-again believers, whose salvation is eternally secure, we are being forewarned that what our Lord is about to say will be attacked by the kingdom of darkness.
Joh 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment.”
Please note that he who believes “does not” (not “might not”) come into judgment. The original language actually says, “kai\ ei)$ kri/sin ou)k e&rxetai” (kai [and] eis [into] krisin [judgment] ouk [not] erchetai [come]). The present middle indicative form of the verb erchomai (erchetai) means to come and to arrive, and therefore it is correctly translated in the New American Standard Bible, “does not come into judgment.” As noted earlier, when ouk appears with a verb, it is used to deny that what is being declared in the verb will ever happen to the subject of the sentence. The noun krisin (kri/sin) means judgment. The subject is anyone who believes. Anyone who believes will never come into judgment. As Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation [katakrima (kata/krima), meaning judgment, punishment, and doom] for those who are in Christ Jesus.” They shall never be judged, or come into judgment (again, not “might not,” but “shall not”).Joh 5:24b “…And does not come [present middle indicative] into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”The present tense of erchomai (erchetai, translated “does…come”) indicates that this is habitually (or constantly) true. The middle voice is used because someone else has done the work, and the one who believes has benefited. The indicative mood declares that this is dogmatically and absolutely true. With “Truly, truly” or “Amen, amen” at the beginning of this statement, it becomes especially blasphemous for any believer to think, say, or teach that anyone can lose his salvation.
Joh 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life.”
He does not say, “You may hope to have it, providing that you continue to be faithful, or you make Him ‘Lord of all’ in your life.” Every believer already has eternal life—not will have, but already has!
The verb echei (e&xei), translated “has,” is in the present active indicative form, which reveals that this is dogmatically and habitually true for anyone who has believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. Every believer, here and now, possesses eternal life. The very life of God is given to him who believes!
Joh 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me [believes the Father’s testimony concerning the Son], has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”
This verse is so stimulating and precisely articulated in the original language. Notice the last phrase, “but has passed out of death into life.” “But” is the subordinating conjunction alla (a)lla), which can be translated “because” or “on the other hand.” A subordinating conjunction designates the reason why the action of the main verb (“does not come into judgment”) is true, and it does so by setting up a contrast. The reason why we can never again be judged, and lose our salvation, is now given with the perfect active indicative form of metabaino, which is metabebeken (metabe/bhken) and is translated “has passed.” This verb means to “pass over from one place to another,” to “be totally removed,” or to “totally depart.” The perfect tense with the indicative mood is a dogmatic way of saying “eternally secure.” The moment one believes, even before he has repented from all his sins, he has already passed from death to life. (We simply do not have the ability, in our human power, to pass from death to life and then from life to death, losing and regaining our salvation. We are incapable of ever losing our “so great” salvation!) At that moment of “faith in Christ” and forever, the “incorruptible seed” of life resides in the children of God, and they are already “seated with Christ in heavenly places,” Ephesians 2:6. The Lord Jesus Christ, therefore, makes it crystal clear that the moment one believes, he “has already passed out of death into life.” As always, “Truly, truly” introduces an important principle that Satan and the kingdom of darkness will always attack.
By now we should be able to see the power of the original, inspired languages of the Word of God, and recognize the importance to our spiritual lives of studying and understanding the Bible the way God intended. We should always be thankful to Him for making these principles and His message of grace so perfectly clear to us.
3. The Work of God the Father
The Common Sense, Logical Approach to Eternal Security
(The A Fortiori Rationale)
One of the objectives of the Christian life is to advance to a point where you will habitually think spiritually. A proper mental attitude, developed from Bible doctrine, will give you common sense and a sound mind concerning the things of God. The doctrine of eternal security is actually simple common sense. The logical approach to eternal security is developed from two words in the book of Romans—“much more.” A. T. Robertson, in his six-volume set of word studies (Vol. 4, pg. 359), brings out the fact that this phrase “much more” is an “a fortiori.” What, then is an “a fortiori”? “A fortiori” is a Latin phrase meaning “with stronger reason.” It is a system of logic using comparison. It is one conclusion, compared with some other conclusion (or recognized fact), and inferred to be even more certain or inescapable than the two conclusions it combines. For example, if I can run 20 miles, it follows a fortiori (with stronger reason) that I can run 5 miles. An a fortiori uses an inferential conclusion (I can do 10 push-ups) as being more conclusive than another reasoned conclusion (I can do 100 push-ups). It infers (or concludes) that something is true based upon another conclusion that has already been accepted. A fortiori is a system of argumentation and debate that takes an accepted fact and by comparison produces an inescapable fact and confident conclusion. A fortiori means “all the more.” It is an argument that reasons, “If God can do the greater, then He can also do the lesser.”
The “greater”: God saved you and made you like His Son.
The “lesser”: Now that you are a son, He will keep you saved.
As Webster’s Dictionary, Ninth College Edition, says, it means “with greater reason” or “more convincing force.” The New Twentieth Century Webster’s Dictionary, Second Edition, says that “a fortiori” means “all the more: said of a conclusion that follows with even greater logical necessity than another already accepted in the argument.” If I gave you $1,000,000 as a gift, it follows a fortiori that I would give you $100.
Throughout the New Testament there is found a Greek phrase from which we derive the principle of a fortiori. The Greek phrase “pollo mallon” (pollw=| ma=llon) is the indication of a fortiori, meaning “much more.” For example, it is used in Matthew 6:30, “But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith?”
The phrase “much more” is the main subject of Romans chapter five.
Rom 5:6-10,15-20* For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners [unbelievers], Christ died for us. Much more [“polloo mallon” (pollw=| ma=llon), meaning a fortiori] then, having now been justified by His
blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies [“hamartooloon” (a(martwlw=n), referring to unbelievers], we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more [“polloo mallon” (pollw=| ma=llon)], having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life… But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more [“polloo mallon” (pollw=| ma=llon)] did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more [“polloo mallon” (pollw=| ma=llon)] those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. And the Law came in that the transgression might increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more [“hupereperisseusen” (u(pereperi/sseusen)].
Logically, if God did the most for us when we were His enemies, He will do “much more” for us, now that we are His sons! A fortiori logic states that if God can do something that is extremely difficult (such as saving us), it only makes sense that He can do something much easier like keeping us saved! To say that a believer can lose his salvation is to say that it takes more power for a person to keep himself saved then it took for God to save him. That is an insult to God. What did it take for God to save mankind? It took the substitutionary spiritual death of His Son Jesus Christ on the Cross. If God has already done the greater (in saving the sinner), it follows a fortiori that He can do the lesser (preserve the believer). Using a fortiori logic, Paul is very specific regarding what required the greatest effort on God’s part. Salvation is the greatest manifestation of God’s power, and He can only do “much more” for us once we have already been saved.
Rom 8:31a What then shall we say to these things? [To what conclusion are we forced?] At the time the Bible was written this was known as “debater’s logic.” We are forced to a
conclusion in the second half of the verse.
Rom 8:31b If God is for us, who is against us?
Now how do you know that God is for you? Since the moment that you believed, God has always been for you. We know this because of grace. God immediately gave us at least forty special gifts at the moment of salvation, before we could do anything to “impress” Him. How were these things given to us?
Rom 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?God “freely gives us all things.” In a second of time God freely gave us everything necessary to secure our eternal destiny. At least forty wonderful privileges were given to you in one instant. God does not give them out one at a time based on individual performance.
Rom 8:31 If God is for us, who is against us?
The phrase “if God is for us” is a protasis of a first class condition; “If God is for us, and He is!” If God already sacrificed His own Son, it follows a fortiori, with stronger reason, that He will give us everything else; therefore, “who can be against us?!” If God did the greatest work at salvation, it follows logically (a fortiori) that He can and will do anything that is a “lesser” work. What is this “lesser” work? It is all that He has provided for us in time and eternity. Since the justice of God has already performed the greatest feat of providing salvation, it follows logically that the justice of God can provide the “lesser” for the believer after salvation. If grace could accomplish salvation itself, then grace can do absolutely anything after salvation. Therefore, once God has saved us, it follows a fortiori that God can keep us saved. And that is eternal security!
Again, the logical approach says in Romans 8:31, “Therefore, to what conclusion are we forced? If God is for us [and He is], who is against us?” The moment we believe, we know God is “for us” because He immediately bestows over forty special privileges upon us, including adopting us as His own children. Those who reject eternal security miss out on these fantastic truths, and they only hurt themselves. God is for them, but they are actually against themselves.
Rom 8:32* He [God the Father] who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over to judgment on behalf of us all, how shall He not also with Him freely give us all things?
This a fortiori says, in effect, that if God accomplished the greater at salvation by “not sparing His own Son,” it follows logically that He can do “less than the greater” thereafter by giving you “all things,” including eternal security.
Nothing and no one can hinder blessings from the justice of God to the believer except his own negative volition toward doctrine. Eternal security is a prerequisite to receiving blessings from the justice of God. In fact, your capacity for blessing includes total awareness of the security found in the integrity of God. Your potential for being blessed is always there. However, no believer who rejects the doctrine of eternal security ever attains maturity. He never receives blessings or eternal rewards from the justice of God. He still has eternal security and will always be saved, even though he is wasting his life away.
An awareness of eternal security and the integrity of God is the basis for capacity for blessing from the justice of God. We have two basic realities in life—eternal security and prosperity from the integrity of God. Eternal security is a reality that never changes; prosperity is a potential reality. Eternal security is not potential; it always exists. It is complete and total from the moment of salvation on. On the other hand, the reality of prosperity comes with spiritual maturity, once the believer has grown up. A believer cannot reject eternal security and become mature. No one can be mature without total cognizance of the integrity of God, and that includes knowledge of eternal security.
Rom 5:8-9* But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died instead of us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be delivered from the wrath of God through Him.
The first principle that goes with having God’s perfect righteousness is that you do not and cannot ever go to the lake of fire. You can never be judged at the last judgment. The wrath of God is not for the children of God.
1Th 5:9* For God has not appointed us unto wrath.
Man may repay evil with evil, but God does not. If the believer is justified by the blood of Christ, it follows a fortiori that the believer will be delivered from the last judgment.
Justification means having God’s perfect righteousness. It would make no sense for someone with perfect righteousness to be sent to the last judgment or go to the eternal lake of fire. No one can take perfect righteousness from you, and that is all that is required to go to heaven. If the greater benefit has been given (justification), God will not withhold the lesser (deliverance from the lake of fire).
The a fortiori of reconciliation also applies to the doctrine of eternal security. Rom 5:10* For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by means of the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be delivered by His life.If we were reconciled to God as His enemies, it follows a fortiori that we will be delivered as sons by His life (not our life). If the greater benefit has been given (reconciliation), the lesser (deliverance “by His life”) will not be withheld.
There are many conclusions to be realized through this system of reasoning called “a fortiori.”
The a fortiori rationale protects the believer from worry, Matthew 6:30, “‘But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, o men of little faith?’”
The a fortiori rationale protects the believer from judgment, Romans 5:9, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”
The a fortiori rationale protects the believer from destruction, Romans 5:10, “For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”
The a fortiori rationale protects the believer from spiritual poverty, Romans 5:15, “For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.”
The a fortiori rationale gives the believer the opportunity to reign with the Lord Jesus Christ, Romans 5:17, “For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”
The a fortiori rationale reveals that if the Lord treated His people graciously under the law, how much greater will He treat us in the dispensation of grace, 2 Corinthians 3:9,11, “For if the ministry of condemnation [the Mosaic Law] has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory… for if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.”
The a fortiori rationale protects the believer from fear of death, Philippians 1:23, “But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better [pollo mallon].”
The a fortiori rationale of divine discipline from the love of the Father is taught in Hebrews 12:9, “Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?”
The a fortiori rationale of divine protection is found in many passages.
Psa 121(A Song of Ascents):1-8 I Will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from whence shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun will not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.
1Sa 2:9 “He keeps the feet of His godly ones, but the wicked ones are silenced in darkness; for not by might shall a man prevail.”
Pro 3:25-26 Do not be afraid of sudden fear, nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes; for the Lord will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught.
2Ti 4:18 The Lord will deliver me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
In John 17:15*, our Lord prayed, “I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil.”
2Th 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.
The a fortiori rationale is yet another undeniable proof of the believer’s eternal security. The Family of God—Joint Heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ
The doctrine of the Royal Family of God is also an important rationale in the doctrine of eternal security.
Gal 3:26 For all of you are the sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Once we are born into a human family, we cannot be “unborn” and removed from that family; our parents will always be our parents whether we like it or not. If we cannot remove ourselves from our earthly family, it is foolish to think that we can remove ourselves from our heavenly family. No believer can ever be removed from the family of God—once in, always in! At the moment of our physical birth, we are born into our natural family; the moment we believe in Jesus Christ, we are born into the family of God (“born again”).
Everyone has a natural father and mother, and once you have been born, there is nothing you can do to change that. You can move to the other side of the world and even change your name, but they will always be your parents. No matter what you do with your life, you will always belong to the same family. Some children of God turn out well and some do not, but they are all part of God’s family. Whether you succeed or fail is not an issue in eternal security. All Church-age believers are members of the same Royal Family; they cannot lose their family identity, and they have an heirship with God.
Rom 8:16-17* The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint-heirs with the Son of God.
You will always be an heir of God no matter what, whether you fail or succeed.
Gal 4:7 Therefore, you are no longer a slave but a son [a child of God], and if a son,
then an heir through God.
Tit 3:7* That being justified by His grace, we might be made heirs on the basis of the confidence of eternal life.
Since the moment you believed in Christ, you are no longer a child of the devil, and you are now a child of God forever. You can now address almighty God as “Father”!
We have an inheritance reserved in heaven that we can never lose, 1 Peter 1:3-5,
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” At the moment of salvation, every believer received rights to an inheritance which is being preserved in heaven for him and is protected by the power of God. This inheritance is based on the work of God on behalf of the believer and becomes our right through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.Col 1:12 Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.
The Essence of God.The essence of God rationale for eternal security is based on the attributes of God. Because of His immutable, eternal, infinite attributes, God cannot and will not cancel the salvation of any believer, no matter how disgusting or evil that believer may be.
Jud 1:24-25* Now unto Him who is able to keep you from falling and present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory and majesty, dominion and power both now and forevermore.
We do not keep ourselves from falling; God does, as a matter of grace. God has the power to preserve this relationship, which He alone began. The perfect integrity of God can never be changed or affected by the sins or failures of any believer, according to 2 Timothy 2:11-13*, “It is a trustworthy statement [faithful is the word]: If we died with Him [and we have], we shall live with Him. If we endure [in undeserved suffering], we shall rule with Him. If we deny Him, He will deny us [rewards]. If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” Our unfaithfulness does not make God unfaithful. Every believer is indwelt by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; therefore, for God to deny the believer his salvation would be to deny Himself. Our eternal salvation is not based on any of our own qualities; it is based on the attributes of God.
Perfect integrity (righteousness and justice). Ever since the fall of Adam, divine justice has been mankind’s point of reference (or contact) with God. While it is true that God loves us, His love is not our point of reference. Grace is motivated by love, but it functions from justice. God can do nothing for mankind that would compromise His integrity (holiness). God is just, and all that He does for the human race goes through His justice first.
The Essence of God
Love Veracity Omniscience Omnipotence Omnipresence Immutability Righteousness Eternal Life Sovereignty
This means that God is fair; it is impossible for God to be unfair in the function of His justice. And from His justice, He has declared us righteous.
Rom 3:24 Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.
Rom 5:1 Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rom 5:9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
Rom 8:30 And whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
1Co 6:11* But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.
God is wise, incorruptible, and perfect righteousness, and what His righteousness demands, His justice executes. Therefore, He is the perfect and fair Judge, the one Judge who has never rendered a wrong decision. When God declared you perfectly righteous, He of course made the right decision. For you to ever lose your salvation would mean that you were never perfectly righteous, and that the justice of God made a wrong judicial decision. That would be blasphemous to even suggest. In all the trillions of decisions God has rendered, not one has ever been unfair or incorrect. Therefore, when God declares someone justified, there is absolutely no way that person can ever become “unjust,” or lose his status of justification.
God possesses eternal, unchangeable, perfect righteousness. All justice is administered from the perfect righteousness of God. God can never make a wrong decision; He is always perfectly right. Many passages tell us that behind God’s justice and His judgments is the other side of divine holiness—His perfect and absolute righteousness. Incredibly, this very righteousness of God is freely given to anyone who believes in Christ.
Rom 3:22* Even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe; for no distinction is made [between Jew and Gentile].”
When either a Jew or Gentile believes in Jesus Christ, the righteousness of God is imputed to him. God cannot be anything less than perfectly right, and He can never change. God has given this perfect righteousness to us freely as a “down payment,” or a guarantee of our eternal security. There is nothing you can do on your own behalf to be sustained or blessed by the grace of God, which depends only on divine justice and righteousness. God, in His infinite wisdom, found a way to bless us as believers totally apart from any system of works, righteousness, or Christian service. The greatest of those blessings is eternal security. Once we understand this aspect of who and what God is, we can adjust to His justice and develop the proper relationship with Him, not one of fear and insecurity, but of gratitude and confidence. Our Christian service then becomes the result of our spiritual growth; it can never be the means.
What the righteousness of God rejects, the justice of God condemns. Therefore, if a believer (who possesses perfect righteousness) lost his salvation, the justice of God would have to condemn the righteousness of God. However, what the righteousness of God accepts, the justice of God blesses, and for this reason we are eternally secure. We receive the righteousness of God at salvation, and from then on we receive logistical grace support (everything we need to live the Christian life) from God. We can now live with God forever because we are as good as God is, having His righteousness.
Faithfulness. The believer’s eternal security also depends on the faithfulness of God. The “faithfulness of God” is an anthropopathism, which is a human characteristic ascribed to God in the Bible, so that we can better understand Him from our human frame of reference. It is designed to build our confidence in who and what God is. For example, God is faithful in rebound, 1 John 1:9, “If we acknowledge our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” There are no exceptions to God’s faithfulness; no sin is too heinous for His forgiveness. God’s policy and attitude toward us always remain the same, on the basis of the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross.
Lam 3:21-23 This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness.
We are daily sustained and supported by the faithfulness of God, regardless of whether we are carnal or spiritual, winners or losers. All believers receive the logistical support they need in life.
God’s faithfulness is revealed in the principle of election, 1 Corinthians 1:9, “God is faithful, through whom you have been called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” There is no way God could ever be faithless to us.
1Th 5:24* Faithful is He who calls you, who will also do [provide] it.
God’s faithfulness to the reversionistic (backslidden) believer is the subject of 2 Timothy 2:13, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny himself.”
God’s faithfulness is portrayed in relationship to the prehistoric angelic conflict in 2 Thessalonians 3:3.
2Th 3:3 But the Lord keeps on being faithful; He will support and guard you from the evil one [Satan and the kingdom of darkness].
We are protected in many ways of which we are not even aware. There are many dangers around us from invisible demons (fallen angels). As believers, we cannot be demon possessed, but demon influence from false doctrine can still enter our soul, if we allow it. Nevertheless, the Lord keeps on being faithful, and He supports and guards both the loser and the winner from the evil one.
These verses on the faithfulness of God are to be a reminder to you that regardless of how you fail or succeed, the issue is not whether you are a winner or a loser, but whether or not you are a believer. God is always faithful to you, and your position “in Christ” never changes, no matter what your condition. God’s faithfulness could never cease for a moment; it would be contrary to His essence. You can never even begin to know God until you understand His essence. God remains faithful and will always remain faithful. The fact that believers can be unfaithful does not change the faithfulness of God. Every believer is indwelt by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and for God to reject the believer would be to reject Himself, 2 Timothy 2:13.
The anthropopathisms (such as faithfulness) and anthropomorphisms of the Bible clearly support the doctrine of eternal security. “Anthropomorphism” is a theological term derived from two Greek words—“anthropos,” meaning “man,” and “morphe,” meaning “form.” Therefore, “anthropomorphism” means “in the form of man.” An anthropomorphism ascribes to God a human characteristic or a part of the human body, which God does not actually have, but which is used to explain a divine policy to us in terms of human anatomy.
Many anthropomorphisms are found in the Old Testament, as in Psalm 37:24*, “Though he falls [the believer’s failure], he shall not be completely cast down, because the Lord is the one who sustains him with His hands.” The “arms of the Lord” are used as an anthropomorphism for divine protection in Deuteronomy 33:27, “The eternal God is a dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms; and He drove out the enemy from before you, and said, ‘Destroy!’” The “eye of the Lord” also represents divine protection in Zechariah 2:8, “For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.’”
Psa 17:8 Keep me as the apple of the eye, and hide me in the shadow of Thy wings…
2Sa 22:10, Psa 18:9 He bowed the heavens also, and came down with thick darkness
under His feet. [He has our enemies completely under control.]
New Testament anthropomorphisms are found in several passages, such as 1 Peter
3:12 and John 10:27-29.
1Pe 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears attend to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
Joh 10:27-29 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”
We are in the Lord’s grip forever; He never lets us go.
Sovereignty. In 2 Peter 3:9*, God expresses His sovereignty in a marvelous way:
“He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to a change of mind [about Jesus Christ].” Therefore, once a person believes on the Lord Jesus Christ and is given eternal life, God will make sure that the believer never perishes, and that His sovereign will comes to pass. He is certainly not going to lose anyone who has “passed out of death into life”; they are past the point of ever “perishing.”
Love. The love of God is also closely related to eternal security. All love that comes from the integrity of God is perfect love. God is omniscient (all-knowing); therefore, divine love has perfect knowledge about everyone that it loves. On the day you were born again and saved, God loved you personally with an infinite love that knew every single sin that you would ever commit for the rest of your life. God knows every thought that every person ever had (and will have) throughout history. Many of mankind’s thoughts about God are evil and insulting, but even that never changes God. God’s love never ceases nor turns away when someone insults or blasphemes Him. A mere human being simply does not have the ability to change God’s perfect love. God, in His foreknowledge of all human failures, never canceled His love for those who fail. God, of course, does not condone sin, but He never stops loving the sinner. God is disgusted by legalism and human good, but He even loves the legalist and the self- righteous fool who is full of his own self-importance. God has never withdrawn His love for His creatures, no matter how much His creatures may ignore or even hate Him.
God is love, always has been love, and always will be love, and His love can never be corrupted, compromised, or bribed by human works. This means that God’s love does not increase or diminish, and it cannot be changed by the sin, failure, evil, legalism, self-righteous arrogance, and instability of mankind. God’s love is never frustrated, disappointed, or distracted. It is not sustained by attraction, rapport, or by any system of human merit, works, or worthiness. In other words, God cannot be bought with “good behavior”! Neither human good, morality, self-righteousness, nor any system of Christian works attracts God to the believer. Divine love is attracted only to divine righteousness, which is incorruptible and perfect virtue. The believer possesses divine righteousness and is therefore the object of God’s personal love. As unbelievers, we were spiritually dead and were the recipients of God’s impersonal love; He loved us with a great virtue-love that depends completely on who and what He is, and that depends on nothing in us. However, once we believe in Christ and receive the imputation of divine righteousness, He can now love us personally.
Divine personal love is the love of God directed toward the divine righteousness in us. Each Person of the Trinity possesses divine personal love. Each Person of the Trinity directs His personal love toward the other Persons in the Godhead, who possess equal and co-eternal righteousness. Since the Father’s righteousness is imputed to believers of all dispensations at the moment of salvation, and since the Son’s righteousness is shared through the baptism of the Spirit in the Church-age, we (as Church-age believers) have a double portion of God’s righteousness. This is a privilege unique to the Royal Family. The imputation of divine righteousness to the believer has four results:
The believer is justified at the moment of salvation.
The believer becomes the object of God’s personal love after salvation.
The believer is now blessed and sustained through logistical grace, which flows from the justice of God to the indwelling righteousness of God.
The believer is given eternal security.
Rom 8:35-39 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Eternal life. Understanding the eternal life of God also reveals the principle of eternal security. God does not merely possess life; God is life. He is eternal life, infinite life, and spiritual life. The life of God is imparted through Jesus Christ as the only Savior.
Joh 6:47 “Truly, truly, I say unto you, he who believes in Me has eternal life.”
1Jo 5:11-12 And the witness is this [this is His deposition], that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.
The imputation of eternal life is one of the many blessings that God performs for any person at the moment of faith in Jesus Christ. It is well worth our time to study and discover God’s life and personality, because He has found a way to share it with us, beginning with eternal life, and then in making this life meaningful and wonderful. In His nature and character, God always was, always is, and always will be, and this is the life that He has given to us. Eternal life, by its very nature can never be terminated; therefore the salvation of every believer is completely secure.
Omnipresence. As believers, we also need to understand the omnipresence of God. God fills space and time with His presence, sustains it, and gives it purpose and value. God is everywhere present. He is not limited by space or time; He invented both of them, and He transcends them. The principle of “omnipresence” teaches the fact that heaven is God’s throne and the earth is God’s footstool, as in Deuteronomy 4:39 and Isaiah 66:1.
Deu 4:39b “…The Lord, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other.”
Isa 66:1a Thus says the Lord, “Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool.” Heaven itself cannot contain God; He is even far greater than heaven, 1 Kings
8:27, Acts 17:24.
1Ki 8:27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain Thee, how much less this house which I have built!”
Act 17:24 “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.”
The omnipresence of God is essential to the fulfillment of many of His promises, such as Matthew 28:20b, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Heb 13:5* Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never, no never, desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.”
1Sa 12:22a “For the Lord will not abandon His people on account of His great name.”
Psa 37:23-28 The steps of a man are established by the Lord; and He delights in his way. When he falls, he shall not be hurled headlong; because the Lord is the One who holds his hand. I have been young, and now I am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, or his descendants begging bread. All day long he is gracious and lends; and his descendants are a blessing. Depart from evil, and do good, so you will abide forever. For the Lord loves justice, and does not forsake His godly ones; they are preserved forever; but the descendants of the wicked will be cut off.
Omniscience. We can also take comfort in the omniscience of God. There was never a time in all of eternity past when God did not know everything about you, including every thought you would ever have, every motive that would be formed from those thoughts, every decision you would make from thought (or lack of thought), and every action that would result. There never was a time and never will be a time at which you will have a thought or motive, or make a decision (even an asinine one), that God did not know billions and billions of years ago. Because He is immutable, God has never changed; even His complete knowledge of the sinful human race has never changed Him. Changes in His creatures do not change Him.
Mal 3:6 “For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.”
For all of eternity past, God already knew everything that would, or even possibly could, happen. He knew all these things simultaneously. There never was a time that God did not know everything, including every sin that you would ever commit after the day of your salvation. God knows everything about you that is knowable, every thought, decision, motive, and action that ever would or could come from your volition; this is true for all the billions and billions of God’s creatures. Time has no effect on God’s knowledge. Therefore, the future is as well known to Him as the past.
2Pe 3:8b With the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
The day you were born again, and God declared you justified, He had already (in His omniscience) taken into account every sinful thought, motive, and decision you would ever have, from the day of your salvation to the day of your death. The day you believed and God adopted you as His son, He had already taken into account every failure of the rest of your life, and He still declared you righteous. Therefore, it would be totally illogical for Him to ever change His mind about saving you.
Omnipotence. The omnipotence of God is another part of His essence that is vital to the doctrine of eternal security. The term “omnipotence” is used to describe the unlimited power of God. God is always in control. God has never lost control in all of human history or even in prehistoric times during Satan’s rebellion and the beginning of the angelic conflict. God created free will (volition) in man, so that man would have freedom to choose for or against God. In his negative volition toward God and His Word, man may appear to be out of control, but the Lord Jesus Christ still controls history. Omnipotence emphasizes the eternal supremacy of God’s authority. God is infinite and eternal; therefore, His power is infinite and eternal.
1Pe 1:5* [We] are guarded by the power of God through faith for a deliverance, ready to be revealed in the last time.
1Sa 2:9 “He keeps the feet of His godly ones, but the wicked ones are silenced in darkness; for not by might shall a man prevail.”
Divine omnipotence is essential to the promises and the actions of God.
Isa 43:13 “Even from eternity, I am He, and there is no one who can deliver out of My hand. I act, and who can reverse it?”
Joh 10:27-30 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
Phi 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
A believer can renounce his salvation and enter into any form of blasphemy, but he cannot change the reality of his salvation. The Lord keeps on being faithful; He supports and guards both the loser and the winner. Regardless of how we fail or succeed, He is always faithful to us, 1 John 2:25, “This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.”
Veracity. The term “veracity” means that God is absolute truth, Deuteronomy 32:4. The veracity of God is behind all His promises.
Tit 1:1-2 Paul, a bond-servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago…
Heb 6:18 In order that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge in laying hold of the hope set before us.
Num 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”
He has promised us eternal life.
Joh 10:28 And I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.
1Jo 2:25 And this is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.
God makes the promise of eternal life to the believer, with no conditions attached. Immutability. God is immutable; His character, nature, and attributes can never and will never change. There is nothing that could ever happen in God’s creation that
could change who and what He is.
Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Mal 3:6 “For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore, you, O sons of Jacob, are not
1Sa 15:29 “Also, the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind, for He is not a man that He should change His mind.”
Psa 89:33-34 “But I will not break off my lovingkindness from him, nor deal falsely in My faithfulness. My covenant I will not violate, nor will I alter the utterance of My lips.”
To say that God would take back our salvation is to say that we do not know who He is.
We cannot even begin to know God until we understand His grace. The Biblical meaning of the word “grace” (“charis” in the Greek) represents that which is limitless and measureless. Grace is nothing less than the unlimited love of God expressing itself in measureless blessing. Grace is divine provision for mankind before, during, and after salvation. Grace is not held back or withdrawn because of failure. In fact, it is the sense of defect or fault that impels a soul to cry out for the kindness and benefits of grace. Grace ceases to be grace if God is compelled to withdraw it in the presence of human failure or sin. In fact, grace cannot be exercised where there is the slightest degree of human merit to be recognized. Grace cannot be lessened or weakened because of failure or sin. This means that God can do no less in grace for one who is sinful than He would do for one who was less sinful. The “sin” question has been set aside forever at the Cross, and through the invisible assets (everything we need to live the spiritual life) and the escrow account (blessings reserved for every believer), the same grace is given to all who believe.
Grace cannot be increased; it is the expression of God’s already infinite love. It also cannot be diminished, because every limitation that human sin might impose on the action of a righteous God has, through the Cross, been dismissed forever. Grace does not mean that God ignores or overlooks sin; grace means that God has dealt with sin perfectly and completely in His Son on the Cross. The grace of God, therefore, is exercised totally independent from human sin or failure. Grace is based on the freedom God has to express His love to all mankind through the Cross. In grace, we have no debt toward God; our debt was paid for us by the Lord Jesus Christ. An act is in no sense gracious if, under any circumstance, a debt is incurred.
Rom 4:4-8 Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account.”
Grace must always remain unadulterated in its generosity and benefit. It is only pure grace from pure God; it has nothing whatsoever to do with man.
Rom 11:6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.
Through grace, God is glorified and sinners are saved. What He does, He does in grace, and therefore He bestows His blessings as free gifts. No benefit can be called a gift if a price is paid for it at any time (past, present, or future). Any attempt to compensate God or pay Him back for anything He has done is totally incompatible with the grace of God. These attempts, though many times made in sincerity, exhibit a lack of appreciation for the love and grace of God. The behavior of many believers today is actually frustrating the grace of God. All attempts to repay His gift, be they ever so sincere, serve only to frustrate His grace and belittle the marvelous kindness of God to some form of creature credit. How faithfully we should serve Him, but never to repay Him!
We do not owe God a thing; what He did for us He did with no strings attached. Our service is simply our means of expressing our love and devotion to Him, but it is not to make anything up to Him. We would never be able to pay Him back even 1% of what He has given us. Salvation must be understood and treated as a gift from God. Salvation is never conditioned on human faithfulness or on the promise of human faithfulness. Grace is not something that God owes the human race. Even after the Cross, God does not owe us His grace. It is simply part of His nature; it is who and what He is. The payment of a debt (even an honest debt) could never be an act of grace. The offer of salvation to the human race is not something that God had to do. Salvation is strictly unmerited favor, a manifestation of the grace of God. Grace demands that every form of human merit be set aside completely so that pure grace may be exercised.
No believer can orient to the grace of God until he understands that salvation comes by grace through faith alone. Adherence to any system of salvation by works (adding anything to faith for salvation) results in one of two categories of legalism:
Salvation by works.
Spirituality by works.
Sadly, some religious people are confused about eternal security because they were never actually saved in the first place. They had added some form of human effort to faith, thus nullifying that faith.
No believer can orient to the grace of God until he understands what God has provided, especially the mystery doctrine of the Church-age and the unique power and assets that come with it. Grace has provided for every believer infinite spiritual wealth that can never be destroyed. This wealth is permanent and eternal, but can only be discovered through study of doctrine. It is described for us in such passages as Romans 9:23, “In order that He might make known the riches of His glory on vessels of mercy, which He prepared in advance for glory.” We are the “vessels of mercy,” and God has provided for us eternal and infinite riches. These riches must be made known to the believer and exploited by him for God to be glorified.
Rom 11:33-36* Oh the depth of the wealth, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are His decrees; how unteachable His ways. Who then has known the mind of the Lord? Who has become His advisor? Who has given to Him and not been compensated? For from Him, through Him, and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
The key to understanding God’s wealth is in knowledge, which is the perception of doctrine, and in wisdom, which is the application of doctrine. Wherever wealth is mentioned, the context reveals that we must know it to have it.
Eph 1:18* That the eyes of your right lobe [the right lobe of the soul, called the “heart”] may be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.
Eph 3:8* To me, the very least of all the saints, this grace has been given to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable wealth of Christ.
Eph 3:16* That He may give you, on the basis of His riches in glory, to become strong by means of power through the Spirit in your inner being.
The ministry of the Spirit in teaching Bible doctrine is the basis for understanding your wealth.
Col 1:27* In whom God willed to reveal to the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Col 2:2* That their right lobes [hearts] may be encouraged, having been knit together in virtue love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding on the basis of knowledge [epignosis, meaning doctrine that has been learned, understood, and believed] of God’s mystery.
Your perception of doctrine is your only hope of experiencing the wealth of grace. Unfortunately, most believers do not understand what grace is.
Let us look at some basic definitions concerning the grace of God as taught in the Bible. Definitions are very important when it comes to theology. If we are ever going to understand the divine plan of God and eternal security, we need to be crystal clear on the subject of grace.
The Biblical meaning of the word “grace” represents that which is limitless and measureless; it is nothing less than the unlimited love of God expressing itself in measureless blessing. It represents realities that are infinite and eternal.
Grace also means kindness, mercy, and favor. In fact, the Old Testament identifies grace by the word “favor.” Similar terms, such as “kindness” and “mercy,” all imply that we never earn or deserve anything.
Grace is based on divine forgiveness. We are forgiven on the basis of what God has done for us. We are never forgiven on the basis of what we have done for God.
Grace is divine provision for mankind before, during, and after salvation.
Grace can also be defined as undeserved blessing. Therefore grace is free, unmerited, and undeserved.
Grace is all that God is free to do for mankind without compromising His essence. In other words, God has found a way to deal with us graciously, in spite of our imperfections and our sinful nature. Grace, therefore, is the policy of God in dealing with mankind under two separate categories:
The divine policy in salvation for all mankind. Grace had to do a tremendous amount of work in salvation for mankind. Mankind is spiritually dead before salvation, and therefore grace had to do all the work. As a spiritually dead person, the unbeliever is described in three different ways from the point of his birth.
o Total depravity. He cannot even learn anything from God under total depravity.
o Total separation from God. There is no way he can bridge the gap.
o Total helplessness. He cannot do anything to gain the recognition of God.
The divine policy for Church-age believers, which, again, is all grace. Grace is God’s policy, not only in the salvation of man, but also in His plan for the believer after salvation. Even after salvation, the policy does not change. The Apostle Paul said in Colossians 2:6, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him.” The way we received Him is the way we live the Christian life.
Grace is all that God is free to do for mankind on the basis of the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. God is now free to make certain provisions for even the spiritually dead, who are totally helpless and can do nothing to gain the approbation of God.
Grace is also defined as all that God is free to do for each Church-age believer without compromising His essence.
Grace is the ultimate manifestation of the genius of God, directed toward the entire human race, believer and unbeliever.
Grace is everything that God is now free to do for fallen man on the basis of what was already accomplished on the Cross. God saves sinners by grace; He keeps us saved by grace; He teaches us by grace. And grace depends only upon the character of God. Grace is God doing the work and man receiving what God has provided in a non-meritorious way. In grace, as opposed to religion, God receives all the glory.
The doctrine of grace teaches these fundamental principles:
The most obvious characteristic of grace is that it is not held back or withdrawn because of failure.
Grace ceases to be grace if God is compelled to withdraw it in the presence of human failure or sin. In fact, grace cannot be exercised where there is the slightest degree of human merit to be recognized. Through the Cross all questions of demerit have been banished, and God is righteously free to exercise grace in every case.
Grace cannot be lessened because of failure or sin; God cannot do more in grace for one who is less sinful than another. The sin question has been set aside forever, and an equal exercise of grace is extended to all who believe.
Therefore, grace cannot be increased because it is the expression of God’s infinite love, and it cannot be diminished by sin because the sin issue has been resolved, once and for all, on the Cross.
Grace does not mean that God ignores or overlooks sin; it simply means that God has dealt with sin perfectly in His Son on the Cross. By grace then, the infinite resources of the omnipotence of God are offered to all. The grace of God is therefore exercised in perfect independence from human sin or failure. Grace is the freedom God has to express His love to us.
Grace cannot incur a debt. An act is in no sense gracious, if under any circumstances, a debt is incurred, Romans 4:4-8. Grace must always remain unadulterated in its generosity and benefit. Grace always maintains total purity, and can never be tainted with the work of man. Grace can only come from pure God, and has nothing whatsoever to do with man.
Through grace God is glorified and sinners are saved. Any attempt to compensate God or to pay Him back for anything He gives is totally incompatible with His grace. These attempts, though quite often made in sincerity, exhibit a lack of appreciation for the love and grace of God; they only serve to frustrate the grace of God. The grace of God is too often denied by well-meaning attempts to compensate God for His benefits. As grateful creatures, we should faithfully serve Him, but never attempt to repay Him; we would be insulting His grace with some form of creature credit. We are not to feel that we owe God something and have to pay Him back. What He did for us He did with no strings attached. Service is our means of expressing our love and devotion to Him, but it is not what we owe him. We could never repay Him 1% of what He has given us. Christian service for God should also be based on grace, just as God’s actions on behalf of the human race are based on grace.
On the other hand, grace is not something that God owes the human race, even after the Cross. If God was in any way indebted to the human race, none of His acts on our behalf would be acts of grace; even the payment of an honest debt is not an act of grace. The offer of salvation to the human race is not something that God had to do or that He owed the human race. It is strictly a manifestation of His grace. Grace demands that every form of human merit be set aside completely so that pure grace may be exercised, not only in the salvation of man, but also in God’s policy for the believer after salvation. The grace policy remains the same after salvation, Colossians 2:6.
Grace is God’s means of expressing to mankind His fantastic love for all. The entire human race has been placed under the divine judicial sentence of sin, and it is obvious that all men are sinners, both by nature and practice. Therefore, God has pronounced an equal and absolute sentence of judgment against all, both Jew and Gentile. All men have already been condemned, John 3:18, “He who does not believe has been judged already.” We are all said to be “sons of disobedience,” Ephesians 2:2, “In which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.” We are born sinners, not on the grounds of our own sinfulness, but under the federal headship of fallen Adam. We are told that God has shut up all in disobedience, or under unbelief, Romans 11:32, “For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all.” We are all under sin, Romans 3:9, “…both Jews and Greeks are all under sin.” We are all guilty, Romans 3:19, “Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, that every mouth may be closed, and all the world may become accountable to God.” Therefore, all human merit has been discarded absolutely and forever, and no divine obligation exists toward any member of the human race.
Grace is never the overpayment of a debt or a reward for trying hard. Grace is neither treating a person as he deserves, nor treating a person better than he deserves; grace is treating a person graciously without the slightest reference to what he deserves. It is infinite love expressing itself in infinite goodness.
Divine grace is never decreased or increased; however, the experience of that grace depends on the believer’s fellowship with God.
Grace did not appear in the immediate divine dealings with the sins of the world. Grace did not judge our sins; justice and righteousness did. We were never forgiven simply because God was “big-hearted” enough to forget the payment for sin, which is spiritual death. Under the principle of true Gospel preaching, sinners are to be told that they may now stand forever pardoned before God, not because God is gracious enough to excuse their sins; but because there is redemption through the blood of Christ and His saving work on the Cross.
Col 2:13-14 And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the Cross.
When God forgives absolutely and eternally, through the Cross of Christ, He is acting as a judge; He is not acting as a father with a father’s heart. This is judicial forgiveness. For the believer, accepting this judicial forgiveness guarantees an unchangeable standing and position “in Christ.” Judicial forgiveness itself is not an act of grace, but a judicial offer to all mankind from the righteousness and justice of God.
Grace has dealt with the sin issue, once and for all, and unless you understand this, you cannot even begin to understand the grace of God in eternal security. Judicial forgiveness covers all sin and pardons the sinner forever. This pardon covers all sins, past, present, and future. In His faithfulness as a caring Father, God will correct and discipline His child who lives in sin; however, there is a tremendous difference between judgment and discipline.
The forgiveness of God toward the sinner, then, is made possible only through the Cross rather than an immediate act of grace.
Forgiveness cancels every debt before God, whereas justification declares the sinner to be forever judicially righteous in God’s eyes. One is a subtraction (of a debt), the other is an addition (of perfect righteousness), and both are made initially possible through the Cross, rather than grace.
When God gives to us from His grace, He is not obligated to do so for any reason whatsoever. Therefore, He does not expect anything from mankind in return for this grace. If He was to take back any gift that He gave in grace, then it was not in grace that He gave it. It would have been given based upon contingencies.
It is true that a believer can lose rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ. It is not true that he never had any rewards; grace deposited fantastic blessings, in eternity past, in escrow for every believer, Ephesians 1:3-4, 1 Peter 1:3-4; he loses these rewards because he rejected the grace provisions of God after salvation.
Grace is not the issue in dealing with the sins of the saved. What God does in forgiving us, experientially in time, is based on all that was accomplished on the Cross. Through His death, Christ provided the means for both the salvation of the unsaved and the restoration of the saved. According to the scriptures, vital elements enter into the divine forgiveness and cleansing that takes place when a believer is restored to fellowship with God.
Confession is the one and only condition on man’s end.
Absolute forgiveness and cleansing is promised on God’s end.
Protection is promised because of the Advocate we have “at the right hand of God,” the Lord Jesus Christ.
Divine forgiveness and cleansing are exercised toward the believer because of the faithfulness of God.
Therefore, God the Father does not actually act in gracious kindness when forgiving and cleansing the believer; He acts in strict faithfulness to His covenant and promise concerning forgiveness of sin.
Forgiveness of sin is based upon the righteousness and justice of God—not the grace of God.
The believer does not draw on the mercy and grace of God when he is restored to fellowship; He depends on the character and nature of God for His forgiveness. As the scripture says in 1 John 1:9*, “He is faithful and just [not loving or gracious] to forgive us our sins.” Therefore, grace does not appear in the forgiving and cleansing of the believer’s sins.
It can be concluded, then, that the word “grace” represents the uncompromised, unrestricted, unrecompensed, loving favor of God toward sinners. It is blessing unearned; it is the limitless, unrestrained love of God acting on behalf of the lost. Grace is more than love; it is love that has been totally freed to love without limits.
Grace is necessary in all areas of the Christian way of life.
Grace is needed in prayer, Hebrews 4:16, “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.”
Grace is needed in undeserved suffering, 2 Corinthians 12:9, “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’”
Grace is needed for the release of divine power, 2 Timothy 2:1, “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
Grace is needed for stability, 1 Peter 5:12*, “This is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!”
Grace is needed to grow spiritually, 2 Peter 3:18, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” The legalist never grows up spiritually.
The doctrine of grace is a powerful assurance of eternal security and confidence in our relationship with God. Eternal security is a gift from God at salvation, and it is something every believer possesses forever, regardless of his experiential status.
Grace, of course, does not mean treating a person as he deserves, nor does it mean treating a person better than he deserves; grace does not even consider what the person deserves. Grace functions on our behalf without the slightest reference to what we deserve. Grace is infinite love expressing itself in infinite goodness. In grace, God does all the work, and man receives what God has provided in a non-meritorious fashion. Grace always gives credit to God. Legalism and religion place the burden on man and force him to do the work, and God gets no credit. This brings us right back to the angelic conflict; Satan hates to see God getting the credit and being glorified. The conflict is in Creator credit versus creature credit.
1Pe 5:12* “With the help of Silas, whom I regard as a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it.”
4. Work of God the Holy Spirit Positional Truth
There are few doctrines in the New Testament that are as misunderstood as the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We will not study this doctrine in detail, but it is important to understand that this ministry of God the Holy Spirit enters every believer into an intimate union with the Lord Jesus Christ. Throughout the Pauline epistles, the believer is said to be “in Christ.” This is also known as positional sanctification. Therefore, every Church- age believer shares in who and what Christ is. The positional sanctification rationale is found in Romans 8:38-39, “I have confidence that neither death nor life [nothing that could happen in life or even in death], nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.” The last prepositional phrase, “in Christ Jesus,” is a technical term used for our union with Christ through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Because we are in union with Christ, nothing can separate us from our eternal salvation. We can never break our union with Christ. It is on the basis of this union that the believer is declared justified by God and receives the perfect righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Once a member of the human race has been found “not guilty” by God the Father, no one can make an accusation against him.
Rom 8:33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the One who justifies.
2Co 5:20-21 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
At the point of faith in Christ, through the baptism of the Spirit, every believer is entered into union with Christ in the Church-age. Since His life is eternal, we, as believers, also have eternal life. Because of our union with Him we share His life, 1 John 5:11-12, “This is the record: God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has [eternal] life; he who does not have the Son does not have [eternal] life.” Our union with Him also entitles us to:
sharing Jesus Christ’s divine righteousness, 2 Corinthians 5:21, being accepted in Christ forever, Ephesians 1:6,
sharing the destiny of Christ, Ephesians 1:5,
sharing the heirship of Christ, Ephesians 1:5,
sharing the election of Christ, Ephesians 1:4 and Isaiah 42:1, being sanctified in Christ, 1 Corinthians 1:2,30,
sharing in Christ’s Sonship as the Son of God, Galatians 3:26, and sharing in Christ’s kingship, 2 Peter 1:11.
being seated in heavenly places, Ephesians 2:6.
If all of this is true, and it is, think of how foolish it is to run around, trying to hang on to your salvation, and worrying that you might accidentally undo what God has done! Once we learn the doctrine of positional truth we can be absolutely secure concerning our salvation. We are already “seated with Christ in heavenly places.”
Eph 2:6 And [God the Father] raised us up with Him [the Lord Jesus Christ], and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
Paul does not say, “Those of us who are good, sweet, and moral”; all believers are seated with Christ in heavenly places. Positional truth belongs to the carnal as well as the spiritual believer, 1 Corinthians 1:2,30. God the Holy Spirit enters all believers, as new creatures, into union with Christ. Here are some basic principles of positional truth that we must understand:
Positional truth is not an experience; it is not something we feel. It is not progressive.
It is perfect at salvation.
It is not related to human merit.
It is the work of God the Holy Spirit.
It is eternal in nature.
It can only be understood through the study of Bible doctrine.
It is always our position in Christ, and never our condition on earth, that determines our eternal destiny.
The New Creature
Under positional truth, every believer is made a brand new creature, not an old creature given a second chance, but a brand new spiritual species! As new creatures we are given the power to live the Christian way of life. (However, if we do not feed the new nature, the old nature will rule in our lives.) Understanding the fact that we are new creatures will give us confidence concerning eternal security. We need to realize what we are and then live accordingly…
You are a new creature.
You are a child of the King.
You are Royal Family.
You are the Body of Christ.
You are an heir to the throne. You are an ambassador for Christ. You are a royal priest.
You are a king.
Gal 6:14-16 But may it never be that I should boast, except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
2Co 5:17 Therefore, if anyone [the Church-age believer] is in Christ [and he is], he is a new creature [or spiritual species]; the old things [position in Adam and spiritual death] passed away [or lost their power]; behold, new things have come [the invisible assets and the predesigned plan of God].”
Remember that the believer still has the old sin nature, but it cannot function or control his life apart from his own consent and negative volition toward doctrine. The Greek words “kaine ktisis,” translated “new creature,” reveal a fantastic new principle, unique to the Church-age. This does not mean that you have merely been renovated, fixed up, or repaired. A brand new nature has been created in you; you have become a new spiritual species. This new creature that was created or “born” at salvation can never sin, 1 John 3:9, “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” Throughout your life, you will always have the choice of living in this new sinless nature or your old sinful nature. The new spiritual species is the basis for the believer’s victory in the Church-age and for sharing in our Lord’s victory on the Cross. The new spiritual species of the Church-age possesses the following characteristics:
The new spiritual species is created by the Holy Spirit at salvation. This is called positional sanctification and is the basis for the equal privilege that all Church-age believers share under the doctrine of predestination.
The new spiritual species possesses eternal life, 1 John 5:11-12.
The new spiritual species possesses a double divine righteousness—the imputed perfect righteousness of God the Father, Romans 3:22, and the perfect righteousness we share with Jesus Christ through positional sanctification, 1 Corinthians 1:30.
The new spiritual species has an inheritance protected by the omnipotence of God.
Becoming a new spiritual species is not progressive; it is instantaneous. It cannot be improved in time or in eternity, since it is already perfect. It is a gift of God and originates from His sovereignty; therefore, we can never improve it (or discard it), no matter what we do or how we live.
Becoming a new spiritual species is not an emotion or an experience; it is attained through faith rather than empiricism. Emotion is a normal part of life and a normal function of the soul, but it is not the basis of the Christian life, nor is it a part of the spiritual life. It is normal for your emotions to respond to the Word of God when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, but emotion is not a sign of spirituality, and it is not a function of the filling of the Holy Spirit.
Becoming a new spiritual species is not related to any form of human works or human merit.
The new spiritual species is forever protected from liability at the last judgment, and can never lose its salvation, Romans 8:1.
The new spiritual species of the Church-age is justified (declared perfectly righteous and absolved from all guilt) and sanctified (set apart for God). Just as Old Testament believers, we are justified when we receive God’s righteousness, Romans 3:24. We are sanctified (entered into union with Christ) as a new spiritual species, 1 Corinthians 1:2,30; Hebrews 10:10,14. (No Old Testament believer, however, was ever entered into union with Christ. This is a special privilege for the Church-age believer!)
The new spiritual species is unique to the Church-age; it never existed in any previous dispensation, nor will it exist in any future dispensation.
Eph 4:22 That, in reference to your former manner of life [your old lifestyle], you lay aside the old self [old sin nature], which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit.
The old sin nature is continually being corrupted according to its deceitful lusts. This means that you can never please God by entering into asceticism (a strict denial of the flesh in an attempt to gain approbation from God).
What then are we to do after we lay aside the old self?
Eph 4:23-24 And that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind [or by means of “the breathing of the soul,” i.e., the intake of Bible doctrine] and put on the new self [the new creature], which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
In this passage we see a putting off the old man and a putting on of the new spiritual species.
Eph 4:22 …lay aside the old self… Eph 4:24 …put on the new self…
The old creature is corrupt; the new creature is created. They are totally separate, and since the new creature is perfect, we do not need to worry about cleaning up the old sin nature. This doctrine therefore goes hand-in-hand with eternal security.
Eph 4:24 …which in the likeness of God has been created…
The word for “created” is the aorist, passive, participle form of the verb “ktizo,” which is “ktisthenta,” which means to create something out of nothing. It reveals something brand new. Remember, when God created the heavens and the earth, He created them out of nothing. To create is to make something out of nothing! Paul teaches here that the new creature is created out of nothing existing in us. The new spiritual species is not created from a sweet personality, from living morally, from being good, or from witnessing, praying, or serving. It is not a gradual improvement of Adam. It is a brand new nature within, not a spark to ignite the old one. God has put something in us that was never there before, a brand new nature that cannot sin, 1 John 3:9. Therefore, the Christian is not the old man improved; he is not the old creature trying to be better than what he once was. He is a brand new person from a brand new birth; the new man is indeed a new creation.
1Pe 1:23 For you have been born again, not of seed which is perishable, but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding Word of God.
Just as the Creator created man in the beginning, so a new man is created at the new birth. Believers are God’s workmanship, or the result of His production, Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.” Therefore, we can say with the Apostle Paul in Philippians 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus [not “as long as you’re good!”].” In Philippians 2:13, “It is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” The new creature is created by God after God’s own image.
Eph 4:24* And put on the new creature which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth [or “springing from the truth”].
God has imparted something of His own nature within all believers and has created us in His own image. We have received perfect righteousness, holiness, and truth, all of which were lost through the fall. If believers could only realize this and learn about this new creature, this new inner man, they would never even consider the blasphemy of losing their salvation. Most of our failures, insecurities, doubts, and fears ultimately result from ignorance of what God has done for us, and who God has made us to be. It is only as we fully understand the new creature that we are capable of living in the new creation and fulfilling the predesigned plan of God.
Rom 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
2Co 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.
Eph 3:16 That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man.
Col 3:10 …and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.
It is the new nature that we possess that allows us to live with God forever and ever.
Our old nature was crucified on the Cross with the Lord Jesus Christ, Romans 6:6.
Rom 6:6 Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.
All these scriptures lead us to a very clear conclusion. If the old sinful nature has been put to death, then it was never saved in the first place. It has died, Colossians 3:3, “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” The old nature, which is the only part of our being that can sin, is dead. The new nature is alive and it cannot sin. How can a believer ever lose his salvation when his old nature has never been saved, and his new nature is the very nature of God? To say that a believer can lose his salvation is to say that the nature of God can sin.
Act 17:29 “Being then the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the divine nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man.”
At the moment of salvation you received the perfect, sinless nature of God. In 2 Peter 1:4*, we are said to be “partners with the divine nature.” The knowledge that we have been born of God should give us tremendous confidence.
Joh 1:12-13 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
The “Sealing” Metaphor
The sealing work of God the Holy Spirit introduces yet another rationale for
Eph 1:13* In whom, when you heard the message of truth, the Gospel of your salvation [common grace]; in whom, when you believed [efficacious grace], you were also sealed by means of the Holy Spirit.
The signature guarantee (sealing ministry) of the Holy Spirit includes the following:
The ministry of the Holy Spirit in common and efficacious grace (pre-salvation grace).
Eternal salvation at the moment of faith in Christ (salvation grace).
Eternal security in time (post-salvation grace).
The portfolio of invisible assets in time (post-salvation grace).
Eph 4:30* Stop grieving the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you have been sealed to the
day of redemption.
A seal is a sign of possession; a seal attached to anything of any value signifies ownership. Sealing was a sign of business transactions or contracts in the ancient world; therefore, in the spiritual realm, the sealing of the Spirit is God’s final stamp of approval! No matter what happens after salvation, God owns us and will gather us all to Himself at the rapture of the Church, the point of ultimate sanctification (resurrection). The work for salvation is totally finished, John 17:4, 19:30.
Joh 17:4 “I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do.”
Joh 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit.
God the Holy Spirit indwells us and seals us in Christ forever, because God the Father has signed a contract with us, and He will never renege on it.
Mal 3:6 “For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.”
We change toward Him, but He never changes toward us!
1Sa 15:29 “Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.”
As sealing was used as a sign of ownership on horses and chariots centuries ago, it also represents God’s ownership of every believer.
1Co 6:19-20 …Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
You belong to Him! You have been branded! And you can’t erase it or remove it!
An individual’s personal seal was used as a signature guarantee for cashing checks; all he had to do was put his seal, or “signet,” on paper. The one with the checkbook (or, in our day, the credit card) was the one with all the wealth and resources. This, of course, reminds us of all the resources that belong to God, which He has made available to us. The seal was used to protect something very valuable, such as a treasury or library, and the obvious analogy here is that, as believers, we are of infinite value to
There are also many passages in the Old Testament that reveal how precious
born-again believers are to God.
Zec 2:8 “…For he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.”
Mal 3:17 (King James Version) “And they shall be mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “in
that day when I make up My jewels…”
Isa 62:3 You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem
in the hand of your God.
A seal was also put on fruit as a sign of approval and a guarantee of quality; likewise, we can stand in His presence perfect, unblamable, and irreprovable (Jude 1:24). As believers in the Church-age, we are His children, His sons, and His heirs; we are royal priests and royal ambassadors. He has presented us as a glorious church in Ephesians 5:27, “having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing… but holy and blameless.”
2Ti 2:19* Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord abstain from evil.”
The principle of sealing, then, is a reminder of the fact that God loves us with an infinite love and will never change. Nothing we can do can break the seal. God did all the work. God drew up the contract, and all we did was “sign on the dotted line” when we believed. Anything on which God places His seal belongs to God forever. Because of His integrity and immutability, God’s ownership is permanent. The sealing of the Holy Spirit at salvation, then, is used as a challenge to the believer to avoid carnality and reversionism, and persevere, no matter how he fails and how many times he fails.
The Holy Spirit of God indwells every Church-age believer forever. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself foretold this in John 14:16-17, “‘And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth,whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.’” The Holy Spirit may be “grieved” (when the believer sins), Ephesians 4:30, and He may be “quenched” (when the believer is influenced by evil), 1 Thessalonians 5:19, but He will never be extinguished. He can never leave the child of God, because His seal would then be worthless, and our Lord’s prayer would be unfulfilled.
5The Work of God the Son
The Lord’s Redeeming Work
The finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross provides irrefutable evidence that the believer can never lose his salvation. To deny eternal security is to deny what the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished on the Cross. It is to reduce the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to the level of bulls and goats.
Heb 10:10-14 By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices [of bulls and goats], which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
A principle that is greatly misunderstood in Christianity today is the fact that when a believer sins after salvation, there remains no more sacrifice for sins (Hebrews 10:26).
Heb 10:26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins…
Let us be sure to keep these scriptures in context; notice what “willful sin” is mentioned in the previous verse.
Heb 10:25* …Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but gathering together for the purpose of encouragement; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.
Why is there no more sacrifice for sins? Because the price for sin has already been paid once and for all! The Lord says in Hebrews 10:17, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more,” and in Hebrews 8:12, “For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”
Heb 10:18 Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin. [No more offerings are necessary, because the Lord Jesus Christ is the ultimate and final sacrifice.]
Even losers who have believed have eternal security. For some believers, there will be disgrace at the Judgment Seat of Christ (1 John 2:28), but that does not in any way cancel their salvation.
1Jo 2:28* And now my children, keep abiding in Him, that if He should appear, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame in His presence [the Judgment Seat of Christ].
Losers do not lose their salvation; they do, however, lose their escrow blessings for time and eternity, 1 Corinthians 3:15, “If any man’s work is burned up, he shall suffer loss [of escrow blessings]; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire.” Since escrow blessings are irrevocable, they remain on deposit forever in heaven as a memorial to lost opportunity and the grace assets for the fulfillment of God’s plan. Therefore, lost opportunity is not loss of salvation, but failure to glorify God in time.
Phi 3:18-19* For many keep walking, concerning whom I have communicated many times to you, and now continue communicating, even weeping, the enemies of the Cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their emotion, whose glory is their shame, who keep on thinking about earthly things.
With His great understanding of doctrine, the Apostle Paul wept for his fellow believers. It was very trying for him, as he watched other believers become losers, when they could easily have been winners. Such losers are actually the “enemies of Christ,” and so they will die under the “sin unto death” (God will take them home early because they have become useless in this life), 1 John 5:16b. These believers make emotions their criterion for spirituality. Shame at the judgment seat of Christ will be felt by many believers who failed to execute the predesigned plan of God in the Church-age after salvation. These believers failed in the function of perception, metabolization, and application of the mystery doctrine of the Church-age.
Many believers become the enemies of the Cross by adding other requirements to the grace of God; they never become grace oriented. The only condition for receiving eternal life from God is personal faith in Jesus Christ, and the only condition for living the spiritual life is, again, the grace of God; however, these individuals feel that something more needs to be added. In their arrogance, believers who are enemies of the Cross always try to make additions to faith alone in Christ alone. Some common errors include faith plus…
repentance as sorrow for sins.
submission to the “Lordship” of Christ.
inviting Christ into your heart.
preparing for salvation through self-improvement by giving up certain sins and bad habits.
psychological activity such as raising hands, walking aisles, weeping tears of repentance, and emotionalism.
These concepts represent salvation by works, which is not salvation at all!
The believer in Jesus Christ who makes the mystery doctrine of the Church-age his first priority becomes a “workman who does not need to be ashamed,” 2 Timothy 2:15. Winners are described in Philippians 1:20*, “According to my earnest expectation and hope [motivation], that I shall not be put to shame in anything [at the Judgment Seat of Christ], but with all boldness [confidence], Christ shall even now as always be glorified in my body, whether by life or by death.”
Our High Priest
The Lord Jesus Christ intercedes for us as our Advocate. Our Lord Himself protects us by interceding on our behalf. This should be a great comfort to every child of God, and it is only through ignorance of the Word of God that he is deprived of this comfort.
Heb 7:23-25 And the former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers, because they were prevented by death from continuing, but He, on the other hand, because He abides forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
Rom 8:34 Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
Since our Lord’s priesthood is eternal and immutable, His ministry as our High Priest has no end. We will never know all that His intercession has accomplished in our lives every hour of every day. What confidence we should have when we realize that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is praying for us!
Joh 17:11 “And I am no more in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, the name which Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, even as We are.”
The Lord’s intercession for us began during the first incarnation, and it is reasonable to conclude this is the pattern for the prayers that He prays for us now. In this passage, He is requesting the safe keeping of all those that are His. This petition of the Son can only be refused by God the Father on the assumption that a prayer of Christ might not be answered!
Seven times in this chapter, the Lord refers to believers as “those whom thou hast given me.”
Joh 17:12-16 “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Thy name which Thou hast given Me; and I guarded them, and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I come to Thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy made full in themselves. I have given them Thy word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.”
Our Lord not only intercedes through prayer for us, but He also represents us before God the Father as our Advocate, defending us against the accusations of the “evil one.”
Rev 12:10* Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.”
1Jo 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
Heb 9:24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.
Jesus Christ approaches God the Father based on all that He accomplished on the Cross. Therefore, when the Father declares us righteous and free from condemnation, it is based on Jesus Christ the righteous and our position in Him. This is our position; we stand in Him forever.
1Co 1:30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption…
2Co 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
“The Christian who falls will be subject to the discipline of his divine Father, but that child will never be condemned since Christ Jesus who bore the Christian’s sin appears in heaven for Him, and Christ Jesus is the very righteousness in which the Christian is accepted before God.” (Louis Sperry Chafer)
The “Body” Metaphor
In the Royal Family of God, Jesus Christ is the Head, and every believer is a member, or part, of His body. Jesus is the Head of His body, Ephesians 1:22, 4:15; Colossians 1:18.
There is a great analogy found in 1 Corinthians 12.
1Co 12:14-18 For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any less a part of the body. [You are still in the Body of Christ, even if you no longer consider yourself a member!] And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But God has placed the members, each one them, in the body, just as He desired.
The eye may be a more prominent part of the body, but the ear is needed as much as the eye. The foot is the lowest of all parts of the body, yet Jesus Christ needs every part of His body. At the time Paul wrote this letter to the church at Corinth, the “eye” referred to those with the gift of tongues, who were becoming arrogant because of their “sensational” gift. (Many believers today are so arrogant that they actually say that everyone must have the gift of tongues. Some of them actually go so far as to say that anyone who does not speak in tongues is not even saved!)
1Co 12:19-20 And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body.
Paul’s point is that the most inconspicuous spiritual gift (e.g., the gift of “helps”) is just as important as any other. The “foot” represents a very inconspicuous gift, yet the Lord Jesus Christ can never say, “I no longer need you.”
1Co 12:21-22 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary.
The most insignificant of believers are no less important to our Lord Jesus Christ than the greatest spiritual champions who ever lived. That is eternal security. That is grace!
1Co 12:26-27 And if one member suffers, all members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.
Never forget that the justice of God has given you divine righteousness. The justice of God can never deny nor divorce itself from this perfect righteousness. Therefore, with this righteousness in you and the justice of God vindicating you, there is no possible way you can ever get out of this eternal relationship with God. The opinion of other believers, and your status relative to theirs, cannot cancel your salvation, nor can anything else, in heaven or on earth. The Body of the Lord Jesus Christ will never be maimed with amputated members. The baptism of the Holy Spirit and union with Christ are God’s achievement; they are perfect at salvation and eternal in nature.
6Confidence in the Christian Life
Confidence in the glory of God means having personal love for God the Father and occupation with Christ. Confidence begins at the first stage of spiritual growth, called “spiritual self-esteem.” At this point, you realize completely and confidently that you can never lose your salvation because it is strictly the work of God.
Confidence, unfortunately, is not something that every believer possesses. Confidence is a virtue directed toward God. Eternal security at salvation is something God does for us, while confidence in God is something that is developed in the believer who is faithful to Bible doctrine. (However, whether or not you have confidence in Him does not change God’s attitude toward you.) Confidence is an experience that comes through perception of Bible doctrine, especially eternal security. True confidence in the spiritual life comes with spiritual self-esteem, the first stage of spiritual adulthood.
Ignorance of Bible doctrine is simply failure or malfunction in perception, metabolization, and application of Bible doctrine. Ignorance is very costly to the believer in time because it deprives him of the confidence and motivation that he could enjoy in his Christian walk. Eternal security is inherited at salvation through grace, while confidence is acquired as a post-salvation experience from perception, metabolization, and application of Bible doctrine. This confidence will result in spiritual self-esteem (cognitive self-confidence). While eternal security is permanent, confidence in God is a temporary experience that can be nullified through ignorance, rejection of doctrine, or continued residence in Satan’s cosmic (world) system. It can be destroyed by residence in the cosmic system, or misdirected by dependence on man rather than God. Eternal security depends on the faithfulness and integrity of God; confidence depends upon the believer’s execution of the predesigned plan of God. Eternal security is a guarantee, never to be lost; confidence toward God is a virtue developed inside His plan. All believers possess eternal security; few believers possess confidence in God. Confidence is built and strengthened to the extent that the believer functions in the predesigned plan of God; it can completely vanish after too much time spent in the cosmic system.
1Jo 2:28* And now, dear children, keep residing in it [the predesigned plan of God], so that if He should appear [rapture], we might have confidence and not be put to shame at His coming.
1Jo 3:21* Beloved, if our right lobes do not condemn us, we keep on having confidence before God.
1Jo 4:17* By this, virtue love has been accomplished by us, that we might have confidence in the day of evaluation, because just as He is, so also we are in the world.
Losers and winners all go to heaven. How they die, which is a part of life, is very different. Losers will die under the sin unto death, the most miserable experience in life.
For winners, who have this great confidence and recognize their eternal security, dying is the ultimate in blessing, Philippians 1:21, “For me, living is Christ, dying is profit.”
Everything we have covered in this study assures us that our salvation is eternally secure and should leave no doubt in our minds that our “so-great” salvation will never be taken away. In fact, any one of these many reasons taken by itself is evidence enough to end all doubt and give the serious student of the Word of God assurance that he is forever safe. Unfortunately, not every believer will enjoy this confidence. Many will never come to the knowledge of these truths because they reject or neglect the study of God’s word. Do not settle for such an empty life, never quite being sure of all that God has done for you. Take the time to make Bible doctrine the highest priority in your life, and the rewards will be more than you can imagine, beginning with the confident assurance that you belong to God forever and will be spending all eternity with Him.
Jud 1:24-25 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.