Eternal Security Of Believers

Approximately 100 Scripture verses affirm the fact that once a person is saved they are saved for all eternity.

There are a few “gray area” passages that persons tend to relate to as proof this isn’t true.

A basic principle of Bible interpretation is when you come to a verse you do not know what it means go to a verse that speaks on the same topic you do understand and interpret the one of unknown meaning in light of what is known.

Pivotal to this topic is John 3:16 and the little word “hath,” meaning “once and for all.” The meaning is obvious. That being the standard all difficult passages should be interpreted in light of it.

Another verse with clear meaning is Romans 8: 35, “Who shall separate us from the love of God….” After listing possibilities the conclusion is “nothing.” Absolutely nothing.

John 5: 24: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but is passed from death into life.”

Key words are “everlasting” and “is passed.” The latter is aorist tense which means “has once and for all passed.”

Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them … and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28).

Operative expressions in this verse are “eternal life,” and “they shall never perish.”

“Never” translates the Greek word which means literally “not ever at any time.” In the Greek text it is a strong declarative negative used for emphasis meaning it just doesn’t happen; they just don’t perish —- ever.

John 1:7 notes, “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.”

When He gives a gift He doesn’t take it back. Once we “become the children of God” when we do things unbecoming of God’s children, we don’t un-become His child.

That brings us to a couple of “gray passages:”

Romans 9:13 – 18 is such. Verse 13 says God loved Jacob and hated Esau. Verse 13, “love” and “hate” pose the two extremes. God’s “love” is an expression referring to His choice of Jacob. He chose Jacob because of his faith.

He “hated” Esau because of his rejection. His hate did not precede Esau’s rejection; it was caused by it. “Hate” does not mean to be emotionally angry with him but simply speaks of God rejecting the one who previously, freely chose to reject Him. Esau rejected God’s plan. Though God loved the man, He hated what he stood for–the rejection of God’s divine plan. If God had approved of Esau’s rejection, He would have been disapproving of His own plan. This He could not do, so He had to reject Esau. (Vss. 14 – 18)

Again a debater’s question is posed in verse 14 that deserves a strong negative answer, “God forbid!”

Moses and Pharaoh are used as examples. Had God shown only justice, Israel and everyone else would have been doomed.

Moses is sighted as an example of God’s mercy and compassionate forgiveness. Because of God’s grace, Moses responded in faith and was blessed. This is God’s mercy.

Other than Moses, there was no one of that era to whom God gave as full a revelation, as He did Pharaoh. Moses responded to the revelation in faith. Pharaoh responded by becoming God’s open adversary. Even in spite of this, God’s divine purpose was fulfilled through him.

Pharaoh was like a belligerent, obstinate child who when punished grows even more rebellious. The harder the punishment the stronger the rebellious resistance. In the case of Pharaoh the more of His will God revealed to Pharaoh, the more he resented and resisted it. Technically what God did in revealing His will was the occasion of the Egyptian leader’s heart being hardened. The cause of the hardening was Pharaoh’s own willful, sinful rejection.

God did not arbitrarily harden Pharaoh’s heart. Pharaoh’s sinful nature did this. God’s word to Pharaoh resulted in the hardness of his heart, which was already present, being shown. Moses and Pharaoh are used to tell of God’s mercy and justice.

Hebrews 6: 4-6 is another “gray passage.”

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame ” (Hebrews 6: 4-6).

Note the obvious. “If” a person could be saved and lost no one can “renew them again to repentance.” That precludes being saved and lost, saved and lost, saved and lost, etc.

The little word “If” is the basis for understanding. In the Greek language there are four cases. The one used here gives the following meaning to the word “If.”

“If a person could be saved and lost, if he could, but he can’t, but if he could, he couldn’t be saved again.”

Now use your imagination and draw the following on the chalkboard of your mind or better still get paper and pencil and draw it out to keep.

In the upper right hand corner of the page write the reference John 1:12: “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” “To become” is the aorist tense which means “at a point in time, divorced from time, and perpetuated into eternity to once and for all become.” That point in time is when the individual trust Christ as Savior.

To visualize this draw a large circle.

In the middle of the circle put an “X.” Make it look good; it represents the believer, one who has been saved.

As the “X” is in the circle so the believer is in Christ.

On the outside top of the circle write the word “Relationship.” As the “X’ is in the circle so the believer is in relationship with Christ. The believer has become the child of God.

Believers do things unbecoming of children of God. What happens then? Is their salvation lost? NO!

Now, inside the circle draw a square so that the “X” is in the middle of it. On the top outside of the square write the word “Fellowship.” When a believer is doing God’s will, living according to the Scripture, being filled with the Spirit he or she is in “Fellowship” with God. There and only there is a person truly happy, fulfilled, and productive.

To envision what happens when a Christian sins place a large dot outside the square but still inside the circle. This represents the believer who has sinned. At this point the believer’s fellowship with God is broken but not the relationship. Communion with God is broken but not the union. They are still God’s child, though His disobedient child.

It is in this state believers are most unhappy and unproductive. They have placed themselves in a position to merit God’s discipline. Hebrews 12: 6, “Whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.”

The words “discipline” and “disciple”come from the same root meaning “to train.” Because God loves His children He trains them using chastening and scourging as two techniques. Chasten refers to light discipline and scourge to sever discipline.

The purpose is to direct persons back into “Fellowship.”

First, digress and put a check outside the circle. It represents an unsaved person. Such a person is not the world’s most unhappy individual. Satan will give such a person “kicks” lest they realize a need and turn to Christ. The world’s most unhappy person is represented by the dot in the circle but outside the square; the Christian out of fellowship.

God’s discipline is intended to train the believer to return to “Fellowship.”

I John 1:9 tells how. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

“If” means it is optional. “We” means it is personal. No one can do it for us. “Confess” means to agree with God about it, acknowledge it is sin, repent, and ask forgiveness. In that moment the believer is back in fellowship.

It is called spiritual rebound. It means to get back on the mark. There is where God wants believers because He knows it is the state in which they have the optimum joy of their salvation and are most fulfilled.

Where are you now? Which represents you? Is it the check mark, the dot or the “X?”
For your joy and the Lord’s glory be certain it is the “X.”