Eternal Security

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Note: the “parts” to this message are not based on logical breaks in the notes below. The message is broken up into sections (parts) based on the amount of time I had to teach for each segment. So it one part may end and another start at an odd place in the outline.

Part 1
Part 2

Part 1

“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you know that you have eternal life” 1 John 5:13. [not “hope that you know” and “maybe eternal life depending”]

Consider these questions as we begin:

  • Are you saved?
  • Are you sure?
  • Can you ever lose, forfeit, reject or give back that salvation?
  • If yes, how? How would you do that?
  • How many sins? How often? Which ones?
  • What words? What actions can reverse your salvation?
  • If you believe you can lose your salvation, but cannot specifically state HOW then how can you know if it has been lost?
  • How can you be sure you have not committed one sin too many, one sin to big, one sin unforgiven and be LOST right now without even being aware of it?
  • Do you know what the Bible says – if anything – about being save, lost, resaved, lost and resaved?

The single most important thing in your life is knowing whether you are saved. It is the foundational issue of the Bible. The Bible is clear about salvation and the assurance of salvation.

  • You should be too. It is a blessing that God has given us as part of salvation.

There will be some things in this lengthy lesson that will be repetitive and that is on purpose.

  • I want you to hear the most important points over and over again so that you remember them and that they are clear in your mind.
  • The king of training is repetition.
  • What you hear over and over you remember.
  • I could make the greatest point that has ever been made in a sermon one time and you probably won’t remember it 15 minutes from now.
  • [To my flock and long time readers: You only have yourself to blame for asking a former drill sergeant to be your pastor/teacher]

Like an attorney at a trial I’m going to make an opening statement and then spend my time supporting that statement.

Opening Statement

It has been a centuries old debate: “can you lose your salvation once you truly have it?”

  • If you CAN lose your salvation, then you better find out 1) how to hang onto it and 2) how to get it back if you lose it.
  • If we live under the threat of being able to lose salvation once it has been granted then it would follow that you better KNOW how it can be lost and how you can get it back (second in importance only to gaining your salvation to begin with).
  • And, yet the concept of being “re-saved” over and over is completely absent in Scripture.

For those who believe that salvation is “by grace through faith alone” it appears that is only true for PAST SINS, and is good up to the moment they are saved… but then it becomes an issue of maintenance or hanging onto salvation after that.  That is an inescapable conclusion

  • How is that not salvation by works? We just move the works to a later time.

And worse, the Bible does not clearly tell us how salvation can be lost, how we can know it has been lost and how often it can be lost (once? A few times? Every day?)

Salvation by Grace through Faith

When Christianity came along, Salvation through repentance and faith was a revolutionary new idea.

  • All other religions before Christianity (including Judaism) and now all other religions except Christianity are all works based, God’s favor earned/merited by good works.
  • That is why the idea that you can lose your salvation maintains a foothold because if you are the one who works to gain your salvation, it stands that you can also lose it by neglect or deliberate act.

BUT… salvation gained by repentance and faith because of God’s grace is nothing you can do or earn yourself… understanding “by grace/faith alone” we realize we can’t do anything to earn salvation and so there’s nothing we can do to lose it.

  • We cannot UNDO what God has done alone because we’re not the one who offers salvation, can grant salvation or can make sure that salvation actually occurs in the final scene.

Another reason people have such a hard time excepting the assurance of salvation is because of our sinful nature whose foundation is PRIDE.

  • Our default belief as sin-curse humans is that we earn God’s favor because “we are good”.
  • Moralist and non-Christians believe they are good their entire life and have earned heaven.
  • Christians who believe their salvation can be lost believe that upon the moment of salvation all their past sins are forgiven because of what Jesus did but that there is something they must do to keep from then losing their salvation
    • Apparently future sins after salvation are separate and are forgiven at a later time or forgiven conditionally and are not included in your forgiveness at the moment of regeneration.
    • Forgiven is not a one time ‘paid in full” but a “paid up to this point”
    • People say “I don’t believe that!” but it is an inescapable conclusion
  • We are just moving the point at which we say we have earned our own salvation (or at least part of it).
  • Whether you earn your way to Heaven “because I’m a good person” or you keep yourself saved “because I’m a good person”, its still works-based righteousness

Other Common Responses

Other common arguments against the assurance of salvation is that people will claim “easy believism“, it’s just too easy there has to be more to it than that or it’s not fair.

  • “You mean you can just become a Christian and then live however you want? The Bible doesn’t teach that“ and they are right, the Bible doesn’t teach that.
  • We will cover this in depth and the Bible teaches just the opposite: the assurance of salvation is strengthened by our holy living and the greater our understanding of grace, assurance and holiness, the greater our desire to NOT sin.
  • And we’ll see clearly from the Bible “where sin abounds, grace abounds much more”. No amount of sin can undo what Grace has covered.
    • That is not a license to sin, is a blessing and cause for celebration!
    • We don’t have to torture ourselves that we might commit “one sin too many” and there’s not enough grace to cover it.

Another common argument is that we all know someone who appeared to be a Christian for a long time and then rejected Christianity.

  • Just this week (August 2019), a former “star” in the Christian world, Josh Harris publicly renounced his faith, divorced his wife and apologized to the “gay community” after decades of writing Christian bestsellers and teaching dating/marriage from a Biblical perspective
  • Did he LOSE his salvation? Or did he never have it? You can decide as we go through this teaching.

Finally, there are certainly a handful of verses (some difficult) in scripture that seem to imply when they stand alone that you can lose your salvation.

  • We will look at these verses
  • They have to be interpreted not as STAND ALONE verses, but as part of the whole Bible
  • And it can be confidently stated that for every one verse that seems to imply you can lose your salvation, there are 20 that clearly state you cannot.
  • The Bible does not contradict itself; you interpret the Bible by the Bible.

Final Opening Thoughts

Once true salvation occurs (God knows) and the sinner’s eternal spirit is regenerated (made new and sinless), their sins, past present and future are forgiven by the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

  • The Bible teaches the new Believer is sealed and guaranteed by the Holy Spirit
  • Jesus promises to finish the work that He has begun in you and never let ANYONE remove you from His hand
  • God marks you debt to Him “PAID IN FULL”, the righteousness of Christ is imputed (put on) you, and the God who saw you as an enemy, now sees you as “my child”.
  • The Bible says over and over again “eternal life“ not “conditional eternal life”.
  • Every statement about the work of Jesus is that it is full, complete and final.
  • Once applied to us, it is forever because of how INFINITE and complete the salvation of Christ is… not because I do something to keep myself saved.

That’s my summary opening statement and now I will teach you why what all this is true.

The reason why we put on the helmet of salvation it’s because Satan wants to feel our minds full of doubt and strike blows to our understanding and assurance of salvation.

Our Need For Assurance

“Doubting my salvation” is one of the most common Christian experiences and it makes sense that Satan would use this as a weapon against us.

Ephesians 6:17 (NKJV)   17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

  • Satan wants us to doubt, he attacks our knowledge about our salvation, he undermines our assurance
  • The Christian who is in constant fear of losing his salvation must focus on “keeping it” which is no different than trying to earn it.
  • Satan loves for people to think they can lose their salvation… it makes them doubtful (a sin), fearful (a sin), anxious (a sin).

Every true Christian should enjoy the reality of salvation.

PETER: “Be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you.” 2 Pet 1:10

A sad fact of contemporary Christianity is that many in the church greatly misunderstand what the Bible teaches about the assurance of one’s salvation. As a result

  1. Many genuine believers struggle with doubts about the reality of their salvation, and
  2. Many professing believers are confident they are saved when in truth they are headed for Hell.
  3. What a bondage to constantly wonder if “maybe I’ve lost my salvation and don’t know it. I don’t how or by what sin or by how much sin for how long… but maybe I’ve lost it”

Such a misunderstanding is unnecessary since Scripture makes it abundantly clear that believers should not only enjoy assurance of their salvation but cultivate it as well.

  • Peter’s command establishes the need for self–examination. {make certain}
    • Only by testing one’s assurance by God’s Word can anyone know for sure if he is saved or not.
    • There are many “tests of salvation” or “evidence of salvation” in the Bible
  • Christian teaching minimizes or ignores assurance altogether, encouraging people to view any doubts about their salvation as attacks by the enemy or by simply assuring them “oh, you are saved, don’t worry about it”.
    • When you take your car to a mechanic or go the doctor and say “I think something might be wrong” do they say “don’t worry about, everything is fine”?
    • Or do they take your concerns seriously, run tests, examine, evaluate?
  • The unfortunate result of “oh, you’re good, you made a confession of faith” is a false assurance that the Lord sternly warns about:
    • “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me’ ” (Matt. 7:21–23).
    • To me, that is the most terrifying Scripture in the whole Bible!

Why Is Assurance So Important

First, because the truth is, we are NOT always “assured” of our salvation for various reasons, and this is one of the most common concerns/anxieties that Christian express. There are lots of reasons why we might lack assurance. Some are:

  • Lack of impact or results in your Christian life, lack of fruit, no significant evidence
  • Undealt-with disobedience – sin distances us from God and naturally causes us to lack assurance
  • Inconsistency – struggling with sin and never really becoming more holy to any degree. Like the Galatians, you’ve never matured or have victory over sin
  • Besetting sin – deal with the same sin over and over and over, or  sin that you just cannot let go, repent of or humble yourself to deal with
  • Doubting – temptation by Satan to doubt your salvation and assurance of it
  • Things aren’t going your way so you think God is against you
  • You just don’t “know what God’s will is for your life”
    • Romans 12:2 (NKJV)  2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
  • Neglecting worship, fellowship, church and prayer; they are not important to you
  • Neglecting the Word, a primary reason (“My people perish for lack of knowledge”)
    • Not a lack of FEELING or experience; to look at modern “church” you would think emotion and experience are the top priority of the Christian life
    • The Bible never says be “filled with experiences and feelings”

It constantly says “be filled with knowledge, wisdom and the Spirit”

Part 2

Peace with God, War with God  

Part 2

We need assurance because unless we are SURE we are saved, we fear that God is at war with us, and we are His enemy.

The Bible is abundantly clear on this and yet it is rarely taught. If you are not saved, YOU are God’s enemy, He is furious with you and He will pour out His wrath on you in eternal judgment.

  • Doesn’t matter if you believe it, care about it, ignore it or reject it.
  • You are God’s enemy if the blood of Jesus has not paid for your sins on God’s terms (repentance  & faith).

We need assurance that God is at peace with us and we are no longer the target of His wrath:

  • Exodus 22:24 “And My wrath shall wax hot and I will kill you with the sword and your wives shall be widows and your children fatherless.” [because of their sin and idolatry]
  • Deuteronomy 32, “They have moved Me to jealousy with that which is not God. They have provoked Me to anger with their vanities and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people. I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation, for a fire is kindled in Mine anger and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.”  God is furious with sin and sinners.
  • Joshua 28:l8:  “When you have transgressed the covenant of the Lord your God which He commanded you and have gone and served other gods and bowed yourself to them, then shall the anger of the Lord be kindled against you and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which He hath given you.”
  • II Kings 22:l3: “Great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us because our fathers have not hearkened to the words of this book to do according to all that is written concerning us.”
  • Isaiah 5:25:  “Therefore is the anger of the Lord kindled against His people and He has stretched forth His hand against them and has smitten them and the hills did tremble and their carcasses were torn in the midst of the street. For all this His anger is still not turned away but His hand is stretched out yet.”
  • Isaiah 13:9: “The day of the Lord comes cruel with wrath and fierce anger to lay the land desolate and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. Therefore,” it says in verse 13, “I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place and the wrath of the Lord of host and in the day of His fierce anger.”
  • Nahum the minor prophet: “God is jealous, the Lord revengeth, the Lord revengeth and is furious. The Lord will take vengeance on His adversaries and reserveth wrath for His enemies.”
  • Ephesians 5:6 (NKJV) 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
  • Revelation 19:15–16 (NKJV)  15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.  16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS

People may not be angry with God or care or believe it or even think about it but God is very, very angry with them because of their unrepentant sin.

Salvation Brings Peace

Romans 5:1 (NKJV)  Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

  • Romans 5 comes after chapters 3 & 4 four which tells us how to be saved by faith.

The word “therefore” connects to the truth of “salvation by faith” and says because of that salvation “therefore…  we have peace with God”.

  • PEACE is foundational to assurance.
  • It’s not tranquility or fellowship or comfort with God.
  • We are at peace with God because before we were saved we were at war with him. We were his enemy.
  • Once saved we are forever at peace with God. Once we were at war and His enemy now we are at peace with God, or more accurately GOD is at peace WITH US!
  • There can be no clearer statement of the assurance of salvation than this. This is not a statement about subjective emotions/feelings between us and God. This is an objective statement about our position with God.

I’ve Never Been at War with God!

Many will say “I’m not at war with God, I’ve never hated God, I’ve never gone against God, I don’t even have anything to do with God“ but that doesn’t matter.

  • It’s not that you are not at peace with God, or you are at war with God, or that God is your enemy, it’s the other way around. God is at war with you. You are his enemy.
  • He is not at peace with you because every sin that you commit is a violation of his holiness and cost His only Son His life by a torturous death on our behalf.

God is not at peace with you. When you are saved you are once and for all at peace with God not because of what you did or what you continue to do but because of what Jesus did.

  • There is not a word in the Bible that states it matters how the sinner feels about God or in what position the sinner puts God.
  • The only thing that matters is in what position God puts the sinner and that is a position of the enemy who is at war with God and will be subject to His fury and wrath and judgment.
  • We cannot save ourselves by our own effort from our standing with God nor once God declares a new position (salvation) can we change that either!
    • Once saved, we are at peace with God
    • We are never again subject to this fury or wrath, or not at peace with Him because that peace or standing is not based on anything we did, it’s based on what Jesus did.
    • To say that that peace falls short of “forever” and “eternal” and “secure” and “assured” is to diminish the value and the effectiveness of Christ payment for the sins that you are now forgiven for.

Now do you understand why it’s so important to be at peace with God?

Because a clear understanding of one’s salvation is so vital, Scripture encourages true believers with the promise of full assurance, while making false professors uncomfortable by seeking to destroy their false sense of security.

  • A true believer’s sense of assurance should not ebb and flow with the emotions; it is meant to be an anchor even in the midst of life’s storms.
  • But a false professor has no right to assurance.

PETER: “Be all the more diligent to make certain [assurance] about His calling and choosing you.”

“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you know that you have eternal life” 1 John 5:13

–  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –

That is my opening statement, telling you the end up front, the conclusion at the start… now I’m going to show you from Scripture why everything I’ve stated is simply and undeniably true with this final warning:

  • Many people who have a hard time with this will have a hard time truly considering what I’m saying, continually thinking “yeah, but what about the verses that seem to imply salvation can be lost?” being distracted from point after point after point that EXPLICITLY says salvation cannot be lost.
  • I encourage you to put aside those “what about” verses for now and open your heart and mind to God’s Word. We will study those “what about” verses too.

You cannot build a doctrine on one verse, or a handful of verses especially to the detriment of or while completely ignoring an entire collection of verses that declare something different when taken as a whole.

The Bible interprets the Bible. All 33K verses declare the meaning of any one verse. Many false, incomplete or weak Bible doctrines are created by snatching a few verses out of the Bible to stand alone.

Eternal Security in Scripture

1 John 5:10–13 (NKJV) 10 He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. 11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

Eternal security is the Bible confidence that every born again believer has perfect, complete, eternal salvation in Jesus Christ.

  • We cannot gain our own salvation, so we have no ability to lose our salvation which we gain in the first place by our own effort
  • We are SAVED BY GRACE “not of ourselves”… can we then lose that grace-granted salvation by violating God’s Law?
  • So you have to understand HOW and WHY you are saved to understand why it cannot be lost
  • The Bible is very clear, very thorough and very emphatic about HOW TO BE SAVED… if you could then lose that salvation once truly gained, don’t you think the Bible would equally as clear, thorough and emphatic about how your salvation can be lost?
  • Dozens of verses clearly state that salvation once granted is guaranteed and secure… but those are ignored for a few verses that “seem to imply” salvation can be lost.

“So what you’re saying is ‘you can get saved and go out and live however you want, right?’”  NO!!! That’s not what I’m saying. That’s not what I mean.  I cannot control what people THINK I mean, I can only control my own words to communicate what I mean.

So at any time you find yourself thinking “so he means you can just walk the aisle, then go out live it up in sin, and you’re still saved” remind yourself that is a conclusion YOU are coming to about my words, not something I’m actually saying.

  • As soon as a sinner receives Christ, he possesses full, unending salvation.
  • To have Christ is to have a secure position before God (1 Jn. 5:10-13).
  • Though the Bible does not use the term “security” to describe the believer’s relationship in Christ, it leaves no doubt that the child of God is eternally safe in Christ.
  • Eternal security refers only to those who are born again through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
  • It does not refer to hypocrites or to those who are merely dabbling in the things of Christ.   “Tares”  “Lord, Lord… look what we did.”
  • IF the above is true then: those who permanently fall away have never been born again. 

How We Can Be Sure True Christians Are Eternally Secure. 

Because of the terms used to describe salvation.

  • “eternal life” (Jn. 3:16; 1 Jn. 5:11);
  • “full assurance” (He. 6:11; Col. 2:2);
  • “strong consolation” (He. 6:18);
  • “hope … sure and steadfast” (He. 6:19). 

Because of what we are. All of the following are spoken of in the present tense; this is the present condition of each true believer

  • Forgiven (Ro. 4:7; 1 Jn. 2:12).
  • Justified (Ro. 5:1,9; Tit. 3:7). (3)   – Paid in full, account satisfied
  • Reconciled (Ro. 5:10).  – God is no longer AT WAR with us (our enemy)
  • Risen with Christ (Ro. 6:3-6; Col. 3:1,2). 
    • We have a new eternal spirit…
    • Can that spirit now be taken away, returned to the old? Can our new spirit become sinful again and we now have need for yet another new spirit?
  • A child of God forever (Ro. 8:15; Ga. 4:4-7; 1 Jn. 3:1).
  • Sanctified in Christ (1 Co. 1:2).
    • Made holy in Christ, even though we still sin because our body has not yet been redeemed
    • Can we out-sin the holiness of Christ?
    • If God sees us now as He sees Christ, can we sin to some degree that Christ’s holiness is overshadowed?
  • New creation (2 Co. 5:17).
  • Accepted in the beloved (Ep. 1:6).
  • Saved (Ep. 2:8,9; 2 Ti. 1:9).
  • Made fit for Heaven (Col. 1:12).
    • Fit for Heaven even though we still sin
    • How much sin makes us UNFIT for Heaven at that point? One sin? A thousand?
  • Complete in Him (Col. 2:10).
    • When God says “complete” He doesn’t mean potentially complete, or complete with conditions…
  • Citizens of Heaven (Ph. 3:20).
  • Children of light (1 Th. 5:5).
  • Elect (1 Pe. 1:2).
  • Born again (1 Pe. 1:2,23).
  • Sanctified once for all (He. 10:10).
    • Hebrews 10:10 (NKJV)  10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
    • … “for now until we sin too much or back slide then we have to be sanctified AGAIN ‘once for all’
    • Does “once for all” not mean “once for all”?
  • Perfected forever (He. 10:14).
    • Hebrews 10:14 (NKJV)  14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
    • “Being sanctified” starts at the moment of salvation and is completed when our sin cursed flesh is traded for our incorruptible new body
    • We are perfected FOREVER when we are being sanctified… who is “being sanctified”? Those who are saved.  
    • Are they “perfected” with conditions, or potentially perfect? NO, perfected FOREVER
    • The “perfected” is once and forever… for those who are in the process (on their way to being) sanctified
      • So our “perfection” is already done even though our sanctification is ongoing
    • God saved us, and will complete our salvation as we live our life in a process of sanctification – becoming more holy
  • Passed from death unto life (1 Jn. 3:14). 
    • Life back to death? Back to life? Back to death?  NOT A CONCEPT YOU FIND IN SCRIPTURE

To be continued next week…