Eternal Security

Posted: November 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

As I grew up in the Pentecostal Holiness Church, I was taught that you could backslide and “lose” your salvation. This is an Arminian view of what is called conditional perseverance (the belief that man can choose to reject God, and therefore lose his salvation, even after he has been born again). I will never forget the first time I heard the phrase “once saved always saved” in the Baptist church I attended while dating my soon-to-be-wife, LeAnn.  I had never heard that phrase in the PH church.  I was confused.  You see at the time, I had strayed from the Lord at the age of 19.  I was in college, working a great deal, out of church, and living for me.  I was saved at the age of 12, but at that time in my life I was what people would call “back-sliden”.  The thought occurred to me that if I were to die at that time, my PH friends would possibly think I was lost and my new Baptist friends would think I was in glory.  This presented a tremendous dilemma for me and it motivated me to find out the truth in the scriptures.  I wanted an answer to the question of, “Can a true believer ever lose salvation by sinning or ceasing to believe or some other factor?”  Through my initial search of scriptures I found that there is a doctrine of “eternal security” that is supported by scripture.  I came to understand that the doctrine of eternal security does not suggest that the believer will never sin or backslide.  I also came to understand that the doctrine of eternal security does not suggest that it is acceptable for a believer to live in continual, deliberate sin.  The truth for me was that the doctrine of eternal security means that when I genuinely believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, God forever secured me by His keeping power, not mine.  As I have grown to the age of 42, become a pastor and teach on this subject a great deal, I have discovered a great deal of Biblical evidence that salvation cannot be lost.  Knowing that this debate continues to rage on among different denominations, I plan to take the next several blog posts to provide Biblical evidence to support that salvation cannot be lost.

Here’s the first evidence:

Salvation cannot be lost because of the definition of the terms “eternal­” and “everlasting.”

The terms “eternal life” or “everlasting life” are used once in the Old Testament (Daniel 12:2) and several dozen times in the New Testament (Matthew 19:16; 19:29; 25:46; Mark 10:17, 30; Luke 10:25; 18:18, 30; John 3:15, 16; 3:36; 4:14, 36; 5:24, 39; 6:27, 40, 47, 54, 68; 10:28; 12:25, 50; 17:2, 3; Acts 13:46, 48; Romans 2:7; 5:21; 6:22, 23; Galatians 6:8; 1 Timothy 1:16; 6:12; Titus 1:2; 3:7; 1 John 1:2; 2:25; 3:15; 5:11, 13; 20; Jude 21).

The Bible plainly states that those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ receive life that is “everlasting” or “eternal” (sometimes the terms are used interchangeably) — it will never end.  For example:  Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life (John 6:47). Jesus also declared, “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:27-28). And just for good measure, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

Something that could be lost or forfeited is not everlasting.  To believe salvation can be lost may involve misunderstanding or denying the clear meaning of the terms “eternal” and “everlasting.”

Next week, I will cover more evidence that salvation cannot be lost.  I pray that God’s word will encourage you as it has me.

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