We believe that ‘All of the saved are eternally secure in Christ’ (Col. 3:1-4; Phil. 1:6; Rom. 8:1; 8:29-34; Rom. 8:38, 39; John 10:27-29; Eph. 1:13-14). ‘To have eternal life is to have eternal security.’ A life or security which may end is a temporal life or security. It is a contradiction in terms to speak of eternal life coming to an end. No one who is finally cast into the second death ever had eternal life. The word eternal doubtless refers to a quality of existence, but it is an existence which is everlasting, unending.
Why This Truth Is Opposed?
If the Bible plainly declares that God gives to those whom He saves the free gift of eternal life (Rom. 6:23), why is it then that many professing Christians do not believe this truth, and that some even call it a damnable heresy from the pit of hell?
Many reasons and explanations might be given, but we believe that the basic and underlying cause for this strange situation is the failure of the great majority of Christians to recognize the distinctive and unique revelation contained in the Pauline epistles. This is not to say that eternal life and eternal security are to be found only in Paul’s writings; for both the Gospel and the Epistles of John are also outstanding in this respect, but it is only as we come into “the dispensation of the grace of God,” (Eph. 3:2) as given to Paul, to explain what God in Christ did at Calvary and what He by the Holy Spirit does when the sinner believes the gospel, that we can understand how God can give eternal life to a sinner who is personally undeserving of it both before and after he is saved. The truth of eternal life is not in any sense of the word a unique part of “the revelation of the mystery,” however it is in “the revelation of the mystery [the secret]” that we find the secret of the gospel given, apart from which… we could never fully understand how God could bestow eternal life wholly APART FROM the principle of man’s own works and merits.
Two Ways of Approach to God
Paul himself explains the two distinct and opposite principles upon which man may approach God and by which eternal life might conceivably be granted.
In Romans 2:6-7 he sets forth the “works” way: “[God] Who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life.” This is the “works” way of the justice of God.
But Paul as “the Apostle to the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13) shows in the next chapter of Romans that as a matter of fact and experience ‘there is not one who is seeking after God or who is doing good.’ Therefore, this fact rules out any possibility of any man obtaining eternal life upon the basis of works. If any man ever gets eternal life, it must be upon an entirely different basis. It must come as a matter of free grace as a free gift – totally unearned. And that is exactly what Paul declares: “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” This “gift” way is the only way of obtaining eternal life: it is the grace way -- the faith alone way. These two ways are referred to again by Paul in Rom. 4:4-5:
“Now to him that worketh [for salvation] is the reward not reckoned of grace but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
Thankfully Paul declared this fact for this age of “the grace of God.” “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. Romans 11:6 (KJV)
In approaching God on the “work” principle, it is evident that one would have to come to the end of life and have all of his works finished before he could know the outcome, before he could know whether he merited eternal life. There could be no sense in which such a person could possess eternal life until his works were all judged.
But on the other principle, in the “grace” way, God can and does bestow eternal life upon the believer immediately, and that is exactly what the Scripture affirms. We have (present tense) eternal life. And since it has been given as a free gift of God’s grace, neither its reception nor its continued possession depends in any sense upon man’s merit. If it depends in any degree whatsoever upon man’s merit, then God could not give it until man’s merit had been completely tested and approved; for we have already seen that it is eternal in character and that it would be a contradiction on God’s part to give something eternal which would later prove to be temporal.
But the big question looms in many minds: How could God give eternal life as a free gift, wholly apart from what man deserves? Or in other words: How could God be just in justifying ungodly sinners? It is this question which is so beautifully answered in the Pauline revelation of the gospel. See the context of Rom. 3:26. “To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” (Romans 3:26) Every holy, righteous claim that God had against the sinner was completely satisfied by the death of His Son. He is therefore perfectly righteous in bestowing eternal life upon unworthy sinners who do nothing more than meet the simple terms of His “gospel of the grace of God” – by believing that Christ died for their sins, was buried, and rose again the third day.
Self-Righteous people, of course, who suppose that they have some righteousness of their own, hate and despise such a doctrine as eternal security, and in their zeal would consign to perdition anyone who would teach such heresy. It reminds us of Paul’s word of defense before Felix: “But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers” (Acts 24:14).
So-called Anti-Security Passages
Someone will say, “All of this sounds very logical, but how about all of those verses in the Bible which seem to teach just the opposite?” The Scriptures do contain many solemn warnings, but to lump them all together and say that if they mean anything at all, they teach the believer’s possibility of being lost, is to show very little intelligence in handling the Word of God. These warnings may be classified under the following headings.
1. Those verses applying to some other dispensation than “the grace of God.” Many of the warnings from the Old Testament and four gospels have to do not with soul salvation but with the physical consequences of breaking “the law” given to Israel. See Ezekiel 33:13. The curse of a broken law brought physical death upon many who were no doubt saved people. Grace faith saints today die physically because of the natural course of sin in their bodies, which “bringeth forth death” (1Cor. 15:56) That does not mean that they are not saved. Other warnings, such as Matt. 18:23-35; 24:13; 25:30; etc., refer to a time to come after “the church which is His body” has been raptured, taken out of the world.
2. Those verses applying to unregenerate teachers of the “last day” (1 Timothy 4:1,2; 2 Peter 2:1-22; Jude 17-19; etc.). Churches are filled with such preachers today. They never were saved themselves.
3. Those verses applying to rewards and not to salvation (1 Cor. 3:11-15; 9:24-27; 2 Cor. 5:9,10; Col. 3:24-25). Salvation is entirely apart from all of man’s good works. It is therefore by grace. Rewards are given for faithfulness after we are saved.
4. Those verses that warn believers of things they may lose. Believers are in danger of losing many blessings which the Lord has provided for them. Any sin, disobedience, lack of faith, neglect of the Word of God, or prayerlessness is bound to result in loss of joy, loss of power, loss of fruitfulness, loss of fellowship, and loss of reward. – but never loss of salvation. Typical of such warnings is Colossians 2:4, 8, 18. God’s method of meeting such failures on the part of His own people of Israel is to chasten them, see 1 Cor. 11:32; Heb.12:5-11. He does not chasten the grace unbeliever.
5. Those verses that warn unbelievers. Romans 11:21 is not a warning lest God would cast away some of His own saints, but is a warning to the Gentiles in general, who at present in this age of grace have a place of great spiritual privilege, that their continued unbelief will cause them to be cast out just as God cast out the nation of Israel (Rom. 11:15). The Israelites before this time were the branches of the good olive tree, but that did not mean that every Israelite was saved; for many were Christ rejecters and because of that they were broken off. The nations (Gentiles) have been grafted in, but the nations as such are not saved. But the day is coming when the nations will be broken off and Israel will be restored to her former position. If Paul were here speaking of personal salvation, we would be forced to conclude that the natural branches which were broken off were men like Judas Iscariot and that the day is coming when Judas is to be resaved and grafted back into the tree. This passage is not dealing with personal salvation, but with national privilege.
6. Those that prove their Christian profession by fruit-bearing (John 8:31; 15:6; 1 Cor. 15:1, 2; Hebrews 3:6,14; James 2:14-26; 2 Peter 1:10; Colossians 1:23). If there has been the work of regeneration in the heart there is bound to be a manifestation of that new divine eternal life, just as surely as the newborn babe will cry or give some other indication that it is alive.
If such passages as Heb. 6:4-6; 10:26,27; Col. 1:21-23, Gal. 5:4; John 15:6, 31 and Matt. 24:13 are studied dispensationally and grammatically in their context, it will be seen that they do not militate in any way against the truth that all true believers actually do have eternal life as a present and eternal possession.
33 Scriptural Proofs of Eternal Security for Genuine Believers
On the positive side, the fact of eternal security is seen to rest upon the following facts of divine revelation from the Bible:
1. If we through real saving faith have believed on the Son of God we have ETERNAL LIFE, and shall never perish nor come into condemnation (Jn. 3: 16,36; 5:24; 6:40,47; 10:28; Rom. 8:1; 1 Jn. 5:12,13).
2. We have been born of God, and whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world (John 3:3; 1 Peter 1:23; 1 John 5:4,5).
3. We are God’s workmanship, and whatsoever God doeth it shall be forever (Eph. 2:10; Eccl. 3:14).
4. God is able to perform to completion that good work which He has begun in us (Phil. 1:6).
5. We are kept by God’s power (1 Peter 1:5; Jude 24).
6. Christ as the great High-priest pledges Himself to save to the uttermost ALL who come unto God by Him, and He is able; for He lives for ever to make intercession for them (Heb. 7:25; Rom. 8:34).
7. God has promised not to allow His children to be tempted in excess of what they are able to bear, and the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation (1 Cor. 10:13; 1 Peter 2:9).
8. Every true child of God is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and He is more powerful than any foe (1 John 4:4).
9. The Father is greater than ALL, and no one has power to pluck us out of His hand (John 10:29).
10. Our Lord Jesus has already obtained ETERNAL redemption for us (Heb. 9: 12).
11. He is the Author of ETERNAL salvation, and the Author and Finisher of our faith (Heb. 5:8; 12:2).
12. He gives this eternal salvation to us as a free gift which He Himself has already fully paid for. We did not deserve the gift in the first place, and therefore He will not take it from us if we remain undeserving (Rom. 6:23; 5:20; 1 Pet. 1:19).
13. Sin is what separates us from God, and God has already forgiven us ALL trespasses (Col. 2:13).
14. We are not saved by our works of righteousness, and therefore a lack of such works cannot cause the loss of salvation (Titus 3:5; Eph. 2:8; Rom. 3:28; 4:6).
15. Christ is our foundation, and that foundation standeth sure (1 Cor. 3:11; 2 Tim. 2:19).
16. He has promised: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb. 3:21-3:5).
17.Christ said: “ALL that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out .... And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me that of ALL which he hath given me I should lose NOTHING .... No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:37, 39, 44). The logic of this is overwhelming. If salvation is ever lost, Christ, and not we, will lose it.
18. Christ promised: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you FOREVER, even the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16). Could a person be lost, and still have the Holy Spirit abiding with him forever?
19. We are called of God, and have been given the gift of eternal life (Rom. 8:29,30; 6:23). “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Rom. 11:29).
20. Christ has washed us from our sins in His own blood (Rev. 1:5), and “He that is washed--clean every whit” (John 13:10).
21.God is able to make His weakest child to stand. “Yea, he shall be holden up; for God is able to make him stand” (Rom. 14:4).
22.Even if we fail and are unfaithful, “yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself” (2 Tim. 2:13).
23. God will not impute sins to His children (Rom. 4:8). When we sin, He will chasten us that we be not condemned with the world (1 Cor. 11:32).
24. All who have believed in Christ were chosen of God before the foundation of the world, that they should be holy and without blame before Him in love (Eph. 1:4). It is impossible to suppose that God’s eternal purposes will ever fail.
25. Christ has already bought every member of His church, and He will surely get for His own glory all whom He has purchased (1 Cor. 6:20; Eph. 5:25-27).
26. We who believe will never come into judgment (John 5:24; Rom. 8:1), because Christ has already borne our judgment. In God’s sight we have already been put to death for our sins in the person of our Substitute, and therefore all of the righteous claims of God’s law against us have been eternally satisfied, and we have been freed from sin and from the law (Gal. 2:19,20; Rom. 6:2-10; 7:4). God is not unrighteous. He will not demand a double payment for sins.
27.The believer is not under the law but under grace, and therefore sin cannot have dominion over him (Rom. 6:14).
28. If God could say that He had not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither had seen perverseness in Israel, in spite of their murmurings and sins (Num. 23:21), surely He can say as much of redeemed sinners made “accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6).
29. If God be for us, as He most surely is, no one can prevail against us (Rom. 8:31).
30. No one will ever be able to condemn or bring charge against one whom God has justified (Rom. 8:32-34).
31. Nothing or no one will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:39).
32. If we sin after we are saved (and who does not?). we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous (1 John 2:1), and He is a Lawyer who has never lost a case. This is amply illustrated in Luke 22:31,32, where Christ prayed for Peter that his faith fail not, even as He prays for all of His own (John 17:20).
33. The work of the Holy Spirit of God guarantees eternal salvation to every believer. He is regenerated or born again by the Holy Spirit into the family of God (John 1:12,13; 3:5; Titus 3:5). He is indwelt forever by the Holy Spirit (John 14:16; 1 Cor. 6:19). He is baptized by the Spirit into the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13), thus having gained a permanent relationship in that Body. He is sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise until the redemption of the purchased possession (Eph. 1:13,14; 4:30), which guarantees his security until that day of manifestation in glory with Christ.
Practical Effects of Security Teaching
In conclusion we must consider the practical effect of this teaching upon the life of the Christian. Those who oppose eternal security charge that it leads to carelessness, indifference, and licentiousness. This is exactly what would happen if the truth of eternal security were given to a natural, unregenerate soul. And this charge is a withering indictment against those who make it that they know nothing of the experience of the new life in Christ Jesus. The true Christian is one who has been regenerated, has the Holy Spirit indwelling his body, and is motivated by heavenly principles. While he still has the nature of the flesh within him, to which he may at times yield, and against which he is warned in such passages as Gal. 5:13, he is a new creation in Christ, and nothing could be more conducive to a godly, consecrated life than to know and to appreciate the wonderful riches of His grace in bestowing upon him eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. One might as well argue that it is a very dangerous thing to repeat the marriage vows; for the wife, having been endowed with all of the worldly goods of her husband, will immediately rush out and squander them upon her own selfish lusts. This has happened in cases where a woman’s motive in marriage was money instead of love, but the true child of God is one who loves the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 16:22), and the more he knows of the truth of security the more his love will abound.
- The unregenerate soul can conceive no other motive for obedience but fear of punishment.
- The regenerate believing soul cries out with Paul: “The love of Christ constrains us...that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”
- From Charles F. Baker’s “Bible Truth” with emphasis adsed - The wonderful Dispensational Theologian, Charles F. Baker, was born in 1905 of English immigrant parents in Dallas, Texas. He attended Scofield Memorial Church, founded by C.I. Scofield.His pastor was Lewis Sperry Chafer, who also founded the Evangelical Theological College, which later became Dallas Theological Seminary.