Eternal Security Proof #1

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ETERNAL SECURITY, PART ONE
Salvation is Totally God's Work

The doctrine of “eternal security” teaches that once a person is genuinely saved, their salvation is secure for all time.  Once a person puts their faith in Jesus Christ alone, all the sin they commit in their life time has been washed away by the blood of Christ and replaced with His righteousness.  Therefore there is nothing in all of creation that is capable of separating the believer from his salvation.  That includes the believer himself (Rom. 8:31-39).  Once saved, always saved.

This of course goes contrary to the idea that if a believer lapses into sin or chooses to walk away from  God, he can lose his salvation.  If salvation can be lost the believer is once again condemned to eternal damnation because of his sin (Jn. 3:18).   So we raise the question, can a Christian lose his salvation?  Can he walk away from God forever or is his decision to trust in Christ a permanent decision that cannot be reversed?  In this study we will turn to the Scriptures for our answer (Jn. 8:32).  For us to be successful in this endeavor we must lay aside all preconceived ideas and seek the Holy Spirit to lead us into His truth (Jn. 16:13-14). 

God presents the truth of Eternal Security from several different angles or proofs.  Since God uses this method we too will follow it in our study. 

Proof #1: God Alone is in Charge of Each Believer’s Salvation

This proof goes directly to the root of this controversy by asking the question, who is responsible for the work of salvation?  If God is completely responsible for all aspects of salvation, from beginning to end, than once a person is saved, they will always be saved.  This is true because the completion of their salvation lies not with a fallible human but rather with the infallible God.  On the other hand, if both God and man are responsible for the work of salvation, than the fallibility of man adds a level of uncertainty as to whether his salvation will see completion.  This is true because all believers are fallible and therefore it is inevitable that some will fail to do their part in the work of salvation and in the process return to an unsaved condition.  

On this matter the Bible is very clear!  God has reserved the work of certain tasks to Him and Him alone.  For example, God not only tells man that he is not to seek revenge but He goes a step further by indicating that only He has the right to meter out revenge.

Psa. 94:1, “O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongs — O God, to whom vengeance belongs, shine forth!” NKJV

Na. 1:2, “God is jealous, and the Lord avenges; the Lord avenges and is furious. The Lord will take vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies”  NKJV

Rom. 12:19-20, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.” NKJV

Just as God has reserved the work of vengeance to Himself, so also God has reserved the work of salvation.  The salvation of mankind is so important to Him, He leaves nothing to fallible humanity except the decision to either accept or reject God’s offer.  From the moment a person first believes, God takes charge to make sure that salvation is completed and since He never fails we know that not one Individual’s salvation will be left incomplete.  In fact, God takes the work of salvation a step further by indicating that His work to save humanity began before humanity ever existed. 

Romans 8:29-31, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” NKJV

The following passages of Scripture declare that God is the only One who carries out the work of salvation in every believer’s life.

Philippians 1:3-7, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you . . . being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” NKJV  (God is not only the One who begins the work of salvation but He is also the One who completes it)

2 Timothy 1:12, “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” NKJV

Ephesians 2:1, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins” NKJV (Note that we who in our fallen condition were totally dead spiritually and with no means of resurrecting us until life.  Therefore it is God who made us alive)

Ephesians 2:8-10, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. NKJV (note the emphasis Paul places on the fact this is God’s work and not of ourselves, it is God’s gift, not of works (law keeping, religious activity, and etc.) and finally declaring that we are God’s workmanship – there will be no room for boasting in what we did to play a part in our salvation)

Hebrews 12:2, “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  NKJV

Hebrews 13:20-21, “Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever Amen.” NKJV (note that salvation is considered an everlasting covenant, one that cannot be broken, likewise our following the Lord’s commandments after salvation is also a work of God)

The following passages declare that we do not play any role in the work of our salvation.  Our commandment keeping, baptism, religious rites and rituals, good deeds, and etc. play no role in our receiving eternal life and freedom from God’s wrath.  It is not through “our” righteousness but through the righteousness of Christ alone that salvation is obtained.

Romans 4:5-6, “But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,” NKJV

Ephesians 2:8-10, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Galatians 2:16, “knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.” NKJV

Galatians 3:11-12, “But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for "the just shall live by faith." NKJV

Philippians 3:9-11, “And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,” NKJV

Titus 3:4-6, “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,” NKJV

2 Timothy 1:9-10, “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 given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,” NKJV

2 Peter 1:1, “1 Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ” NKJV

Someone about this time will object, saying that we are preaching “easy believism.”  That we are telling people that all they need to do is ask Jesus to forgive their sins and save them and then they can live the rest of their lives apart from Christ and still make it into heaven.  Though this is a common argument it holds no water for several reasons.

1) It totally ignores the truth testified in the previous verses.  The idea that someone can be a believer and yet not walk like one goes so contrary to their understanding of salvation they cannot accept that this is exactly what God is saying.  A believer’s life after their salvation plays no role in the work or completion of their salvation.  The fact we find what God says hard to grasp still does not change the truth of God’s Word. 

2) If an individual is asking Jesus to save them purely so they can avoid hell then their salvation is not likely to be genuine.  The Bible says that repentance is necessary for salvation.  The individual who calls on Jesus to save them must recognize and regret their sin and see the need for God to do a work of change.  Therefore, a genuine believer will embrace change for he regrets his former sinful condition.  If there is no change in the life of one who calls himself a believer it is most likely he is not a genuine believer.

2 Cor. 5:17-18, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” NKJV

Gal 6:15, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.” NKJV

Lk. 24:46-47, “Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” NKJV

Rom. 2:4-6, “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” NKJV

Heb. 6:1-2, “Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God” NKJV

2 Pet. 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” NKJV

3) Genuine believers will show the evidence of their salvation in the way they change and in the way they live.  They will do so because God is now dwelling within them and has placed His love for God and God’s Word in their heart.  Thus they will seek to obey the Lord’s commands not because it is necessary to hold on to their salvation but because they love God and seek to please Him.  Therefore keeping the commandments of God for the believer is not to be a heavy burden but rather a delight for love is the driving force to do so.

Jn 14:15, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” NKJV

Jn 14:21, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” NKJV

Mt 11:29-30, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." NKJV

Gal 5:1-6, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.  And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.  You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.   For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.” NKJV

To sum this up, it is clear that salvation from beginning to end is totally the work of God.  This being the case then all who repent of their sins and put their faith in Jesus Christ alone “will not perish, but have everlasting life,” (Jn. 3:16).  If a person is genuinely saved there will be a change in his life and he will bear the fruit of the Spirit.  However, we must take note that the change that takes place and the fruit that is born is not always the same with every believer.  Some who believe progress and change at first so slowly that it may not be noticeable for a while therefore the only One who knows for sure their destiny is God Himself.  Likewise, there are many examples in the Bible of many Saints who have backslidden into sin.  Though they may have endured the chastening hand of God they still retained their salvation.  Human effort never has nor can it ever obtain saving grace from God.  If we keep His commands, it is only pleasing if we are doing so out of love, not out of necessity.