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A Bible Study Examining Eternal Security

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A Bible study examining
the doctrine of Eternal Security

Table of Contents

Introduction

How are Christians saved?

There is a common misconception that Christians who do not believe in eternal security are saved by good works. Let's try to dispel that myth.

Can a Christian backslide?

Believers in eternal security are divided on this issue, yet what saith the Scriptures.

Examining eternal security in the New Testament

This chapter looks at over seventy five different passages that teach we must persevere or abide in Christ in order to enter into His presence.

Examining eternal security in the Old Testament

It may surprise you how much the Old Testament talks about the need to persevere in this dispensation!

Scriptures used by those who believe in eternal security

This chapter examines twenty-two different passages that are commonly used by the preachers of eternal security. We will try to read them carefully and in context.

What is the Narrow Path?

If we must persevere, what does that mean? How can God expect certain behavior and yet we are not saved by our works? What is the Narrow Path?

Using the Scriptures to exhort abiding in faith

Look how the once saved, always saved doctrine hinders many biblical commands to exhort lukewarm brothers.

 

Notes:

You can freely use all or part of this study as the Lord leads you to witness.

Please correct me if you feel that I have misrepresented the Eternal Security doctrine. If I agree, I will fix my error and if I disagree, I will post what you think I have misrepresented with a link from the place you believe the error is on this page.

Unless noted, all bold emphasis is mine and the [words in brackets] are my addition.

Introduction

If you do not have much time you should go straight to the chapter Examining eternal security in the New Testament, as that is the heart of this study.

All Christians believe that those who love and trust Jesus when they die are secure in His kingdom. We also believe that those who rejected Jesus never had eternal security. But what will happen to the backslider? Is it possible to backslide, or drift out of a relationship with God? In Charles Stanley's book Eternal Security, he states, ''It is a dangerous thing for a believer to turn his back on Christ. To do so is to run the risk of drifting beyond the point of return-not a return to salvation, but a return to fellowship with the Savior.'' Can someone who drifted out of fellowship with the savior still be saved? The assertion of this writer is that a study of Scripture will show that it is possible for a Christian to backslide, and in doing so, his name will be blotted out of the Book of Life on the Judgment Day.

Understanding the once saved, always saved doctrine is important as what you believe effects how you act. If sincerely saying the sinner's prayer gives a person eternal security, then you will try and get as many people to pray as you can. If you believe that we go through tribulation to enter the kingdom of God, then you will spend more energy discipling new converts feeling a sense of urgency until Christ is formed in them. Today 70 to 75% children from Christian homes leave the faith once they start attending a college or university. Has the belief in eternal security blinded Christians to this epidemic?

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. - 2nd Timothy 2:15

The eternal security doctrine has also divided the church. I know volunteers willing to serve and ministries that needed volunteers yet they would rather do without than fellowship with a Christian who does not believe once saved, always saved.

As we start on this quest for truth, we must be careful to take scripture in context. This will be difficult as most of us are biased on this issue. It will be easy to misstate the claims of those who disagree and then to refute them. I have often heard teachers of eternal security misrepresent those who believe in the need to persevere. In trying to avoid straw man arguments every text attributed to those who believe in eternal security has come from their own books or studies. I will also quote from Charles Stanley's book Eternal Security because his popular ministry has great influence in the Southern Baptist Church. My goal is not to attack Charles Stanley, rather the doctrine of every teacher should be compared to Scripture, especially those who are influential in the church. Many Christians will be surprised to know what he is teaching.

Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. - 1 Timothy 5:19-20

Finally, those who believe in once saved always saved come in two camps. The first believes that a Christian cannot backslide. This was the belief of John Calvin and what most Calvinists believe today. Thus a person can have a sincere conversion experience, yet if he later backslides, he was not preordained to salvation and there is nothing he can do. I was going to debate a Calvinist on eternal security until he admitted that Calvinists cannot be positive that they are saved.

Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,
- 2 Thessalonians 2:16

The second camp believes that backsliding Christians are still saved, though they may lose their rewards. If a person persists in backsliding long enough God may take his physical life, yet he cannot lose his soul.

I often find that when push comes to shove, both camps hedge their position; however once saved always saved is not negotiable. For example, some who do not believe they can backslide allowed a little backsliding when shown 1st Corinthians 3:16-17.

Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God shall destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which you are. - 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

Others who believe Christians can backslide, will make a case against it when shown Hebrews 3:6.

But Christ was faithful as a Son over his own house; whose house we are, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end. - Hebrews 3:6

Therefore, if a statement in this study misrepresents one camp, it may refer to the other.

How are Christians saved?

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. - John 3:16

To be saved as a Christian, you must believe Christ died on a cross to reconcile you to God, and to cleanse you from sin.

And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
- Colossians 1:20

AND

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. - 1 John 1:7

AND

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, - Revelation 1:5

How do we know this applies to us, or how can a Christian know if he is personally saved?

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. - Romans 10:13

Some believe that you have eternal life if you call upon the name of the Lord one time. Once you have eternal life you cannot lose it or it is not eternal life. However, is calling on the Lord one time all that we must do to be saved? Or does Paul teach us to call on the Lord continually?

And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
- Acts 9:14

AND

For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. - Romans 10:12

AND

Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: - 1 Corinthians 1:2

AND

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. - 2 Timothy 2:22

The Bible calls Christians they that call on the Lord more often than it calls us Christians. These passages also teach us that calling on the Lord is a continual process. While Romans 10:13 teaches us to call on the name of the Lord to be saved, there are other passages teaching the essentials of salvation. Here are two:

[Jesus said,] I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. - Luke 13:3

AND

And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. - Luke 24:47-48

You cannot separate salvation from repentance; in fact, repentance is the heart of the Gospel.

From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. - Matthew 4:17

Repentance is necessary for salvation. If repentance is works, you can make a case for salvation by works. Yet Jesus taught repentance, this study is only repeating his words.

Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house forever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. - John 8:34-36

You must be familiar with all the passages on salvation, not just Romans 10:13, to evangelize effectively. Here is an interesting verse on salvation:

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. - 1 Corinthians 15:1-2

Paul told the Corinthians they must keep his gospel in their memory to be saved, or they believed in vain. What did Paul expect them to remember? Is is keeping what Paul taught in memory salvation by works?

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. - 1 Timothy 4:16

Christians know that they are saved as long as they continue Christ's doctrine. Some Christians are secure in their future because they are founded on the Rock. Other Christians seem to waver, time will tell if they built their house on sand.

Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. - Luke 21:36

We have looked at verses that teach we must call on His name, believe in His name, repent of sin and continue in His doctrine to be saved. What about verses teaching a sinner's prayer, is it necessary to pray a sinner's prayer to be saved? While there are many examples of sinners praying, it may surprise you that the Bible does not teach a sinner's prayer as practiced in many churches today. That is, there is no place in the Bible where a disciple leads a sinner in a prayer and then tells him that if he prayed his prayer sincerely he has eternal life. Where new believers are led in a sinner's prayer today, the early church would have baptized them. Examples include the day of Pentecost.

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. - Acts 2:41

The Ethiopian eunuch was baptized the moment they came to water.

And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. - Acts 8:36-38

Peter did not finish his sermon before he ordered the household of Cornelius to be baptized.

While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. […] And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days. - Acts 10:44,48

If the Bible does not have an example of the sinner's prayer as we practice it today, then receiving eternal life by repeating a sinner's prayer, as we do today, is not taught either. This is not speaking against praying at the very moment you start believing. Only against teaching that a sinner's prayer saves when the Bible teaches that salvation comes from our relationship with Jesus and the Father.

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. - John 17:3

AND

And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. - 1 John 5:20

It is important that God should know us also,

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
- Matthew 7:23

If the Bible does not teach we receive eternal life when we say the sinner's prayer; Then when, according to the Bible, do we receive eternal life?

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried [approved], he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. - James 1:12

AND

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. - Revelation 2:10

AND

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. - Revelation 20:6

AND

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; - Acts 3:19

AND

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
- Revelation 2:7

Put these verses together and we learn that eternal life will be given to those who are faithful at the resurrection. To teach eternal life is given when you say a sinner's prayer you need to rewrite the Bible. (Words similar to the ones in brackets would have to be added; the strike-through would have to be omitted.)

James 1:12 would read:   Blessed is the man that [prayed the sinner's prayer in faith] endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall [has already] receive[d] the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

AND

Acts 3:19 would read:   Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when [you come to the altar and pray] the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.

AND

Revelation 2:7 would read:   He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will [When you come to the altar and pray] I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

AND

Revelation 2:10 would read:   Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

While those who believe in 'once saved, always saved' do not actually tamper with Scripture, do they understand these verses as they were written?

Most Christians who believe in eternal security believe they need only pray a sinner's prayer to be saved. Some add one more belief, that is you must believe in eternal security to be saved. If you believe this please email me your scriptural support.

Can a Christian backslide?

As already mentioned, the believers in eternal security are divided on this issue. What about those Christians who do not believe in eternal security? One pastor in trying to be humorous said those who do not believe in their eternal security believe in eternal insecurity. Even so, those of us who are not backslidden can be completely secure in our relationship with our Lord.

However, should Christians who are backslidden be secure in their salvation? One church elder in discussing eternal security, quoted a backslidden pastor as saying: ''If I were in a bar drunk, with two floozies, one under each arm, I still know where I am going'', implying that he was a drunken fornicator. Amazingly, this elder expected me to concur that the backslidden pastor was still saved. Instead, I quoted to him from Paul's epistle to the Galatians:

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. - Galatians 5:19-21

If you believe in eternal security, but that saints cannot backslide, you know that this pastor believes in a false security. If you believe that saints can backslide, do you believe this pastor when he said, I know where I am going? Or do you believe the apostle Paul when he said, they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Does not this pastor's belief in eternal security keep him from sensing that he is in mortal danger? Was it not the elder's belief in eternal security that keep him from warning the fallen pastor that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God?

The apostle Paul warns us all to take heed:

Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. - 1 Corinthians 10:12-13

Paul did not say we will lose our reward, Paul warned us to take heed lest we fall. If you read this verse in context, you will see examples of how the Israelites fell and died in the wilderness. Then Paul prefaced the above passage with,

Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. - 1 Corinthians 10:11

To see the solution to a problem, we must start by asking the right questions. These two questions may help. What does it mean to have the Holy Spirit? And, what does it mean to be saved? Jesus said:

If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. - John 14:23

In his Epistle to the Ephesians Paul said:

In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise,
- Ephesians 1:13

The Holy Spirit that seals us is the essence of our salvation. To know and abide in Jesus Christ, to have a personal relationship with Him. Some believe the apostles are wrong, for example, when eisegeting Hebrews 6, Charles Stanley says,

If a Jew, who was awaiting the coming of the Messiah, could find salvation through Christ and then walk away from Him without the threat of losing his or her salvation, what do the rest of us have to fear? (Charles Stanley, Eternal Security, pg169)

That is the question; what do we have to fear?

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. - Matthew 7:13-14

That is what we have to fear, if we walk away from Jesus we will find ourselves at the wrong door. The apostle Paul said,

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. - Romans 8:9

If you are not fellowshipping with God now (It does not matter what you experienced in the past) if you are not abiding in Jesus Christ, by definition you do not have the Holy Spirit and you will be disappointed on the Day of Judgment. The apostle John said this in his second epistle:

Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
- 2 John 1:8-9

Can you have the Holy Spirit if you have no fellowship with the Father and Son?

Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.
- 1 John 2:24-25

John prefaced his promise of continuing in the Son and in the Father with the words If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you. Paul also said we must continue in the faith:

And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister. - Colossians 1:21-23

After reading an earlier version of this study, one brother sent me a comment saying,

''The KEY ingredient in salvation is FAITH without WORKS. Your main problem is that you are trying to say works are necessary to get or KEEP a person saved. You say they must follow to be saved, or they must continue to be saved, or must not sin to be saved, but GOD SAYS YOU MUST BELIEVE TO BE SAVED.''

Why was this brother upset with me? It was John and Paul who said we must continue, I was only quoting them. However I do concur, the hope that He will present us holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight is a reasonable hope only if we continue in the faith.

Must we be resaved every time we sin?

There are some who believe that you fall from grace every time you commit a sin. I used to say that I did not know any Christians who believed this. But the answer is not so simple. In the book of Revelation John said,

[To the church in Thyatira write, ...] Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. - Revelation 2:20-23

In Galatians 5:19-21 Paul lists the "works of the flesh" and ends by saying, "that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." So if I commit "a sin that is not unto death" (See 1st John 5:16-17) and should die before repenting I still have confidence in my salvation.

For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. - James 3:2

However, if commit adultery I should expect to receive great tribulation if I do not repent.

While it is true, that some people believe in salvation by works of the law. If a pastor teaches that everyone who does not believe in eternal security believes in salvation by works, he is ignorant or dishonest. If he is ignorant, I hope this study will help him. Even so, let us look at the brother's comment again.

''The KEY ingredient in salvation is FAITH without WORKS. Your main problem is that you are trying to say works are necessary to get or KEEP a person saved. You say they must follow to be saved, or they must continue to be saved, or must not sin to be saved, but GOD SAYS YOU MUST BELIEVE TO BE SAVED.''

While he said that I teach works are necessary for salvation, I have always taught that your salvation will depend on your relationship with Jesus. It is true however, that a relationship with God and your faith in God produce good works. Nor can we separate works from salvation. This brother shows his ignorance when he says, ''The KEY ingredient in salvation is FAITH without WORKS'', since the apostle James said:

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. - James 2:17

Question:

The question has been asked many times; how do you know you are abiding in or loving Christ enough? I have four answers.

Answer 1

I have heard this objection many times. Do these brothers believe that abiding in Christ is work? This is like asking the question; how sincerely do you have to say the sinner's prayer to have eternal security? Using a two question test to evangelize at the county fair, I have talked to many who by their own testimony are backslidden yet believed at one time they sincerely prayed a sinner's prayer.

If you believe Christians cannot backslide, you know they are not saved. But then, as one Calvinist conceded, nobody can be secure. If you believe Christians can backslide, how sincerely must one pray to receive eternal security?

Answer 2

Anyway, suppose your relationship with God is not as close as it used to be. At what point would you lose your salvation? It is not how close you are abiding. Either you are abiding or you are not.

He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.
- Luke 11:23

If you are not gathering with Jesus, you are scattering.

Answer 3

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? - Mark 15:34

We do not base our relationship with our God on feelings. When He was crucified, Jesus may have felt forsaken by the Father; however, we know he was in the Father's perfect will. At times you may feel forsaken by God, but this is not evidence for determining the quality of your relationship; by faith, we know he will never forsake us. If you are in doubt about your relationship with God because of some sin (sin does ruin our relationship with God) deal with the sin before you ruin your relationship.

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. - Hebrews 3:12-13

Answer 4

How do we know that we are abiding in or loving Christ enough?

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. - Matthew 22:37

This is the standard. Let none downplay these words as being unnecessary. If you are not trying to keep the first and greatest commandment, you should not feel secure.

If ye love me, keep my commandments. - John 14:15

Examining eternal security in the New Testament

If you will examine the following Bible passages, you will see if it is essential for us to persevere. You will see if a Christian can backslide and what happens if he does.

These passages are listed in the order that they appear in the Bible.

Matthew 7:24-25 teaches we must do what Jesus said

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock.

And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
- Matthew 7:24-27

This may sound like salvation by works, yet Jesus is the one speaking. I think a story could show how we are saved by grace and yet, Jesus can still expect us to do what says.

Imagine being stuck in a pit that is full of all imaginable filth. Bible passages like Malachi 2:3 or Isaiah 28:8 describe the filth in this pit.

Our problem is that we cannot get out of the pit by ourselves. We do not have the strength, nor is there any foothold. As we claw on the sides, the dirt just crumbles in.

Grace is when we finally realize that we cannot save ourselves and we call out for help. Then the only one who can, comes, reaches down and pulls us out of this pit. However, he is not content to pull us out and go on his way. Rather, he is planning a big celebration with everyone who is grateful at being saved.

When the day of celebration arrives, he finds someone sitting at a table who has refused to take a shower. Will the one who saved him be upset? Will this filthy person be kicked out of the celebration? Jesus told a story of a King that furnished a wedding feast.

So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen. - Matthew 22:10-14

Taking the shower does not get us out of the pit - only Jesus can save us. Jesus does expect us to obey the Sermon on the Mount (though it sounds like works). In Matthew 7:27 Jesus made it clear what will happen to those who do not.

Matthew 10:22 and Matthew 24:11-13 teach we must endure to the end

And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. - Matthew 10:22

AND

And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. - Matthew 24:11-13

These verses are plain enough that they do not need comments.

Matthew 13:5-6 teaches that some do wither away

Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. - Matthew 13:5-6

In this parable of the sower, Jesus described four types of earth. The first soil never had life, the fourth soil bore fruit. The second type was shallow soil. The plant withered, to wither means to be alive for a time and then died.

Matthew 18:23-35 teaches that the Father can withdraw His forgiveness

Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshiped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, which owed him a hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. - Matthew 18:23-35

Look carefully at what Jesus is teaching in this parable.

  1. The king forgave the servant his debt.
  2. Because of the servant's behavior after he was forgiven, his forgiveness was revoked.
  3. The last punishment of this servant was worse than the first.
  4. Jesus said that His Father will also do the same to us, if we do not forgive others.

Jesus plainly taught that He expects certain behavior or we will fall from grace.

Matthew 24:51 teaches that some servants do not endure to the end

Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. - Matthew 24:45-51

The servant backslid when His lord delayed His coming. Jesus said that he would be cut asunder, appointed a portion with the hypocrites, and he would weep and gnash his teeth. I do not know what else He could have said to make us see that this servant lost his salvation.

Matthew 25:30 teaches that He expects His servants to be accountable

For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. - Matthew 25:14

We are all familiar with the parable of the Ten Talents. Look what happened to the last servant.

And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. - Matthew 25:30

The master went on a journey and expected his servants to be accountable. If the unprofitable servant had only lost his talent, that would have been to lose his reward. However, the servant was cut asunder, appointed the portion of a hypocrite and finally cast into outer darkness where he was gnashing his teeth.

Mark 8:34-38, teaches that whosoever will save his life shall lose it

And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. - Mark 8:34-38

In the first paragraph, Jesus did not say he would lose his rewards, Jesus said he will lose his life. The last paragraph, like the seed that was sown on rocky soil,

And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended. - Mark 4:17

Many endure for a while, yet for some reason, are offended or ashamed of Jesus and His words. Jesus himself said He will be ashamed of this person when He comes. Jesus did not teach 'once saved, always saved'.

Mark 9:42-48 to offend means to cause to sin

And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. - Mark 9:42

Saying a sinner's prayer sincerely will not exempt someone, who offends a child, at some later date, from this curse.

And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. - Mark 9:43-48

Though the church does not teach that we should cut off hands and feet or pluck out eyes, the seriousness of what Jesus is saying should not be played down. Jesus said, if thy hand offend thee, cut it off; eternal security teaches that if you prayed a sinners prayer you can enter the kingdom even if thy hand offends thee.

Mark 13:13 he that shall endure unto the end

And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. - Mark 13:13

This verse is simple enough to not need a comment.

Luke 3:8-9 every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit

Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
- Luke 3:8-9

In John the Baptists' day, the Jews thought they were God's chosen people; that is, they were saved because they were the descendents of Abraham. John the Baptist warned them not to count on that. Today many count on the doctrine of eternal security. When John says that every tree that does not bear good fruit is cast into the fire he is warning us not to count on anything but good fruit.

Luke 6:47-49 whosoever heareth my sayings and doeth them

Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built a house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built a house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great. - Luke 6:47-49

In Luke, Jesus is repeats the same warning about obedience that He he gave in Matthew. If obedience to Jesus sounds like salvation by works, then let us strive together.

Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. - Luke 13:24

Luke 11:23 gathering or scattering

He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.
- Luke 11:23

There are some who feel secure though they do not gather with Christ. They cannot see that, on Judgment Day, they will be in the wrong group.

Luke 12:8-9 whosoever shall confess me before men

Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God. - Luke 12:8-9

Even after we say a sinner's prayer Jesus expects us to confess Him before men. What will happen to those who are ashamed of Him?

Luke 12:45-47 Jesus said he would appoint his portion with the unbelievers

But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. - Luke 12:45-47

Since the servant knew His Lord's will and uses the words My lord, we can understand him to be a Christian. Yet he ends up in the same place as the unbelievers.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus told a similar parable except the servant was appointed a portion with the hypocrites. Jesus taught there would be Christians who will say, ''My Lord delays His coming ... '', and He warned what will happen to them if they backslide.

Luke 21:19 in your patience ...

In your patience possess ye your souls. - Luke 21:19

The context of this verse in Luke 21 implies that we need to persevere.

John 5:28-29 they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation

[Jesus said] Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
- John 5:28-29

Though it sounds like salvation by works, Jesus is the one speaking. This verse, and not a sinner's prayer, will decide which resurrection one attains to.

John 15:3-10 teaches that we must abide in the vine

Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. - John 15:3-10

In this passage we are plainly taught that those who do not abide in Jesus will be cast into the fire. If we abide in Jesus, we will ''bear much fruit'' and thereby be his disciples. Jesus exhorts us by saying ''abide in me'' five times, to ''abide in my love'' twice and to ''abide in the vine''. Jesus also warns us that ''If a man abide not ... he is cast forth ... into the fire, and ... burned''.

Acts 14:22 teaches that we must enter the kingdom through much tribulation

Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. - Acts 14:22

While Paul and Barnabas exhorted the Christians to continue in the faith. One famous eternal security preacher shares a different gospel,

''The Bible not only states that our salvation is secure despite our faithlessness but illustrates this truth as well.'' (Charles Stanley, Eternal Security, pg 94)

Romans 8:13 teaches that if you live after the flesh, you shall die

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. - Romans 8:12-13

Paul is talking to Christians calling them brothers. To 'mortify' means more than to say the sinner's prayer. I believe this paragraph is so important in our Christian walk, I will give it a whole chapter, What is the Narrow Path?

Romans 11:17-22 Paul warns the Romans that they can be cut off

And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
- Romans 11:17-22

Paul said, Thou also shalt be cut off. Have you ever heard a preacher who believe once saved, always saved warn believers to take heed lest [God] also spare not thee?

1st Corinthians 3:16-18 if any man defile the temple of God

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. - 1 Corinthians 3:16-18

This passage is discussed in detail in the chapter Scriptures used by those who believe in eternal security: 1st Corinthians 3:16.

1st Corinthians 6:9-11 the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
- 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

If your lifestyle includes the sins in this list and you still think that you will inherit the Kingdom of God, are you not deceived?

1st Corinthians 8:9-11 shall the weak brother perish?

But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?
- 1 Corinthians 8:9-11

Paul would not teach that a brother can perish; unless, a brother can perish.

1st Corinthians 9:27 Paul warns about being cast away

But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. - 1st Corinthians 9:27

To really understand this verse we need the definition of the word castaway; the Greek word is ἀδόκιμος. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance defines it - unapproved, that is, rejected; by implication worthless (literally or morally).

• Ἀδόκιμος is translated reprobate six times; Romans 1:28, 2 Timothy 3:8, Titus 1:16 and three times in 2nd Corinthians 13:5-7.

• Ἀδόκιμος is used to describe unbelievers of the worst kind; Romans 1:28, 2 Timothy 3:8 and Titus 1:16.

• In Hebrews 6:8, ἀδόκιμος is translated as rejected.

If Paul believed in the doctrine of eternal security, why should he be worry about being a castaway?

1st Corinthians 10:11-12 let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall

Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. - 1st Corinthians 10:11-12

If you read this verse in context, the examples Paul uses to admonish us are of people who were blotted out of the Book of Life.

And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. - Exodus 32:33

1st Corinthians 15:1-2 Paul warns not to believe in vain

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. - 1 Corinthians 15:1-2

Paul says that if we do not keep what he preached in our memory we will have believed in vain.

Jesus answered and said to him, If a man loves Me, he will keep My Word. And My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. - John 14:23

2nd Corinthians 1:24 by faith ye stand

Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand. - 2 Corinthians 1:24

For by faith we stand. The word faith (πίστις) is also translated believe. If you no longer believe, you are not standing.

2nd Corinthians 6:17-7:1 touch not the unclean thing and I will receive you

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. - 2nd Corinthians 6:17-7:1

What must we do for God to receive us?

2nd Corinthians 13:5 Teaches us to examine ourselves

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? - 2 Corinthians 13:5

Paul said that if Jesus Christ is not in you, then you are a reprobate. Do reprobates have eternal security? Yet one famous teacher of eternal security, Charles Stanley, doesn't think fellowship with the Savior is necessary to be saved.

It is a dangerous thing for a believer to turn his back on Christ. To do so is to run the risk of drifting beyond the point of return - not a return to salvation, but a return to fellowship with the Savior. (Charles Stanley, Eternal Security, pg 169)

Galatians 5:1-9 Paul warned the Galatians not to fall from grace

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. - Galatians 5:1-9

Paul said they had run well. How could Paul exhort them to stand fast, if they were not on the narrow path? Paul then warned them not to be circumcised or Christ would profit them nothing. How can Christ profiting them nothing mean anything except falling from grace? Paul even uses the words, ye are fallen from grace.

Galatians 3:3-4 Can you suffer so many things in vain?

Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. - Galatians 3:3-4

The Christians in Galatia began by walking in the Spirit, they did run well. Now Paul becomes worried that an outside influence (one that taught salvation by keeping the law) might make all his preaching a waste of time.

Galatians 4:11 Did Paul bestow labor in vain?

I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain. - Galatians 4:11

Again, Paul feared that if the Galatians did not reconsider, his effort in that church would have been a waste of time.

Ephesians 5:3-7 let no man deceive you with vain words

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them.
- Ephesians 5:3-7

Some are deceived with vain words, thinking that backsliders receive a kingdom and not the wrath of God.

Philippians 2:12-13 work out your own salvation

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. - Philippians 2:12-13

Why would Paul urge the beloved to work out their salvation if he believed in eternally security?

Philippians 3:11-15 Paul told the Philippians that he himself had not attained

If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. - Philippians 3:11-15

How could Paul teach If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead, if he believed that he attained eternal life years earlier when Ananias prayed with him? Paul knew that he would receive eternal life only when he stood before God. While Paul was not insecure, he did have a healthy fear of the Lord and understood the need to persevere. And if you are a mature Christian he is exhorting you to be thus minded.

Colossians 1:21-23 if ye continue in the faith

And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblamable and unreprovable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
- Colossians 1:21-23

This passage does not need any comments.

Colossians 3:23-25 with the Lord there is no respect of persons

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance; for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done; and there is no respect of persons. - Colossians 3:25

Even though God is not a respecter of persons, some believe that they can live like an unbeliever and yet God will judge them differently.

1st Thessalonians 3:5 & 8 teaches we must stand fast

For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labor be in vain.

...

For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord. - 1 Thessalonians 3:5,8

This passage does not need any comments.

1st Thessalonians 4:3-7 the Lord is the avenger of all such

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. - 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7

Though God is an avenger of all such people, some believe He will make an exception for them. If so, why did Paul warn us?

2nd Thessalonians 1:8-9 obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ

[Jesus is coming] In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; - 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9

If you are backslidden, you are not obeying the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you know someone who is backslidden, are you warning him that he faces everlasting destruction unless he repents?

2nd Thessalonians 2:3 there shall be a falling away first

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
- 2 Thessalonians 2:3

The word falling away comes from the Greek word apostasia which, according to the Strong's Concordance, means ''defection from truth''. Can there be a falling away without a falling from grace?

2nd Thessalonians 3:2 all men have not faith

And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. - 2 Thessalonians 3:2

Contrast the apostle Paul's warning about faithless men to Charles Stanley's opinion of faithless men.

''If one must keep believing to stay saved, why didn't Paul and Silas explain this fact to the jailer? [...] The most obvious answer is that Paul and Silas did not believe salvation was the result of continuing faith.'' (Charles Stanley, Eternal Security, pg 88)

First, not every single word Paul spoke to the jailer was recorded, so we do not know that fact was not explained to the jailer. Second, If one does not need to keep believing to stay saved, how come Paul teaches this in every epistle?

1st Timothy 1:19 concerning faith have made shipwreck

Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: - 1 Timothy 1:19

Again, contrast this with Charles Stanley. ''Paul and Silas did not believe salvation was the result of continuing faith.''

1st Timothy 4:1-2 some shall depart from the faith

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; - 1 Timothy 4:1-2

Again contrast this with Charles Stanley. ''Paul and Silas did not believe salvation was the result of continuing faith.'' If you do not understand the connection between faith and salvation, but rather trust in eternal security, you will have no sense of urgency in reaching backsliders.

1st Timothy 4:16 take heed unto thyself

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. - 1 Timothy 4:16

How will Timothy save himself and those who listen to him?

1st Timothy 6:12 and 19 lay hold on eternal life

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. - 1 Timothy 6:12

AND

Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. - 1 Timothy 6:19

Why does Paul exhort Timothy to lay hold on eternal life if once saved always saved?

2nd Timothy 2:11-13 if we ...

It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. - 2 Timothy 2:11-13

What must we do to live with Jesus? Can backsliders who deny Him still live with him?

2nd Timothy 4:15 all men forsook me

At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. - 2 Timothy 4:16

Those who forsook Paul were his companions; thus, at one time they were walking in grace.

Titus 2:11-15, Can Christ redeem you without you being zealous of good works?

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee. - Titus 2:11-15

Look at what Christ's salvation and redemption means in this passage. To deny ungodliness and worldly lusts; to live soberly, righteously, and godly; to be redeemed from iniquity, to be pure and of course, zealous of good works. It sounds like Paul is teaching salvation by good works. Paul was right, if a brother faithfully teaches this passage, he can expect to be despised, the surprise is by who.

Hebrews 3:6 teaches us that we must hold fast

But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. - Hebrews 3:6

What will happen if we do not hold fast unto the end?

Hebrews 3:12 warns us not to depart

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. - Hebrews 3:12

Salvation comes by believing in Jesus Christ. When I was a child, I believed in Santa Claus, I even received gifts from him. Nevertheless, I no longer believe in Santa Claus; it is possible to stop believing in someone, it is possible to depart.

Hebrews 3:14 tells us how to be partakers of Christ

For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end. - Hebrews 3:14

Can we be saved without being partakers of Christ? Must we continue to the end?

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. - John 14:6

Hebrews 5:9 connects salvation to obedience

And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him. - Hebrews 5:9

The salvation Christ offers is eternal. This is not the same as the 'once saved, always saved' doctrine. Unfortunately, because of disobedience, some who believe they are saved will not enter into life.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. - Matthew 7:21-23

Hebrews 6:4-8 is one of the strongest warnings against 'once saved, always saved'

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God.

...

But that which beareth thorns and briars is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. - Hebrews 6:4-6 & 8

This passage is speaking of Christians - those who were once enlightened and partakers of the Holy Ghost - that they can fall away. If the words and put him to an open shame and whose end is to be burned, do not put the fear of God in you, what will? Yet amazingly, Charles Stanley, a proponent of eternal security, says of this passage,

If one takes seriously the original context of the writer's statements, it is clear that this solemn warning in no way threatens the security of the believer. Actually, it is evidence for the believer's security. (Charles Stanley, Eternal Security, pg 169)

If the words whose end is to be burned is evidence for the believer's security, I give up, one of us has a short-circuit in his brain or one of us is being dishonest.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; - 2 Timothy 4:3

I wish more churches would read these passages, it is time we make a bigger effort to disciple new believers, rather than boast about our large number of salvations.

Hebrews 10:26-31 warns of a fate worse than death

In this next passage, the writer of Hebrews is talking of those who were sanctified by his blood (that would be Christians). He is saying that if they sin willfully they will receive a punishment worse than death. Read this carefully, he is talking to Christians and the fate is worse than death.

For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. - Hebrews 10:26-31

When we teach new believers that they are eternally secure, we do them a big disservice. If we taught the Bible, we would be teaching, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Hebrews 12:14 peace and holiness are necessary to see God

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
- Hebrews 12:14

Suppose you do not follow holiness and peace with all men, yet you sincerely prayed a sinner's prayer; do you think that you will stand before the Lord? These verses quoted from Hebrews are not the only verses that exhort us to persevere. Read the Epistle to the Hebrews, the need to persevere in the faith is one of its main themes.

James 1:14-16 warns us about the final end for sinners

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. - James 1:14-16

James is not addressing sinners, he is warning the brethern. What will happen to those who do not take heed?

James 1:21-22 warns us not to deceive ourselves

Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. - James 1:21-22

James says that to be saved, we must receive the word with meekness and then to do what it says. Moreover, those who are not doing what he said are deceiving themselves. This is far different than what some who believe in eternal security teach,

''If one must keep believing to stay saved, why didn't Paul and Silas explain this fact to the jailer? [...] The most obvious answer is that Paul and Silas did not believe salvation was the result of continuing faith.'' (Charles Stanley, Eternal Security, pg 88)

AND

''Falling from grace has absolutely nothing to do with falling into sin. '' (Charles Stanley, Eternal Security, pg 140)

You can believe Charles Stanley, or you can believe the apostle James, ''be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves''. We can contrast Stanley's teachings about faith to another verse in James.

James 2:5 the promise is to the rich in faith

Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath ? - James 2:5

To whom did God promise of the kingdom? If James says the rich in faith will be heirs of His kingdom and Charles Stanley teaches, that salvation is not the result of continuing faith. How can these be the same gospel?

James 5:19-20 encourages us to save a soul from death

Brethren, if any of you do err [stray] from the truth, and one convert [turn about] him; Let him know, that he which converteth [turn about] the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. - James 5:19-20

Listen to what James is saying.

  1. James is speaking to the brethren, this means he is talking to Christians.
  2. He says, if any of you do err from the truth, implying Christians do error from the truth.
  3. The brother who erred from the truth would have died if the other had not turned him back.

This is not the doctrine of eternal security.

2nd Peter 1:9-10 warns us to make our calling sure

But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: - 2 Peter 1:9-10

Note that Peter is addressing Christians, those who were purged from sin, calling them brothers. If Peter believed in eternal security, why does he tell us to make our calling sure? Can you teach the Gospel without teaching brothers to diligently make their calling and election sure?

2nd Peter 2:1 warns of the possibility of denying the Lord and its consequences.

Some who believe in eternal security say that once a person is saved he cannot backslide and therefore he would never deny the Lord. Others say, yes it is possible to backslide and therefore to deny the Lord, however that person is still saved. Peter teaches somewhat differently, it is possible for one who was saved to backslide and deny the Lord; however, this one will face swift destruction. Read carefully,

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. - 2 Peter 2:1

2nd Peter 2:20-21 warns about escaping and then being again entangled

For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. - 2nd Peter 2:20-21

It is possible to escape the world's pollution and then to again be entangled therein. Moreover, the words the latter end is worse with them than the beginning means that their judgment will be worse than if they had never heard the gospel. The Bible does not teach eternal security, it teaches fear of the Lord.

But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. - Luke 12:5

2nd Peter 3:17 warns us not to fall

Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. - 2 Peter 3:17

Peter is warning the beloved (thus he is talking to Christians) that we be not led away with the errors of the wicked and fall from our own steadfastness.

1st John 1:6-7, if we walk in the light we have fellowship

If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. - 1 John 1:6-7

What must we do for the blood of Jesus to cleanse us from sin? What happens to those who are not cleansed from sin?

And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.
- Revelation 21:27

1st John 2:4-5, hereby we know that we are in him

He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. - 1 John 2:4-5

We know that we are in Christ, not by the eternal security doctrine, rather because we keep His word.

1st John 2:24-26 continue in the Son

Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life, These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. - 1 John 2:24-26

John is warning, ''continue in the Son,'' and do not let them ''seduce you''.

1st John 3:7 let no man deceive you

Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. - 1 John 3:7

Those who believe in eternal security will counter this verse with another.

And be found in him, not having a righteousness of mine own, even that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith:
- Philippians 3:9

Yet verses are not in the Bible to counter other verses with. 1st John 3:7 says "he that doeth righteousness is righteous", thus if you are in Christ, you will behave like Christ.

Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts [desires] of your father ye will do. - John 8:43-44a.

Whose desires do you follow? If we have righteousness by faith in Christ, we will behave righteously and Jesus will get the glory.

2nd John 1:9-11 whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not ...

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him Godspeed: For he that biddeth him Godspeed is partaker of his evil deeds. - 2 John 1:9-11

3rd John 1:11 he that doeth evil hath not seen God

Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God. - 3 John 1:11

Teachers often quote the apostle John to prove that all we must do is believe and we have eternal security. Yet over and over, John taught that we must do good. This may sound like salvation by works. Perhaps a parable that we earlier will help us understand the connection between grace and good works.

And when [the king] had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshiped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, which owed him a hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. - Matthew 18:24-35

For the Lord to expect his servant to forgive his fellow servant is not salvation by works. For the servant to save himself by works he needs to pay the ten-thousand talents, not just forgive someone a tiny fraction of that debt. Now look closely, the evil servant was forgiven, yet because of his behavior after he was forgiven, the master withdrew his forgiveness, he was delivered to torment and now he has to pay all. The application of this parable for us is that Christ will forgive us our debts. however, he expects certain behavior from those He has forgiven.

Jude v3 & 21 exhort us to keep ourselves in God's love

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. - Jude 3

Jude wrote his epistle to warn Christians that ungodly men would creep into the church. After warning us about these men ( verses 4 through 20), he says:

Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. - Jude 21

Can you see why (vs. 4 - 20) Jude exhorts us to earnestly contend for the faith and keep ourselves in God's love? In verse four, Jude warns us to watch out, for certain men crept in unawares. Today some preach a popular gospel that sounds like this.

''The Bible not only states that our salvation is secure despite our faithlessness but illustrates this truth as well.'' (Charles Stanley, Eternal Security, pg 94)

Revelation 2 & 3  I know thy works ...

When Jesus talked to the seven churches in the book of Revelation, in every case, he mentioned their works, and in a few cases, he touched on the topic of eternal security.

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. - Revelation 2:10

Note how Jesus also talks about blotting names out of the Book of Life.

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. - Revelation 3:5

AND

And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. - Revelation 22:19

The Book of Life is also in the Old and New Testament,

And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. - Exodus 32:33

Both Moses and Jesus taught that names can be blotted out of the Book of Life, those that teach otherwise are teaching a different gospel.

In the next verse, Jesus talking to one of his churches said,

So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. - Revelation 3:16

It does not sound very secure for the lukewarm church to me. Is there another Bible verse that offers the lukewarm more hope than this one?

Revelation 21:7 He that overcomes ...

Our last verse in Revelation talks about rewards and salvation to him that overcomes.

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
- Revelation 21:7

What must we do for the Almighty to be our God and for us to be His son?

In concluding, we find that every New Testament author earnestly exhorts us to contend for the faith. None failed to warn us. They said it many different ways, but they all said that those who do not abide in Christ will have their names blotted out of the Book of Life.

Examining eternal security in the Old Testament

In personal conversations, some Christians have balked when I quote passages from the Old Testament saying it is a different dispensation, however, we serve an unchanging God.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. - James 1:17

AND

For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
- Malachi 3:6

These words in Malachi are in a passage where the Lord is speaking of Christ at his first coming. Therefore, the verse is relevant to this dispensation.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: - 2 Timothy 3:16

We all know that salvation was offered in the Old Testament by keeping the law. Keeping the law implies ongoing obedience; no one believed, once circumcised always saved.

Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you. - Deuteronomy 4:1

Concerning the Mosaic Law, Jesus said:

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
- Matthew 5:17-20

Note also that the Jewish Christians, led by the elders at Jerusalem, were also zealous and kept the law.

And when they [James and the other elders at Jerusalem] heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: - Acts 21:20

At the risk of sounding like I believe in salvation by works, it is worth noting how Jesus said the law would outlast heaven and earth. This law teaches perseverance to remain in the Book of Life. If God is unchanging we should not expect him to have a different standard in the New Testament. It is not just in the law that we find we must persevere, the prophets also taught the same, for instance when prophesying of the end days, Daniel said:

And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed. - Daniel 11:35

If, some of them of understanding were not falling, as we see happening today, Daniel would have been a false prophet. Ezekiel also taught that you could lose your salvation.

Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. - Ezekiel 3:20

AND

When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die. - Ezekiel 18:26

AND

When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby. - Ezekiel 33:18

We should be warning backsliders not assuring them that they are still walking in grace. In the next verse, Jeremiah will say the same thing. Moreover, Jeremiah will preface it with the words And at what instant I shall speak; this means that God can do this any time he wants:

And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them. - Jeremiah 18:9-10

Nevertheless, some teachers will still contend that this warning was for a different dispensation. Even so, today's standard is higher and the punishment greater, because we have better promises.

He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? - Hebrews 10:28-29

The sorer punishment mentioned in the epistle to the Hebrews is a fate worse than death. Notice how the apostle is talking about a sanctified person, one who was once saved. While the Old Testament was a different dispensation, when a prophet speaks of the future dispensation, it will be relevant to that dispensation. In the Book of Zephaniah - speaking of the New Testament dispensation - he said:

I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the LORD. I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the LORD. [...] And them that are turned back from the LORD; and those that have not sought the LORD, nor inquired for him. - Zephaniah 1:2, 3, 6

Some may claim that this verse refers to the time after the church is raptured and therefore it is not this dispensation, but a future one. That argument implies that a different gospel will be preached after the rapture. With all the New Testament admonitions to keep the Everlasting Gospel to the end, we should avoid those that teach a different gospel before the end of the age (see Galatians 1:9).

Can we even use the different dispensations as an argument for eternal security? The root of the word dispensation is not a certain period of time, the root of the word dispensation means stewardship. This implies an ongoing responsibility to God. Using the belief in dispensationalism to negate our dispensations (stewardship) is a poor argument.

Scriptures used by those who believe in eternal security

Before and since writing my first draft of this study, I have talked to many pastors and studied many books that teach eternal security. Since I cannot defend the eternal security doctrine, I will only quote the passages used to teach it without trying and explain them.

This Bible study started with four different books or study guides, given to me by different brothers. We will look at every single verse used in these sources, not just the poor examples. If a verse from one of these studies does not appear below, it was already used in an earlier chapter as a proof against the eternal security doctrine.

The verses are listed in the order that they appear in the Bible.


Proof Text: Psalm 91:11-12

For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. - Psalm 91:11-12

Rebuttal:

Psalm 91:11-12 is not addressing the doctrine of eternal security. This is a very specific prophecy of Jesus, for its fulfillment see Matthew 4:6.


Proof Text: Psalm 121:3

He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. - Psalm 121:3

Rebuttal:

This Psalm does not say we cannot backslide. Psalm 121 teaches us that God does not sleep. We all believe He will protect us from evil. This Psalm is a promise of eternal life to those who love God. Perhaps this verse could teach us, as do many of the psalms, that God is our shield and fortress and that our enemies cannot make us backslide.


Proof Text: John 6:37-40

All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. - John 6:37-40

Rebuttal:

This verse says Jesus will not cast out those who come to him. This is a common theme in the Bible, no matter what you have done, if you will go to him, he will not turn you away. The passage does not say that you cannot leave of your own volition. An interesting note, as soon as Jesus was done with his sermon, the next verse says:

From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. - John 6:66


Proof Text: John 8:31

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; - John 8:31

Rebuttal:

While some who teach eternal security quote this verse, the passage itself places the burden of continuing on us. Some account for this by believing that you can be a Christian without being a disciple. Thus, if you do not continue in Jesus' words you are still saved, you are just not a disciple. Yet can you be Christian without continuing in His word?

While there is a distinction in the Bible between apostles and disciples. Unfortunately, there is no distinction in the Bible between His disciples and those who are simply saved (I would like any brother to email me the verse if he believes that I missed it). Let us look at some of the different titles for those who are saved:

Jesus is the teacher, either you are his disciple or you are not. Jesus split humanity into two groups.

He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth
- Luke 11:23

AND

And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. - Matthew 25:33

AND

Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. - Matthew 13:30

Either you will be counted with the wheat or you will be counted with the tares, I do not expect there will be any hybrids in Heaven.

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed. - John 8:31


Proof Text: John 10:27-28

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
- John 10:27-28

Rebuttal:

To receive this promise of eternal life:

These all imply a continuing responsibility. John 10:28 teaches, as do many other Bible passages, that no one can pluck us out of his hand. That the words any man exclude the person himself can be shown by an example earlier in the same chapter.

[Jesus said:] No man taketh it [My life] from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. - John 10:18

When Jesus said no man takes his life from Him, that did not mean He could not take His own life, as He said, I lay it down myself. In the same way, when Jesus said, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand, this does not teach that a person cannot leave voluntarily.


Proof Text: Romans 8:15

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. - Romans 8:15

Rebuttal:

Those who believe in eternal security often point out how, through adoption, we have been made sons of God. Does a father remove son-ship from a son who did something wrong? Thus even though we sin, we can be secure. However, Paul did not say we were actually adopted yet, rather eight verses later he said,

And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. - Romans 8:23

In the book of Revelation, John tells us when God will receive us as His children.

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
- Revelation 21:7

Even if you still believe that you are already adopted, family members are often removed. We are not only called sons, the Scriptures also call us the bride of Christ. And just as some professing Christians are divorced from their wives, God can do the same.

And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also. - Jeremiah 3:8

If you are a child of God you will be like your Father in Heaven.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven. - Matthew 5:44-45a


Proof Text: Romans 8:35-39

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 8:35-39

Rebuttal:

Paul fails to mention one thing, sin. If Paul believed the doctrine of eternal security, I think that, at least in one of his epistles, he would have said that even our sins cannot separate us from God.

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. - Hebrews 3:12-13

This is the same argument as John 10:27-28, while no earthly power can separate us (events outside of our selves), sin can (when it proceeds from within us); Therefore, keeping ourselves in God's love is our responsibility.

Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. - Jude 1:21


Proof Text: Romans 11:29

For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. - Romans 11:29

Rebuttal:

You must take this verse out of context in order to teach eternal security with it. It is in the middle of a paragraph that is talking about God's eternal relationship with Israel. Did the first covenant with Israel promise the individual Jews eternal security?

Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen. - Deuteronomy 27:26

While the gifts that Paul is referring to in Romans 11:29 are the promises that God gave Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, earlier in the same chapter Paul does address the issue of eternal security.

For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
- Romans 11:21-22


Proof Text: 1st Corinthians 3:12-15

Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work [labor] shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
- 1 Corinthians 3:12-14

If any man's work [labor] shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. - 1 Corinthians 3:15

Rebuttal:

If you get your Bible out and look at this verse in context, you will see that this chapter up to verse fifteen, is talking about works not sin.

Verse 15 teaches that we are not saved by our works, to that we all agree. To teach eternal security you must change the meaning of 'If any man's work ...' to something like, If any man's sin .... If the man's work was referring to sin, he would not be suffering loss if they burned up. However, if you read the verse in context, the word work is referring to our 'service to God', not to our 'sins against God'. A better paraphrase would be; if your service [to Christ] were like wood or hay instead of gold or silver, you will lose your reward.

However the next three verses (1st Corinthians 3:16-18) do talk about sin.


 Proof Text: 1 Corinthians 3:16

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
- 1 Corinthians 3:16

Rebuttal:

Studies that quote 1st Corinthians 3:16 to teach eternal security usually leave out verses 17-18.

If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. - 1 Corinthians 3:17-18

Since Paul says the Spirit of God dwells in us, this passage is referring to the believers. Read verse 17 carefully, he says ''him shall God destroy''. Paul did not say he would lose his reward (as some teach). Nor as others have taught did Paul mean to say, God will destroy his temple. This is the teaching that God will physically kill a backslider, yet the backslider does not lose his salvation. Here are five reasons to avoid this interpretation.

  1. If this ''him shall God destroy'' is only a physical death and it is supposed to be a punishment. Why would Paul wish this same thing on his own self? To depart and be with the Lord is life, not destruction. (see Philippians 1:23)
  2. The truth is that many faithful Christians like Steven have died for their faithfulness (Acts 7:58). Others like Daniel and his three companions had their lives prolonged for the very same testimony that cost Steven his life. See Hebrews 11 for a list of people who lived longer or died prematurely because of their faith.
  3. Conversely, some backsliders die because of backsliding while others, like the evangelist Charles Templeton who turned atheist, have lived very comfortably into their old age.
  4. This interpretation is a version of the prosperity doctrine. A doctrine condemned by Paul in 1st Timothy 6:5. If Paul said to stay away from those who teach that worldly gain is godliness; should we not also avoid those who teach that worldly loss means you were ungodly?
  5. If you read the book of Job, you will see that his comforters believed this same false doctrine. To paraphrase them: 'Job, God is punishing you because you are a backslider'. If you have read Job, you know that God personally condemned the doctrine of Job's comforters and therefore, we should too.

In concluding, 1st Corinthians 3:16 is not a verse that proves eternal security. When read with verses 17 & 18, it plainly teaches the opposite.


Proof Text: Ephesians 1:13

In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise,
- Ephesians 1:13

Can a seal be broken? Yes, that is why they placed guards at Jesus' tomb. A seal is different than a padlock. And a seal only provides proof if it is not broken. Read the next verse carefully.

Quench not the Spirit. - 1 Thessalonians 5:19

Would not quenching the Spirit be the same thing as breaking the seal? Still, once saved always saved preachers believe that the seal of the Holy Spirit cannot be broken, to quote Charles Stanley,

The writer of Hebrews offers a serious warning. It is a dangerous thing for a believer to turn his back on Christ. To do so is to run the risk of drifting beyond the point of return - not a return to salvation, but a return to fellowship with the Savior. (Charles Stanley, Eternal Security, pg 169)

In the Gospel of John, Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit dwelling with us forever.

If ye love me, keep my commandments. 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; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. - John 14:15-17

Do not deceive yourself:

You are not sealed with the Holy Spirit. Think for a moment, are you secure because you fellowship with God - sealed with the Holy Spirit? Or, are you secure because the once saved always saved doctrine has taught you that you will always be sealed with the Holy Spirit?


Proof Text: Philippians 1:6

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: - Philippians 1:6

Rebuttal:

We can believe that Christ is cleansing us from our sin without believing once saved always saved. In fact, this verse gives a lot of comfort to the disciple who is growing in Jesus. He is the one who cleanses us from sin, gives us a new heart, and gives us the fruit of the Spirit. However, this verse does not remove from us the responsibility abiding in Christ. Paul himself makes this clear in this same letter when he says,

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. - Philippians 2:12b

AND

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended. - Philippians 3:13a


Proof Text: 2 Timothy 1:12

For the which cause 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 that which I have committed unto him against that day. - 2 Timothy 1:12

Rebuttal:

This verse comforts those who are suffering for Christ's sake. However, it does not remove the responsibility from us to abide in his love. Paul said that it was his relationship with God, not the eternal security doctrine that persuaded him God would keep what he committed to Him. While Paul did not say that he believed in eternal security, three verses later he did say:

This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me.
- 2 Timothy 1:15a


Proof Text: Hebrews 7:25

Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. - Hebrews 7:25

Rebuttal:

Jesus does save and intercede for us, in other passages of scripture: he cleanses us from sin, creates in us a new heart, delivers us from temptation and makes us overcomers. The only thing the scriptures do not promise is that he will not allow us to depart from Him. When the apostle Peter first met Jesus he said, "Depart from me; for I am a sinful man". Yet Jesus told Peter to come with Him, "Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men". Another time, Jesus told a rich young ruler "sell that thou hast ... and come and follow me". Peter chose to follow Jesus, it appears the ruler did not. They both had free choice. However do you think Peter continued in the same lifestyle after he met Jesus as he did before he met Him? It was in abiding with Christ that Peter's life was transformed. The apostle who wrote Hebrews 7:25 makes it clear in chapter 3 verses 12-14, the decision to remain in Christ is ours.

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end; - Hebrews 3:12-14


Proof Text: Hebrews 13:5

Let your conversation [conduct] be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. - Hebrews 13:5

Rebuttal:

Since God promises not to forsake us, those who no longer fellowship with Him, have no one to blame but themselves.


Proof Text: 1 Peter 1:5

Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. - 1 Peter 1:5

Rebuttal:

Peter speaks of a double effort here, God’s power and our faith. This is the opposite of what the eternal security doctrine teaches; Charles Stanley a leading proponent says,

''The most obvious answer is that Paul and Silas did not believe salvation was the result of continuing faith''. (Charles Stanley, Eternal Security, pg 88)


Proof Text: - 1 John 2:17

And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. - 1 John 2:17

Rebuttal:

This verse teaches eternal security only to those who are doing the will of God. This implies a continuing responsibility.


Proof Text: 1st John 2:19

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. - 1st John 2:19

Rebuttal:

Every time that I see 1st John 2:19 used to teach eternal security, the teacher has omitted verse 18.

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. - 1st John 2:18

This passage is not a general reference to those who leave the church, suggesting that they were never saved in the first place. Who were the ''they'' John referred to when he said, ''they went out from us''? The answer is the many antichrists or self-appointed Messiahs. John did not say that we cannot backslide; rather, he is warning us about cult leaders and telling us from whence they come (as history has born him out).


Proof Text: 1 John 2:27-28

But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. - 1 John 2:27-28

Rebuttal:

In this passage, John exhorts us to abide in him; therefore, we should take the responsibility of abiding in him seriously so that we may have confidence at Jesus coming. If you believe in eternal security, you may miss your obligation to abide.


Proof Text: 1 John 3:6, 9

Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. - 1 John 3:6

AND

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. - 1 John 3:9

Rebuttal:

While these verses offer security to those who do not sin, they actually teach that those abiding in Christ do not sin. This should not give comfort to a backslider.


Proof Text: 1 John 4:4

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. - 1 John 4:4

Rebuttal:

If you are of God, greater is he that is in you and you will be an over-comer. This promise of being an over-comer is only to those who are of God. Throughout the rest of the chapter John teaches what it means to have God in us.

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. - 1 John 4:7

AND

No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. - 1 John 4:12

AND

Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. - 1 John 4:15-16

These verses teach that we have an ongoing responsibility.


Proof Text: 1st John 5:18

We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. - 1st John 5:18

Rebuttal:

In saying that we must keep ourselves, John is teaching that it is our responsibility to persevere.


Proof Text: Jude 24

And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, - Jude 22-24

Rebuttal:

When teachers cite Jude 24 as a proof for eternal security, they leave verse 21 out.

Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. - Jude 21

We receive the promise, that He will keep us from falling, when we obey the command to keep ourselves in the love of God. God does not keep everyone from falling, only those who are in a relationship with Him. Perhaps a story will show the connection between our responsibility to keep ourselves in God's love, and our hope that He will keep us from falling.

There are many temptations; for men one of them is pornography. Imagine being a young man and walking down a city street. You have extra time on your hands when you walk past an adult bookstore. Few young men walking by themselves could say that they wouldn't at least be tempted.

Now imagine walking down the same street; this time though, Jesus is walking beside you in conversation when you both walk past the adult bookstore. Can you imagine suggesting that you should check it out, or telling Him to wait a moment and you will be right back? Of course not! You would continuing walking right past the adult bookstore, acting as though you didn't see it.

Though Jesus does not walk beside us in a physical body (2 Corinthians 5:16), He did promise to never leave or forsake us, and we can always commune with Him if we chose. Now replace the the adult bookstore with temptations you have. If you keep yourself in the love of God (Jude 21), He is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy (Jude 24).


In concluding, the doctrine of eternal security is so important to its believers that you would think at least one apostle would have said it clearly. Something like, ''Once you believe you can never lose your salvation''. Yet whenever you really study a verse used to teach eternal security, it always has a caveat, or the verse is taken out of context, or it does not actually promise eternal life or there is some conditional statement that places a responsibility of abiding in Christ on us. This should tell us something.

What is the Narrow Path?

This is not a complete thesis of what it means to be on the Narrow Path. I am only trying to show how God expects good works from us without undermining His salvation by grace. First, a brief history:

About 500 years ago, the kingdoms of Europe were under the control of the Roman Catholic Church. Up to that time, the Roman Church introduced many rituals and laws as a necessary part of salvation: how to baptize children, what you could eat on certain days, and penance (the works you must do to receive forgiveness of sins). Over the course of time, her list of rules had become rather long.

In 1517, Martin Luther created a schism in the church when he nailed his 95-point theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg. The doctrine that brought Luther to the breaking point was the sale of indulgences (paying money for the forgiveness of sin).

However, in Martin Luther's indignation, he went to the other extreme by concluding Justification by Faith Alone. I do not propose a compromise to be the solution to this problem; rather, only to see that this is a problem. Let me explain; though Martin Luther cried ''Scripture Only'' for deciding all matters of faith, his revelation of Justification by Faith Alone caused him to reject the Epistle of James, calling it an epistle of straw. He was saying 'Scripture only' and at the same time rejecting Scripture.

Why did Luther reject the epistle of James? Because he did not believe that it was possible to reconcile James' doctrine to that of the apostle Paul.

James: You see then that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.
- James 2:24

Paul: Therefore, we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the
works of the Law. - Romans 3:28

Note how Paul said ''works of the law''. Paul often spoke against keeping the Law as a means of salvation. On close examination, the works that James speaks of are good works (not just loving one another in word); this is a major theme of the New Testament and easily reconciled to what Paul taught.

[Jesus] gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.  - Titus 2:14

In Roman Catholicism, the Works of the Law might forbid you from eating a pot roast on Friday. The Good Works James speaks of might include feeding a hungry person pot roast, even on Friday. Jesus also gave us a contrast between Good Works and Works of the Law when He healed people on the Sabbath day.

No matter how you reconcile Paul and James, since the Reformation, the protestant church has used Luther's Justification by Faith Alone as the simple formula for salvation. One common example of this is the Roman's Road. Countless people, being lead through the following verses, have come to Jesus.

The Romans Road

1) We are all sinners.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; - Romans 3:23

AND

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: - Romans 3:10

2) A just God must punish us for our sins.

For the wages of sin is death.  - Romans 6:23a

3) But God so loved the world that He gave His Son to die in our place.

But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  - Romans 6:23b

AND

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  - Romans 5:8

4) We receive this gift of Salvation by doing the following:

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 
- Romans 10:9-10

6) For God has promised...

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  - Romans 10:13

7)  Some evangelists may add:

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 
- Romans 5:1

AND

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  - Romans 8:1

After being led through these verses, if the person has prayed (confessed Jesus) sincerely, he is promised eternal life. While this formula has led many to the Lord, they were taught nothing about the narrow path. What is needed, at the very least, is to add some more verses to the Romans Road:

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  - Romans 8:3-4

As the new Christian starts walking the Romans Road, Jesus simply called it the narrow path, it should be explained that God sending His own Son gives us the power to fulfill the righteousness of the law if we walk after the Spirit. Paul used the word walk because we are walking on the narrow path. We should explain to the new believer what happens to those who walk after the flesh (what Jesus called the broad path).

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God
- Romans 8:5-8

The new believer needs to learn what they that are in the flesh cannot please God means. The following verses, though not from Romans, could help:

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. - Galatians 5:19-21

***

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. 
- 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

***

That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: - 1 Peter 4:2-4

Since the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom, the new believer should be taught what it means to repent. Repentance is essential, though it is missing in many versions of the Romans Road. We must also teach how Jesus has promised to dwell in us, thereby giving us power to overcome.

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  - Romans 8:9

AND

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.  - Romans 8:13

Romans 8:13 says we must mortify the deeds of the body to live. How do we do that? I used this example of walking in the flesh earlier:

Imagine being a young man and walking down a city street. You have extra time on your hands when you walk past an adult bookstore. Few young men walking by themselves could say they would not at least be tempted.

Walking in the flesh is giving in to the temptation. However, through the Spirit we can mortify the deeds of the body.

Now imagine being a young man and walking down a city street. This time though, Jesus is walking beside you in conversation when you both walk past an adult bookstore. Can you imagine suggesting to Jesus that you check it out, or asking Him to wait, till you come back? Of course not! You would walk right past the adult bookstore, as though it were not even there.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  - Romans 8:14

Can you see that being led by the Spirit of God we get victory? Since it is His presence that gives us the victory, He gets the glory.

Yet some, calling it unconditional salvation, will forever believe that introducing good works into salvation takes away from what Christ did for us on the cross. Not if the Holy Spirit leads us. If God is leading us, He will get the glory because it is His presence that kept us out of sin. We do not glorify God when He is not leading us.

If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.  - 1 John 1:6-7

We can listen to Martin Luther who believed in justification by faith alone:

''If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides. We, however, says Peter (2nd Peter 3:13) are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where justice will reign. It suffices that through God's glory we have recognized the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day. Do you think such an exalted Lamb paid merely a small price with a meager sacrifice for our sins? Pray hard for you are quite a sinner.''
- Martin Luther

Or we can listen to Jesus:

For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees [the religious leaders], ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. - Matthew 5:20

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught about staying on the narrow path. That implies a walk to a destination. He did not teach the Roman's road or ''Justification by Faith Alone''.

So what happens if we do sin? Are we going to Hell?

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  - 1 John 1:8

Some applaud the doctrine of eternal security by sharing that in their past they lived in terror because they may have sinned. They remember dreading the thought that if they sinned and died before they repented they would forever burn in the lake of fire. I wonder who taught them this stuff. The narrow path is simple enough for a child to understand. If we sin, we have an advocate.

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: - 1 John 2:1

Yet this is not a license to sin. Most of 1st John makes this clear:

And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. - 1 John 3:3 

Even so the idea of living in terror may be sound if the following verse describes you:

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. - Galatians 5:19-21

If Galatians 5:19-21 describes you, you would know it. If it does not, you do not have to live in terror because you may have committed some sin, especially if you are not sure that you committed a sin or cannot remember committing the sin. We have all sinned. We live in peace because we are fellowshipping with Jesus, it is in this fellowship that He gives us victory over the old nature.

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, - Philippians 3:12-13

Using the Scriptures to exhort abiding in faith

Those who teach 'once saved, always saved' all know Ephesians 2:8-9, what about Ephesians 2:10? or Hebrews 10:24, or Titus 2:14?

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. - Ephesians 2:10

AND

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: - Hebrews 10:24

AND

Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. - Titus 2:14

I was recently listening to a Christian radio station where the teacher expounded our righteousness is in Jesus Christ. For about half an hour, he went on explaining how we must be careful and not allow works to frustrate it. I do not remember for sure but his proof text could have been one of these:

For being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness to every one that believeth. - Romans 10:3-4

OR

And be found in him, not having a righteousness of mine own, even that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith:
- Philippians 3:9

The next program to air was mostly an altar call. The pastor explained how the next few moments could change some listener's life - I hope so. Even so, the theme he stressed through the whole program was we should not wait until we have cleaned up our sins to come to Christ.

While I agree with what these pastors preached, it's what they didn't preach that I take issue.

From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. - Matthew 4:17

Note how it was not only John the Baptist, but Jesus who preached repentance. Later, when Jesus saw that they did not repent,

Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. - Matthew 11:20-21

Before Jesus ascended into Heaven, he gave us the great commission, saying:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
- Matthew 28:19-20

Teaching to observe all things, includes repenting. Some altar calls have replaced this vital doctrine with eternal security. It is no wonder that Jesus also said:

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. - Matthew 7:21-23

In Charles Stanley's book, Eternal Security (page 167), he mentions how he was asked to council a pastor who was fornicating with a church member. Stanley shares how he walked into this pastor's office, then it occurred to him that there was nothing he could say that the other pastor did not already know. There was certainly nothing in his book Eternal Security that would motivate a wayward pastor to repent. Maybe if Charles Stanley had not eisegeted all the warnings to repent in the Bible he could have used something like the following,

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. - Galatians 5:19-21

Nor is there anything in Charles Stanley's doctrine that could save himself (after nearly a decade of divorce proceedings) from divorce. While he believes that you cannot un-adopt son, I guess it is possible to unwed a bride.

In closing, I believe that many who teach the doctrine of eternal security will be saved; however, they will regret believing it when they see how it put the church to sleep. Many will wish that they had put more effort into discipling new believers instead of just going for big numbers. Some will see then that their gospel sounded similar to those false prophets that Jeremiah warned us about:

Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you . . .

Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly . . .

But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.
- Jeremiah 23:16-17,18-19,22

If this study encourages any to:

Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. - Luke 21:36

It will be time well spent.

If you are a pastor, would you lose your job if you didn't teach once saved, always saved?

Even so, come Lord Jesus.

Written by Jeff Barnes


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<a href="http://www.the-gospel.org/stdy_dctrn/eternal_security.php">
A Bible Study Examining Eternal Security</a>


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A short story

Imagine that you are a young orphan boy living on the streets. A wealthy, loving man sees you and wishes to adopt you. Trying to be a good father he wants to spend time with you, thus he decides to take you to the county fair. There are large crowds at the fair, with lots of noise and many attractions, so before starting out he tells you to stay close to him so that you will not get lost. And if, by some chance, you do get distracted and lose sight of him, you are to stay where you are until he comes back. For without doubt, he will come back and find you.

I know this as a father: I feed my children when they are hungry, give them water when they thirst, and I provide clothing and shelter them from the cold. I watch out for their safety and would withhold no good thing from them. When my children were young, if one of them were to get out of my sight I would immediately go back and search all the places we had been until I had found him.

You decide to go with this man to the fair. You begin to call him father, you enjoy the many things you are learning from him and get excited when you hear about the inheritance he has planned for you. You look forward to the day when you will come to live in the big house that he is, even now, building. As long as you stay next to your father, you are safe and secure. He provides everything, and in return he only asks one thing; stay next to him and abide in his love.

Now imagine that you have lost sight of your new father. There are many distractions at the fair. At first you are not even sure when you became separated. You start to panic; you have no idea how you are going to find him. Then you remember his words, Stay where you are until I come back. For without doubt I will come back and find you. If you have faith in your father, you know that you are safe, all you need do is be abide.

As a father, I know that a loving father will always keep his child safe. My child is loved, nourished, clothed and in all ways provided for as long as he, and I am not asking too much, continues in my love.

Then out of nowhere, a couple of your old buddies show up. They want you to go with them. They remind you of the fun that you used to have, and how back then you didn't ''have to obey no one''. You hesitate saying, ''My father wouldn't like me doing that'' They laugh at you for calling him father, they start teasing you and want try to convince you that you don't belong here.

You wonder; if the father meant what he said, why is he taking so long? And your old life, there are some things that are tempting. So what are you going to do?

If any brother will write a rebuttal to any of the arguments

I did not pretend any defense of eternal security when I showed their commonly used verses. If I had, I would only misrepresent those teachers the same way they commonly misrepresent me.

If any brother will write a rebuttal to any of the arguments presented in this teaching; if he convinces me, I will retract the argument. If he does not convince me, I will post his defense, with a link from that argument. However, I will not post any comments from those who do not leave a valid email address.