The basis of most of the sins we commit in humanity is pride. "I can do it myself", "I am an island", "I don't need anyone". When man is confronted with a teaching where only God is magnified, where man's accomplishments are minimized, then this teaching automatically held up to ridicule. The same is true of Perseverance of the Saints (which we will refer to as "Eternal Security").
Eternal Security teaches that the Grace which God offers to man is founded on God's power alone. Eternal Security in no way relies on the works of man for man is enslaved to sin, unable to do any good in the sight of God. Any works which man does of his own power is sinful because we just aren't able. Any work which man does through the power of God is acceptable, certain to succeed. Eternal Security is reliable because it is entirely "God powered".
The great Preacher, Charles H. Spurgeon, wrote:
"Now you are aware that there are different theories of redemption. All Christians hold that Christ died to redeem, but all Christians do not teach the same redemption. We differ as to the nature of the Atonement, and as to the design of the redemption. For instance, the Arminians hold that when Christ died, He did not die with the intent to save any particular person. And they teach that Christ's death does not secure beyond a doubt the salvation of any one man living (in other words, Christ died for all men) and whosoever believes is saved. They believe that Christ died to make the salvation of all men possible, and that by doing of something else, any man that pleases may obtain eternal life. Consequently they are obliged to hold that if any man's will did not give way, and voluntarily surrender to grace, then Christ's Atonement would be unavailing. Now we believe no such thing. We hold that when Christ died He had an object in view, and that object will most assuredly and beyond a doubt be accomplished. We cannot so belie our reason as to think that the intention of God Almighty could be frustrated, or that the design of so great a thing as the Atonement can by whatever way be missed. We hold that we are no afraid to say that we believed that Christ came into this world with the intention of saving a multitude which no man can number, and because of this every man by which He came into the world to die for must, beyond a shadow of a doubt, be cleansed from sin and stand, washed in blood before the Father's throne. "
When we talk about "Eternal Security" we want to make it plain that the believer does absolutely nothing to remain in a state of salvation once he has entered in it. As Spurgeon also wrote:
"It is not man who perseveres, but God .."
When we say "Eternal Security" we say it meaning that
we believe that salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ alone.
The work of salvation is an unconditional covenant from God
to the person who accepts that Gift. Salvation is secure, as secure as
God's Word is pure.
I had a conversation with a young man the other day on salvation. He had recently attended a Church service where the Pastor preached a "hellfire and brimstone" sermon (something sadly lacking in our pulpits today). The young man was frightened because he wasn't sure if he was going to hell or Heaven after his death. He thought that by just acknowledging the fact that Christ died for him was enough, that he was saved with God's guarantee of Heaven, yet the sermon made him examine his life and realize that the fruits of salvation were not evident.
Eternal Security is often confused with "on the fly" salvation. Some people promote Eternal Security without repentance on the part of the believer. Be aware: such doctrine is never taught in Scripture.
In the early Church a group of hedonists rose up from among our congregations known as the Gnostics. The Gnostics taught that once you accepted Christ as Saviour you were free to return to your old sinful way of life, certain that you were Heaven bound no matter what. In other words, the Gnostics did not believe that salvation worked any lasting change in the nature of the person who was saved. I want you to understand this: Eternal Security does not teach that a man is saved so that he is free to seek out sin. If, after salvation, you do not experience a change in your walk (if you do not walk as a Child of God, or attempt to), a change in your desires, a change in your relationship with God, then you were never saved in the first place. This is exactly what I told that young man. Salvation brings with it a new nature, one that wants to please God.
2 Peter 2:22 "But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire."
1 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."
The true Christian will, in his walk, persevere in works that honor the Lord while seeking to minimize those that do not. This is the outward evidence of the inward change that salvation brings.
1 John 3.9 - Greek Text Literal Translation "Whoever is born of God does not habitually commit sin, for His (God's) seed remains in him, and he cannot habitually commit sin, because he is born of God."
Though good works do not save you, nor keep you in salvation, they are evidence that let you know you have, indeed, been saved. Good works (or perhaps better, Godly works) are a natural by-product of Godly saving faith. They are a natural by-product of the new nature you receive at the point of salvation. If you go forward to be saved as a dog (unsaved), and return from the altar a dog (unsaved), then it is certain salvation has not occurred. But if you go forward as a dog and return as a lamb of God, you have been saved.
Conversely, true Salvation does not mean that a Christian never sins. As long as we are in the flesh we are able to sin, and sometimes fall out of fellowship. Although salvation in Christ does bring a change in the nature of the believer, that change occurs only in our nature, not in our flesh. Until we reach our glorified states in Heaven our bodies (the flesh) will retain it's weakness, it's propensity to sin. As long as we are in this sinful flesh there may be occasional acts of sin, and the possibility of falling out of fellowship with God.
Hebrews 12:8 "But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons."
The true Christian knows that, when he willfully sins (breaks the discipline of the family), God will discipline him for this act. If a professing Christian enters a state of habitual sin and no punishment is forthcoming, then it is certain that this professing Christian was not saved in the first place. As the writer of Hebrews put it, then are ye bastards (illegitimate children, never children of the Family), and not sons.
Any person who enters salvation (is under Eternal Security)
will have a new nature from God. This new nature will
cause the believer to have a new relationship with his Heavenly
Father, and his Father will have a intimate relationship with him.
If you have not experienced this new relationship you had best re-examine
your state of salvation: do not be deceived.
1 Peter 1:3-5 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."
If Eternal Security is not Biblical, then God is not Sovereign in matters concerning His own Family. If this is true then it is obvious that the above text is not an inspired writing, and that the Bible is only a work of man, not of God. But this is not true, for I believe the Bible to be an inspired writing of God to His Family. What is this passage telling us?
The Christian is kept in salvation by the very power of the eternal God. How strong is our God? The foundational declarations of the Christian faith hold that our Creator is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent. In other words, God is Almighty. This verse teaches that the strength of the Christian's salvation is based on the very power and sovereignty of God. Notice that the verse says that we are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. How assured is the Christian of his salvation? According to this text, the Christian will remain in salvation as long as God is truly God. In other words, if a Christian ever loses his salvation, then we can be certain that there is indeed no Creator God, and we are all yet dead in our sins.
The power of God brings the Christian to salvation through faith. Faith is not a work of man, but something our Father enables at the point of salvation. Faith is the means by which God leads a person to salvation, and this faith is a gift from God to man:
Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
It is certain and Biblical that salvation is a work of God only. In no way, shape, or form is man a partner with God in the work. Since man is not a partner then there is no way that he can lose his salvation by an act of sin. The glory of the Gift of Salvation goes to God alone. Since God is God the work is effective and complete. Did creation cease to be creation because man fell under sin? Absolutely not! Does salvation cease to be salvation because the Christian falls out of fellowship? Absolutely not!
John 6:39-40 "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."
2 Timothy 1:9 "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began"
In the Gospel of John, Jesus paralleled the Eternal Security of the believer to the Sovereign will of God. Jesus said, this is the Father's will that all which he hath given me I should lose nothing. It is God's omnipotent Will that those who are saved, in the arms of Jesus, not be lost, but resurrected in the latter days. What is the resurrection our Lord is talking about?
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
This resurrection is the bodily resurrection of the believer in Christ on the day of Rapture. On this day we shall be personally resurrected by the Lord Jesus Christ, the previously dead in Christ first, to be followed by those yet living. Whether or not you are in fellowship with Lord at the time of Rapture is not an issue, nor is it made an issue by the Scripture. As God is Sovereign, then all who are Christians shall meet Christ in the air in resurrection. Since we meet Him in Rapture, then it is certain that our salvation is secure in this earthly sphere.
Can the Pelagian prove, through the Scripture, that man is a partner with God in the work of salvation? According to the Gospel of John the believer is entirely passive in the work of salvation. Notice that we were given to Jesus by the Father. If you give something to someone else, does the thing given have any say so in the exchange? No, for the thing given is entirely passive in the episode. Even though God has created men to a higher level of intelligence than the animal, and even though God has been more merciful to us than we should ever have deserved, in the end we are still God's creatures. The Creator God does not have to ask your permission to give you to the Son. To think that man has the ability to be a partner with most Infinite Being of all is foolish. We are not now nor will we ever be equal to God!
In the Timothy passage we see two things:
1. We were not saved according to our works, but according to the purpose and grace of God. Since we were not saved according to our works then how is it possible that we can become lost according to our works? It is not only illogical, it is impossible. God alone brings the believer to salvation, and only God is able to cast him away. Yet according to His Covenant God will not cast anyone; man, woman or child; away if they have accepted His Son as their Savior. We were chosen according to God's plan of the ages. God is not man that He changes His mind. God knows all things and has already foreseen all obstacles that may lay in the future way. God knows your life from beginning to end. He knows when you sin, and knows all the sins you will commit in your lifetime. He knows, and because of this knowledge He had Christ pay the penalty for all that you would do in this life. He has planned all things, even the smallest aberration of your life, into His plan so that it can be truthfully written:
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
How could all things be good
the Christian unless God rendered all things certain? The
God who renders all things good for the believer is the same God who guards
our salvation in this life. We are Secure.
2. We were not called according to our works. Some Christians get the idea that since they are better than the others around them God called them out of the world. Yet the Bible teaches we were chosen for one reason only: God desired to call us. Before we were saved we were just as evil as the lowest sinner. We are not saved according to our merit, we were not called according to our works.
John 10:27-30 "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. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one."
Jesus makes several important statements in these passages:
a. Those who follow Jesus are freely given eternal life by the Son. Once a person is born again there is a change in the nature of that person. With that change comes a willing desire to follow Jesus. In other words, we want to do good works, to serve our Lord after salvation. Believing in Jesus is the act which leads to salvation, and following Jesus is the natural fruit of the new saved nature. Following Jesus alone does not bring a person to salvation, for Simon the sorcerer followed the Apostles (Acts 8.9-24), and yet remained lost. If you profess belief in Christ, yet show no evidence of salvation, chances are you have not been saved. Belief is the basis which brings us to salvation, yet Godly works are the fruit of salvation. The fruit follows the belief, and both must be present in the Christian life.
Those who are freely given eternal life by the Son are completely secure in their newfound possession. The text tells us that no one shall plug these out of the signs hand. It also tells us that no one shall pluck us out of the Father's hand. The Greek text says no one not no man. What is the difference between the two?
If the Greek text said no man then the Pelagian could argue that the text meant "no other man besides yourself" could take you out of God's hands. But instead the text reads no one. By using the broader generic term Jesus makes it plain that not you, not Satan, no one at all may take you out of the Father's hands. Jesus then reinforces this statement by saying, My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all. As God is Sovereign those who are in the realm of His Grace are secure.
In this text we also see how man is passive in the work of salvation. Notice again that Jesus says My Father, which gave them me. We were given to Christ by the Father, totally passive in the work of salvation. We may have believed in Christ, yet it was God who, through His Spirit, made it possible for us to believe. We may have accepted, yet it was God who wooed us to Grace.
John 14:16-17 "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 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."
We are secure in our salvation because we have received the indwelling Spirit of God. Jesus used emphatic verbs in referring to the promised Spirit: I will, he shall, he may abide. The Holy Spirit fully indwells all who accept Christ as Saviour.
1 Corinthians 12:13 "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit."
If you are a Christian you were not given a choice as to whether the Spirit would indwell you or not. You were all made to drink into one Spirit. The Holy Spirit indwelt you at the point of salvation, immediately after you accepted Christ as Saviour. Looking back at our John 14 text we see that this same Spirit does not just come to visit the new believer, but abide(s) with you for ever. How can the believer ever lose his salvation if the Spirit comes to stay? Will God cast the out of fellowship believer in hell, dragging the Spirit along with him? Absolutely not! Jesus promised that the Spirit would come and abide forever, and places no conditions on His coming. Since we have the ever abiding Spirit, we have Eternal Security in our salvation.
Romans 5:1-2 "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."
Romans 5:9-11 "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement."
The believer is secure in salvation because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are saved from wrath through him. In both of our Scriptural passages now in view the major focus is on Justification by Grace alone. We are Justified by faith in Christ because of His Hypostatic Union and Atoning sacrifice at the Cross.
a. The first stage of true atonement rests in the satisfaction of the wrath of God. The people were supposed to bring a willing sacrifice who would stand as a substitute for the sinner. It was imperative that the substitute be completely innocent, free from sin. The sacrifice of an impure object would not fully satisfy the righteous judgment (or wrath) of God.
The Jewish sacrifice in no way fully satisfied the first stage of God's atonement. There was no sinless human in Israel that could bear the penalty, so they used "unblemished" animals for the sacrifice. But animals were not sinless, nor were they a fit substitute for man. When Adam fell to sin all creation fell with him. Animals were also unable to willingly submit itself to the sacrifice. They did not have the mental capacity necessary to perceive what was taking place.
A true substitute for atonement must be equal in being to it's object. An animal, contrary to what Darwinism teaches, is not equal to man, nor will it ever be. The Jewish atonement for sin did not satisfy the judgment of God, though it did serve as a teaching tool and a shadow of the Christ who would one day come. But the Jewish atonement was, in reality, only a weak facsimile of the true satisfaction of the Cross and Jesus Christ.
b. The second stage of atonement requires the satisfaction of the purity of God. The people who are atoned for must live a sinless life in the sight of God after the atoning sacrifice. Yet man is and will always be sinful. The Jews, after the sacrifice, returned to their sin and spoiled their walk in God's eyes. Since we are unable, by our very constitution, to live sinless before God, it was necessary that a substitute stand in our place, satisfying the purity of God. This living sacrifice would stand in our place. Who would be that substitute?
The substitute would be Christ, our risen Saviour! The Hypostatic Union of Christ satisfies the Atonement of God fully. Christ is fully sinless man, a perfect substitute for man. As a man He willingly underwent the atonement for His people. He did not go to the sacrificial altar as a dumb animal did. Christ is absolutely pure from sin. He is also God. Within Him is all the attributes (characteristics) of the Godhead. He is as pure and holy as God the Father for He is God the Son. The sacrificial death of Christ fully satisfied the first stage of God's atonement: It satisfied the wrath/ judgment of God.
Christ is Divine, and in the light of this was able to resurrect from the dead in order that He could be a living sacrifice for the people of God. His substitutionary life for us satisfies the second stage of God's atonement.
How do these facts apply to the believer's Eternal Security within salvation? Since Christ not only died but also resurrected from the dead to live as a substitute for us, then how in the world can the believer sin and be cast into hell for that sin? It is utterly impossible! God is not looking at the life of the human believer to determine whether or not he enters Heaven. God is looking at the substitutionary life of Christ, and accepts the believer into His family on the basis of whether not you have accepted Christ as Savior. On the basis of the sacrifice of Christ no man who has accepted Him as Savior shall ever become lost.
There are three logical points that prove the Doctrine of Eternal Security:
1. In John 19.30 Jesus said "It is finished". Too many people take these words and assume that they were uttered by someone who has been defeated, trodden down, or destroyed. The Greek text does not agree with this interpretation of the word TETELESTAI. The Greek is set forth in such a tense as to assert that Jesus was making a victory cry. These were not the words of a defeated man, but the words of a Victor. Jesus realized that His death had redeemed the people of God. The work of salvation was and is finished in Christ. Salvation is not made perfect by the work of finite man. "Finished" denotes that the work is, was, and ever will be perfect in the eyes of God. The work is fully mature. How can something be added to perfection? Salvation is not what Christ did PLUS what man does after, it is what Christ alone has accomplished for us.
2. If the Doctrine of Eternal Security is not true, and it is possible that a man may be saved - lost - and saved again, then this saved - lost - saved concept will certainly be reflected in the Word of God. Yet throughout the entire witness of the New Testament there is no record of any man who was ever saved - lost - and saved again. A good example is found in the Church of Corinth. The Apostle Paul recognized the Corinthians as carnal people:
1 Corinthians 3:1 "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ."
How carnal were these Corinthians? Paul recognized these believers as puffed up with pride:
1 Corinthians 4:18 "Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you."
1 Corinthians 5:2 "And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you."
They were fornicators:
1 Corinthians 5:1 "It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife."
They were covetous, idolaters, revilers, drunkards, and extortioners:
1 Corinthians 5:11 "But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat."
If the saved - lost - saved concept ever applied to a group of believers, it certainly ought to apply to the Corinthians. Yet Paul called these non-functioning Christians brethren:
1 Corinthians 3:1 "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ."
and Sanctified by the Holy Spirit:
1 Corinthians 1:2 "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:"
As those who were Baptized by the Holy Spirit:
1 Corinthians 12:13 "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit."
And as believers who were indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 "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."
1 Corinthians 6:16 "What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
Paul never recognized these believers as non Christians, though their actions were a shame to the Family of God. Where is the saved - lost - saved principle so vaunted by the Pelagian? It is non-existent.
When a person comes to accept Christ as Savior he gives a physical testimony of his conversion by means of the sacrament of water baptism. If the saved - lost - saved theory is correct, then you would expect to find at least one passage in the Bible where a person was re-baptized because he had lost his salvation. As water baptism is commanded by the Lord Jesus Himself, you would expect at least one of the disciples to tell us to re-baptize a person who returns to fellowship after a bout with sin. The concept, neither historically or Scripturally, is contained in the Bible. From this point alone it is evident that the saved - lost - saved theory is not Scriptural.
If saved - lost - saved is Biblically correct, then there should be at least one teaching in the Bible telling us to cast a wayward member from the local Church. We are supposed to rebuke the wayward, refuse to serve them the Lord's Table, but never are we exhorted to cast them out of the Church. What is my point? If a Christian may become a non Christian by the action of sin, then Christ as well as the Apostles would have made it plain that this "newly lost" person should be cast from the physical body of Christ. If a person is not in union with Christ anymore, then he has no reason to stay in the the physical Body, the Church. Yet no where in the Scripture is such a teaching established.
It is quite natural that the Pelagian, acting as Devils advocate, pull certain Scriptures out of context in order to affirm the teaching of the saved - lost - saved concept. In this section we will try to answer all objections to Eternal Security while staying within the context of each Scriptural passage.
The Greek word for sin is HARMARTIA, which is defined as "an offense against God, failing to hit the mark of righteousness, a bad action or evil deed, and error of understanding or a mistake". There are many sects within Christianity that believe that if you sin you lose your salvation and are hell bound, but if you make a mistake you are not going to hell. They say that mistakes are justified by the Grace of God, and certainly do not carry as much weight as premeditated sin. Yet what the Bible teaches is that there is no distinction between a mistake and a sin. A sin is a mistake against righteousness and a mistake against righteousness is a sin. There is no difference. These same sects also teach that the Christian is no longer under the Mosaic Law, yet each make up their own laws that are used to determine whether a person is a Christian or not.
James 2:10 "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."
Suppose a person is able to go to Heaven on his good works. Well, let's look at a hypothetical situation. Suppose a man accepts Christ as his Savior at an early age. For twenty years this individual lives a life concentrated to the Lord. One day he needs some money for his sick and hospitalized wife. He asks all his friends for money, but all either do not have it to spare or refuse outright. The man, in desperation, steals funds from the company to provide for the needs of his wife. Will this man go to hell if this sin is left unrepentant and unpaid for?
Well, if the individual was saved based on what Christ did for him PLUS what he does for Christ then he will burn in the Lake of Fire. The Scriptures teach that, if you commit the least of all sins, regardless of motive, then you're guilty of breaking all the laws of God. When this man took from the company he was guilty of, not only theft, but also murder, fornication, idolatry, etc. If the man is saved on the basis what Christ alone did, then he will still be Heaven bound (though disciplined of God). The same is true of the believer who back stabs another believer, commits character murder, slips into sexual sins, or lies. Eternal security covers all sins because of the sacrifice of Christ.
Let's rid ourselves of the idea that the Christian can make "mistakes" and yet not sin in the process. There is no difference, according to the Bible, between a mistake and a sin. They are both the sign thing.
Colossians 2:20-23 "Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh."
Here I want to give you Dr. Blackwelder's translation of the above verse is from the Greek new Testament:
"If through union with Christ you died to the crude notions of the world, why, as though you still belong in the world, do you allow yourselves to be subjected to decrees such as 'do not handle this, do not handle that, do not touch those'. reference to things which cease to exist as soon as they are used? Rules of that kind are only man-made injunctions and precepts. Such regulations make a pretext of wisdom by advocating self imposed worship and so-called humility and austere asceticism, but are worthless in combating the desires of the unregenerate nature."
What Paul was stating is this: if you have been truly regenerated through the blood of Christ, if you have been truly cleansed through His redemptive substitution, then why do you create man-made laws by which to live? Among the holiness Churches today there have been laws established as "Christian behavior" like:
1. If you wear jewelry you are in disobedience to the Word and are hell bound.
2. If you braid your hair you're in disobedience to the Word and are hell bound.
3. If you do not keep your hair trimmed short you are in disobedience to God and are hell bound.
4. If women wear bermuda shorts or any clothing which does not extend below the knee, they are hell bound.
5. A man cannot be a Christian and smoker a cigarette.
6. A man cannot be a Christian and take a drink of wine.
7. A man cannot be a Christian and say a curse word.
8. A person cannot be a true Christian who does not periodically "fast".
9. A true Christian does not chew gum, for it is unseemly.
And on, and on, and on. Paul plainly states that these man-made laws have neither earthly nor heavenly value. The only thing they do is to pervert and cloud the true Gospel of Christ. These laws create a type of asceticism that breeds not humility, but pride. A person truely in Christ will allow God to direct him in what to do and what not to do. God directs His children to avoid fornication, lying, stealing, and murder. Yet nowhere in the Bible are we told anyone will lose their salvation if they fall into any sin. In all matters the Christian is directed to live his life guided by the Spirit of God. This applies to smoking, drinking, the way we wear our clothes, or in the way we groom our bodies.
Can we prove the statement, "A Christian is still a Christian, even if he sins?" There are several places in the Bible where people known as a Christians fell into sin, yet were still recognized as Christians.
1 Corinthians 5:1, 5 "It is
reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication
as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his
father's wife. To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of
the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."
Do you lose your salvation if you fall into fornication and incest? The Corinthian man was not only in fornication, but in fornication with his father's wife. According to Paul this man was still a believer, still under Eternal Security. He specifically directed the Corinthians to commit the believer to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. It is obvious from Paul's command that he still considered this person a soul under the familial care of God. Is this concept furthered by other Scriptures?
Hebrews 12:8-11 "But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."
The Doctrine of Divine Discipline demands that there be a Doctrine of Eternal Security. God does not chastise or punish the unsaved. He only extends this Fatherly rebuke toward His children. Note the Hebrew text: if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Why does God chastise the believer? Just like any earthly Father, He only uses the rod of punishment on His children when they are disobedient. If disobedience to God leads to loss of salvation, and the unsaved are not punished, then why would God ever have to chastise one of His children? If you are no longer a child God after disobedience then God would never chastise the Family, for there would be none disobedient in His family. It is a circular, and irrefutable argument.
"But", the Pelagian states, "a little sin gleans only chastisement whereas a big sin brings damnation". Yet we have seen earlier in James 2.10 that a little sin breaks the law of God equally as much as the alleged big sin does. Stealing a dime breaks God's Law just as does murder, and murder is as evil as fornication. If the saved - lost - saved doctrine is true, then God has unnecessarily created the Doctrine of Divine Discipline, a principle that He will never carry out. If you steal a dime you are eternally damned, not His son, and with no need of Divine Discipline.
But if there is such a thing as Divine Discipline (and there is), there is such a thing as Eternal Security.
1 Corinthians 3:10-15 "According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work 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. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."
The Doctrine of the Judgment Seat of Christ also supports the Doctrine of Eternal Security. Why?
The Bible tells us (above) that the children of God will have their works tested by fire. Some of these works will burn, whereas others will survive the flame of spiritual judgment. God realizes the weaknesses of His children. If you try to serve God earnestly and the work is ineffectual, the work will not necessarily be destroyed because it failed. The success of the work does not guarantee its rewardability. Rather, the Father looks at the heart to determine the intent of the work, then rewards the believer based on his motivation.
Say, for instance, you give one million dollars to the Church out of pride, without the intent of glorifying God. The gift may be effectual, it may help the Church, yet the work is not rewardable in the eyes of God. Yet if a pauper gives one cent to the Church with the intent of glorifying God, this work will be rewarded at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
What are the works that will be burned at the Judgment Seat? Works that were initiated out of pride, conceived from lust, out of greed, out from the flesh. These works have a foundation not of righteousness, but of sin. These are not done in obedience to Christ, but in a desire for worldly gain. It is evident that these erroneous works (conceived in sin) were not repented in this life, for the Bible teaches us that when God forgives a sin He forgets it as well.
Jeremiah 31:34 "And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."
Hebrews 8:12 "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more."
Hebrews 10:17 "And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."
Those who are being judged at the Throne of Christ are
being judged, not for their fitness to enter Heaven, but to determine the
relative righteousness of the works they did while on the earth. If their
works are burned (because the foundation of the work was sin), they do
not lose their salvation. If we do not lose our salvation
at the Judgment Seat of Christ (though some of our works are built on sin,
and since all sins are equally repugnant to God), then there is no reason
to believe sins in this life will cause us to be removed
from Heaven. If there's truly a Judgment Seat of Christ where our works
are judged, then there must be Eternal Security. Anything
else just doesn't make sense!
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