Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Secure in Grace: Does It Really Matter If You Believe In Eternal Security Or Not?

 And God has reserved for his children the priceless gift of eternal life; it is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And God, in his mighty power, will make sure that you get there safely to receive it because you are trusting him. It will be yours in that coming last day for all to see. 1 Peter 1:4-5 TLB

 As believers in Christ Jesus, we know and understand the Word of God is the source of truth. It is the final authority for doctrine and reproof, discerning what is true and what is false. Not taking away the validity or importance of what the Scripture teaches, but we can see that some truths are not debatable, and we can see others that are. 

 For example, we as Christians must believe that God exists, and that salvation is found in none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. There should be no argument or debate on these essential issues. On the other hand, Christians can debate about different methods of water baptism. We can differ on eschatological teachings, or debate whether miracles have ceased or are they for today. 

 In other words, believing or not believing in speaking with tongues for today doesn't mean you're not a born-again Christian. With this understanding, I want to answer the question does it really matter if a Christian believes in eternal security? Is believing in an unconditional eternally secure salvation a minor truth up for debate or is it, in fact, an essential truth that all Christians should embrace?

Does It Really Matter?

  I submit to you that eternal security is an essential truth that the Church must embrace. It shouldn't be a debate amongst Christians. Well brother, my denomination in its creed denies once saved always saved. This is the problem, we are identifying with a denomination instead of God's Word. Look, eternal security isn't some Southern Baptist denominational teaching. It is, in fact, the Gospel of Grace. I am going to list three reasons it is essential to believe in eternal security.

Where Is Your Assurance?

 If a Christian can lose or leave their salvation then where does your assurance come from? Is it in your ability to remain steadfast? Is it in your ability to resist sin? 

 Not believing in an eternally secure salvation leaves believers with a hope so salvation and not a know so salvation. 
13 I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. 1 John 5:13 NLT
 God's Word reveals to us we have a know so salvation. We can rest assured in Christ's Finished Work. If your salvation isn't secure then your assurance is based on the faulty and insecure foundation of performance. 

 If salvation isn't eternally secure, can you be sure you will be saved tomorrow? How about next week? Next month? Next year? What about in ten years? Who knows what the future holds, you may give up your faith, you may be overcome by that old temptation or addiction. It must be agonizing to believe that your salvation is in your hands and not God's.

Salvation is by Grace but perfected by performance?

 The second reason for believing in eternal security is if salvation isn't eternally secure then salvation is begun by Grace but completed by works. Without eternal security, we have little assurance of tomorrow. We must then strive to keep our act together. 

 Who do you want to perfect your faith? Jesus or your own abilities and performance? God's Word says Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith.  Look at what Paul declared;
6 I pray with great faith for you, because I’m fully convinced that the One who began this glorious expression of grace in your lives will faithfully continue the process of maturing you through your union with Him and will complete it at the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ! Philippians 1:6 Passion Translation 
  Paul the Apostle of Grace says He who began the work will complete it. The way some seem to teach salvation it should read, He who began the work expects you to perfect it by your efforts and performance and good deeds and steadfast faithfulness. If your salvation isn't eternally secure then only your works and performance will assure you that you are saved and will remain saved. 

The wages of sin is...?

 The third reason for believing in eternal security is what is your hope for eternal life? You may be thinking what do you mean? What I mean is what is your hope for eternal life if you sin just one time after you've been born again? 

 Some would answer, "Oh, I just confess it and I receive forgiveness." 

 That sounds real spiritual but the truth is Christians are forgetting what the wages of sin actually is. The wage for sin isn't losing fellowship with God. It isn't God turning His back on you until you repent. It isn't an unanswered prayer. It isn't a loss of peace. The wages of sin is death. 
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23 KJV

 The major implication of this truth is that when we sin the result is spiritual death. That is the only wage or consequence for sin. How many sins does it take to be lost? In truth, none because we were born in Adam, separated spiritually. But it is still a truth only one sin is enough to produce spiritual death. In fact, just one sin did accomplish this. Adam rebelled and partook of the forbidden fruit. 

 So what is the hope of eternal life when we all know we blow it, miss it, foul up or just plain sin on a regular basis? In truth, if our salvation wasn't eternally secure, then each and every time you sinned you would be lost, partaking of spiritual death and needing to be redeemed over again. You may object and say but what if I confess, won't I be forgiven?

 Listen, what would be your spiritual state from the precise moment you sinned until the exact moment you confessed the sin? You can't escape it, you can't argue or reason it away. You would be lost, partaking of spiritual death. Your only hope is in a once for all time salvation that is irrevocable and unchanging, and eternally secure. An eternally secure salvation means your right standing, your eternal life could not be jeopardized by any actions on your part. 

 So then to answer the question, does it really matter if we believe in eternal security? Is it really that important a doctrine? Is it really an essential Bible truth for Christians? Brothers and sisters, you better believe it is!

 Our assurance for our eternal destiny hinges on an eternally secure salvation. A salvation that starts with Grace matures by Grace, and is completed by Grace is only possible with an eternally secure salvation. Our hope for eternal life only rests on an eternally secure salvation. Don't allow fear, condemnation or tradition to convince you that your salvation in Christ is temporal and rooted in your works or performance or ability to remain in faith. If you are in Christ, you are secure in Grace.


Anonymous said...

You quote 1 Jn 5:13 indicating that belief is indeed necessary and also claiming that "we can rest assured in Christ's Finished Work." However, that is not what the rest of 1 John states. 1 Jn 2:5 states that whoever KEEPS His this we know that we are in Him." 1 Jn 2:29 states that "...everyone who also PRACTICES righteousness is born of Him. These verses do not refer to our positional righteousness resulting from Christ's finished work. Instead they refer to our practical righteousness. Therefore both positional and practical righteousness are required to be IN HIM.

Furthermore God does not condemn you if you disobey one time and thus potentially lose you salvation. That is a red herring argument. God DOES condemn the believer however if he PRACTICES sin (1 Jn 3:8). You believe Jn 3:16 states that belief is necessary for eternal life correct? Do you not also believe that obedience is necessary for eternal life according to Heb 5:9? No where in the entire OT or NT is works of obedience to God condemned or referred to as works-salvation. Believers are ordained to good works Eph 2:10)and our good works are the outward evidence of inward saving faith. That is why James wrote that we are JUSTIFIED by WORKS and NOT BY FAITH ALONE (Js 2:24).
It appears that you do not allow comments that disagree with your position which is your prerogative, but since you are an evangelist it is incumbent upon you to accurately preach the Good News. Paul described the gospel message that he himself preached. "First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and DEMONSTRATE their repentance BY THEIR DEEDS" (Acts 26:20). To say that no works/obedience is necessary on our part is false evangelism as genuine salvation results from an obedient faith.

John W Reed said...

I appreciate your comments. As for behavior after salvation that is where God and His Grace within work in our hearts. We progressively mature into who we already are. I don't believe in a works salvation. I don't see James and Paul in disagreement. Both know we can't earn or keep ourselves saved.
Repentance is a change of mind. A changed life does result from salvation. Obedience and making better choices is a fruit of salvation not the root. We aren't advocating loose living or the pursuit of sin. However, His Grace is greater than all our sin. His Grace and Finished Work is what keeps us saved not our actions. Our behavior isn't our savior or keeper. Jesus is our savior.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your kind response. Metanoia/repentance is indeed a change of mind but isn't our consequent behavior indicative of whether we have actually repented/changed our minds? The common response would be that if a believer's behavior does not evidence a changed life, then he/she was never saved to begin with. However, Paul makes it clear when he addressed the brethren in Rom 8:12-13 that IF they live according to the flesh - they will die. We know that Paul cannot be referring to physical death here because we all die physically - no matter how we conduct our lives, so he is referring to spiritual death. Paul cannot be referring to the unsaved in this passage either as his warning is directed to the "brethren" in v.12. Also, Paul uses the conditional word "IF" as only believers can choose IF they live according to the flesh, or according to the Spirit. Unbelievers can only live according to the flesh as they do not have the indwelling Spirit. If Paul was addressing unbelievers in this verse, he would have phrased this verse "SINCE you live according to the flesh...."

We could probably go back and forth but as a practical example, just for the sake of argument. I don't know what your eschatological views are, but using a "rubber hits the road" illustration my question would be: If you were faced one day with having to decide whether to take the mark of the beast, would you take it or not?
Your options would be:
#1 Take it as your behavior has nothing to do with maintaining or keeping your salvific status as a believer. As you know if you choose this option, you would be ignoring the consequences spelled out in Rev 14:9-11.
#2 Take it as your behavior evidences that you were never a believer in the first place. This would be difficult for you to reconcile as you know you are a believer and I have no reason to doubt that.
#3 Refuse it as you know that your behavior of accepting the mark will result in your condemnation as specified in Rev 14. This however creates a conflict in your belief that God's grace covers all of our sins in spite of our actions.

Thank you for the opportunity to respond. I am genuinely interested in your reply as I once believed and taught as you do since that is what I was taught to believe. However, I had to change my view after studying this subject for myself.