Howard Coles, Coleford, England
Is eternal security scriptural?
Once a person believes in Christ, truly trusting Him as Saviour, he receives the gift of eternal life, Rom. 6. 23. Sin is dealt with and sins are forgiven, never to be remembered, for God says ‘I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins’, Isa. 43. 25.
The essential quality of eternal life is that it is eternal and therefore once a person possesses it, it must last for eternity, it is not therefore nor could it ever be, something that could be possessed temporarily. ‘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
Those who state that a person can lose his salvation often select obscure verses to justify their teaching. We should always suspect any doctrine if it can only be justified by using scriptures difficult to understand and interpret. To uphold a doctrine which contradicts verses clearly saying the opposite, as in the case of scriptures supporting eternal security, amounts to unsound exegesis. In support of the doctrine of the eternal security of the believer, we can appeal to the many scriptures which clearly and unequivocally state that salvation does not depend on us, but God, and that once saved we are eternally secure. Here are but a few:
The Lord Jesus Christ said, ‘My sheep . . . 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, John 10. 27-29. So both the Lord Jesus and the Father have us firmly and securely held, and no one could ever snatch us out of Their hands.
Again, the Lord Jesus said, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life, John 5. 24. So, from the very moment of believing a person possesses eternal life and will never come under God’s judgement. Furthermore, will have irrevocably passed from death unto life. This verse would make no sense at all if a person could be saved but then lose their salvation.
Ephesians chapter 4 verse 30 says, ‘and grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption’. If a believer does not have eternal security, the sealing could not truly be said to be ‘unto the day of redemption’, but only up to the day of sinning, apostasy, or disbelief.
One of the best passages to confirm eternal security is found in Romans chapter 8. ‘Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 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’, Rom. 8. 33 – 39. These verses make it clear that the believers’ eternal security is based on God’s unchanging love for those whom He has redeemed.
Once we are born again into God’s family our relationship as children of God can never be disannulled – He is our Father for eternity. We may be disciplined by Him, but that could never mean that we lose our salvation. On the contrary discipline proves relationship, ‘For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not’, Heb. 12. 6, 7.