A few months ago I posted a status on Facebook about God’s grace. The status brought forth much discussion from those of the Catholic religion. One of the people commenting on it is a very outspoken devout Catholic. He posted the following picture from some type of Catholic book listing verses that supposedly prove that we cannot know for certain if we are going to heaven. After he posted this, several other Catholics and a few Protestants listed verses that they believed disproved Justification by God’s grace through faith alone in Christ alone and assurance of eternal salvation. Instead of carrying on a public debate or argument, I decided to take my time to research and write a proper response to each verse they gave me. I examined the verses individually in context, looking at the Greek text and a Greek New Testament concordance. I worked on it in my free time over a series of months. I then submitted it to be reviewed and edited by Kenny Hodges and Butch Simmons, both are graduates of Dallas Theological Seminary and are teachers and mentors to me. They are the two people whose biblical and theological insight I trust the most. They look at scripture in context in its entirety and believe what it says, rather than what man-made religion or theology says. They truly hold to the Berean practices of thoroughly examining scripture and holding everything else to scripture. I thank them for their mentorship and taking the time to review this paper.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.”
The Matthew 7 passage is actually saying the exact opposite of what most are trying to prove. For one, the picture only quoted half of the verse, thus you don’t have the surrounding context. That verse is talking about “true and false prophets” and the complete text there is
” “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ ”
Now, first off, Jesus did not say that no one who says “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom. He said that not all who say that will enter. So, who among those who say “Lord, Lord” will enter? Only those who do the will of the Father. To understand this we must first know what the “will of the father” is. In John 6:40 Christ says that the “Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
These people in the Matthew 7 verses are looking to their good works to save them. They list their good deeds that they claimed to have done for him as reasons for why they should enter into heaven.
Previously in verses 28 & 29 of John 6 the crowd of people ask Christ “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
With that in mind, the Matthew verse is saying that only the one who believes will enter the kingdom of heaven. Throughout the New Testament there were many who claimed to be “of God” and “of Christ” but they taught things that contradicted what Christ taught. A great example is the Judiazers who went around to different churches telling them that their faith alone in Christ alone could not save them, that they had do works, be physically circumcised. Paul addresses this in the book of Galatians. The Judiazers had come and confused the church at Galatia into thinking that. Paul says that those who teach that which is different than what the Holy Spirit taught them through himself are under God’s curse.
To sum up that often misquoted Matthew 7 verse, it clearly shows that those people did not believe in Christ and were relying on their good works to gain justification. And Christ tells them “I never knew you”. A great example today would be of someone who maybe attends church and calls themselves a Christian and does great charities (helping the poor, feeding the hungry, building homes for the homeless, ect…) but who had never believed in Christ for eternal salvation. They will not be in heaven.
“But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.”
The verse in Matthew 24:13 is also a prime case of taking things out of context. That is part of a larger sentence. Sure, looking at that verse by itself with no other context seems like it is perseverance as a means of salvation, and it also begs the question “the end of what?” and “saved from what?”. Look back at the rest of the sentence and verses surrounding it.
The conversation begins with Christ and his disciples sitting on the Mount of Olives. The disciples asked him about the end of times. Then Jesus answers them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Keep in mind, this response is about the end of times. This awful time span is often referred to by theologians and bible scholars as the Tribulation. A period of time where the anti-christ will come and make his way into the world and draw people to him and persecute those who follow Christ. Then, as prophecy tells us, at the end of the Tribulation, Christ will return. (Note: the timing of the tribulation and the calling home of the saints is often disputed) but there is no question that this passage is referencing the Tribulation. So, with that in mind, we have an answer to the first question: The end of what? The end of the tribulation. And what about the second question, saved from what?
The word “saved” must always be understood in its context. Saved from what and by what means? “Saved” is the Greek sozo which may refer to any kind of deliverance and should often be simply translated “delivered.” It can refer to physical deliverance or to some kind of spiritual deliverance, but the context is the determining factor. In point of fact, this passage is speaking about physical deliverance or the survival of those who last through the judgments of the tribulation.
Those who are believers and who survive until the end of that period of time will be saved, that is, delivered (Matt. 24:13). This does not refer to a personal self-effort at endurance that results in one’s eternal salvation, but to physical deliverance of those who trust in the Savior during the Tribulation. The endurance, then, is physical survival. While many will be martyred, a few will make to the end. Those who endure through the awful events of the Tribulation will be alive or delivered by Christ when he returns to earth. This is not a reference to eternal salvation from sin, but rather the deliverance of survivors at the end of the Tribulation as stated in Romans 11:26 where the Deliver will save the nation Israel from its persecutors. Many will not endure to the end in that they will be martyred for their faith as described in Revelation 7:9-17 (1).
“Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.”
Now let’s look at Romans 11:22. This verse is, like the Matthew 24 passage. At first glance, with no context, it seems as though it could be talking about being cut off from heaven. But, also like the Matthew passage, you need to ask “cut off from what”? Again, look at the surrounding context.
The entire chapter is about Israel as a nation. Since Abraham, the nation of Israel has been God’s chosen instrument to bring about his plan. When Christ finally came, from the line of David as the prophesied Messiah, he offered the kingdom of heaven and the forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation to Israel. Many individual Jews believed in Him and were saved. But Israel as a whole nation rejected Christ as the messiah and rejected his kingdom. They crucified him. Israel, God’s chosen people who had been carrying out his plan from the beginning, rejected him.
This passage is talking about a tree and branches. The tree is God’s promise and covenant. Up until Christ, Israel were the natural branches that grew from the tree, but when they rejected Christ, they were cut off. Christ and even the apostles gave Israel to repent of their rejection, but they still remained in rejection, thus why they were broken off or cut off from God’s plan of using them.
The gospel was then shared with the Gentiles. They were offered the same offer of eternal salvation as Israel was. They were offered the chance to be part of God’s plan and to be used by him. They, an unnatural branch were grafted into the tree, receiving that special privilege of being used by God for his plan, just like Israel had for many years before. And when you look at what happened, it was Gentiles that Paul wrote so many of his Church letters to. He traveled all over the gentile countries sharing the gospel. The Gentiles were the ones who were responsible for spreading the gospel around the world. The Gentiles were used because Israel rejected Christ. They were cut off.
This passage has nothing to do with eternal salvation, it has to do with Israel and Gentiles and their part in being used by God. Israel was cut off from being of service and the Gentiles were grafted in and became God’s instrument.
“So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling”
Some have interpreted Philippians 2:12 to mean that Christians must bring about their own eternal salvation by obeying God. Such an understanding is entirely foreign to the Bible.
In this verse Paul calls the readers “my beloved,” an expression he reserves for believers. See also 1:1 where Paul indicates that he is writing, “to the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi.” With them already being saved, Paul is therefore not telling them how to be saved.
Paul begins this verse with the words “as you have always obeyed.” We expect him to go on to say something like, “keep on obeying.” While he does not use exactly those words, that is implicit in what he does say. Working out one’s salvation is another way of talking about ongoing obedience. The following context bears out this conclusion. While believers are not to fear hell-Jesus has guaranteed that no will go there (John 3:16-18; 5:24), we are to fear the Lord. This fear reflects both reverence for His awesome grandeur (e.g., Isa 6) and respect for His discipline (e.g., Heb. 12:3-11). Believers are thus to exercise ongoing obedience with an attitude of reverential fear.
It is important to understand not only the context, but also the meaning of the words used in these verses. In the New Testament, only 3 in every 10 uses of salvation “sōtēria” and save “sōzō” refer to salvation from eternal condemnation and to obtaining eternal life. This means that 70% of the times in the New Testament that the word salvation is used it is not referring to eternal salvation. The word for salvation and save,”sōtēria” and “sōzō” literally means deliverance or deliver.
The word salvation occurs only three times in Philippians. In 1:19 Paul said, “For I know that this will turn out for my salvation through your prayers and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” Paul wrote Philippians from jail (see Phil 1:12-14). Thus the term salvation in 1:19 might refer to Paul’s deliverance from prison. However, in verses 20-26 Paul hints that while he expected to be released (verses 25-26), he might instead glorify Christ by his death (verses 20- 23). Thus Paul may have used the word salvation metaphorically in verse 19 to refer to a victorious triumph over the trials he faced by magnifying Christ through them whether he was released from prison or not. In any case the word salvation in verse 19 clearly has nothing to do with Paul’s eternal salvation
In 1:28 Paul indicates that if the Christians at Philippi demonstrated a lack of fear of their adversaries (i.e., by continuing to boldly proclaim Christ and live for Him), this would be proof to the adversaries of their destruction and to the Christians at Philippi of their own salvation. Salvation in 1:28, as in 1:19, has two possible meanings. First, it could refer to deliverance from temporal difficulties-the very difficulties God’s adversaries do not escape (they experience “destruction”). Second, it could refer to believers triumphantly glorifying Christ through temporal difficulties, whether they escaped them or not. In both cases temporal, not eternal, deliverance is in view. So when we turn to 2:12 it is reasonable to expect that the word salvation is used by Paul as it has been in the only other two uses in this letter. That is, we expect another reference to temporal (here and now) deliverance. That is indeed the case.
The salvation of 2:12 either refers to deliverance from the difficulties God brings upon the disobedient or to deliverance through the trials that the faithful experience, though not necessarily by means of escaping the trials themselves.
The word translated work out (katergazomai) means to “achieve, accomplish, bring about, produce, or create”. Paul was thus exhorting the Philippian believers to bring about or achieve their own salvation by obedience to God. This makes perfect sense if temporal salvation is in view. Compare 1 Cor. 11:30; James 1:21; 2:14; 5:19-20.
The translation work out is potentially misleading since one meaning of work out is to exercise something we already have (e.g., “he works out three times a week”). That is not what the Greek word means. It only can legitimately be translated work out in the sense of accomplishing something (as in “he worked out a solution to the budget deficit”).
All of that being said, it is abundantly clear that Philippians 2:12 is not dealing with eternal salvation at all. Rather, it is dealing either with temporal salvation from the calamities which come upon the disobedient or with temporal salvation through the trials which faithful believers face (2), (3).
1 Corinthians 9:27
“but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”
The context of this verse is Paul talking about self-discipline, talking about himself living a life in service to Christ and being the best he can be in serving the lord on earth. The rewards he is speaking of are those of which believers receive at the judgment seat of Christ, at which only believers will stand before. Salvation is a free gift with no works required, like Paul clearly states in Ephesians 2:8-9, but rewards, for those who are saved, are separate than eternal salvation and are earned by our good works of service to the Lord. The quality of our service is the criterion (1 Corinthians 3:13). Rewards are often spoken of as crowns (e.g. 1 Thess. 2:19, 2 Tim 4:8, James 1:12, 1 Peter 5:4, Rev 2:10, 3:11,4:4, & 4:10).
The term Paul uses in 9:27 It is a term which occurs in verses 5, 6, and 7. The term is disqualified (adokimos in Greek). This is a term which elsewhere in Paul’s writings and in the NT is used exclusively of believers. Indeed, Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:27 used this exact term in reference to himself. He said that he beat his body and pressed on in his service for Christ so that he might not be disqualified from the rewards which will go to faithful believers. God will only approve of the deeds of faithful believers. Those who fail the test Paul speaks of in 2 Corinthians 13:5 will be disapproved for rewards. However, they will be saved, yet so as through fire (1 Cor. 3:15). This verse is clearly referring to the rewards he will receive in heaven, not eternal salvation (4).
(It is important to keep the judgment seat of Christ in mind here.)
1 Corinthians 10:11-12
“These things happened to them as examples and were written for our instruction, on whom the ends of the ages have come. So let the one who thinks he is standing be careful that he does not fall. “
This passage starts out as talking to those who are believers, indicated by Paul addressing them as “brothers”, a greeting that is used exclusively for those who are fellow believers.
Paul starts telling the believers at the church in Corinth about the nation of Israel who was lost in the wilderness. He is using the Israelites as examples of people who thought they were high and mighty and God’s chosen people yet were still disobedient to God. He gives 4 examples of what the Israelites did in the wilderness. They chose to make disobedient decisions and that brought about premature physical death as punishment. Paul tells the Corinthian believers that those things serve as an example and were written down as warnings for us. Those Israelites thought they could do what they wanted because they were God’s chosen people and God has rescued them from Egypt and provided for them in the desert. They were full of pride, and thus they fell. As Proverbs 16:8 says, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall”. Paul is warning these believers not to do anything that would cause them to fall and thus be a bad witness. He goes on to say that we are all tempted to give into sinful desires, but God is always there for us and always provides a way out of tempting situations so that we can stand up and not fall under pressure. Eternal salvation has nothing to do with this chapter. This chapter is about not being prideful and being a good Christ-like example to unbelievers.
“You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”
Galatians is a book written to believers criticizing and reprimanding them for being fooled by false teachings.
To understand this verse, it is important to understand the whole context of Galatians and Paul’s teachings. Everywhere Paul goes he teaches the gospel of Grace. The Greek word for grace is “Charis” which means an undeserved gift, something not worked for, an unmerited gift. This concept of grace is key to salvation. Paul tells the Ephesians that it is by grace we are saved, through faith [in Christ alone]. This is not a work that we have done from ourselves, it is a gift of God; it is not achieved by good works, that way nobody can boast about it (Ephesians 2:8-9). Likewise, he tells the Romans that we are saved by God’s grace, and if we are saved by grace, then salvation is not based on works, and if it were by works then it would no longer be by grace. Grace and works are completely opposite concepts (Romans 11:6). The works based salvation says that we must put forth effort to be eternally saved, that eternal salvation is the reward of us living good lives and doing good works. It is wages paid to us for our work. The concept of Grace is a free gift that God gives us. We accept the gift by simply believing what he says about who he is and what he has done. We take God at his word. Works are not required because Jesus lived a perfect life and died for sins. When we believe that, his perfect life is credited to our account and we are justified, or made righteous before God. Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us so that we appear blameless and holy before God (2 Corinthians 5:21). No good work or law is required on our part. We eternally saved by God’s grace through faith in Christ. It is not simply our faith that saves us, it is the object of our faith, that is, Christ Jesus. Now, even though we are saved by grace through faith and not works does that mean we can go on to live as we please? By no means! Heaven Forbid! Grace teaches us that we are free. At the beginning of Galatians 5, Paul tells us that it is for freedom that Christ has freed us from the yoke of slavery to the law. We are freed from the obligation to do good works, which we could never do enough to please God, so that we can willingly choose to do good works to show our love to God. Think about it, would it be love if you were required to do it? No! Love is voluntary. We show love by voluntarily doing acts of love and kindness. This is our response to God’s free gift of eternal salvation through his grace.
Okay, now that that is explained we can look at this passage. Galatians 5:4 says that if you are trying to be justified by the law (good works) then Christ is of no use to you. You have fallen away from grace. Now, Paul had already been to the church of Galatia and taught them the gospel of salvation by grace through faith alone in Christ alone as I just explained above, and these people believed and were justified by grace through their faith. After he left them, a group of false teachers, known as the Judaizers, came to them teaching that faith alone in Christ could not save them, that they had to also obey the Jewish law to be saved. Obeying the law to be saved is works based salvation, which is not the gospel at all and cannot save anyone. These Galatian believers were misled into thinking that, that is why Paul is writing to them to set them straight on salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone. He states that if you are relying on works to get you saved, then Christ is of no use to you and you have fallen away from God’s grace for salvation. He isn’t telling them that they have lost their salvation, he is explaining to them how they cannot be saved by both, they can only be saved by grace. These Galatians were confused and misled, and it angers Paul. He is writing to them reminding them that they were saved and are saved by grace, not works, he urges them to throw away the belief that involves works and to come back to the truth of grace. In short, he is saying that any Christian who reverts to law (good works) as part of being saved/justified has fallen from the sphere and principle of grace. Nowhere does he indicate that they lose their salvation. That is a concept that is completely foreign to Paul and to scripture.
2 Timothy 2:11-13
“This saying is trustworthy: If we died with him, then we will also live with him. If we endure, then we will also reign with him. If we deny him, then he will also deny us. If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.”
Paul tells Timothy a saying to comfort and encourage him. It is made up of four conditional (if-then) clauses.
1a. “If we died with him (Christ)” refers to the believer’s identification with the death of Christ at the moment of salvation.
1b. “Then we will also live with him” refers to believers living in Christ’s presence in the future. Similarly Paul states in Romans 6:8 “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe we will also live with him”
If we have died with Christ—and every believer has—then we will also live with Him! Verse 11 is an uncompromising statement of the absolute certainty that every believer possesses of living with Christ in the future. Nothing in the remainder of this passage (or any other passage of Scripture, for that matter) will contradict this clearly stated axiom. Therefore, any interpretation of the following three conditional clauses which denies complete assurance to all believers of future life in the presence of Christ must be recognized as unbiblical.
2a. “If we endure” refers to believers living a faithful life of service while enduring hardships. While verse 11 was a statement of certainty, verse 12 is a statement of contingency. The Christian will definitely live with Christ in the future. However, he may or may not receive special commendation and reward from the Lord at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Verse 12, correctly understood, is motivational, designed to encourage Timothy (and by application, every believer) to be consistently faithful to the Lord in his Christian life. In context, Paul has been exhorting his friend to be a good “soldier,” “athlete,” and “farmer” for the Lord (2 Tim 2:3-6), following the ultimate example of Christ Himself (2 Tim 2:8) and the immediate example of the Apostle Paul (2 Tim 2:9, 10). Verses 11-13, but especially verse 12, fit nicely into this contextual setting in affirming that the quality of a believer’s Christian life on earth will affect the quality of his future eternal experience with Christ.
Now before I address the second clause, I need to point out that the two conditional clauses of verse 12 describe opposing extremes of Christian conduct, endurance for Christ and denial of Christ. To be properly understood it is imperative that these two statements be interpreted in light of the immediately preceding declaration of verse 11. The sinner who has trusted Christ, has died with Him, and will also live with Him in the future. Verse 11 thus makes it absolutely clear that the future destination of believers is not in doubt. The issue of a believer’s living a life of enduring fidelity to his Lord, however, is very much in question. Will the Christian steadfastly live in submission to Christ or will he consistently deny Christ’s Lordship and its implications over his or her life? The Word of God is clear that not all believers faithfully live for their Lord while on earth (Acts 19:18-19; 1 Cor. 3:1-3; 11:30; Gal 5:16-21; 1 Tim 1:19- 20; 2 Tim 2:17-18; Heb. 4:1-2, 11). Only those Christians who demonstrate an enduring, persistent faithfulness to the Lord in this life will receive special reward in the next. Carnal believers who live selfishly, denying Christ’s Lordship over their lives, will be denied special commendation when their Christian experience is evaluated by the Lord.
2b. “Then we will also reign with him” refers to faithful believers reigning with Christ in the kingdom. While all believers will enter Christ’s Kingdom (as stated in verse 11, “we shall live with Him”), only those who are consistently faithful in their Christian experience will also reign with Jesus. The verb symbasileusomen, rendered “we shall also reign with Him,” means “to rule as king with someone.” It refers to possessing a special place of authority in Christ’s millennial administration. This exciting possibility is the same truth taught in the parable of the minas by Jesus Himself (Luke 19:11-27). The Lord used this story to illustrate the principle that faithful service for the Master will ultimately result in His conferring various levels of governmental authority upon reliable believers, consistent with the individual’s level of faithfulness, when He returns to establish His Kingdom. In Matt 19:29 the Lord Jesus promised Peter that he and the other disciples who had left everything to steadfastly follow Him: “in the regeneration [Millennium] when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne you also will sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” In the next verse Christ affirmed the general principle that every believer who has displayed an enduring commitment to walk with Him will receive “many times as much” in rewards (see also Luke 22:24-30; Matt 16:27). Likewise, in Revelation 2:26, Jesus declared that believers “who keep” His “deeds to the end” will receive special millennial “authority over the nations.
3a. “If we deny him” describes what will happen to the Christian who fails to live a consistent life of faithful endurance for Christ.
3b. “Then he will also deny us” refers to If a believer “denies Christ” by not remaining steadfast for Him, he will in turn be denied the reward of “reigning with Him” in the kingdom.
The possibility for believers to “deny Christ” is clear in the New Testament. Peter and the other Apostles (see Matt 26:35) on one infamous occasion blatantly denied their Lord (Matt 26:70; Mark 14:68, 70; Luke 22:57; John 18:25, 27). Denial of Christ by a believer need not be limited necessarily to such dramatic settings, but can involve simple refusal to shoulder one’s biblical responsibilities in any area. This is illustrated in 1 Tim 5:8, which warns that the believer who neglects to provide for his own family has in effect “denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever” Specifically in 2 Tim 2:12 the denial in view is not a single act of denial of sinful selfishness but is rather descriptive of a general failure or breakdown in discipleship.
If we fail to live a consistent life of discipleship then “He also will deny us.” In describing the Lord’s denial of the unfaithful believer, Paul uses a form of arneomai here meaning “to refuse, to disdain.” How will Christ deny the unfaithful believer? Or to put the question another way: What and how will He refuse the unfaithful believer? First the interpreter must remember that this passage has already established the fact that every believer will live with Christ (verse 11). Additionally, Paul has also affirmed that those believers who faithfully endure in their Christian experience will receive special rewards and prerogatives in Christ’s Kingdom (they “will reign with Him”). In context then, the denial spoken of here has to do with the Lord’s denying the unfaithful believer the privilege of intimate, high-level interaction with Him in governing the millennial state. 1 Corinthians 3:15 sheds additional light on the negative consequences of such denial because it indicates that the unfaithful, unfruitful believer will be denied reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ, “but he himself shall be saved” (i.e., the unrewarded believer will still “live with Christ”).
4a. “If we are faithless” It is crucial to recognize that the verb rendered “(if) we are faithless” in this context describes unfaithfulness in the lives of regenerate people, not a lack of saving faith. This same verb is found in ancient secular documents describing “disloyal soldiers” (i.e., not soldiers who disbelieve their leader but rather those who disobey him). Here in a broad context in which Paul has specifically exhorted Timothy to be a faithful “soldier” for Christ (2 Tim 2:3 & 4), the use of this verb is especially appropriate. Paul well recognized that on the battlefield of spiritual combat it is possible for soldiers of Christ to go AWOL.
4b. “he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.” The wonderful truth of this portion of Scripture is that even the unfaithful believer, who is a disloyal soldier of Christ, is assured of future life with his ever-faithful Commander-in-Chief. The Christian’s security rests not in his own word, promises, or performance, but rather on God’s Word, God’s promises, and God’s performance. The unfaithful believer is assured that despite his failures, “He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself.” While it is (regrettably) possible for the believer to be unfaithful to Christ, Christ cannot be unfaithful to the believer. Christ remains faithful to His promise that the one who believes in Him possesses eternal life securely (John 3:15-18; 6:39, 40; 6:47; 10:26-29). This fidelity is in no way predicated upon the believer’s worthiness, either before or after receiving eternal life. It is based solely upon Christ’s inherent faithfulness to His own nature and character. Zane Hodges explains it beautifully:
“If we Christians were “faithless,” this in no way affected His loyalty to us. Every guarantee that had been made to us in grace would still be ours, regardless of our lack of faith or fidelity…. “The gifts and the calling of God” were still “irrevocable” (Rom 11:29).
For Him to act otherwise toward us, whatever form our faithlessness might take, was unthinkable. Our Lord always remained faithful to us precisely because anything else would be an act that “denied” His own nature and character As the prophet had said long ago: “Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and faithfulness the belt of His waist”(Isa 11:5).”
Verse 13 is a remarkable reaffirmation of the absolute security of every believer. Working in tandem with verse 11, it serves as a bedrock verse in the Bible’s teaching concerning assurance that every believer will “live with Christ.” Moreover, verse 13 affirms the foundational truth that salvation is of the Lord. It is the work of God for man, rooted in the character of God Himself.
Faithfulness to Christ is vital in order that the believer might glorify God and bear much fruit. However, steadfastness for the Lord is not to be motivated by the mistaken idea that endurance is necessary to obtain, or to retain, eternal life and the assurance of future life with Christ. While there is a very real price to be paid for failure in the Christian experience, that price will never involve consignment to the lake of fire (5).
“For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.”
This passage in Hebrews is often used by both proponents of Catholicism and Arminianism to cite their doctrine of losing salvation, and by Calvinism to deny the possibility of a Christian who walks away from faith of ever having believed. I can understand the Catholic and Arminian confusion on this verse, but I haven’t the slightest idea how Calvinism gets their view, as it makes absolutely no sense. Admittedly, it does look like it is saying that a Christian can lose their salvation but upon looking at the surrounding context, the text shows that that is not the case.
This passage is talking about believers falling away from maturity, not falling away from salvation (see Hebrews 6:1 which encourages believer to “go on to maturity”). The Book of Hebrews was written to first-century Jewish believers in Christ who, because of persecution by Jewish non-believers, were considering returning to their old rituals so the Jewish non-believers wouldn’t be so hard on them. The message of Hebrews 6:4-6 is not “Get right or you’ll lose your salvation,” but “You’re already saved and committed to Christ, so don’t stay how you are or go backwards; instead move on toward maturity!”
Again, If you read it in context, in the rest of the book, it is clear that the writer is talking to a group of believers that are trying to go back to the basic elementary teachings of the faith. In the previous verses in Chapter 5 verses 11-14, the writer is describing the believers that should be well versed in the faith and should be teachers by now, but instead they have stayed as babes in Christ and have not grown any. He starts out Chapter 6 with the phrase “therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of changing your mind from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.”
In simple terms, he is saying: “let’s stop staying in the kindergarten teachings and move on. You already know your ABCs, let’s move on with your education. Where you are is where you are, don’t start over, continue learning and growing because it is impossible for you to relearn all that stuff.”
The phrase “fall away” is placed in the sentence to strengthen the warning. The passage is essentially read in the same meaning as if you tell a group of students: “It is impossible for a student, once enrolled in this course, if he turns the clock back (which cannot be done,) to start the course over. Therefore, let all students go on to deeper knowledge.” (6).
“For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.”
There is no warning in the New Testament which is more forceful and direct than this section’s caution against sinning willfully.There are several things that characterize those being warned here.
First, the people addressed in these verses have “received the light” (Hebrews 10:32). To be “enlightened” (photizomai) means to be born again and to have truly and inwardly experienced the heavenly gift and the personal ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Second, they “stood their ground in a great contest in the face of suffering” (10:32). These people had not only believed the gospel, they had also suffered for it and persevered in their suffering for Christ’s sake.
Third, they “were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; and at other times they stood side by side with those who were so treated” (10:33). The public nature of their confession of Christ resulted in public ridicule and persecution. But far from backing away, they pressed on and joined with others who were similarly treated.
Fourth, they sympathized with those in prison (10:35). Risking danger to their own lives, they visited persecuted brothers and sisters in prison, thereby publicly identifying themselves to hostile authorities as Christian sympathizes.
Fifth, they “joyfully accepted the confiscation of their property” (10:34). Furthermore, they accepted this confiscation for the right motives, ” because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions”. They were focused on the eternal inheritance which the faithful will acquire.
Finally, the writer specifically says they have been sanctified. “How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the spirit of grace?” (10:29).
Sanctification in Hebrews looks at the imputation of the justifying righteousness of Christ from the vantage point of being qualified to enter the presence of God to worship and seek Him in time of need (10:10, 14, 19). It is possible for men who have been the recipients of this sanctification to trample underfoot the Son of God and insult the spirit of grace.
Does the writer of this epistle doubt their eternal salvation and their eternal destination? No! What he worries about is their loss of reward. He says, “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You will receive what He has promised” (10:35).
If these people were not certain of their salvation and of their eternal destination, it would be pointless to warn them about the loss of heavenly rewards. He also would not tell them to preserver in the faith if they were not certain. The things he warns them of and encourages them to do would be pointless if they were not going to heaven and knew for certain they were going to heaven. You can’t get heavenly rewards if you aren’t going to heavenly, likewise, if they weren’t certain that they were going to heaven, then it would be pointless to encourage them to work for heavenly rewards. If these people were not sure of their salvation and eternal destination, the writer would’ve told them what Jesus said was the requirement for salvation: belief in Him.
As for the part about a “Fiery judgment” that must be looked at in context as well. Though faith in Christ and His work on the cross protects the child of God from eternal judgment in hell, it does not guarantee that all judgment will be averted. Christ’s perfect sacrifice does not avert the judgment for “willful sin” any more than His sacrifice would avert God’s chastisement upon a believer who had committed adultery or had drunk of the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner (1 Cor 11:27-30). The New Testament is clear that believers can and do commit sin that results in God’s judgment and discipline, though they have God’s eternal forgiveness of such sin through Christ’s sacrifice on their behalf.
We must be careful not to over-read Hebrews 10:26. Commensurate with Num 15:22-31, the author is simply saying that once such a serious sin is committed, there is no sacrifice they can offer that will avert God’s judgment. He is making them aware that they will certainly face some form of judgment from God—though he does not say precisely what that judgment will be. For the Old Covenant community, the judgment was of a temporal nature—capital punishment— not eternal punishment in hell, and the recognition of this fact should guide us in drawing the appropriate parallel.
Hebrews 10:27 underscores the point that they could expect a very severe judgment from God. In fact, he labels it “a terrifying expectation of judgment.” The second half of the verse is an allusion to Isaiah 26:11, and uses the word “fire”. Since the author customarily thinks with Old Testament events in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising that he might be doing so here. Thus we should consider more carefully how the metaphor of fire is used in the Old Testament. Fire is associated with judgment in the Old Testament in other ways than hell. For instance, we have the case of Nadab and Abihu (Levitical priests) in Lev 10:1-3 who dishonored the LORD by using the firepans in an inappropriate way, such that “fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them.” In another incident, Korah (a Levitical priest) along with Dathan and Abiram and 250 leading men of Israel (the latter being Levites also; Num 16:8-10) challenged the leadership of Moses and Aaron (Numbers 16). The issue apparently was jealousy of the exalted positions that Moses and his brother Aaron had obtained (both of whom were descended from Levi). Though only Aaron and his descendants could be high priests, the “rebels” themselves were not without privilege—they served as Levitical priests at the tabernacle. As a result, the LORD brought judgment upon those who participated in Korah’s rebellion (since their challenge was really a rebellion against the leader- ship structure that God Himself had ordained). The ground swallowed up Korah, Dathan and Abiram, while “fire came forth from the LORD and consumed the two hundred and fifty men” (Num 16:35).
If the original context of Isa 26:11 does not have “hell” in view, it is doubtful that the author of Hebrews is thinking of such a punishment. Indeed, the context of Isa 26:11 is appropriate, since that verse paints a contrast between those who are faithful and those who act wickedly among Israel. Of greater significance, however, is the eschatological setting in which this chapter occurs. Chapters 24–27 of Isaiah are a depiction of the coming judgment of God in the “day of the Lord” which is followed by kingdom blessing. The unit begins with the announcement that God will enact a universal judgment upon the earth that has transgressed his commandments. God’s judgment at this time is likened to a fire. Isaiah 24:6 states, “the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left.” Though this will be a terrible time of judgment for the inhabitants of the world, it will be good news for the righteous, since the judgment will be quickly followed by kingdom blessings.
In these passages in Isaiah, the fiery judgment does not speak of eternal punishment in hell but rather of the eschatological judgment from God that will engulf the whole world and even Israel in particular. How the author of Hebrews envisioned this in relation to his readers is not altogether clear. At the very least, however, we could conclude this: if God does not withhold his awesome judgment against His own covenant people as depicted in Isaiah 24–27, there is no reason to think He would spare those who forsook the New Covenant. That is, if rebellious Jews of the Tribulation will certainly receive God’s judgment, so will those who rebel in the days when the author of Hebrews writes. The allusion to Isa 26:11 would be particularly meaningful to the readers who were of Jewish descent and who should have their hopes set upon the future coming of Messiah to inaugurate His kingdom and the eschatological Jerusalem.
The punishment envisioned by Heb 10:27 must be interpreted in light of both the context of Hebrews as a whole and the eschatological judgment depicted in Isaiah 24–27. In preparation for kingdom blessing, God will first bring about a fiery judgment that will fall on all the wicked of the world and which will not even spare the rebels within Israel. We must underscore the fact that the “fires of hell” are clearly not in view. At all points within Israel’s broad history, those who turn away in unbelief and rebel against the covenant are in jeopardy of God’s judgment. This was true at Kadesh Barnea in the past, it was true for the majority of Jews in Jesus’ generation, and it will also prove true in the eventual “day of the Lord.” (7), (8).
“I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Here is another widely misunderstood passage. Some men came to Jesus and “told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices”. In other words, they were asking Jesus about people from Galilee who Pilate had killed. It is important to remember the question that leads to Jesus’ response. The question concerns physical death, not eternal condemnation.
Jesus then asked if they thought “that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things?”. Not waiting for their reply, Jesus answers His own question: “I tell you no”. Then He goes on to say, “but unless you repent you will all likewise perish”.
The word “likewise” here is crucial. The Galileans were killed. Thus Jesus is saying that if the Jews hearing His words did not repent, they would be killed as well. It is crystal clear that “perish” here refers to physical death.
The Lord tells of 18 people who died when a tower in Siloam fell on them. Again, physical death, not eternal condemnation is in view. This is followed by repeating the words of verse 3. Unless the listeners repented, they too would perish, meaning, they too would be killed. This statement was fulfilled in AD 66-70 when over a million Jews were killed during the Jewish War (9).
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Again, an often misunderstood verse. I admit, I struggled with understanding this verse at first, but then I started studying what some of the words and concepts meant that Jesus talks about.
First, he says that “the kingdom of God is at hand”. What exactly is the Kingdom of God? In the Gospels and even as late as early in the book of Acts, the Kingdom was offered to the nation of Israel. Jesus Christ, in His earthly ministry, came specifically to Israel and offered the kingdom to them at that time. In rejecting Christ, the Jews rejected the kingdom and opened the way for the age of grace. The preaching of the kingdom delivered a specific message during the ministry of John the Baptist, Jesus and His disciples. Remember, this message was only given to the Jewish people. They were told to repent, believe and be baptized. The reason for this was simple: the kingdom of God is at hand. Jesus was offering His Millennial Kingdom to his chosen people, the Jews. What does it mean that the kingdom of God was at hand? The phrase means that it was within arm’s reach. They could reach out and take hold of it. Thus is why he says in this verse that the Kingdom was at hand.
In other words, the kingdom was indeed offered to them. If the nation of Israel as a whole had turned to Christ, they would have had their kingdom. God knew that they would reject His Son, but the offer was there just the same. It was in their rejection of God’s Son and His offer of the kingdom, that a way was made for the Gentile. But the offer still was made.
Clearly, Israel did not receive their earthly kingdom during or immediately after Christ’s earthly ministry. They rejected their true Messiah and took part in assigning Him to His death on the cross. Later, through His disciples, Christ turned to the Gentiles, “to take out of them a people for his name” (Acts 15:14). Israel will still receive her kingdom, but not until many centuries after their rejection of His first coming.
If you read in the previous verse it says, “Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,” The Gospel of the kingdom is the good news that God purposes to set up on the earth, in fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant, a kingdom, political, spiritual, Israelitish, universal, over which God’s Son, David’s heir, shall be King, and which shall be, for one thousand years, the manifestation of the righteousness of God in human affairs. The book of Revelation and Old Testament prophecies talk about this time period in greater lengths.
The requirement for the Kingdom at that time when Jesus offered it to the Jews was for the nation of Israel as a whole to repent (turn from their wicked ways), believe that Jesus is who he claimed to be, and be baptized as a nation to symbolize their belief and new birth. All three of those requirements are separate but needed to be done in order for the kingdom to be accepted. These requirements were exclusive for these people at this time and place. This offer is no longer offered to us, but we are free to do those things anyways, we just won’t receive the kingdom right now. We can believe in Christ, which is the sole requirement for justification before God and eternal salvation. That is the main offer of the Gospel of Christ. We can repent of our wicked ways and turn to live a life pleasing to the Lord. And we can also be baptized in order to make a public profession of our faith in Christ before the world. These latter two are optional and are never required for eternal salvation, but they are both strongly encouraged in the life of a believer in order to set a good Christ-like example to others and to please the Lord.
So, in this verse, the Gospel of the Kingdom of God is the context, and not the Gospel of Christ for eternal salvation which is still offered to us and can be accepted right where you sit by simply acknowledging that you are a sinner and that nothing you can do can save you and that you need a savior, which is Jesus Christ who paid the price for your sins. He justifies you and imputes his righteousness to you when you simply believe that. It’s simple. It’s amazing. It’s Grace. God’s Amazing Grace! (10), (11).
Additional verses about eternal Security and eternal salvation by Grace through Faith
In John 3, Christ is explaining to Nicodemus about how to be eternally saved, or justified, he says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
In John 5:24 Christ says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”
In John 6:35 Christ declares, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
Paul tells the Romans in Chapter 3, verses 23-28, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.”
In Romans 4:5 Paul says “And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness“.
In Romans 5:1-2 Paul says “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.”
In Romans 9:30-32 Paul addresses the Roman believers, “What shall we say then? – that the Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness obtained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith, but Israel even though pursuing a law of righteousness did not attain it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but (as if it were possible) by works.”
Again in Romans 10:2-4 Paul reiterates, “For I can testify that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not in line with the truth. For ignoring the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking instead to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law, with the result that there is righteousness for everyone who believes. “
In Galatians 2:16 Paul is speaking to a church who has strayed away from his original teaching and who has tried to incorporate works into being part of their salvation. He reminds them, “knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.”
Paul tells the Ephesians in chapter 1 verses 13 & 14, “when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation) – when you believed in Christ – you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit, who is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of his glory.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 is probably one of the clearest verses on eternal salvation. “For it is by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast.”
Eternal Security (12)
Properly understanding eternal security gives true freedom (not fear) for living the Christian life. To believe in Christ is to enter into covenant relationship with God Himself. There are many Divine Eternal Effects (results) that occur the moment someone believes in Jesus Christ. These results are based entirely on the character of the Trinity working on behalf of the believer and can never be changed, or else the character of God Himself is at stake. To admit that there is nothing one can do to receive eternal life, but to say there is something the believer can do, or not do, to lose eternal life, is to elevate man’s behavior and power beyond that of God.
To deny the doctrine of eternal security is to not understand clearly the issue of sin. To deny the doctrine of eternal security is to not understand clearly the Savior. What must be answered Biblically is:
- Who is this Person who died on a cross?
- Why did He die?
- What did He accomplish when He died?
We have previously seen that Jesus was God in the flesh and therefore the only person in all the universe who was qualified to pay the debt required for mankind’s sin. We have also seen that the finished work of Christ included redemption, reconciliation, and propitiation. In other words, the sin debt was paid IN FULL by Jesus on the cross. Regeneration, justification and the receipt of imputed righteousness occur the moment someone believes in Jesus. To say that a believer could lose their salvation would mean that they would have to be unborn spiritually and God would have to take away the righteousness that He already had put to their account. These concepts are totally foreign to the clear teachings of Scripture.
Some scriptural arguments for eternal security:
A. The nature of the life that is given.
The word eternal, αἰώνιος, aionios, is an adjective that describes the word life, ζωή, zoe. In other words when we believe in Christ we receive a certain kind of life, eternal life. The Greek lexicons give the meanings, “without end, never to cease, everlasting” for this adjective. The obvious question is how can something cease whose very definition is ‘never ceasing’? A related thought is that God could have used any adjective He wished to convey what we receive at the moment of belief. It could have been victorious life or holy life or probationary life or abundant life or many other descriptive terms. The word He used was eternal!
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16
B. Eternal life is a present possession.
The Bible does not teach that eternal life is awarded when a person dies (if he has been good enough or persevered to the end) but that it is a gift received the moment of belief. Notice John 5:24 and 6:47, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.”
Part of eternal life is the present possession of knowledge of God. Notice Jesus’ words in John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christwhom Thou hast sent.”
C. Eternal life is a gift.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.” -Ephesians 2:8-9
If salvation (eternal life) is truly a gift, then it could never be lost unless God were to take back His gift. However, we know that God is immutable, unchanging in His nature, and His gifts and calling cannot be undone. Paul says it this way in Romans 11:29: “for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”
D. Eternal life is received by faith and not by works, therefore works cannot possibly have a part in obtaining or keeping eternal life. As a matter of fact, grace and works are said to be mutually exclusive of each other.
“But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer Grace.” -Romans 11:6
How can something that is a gift and received by faith apart from works then all of a sudden be kept by works? Paul says if very clearly in Romans 4:4-6:
“Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works.”
E. Our eternal security is dependent on the strength of God and not our efforts.
Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has give them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them our of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” -John 10:27-30
It is the strength of God the Son and the Father which guarantees this condition of safety. Sometimes we hear such ideas as, “No one can snatch us out of God’s hand but we can jump out if we decide to stop believing”. For someone to remove himself from the security of the Father’s hand would be to elevate himself above God. Children’s parents often hold their hands as they cross the street or do other activities where they need their parents’ protection. Parents will never let someone come along and grab their children away from them but parents also will never let them pull themselves away in those situations. As their parent, they hold them securely whether or not they want to be held! God does the same for His children. Once we become His child by faith (John 1:12) we are held securely by His power, not ours!
F. Our eternal security is dependent on His faithfulness, not ours.
“It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we shall live with Him; If we endure we shall also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us;If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself.” -2 Timothy 2:11-13
Notice the four stanzas of this statement. The first states the certainty of our salvation. Our belief in Christ causes the old man to be crucified and the new man to be born from above. The second and third stanzas are a parallel. Endurance (faithful service in the context of hardship and suffering) results in reward and reign with Christ. Denial, not being faithful as a believer, causes Christ to deny us reward and reign. However, in the fourth stanza, if we are faithless, He remains faithful based on His very character as God. To cast us out of the family of God because we stop believing would be to deny Christ’s very person as the eternal ‘mercy seat’ who
made the once for all sacrifice.
G. We are secure because we are objects of God’s love.
Every person is either the object of God’s wrath (Ephesians 2:3, John 3:36) or the object of God’s love (John 13:1, John 17:23, Ephesians 2:4, 1 John 3:1). That relationship to God is determined on whether or not we have believed in Jesus Christ. As a believer notice the security we have in the love of God: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 8:37-39
“If it be possible for one who has been saved to be lost, it must of necessity be possible for one who has been the object of the love of God to be taken out of that position and made the object of the wrath of God. Does any Scripture passage teach that? Definitely, No. On the contrary, it is taught that God loves His own with and everlasting love (Jer. 31:3)…. It is, therefore, a flat denial of God’s Word to say that a man can separate himself from God’s love. If anything is emphatically taught in the Bible, it is that when man has become the object of the everlasting love of God, there is no change in that condition.” – J.F. Strombeck (13).
H. We are secure because our glorification is already accomplished. Notice the unbroken chain:
“For whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” -Romans 8:29-30
All of these events are things that God has done for the saved one. All are in the past tense, therefore already accomplished! “Believers are already glorified and that it is but the manifestation of the reality that is still in the future. There are things which God has already accomplished, but the manifestation thereof has been delayed until later. Thus, Christ is said to be the ‘Lamb foreordained before the foundation of the world, but manifest in these last times’ (1 Pet. 1:20).
Similarly, the believer is already glorified. ‘Whom He justified, them He also glorified.’ But the manifestation thereof is in the future. ‘Your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory’ (Col.3:3, 4). The glorification has taken place, though appearance in glory is in the future and in the meantime the believer’s life is ‘hid with Christ in God.’ Can anyone be more secure? If one who is saved can be lost, it must have to be by taking such a one from his place in glory where he is hid in God. Certainly no one dares to say that this is possible (13).
I hope this has been clear and simple enough to understand and has been edifying and insightful. I urge all who read this to be prayerful about any theology or biblical thoughts that you hear that differ from what scripture says. Hold everything you hear up to scripture, and never be afraid to ask questions. Be like the Bereans in Acts 17:11 who “received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if what was said was true.” Overall, God’s infallible word takes precedence over anything you hear from any pastor, priest, teacher, or author. I implore you to study scripture thoroughly and memorize passages and know their context so that you may always have a defense ready to give those who oppose the sound teachings of scripture.
May God’s grace and peace be with you.
- “The Ten Most Misunderstood Words In The Bible” (Chapter 3) Robert N. Wilkin
- “The Reign of the Servant Kings: A Study of Eternal Security and the Final Signifi-cance of Man” by Joseph C. Dillow
- “For Whom Does Hebrews 10:26-31 Teach a ‘Punishment worse than death’ “? By J. Paul Tanner ( http://www.faithalone.org/journal/2006ii/04%20Tanner%20-%20Hebrews%2010.pdf )
- “The Ten Most Misunderstood Words In The Bible” (Chapter 4) Robert N. Wilkin
- “The Gospel is more than ‘Faith Alone in Christ Alone’ ” by Jeremy D. Meyers ( http://www.faithalone.org/journal/2006ii/03%20Myers%20-%20Gospel.pdf )
- “Foundations In Grace” by Kenny Hodges (http://sub.emmanuelmsu.org/wp- content/uploads/2014/05/FoundationsInGrace2012edit-1.pdf )
- “Shall Never Perish” by J.F. Strombeck
*Edited by: Kenny Hodges and Hilton “Butch” Simmons