Why Does It Matter?
1 John 5.10-13
Essentially there are five categories of people in our world today:
Those who are unsaved and know they are. They have no security regarding their eternal future.
Those who are unsaved but think they are saved. They have a false security about eternity.
Those who are saved but are uncertain about whether they are saved. They are insecure.
Those who believe they were saved in the past, or even present, but who are unsure about their salvation in eternity. They have feeling of security in the here and now, but they are not “eternally” secure.
Those who are certain that they have been saved, are saved, and will be saved forever. They are the ones who truly are “eternally secure” in their salvation experience.
My prayer is that at the end of this series we will all find ourselves in that last category.
The opposite belief regarding eternal security is one generally called “falling from grace.”
According to this position, a person can “lose” his or her salvation through sin or wayward living after being saved.
It is not up to me to convince you one way or the other, we must each ask that God’s Holy Spirit would reveal to us the truth through His Word!
Most Christians do not truly study this topic, they just cling to whatever position they were taught when they were a young Christian.
Many people associate the topic of eternal security with the doctrinal position of “once saved, always saved.”
In turn they associate this doctrine as a Baptist doctrine, rather than a biblical one.
I would like this to be a Bible study, not a doctrinal study!
Many have said through the years, “Condemnation before investigation leads to error.”
This goes to for both sides of this argument!
Don’t take it just as truth, because I said it! Study the Word!
What is at Stake?
There are several things are at stake.
We are in danger if anything other than Christ's completed work on the cross is what determines our salvation.
We at least are likely to get into trouble.
It will be hard to live with much security if you and I are responsible for keeping our salvation.
Yes, we may have hope, but what about certainty? No!
John however devoted a whole letter to reassuring a group of individuals—people he was not even present to have seen—that they were, in fact, saved:
13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
There can be no peace if there is no certainty of God's acceptance.
There can be no joy if there is no peace.
One's capacity to love without condition is constrained when there is no joy.
Why? Because someone who lacks assurance is inevitably driven in part by fear.
Love and fear do not get along well.
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
One will always dilute the other.
Worry also overflows from fear.
How can I obey Philippians 4:6 if the question of my salvation is unresolved?
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
The extent of the forgiveness of God is also in question here.
Which of your sins did Christ die for when he died?
When you put your faith in Him as your Savior, what sins were you absolved of?
If the sins you commit after becoming a Christian have the power to destroy your relationship with your Savior, then it is obvious that Calvary did not pay for those sins.
Everything is covered!
Making a distinction between sins that have been forgiven and ones that have not is against Scripture!
It doesn't matter when your sins happened, from the perspective of the Cross, they were all in the future.
And because God is not a part of created time it does not affect God's forgiveness.
To ignore eternal security is to diminish the significance of what occurred at Calvary.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
He is faithful - and will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, And will not remember thy sins.
The transgressions have been blotted out - wiped away.
Why - for my own sake. Oh the love of God!
12 As far as the east is from the west, So far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
You cannot travel east and all of a sudden you are travelling west.
You can travel South, and once you reach the south pole, you will be travelling North.
But as far as the east is from the west - so hath he removed our transgressions from us.
We are forgiven - it’s done!
III. Faith Alone
III. Faith Alone
It's a matter of salvation by faith!
If there is no eternal security, salvation is no longer accomplished solely by faith; rather, it is accomplished through both faith and works.
To imply that keeping my salvation is made possible by doing good (or refraining from sin) is to assume responsibility for our own salvation every day of our lives.
If this is true, then there will be place in heaven for boasting.
The problem cannot be resolved by claiming that God's grace permits us to continue in good deeds.
Because who is in charge of making grace consistently available to us?
It is God, of course!
15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
God gives us the grace that we need for that moment to accomplish what we need to accomplish.
But all of this is by faith, and faith alone.
But if we have to maintain our own salvation, if salvation is not forever, salvation cannot be through faith alone.
28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
All throughout Romans Paul argues, we do not keep our salvation by keeping the law.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
We are his workmanship - we were created by Him, for Him, and He enables us to follow Him.
You say, what about James?
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
James is not saying you need to have works to keep your faith…he is saying if you don’t have works, your faith is dead.
A person that has faith will do good works, which he has ordained us to walk in them.
When we are saved by faith, and we know we are eternally secure, we can have peace.
1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
If abandoning the faith or falling into sin short-circuits salvation, I have the ability to demonstrate unconditional love to a greater extent that God.
If there is a condition—even one—attached to God’s willingness to maintain a relationship with His children, it is not unconditional.
On the other hand, I know many people who have demonstrated pure unconditional love to family members who were incredibly undeserving!
8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
God is love, how can we do better than God?
One might argue, “But God’s holiness demands certain things of those with whom He maintains a relationship. His nature will not allow Him to stay in a relationship with an individual who continually spurns His love.”
That is beside the point.
We cannot put our own logic into what the Bible says in order to create a doctrine.
Is the sin covered, is it forgiven, or is it not?
1 Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: For his mercy endureth for ever.
If His holiness demands some thing in return from those He loves, it is clear that His holiness makes God incapable of unconditional love!
If holiness is a condition, His love is not unconditional.
If His nature forces Him to disassociate from certain types of people, His nature stands in the way of His ability to love unconditionally.
There is nothing in this world that my kids can do that will keep me from loving them. The kind of relationship I have with them may change, based upon what they do, but they will always have my love, and help. It’s not about relationship its about fellowship.
11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
God knew we were sinners - he knew every sin we would ever commit before we were even born.
how can we think that he saves us one moment then says, “Oh, I didn’t know you were going to do that! I’m sorry but you are no longer saved!”
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
God loves us, He knows we have failed Him, and will fail Him again.
That is why He provided a way to have fellowship with Him again.
16 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.
Sharing the love of God with others is challenging for Christians who are unsure about their relationship with God.
They frequently can't move past their own wrestling with salvation.
Not everyone who disputes the idea of "once saved, always saved" have this issue.
But I've come across many people for whom this barrier really exists.
Charles Stanley told of a gentleman, Robert, who was a good example of this. He was consumed with the question of eternal security. Every time Dr. Stanley spoke with Robert he somehow turned the conversation in that direction. He would see him coming and be tempted to run or to busy himself with something else. It was always the same thing, “Dr. Stanley, what about this verse in…”
Dr. Stanley said he was a tragic illustration of something he saw quite often: a person who becomes so absorbed with one issue that they get out of balance.
For some reason eternal security seems to be one of those unbalancing issues.
It is interesting as well as sad to see how often a person’s evangelistic zeal suffers when this happens.
When someone is consumed with this struggle over their own salvation how will they ever share salvation with someone else?
Why would they want to share the struggle?
But when a person has peace with God, they know they are saved, and it is not dependent upon them, They are eager to share the gospel.
As long as I have ongoing role in the salvation process, my natural tendency will be to focus on my behavior rather than on Christ.
Yet we are commanded to make Christ our focus!
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
We are told to keep our focus on that why is good, and true...
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Self-reflection undoubtedly has a place in the Christian life.
But we shouldn't let "self" dominate our life in any way!
Until we are certain that our relationship with Him is solid, we are never fully free to fix our attention on Him.
I remember water skiing when I was a kid - I don’t remember where I was or when It was, but I remember one thing - I didn’t enjoy it because I was so focused on staying upright…keeping my feet underneath me. I went again when I was in high school at a school camp - and I decided…I know what to expect now, I’m going to enjoy it - and boy did I!
A person's ability to maintain order in his life decreases as he concentrates more on himself.
On the other side, it gets simpler to give Christ control over every aspect of life the more a person concentrates on Christ.
Illust: Carrying a pan of water. Focus on the goal, not the pan.
Legalism tends to draw in those who are continually assessing their spiritual situation.
Legalism nearly usually has two sidekicks: self-importance and self-deception (naming offenses by a different name to alleviate the guilt).
These work in conjunction to produce in a life exactly the reverse of what Christ intended!
These are just a few of the things affected by one’s stance on the question of eternal security.
I believe there are probably even more.
This subject is not just something for theologians to bat about among themselves.
Right now, this matter greatly affects how you live your life!
Whichever point of view you lean toward, it will significantly affect how you see God, yourself, and other people.
As we go through this study we will see more clearly why I believe the Bible clearly teaches that we are eternally secure.