Another title could be:
Eternal Security – 10 years later
By Wayne Reynolds, Pastor
The Bible teaches eternal security of the believer, and this is what Independence Baptist Church believes. BUT – The Bible does not teach, and Independence Baptist Church does not believe, that a person can be saved, and continue in sin. The truly saved person will stop sinning, and continue to be faithful.
The Fact of Eternal Life
I could print hundreds of scriptures which state salvation is eternal, but the following should suffice. If one scripture teaches eternal salvation, that should be enough. It is apparent that the words "eternal" and "everlasting" mean perpetual: past, present and future; never ending; forever.
John 3:15, "That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life."
John 3:16, "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."
John 3:36, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
John 17:3, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
Acts 13:48, "And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed."
Many trust a "salvation" that happened long ago, but has not motivated them since. What happened many years ago might have been salvation but it might not. True salvation is trusting in Christ right now, not trusting in a long passed event. Many say they are saved yet, today they are not faithful to God, his commandments or his church. Why is this?
Think with me; it is foolishness to trust in a past event, and not trust Christ today. You see, salvation involves not only a past trusting, it also involves a present trusting, which continues into the future. Salvation is trusting God for all "time" and for all eternity, not just trusting Christ in the long ago.
A person can be saved, yet "feel" they are lost. A person can also "feel" they are saved and be lost. This is why the Bible states in II Peter 1:10, "…make your calling and election sure…"
True Believers Endure to the End
Notice John 8:31, "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;" Notice the word "if". Jesus said only those who are genuinely saved will continue in his Word. Saved people are not saved because they continue in his Word, but they continue in his Word because they are already saved. Matthew 7:20 declare, "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."
I John 2:27 explained that the anointing (Holy Spirit) received at salvation remains, "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him."
I John 3:9 continues, stating that the spirit of the saved person does not commit sin after salvation, "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." We understand the believer (in his body) does sin because I John 1:8-10 gives instructions concerning sin. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."
I John 5:18 reveals that the saved person keeps himself from sin. "We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.
Col. 1:21-23 teaches that saved people were once sinners, but have been reconciled to God by Christ…"If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard…" Notice the word "if" in verse 23. I think it is very clear that "if" a person fails to continue in the faith, he never was saved to begin with.
I Corinthians 15:2 also use the word "if" in describing the continuing belief of the saved person. "By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain." There is a believing in vain, and that belief is seen when the person does not continue in faithfulness.
The Bible very clearly states salvation is a gift of God, and comes to man through the grace of God Almighty. The Bible also clearly states that man has a responsibility to live a life that reflects the grace of God in salvation. Eternal security is when God gives to sinful man, the only kind of life he has (eternal life) and when man reacts to this gift in faithfulness to the one who has given him eternal life. Eternal security works in the lives of all true believers, molding them into the image of Christ.
Those Who Cannot Continue
Everyone who says they are saved may not be really saved. John 13:18 recorded what Jesus said concerning Judas Iscariot, who was lost. "I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me. Christ knew that Judas did not have that internal gift which would enable him to continue with him.
The context of John 6:70 makes it very clear that true believers will never go away from Christ. Jesus has just preached a stinging message to the unbelieving Jews. Before this, a great multitude followed Christ, hanging intently upon his every word, but when the message ended, the multitude angrily left, and followed Jesus no more. Jesus then asked his disciples "Will you also go away?" Simon Peter answered and said, "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life." Then Jesus said, "Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?" It is very clear that unbelievers will go away, while believers will always remain with Jesus.
Matt. 13:20,21 recorded the condition of those that cannot continue with Jesus. "But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended." - In this parable, the seed which fell on stony ground was representative of a lost person who appeared to have been saved, but he was offended (caused to stumble) at the word. The word of God might allow many things to happen to a saved person, but it will never be offensive to him.
Why does the superficial believer go away? He has no root within himself. What is the root? The anointing (Holy Spirit) given to every believer at salvation.
What is it that causes this unbeliever to go away? Tribulation and persecution. Notice what the Bible says about tribulation and persecution in Romans 8:35, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" The Bible makes it abundantly clear that tribulation and persecution will never cause the true believer to go away, but the superficial believer will certainly go away when things get tough.
I John 2:19 states, "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." Even though it appeared for a time these were saved, they were not. The evidence of their lack of salvation was seen in their lack of service.
Some Supposed Contradictions
Lot was an example of a saved person who was not faithful to God in the end of his life, yet was saved. The only reason we know Lot was saved is because the Bible says he was.
II Peter 2:7 states, "And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8 for that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their with their unlawful deeds;) The word "just" means "righteous" or saved. Lot had no fruits, therefore is typical of that person "…saved; yet so as by fire." I Corinthians 3:15.
Matthew 7:21-23 states, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." These people have been busy "working" for God, yet failed to make their calling and election sure, as stated in II Peter 1:10. They are lost and their works have not saved them.
Those Who Continue
John 10:4,5 states, "And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. 5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers." The sheep follow the shepherd, Jesus Christ. They hear and know the voice of their saviour. They will not follow a stranger. Jesus said in John 10:14, "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine." There is a mutual knowing – the sheep know the shepherd, and the shepherd knows the sheep.