Tuesday, August 5, 2008


When one is rescued from a capsized boat, for example, does it make sense to be taken only part of the way back to shore and then, based on the gratitude you demonstrate toward your rescuers or your performance on the rescue vessel, be thrown back into the water a mile out? Of course not! Many sincere Christians doubt that one can have any permanent assurance of his or her salvation. In other words, Christ's sacrifice paid only one's sins committed up until the day of their conversion via repentance and faith, but nothing more.  It's like your slate of past sins gets wiped clean, and you start over. Like the boat rescue illustration, if you don't measure up after your conversion and die with unconfessed sin, you'll end up being thrown into hell! I find this view problematic both logically and biblically. I will address here why I believe - biblically - in eternal security (or, what's called in Reformed circles the Calvinistic doctrine of "The Perseverance of the Saints").

(I found the following summary of the doctrine of "Eternal Security" on the following website: http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/eternalsecurity.htm. I figure, "Why reinvent the wheel?" The work's been done, so I'll point everyone to the source. The following is a portion of a study on this doctrine from the Way of Life Encyclopedia of the Bible & Christianity, copyright 1994):

1. Because of the terms used to describe salvation: “eternal life” (Jn. 3:16; 1 Jn. 5:11); “full assurance” (He. 6:11; Col. 2:2); “strong consolation” (He. 6:18); “hope ... sure and stedfast” (He. 6:19).

2. Because of what we are. All of the following are spoken of in the present tense; this is the present condition of each true believer: (1) Forgiven (Ro. 4:7; 1 Jn. 2:12). (2) Justified (Ro. 5:1,9; Tit. 3:7). (3) Reconciled (Ro. 5:10). (4) Risen with Christ (Ro. 6:3-6; Col. 3:1,2). (5) A child of God forever (Ro. 8:15; Ga. 4:4-7; 1 Jn. 3:1). (6) Sanctified in Christ (1 Co. 1:2). (7) New creation (2 Co. 5:17). (8) Accepted in the beloved (Ep. 1:6). (9) Saved (Ep. 2:8,9; 2 Ti. 1:9). (10) Light in the Lord (Ep. 5:8). (11) Made fit for Heaven (Col. 1:12). (12) Complete in Him (Col. 2:10). (13) Citizens of Heaven (Ph. 3:20). (14) Children of light (1 Th. 5:5). (15) Elect (1 Pe. 1:2). (16) Born again (1 Pe. 1:2,23). (17) Sanctified once for all (He. 10:10). (18) Perfected forever (He. 10:14). (19) Passed from death unto life (1 Jn. 3:14).

3. Because of where we are: (1) In God’s family (Ga. 3:26; 1 Jn. 3:2). (2) Brought near (Ep. 2:13). (3) In the heavenlies with Christ (Ep. 2:5-6). (4) Translated into the kingdom of His dear Son (Col. 1:13).

4. Because of what we have: (1) Eternal life (Jn. 3:16). (2) Peace with God (Ro. 5:1). (3) An Intercessor in Heaven (Ro. 8:34). (4) All spiritual blessings (Ep. 1:3). (5) Forgiveness of sins (Ep. 1:7; Col. 1:14; 2:13). (6) Sealing of the Holy Spirit (Ep. 1:12-14). (7) Access to God (Ep. 2:18). (8) Everlasting consolation (2 Th. 2:16). (9) Eternal glory (2 Ti. 2:10). (10) Eternal redemption (He. 9:12). (11) Mercy (1 Pe. 2:10). (12) An Advocate with the Father (1 Jn. 2:1-2). (13) Grace (Ep. 2:8).

5. Because of what is past: (1) Condemnation (Jn. 5:24). (2) The law of sin and death (Ro. 8:2). (3) Death and wrath (Col. 3:3; Ro. 6:11; 1 Th. 5:9). (4) Night and darkness (1 Th. 5:5).

6. Because of our promises: (1) Never perish (Jn. 10:27-28). (2) Shall never die (Jn. 11:26). (3) The glory of God (Ro. 5:2). This speaks of Christ’s kingdom glory. (4) Shall be saved from wrath (Ro. 5:9). (5) Glorious liberty of the children of God (Ro. 8:21). (6) Redemption of the body (Ro. 8:23-24; Ph. 3:21). (7) Predestinated to be conformed to the image of Christ (Ro. 8:28-29). (8) Cannot be separated from God’s love (Ro. 8:31-39). (9) God shall confirm you unto the end (1 Co. 1:8). (10) He that hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Ph. 1:6). (11) Shall appear with Christ in glory (Col. 3:3-4). (12) Delivered from the wrath to come (1 Th. 1:10). (13) Not appointed to wrath but to salvation (1 Th. 5:9). (14) Eternal inheritance (He. 9:15). (15) Incorruptible inheritance (1 Pe. 1:4).

I don't know about you, but these verses give me so much hope! Granted, I don't want to have false hope. This is exactly why Paul tells the Corinthian believers to "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?" (2 Cor. 13:5) We would do well to follow his advice too.

Of course, there are problem passages and verses.  In fact, both views have supporting verses and problem verses. The issue is how well the adopted view deals with the problem verses and passages. This will be dealt with in a subsequent post.

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