FORGIVEN FOREVER (Part 2 of 3)
by Jeff Hagan
(Tacoma, WA, USA)
Let's take a look at some bible passages that teach eternal security, and later we'll look at some of the different objections those who oppose eternal security usually bring up.
What Does Scripture Say?
Ephesians 2:8, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. . ." (ESV). This little quote reminds us about how we “got saved” and that is by grace. The very faith we had did not save us in and of itself; instead, it brought the grace which had the power of salvation. I'm sure you've heard this before, and that's because it's true, but “Grace is God's unmerited favor by which He saves us and makes us righteous. It is based solely on His love as displayed through the death of Jesus on the cross. Our works had nothing to do with it; in fact, we were nothing but sinners when God saved us” (Capoccia, Tony. “Eternal Security,” Bible Bulletin Board, 1986). In fact, Romans 5:8 tells us, "but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (ESV).
When we were first saved we were by nature sinners who had absolutely nothing to offer God. But God saved us anyway. Why would a God who saved worthless sinners decide to take that salvation away from us because of a sin? Before, when we were at enmity with God He saved us. Now we are children of God, adopted into His family. Would He then treat us with less grace than He does His enemies? Of course not. In fact, He knew that even though He saved us we are still prone to sin, and reminds us that the grace that brought us salvation will continue to "save" us throughout until eternal life, because, "... .where sin increased, grace abounded all the more. . ." (Romans 5:20, ESV). God's grace continues to cover whatever sins we commit. God is not surprised by our post-salvation sin. It does not matter how great a sin we might fall into, His grace is sufficient. The unbeliever has never humbled himself before God by asking for that saving grace. But, as Christians, we have received the living and saving grace of our Lord and Creator.
It is God Who Keeps Us Blameless and Eternally Secure:
We find in the epistle of Jude these words, "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory... (Jude 24, ESV), which helps solidify for us that it is not we who keep ourselves saved by our works. Instead, it is God who "keeps us from stumbling" and presents us blameless. We cannot fall out of God's saving grace. God continually gives us His gracious, undeserved, unmerited forgiveness to cover our sins.
Just think of all the examples in the Bible of Christians who fell into sin, serious sin. Moses, who was called by God to lead His Chosen people to the Promised land, fell into sin by killing an Egyptian. Did God toss him out of the Kingdom? No, he was covered by the grace of God. And David, God's anointed King over Israel committed adultery with Bathsheba and then had her husband murdered. God not only forgave him but allowed him to keep ruling Israel and to pen most of the Psalms. Let's not forget Peter, who publicly denied even being associated with Christ, by saying that he was not one of Jesus' disciples. Yet again, he remained in the kingdom and was given immense responsibility for the new Church. God is not only able to, but does, keep us from losing our salvation despite our sins.
Eternal Life Through Christ:
Jesus, when referring to those who followed him and those who would believe in Him, said, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of my Father's hand" (John 10:27-29, ESV). Knowing God has you grasped in His hand should bring great comfort and assurance to the believer. Who are those who would try to take believers out of God's hand? Well, Satan and those who follow his ways. But even they cannot "snatch" a Christian away from God. Some say, “we can take ourselves out of God's hand.” Really? How are we able to “snatch” ourselves out of His hand? That's silliness. We can be tempted, and sometimes even to the point where we give into sins that grieve God, but they can never remove us from His hand.
Jesus said He gives His sheep eternal life. What makes eternal life eternal? The simple fact that it will never end. If he gives us eternal life today and then takes it away tomorrow because of sin, then it was not eternal but only "temporary eternal life," which is not eternal life at all.
We Are Sealed by the Holy Spirit:
When we first came to a saving faith something happened that was not visible to us - we were marked as a Child of God and sealed as His own. "In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14, ESV). Christians are sealed with the Holy Spirit, who is the earnest (or down payment) that God made when He bought us with the blood of Christ. An "earnest," or down payment, guarantees the purchase will be completed at a later time. God guarantees us that we are His possession, we belong to Him alone, and the Holy Spirit living inside of us is His proof.
What God Begins He Will Finish:
When we were saved it was not by happenstance. God had decreed from eternity past to save us and our salvation was a partial fulfillment of His overall plan. Paul assures us that what God begins He finishes, "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6, ESV). It's important to see here that it is God who brings the good work He started in us to completion. It is He who sanctifies us and we merely try to be obedient. We will repeatedly fall short of the glory of God, but just need to keep confessing our sins and receiving His precious grace-filled forgiveness.