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Eternal Security (1)

P McAuley, Belfast

It is a most unpleasant way to live – the dread that something you love could be lost, or someone you love could leave. Because of this feeling of insecurity you are robbed of the enjoyment of the possession or the relationship. Some people live their Christian lives this way, fearing that they may lose their salvation or be abandoned by the Lord. It is clear from Scripture that this is impossible. Be assured that the Triune God guarantees the eternal security of all who trust the Lord Jesus for salvation.

God guarantees our eternal security

The purpose of God

The purpose of God guarantees the eternal security of every believer. What I mean is this. In Romans 8.28-30 we read about God’s purpose for His people, and the passage teaches that everyone who is justified will be glorified - "whom he justified, them he also glorified". Notice that in the purpose of God it is as good as done, so Paul states that the believer is already glorified! The person who trusts Christ for salvation is as secure as anybody in heaven! Paul has already taught in Romans 3-5 that justification is something we have the moment we put our faith in the Lord Jesus to rescue us; at that moment God clears us of every charge of guilt, and what Romans 8 teaches is that it is impossible for someone who has been justified not to be glorified. A similar thought is found in John 6.37-40. The Lord says the person who comes to Him will never be cast out, because it is the Father’s will that none will be lost.

The power of God

When we talk about power we can either be talking about authority (e.g. the Prime Minister is a powerful man), or might (e.g. a power lifter). Both of these thoughts are applicable to God – His authority guarantees our eternal security. Romans 8.33 tells us that God has justified us, and therefore no charge of guilt can be made against us – there is no higher court, there is no greater authority – the Supreme Judge of the Supreme Court has justified us, so the case is closed and we are free. But the might of God also guarantees the eternal security of every believer because we are "kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation" (1 Pet 1.5). We are in His hand and none can pluck us out of it (Jn 10.27-30). There is no stronger force or greater power that could ever wrestle us from His grasp – we are as secure as the Almighty can make us.

Christ guarantees our eternal security

The death of Christ

The death of Christ guarantees the eternal security of every believer. Hebrews 10.10 tells us that the believer has been sanctified (i.e. set apart for God) once for all by the sacrifice of Christ, and v.14 says that those people are perfected forever (i.e. He has made them complete and whole in the sight of God). If a person is depending on Christ for acceptance with God then all the value of His sacrificial death is applied to them and all their sins are paid for. Romans 8.34 shows that the believer in Christ can never be condemned because of the fact that Christ has paid for their sins.

The resurrection of Christ

Not only does the death of Christ guarantee our security but the resurrection life of Christ guarantees our eternal security. Believers are "accepted in the beloved" (Eph 1.6), and Christ is their representative, so what the Bible teaches is that our acceptance with God depends on His acceptance. The believer is as secure as He is, and the only way a believer in Christ can be lost is if Christ is lost! As John says, we have boldness in the day of judgment, because as Christ is, so are we in the world (1 Jn 4.17), which means that just as Christ is beyond judgment, so too is the believer, and it is just as impossible for Christ to suffer God’s judgment again as it is for a Christian to suffer God’s judgment. He brings all who trust in the value of His sacrifice to the other side of judgment, never to come into it (Jn 5.24; Rom 8.1).

But can true believers lose their faith? The Lord told Peter that He prayed for him that his faith would not fail (Lk 22.31-32). Although Peter did fail, his faith in Christ did not, because the Lord was interceding for him, and Romans 8.34 and Hebrews 7.25 teach us that He intercedes for all His own as well so that a true believer will not lose their saving faith in Christ.

The Holy Spirit guarantees our eternal security

The seal of the Spirit

The Holy Spirit guarantees the eternal security of every believer. Ephesians 1.13-14 tells us that, upon believing, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. People put a seal on things to keep them safe (e.g. Mt 27.66), and God has put His seal on everyone who receives the Saviour - that seal is His Holy Spirit. In Ephesians 4.30 we read that we are sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption, that is, until the day the Lord comes and takes all believers to heaven. So when we put Ephesians 1.13 and 4.30 together what we discover is this: we are sealed by the Spirit from the moment we believed until the moment the Lord comes – therefore we cannot be lost. Note that in Ephesians 4.30 Paul says, "Grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption". Paul does not say, "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God or you will be lost"! He is saying that even if we grieve the Spirit, we are still sealed – nothing can break that.

To be continued.


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