Eternal Security? – Part 8 – Concluding Remarks

I have already stated that we at Acts 20:24 Ministries believe it is possible for a Christian believer to forfeit their salvation. (I encourage you to read this series in its entirety if you haven’t already for a full explanation.) I would like to close our discussion of the doctrine of eternal security with two illustrations.

The first illustration is that of the nature of covenant in the Bible. A covenant is an agreement between two people or bodies. In the Bible we find many examples, such as those with Noah, Abraham and David, where God made a covenant with men. Probably most distinctly is the covenant between the Lord God and the nation of Israel. The covenants always followed a formula: If this, then this. If not this, then this is the consequence.

Covenants were always optional, and always conditional. They were optional because the person always had the choice to enter into the covenant or not. They were conditional in that they had conditions to be followed. If the covenant was kept, then blessing would flow from God. If the covenant was broken, then judgment would fall.

Covenants could be broken, and had dire consequences when they were. Salvation in Jesus Christ works in the same way. We enter into Christ, and receive his blessing as abiders in him (see John 15). However one can chose to break away from the salvation offered, and in that case, judgment and condemnation follows (Hebrews 10:26-31).

Secondly, God uses the picture of marriage to illustration Christ’s relationship with the church. The Lord Jesus says that the only grounds that one has for divorce in a marriage is if the other partner has been unfaithful (Matthew 5:22). Likewise in God’s covenant with the nation of Israel, the covenant was broken when Israel was unfaithful to God and worshiped idols instead. If we are unfaithful to Christ as his bride, he has legal grounds for divorcing us from being a part of his body.

This unfaithfulness in following Christ is what ultimately causes one to forfeit their salvation. It is a conscious act committed by a believer in which, in word or in deed, they turn away from trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ. They instead choose to follow the desires of their flesh and live their lives completely for this. When this happens, that person has just severed themself from Christ, and gone back to the way they were before they were saved. The Lord says, “If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and witheres; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned… If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love” (John 15:6, 10).

The assurance of the Christian is found in remaining in Christ. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit…” (John 15:5).

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3 Responses to Eternal Security? – Part 8 – Concluding Remarks

  1. Benjamin St. Pierre says:

    Hey you guys…just wanted to let you know that I have really enjoyed reading your articles on these very intense theological topics. I find it facinating and fun to think about salvation and whatnot, as you obviously do too…
    Thank you for the time you are putting into this…I’m sure a lot of people are at places where they need to read exactly what you are writing.

    Comment #1: you wrote “Covenants were always optional, and always conditional.”
    I just wanted to say that I don’t think this is always the case….but that doesn’t really matter cause it isn’t your main point…right?
    and Commentn/Question #2: I was just wondering why the topic of eternal security is so important to your christian worldview and evangelistic/apologetic stance…

    Love You!

  2. Hey Ben! We want you to know that we really appreciate your comment and are blessed by it.

    To answer your question, the question of eternal security is extremely important theologically because it will impact the way you live your Christian life. Far too many Christians settle for mediocrity and sinful living because they think that they are okay with God on the basis of the profession of faith. This is not necessarily untrue, for we are saved by grace, but at the same time, it is not okay to continue in your sin. We are called to live holy and blameless lives. (We write a lot about this on the blog as well.) The power of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ overcame sin and death so that we too may be free from it. That is not only free from the penalty of sin, but also from its grip in our lives. Christians must walk in the fear of the Lord, recognizing that it is not okay to live a sinful life. And they must understand that if they consciously continue to deny the Lord with their lifestyle, they are exiting the relationship they have entered into with the Lord.

    As far as apologetics is concerned, one who is seeking the truth and the possibility of entering into a relationship with God must understand what they are getting into. This is called counting the cost. It is not a joke to enter into the kingdom of God.

    This connects with discipleship, which comes after the point of salvation is reached. Theology isn’t everything, but every Christian should have an understanding of what the Bible teaches on doctrinal issues, especially pertaining to their salvation. We become Christians in the first place to receive the salvation offered to us. We had better have a biblical understanding of what this means.

    So to sum up the points: 1. Understanding eternal security and the forfeiting of salvation aids in apologetics in that it explains to a seeker/unbeliever what it is that Christianity teaches, and helps that person to count the cost of receiving salvation 2. It also is a main point of theology that must be discussed to one being discipled because it is so important of an issue pertaining to salvation 3. A proper understanding is essential because it will impact the way we live our Christian lives. Understanding that one can forfeit their salvation will cause the Christian to walk in the fear of the Lord. This keeps us from sinning (Exodus 20:20).

  3. gary says:

    Don’t you think that it is a problem that there is no evidence in the Early Christian Church of the belief that “once saved, always saved”? In fact, quite the opposite. There are plenty of early Christian pastors and theologians in the first three to four centuries AD who warn Christians not to be complacent in their faith and live a life of willful sin…lest they perish to eternal damnation.

    I grew up evangelical. I witnessed many persons pray the Sinner’s Prayer or go forward during an Altar Call and make what seemed to be very genuine professions of faith. These people then went on to witness to others about salvation through faith in Christ, attend Church and prayer meetings, etc. for a number of years.

    They NOW never darken a church door or read a Bible. One person has converted to be a Muslim to marry her Arab husband, completely abandoning the Christian faith. I know of others who became murderers and child molesters and are unrepentant. I know others who are now living lives of sexual immorality and believe that there is nothing wrong with their behavior.

    Do you really believe that if one of these former believers dies…he or she will go to heaven???

    I know one Lutheran mother who’s daughter became an evangelical and had a “born again” experience. A short time later the daughter started living with her boyfriend. Her mother warned her that what she was doing is sin, and that ongoing willful sin against God places her salvation in jeopardy. The daughter replied, “Don’t worry, Mom. I’m covered. I was born again, and if you are born again there is no way you can lose your salvation no matter what you do. Lutherans are wrong.”

    Neither infant baptism nor an adult “born again” experience is a “Get-into-heaven-free” card! Salvation only occurs by the grace of God, received through faith. No faith, no salvation.

    The Christian whose faith and trust is in the Lord need never worry about his eternal security/his salvation. Our salvation is not dependent on how many good works we do. But, the believer who takes his salvation for granted, turns his back on God and lives a life of sin is endangering his soul and very well may wake up one day in hell!

    The doctrine of Eternal Security is an invention of the Calvinists, codified at the Synod of Dort. It is false teaching. It did not exist in the Early Church. It is a license to sin! The Doctrine of Eternal Security is not scriptural!

    I encourage evangelicals to read this Lutheran statement on this issue:

    http://www.hopelcms.org/default.aspx?pg=87ac4963-1ad2-499c-8a26-0304068bf63c

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