Jan 09 2007
Unconditional Eternal Security
Are We Really Once Saved Always Saved?
Some may say that the debate over unconditional eternal security or, “Once Saved Always Saved,” has been going on for a very long time. I guess that could be true if it were a debatable subject. The truth, however, is that it is not open for debate. The scriptures are so clear regarding this topic that one would have to try to misunderstand God’s word.
Because this teaching has eternal consequences and because it is becoming more and more prevalent in our churches, I would like to take a closer look at a couple of things regarding this issue. The first topic I would like to cover is why I believe this teaching is becoming so popular. And the second item I would like to elaborate on is what God’s word actually says about maintaining our walk with Him.
1st Topic: Why do people embrace this teaching?
Those of us that have a long-standing relationship with Christ or may have spent time in an ultra conservative Christian environment are probably aware of the dangers associated with legalism. For the purposes of this writing we will only give a cursory examination of this subject. Legalism, with regards to Christianity, refers to the concept of having no freedom or liberty as it concerns our walk with Christ.
Just as this issue plagued some of the early Christian churches so it still causes problems in some of our churches today. Those that are entangled in this situation find it necessary to keep certain rules or obey a set order of guidelines in order to keep their salvation secure. These individuals have very little freedom to grow, mature, make mistakes, learn and develop into healthy Christians. They find themselves in an endless cycle of being saved one moment and being lost the next.
Not only have they failed to realize how powerful and far reaching the grace of God is, but they also err concerning the scriptures they are trying so hard to uphold. For once a person decides that there is one part of God’s law that needs to be upheld in order to be saved we have then become bound to the entire law of God and Christ has become of non-effect to us. (Note: For references let us cite Galatians 5 and the book of Romans just to name a few.)
On the other end of this spectrum lies the fallacy that once a person becomes a Christian their position in Christ is forever settled and their eternity with Christ could never again, under any circumstances, be placed in jeopardy. Some of the verses that have been used to try and support this theory are found in Luke 15, John 10, Romans 8, and 1st John chapter 3.
These verses, along several others, will be covered shortly and we will see how frail the attempt to attach the “Once Saved Always Saved” theology to God’s word really is.
Now, apart from the well-meaning believers who have apparently misunderstood what the bible really says about this issue, I feel that there is a far greater reason, or reasons, why this belief is becoming so popular. Let me now share with you some of my thoughts.
Seeker Friendly Churches:
I am fairly certain that I will catch criticism for this statement, but before you get too upset please allow me to expound a little. I am all for being “Seeker Friendly” as it concerns winning people to the Lord, as long as we aren’t compromising the word of God. We have to remember that no matter how hard we try the message of the cross is offensive to a lost and dying world. We can’t help that and we can’t change it. Personally, I have found that often times in these churches the subject of personal sin is something that is approached far too delicately. After all, we don’t want to offend anyone. They might not come back. Instead, let’s talk about how much God loves you. If you really understood God’s love you would stop sinning and embrace the grace that has been afforded you, right?
Well it sounds good but remember that some of Satan’s biggest lies ride in on the back of truth. Please make note of a very important truth here. God’s primary attribute is not love. It is holiness. And that brings me to my next point.
God’s Mistaken Identity:
Remember that I just said that some of the biggest lies ride in on the back of truth. One of the “Biggies” is the assumption that God’s primary characteristic is love. God is a very loving, compassionate, merciful God. But His holiness will always take precedence over everything else. And to support this statement let me coin this phrase; “God’s righteous requirements had to be fulfilled before His love for us could ever be revealed.” In short, no matter how much God loved us we had zero access to the Father until Christ died for us. To give scriptural support I will cite the following examples.
8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”
(Note: Did you notice that the living creatures that stand before the throne of God weren’t saying “Love, love, love”?)
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Please make note here that the writer did not say that understanding God’s love was the beginning of knowledge.
To give further support to this statement I will list the following scriptures that record different times that men came into contact with their creator. I don’t think you will find one example of anyone saying that they were overcome with a feeling of inexpressible love. Rather, it is usually awesome fear and reverence as they stand before a “Holy” God.
Exodus 19, Job 38-42, Isaiah 6, Ezekiel 1&3, Daniel 10, Acts 9, Rev. 1.
It is natural to look for a loophole:
This is my final point regarding the “why” I believe people embrace eternal security. No matter how we try to dress ourselves up the truth is that it is natural for us to sin. That is why we are instructed so many times in the scriptures to develop and mature in our Christian walk. When we hold to the eternal security teaching we are affording ourselves an effective loophole. Even if we teach that as believers we are no longer supposed to live like we used to, because of the very foundation of this heresy we can no longer attach eternal consequences to willful disobedience.
Now many of those who support eternal security will jump in here with a couple of different thoughts, neither of which is supported in scripture. The first is the misconception that if you truly understood your position in Christ, and God’s love for you, you would no longer be sinning. The second error is the presumption that perhaps the willfully disobedient believer was never saved to begin with. My response to these positions, as well as others that might be floating around, is to turn now to the scriptures and see what the bible has to say.
2nd Topic: What does the bible have to say;
1 We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.
2 For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment,
3 how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.
5 Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, testifying to what would be said in the future.
6 But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.
7 So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice,
8 do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert,
9 where your fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did.
10 That is why I was angry with that generation, and I said, `Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’
11 So I declared on oath in my anger, `They shall never enter my rest.'”
12 See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.
13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
14 We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.
15 As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”
16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt?
17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert?
18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed?
19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.
(Note: These were not unbelievers that the writer of Hebrews is talking to.)
The Prodigal Son, Luke 15:11-32
11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons.
12 The younger one said to his father, `Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.
14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need.
15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs.
16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 “When he came to his senses, he said, `How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!
18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’
20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, `Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, `Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.
24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they begin to celebrate.
25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing.
26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on.
27 `Your brother has come,’ he replied, `and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.
29 But he answered his father, `Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.
30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
31 “`My son,’ the father said, `you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.
32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”
(Note: Some will try to draw attention to the fact that the father never stopped referring to the younger brother as his son, but notice verses 24 & 32. He may have been his son but the father referred to him as “lost” and “dead.”)
The Ten Virgins, Matthew 25:1-13
1 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them.
4 The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.
5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6 “At midnight the cry rang out: `Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps.
8 The foolish ones said to the wise, `Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
9 “`No,’ they replied, `there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
11 “Later the others also came. `Sir! Sir!’ they said. `Open the door for us!’
12 “But he replied, `I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
(Note: This parable is referring to believers. Some kept oil in their lamps and some did not. The scriptures call them all virgins, but some of them were foolish and let their lamps go out.)
1st John 3:6-11
6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.
7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.
8 He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.
10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.
11 This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
21 “Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’
23 Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Note: 1st John 3 & Matthew 7 are sometimes used to suggest that believers who turn back to sin were never saved to begin with. That view would be in direct contradiction with God’s word as a whole. The only view that would be in harmony with the rest of the bible is to realize that some people only claim to be believers.)
27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.
29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
(Note: These verses are referring to external circumstances. They are not addressing the continued free will of the believer.)
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,
27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
29 How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?
30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”
31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering.
33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.
34 You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.
35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
37 For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay.
38 But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.”
Hebrews 12:14-17, 25
14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
16 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.
17 Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.
25 See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven?
2nd Peter Chapter 2
1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them–bringing swift destruction on themselves.
2 Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.
3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment;
5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others;
6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;
7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men
8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)–
9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.
10 This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings;
11 yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord.
12 But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.
13 They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you.
14 With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed–an accursed brood!
15 They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness.
16 But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey–a beast without speech–who spoke with a man’s voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.
17 These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them.
18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error.
19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity–for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.
20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.
21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.
22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.”
2nd Peter 3:13-17
13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.
15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.
16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.
17 Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.
3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.
4 For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
5 Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe.
6 And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home–these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.
7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
8 In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings.
9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
10 Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals–these are the very things that destroy them.
11 Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.
12 These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm–shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted–twice dead.
13 They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.
14 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones
15 to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands:
2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.
3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.
5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
12 “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.
13 I know where you live–where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city–where Satan lives.
14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality.
15 Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.
16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth
18 “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze.
19 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.
20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.
21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling.
22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways.
23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.
24 Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets (I will not impose any other burden on you):
25 Only hold on to what you have until I come.
26 To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations
1 “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God.
3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
4 Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.
5 He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.
14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.
15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!
16 So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
17 You say, `I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.
20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
21 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.
22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
The True Vine John 15:1-6
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.
2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.
4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.
Romans 6:1-2, 10-20
1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?
2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?
10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.
13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.
14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!
16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey–whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.
18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
19 I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.
20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.
Romans 8:12-14, 33-39
12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation–but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it.
13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live,
14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Note: The fact that nothing can separate us from God’s love does not mean we are unable to walk away from His grace. The decision will always be ours to stay with Him or leave.)
17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root,
18 do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.
19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.”
20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid.
21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.
23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.
24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!
20 “Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before him, he will die. Since you did not warn him, he will die for his sin. The righteous things he did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for his blood
21 But if you do warn the righteous man not to sin and he does not sin, he will surely live because he took warning, and you will have saved yourself.”
23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?
24 “But if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked man does, will he live? None of the righteous things he has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness he is guilty of and because of the sins he has committed, he will die.
25 “Yet you say, `The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear, O house of Israel: Is my way unjust? Is it not your ways that are unjust?
26 If a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin, he will die for it; because of the sin he has committed he will die.
12 “Therefore, son of man, say to your countrymen, `The righteousness of the righteous man will not save him when he disobeys, and the wickedness of the wicked man will not cause him to fall when he turns from it. The righteous man, if he sins, will not be allowed to live because of his former righteousness.’
13 If I tell the righteous man that he will surely live, but then he trusts in his righteousness and does evil, none of the righteous things he has done will be remembered; he will die for the evil he has done.
14 And if I say to the wicked man, `You will surely die,’ but he then turns away from his sin and does what is just and right–
15 if he gives back what he took in pledge for a loan, returns what he has stolen, follows the decrees that give life, and does no evil, he will surely live; he will not die.
16 None of the sins he has committed will be remembered against him. He has done what is just and right; he will surely live.
17 “Yet your countrymen say, `The way of the Lord is not just.’ But it is their way that is not just.
18 If a righteous man turns from his righteousness and does evil, he will die for it.
19 And if a wicked man turns away from his wickedness and does what is just and right, he will live by doing so.
20 Yet, O house of Israel, you say, `The way of the Lord is not just.’ But I will judge each of you according to his own ways.”
In Closing: I have no desire for our churches to return to a legalistic relationship with Jesus Christ. It is my utmost desire for believers to earnestly seek to find the balance in all things. Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.
I sincerely believe that the apostle Paul went to great extents in his letter to the Romans to establish some basic principles for our lives. One is that we no longer do what is right in order to be justified. We do what is right because we are justified!
A second is that our freedom in Christ Jesus gives us the liberty to be slaves of righteousness, not slaves to sin. A third is that a man will be a slave to whatever masters him. If it is righteousness then we will inherit eternal life. If it is sin then we will inherit death.
Note: For references please re-read Romans, chapters 6-8.
These words of Paul were spoken to Christians, not unbelievers. Nowhere in the bible is there any reference made that the people of God have lost their free will. Nor does it ever state that if we walk away from our relationship with Christ that we were never saved.
The reason that I come down hard against unconditional eternal security is because it has eternal consequences. The inherent weaknesses associated with this theology include: No longer being able to attach eternal consequences to intentional, and or continued willful disobedience, falsely assuming that intentionally sinning Christians were never saved to begin with, establishing an effective loophole for believers to slip back into their former lifestyles, and allowing God’s people to be comfortable with their sin.
I believe that once we come to terms with the fact that, above all else, we serve a Holy God and that His love and grace are extended to us as long as we cultivate a trusting, faithful relationship with Him, we can enjoy the true freedom in Christ that the Father intended us to have.