Eternal Security: NOSAS Versus OSAS (Part 2)
Please read Part 1 before tackling Part 2.
I have debated many people on the topic of eternal security among them atheists, Calvinists, Muslims, Afrikaner Israelites, Seventh Day Adventists, Sabbatarians, Charismatics and, believe it or not, even Christians.
None of them made such a profound impact on me than the one I had with a group of Christians who tried to convince a young man that he can lose his salvation. The young man actually believed that he had already lost his salvation and was so stricken with despondency, I thought he was on the verge of committing suicide.
During my conversation and attempts to convince him that a saint cannot lose his salvation, the other members of a well-known Bible forum attacked me head-on, accusing me of all kinds of things. I could sense that Satan was really doing his utmost to keep the young man in bondage to a lie so many Christians believe to be true.
By the grace of God, the dark cloud of misery and uncertainty lifted from the young man and he eventually knew for certain that he never lost his salvation. We must remember that our younger generation of brothers and sisters in the Lord are exposed to immense temptations and many of them do succumb to them.
The ensuing battle with Satan and his host can be so intense that the saint begins to contemplate suicide. “You call yourself a Christian. Look what you’ve done now. Look at you, you wretch. You’ve lost your salvation.” It is always a good thing to remind ourselves of these words:-
Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12)
The mere thought that you are standing is proof that you may have already fallen. If you have, don’t remain there. Get on your knees, enter into the holy of holies through the blood of Christ and ask forgiveness (Hebrews 10:19-23). Then, get on your feet and continue to follow Christ Jesus. Why is Satan so keen to sow doubt in the hearts and minds of God’s saints?
His main purpose is to get you to distrust Jesus Christ, your only Saviour. If he can get you to turn your eyes away from Jesus where He is seated at the right hand of God and turn them inwardly to yourself, he has gained a foothold that can cause havoc in your life.
A brother in Christ, whose acquaintance I was privileged to make on Facebook, asked me to critique an article he had written on free-will. A comparatively large part of his article included his thoughts on eternal security. At first I was a little reluctant but quickly realized that Louis was a man of gentle persuasion who could throw and receive punches with dignity.
Here now, is part 2.
The Bible never speaks of people being re-saved
LOUIS: The Bible never speaks of people being re-saved or being born a third time”
Whereas the Bible does not use these specific terms, it does use a number expressions which indicate a return to repeat the first steps of the Christian life after falling away. It speaks of reviving, renewing, of doing the first works again, of being healed from apostasy, and of being renewed again to repentance. (Read the following: Jeremiah 2:13, 17, 19; 3:12, 21-22; Ezekiel 3:20-21; 18:24-26; Psalm 73:27; Proverbs 15:10; John 15:1-6; Acts 11:23; 1 Corinthians 15:1-2; Hebrews 2:1-4; 3:7-13; 6:1-9; 10:26-31, 38-39; James 5:19-20; 2 Peter 2:20-22; Revelation 2:4-5).
TOM: I assume you are suggesting that when a saint loses his/her salvation they cannot be born-again a second or a third time, or they cannot be revived, renewed, or be healed from apostasy again or renewed to repentance again.
It is true that saints cannot be born-again a second or third time or even more times if it were possible for them to lose their salvation. It is just as impossible for a saint to lose his salvation as it is for Jesus to be crucified again. If it were possible for a saint to lose his salvation Jesus would have to be crucified again to save him again. That’s just impossible (Hebrews 6).
Let’s examine the verses you mentioned that supposedly discounts eternal security in more detail.
Whenever God speaks of my people in the Old Testament, He refers to his chosen people, the Jews. Calvinists in particular, by virtue of their belief in Replacement Theology, erroneously believe that the elect are God’s people. Throughout history the Jews have remained God’s people despite their rebellion and idolatry (Romans 11:28-29). God will never regret the promises He made to Israel, his people (Jeremiah 31:35-37).
We should remember that God had given the Jews his Law with the sole purpose of keeping them under the rod of a schoolmaster, so that they may live according to his precepts and demonstrate to the other nations that they were the only true God’s peculiar people, separated and set apart for Himself until Christ’s first advent. (Galatians 3:24, 25).
The keeping of his Law was therefore the criteria by which they were blessed. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that the Law replaced salvation. I’m not saying that. I am merely reiterating what Paul said, and that is that the Law was their schoolmaster to keep them in tact as a sovereign nation and not one who mingled with other nations and their idolatrous systems of worship.
If that were to happen they would have lost their unique identity. Whereas the Law was the schoolmaster to bring them unto Christ, the Levitical sacrificial system was where they met Him as their Saviour.
Unfortunately most of them sunk into a form of godliness which ultimately led them to also forsake God’s Laws. Throughout Jeremiah God rebukes Israel for breaking his Law and in doing so they disobeyed their schoolmaster which God devised to bring them to Christ.
If salvation was the main topic in Jeremiah 2:13, it would mean that the entire nation of Israel (“my people” as a whole) was saved at the time and that they again lost their salvation when they forsook the fountain of Living Waters. That seems to be a little too far-fetched.
No, in Jeremiah the forsaking of God’s Law was tantamount to the forsaking of the Lawgiver and his promises to them. Jeremiah 2:13 has nothing to do with salvation and the loss of it.
Jeremiah 2: 17, 19
These verses prove that even though Israel had forsaken God, He did not irrevocably set them aside as his peculiar people. Their own backsliding would teach them how bitter it is to forsake God.
Indeed, in all the instances when Israel forsook God it was the bitterness of their own sin of rebellion and backsliding that prompted them to return to the Lord. A return to the Lord can hardly be seen as a loss of salvation.
Jeremiah 3: 12-13, 21-22.
Ironically these verses prove beyond any doubt that loss of salvation is impossible. Had it been true, these verses would have contradicted Hebrews 6:
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” (Hebrews 6:4-6).
Moreover, if these verses could be used as proof texts for the loss of salvation, God would never have said: “Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, . . . Jeremiah 3:13a).
God would never encourage sinners to acknowledge and repent of their sins if the loss of salvation was an irreversible fact. Remember now, Israel’s sins included goss sins like idolatry (apostasy).
Imagine the God of the Bible pleading with a bunch of people who had lost their salvation because of outright idolatry and apostasy and couldn’t possibly be restored to a salvivic relationship with Him ever again. Isn’t that what Hebrews 6:4-6 teaches?
Ezekiel 3: 20-21; 18: 24-26.
Why would God command the Prophet Ezekiel to warn someone who had already gone astray, [allegedly] already lost his salvation and cannot possibly be saved again? What’s the point in warning someone who had already gone astray, lost his/her salvation and can never again reclaim or regain salvation? (Hebrews 6:4-6).
Ezekiel 18: 24-26.
To understand these verses we must go back to verses 1 to 3. God deals with a proverb that was well-known in pagan cultures and had also taken root in Israel.
They believed that their suffering was not due to their own sins but the sins of their forefathers in the time of their wandering in the wilderness. No way, says God, there is no such thing.
Everyone bears the consequences of his own sin and not the sins of others. The wages of sin which leads to death cannot be transferred to anyone else. Everyone pays for the consequences of his own sins which is death. These verses cannot be used to prove conditional salvation.
Psalm 73: 27.
The word “destroyed” does not necessarily mean to be cast in hell. Jonathan was killed (destroyed) on the battlefield with his father, Saul. Does that mean he was a saved man who lost his salvation on the war front? God destroyed (killed) most of the Israelites in the wilderness. Were they all lost?
Proverbs 15: 10.
“Correction” and “hatred of reproof” hardly describe the loss of salvation. Stern correction is often the only means to save sinners (unbelievers) from their foolhardy waywardness.
Sometimes God has to intervene very severely to bring lost sinners to their senses. The verse refers to sinners (unbelievers) and not brethren who have strayed from the truth.
The “error of his way” alludes to the previous chapter and verse 12: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12). The passage does not refer to a saint who has lost his/her salvation.
John 15: 1-6.
Jesus Christ sends his followers out into the world, first and foremost to bear much fruit and also that their fruit may remain (John 15: 16). The slightest defection or deflection from a child-like or simple faith in Jesus Christ breeds fruitlessness, worthlessness, and deserves to be devoured by fire – not the lake of fire but the consuming fire of God (Hebrews 12: 29).
There is no evidence whatsoever that John 15:6 is a reference to the burning lake of fire. God’s anger is often likened to the burning of fire (Isaiah 9: 18, 19; 10: 17; Hebrews 12:28-29).
What constitutes a deflection or defection from a child-like faith in Jesus Christ? Anything or anyone to which a believer turns his eye for assistance, either for his salvation or the perpetuation and final consummation of his salvation other than Jesus Christ, causes a saint to defect or deflect from the faith (fall away).
The Holy Spirit is extremely sensitive to a saints defection or deflection (deviation) from the faith and cannot and will not bring forth his fruit in them when they resort to the flesh.
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. (Galatians 5:16-18)
Of what “law” is he speaking?
But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. (Romans 7:23)
If you read the whole of Romans 7 it becomes evident that Paul was speaking of his own efforts to please God and eventually came to the conclusion that “in my flesh dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” (Romans 7:18).
If God says there is nothing good in the flesh why do Christians strive so hard to maintain and retain their salvation? Are they really going to try and retain their salvation with something that is “vrot” through and through? (The word “vrot” is the Afrikaans word for “rotten”).
The flesh profits nothing, least of all in its efforts to please God and maintain salvation. Nowhere in Scripture are Christians told to stop sinning. Whooooa! Now just wait a sec. That’s blasphemy, you may want to say.
Before you stone or clobber me, please bear with me. In 1 John 2:1 the apostle says: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not . . .“ (1 John 2:1). OK, here God clearly commands us not to sin.
Have you ever thought why He said so? Well, because it is written in the last few verses of the preceding chapter that those who claim to have no sin (managed to stop sinning or to sin lesser than others) are liars and even worse, they make God a liar.
The saints who pride themselves in their own efforts to stop their sinning (in order to maintain their salvation) must stop to look inwardly for something to help them to stop their sinning, which is yet another sin. Listen up, Paul says so in Romans 7:
If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (Romans 7:16-20)
Have you noticed Paul’s words “it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me?” Yippee!!! What a relief. God can’t hold me responsible for my sins because it is no longer I doing them. Please don’t be deceived. Paul says: It is no longer I doing the sin but the source (the old Adam nature).
Nonetheless, God has made ample provision to deal with this culprit as well. He has effectively put it to death in Christ on the cross when you died in and with Him. (Romans 6:1-10).
There are therefore two particular things God commands his saint to obey.
- He does not want his children to sin but when they do sin (none of his children can boast that they have stopped sinning), they should never think they can achieve higher spiritual ground by trying to sin less but rather humble themselves and call upon their Advocate and High Priest to forgive them.
- His will is not that his saints should try to stop their sinning but to appropriate by faith alone their already accomplished demise (death) to sin on the cross and to live in this reality (Romans 6:11)
Why is it so dangerous and why does it make a believer worthless and ineffective when he tries to maintain and retain his salvation. The author of Hebrews was a firm realist who took assaults against the faith of his readers very seriously because the defectors and deflectors from the faith often have a certain zeal and enthusiasm for God, but it is not enlightened and according to correct and vital knowledge of God, the result being that instead of helping lost sinners to find salvation in Jesus Christ they lead them astray.
Their “soil” which was supposed to drink in the blessed showers of God to bear much fruit has become a barren land of thorns and thistles that is worthless. Instead of being an instrument gushing forth the life-giving water of the Holy Spirit they only bring forth thorns and thistles, which is symbolic of the cursed earth.
The slightest defection or deflection from a child-like faith in Jesus Christ holds Christ up to contempt and shame and public disgrace. Why? Because it retracts from the complete efficacy of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross.
It amounts to saying something like . . . “Christ died for me on the cross of Calvary, but I need to do something to carry my continued sanctification to a successful conclusion.” As soon as a “but” or an “if” is added to the finished work of Christ on the cross, the believer has already deflected from the faith and is in danger of ceasing to bear fruit.
John 15 Verse 3 confirms that believers are already clean and they need to abide in Him in order to bear much fruit. We find the very same principle in John 13:10: “Jesus said to him, Anyone who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is clean all over. And you [My disciples] are clean, but not all of you.”
If the feet are not washed (sins are not confessed and forgiven) the saint cannot be a useful instrument in Christ’s service.
“For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltiness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.” (Mark 9:49-50).
“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, (worthless) but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” (Matthew 5:13).
The fire spoken of here cannot be the future punishment in the Lake of Fire, simply because it is associated with a sacrifice on the altar unto God.
“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.” (1 Peter 4:1).
Suffering in the flesh which is sometimes likened to going through fire (1 Peter 1:7), teaches the saint to die to the world and live for Christ. It has a purifying effect on the saint so that he may be fruitful in his service to the Lord.
It is in this light that we should understand John 15:1-6. It does not teach that a saint can lose his salvation. It teaches that the saint must abide in Him (in his death and resurrection) in order to bear much fruit. The saint who does not abide in him (reckons himself dead to sin and alive to God) cannot bear fruit. This is when the saint’s fruitlessness is dealt with through the fires of persecution and suffering.
What does it mean to abide in Him? “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.” (1 John 3:6). How does this tie in with 1 John 1:8: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
Dare we say that we do not sin and thereby dare say that we continuously abide in Him? Sinning and abiding in Him are incompatible two opposites. So, what’s the solution? There is only one solution and that is to continuously reckon that we have been buried with Him in his death and also that we’ve been raised with Him unto a new life for God. This alone produces good fruit and enables us to abide in Him. It simply means to abide in his death and in his resurrection life.
But why does verse 6 say: “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” (John 15:6).
Take careful note the Holy Spirit does not say “they shall be gathered and thrown in the fire” which, if that were so, it would mean that they are gathered and thrown in the fire sometime at a future date. “And men gather them” is not in the original and should simply read “are gathered.”
It says they are gathered and thrown in the fire (present tense) which indicates that the fire must be something else than the Lake of Fire. To understand this more clearly we must turn to 1 Corinthians 3:
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:11-15).
It is clear that the fire here is not the Lake of Fire but the purging fire of God’s holiness.
I fail to see how you can see this as the loss of a saint’s salvation. Cleave to him is another way to say “abide in Him.”
1 Corinthians 15:1-2.
Many false teachers tried to discredit Paul and his message. Some even said that he taught falsities, especially with regard to the resurrection of the dead. He proceeds to explain that if his message was false their faith would be in vain.
“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.” (1 Corinthians 15:10-11).
Through evil communications (verse 33) they began to doubt that there was a resurrection of the dead. They did not actually believe this to be true but they were beginning to doubt it. They were confused and being confused. They did not actually fall into apostasy but was brought into disarray by the false apostles who told them there was no resurrection of the dead. To nip this in the bud, Paul repeatedly used the expression “in vain” several times. If Christ was not raised from the dead:
- His preaching of the Gospel would have been in vain.
- Their faith would have been in vain.
- His labour among them would have been in vain.
Why do we constantly risk our lives, Paul continues in verses 30 to 32, and encounter danger of every kind when the Gospel we preach is said to be vain and of no value because the dead are allegedly not raised form the dead?
This refers particularly to Paul himself and the other apostles, who were constantly exposed to peril by land or by sea in the arduous work of making known the gospel. The argument here is plain.
It is, that such efforts would be vain, useless, foolish, unless there was to be a glorious resurrection. They had no other object in encountering these dangers than to make known the truths connected with that glorious future state; and if there were no such future state, it would be wise for them to avoid these dangers.
“It would not be supposed that we would encounter these perils constantly, unless we were sustained with the hope of the resurrection, and unless we had evidence which convinced our own minds that there would be such a resurrection.” So numerous were their dangers, that they might be said to occur every hour. This was particularly the case in the instance to which he refers in Ephesus, 1 Corinthians 15:32. This entire chapter disproves that a saint can lose his salvation.
Hebrews 2:1-4; 3:7-13; 6:1-9; 10:26-31, 38-39.
Paul continually reminded his brethren of the things he received directly from Jesus Christ. Reminiscence strengthens one’s faith. Therefore, every saint must take care that the things he heard do not slip from his mind. The most important thing to remind ourselves and others of, is the great salvation Jesus Christ wrought for all mankind on the cross of Calvary.
To evince Christ’s magnanimous salvation, he argues that the angels who are ministering spirits and who assist everyone who through faith are heirs of salvation, were not given the honour to sit at the right hand of God in the highest of heavens.
If they, the angels have such a marvellous job to minster to all the saints, how much more and far greater is the ministry of Christ, who for a short time was made lower than the angels so that He could accomplish our salvation, but now has ascended to heaven and sits at the right hand of God where He lives forever to intercede (plead) for the saints.
This Jesus, who by the power of his word upholds the entire cosmos He Himself created is able to uphold and secure the salvation of the saints. This Jesus, who is ” . . . a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted. (Hebrews 2:17-18).
Note that he does not say “succour (uphold) them from temptation but them that are tempted. Temptation is a fait accompli. If Jesus Himself was tempted who are we to think that we are free of temptation? (James 1:2-4)
Nonetheless, in all temptation we can be sure that He will uphold and succour his saints to the very end.
“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25).
The “we” in verse 3 does not refer to God’s saints in particular. Paul often used the third person personal pronoun to identify himself with the whole of mankind because the sacrifice Jesus brought on the cross is indeed for all mankind. It is not merely man’s sins that jeopardize his salvation.
The mere negligence of God’s salvation to embrace it as the only means of salvation is exceedingly dangerous. To neglect such a great salvation is like an anchorless ship drifting further and further away from the harbour. It is said that the older a person gets the more difficult it is to be saved.
“Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.” (Ecclesiastes 12:1).
Hebrew 3: 7-13.
The key verses in this chapter are verses 17-19:
“But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” (Hebrews 3:17-19).
The sin they committed was the sin of unbelief.
“For unto us [saved saint] was the gospel preached, as well as unto them [the Jews]: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” (Hebrews 4:2).
Hence these verses do not refer to saints who’ve lost their salvation but to unbelievers who neglect the only way of salvation through unbelief.
Hebrews 6: 1-9.
I deal with this passage in more detail later.
Hebrews 10: 26-31.
If it were impossible for a saint who had fallen into doctrinal error to repent of his/her apostasy and once again be restored to a right relationship with God, then we should throw out all the verses in the Old Testament where God said to Israel:
“Return, thou backsliding Israel, . . . and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 3:12-13).
Likewise, if it were impossible it would contradict Jesus words in Matthew 19:26: “With men this (salvation) is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” I deal with this passage in more detail later.
Hebrews 10: 38-39.
These verses confirm very strongly that a saint cannot lose his salvation “But we are NOT of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”
The apostle had no reservations whatsoever about the security of a saint’s eternal salvation. He was fully convinced that none would apostatize. He was merely describing a hypothetical case stating what would happen if it were possible for a sincere and true Christian to apostatize (fall away). (See Hebrews 6:4-10).
James 5: 19-20.
I deal with this passage in more detail later.
2 Peter 2: 20-22.
Peter refers to false prophets who had never been saved. Therefore it cannot be used to substantiate or prove conditional eternal security.
Revelation 2: 4-5.
Having left their first love does not mean that they had lost their salvation. Saints often lose their first love when they put other things first in their lives. Why do you think Jesus said:
“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple?” (Luke 14:26).
Demas is an example who was unable to follow Jesus (to be his disciple) when he abandoned Paul and sought the comforts of his own home and family. To be his disciple means to follow Him wherever He leads – through persecution, suffering and even death. Saints whose first love is something or someone else cannot follow Jesus in all of these things. Their minds are occupied with the things they prioritize as being first in their lives.
Scriptures on conditional security the opposite of eternal security.
LOUIS: Scriptures on conditional security the opposite of eternal security.
The important question here concerns conditions. All evangelicals will surely agree that there is an initial condition of repentance and faith in Christ which brings a person into the place of security. The Bible discusses the “security of the believer,” not of the unbeliever. But does a person have to maintain that condition of faith in order to be preserved securely in the Father’s hand?
John 10: 27-29
We rejoice in every Bible passage which proclaims assurance and security; and there are many of them. The crucial question is not whether the believer is secure or not, but whether that security is conditional or unconditional. The redeemed are kept by God’s power and thus secure in Christ, but it is a conditional security. Jude 1:1 says we are “kept by the power of God”; and the condition and our responsibility is, Jude 1:21: “keep yourselves in the love of God”.
TOM: “Kept by the power of God” is not conditioned on “keep yourself in the love of God.” Does that mean that any degree of failure to keep oneself in the love of God diminishes God’s power to keep his saints securely saved? I don’t think so.
If that were so the church in Ephesus could have been charged with not keeping themselves in the love of God and thereby also be charged with weakening the power of God to keep them securely in the faith.
“I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” (Revelation 2:2-4)
All true believers must continue in the faith
LOUIS: All true believers must continue in the faith: John 10: 27-28 says “My sheep hear my voice, and follow me: and I give them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand”. The verbs “hear” and “follow” are in the present tense – continuous/repeated action. Continual “hearing” and “following” are our responsibilities to experience this wonderful security. The sheep continue to hear and continue to follow. Those who do not continue to hear and follow are not sheep anymore. There is clearly an ongoing condition of hearing and following Jesus. In verse 26, Jesus said to certain of the Jews, “You believe not because you are not of my sheep.” Unbelievers are not sheep, for sheep are believers, hence the condition. It says nothing whatever about those who were once believers but who later return to unbelief, sinful living and apostasy.
TOM: To what degree must the saint of God continually hear and follow Jesus Christ in order to maintain and secure his salvation – 75%, 90% or 100%.? Any variance in a sliding scale between 75% or less and 99.999% cannot please God in the very least. God can only be satisfied with a 100% performance in hearing, obeying and following Him.
If I were to think, and I believe you too, that I had to live up to God’s standard 100% every single day of my life, I would become so despondent with my failures that apostasy would seem to be the only solution for my hopelessness. Who can endure such a burden?
Isn’t this the very reason why we have an Advocate and a High Priest seated at the right hand of God, whoever lives to intercede for us? Therefore, the maintenance and security of salvation is not incumbent upon our performance (hearing, obeying and following Jesus Christ) but solely upon our Advocate and High Priest.
It is precisely this knowledge and our faith in our Advocate and High Priest, who has been appointed heir and Master over all the affairs in his Father’s house that gives me the assurance that I will never lose my salvation. Does that give me any leeway to do and live as I please? Absolutely not.
It encourages and motivates me to daily discard the old nature and clothe myself with Jesus Christ.
“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” (Romans 13:14).
Why would He command us to make no provision for the flesh if He thought that we were capable of making no provision for the flesh every second of the day?
By the way, obeying the voice of Jesus and following Him has nothing to do with securing your eternal salvation. It has everything to do with learning and dying to self, the very thing you seem to suggest we should turn to when you say “Continual “hearing” and “following” are our responsibilities to experience this wonderful security.”
I would be very careful to use the word “experience” in the matter of eternal security. You said: “Continual ‘hearing’ and ‘following’ are our responsibilities to experience this wonderful security.” Feeling (experience) is a very volatile and fickle thing. Experience fluctuates from day to day.
I may feel or experience sweet fellowship with God one day and the next He may seem to be distant from me. Which one of these days must I use to determine the value of my “hearing” and “following” and above all to “experience this wonderful security?”
The obvious day to choose is of course the day when I experienced sweet fellowship with God but that may not be the day God intended. The day when I felt distant from Him may well be the day when He wanted to prove my faith. Remember Job?
“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” (Job 13:15)
The danger of your line of thought is that the saint turns the eyes inward to self to look for reasons substantiating the preservation of his/her eternal security. It, to say the least, is a very shaky way to solidify one’s eternal security.
We are advised not to look to self but [to look] “unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2).
As I said earlier, our eternal security is a Person who has no beginning and no end and sits at the right hand of God where He ever lives to intercede for us and to finalize our salvation to the uttermost.
“But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:24-25)
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6) (e