the Eternal Security of the Believer
Jun 20, 2021 // By:Dave // No Comment
debated since 1rst century christianity (see Galations)
- similar issue of translation as we see with the creation/evolution debate
- appears to be evidence for each side of the debate
- the mistranslated version of the evidence can only explain a little
- the well translated version of the evidence can explain most or all of it
- appears to be evidence for each side of the debate
in the eternal security debate
- scripture evidence
- observable evidence (what do we see people claiming to be saved actually doing/behaving)
the danger is when we let the observable evidence drive our interpretation of the scriptural evidence
(rather than letting scripture speak to the issue directly and then driving our interpretation of the observable evidence)
BENEFITS OF ETERNAL SECURITY
In addition to eternal assurance being an essential component to the Christian faith, it is also vital for a Christian’s daily walk in faith.
Stability in life: Believers who have an assurance of their salvation will remain stable during difficult times, they will live with the confidence that God does not change, and therefore, His grace is sufficient in all circumstances and situation.
An effective prayer life: Believers with an assurance of their salvation will have an effective prayer life, knowing that they have communion with God and can approach God with their requests.
Authority over Satan: When believers are confident that they are “Hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3), they have the power to resist Satan and to stand firm under satanic attacks.
Assurance of a secure relationship with God will enable believers to endure the struggles of living in a fallen world
much of the debate could be alleviated by a proper understanding of the phrase “peace with God”
this is not a peaceful easy feeling or warm fuzzy towards God.
in fact, it has very little to do with our feelings about anything, or even our thoughts or attitudes about anything including God. (we humans have a wonderful tendency to twist everything into some self-centered perspective) and we do the same thing with peace …
we make it to be our desire to be peaceful, or at peace in our little self centered solar system with us in the middle
Jesus warns his disciples not to imagine that his coming means they will be freed from external pressures and strife “on earth” (Mt 10:34; Lk 12:51). Instead, Jesus focuses on peace despite suffering.
John most clearly develops this theme. He reports Jesus’ words of peace:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (Jn 14:27).
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33).
Jesus provides an inner peace that lets the believer face danger and suffering without fear or a trembling heart. Through Jesus, an inner peace is possible, no matter how turbulent the external situation may be.
the truth is that God
- was at war with us … as unbelievers
- we are at war with him (Rom 8:7-8)
- He was at war with us Eph 2:2-3, Rom 1:18-19
- has now declared peace with us … as His children
- and gives us complete access to Him because of that peace
how this peace is achieved is the key to understanding eternal security
Rom. 4:24 but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, to us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead,
25 He who was delivered over because of our wrongdoings, and was raised because of our justification.
5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2 through whom we also have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we celebrate in hope of the glory of God.
peace εἰρήνη, eirēnē, n. [root of: 1644, 1646, 1647, 1648]. peace, harmony, tranquility; safety, welfare, health; often with an emphasis on lack of strife or reconciliation in a relation.
The Greek word eirene originally referred to that orderly, prosperous life that is possible when there is no war.
Only much later did philosophers begin to apply the concept to an inner, personal peace.
The NT use of eirene (90 occurrences) does not reflect the new cultural meaning of the Greeks. Instead, “peace” in the NT is defined and enriched by the OT’s salom. In every theologically significant use, “peace” is
- rooted in one’s relationship with God
- testifies to the restoration of this relationship
- Once-shattered lives are again made whole (Isaiah 61)
- we become in Christ what God originally intended us to be.
declaration of peace is based upon the finished work of Jesus Christ at the cross (John 19:30)
Our eternal security as believers is completely in that work
Our salvation is proof of God’s declaration of peace with each and every person who chooses to rest and rely in the work of Christ.
the question is therefore: “is there anything a believer can do that will cause God to redact His declaration of peace?”
Jude 24 Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless with great joy,
Jude 25 to the only bGod our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority before all time and now and forever. Amen.
John 3:15 so that everyone who 1believes will ahave eternal life in Him.
John 3:16 For God so aloved the world, that He bgave His conly Son, so that everyone who dbelieves in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.
John 10:27 My sheep alisten to My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;
John 10:28 and I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.
John 10:29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
John 10:30 I and the Father are one.
Eph. 4:30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Rom. 8:38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
Rom. 8:39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
For by grace you have been saved, not of yourselves it is a gift of God, not of works so that no one may boast
(if our works did not earn our salvation, then our works cannot “un-earn” our salvation
See Paul’s epistle to the Galatians
scriptures used as objections
Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit …The unforgivable sin
31 Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
John 15:26 explains this
“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, which PROCEEDETH FROM THE FATHER, he shall testify of me:”
The Holy Spirit testifies of Jesus Christ
calling the Holy Spirit a liar is to reject Jesus Christ
Mark 3:28-30 “Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.”
1 John 2:19
They went out from us because they were never of us
- going out from us does not “make” someone “not of us”
- it reveals they were NEVER “of us”
(name blotted out of book of life means one can have their salvation taken away)
- greek does not support the latin vulgate typo (where “limbe” tree was changed to “libre” book)
- person is denied access to tree of life (never saved)
Matt 25 1-13
(“Parable of the ten virgins in which the five that ran out of oil are those who lost their salvation”)
- point of parable is to be ready since the time of the master’s return is not known
- verses 11-12 indicate the master telling the five “I do not know you”
- echoing the same idea of Matt 7: 21-23 “not all who say “Lord” shall enter because He does not know them (not because He forgot them)
Judas’ betrayal of the Lord
Luke 22:3 Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve
(and he betrayed the Lord for 30 pieces of silver)
a disciple of Jesus betraying the Lord is used to prove that a believer can lose their salvation.
The only clue Luke gives us is that Judas had a profit motive. For his part in this conspiracy, the chief priests “agreed to give him money” (Luke 22:5).
Matthew tells us that Judas was the one who brought up the whole subject of compensation: “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” Judas asked (Matt. 26:15). “They paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him” (Matt. 26:15–16). Later, when Judas felt remorse for what he had done, the first thing he did was to give the money back (Matt. 27:3–5).
All of this fits in with what we learn about Judas earlier in the Gospels. It was Judas, remember, who objected when Mary of Bethany anointed the feet of Jesus with a whole pound of sweet perfume. “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” he complained (John 12:5). John informs us that Judas did not say this “because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it” (John 12:6).
More than anything else, it was the love of money that tempted Judas to his betrayal. Jesus had warned Judas and the other disciples about this when he taught the parable of the rich fool: “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness” (Luke 12:15)
(Judas was not sealed with the Holy Spirit, nor born again yet… these things happen after His resurrection in John 20:22 when he breathed on them and said “receive”)
1 Samuel 16:14
“Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD terrorized him.”
(taken as proof that the Father can remove the Spirit from a believer)
- this is OT covenant (Saul was not sealed with the Spirit as we are in Eph 1:13-14 Phil 1:6
- the seal of the Spirit is Covenant of Grace to provoke the jews to jealousy Rom 10:19-20
“For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”
(father not forgiving someone is taken as removal of salvation)
- The ability to forgive is a sign of a true believer (Ephesians 4:32; John 2:10-11). (meaning unforgiveness is sign of not being a true believer.
“I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
(taken to prove that believers can be cast out)
- The “sons of the kingdom” here are the Jews in the nation Israel. One of the key teachings of the Gospels is the rejection of Jesus Christ by His own people, the Jews. Time and again Christ warns and rebukes the Jews and their leaders, but most of them reject him. The first half of Matthew, in particular, documents this fearful situation.
“You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.”
(taken as “those who do not endure to the end lose their salvation)
- This verse as well as Matthew 24:13 re-affirms the perseverance of Christians during tribulation (also see Romans 8:35). Note also that the day’s are shortened for the elect’s sake (Matthew 24:22) and that it is not even possible to deceive the elect (Matthew 24:24).
“But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.”
(taken to mean denying Christ will cost one their salvation)
- Certainly those who do not confess Jesus as Lord are not saved since it is proof of our salvation (Romans 10:9).
“Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap.”
(taken to mean a believer can be “caught off guard” and lose their salvation if the Lord returned while they were distracted)
- The context here is the Great Tribulation and the coming of Christ. Some would say that this passage teaches that we must prove ourselves in order to be worthy to escape the judgments to come. But such an interpretation contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture on the matter of personal salvation. It is therefore an impossible interpretation. Those who are overtaken by the Day of the Lord are contrasted repeatedly with the believers, who are not destined to wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:1-10).
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.”
(taken to mean that thrown away branches are those who lost their salvation)
- This passage teaches that the evidence of true faith in Christ is the bearing fruit for His glory. The vine gives the life to the branches. If the branch bears no fruit, then it is not given “life” by the vine. It shows that that branch wasn’t given “life”. It is Jesus who gives the life that bears fruit. If one is not given life, he will not bear fruit. Many will experience God’s grace, but not all will experience His saving grace.
“Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.”
Whether Simon was saved or not is questionable, regardless the rebuke Peter gave was appropriate to make sure the man was saved.”
“For if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
Paul simple warns the church that believers are not after the flesh but in the Spirit (verses 8-9). Who we serve, sin or God, reveals whether we have been regenerated or not (Romans 6).
“But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that t is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, ÇBranches were broken off so that I might be grafted in. Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either.”
This whole chapter talks, in a general sense, about the Jewish people losing their position as God’s chosen people because of unbelief, and God opening salvation up to the Gentiles (although it actually always was open to them). This passage does not refer to individuals falling away, but the entire Jewish people. Today God has temporarily turned away from the Jews and is calling a people for His name from among the Gentile nations. The day will come when God will again turn to the Jewish nation to fulfill His promises to them. Verses 24-26 make this plain. Paul is speaking in a general sense, not in a personal sense. A careful reading of this chapter illustrates this.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.”
These passages do not teach that a believer can lose his salvation, unless salvation is by works. These two passages list several sins and then says at the end that those who do such sins will not inherit the kingdom of God. Most scholars agree that Paul is describing someone who has not escaped from the bondage of sin through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:10, 14; 2 Peter 1:4). The whole epistle to the Galatians is an apologetic against works-based salvation and repeatedly states that the law can in no way justify us before God (Galatians 2:16, 3:3, 5:4). Note especially in Galatians 3:3, which asks, “If after starting in the Spirit, are we made perfect through the flesh?” Salvation through works is complete and utter heresy and the apostle says let those be accursed who would pervert the gospel to preach another Galatians 1:6-9. They in effect have made Christ dead in vain, according Galatians 2:21. This applies specifically to the legalist, since faith plus works happened to be the same false doctrine being preached at Galatia.
1 Corinthians 15:1-2
“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.”
This passage discusses the resurrection and the condemnation of those who do not hold to this truth. Paul uses the chapter to show why Christ’s resurrection was essential for our salvation and simply questions the salvation of those who do not believe in it (verse 2). This is brought out more clearly in verse 17 where Paul says, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.” Believing in the resurrection is essential for our salvation as Romans 10:9 indicates.
“You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”
Note that this verse does not say they had fallen out of grace, but from grace. To lose one’s salvation, one would have to move out of grace, which is God’s unmerited favor directed towards people. Those being spoken here have returned to the law for their justification. The phrase “fallen from grace” refers to those who tried to mix faith and works. Grace simply is not grace if works is mixed in with it (Romans 11:6). They were never justified because they failed to understand what grace means and instead trusted in the deeds of the law for their salvation. This being the case, they were still under the curse of the law (Galatians 3:10). Once God has established a relationship with a person that is based on His grace, that person cannot undo it, for he did nothing to merit it in the first place.
Another view way of looking at this text is this. To fall from grace is to fall from favor. While some extend this fall from favor to loss of salvation, it is not at all necessary from the context. The severing is simply the disruption of fellowship and the nullifying of the power of Christ in their lives. To return to the law is to return to a system of righteous requirements with no power to meet them. When Paul says that “Christ shall profit you nothing” he is again speaking not of salvation, but of the assistance we receive when we rely on Him. This may be a variation on the theme of walking after the Spirit vs. walking after the flesh. To return to works is to rely on the flesh which is doomed to failure, since there is no way to please God when we operate in the flesh.
Regardless of which of the two views above one considers, the attempt to get loss of salvation from this passage is to force a meaning on it that contradicts the very words of Jesus regarding the security of those whom God has given to Him (John 6:39). It also makes Paul contradict his own inspired declaration that nothing can separate us from the love of God. (Romans 8:37-39)
1 Timothy 5:15
“For some have already turned aside to follow Satan.”
(taken to prove that believers can walk away from the call of God)
- This verse should give stern warning to women to root their salvation in Christ rather than men. The passage seems to say that certain women were marrying men to make them the focus of their life instead of Christ.
2 Timothy 2:12
“If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us.”
(taken to mean a believer can deny Christ and lose salvation)
- The issue is rejecting Christ, not committing certain sins. Paul is probably using “we” in the widest sense of the word — all people. Those who believe in Jesus receive certain benefits. Those who deny him will be denied by him, as Jesus warned in Luke 12:8-9 (to a mixed audience).
“For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end. (taken to mean what a person must do to remain in the House and in Christ)
- if the recipients return to Judaism as they are considering, it will demonstrate they were never really in the House and in Christ to begin with. So a mark of one who has been genuinely saved is perseverance to the end (1 John 2:19).
“For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.”
In order to have a proper understanding of the teaching of Hebrews 6:4-6, it is necessary to study the context. In Hebrews 5:10, the Lord Jesus is referred to as “a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.” Continuing on in verses 11-14 it says, “Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”
Then comes the exhortation of the opening verse of the sixth chapter, in which the writer calls upon his Hebrew brethren, who have not yet received Christ although they have come to a knowledge of Him, to declare themselves openly for Christ. The Old Testament was their elementary school, their kindergarten, the place of first things or principles. The time had now come for them to graduate. The law was their schoolmaster to lead them to Christ that they might be justified by faith (Galatians 3:24). He writes now to them saying, “Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity [the same Greek word as is in the proceeding verse is translated “full age”], not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.” (Hebrews 6:1-2) All these are Old Testament doctrines. The apostle is exhorting the Hebrews to move forward to Christ, to whom all these doctrines pointed. “And this we will do, if God permits. For in the case of those who have once been enlightened [as the Hebrews had been] and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of [literally, companions, those who go along with] the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God [this had come to them through the ages by the prophets] and the powers of the age to come [these were the miracles they had witnessed], and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.” (Hebrews 6:3-6)
The Hebrew recipients of this letter were probably convicted of the truth of the gospel message without actually fully accepting it. So in that case they would not be genuine believers. The writer of Hebrew’s warning in this passage is similar to that of Hebrews 4:11. Hypocrites among the recipients of the gospel have heard the truth repeatedly without an appropriate response. If they proceeded in their plans to return to Judaism, it would be “impossible” for them to genuinely repent since their hearts would have become hardened.
There is nothing in this passage which speaks of a born-again person losing his salvation. This passage teaches there is no salvation for anyone unless they are found under the shed blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. If this passage was teaching that a true believer could loose his salvation, then it also would be teaching that once someone has been saved, then lost, he cannot be re-saved. This would counter the idea some Christians hold that one could fall away, and repent later and return to Christ to be saved.
Those who “fall away” are like the people the apostle John spoke about in 1 John 2:19:
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”
One can come to the presence of God in apparent repentance without ever having a genuine fellowship with Him. (Luke 8:13, 13:27) Even Pharaoh repented for a season. But his returning to rebellion against God showed that his repentance was not genuine. (Exodus 9:27, 10:16-17) But of those who truly come to Christ in faith and are born again, Peter says:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3-5)
“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10)
Finally, the author of Hebrews indicates the impossibilty of true believers losing their salvation. Hebrews 6:9 says, “But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way.” One of the “things that accompany salvation” is perseverance (Romans 15:5).
“For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES.”
(mere knowledge of truth is taken to mean salvation)
- The language of this paragraph is powerful (it continues through verse 31). But remember, this epistle is being written to people who have been involved in a Christian community but who are now thinking about returning to Judaism. During this time, they would have heard and made a profession of faith in the gospel. This could qualify as having “receiving a knowledge of the truth.” But the important question is, “Was this a genuine profession?” The author is sternly warning them of the disastrous results if it was not (2 Corinthians 13:5).
“My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”
(straying from the truth taken to mean lost their salvation)
- When this passage is compared with 1 Corinthians 11:30, “death” here can be understood to refer to physical death. But another view is that those who stray from the truth are unregenerate persons, in spite of their profession of faith (1 John 2:19), and the believer who helps such people come to a saving faith in Christ save them from eternal death. Either way, this passage does not teach that a regenerate person can be lost.
2 Peter 2:20-22
“For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, ‘A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT,’ and, ‘A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.’”
- Though this passage is often used to prove that eternal security is not true, it actually says nothing about losing ones salvation. The context is false teachers who promote damnable heresies and deny the Lord (verse 1). It is not saved men who are the focus on this passage, but hypocrites and deceivers. The fact that “the last state has become worse for them than the first” and “it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness” does not imply that they were saved and now are lost. They were dogs and pigs who were unchanged (verse 22). The fact that they return to their wickedness proves that they were never regenerate.
- This passage describes people who have heard about Jesus and recognize that His way is the way to go. But notice that they were never actually saved. They heard the gospel, recognized it as truth, but it never took hold in their life. They turn over a new leaf, but they never receive a new life. They become entangled in the world. The word entangled literally means to weave something into a pattern. Their way of life is woven into the pattern of the world. Even though they know the truth, they do not allow the truth to change them. They are in bondage to sin, and while exposure to the gospel may bring them an occasional sweet glimpse of truth, as soon as church is over they immediately head back into the morass of sin. They never live out what they know to be true. They live with failures and regrets, saddened by the fact that they will never really turn to Christ. That’s why Peter says it would have been better for them if they had never heard the gospel.
1 John 5:16
“If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this.”
- Here John does not say that the sin here leads to loss of salvation. And this would be a reasonable view since any sin leads to eternal death (Romans 6:23). John is referring to physical death rather than spiritual death.
“He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”
- Christ promises that a truly saved person will not be erased out of the book of life. Those who overcome are simply those who are truly born again and who therefore follow Jesus Christ because they have true faith (John 10:27; Hebrews 6:9; Revelation 12:11). To say that this verse teaches that a believer can be blotted out of the book of life if he does not maintain a certain level of obedience is to commit two serious errors. First, such an interpretation is contrary to the method of salvation, which is by grace through faith apart from works (Ephesians 2:8-10; Romans 3:24, 4:1-8, 11:6; Titus 3:5-7). Second, such an interpretation is contrary to the promise of salvation. John 3:16 and hundreds of other verses promise “that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
“Then He said to me, ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.’”
- This passage contrasts the saved with the lost. The saved are overcomers (verse 7). The lost continue in their sin (verse 8). A twin doctrine to that of eternal security is the perseverance of the saints. The Bible plainly teaches that those who are truly born again will evidence their salvation and will continue on with the Lord (John 10:27-28; 1 Corinthians 15:1-2; Colossians 1:21-23; Hebrews 6:4-9, 10:38; 1 John 3:3). The one who permanently falls away demonstrates that he did not belong to the Lord in the first place (Hebrews 12:5-8; 1 John 2:19). This passage is not talking about an act of sin but a way of life of sin. If this is referring to an act of sin, then no one can be saved, since even one sin can condemn someone to hell. It is clear from other passages that it is possible for a Christian to commit any act of sin, including idolatry and adultery (1 John 1:8-10). This is why believers are often warned not to commit these evils (1 Corinthians 6:18, 10:6, 14; 1 John 5:21).