There are many churches today, are deceived with a false doctrine called ‘Eternal Security’. Many hold slightly a different view, surrounding this doctrine but, all who believe on Eternal Security agree that salvation is secure for eternity because they truly repented and saved to become a believer sometime in the past. There is also a liberal view of saying a prayer. But can this be true? We must ask ourselves to trust scripture and scripture alone and not on any man’s doctrine. Unless we properly discern the truth by interpreting scripture using scripture, we will also fall into these traps.
Eternal security is not a doctrine on it’s own. It has a supporting doctrine called “Faith Only” doctrine which teaches no works are required. This is primarily because, many do not properly discern the faith / works mentioned by Paul’s letters and in the book of James. To give you a brief understanding, when Paul mentions faith, he always refers to “living faith” and works to “works of the law”. However, when James mentions works, he refers to “righteous works” mentioned by Christ and differentiates living faith and dead faith. I had mentioned in detail in the other blog, Deception of Faith. When this false teaching of “faith only” is broken, the doctrine of eternal security automatically falls apart. But still there are other aspects of eternal security that must be broken using Scripture which we will explore more in this blog.
Most eternal security supporters don’t like to go into the detail of the text but just don’t want to even test their own doctrine using scripture. I will take all the points used by eternal security supporters and let’s analyze them with scripture.
1. By Faith Only – Rom 4
Eternal security supporters say, The scriptures show that eternal life, our justification, our salvation, is by faith (Rom 4). Faith, not works, justifies the ungodly (Romans 4:5). God imputes righteousness without works (Romans 4:6). Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).
The question we need to ask ourselves is,
- What do we consider as “works” and “faith” in book of Romans?
- How does it agree with the book of James?
The context of “faith” and “works” by Paul & James using the same Gen 15:6:
- (Rom 4:2-5) For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath [whereof] to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
- (Jas 2:21-24) Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
The book of Romans (actually, Paul in all his letters e.g, Rom chapters 2, 3; Gal 2:16; Phil 3:9) refers to “works” as “works of the law”. The faith mentioned by Paul is same as the “living faith” mentioned by James using the same above Abraham example mentioned by both authors. I had explained this in a more detailed way in another blog at Deception in Faith
2. Saved Through Faith – Eph 2:8,9
Eternal security supporters say, A person can be saved (present tense) through faith, not of works, it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
We need to look into the text carefully and with context. They ignore overlook the next verse esp., verse 10 which says “in Christ”.
(Eph 2:10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
The next verse gives the reason for Ephesians 2:8, 9. It clearly states that, this work by God on us (whatever mentioned in verses 8 & 9) is created “in Christ Jesus” for “good works”. It is not directly to us.
3. Eternal life mentioned as present tense – 1 Joh 5:13
Eternal security supporters say, A person can be given (ie gift) eternal life by God, and it can be something they have (present tense) (1 John 5:11, 12). A person can know that they have (present tense) eternal life (1 John 5:13).
We need to actually look into scriptures to understand the truth. The statements does not reflect the actual scripture truth. They ignored or overlooked the rest which explains in great detail.
(1John 5:11-12) And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
The verse actually says, that this eternal life is “in Christ”. It even goes further to explain how eternal life is given to any person by saying, whoever has Christ, have eternal life and whoever don’t have Christ don’t have eternal life.
4. Believes will have Eternal Life – Joh 6:47
Eternal security supporters say, He that believes on Jesus Christ has (present tense) eternal life (John 6:47).
What does Christ refers to “believes” ?
(John 3:18-21) He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
The present tense of eternal security is only because of Christ who dwells inside the believer, not on it’s own.
(John 14:23) Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
5. Some will have no works to show but faith only in judgment – 1 Cor 3:15
Eternal security supporters say, At the judgment of believers some people will have no works to show – to be rewarded for -yet they will still be saved, yet so as by fire (1 Cor 3:15).
Paul refers to the person who will be saved “only” if the person have the foundation as Christ.
(1Cor 3:11) For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
How can someone say there is not work done to have foundation as Christ. As mentioned earlier, Paul refers to works as works of the law, which is what is referred as works in 1 Cor 3:15.
Christ Himself said a parable about foundations on His Word.
(Luke 6:47-48)”Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: “He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.
6. By His mercy and not by our works of righteousness – Tit 3:5
Eternal security supporters say, God saves us according to His mercy, not by works of righteousness which we have done (Titus 3:5).
Mercy is not directly given to us but only through Christ after being justified by His grace. If anyone rejects Christ anytime along the way, he will also cease to receive mercy because mercy is given only “through Christ”. If there is no Christ in him, how can he receive mercy? How can someone who you consider as once saved, reject Christ and still be eternally secure?
(Titus 3:4-7) But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
7. Eternal life is a gift. He will not take back – Rom 6:23
Eternal security supporters say, The gift of God is eternal life (Romans 6:23).
They miss the previous verse which clearly states that who will receive everlasting life. The verse which they mention also clearly states that this gift of eternal life is given through Jesus Christ. As I already mentioned, if someone rejects Christ anytime along the way, he will also not receive eternal life.
(Rom 6:22-23) But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
8. His sheep will never perish – Joh 10:29
Eternal security supporters say, Of the saved, ie they who are His sheep, they will hear the Shepherd, know His voice, and follow Him, and the Lord promises that they shall never perish (John 10:29).
It is a promise given to those who hear His voice and follow Him. How are they already saved, when it is still a promise? If someone started to follow Him, but later didn’t, can he still be saved in the end?
9. Salvation mentioned as present tense
Eternal security supporters say, Salvation is also mentioned in scripture as past as well as present tense.
(1Pet 1:5) Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
(1Thess 5:8) But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and [as] a helmet the hope of salvation.
(1Pet 1:9) receiving the end of your faith — the salvation of [your] souls.
(Heb 9:28) so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
All the above verses clearly mention that salvation will be revealed only during Christ’s second coming. Why are we supposed to have “hope” of salvation as helmet if anyone is already having the salvation? The present possession of salvation is only when we have Christ in us and it is through faith. If faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen according to Heb 11:1, how is that what we hoped is already received? It is the absolute surety that God who cannot lie had given us eternal life and salvation in Jesus Christ. No one had ever received salvation except it is all present in Christ. If we have Christ, we have salvation because it is in Him and if we reject Him, we lose it.
9. True converts will never reject Christ
Eternal security supporters say, True faithful converts will never reject Christ. If they reject, they were never truly saved.
Let us see what the scripture say.
(1Tim 4:1) Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
(Heb 10:38-39) Now the just shall live by faith: but if [any man] draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
How can someone depart from faith if they had not already in faith? Drawing back from what? Scripture says yes, we can walk away.
10. Our righteousness are filthy rags – Isa 64:6
Eternal security supporters say, ALL our righteousnesses are as filthy rags based on Isaiah 64:6
Unless we properly differentiate “works of the law which is our righteousness” (which are not required), from the “righteous works which is His righteousness” (which is required for our salvation), we will not be able to discern this works vs faith differences and we might easily fall into faith only trap without having His righteousness. It is true our righteousness are filthy rags – which is why Christ had come to reveal His righteousness and teach us what He expects. How long are they going to say that our righteousness are filthy rags and not ready to follow His sermon on mount to seek and follow His righteousness?
As in Phil 3:9, our righteousness is of the law and we are to have the righteousness from God by faith in Christ.
- Do not murder is our righteousness but don’t even be angry is His righteousness. If not danger of hell fire.
- Do not commit adultery is our righteousness but don’t even lust at our heart is His righteousness. If not hell fire.
- A tooth for tooth is our righteousness but turning the other cheek to get smite is His righteousness.
- Loving our neighbor and hating the enemy is our righteousness but loving our enemy is His righteousness.
Can we have salvation and end up in hell fire? The Words of Christ speaks plainly, we will be in danger of hell fire even if we are angry with brother and will end up in hell fire for adultery in heart.
11. Salvation is a work of God, not based on any man’s work
Eternal security supporters say, Salvation is a work of God and not based on any man’s work.
Let us see what the scripture teaches.
(Hebrews 5:9) And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,
(1John 2:1-3)My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.
Scripture clearly teaches that salvation is not for all. It is only for those who obey Him. It even teaches that Christ, who is our advocate is only for people who keep His commandments.
When we interpret Scripture, we need to make sure, not one scripture verse speaks against or contradicts our interpretation. All promises, blessings, inheritance, salvation, eternal life are all present in Christ. If we have Christ, we inherit everything. Eternal security not only removes Christ from Salvation (as He is no longer required afterwards for those that are already saved) but also gives a false comfort zone for being in sin and deceiving themselves as saved for eternity.
Hence, don’t deceive yourself, think that just believing in Him will save you. Just believing without righteous works or the fruits, you will end up having dead faith. Scripture clearly states, dead faith can never save you.
Don’t be deceived by this false doctrine of Eternal security.