Do you believe in the eternal security of the believer in Christ Jesus? Why or Why not?
First, let me kindly suggest that the question should be framed in terms of what the scripture teaches, not what a person or a group of persons believes. While what a person believes is importance, its importance derives from whether that belief comports with scripture. What a person believes is not the standard by which truth is determined. That standard is the scripture and the scripture alone.
That said, the scripture does not teach the eternal security of the believer in Jesus Christ, commonly referred to as “once saved, always saved.” The passages that demonstrate that this doctrine is not scriptural are too may to list and discuss. However, the following discussion of some of those passages should be sufficient for the true seeker after righteousness. The discussion is taken from The Spiritual Sword:
The doctrine that a child of God cannot so sin as to be eternally lost is a very popular doctrine with a large segment of the religious society. This segment rejects outright the doctrine of that is, that everyone will be saved. But they teach universal salvation when it comes down to those who ever are saved. Once he is saved he is forever saved, regardless of what he may do or not do. In the early part of the twentieth century, a man by the name of Sam Morris published a little booklet which began with these words: “We take the position that a Christian’s sins do not damn his soul. The way a Christian lives, what he says, his character, his conduct, or his attitude toward other people have nothing whatever to do with the salvation of his soul.”
We are not here discussing the security of the believer, for we would be in agreement that the true believer is secure so long as he remains a true believer. But it is possible for a true believer to become an unbeliever.
Several passages show that the child of God can fall. Galatians 5:4 says certain ones actually had fallen from grace: “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” These were some who had obeyed the gospel of Christ and then later began to go back under the law of Moses by demanding circumcision. Why would the inspired apostle say they had fallen from grace if it is not possible for a child of God to fall? Some would argue that the ones under consideration here were never really saved; they were merely “justified by the law” and not by Christ. The American Standard Version makes very clear what Paul was saying: “Ye are severed from Christ, ye who would be justified by the law; ye are fallen away from grace.” How could they be severed from Christ if they had never been joined to him? They now have forsaken him and desired to be justified by the law of Moses. We must teach what the Bible teaches.
Another passage which shows the child of God may fall is Hebrews 6:4-6: “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the 18 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.”
Under consideration in this passage are some who became Christians. Some have said this only describes the condition Christians would be in “if they shall fall away,“ but they say they cannot so fall. But there is no “if” in the original language. The language is plain that they became Christians, “and then fell away“ (ASV), and in their case it was impossible to renew them again to repentance. We must teach what the Bible teaches.
Notice another passage: ”For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire” [II Pet. 2:20-22].
Please notice that under consideration here are some who have “escaped the pollutions of the world,” and that “through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” But they are again “entangled therein, and overcome.” Such being the case, the inspired writer says, “the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.” Now I raise the question, how could such be, if the saved can never be lost? In the beginning they were lost, then they were saved, then they were in a worse condition than they were at the beginning. Unless one takes the position that it is worse to be saved than to be lost then it must be the case that a saved person can become lost again. You will notice the writer further says, “[I]t had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.” How could such be the case if those who are saved can never be lost again? Is it better to remain lost than to be eternally saved?
He adds, “It is happened unto them according to the true proverb.. ..” The condition he describes here was already the present condition of some at the time of the writing. We must teach what the Bible teaches.
Our Lord made a statement in the Sermon on the Mount that shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that a saved person may be lost. In Matthew 522 he said, “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Rata, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” Is it possible for a born again child of God to say to his brother “Thou fool”? If it is possible for him so to do, then it is possible for him to be in danger of hell fire. We must teach what the Bible teaches.
Read Hebrews 10:28-29: “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” Notice under consideration here is one who “was sanctified.” Furthermore he was sanctified by “the blood of the covenant.” But he now counts that blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing. Not only so, but he has “trodden underfoot” the Son of God. We must teach what the Bible teaches.
If the child of God cannot fall, then the tenth chapter of I Corinthians has no place in the New Testament, for it is made up of one warning after another against falling. A key verse in the chapter is verse 12 which says, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” Notice verses 5-11 which immediately precede that warning in verse 12: “But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” Now tell me what possible application those words could have for people who are unconditionally secure in their salvation and cannot possibly fall?
The doctrine of the unconditional security of the believer is one of the five main points of a system called Calvinism. The main points of Calvinism are as follows: (1) Hereditary Total Depravity. This is the doctrine that all babies are born sinners. (2) Unconditional Election. This is the doctrine that God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit, before the foundation of the world, unconditionally and arbitrarily elected certain individuals to be saved and certain ones to be lost, and that this number is fixed and cannot be changed. (3): Limited Atonement. This is the doctrine that Jesus died to atone for the sins only of those already elected to salvation. He did not die for all men according to this doctrine. (4) Irresistible Grace. This is the doctrine that those elected to salvation will be saved by an irresistible act of God’s grace. You can see why it is irresistible if they have already been unconditionally and arbitrarily elected to salvation.
The fifth point of the Calvinistic system is that the believer can never fall. This is essential to the theory. After all, how could one fall if he has already been unconditionally and arbitrarily elected to eternal salvation? There are those who hold to this fifth point of Calvinism who reject some of the other points. But in order to be consistent one needs to hold to all five erroneous points, for they all are dependent upon each other, and the truthfulness of each demands the truthfulness of the others. But, of course, all five of them are false.
Look at Paul’s statement in I Corinthians 9:27: “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” Paul, though an apostle, recognized the possibility he himself might be a castaway. Some have suggested Paul was speaking of the possibility that men might cast him away, but those who know anything about the apostle could never believe he was all that concerned about what men might do to him or think about him. He was saying he must practice self-control, or else be eternally lost.
To the church at Smyrna our Lord had John to write in Revelation 2:lO: “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Notice that they would not receive a crown of life unless they were faithful.
If it is impossible for the child of God to fall, the devil does not know it. Look at all the effort he puts forth to get children of God to become unfaithful. He must not know he is trying to accomplish the impossible, if indeed the child of God cannot fall.
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)