Special Report: Eternal Security and the Oldest Lie in The Book
Vol: 119 Issue: 24 Wednesday, August 24, 2011
I received an email recently in which the writer, arguing against the doctrine of eternal security, noted that some Scriptures seem to support it and others seem to contradict it.
He lamented that nobody can know for sure, and therefore, nobody should teach eternal security as a doctrine.
Any Scripture taken out of context can be made to prove anything. Within various chapters and verses, one finds specific contexts.
But then there is the whole body of Scripture, which, when taken in its entire context, DOES reveal the truth. The central theme of Scripture centers around three main points;
1) Man is a sinner constitutionally incapable of keeping the law.
2) Nobody is qualified to enter into the Presence of God based on his own merits and,
3) For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Remove any of those key points from the equation and the theme of salvation makes no sense. If point 1 were not true, then it would negate point 2, which would then eliminate the necessity for point 3. Do you see it?
If eternal security is a false doctrine, that means we each play a role, through our works, (either sinful or righteous) in maintaining our salvation.
In that case, maintaining one’s salvation would require working at it by maintaining our personal righteousness.
But the Scripture says that “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6)
Remember, our native unrighteousness is the central theme of Scripture — and it demands the necessity of a Savior.
Therefore, if maintaining one’s personal righteousness is a condition of salvation, then point 1 is not true, point 2 is partially untrue and point 3 is unnecessary. That would defy the central theme and context of the revealed Word.
In witnessing to the lost, one generalizes the whole context of Scripture, telling the sinner;
“You are lost, and cannot stand before a Righteous Judge clothed in your own righteousness. But Jesus has paid the penalty for your sins at the Cross. Repent (change your mind) and trust in His shed Blood as full payment for your sins.”
Then one turns to Scripture to lead the sinner down what is often referred to as ‘Romans Road’.
Is that not the central theme of Scripture as generally presented by pretty much EVERYBODY, regardless of their position on eternal security?
Is that not the altar call that YOU responded to?
One can dig and dig and find Scriptures that appear to say the opposite — yet those who focus on those seemingly contradictory Scriptures find no conflict in giving the same synopsis of salvation to a lost sinner that I just gave.
It isn’t until AFTER someone surrenders to Christ that they begin to doubt, and Satan is more than able to direct the doubters to this Scripture, or that, until the free gift of salvation morphs into a joint effort between the Lord and the believer.
Pretty soon, the believer starts to put sins into various categories, according to his own human understanding.
But the Scriptures are abundantly clear that ALL sin is equally sinful in God’s view, and ONLY that view is in harmony with the central context of Scripture as summarized as points 1, 2, and 3.
In the Garden of Eden, the serpent deceived Eve by promising her that, in disobeying God, three things would happen.
“For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5)
Let’s break it down into its component elements.
1) “Your eyes shall be opened.”
The serpent begins by hinting that God is deliberately withholding beneficial information from them. The argument that some Scriptures seem to require salvation by faith plus works, while others seem to support eternal security stems from that seminal deception — that God’s Word is ambiguous when examined closely.
2) “Ye shall be as gods.”
It goes against the grain of human pride to believe that the only role we play in our own salvation is to accept a free gift of unearned pardon. Most human religions — and many Christian denominations — insist that mankind play some role in his redemption.
In this view, the sacrifice of the Cross is not enough — it is just a kick-start that gets us going. We must then perform at a certain level or that sacrifice is negated by our own failed efforts.
3) “Knowing good from evil.”
This goes back to the belief that we humans can know which sins are sufficient to disqualify us from heaven and which ones God will let slide because they weren’t as evil — which is the ONLY rationale for rejecting the doctrine of eternal security.
(Unless one is prepared to accept as fact that there are saved believers who never sin again after being saved. I’ve never met one, personally. But let’s examine the possibility that I missed him.)
Ever get angry after being saved? Ever say something hurtful? Ever roll through a stop sign? (Did you hunt down a cop to tell him you deserve a ticket?) Ever eat something you knew was unhealthy? Ever think something bad about somebody at church? Ever get mad at your parents? Ever think, ‘you idiot!’ when somebody cuts you off?
(“. . . whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” — Matthew 5:22)
“Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. . . ” (Romans 2:1)
Humans know right from wrong because right and wrong are relative to actions. One can do right, or one can do wrong. Saving a person from being hit by a streetcar is a right thing. Pushing him in front of one is wrong — one might even say, ‘evil’.
But good and evil are outcomes — and the outcome of our actions is known only to God. Allow me to illustrate.
You are in Vienna, Austria, and the year is 1905. A man is painting a landscape portrait of downtown Vienna and doesn’t realize he has stepped back into the path of a street car. You see him, and push him to safety.
You did the right thing, right? It was a ‘good’ thing that you did, and not ‘evil’, right?
If you knew what the outcome of your good deed in 1905 would be — that is, if you knew at the time that you had just saved the life of Adolph Hitler and knew what he would become — did doing ‘the right thing’ result in a ‘good’, or ‘evil’ outcome?
The first lie of the Garden of Evil was that man should trust in himself and on his own understanding. The Scriptures teach the precise opposite.
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)
The doctrine of eternal security flies in the face of that first lie by removing man from the equation altogether. Eternal security says that human righteousness is as ‘filthy rags’ before the Lord, therefore, Jesus paid the FULL penalty for sin.
It teaches that man plays no greater role in his salvation than that of accepting the gift of Pardon offered him by repenting (which means to change one’s mind) about his sin and trusting in the shed Blood of Christ as a completed work.
The Scriptures teach us we can be;
“confident of this very thing, that He which hath BEGUN a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phillipians 1:6)
One doctrine, that of salvation plus works, teaches that once He hath begun a good work in me, it is up to ME to perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.
The other, that of eternal security, teaches that, once He hath begun a good work in me, HE will continue to perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.
Which doctrine lines up best with the main theme of the revealed Word of God?
We return to the message of salvation, but presented WITHOUT the implicit promise of eternal security for the believer.
“You are lost and deserve to go to hell. But Jesus has made a way for you to be saved. All you have to do is believe in Him and not sin again. Go to church, learn the Bible, quit smoking, drinking, swearing, having lustful thoughts, avoid all your old sinful friends, do good and don’t sin, and you shall be saved. But if you continue in sin after trusting Jesus, you will go to hell anyway.”
If one discounts the doctrine of eternal security as some kind of Satanic lie, then giving the Gospel in any manner differently that the one above is deceptive advertising.
But the Scriptures teach;
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” (Galatians 6:15)
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2nd Corinthians 5:17)
If one is turned into a ‘new creature’ through God’s extension of Sovereign grace accepted through faith, how then does one turn ONESELF back to the old creature by an act of human will (sin)?
Finally, there is the logic argument, as further advanced the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians.
“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21)
“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (Romans 3:28)