The Meaning of Eternal Security  

  • Eternal security is the surety that those who have been saved by Jesus Christ will remain saved for all ages.
  • It is based on the understanding that a believer’s salvation is by grace, totally of God, from start to finish.  The believer did not gain his salvation because of something he did … so the believer cannot do anything to lose his salvation.
  • The believer’s security is guaranteed because he is kept by works of God, not his own works. 
  • It is not that we never do anything that could cause us to lose our salvation, but that God is faithful, even when we are faithless.

The Principles of Eternal Security  

1.   Spiritual regeneration is not repeatable 

  • There is NO example in the Bible of someone being spiritually regenerated (born again) dying spiritually, then being born again a second time.
  • A person being born again is akin to a caterpillar becoming a butterfly … Once a caterpillar has gone through the chrysalis stage and exits the cocoon as a butterfly, it cannot become a caterpillar again … ever.
  • In passages like John 3:14-15; 4:13-14; 6:35 and John 6:51, the verb is in the perfect tense, which means it relates to an action that occurred in the past, the effect of which continues into the present and will extend into the future. 
  • Spiritual regeneration is not repeatable … just as physical birth is not repeatable. 

2.   Spiritual regeneration produces works of righteousness 

  • Someone who receives salvation does so through faith alone, but that faith is not alone.
  • The faith that God gave us (Ephesians 2:9), so that we could believe we have been saved, has works associated with it …
  • James 2:14-17, 18-24  … The believer will do good works, not in order to be saved, but because he has been saved.
  • Matthew 7:17-20 … A good tree will produce good fruit.  Similarly, a person who has been born again will produce evidence of that spiritual rebirth. 
  • Titus 2:11-12 … A person who has been born again will live soberly in this age, by God’s grace.
  • James 2:26 … Faith without works is dead. 
  • A faith that does not give evidence of spiritual life is a “dead” faith. 
  • Just as someone who has been resuscitated will give evidence of physical life, one who has been spiritually regenerated will show evidence of spiritual life … even if only a little. 

11. We can’t keep ourselves

  • Acts 13:38-39
  • Romans 3:20a
  • Galatians 2:16, 3:11 …  

3.   True Faith responds to biblical truth

  • 2 John 1:2, 4
  • … The truth abides in us … and we walk in that truth
  • 3 John 1:2-4
  • If a person is has received salvation, then the spirit in him will respond to the truth of God’s word.
  • Because of the Spirit in us, true believers know God’s truth when they hear it. 

4.   Loss of REWARDS is NOT loss of SALVATION

  • Although a person does not receive salvation because of his good works, the faith that caused him to trust in Christ will cause him to do good works … and those good works will be rewarded, BUT … 
  • Salvation is NOT a reward for our good works … Salvation is a gift.
  • After we’ve been born again, God does hold us accountable for what we do in that period between our conversion and our glorification.
  • Hebrews 6:10 …  God will not forget our (good) works, our labour of love or our ministry.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:10 … We’ll be rewarded according to what we have done
  • Revelation 22:12 … Christ is coming again … and bringing rewards with Him
  • Salvation, itself, is NOT a reward … but there are rewards (and riches) that flow from salvation. 
  • We can lose our reward, but we can’t lose our reward. 
  • The Judgement Seat is not about losing salvation … It’s about losing reward

5.   The Exhortations to Godly Living are NOT threats of loss of salvation

  • Biblical exhortations to live godly lives are based upon what God has done, not on possible loss of salvation.
  • The exhortation that Paul gives in Romans 12:1-2 is based upon what he had said, previously, in chapters 1 through 11 of the same letter. 
  • The godly living that Paul wanted to see was one motivated by appreciation for what God has done, not the threat of loss of salvation … motivated by love, not by fear.
  • In 2 Corinthians 5:15, he makes a similar point … to not live selfishly, but to live for God, because of what God has done for us. 
  • Similarly, Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians 4:11 … to live lives worthy of the calling we have received … is based on what he said God had done in Ephesians 1-3.  The exhortation to godly living continues in the rest of the letter, Ephesians 4-6. 

6.   The results of sin in a believer’s life don’t affect the believer’s position

  • Sin in the life of a believer does not result in loss of salvation. 
  • Sin will definitely affect the believer’s relationship with God, but it will not affect his salvation. 
  • In other words, sin will affect the believer’s condition, but not the believer’s position (in Christ). 
  • 1 John 1:6-7, 9 … 
  • Sin in the life of a believer will result in loss of fellowship with God … and can result in premature death, as well … BUT it will not result in loss of salvation. 
  • If a son rebels against his father … and leaves home … gets involved in a wayward lifestyle … dies of a drug overdose … and has his body sent back to his father … and his father prepares to bury him .. whose surname will go on the tombstone?  His father’s.
  • When a believer is born again, he becomes a child of God … forever.  He does not stop being a child of God whenever he sins.  He never stops being the child of his father. 
  • Romans 8:35-39 …  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.  37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.  38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • Sin will cause the believer’s condition to change, BUT it will not affect his position. 

7.   Persistent sin may show a lack of conversion, NOT a loss of salvation

  • 1 John 3:6-10
  • NOTE that the present tense is used …
  • Here, John is not discussing occasional sin, but a situation where sin has become a lifestyle.
  • Persistent (or consistent) sin may be indicative of a lack of conversion, but it is not proof of loss of salvation. 

8.   Perfection is not achieved in this life

  • Philippians 3:12-14 … Paul, late in his life, recognized that he was still not “perfect” (in his condition), even though he was perfect in his position. 
  • 1 Timothy 1:15 … NOTE that Paul used the present tense, in saying, “… I am …” … showing that he recognized that he was still capable of sinning, even after conversion.
  • The truth is that we will never be perfect in this life.
  • When Christ died on our behalf, the PENALTY of sin was removed … and when we were born again, we were equipped and enabled to overcome the POWER of sin … but the PRESENCE of sin will not depart from us until we are glorified. 
  • Perfection will not be achieved in this life, because as long as we are human, sin will be present in our lives.  

9.   Salvation is sure because of Position, not affected by Condition.  The difference between Position and Condition (Practice)

  • According to John 5:24 and Ephesians 2:6, believers are moved from death to life. 
  • In light of the above verse, we could say that the believer’s position has changed.
  • Many times, however, a believer’s condition (or practice) is not consistent with his position.
  • The fact that a believer is not walking in a manner that is worthy of his calling … or that his condition (practice) is not consistent with his position … does not mean he has lost, or can lose, his salvation. 
  • We must always remember that there is a difference between a believer’s position and his condition.

10. Good works do not lead to salvation, BUT salvation leads to good works.  The relationship between works and salvation

  • Romans 4:4-6 … Our faith … not our works … make us righteous in God’s sight
  • Galatians 2:21 … We are righteous because of God’s grace, NOT because of our works
  • 2 Timothy 1:9 … God called us because of His purpose, NOT because of our works
  • Our works do not produce … or secure … our salvation.
  • If works are necessary for us to keep our salvation, then our salvation is, ultimately, by works.
  • Our salvation is by grace … NOT by works. 


12. Punishment of sin doesn’t mean Loss of Salvation


13. Our salvation is IN Christ  






  • by J. Hampton Keathley, III



Cam a believer lose his salvation?

2 Corinthians 5:17  … in Christ = new creation (Illustration … caterpillar becoming a butterfly) … Can a butterfly become a caterpillar?  … Can a person who is in Christ go back into Adam? 


While the believer may gain assurance of his salvation and know that he has been saved, the question may arise concerning the permanence of his salvation. Once genuinely saved by trusting in the merit of Christ’s death on the cross for sin, can the believer lose his salvation? Is there anything we can do to lose our salvation? The answer is NO! Why? Because Scripture clearly affirms the fact we are protected by the power of God through faith. Faith brings us into a grace relationship with God as a gift of God through the merit of His beloved Son. We are saved by His record, not ours.

  • 1 Peter 1:5 who by God’s power are protected through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
  • Ephesians 1:6 to the praise of the glory of his grace that he has freely bestowed on us in his dearly loved Son.
  • Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 it is not from works, so that no one can boast.
  • The following seven approaches set forth the case for the believer’s eternal security, “buckled up for safety” because of the power of God and the overwhelming sufficiency of the person and work of Christ.

The major argument for the eternal security of the believer is that it is God who saves us and not we ourselves.  In the sections that follow, we’ll see how all three persons of the triune God work to not only save us, but to keep us safe and secure.


The Work of God the Father 

Through the protection of our heavenly Father, whose holiness has been perfectly satisfied by the death of His Son, we are kept by: 

The Father’s Purpose

  • The Father will glorify all those who have been justified 
    • Romans 8:28-30
    • Those who have been justified will be glorified … NOTE that Paul doesn’t say that some of those who are justified .. the implication is that ALL who have been justified will be glorified.
  • The Father will confirm ALL believers 
    • 1 Corinthians 1:8
    • The Father will confirm ALL believers (by His grace) … that we may be blameless (not sinless) … till the end (the Day of Jesus Christ — the day Jesus returns to the earth). 
  • The Father chose believers to bring glory to Him
    • Ephesians 1:3-6, 4, 11-12
    • The Father chose believers to bring glory to Him.
    • Believers have been chosen to bring glory to God … If God knew someone would not bring glory to Him, He would not have chosen that person … ALL believers will bring glory to God. 
  • The Father plans to show mercy to believers in the “ages to come” 
    • Ephesians 2:7
    • The Father’s plan is to show mercy to believers in the “ages to come.” 
    • Those who receive the mercy of God’s salvation in this life will receive even more mercy in “ages to come” …  ALL believers will be around in the ages to come. 
    • We are secure because God plans to show us more mercy in the ages to come … so we have to be around then for that to happen.
  • The Father is working in believers to accomplish His will and His purpose 
    • Philippians 2:12-13
    • God is working in us to accomplish His will …
    • One reason salvation cannot be lost is that the retention of salvation depends on God, not on the believer …
    • It is not only the gaining of salvation that depends on God, but the keeping of salvation as well …
    • See Philippians 1:6 … 
    • Our salvation does not depend on us … It depends on God. 
  • The Father’s purpose is to bring many sons to glory 
    • Hebrews 2:10
    • The Father’s purpose is to bring many sons to glory.  
    • What God began at our justification (and conversion), He will consumate at our glorification. 
    • Salvation depends upon God … not us.  Nothing (including our sins, our deaths or anything we do) can frustrate the eternal purpose of God, who was/is determined to save us by grace through faith in His Son.  
    • Because God’s holiness has been satisfied by the death of Christ, He can be the just justifier of those who receive His Son by faith. 

The Father’s Promise

  • The Father promised that believers would not perish 
    • John 3:16
    • Anyone who believes in Christ will not perish …
    • In order for a believer to lose his salvation, he/she would have to perish …
    • The fact that a believer will NOT perish means he/she CANNOT lose salvation. 
  • The Father promised believers eternal life  
    • John 5:24
    • By passing from death to life, the believer already has eternal life …
    • If the believer could lose salvation, then the “life” — that he passed from death to — was not eternal, but temporary …
    • The promise, however, is that we have eternal life.
  • The Father promised that believers would be kept safe 
    • Hebrews 6:6-19
    • God made an oath to show how committed He was to keeping His promise … What was the promise about? … It was that believers (those who trust in Him) would be kept safe … They would not need to worry about losing their salvation. 

The Father’s Infinite Love

  • The Father, who saved us because of His love, will keep us because of that same love
    • Romans 5:7-10
    • God loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for us even when we were His enemies … Now that we are His friends (and children), His love will cause Him to make sure we stay saved. 
    • Romans  8:39 … Nothing can separate us from the love of God … not our sin …  not our death … not ourselves
  • The Father will keep believers saved because of His love for His Son 
    • Ephesians 1:3-6, 4 … We were chosen in love … We were chosen because of God’s love for us … That same love will keep us, making sure we do not lose our salvation. 
    • The Father’s love for us is even more sure because of His love for His Son … We are kept for the sake of the Son and His perfect work for our sin.
    • Believers are “in his dearly loved Son,” the place where God’s love abides, and nothing whatsoever can separate us from the love of God. 
The Father’s Work of Discipline 
  • The Father’s discipline is a reflection of His love, NOT a loss of His salvation  
    • Hebrews 12:5-11 … God’s punishment is really God’s discipline, which is a function of His love … and it will never lead to loss of salvation or spiritual death (even though it could lead to physical death. 
    • 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 … God’s discipline can result in “destruction of the flesh” (weakness, sickness or even death), as the next passage shows.
    • 1 Corinthians 11:23-29, 30-32 … Even though God’s discipline can lead to weakness, sickness or death (physical), it will never lead to spiritual death or loss of salvation …
  • The Father’s discipline results in loss of reward, NOT loss of salvation 
    • 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 … The believer will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved.
    • The Father’s work of discipline is a function of His love for us … and it proves that we remain His sons and daughters even when we sin … We will never lose our salvation because He will never disown us, even though He may have discipline us. 
  • NOTE:  Even though our sins can never change our relationship to God as His children (or our positions in Christ), they can/do/will affect our fellowship with God, our walk with God, our ability to serve God, our physical lives in this age and our rewards in age to come. 


The Father’s Sovereign Power 
  • The Father’s power (not the believer’s power) is what protects the believer  
    • 1 Peter 1:5  …
    • who by God’s power are protected through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
    • The Father protects us … by His power … for salvation. 
  • It is the Father (not the believer) who reconciled the believer to God 
    • 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 …  
    • The believer is a “new creation” by the power of God.
    • God reconciled us to Himself. 
  • The Father has power to give eternal (not temporary, probationary) life 
    • John 10:25-29
    • NOTE:  It is the Father who gives believers to Jesus Christ (John 10:28). 
    • God gives believers eternal life … In order for a believer to lose salvation, he would have to stop living, which means the life he had been given was not eternal, but temporary …
    • Thankfully, the life that God gives to persons He has saved is eternal, which means, as the passage says, they will never perish. 
    • What the Father gives into the Son’s hand, no man is able to take out of the Son’s hand … Nor can anyone take him/her out of the Father’s hand.
  • The Father has power to perform what He has promised 
    • Romans 4:21   
    • What the Father has promised, He is able to perform
    • Since God hs promised to keep you, He will keep you because He is able to … God’s character and God’s power guarantees He will keep us secure. 
  • The Father’s love is inseparable from us 
    • Romans 8:28-30
    • Nothing can separate us from God’s love …
    • Romans 8:31
    • Romans 8:38-39
    • “in Christ” — our security is in our position, not our condition. 
    • Again, the glorification of those who have been justified is just one more step in a series of things that God has been doing to keep the believer and make sure the believer endures to the end. 
  • The Father is able to make believers stand 
    • Romans 14:4
    • The Father is able to make us stand. 
    • It is God who has the power to make believers stand and because He has saved them, He will use that power to make them stand. 
    • It is in God’s power … NOT our strength, merit or determination … that we are able to stand.  
    • Even if we cannot hold on to Him, He will hold on to us. 
  • The Father has hidden our lives in Himself  
    • Colossians 3:3
    • Our lives are “hidden in God” …
    • Therefore, our salvation (like our lives) is so IN God  that His power and His love keeps us from ever being lost again …When we were saved, Jesus wrapped His arms around us and The Father wrapped His arms around us. 
    • It follows, therefore, that if our lives are in God, and God cannot die, then we cannot die either … We cannot lose our salvation.
  • The Father keeps what is committed to Him  
    • 2 Timothy 1:12
    • The Father keeps what has been committed to HIm … God is able to keep that which is committed to Him … What had Paul committed to God? … Answer: His life …
    • If a believer commits his/her life to God, then God can (and will) keep that believer’s life. 
    • This passage provides encouragement by reminding us that God is willing and able to save those who trust Him … We shouldn’t worry about losing our salvation because God is the one saving.
  • The Father will preserve believers completely   
    • 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
    • The Father will preserve the believer in spirit, soul and body
    • God has the power to preserve unto perfect sanctification …
    • Eternal security is guaranteed because of God’s power to keep.
    • Hebrews 7:25
    • God will save believers to the uttermost … which means they have been saved completely …
    • If the salvation of a believer could be lost, then that salvation would not have been a complete salvation …
    • Because God saves to the uttermost, we cannot lose our salvation … Once saved, always saved. 
  • The Father is able to keep us from falling  
    • Jude 1:24
    • God is able to keep us from falling (or stumbling) … and to present us blameless (faultless) before His throne of grace. 

Nothing or no one is greater than the Father … which means nothing or no one can defeat God’s purpose to save us … and nothing or no one can remove us from His love and care (cf. Rom. 8:31-39). 


The Work of God the Son


Jesus bore our condemnation forever

  • Hebrews 5:8-9
  • Jesus Christ is the author of our eternal salvation  
  • 1 John 2:2 … 
  • Jesus is the propitiation for ALL sins … NOTE the passage says “and not for ours only but also for the whole world” … When Christ died for my sins I had not been born as yet, which means He died for sins that had not yet been committed … Jesus died for future sins, as well as past and present sins, which means He paid the penalty for all sins — past, present and future sins.
  • Romans 8:1
  • There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ … because He bore all our condemnation for us … He was condemned on our behalf, because of us.

Believers partake in Jesus’ resurrection life

  • Jesus has risen from the dead … and we are partakers in His resurrection. 
  • Romans 4:25
  • Jesus died because of our sins … and He was raised for our justification – so that we could be justified. 
  • Romans 6:8-11 
  • Christ, having died to sin once for all (v.10), dies no more (v.9). 
  • The fact that we are partakers of Christ’s resurrection life … and He cannot die again … means that we cannot lose the eternal life we have in Him … so we cannot lose our salvation.
  • Ephesians 2:6 … 
  • Having been raised with Christ, IN Christ, we sit in Heavenly places, with Christ, IN Christ.
  • Because we are already in Heavenly places, IN Christ, our salvation is a fait accompli … we are secure in Christ. 

Jesus’ role as our Advocate

  • 1 John 2:1, 2 … Jesus is our Advocate, pleading our cases on our behalf … and one of His arguments is that the penalty for our sins has already been paid … in and through Him … He is the propitiation (payment in full) for ALL of our sins … So, loss of salvation (the second death) is not an option for us.

Jesus’ work as our Intercessor

  • Romans 8:31-39 …  What then shall we say about these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?  32 Indeed, he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, freely give us all things? 
  • 33 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.
  • 34 Who is the one who will condemn?  Christ is the one who died (and more than that, he was raised), who is at the right hand of God, and who also is interceding for us
  • 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ?  Will trouble, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  36 As it is written, “ For your sake we encounter death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”  37 No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us!  38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers,  39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • The declaration in Romans 8:34 — “Christ is the one who died” — is given in answer to the questions of verses 31-33 … and in anticipation to the questions and declarations of Romans 8:35-39.  
  • The goal of Romans 8:34, however, is to show the absolute security of the believer.
  • Two reasons are stated in relation to God the Son:  His death and resurrection  … and His intercession on behalf of believers. 

(1)  Christ Died as Our Redeemer and Substitute. 

By His death Christ removed the barrier that separates mankind from God. Man’s sin and God’s holiness, which form a barrier between the sinner and God, were dealt with at the cross so God is free to justify us, declare us righteous through faith in Jesus Christ.  

  • The same truth is declared in the following verses …
  • Romans 3:23-28 …   for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 24 But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.  25 God publicly displayed him at his death as the mercy seat accessible through faith. This was to demonstrate his righteousness, because God in his forbearance had passed over the sins previously committed.  26 This was also to demonstrate his righteousness in the present time, so that he would be just and the justifier of the one who lives because of Jesus’ faithfulness.  27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded! By what principle? Of works? No, but by the principle of faith!  28 For we consider that a person is declared righteous by faith apart from the works of the law. 
  • Romans 5:1,8  …  Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, … 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 
  • The book of Hebrews states Christ’s death is the only sacrifice which counts and is once and for all time. 
  • Hebrews 9:11-14 …  But now Christ has come as the high priest of the good things to come. He passed through the greater and more perfect tent not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, 12 and he entered once for all into the most holy place not by the blood of goats and calves but by his own blood, and so he himself secured eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow sprinkled on those who are defiled consecrated them and provided ritual purity, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our consciences from dead works to worship the living God. 
  • Hebrews 9:26-28 …  for then he would have had to suffer again and again since the foundation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the consummation of the ages to put away sin by his sacrifice. 27 And just as people are appointed to die once, and then to face judgment, 28 so also, after Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many, to those who eagerly await him he will appear a second time, not to bear sin but to bring salvation.  
  • Hebrews 10:12-14 …  But when this priest had offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, he sat down at the right hand of God,  13 where he is now waiting until his enemies are made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by one offering he has perfected for all time those who are made holy. 

(2) Having Risen, Christ Now Sits at God’s Right Hand.

  • The second argument of Romans 8:34 concerns the resurrection and ascension of the Savior at God’s right hand.
  • He sits at God’s right hand as our powerful advocate and intercessor to plead our case when we sin or when accused of sin, and to intercede on our behalf by virtue of His finished work on the cross which reconciles us to God.  
  • Revelation 12:10 …  Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, “The salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the ruling authority of his Christ, have now come, because the accuser of our brothers, the one who accuses them day and night before our God, has been thrown down.”  
  • Romans 5:10-11 …  For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, since we have been reconciled, will we be saved by his life? 11 Not only this, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received this reconciliation.  
  • Hebrews 7:25 …  So he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.   
  • John 17:11 …  I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them safe in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one.  
  • Romans 8:34 … 
  • Hebrews 7:25 … 
  • Jesus is just doing what He was doing before (John 17:1-5, 6-13, 14-19, 20-26). 

Jesus’ role as our Shepherd

  • John 10:27-29 … NOTE that … 
  1.  believers have eternal (not temporary) life, so salvation cannot be lost …
  2.  the sheep will never perish, which is an indication that believers will never perish, no matter what they do …
  3.  no one can snatch a believer from Christ’s hand (not even the believer himself).

Jesus’ redemptive work as Messiah

  • Ephesians 5:25-27 … Jesus Christ died to purify the Church, so that it would be without spot or blemish … For someone to be in the Church and then lose salvation would be a spot and a blemish.  
  • Hebrews 5:9 … God made the Christ the author of eternal (not temporary) salvation. 
  • 1 Peter 3:18 … Jesus suffered, and died, to bring us to God … If one could lose salvation and regain it, then Christ would have to die again … and, because He intended to die only once, He brought us to God permanently.  



The Work of God the Holy Spirit 

His Work of Spirit Baptism

Spirit baptism refers to the work of the Holy Spirit whereby He places believers into union with the body of Christ and identifies them with Christ’s person and work. If believers could lose their salvation, it would mean the body of Christ could and would be maimed. This is foreign to Scripture. To the carnal church in Corinth, which was full of strife, envy, fornication, and drunkenness, Paul declared, “are you not walking like mere men?” (1 Cor. 3:3). Yet, he affirmed the fact of their salvation and the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

  • 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 For just as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body—though many—are one body, so too is Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body. Whether Jews or Greeks or slaves or free, we were all made to drink of the one Spirit.
  • 1 Corinthians 3:1 So, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but instead as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.
  • 1 Corinthians 1:2 to the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, and called to be saints, with all those in every place who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.
  • 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body.
His Work in Regeneration

Regeneration refers to the impartation of spiritual and eternal life which makes us new creatures in Christ. This can never change. First, it is based on the work of the Son, not our works. And second, as physical birth makes one a child of his parents forever, so spiritual birth does the same.

  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away—look, what is new has come!
  • Titus 3:5-7 he saved us not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of his mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us in full measure through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7 And so, since we have been justified by his grace, we become heirs with the confident expectation of eternal life.”
  • John 3:3-8 Jesus replied, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter his mother’s womb and be born a second time, can he?” 5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must all be born from above.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it will, and you hear the sound it makes, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
  • John 3:16-18 For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. 18 The one who believes in him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.

As mentioned previously, rather than disown a disobedient child, God disciplines his children. At times it may even be to the point of physical death, but believers still remain His children (cf. above Heb. 12:5-12).

His Work of Indwelling

This refers to the gift of the Holy Spirit to indwell the believer which was promised by our Lord as a permanent indwelling. The Spirit is given forever and given without conditions other than faith in Christ.

  • John 7:37-39 On the last day of the feast, the greatest day, Jesus stood up and shouted out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me, and 38 let the one who believes in me drink. Just as the scripture says, ‘ From within him will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 (Now he said this about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were going to receive, for the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.)
  • John 14:16 Then I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you forever
  • 1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?
  • James 4:5 Or do you think the scripture means nothing when it says, “The spirit that God caused to live within us has an envious yearning”?
The Holy Spirit as a Seal

This is a description of the Holy Spirit from the standpoint of what He is to the believer through His indwelling. A seal in ancient times was a sign and proof of: (a) a completed transaction, i.e., our salvation, (b) of ownership, we belong to God, and (c) of security since only an authorized person could break the seal. In this case it is God and He has promised not to do so.

  • Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
  • 2 Corinthians 1:22 who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a down payment.
  • As a result, Paul declares that even the carnal Christians at Corinth belonged to God as a result of this finished transaction of their salvation in Christ.
  • 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body.
The Holy Spirit as an Earnest

This forms another picture of what the Holy Spirit is to believers in Christ. As an earnest agreement on a house is a buyer’s pledge to purchase and pay the full price for the house, so the Holy Spirit is God’s personal pledge and guarantee of our security promising us there is more to come: we will receive the ultimate or eternal blessings of our salvation. The term “down payment” in the following verses refer to an earnest agreement-like pledge.

  • Ephesians 1:14 who is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of his glory.
  • 2 Corinthians 1:22 who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a down payment. 


The Holy Spirit’s Regeneration

  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 … all things have become new
  • Galatians 6:15 … a believer is a new creature, or creation 
  • Ephesians 2:10 … We have been created in Christ 
  • We are new creations because of the Spirit’s work of regeneration.
  • The work of regeneration cannot be undone … Just as a baby that has been born cannot go back into the womb from which it came, a person who has been born spiritually can become unborn … Just as a butterfly cannot become a caterpillar, a person who has been saved cannot be unborn.  A person who has been saved by Jesus Christ cannot be unsaved … cannot lose salvation.

Indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit 

  • John 14:16-17
  • 1 Corinthians 6:19
  • Ephesians 2:22
  • 1 John 2:27
  • Once the Holy Spirit indwells a believer, He indwells the believer permanently, forever … Since a believer, who has salvation, has that salvation because the Holy Spirit is dwelling in him, he cannot lose that salvation because he cannot lose the Holy Spirit, who indwells him permanently. 

Baptism by the Holy Spirit 

  • 1 Corinthians 12:13
  • The Holy Spirit baptizes the believer into Christ, uniting the believer with Christ, in a mysterious, but wonderful, way … By the Spirit’s baptism, the believer becomes a member of the Body of Christ … and there is indication in the Scriptures that believer can be separated from (or fall out of) that Body (as per Romans 8:35-39).

Sealing by the Holy Spirit 

  • 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 … God has sealed us and given us the Holy Spirit as a guarantee
  • Ephesians 1:13-14 … The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance (whatever that is) until the day of redemption
  • Ephesians 4:30
  • One reason a believer cannot lose his salvation is because the Holy Spirit has sealed that believer in Christ … and that believer has been sealed until the day of redemption, NOT until he commits some unpardonable sin or stops believing … Indeed, the seal of the Holy Spirit is a guarantee of eternal redemption … a down payment of sorts.

The Holy Spirit’s Power 

  • Philippians 1:6 … He who began a good work in us will complete it
  • That “He” refers to God … but it can be understood as referring to the Trinity, as well, because the Trinity worked to save us … We were saved by works, in one sense … but they were not our works … They were the works of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit … as discussed above.
  • The Holy Spirit has begun a work of salvation in each of us … and He will carry on that work until its completion.  He is the One that is saving us … It is not we who are saving ourselves … and that is why we cannot lose our salvation.  

Romans 8:1-39 

  • Romans 8:1 … There is no condemnation for believers … no matter how often they sin (even though a believer can die prematurely IF he persists in sinning as a way of life
  • Romans 8:2-8 … We have been delivered from the Law … and the Law can no longer condemn us  
  • Romans 8:14-17 … Because the believer is now an heir, he cannot lose his salvation 
  • Romans 8:28-30 … Every believer who has been justified WILL be glorified, eventually 
  • Romans 8:31-33 … God will not accept any charges against His elect, SO every believer who has been justified will be glorified 
  • Romans 8:34 … Because of Christ’s achievement, the security of believers is guaranteed 
  • Romans 8:35-39 … Believers are not able to keep themselves, so God is the One who is going to keep them 

What God’s “Eternal” Plan Means for Us

  • Our salvation is part of God’s eternal plan (Ephesians 3:10-11) for all humans.
  • The word “eternal” means “forever, in both directions … without beginning and without ending” … In the case of God, it means He had no beginning and He will have no end … In the case of humans, it only means there will be no end.  If a person could lose his salvation, then that salvation would be temporary, not eternal.
  • To receive an eternal salvation (Hebrews 5:9) is to receive a salvation that lasts forever … Based on what Christ has done, we have received eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12) … But there is more …
  • Hebrews 9:15 … We have received an eternal inheritance that includes eternal life (Titus 3:7).
  • 2 Timothy 2:10, 1 Peter 5:10 … We are destined for eternal glory
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:16 … We have eternal comfort 
  • Hebrews 13:20 … We are part of an eternal covenant 
  • 2 Peter 1:11 … We are part of an eternal kingdom 
  • Because Christ is in believers, every believer has eternal life (John 3:14-16, John 3:36, John 6:47, John 10:28)

The finished work of the Messiah

  • John 19:30 … The work that Jesus had to do, in terms of reconciling the world to God, was finished … He did not need to come again … to suffer again … and to die again.
  • Hebrews 10:12-18 … When Jesus died of the cross, He “offered one sacrifice for sins forever” … He for ALL the sins of ALL people … He died for sins my sins, even though I wasn’t born as yet … That means He died for sins that were still in the future – sins that had not been committed as yet … If Jesus had not died for future sins, then He would have to come again … to die again.  
  • The work of Christ was “finished” because He paid the penalty for all sins, making it possible for God to save us, not just until the next sin, but for all time.

We are being Kept by God

  • 1 Peter 1:4-5 … We are kept (or guarded) by “the power of God” through faith “for salvation” … and that is a very good thing because we could not, and cannot, keep ourselves … If the retention of salvation depended on us, we’d lose our salvation … Believers will not lose their salvation because they are being kept by God, not by themselves. 

We are new creations

  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 … A believer is a new (and different) creature, similar to how a butterfly is different from the caterpillar it used to be … and just as the butterfly cannot become a caterpillar, a believer who is saved cannot become unsaved … A believer cannot lose his salvation.   

Our salvation is by grace

  • Ephesians 2:8-9 … Salvation is by grace … not by works … This means that we were not saved because of anything we did (or did not do) … Because we did do anything to save ourselves, we cannot do anything to “unsave” ourselves or lose our salvation. 

Christ’s obedience

  • John 6:37-40 … The believer is a gift, from God, to the Son because of the Son’s obedience … Because the believer is God’s gift to the Son, the Son is going to keep him forever. 

The Gospel seed abides 

  • 1 John 3:9 …  The seed is the Gospel seed that produces eternal life … The fact that the Gospel seed abides means that the Gospel seed produces eternal life … The fact that the Gospel seed abides means the salvation it produces cannot be lost. 

Salvation is a free gift 

  • Romans 11:29 … Salvation is a free gift … from God … given by grace … If salvation is gift in the true sense, then God will not take it back … Given that salvation is a gift, it is cannot be lost.

Receiving Salvation is a birth … A believer is born again

  • John 1:12 … 
  • John 3:3 … 
  • James 1:18
  • 1 Peter 1:3, 23 … 
  • Believers, who have received Christ, by trusting in Him, have received salvation and have been reborn … and, just as a baby, who has been born, cannot be put back into the mother’s womb, a believer who has been born  cannot be unborn (just as a bell, once rung, cannot be unrung).

Believers don’t keep themselves

  • Galatians 3:3 … It is foolish to try to live the Christian life in the flesh … because it can’t be done … The believer needed the Spirit for his spiritual life to begin … and he needs the Spirit to continue … and that Spirit will ensure that he endures to the end, without any loss of salvation.

God paid the highest price

  • John 3:16 … Salvation is free, BUT it cost a very high price … It cost God His only begotten Son and it cost the Son His (physical) life … Salvation cost too much for God to give up on any believer.

Punishment of Sin is NOT Loss of salvation

  • 1 Corinthians 11:29-32 … Believers who fail to properly discern the Lord’s body were in danger of getting weak, becoming sick or dying (which is what “sleep” alluded to).
  • 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 … Note that the church was told to deliver the man to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, but not his spirit … Note, however, that his spirit would be saved …
  • The message is that any believer who is in involved in gross sin, or sins willfully, should expect to be punished … God’s punishment may involve destruction of the flesh (even to the point of physical death), BUT it does not require spiritual death or loss of salvation. 

The Real Purpose of Warnings and Exhortations

  • NOT to threaten us with possible loss of salvation
  • BUT to help us maximize the blessings on our journey home.



MIRACLES do NOT prove salvation … because Satan can work/imitate miracles

Demon birds can remove the Gospel seed before germination takes place

Germination can be observed by three levels of fruitfulness

PROFESSION of salvation IS NOT POSSESSION of salvation



The Positional Approach

Spirit baptism joins the believer into union with Christ. This becomes the new spiritual position of the believer. Phrases such as “in Christ,” “in the beloved,” and “with Christ,” used over and over again in Paul’s epistles, refer to this concept. This calls attention to the fact the Bible emphasizes we are saved and accepted through our position in or union with Christ.

  • Ephesians 1:3 Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ.
  • Ephesians 1:6 to the praise of the glory of his grace that he has freely bestowed on us in his dearly loved Son.
  • Ephesians 2:5-6 even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you are saved!— 6 and he raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,
  • Colossians 2:10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.
  • 2 Timothy 2:11-13 This saying is trustworthy: If we died with him, we will also live with him. 12 If we endure, we will also reign with him. If we deny him, he will also deny us. 13 If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, since he cannot deny himself.

This is a place not only of security, but of double security! Our union with Christ is a guarantee of glory.

  • Colossians 3:3-4 for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ (who is your life) appears, then you too will be revealed in glory with him. 


The Logical Approach 

Simply stated, if God did so much for us while we were sinners, completely alienated and enemies of God before salvation, how much more will He not do for us now that we have been reconciled and stand related to Him as His children who have been justified, declared righteous in Christ?

  • Romans 5:8-10 But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, because we have now been declared righteous by his blood, we will be saved through him from God’s wrath. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, since we have been reconciled, will we be saved by his life?
  • Romans 8:32 Indeed, he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, freely give us all things? 


God’s Hand Approach 

A specific and wonderful promise from the Lord is that no one (and this must include Satan or ourselves) can remove us from either the hand of the Son or the Father. Scripture tells us we are in God’s hand, which is a place of perfect security because He is greater than all.

  • John 10:28-29 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; no one will snatch them from my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can snatch them from my Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.” 


The Tense Approach 

The use of the perfect tense in a number of New Testament passages would further point to the believer’s security. The meaning of the perfect tense in Greek combined with the context and the analogy of Scripture forms another argument for the security of the believer. The perfect tense refers to action or an event which, completed in the past, has results existing in the present time (i.e., in relation to the time of the speaker). It looks at the present state of affairs. The following passages that use the perfect tense stress the saved state of the believer who has trusted in the Savior.

  • John 5:24 “I tell you the solemn truth, the one who hears my message and believes the one who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned, but has crossed over from death to life.
  • Romans 5:2 through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God’s glory.
  • 1 Corinthians 1:2 to the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, and called to be saints, with all those in every place who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.
  • Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you are savedthrough faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God;


The Grace Approach 

This argument is simply this. The New Testament plainly states we are saved by grace through faith in the person and work of Christ, and that salvation is not of human works or works of righteousness which we have done. If, however, having put our trust in the person and work of Christ, we can lose our salvation by what we do or do not do, then in the final analysis, we are saved by works. This is contrary to the theology of the New Testament (cf. also Rom. 4:1-5; 11:6; Rev. 21:6; 21:17).

  • Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; 9 it is not from works, so no one may boast.
  • Titus 3:5 he saved us not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of his mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit,
  • 2 Timothy 1:9  who (God) has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done, but because of His own purpose and grace.  


The “What Sin” Approach 

This approach asks the question, “ What sin causes a person to lose his salvation?” Sin, any sin falls short of the perfect holiness of God. Every person, regardless of his maturity or relationship with the Lord, is far from perfect by God’s standard. We all have something in our lives which falls short of God’s glory, i.e., some sin though it may be unknown.

  • 1 John 1:8-10 If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us.

Where, then, do we draw the line? Those who believe we can lose our salvation categorize sin as though God overlooks some sins while He judges others. It becomes a matter of degrees and the question arises, how bad must we become before we lose our salvation? Which sin does us in? People often categorize sin into various levels, but their categories are usually out of touch with God’s perspective.

  • Proverbs 6:16-19 There are six things that the Lord hates, even seven things that are an abomination to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked plans,feet that are swift to run to evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies,and a person who spreads discord among family members. 


Problem Passages

What about those passages that are often taken to mean the believer can lose his salvation? For this study, we cannot deal with all these passages. Generally, however, we can show that none of these passages teach we can lose our salvation if the immediate context and the context of the entire New Testament is considered, or if the principle of the analogy of the faith is considered.

The Analogy of the Faith

The analogy of the faith is a hermeneutical principle which says unclear passages should be understood in the light of clear ones, not vice versa. It is my conviction that those who believe we can lose our salvation, or who teach Lordship salvation, violate this principle.

They violate this principle in two ways:

(1) They base their understanding of the Gospel on a few difficult or unclear passages rather than the many very clear ones.

(2) They overthrow the correct interpretation of clear passages by understanding them in the light of their faulty views of the unclear or more difficult passages of Scripture.  


To find out how some so-called “problem passages” that seem to contradict the clear teachings on eternal security can be explained, please read Difficult ES Passages.





The Consequences of Carnality (Living in Sin)


Key Passages:

Psalm 66:18 If I had harbored sin in my heart, the sovereign Master would not have listened.

Psalm 32:3-4 When I refused to confess my sin, my whole body wasted away, while I groaned in pain all day long. 4 For day and night you tormented me; you tried to destroy me in the intense heat of summer.

1 John 1:6 If we say we have fellowship with him and yet keep on walking in the darkness, we are lying and not practicing the truth.

(1) Loss of fellowship with the Lord plus loss of the control of the Holy Spirit and His fruit in the life

(cf. 1 Jn. 1:5-7). Sin grieves and quenches the Spirit (Eph. 4:30; 1 Thess. 5:19). Sin affects our prayer life (Ps. 66:18), our witness (Acts 1:8), Bible study (1 Cor. 2:10-16; Eph. 3:16f), i.e., all the ministries of the Holy Spirit in believers’ lives. The Holy Spirit’s ministry is turned from enabling to convicting, etc.

  • 1 John 1:5-7 Now this is the gospel message we have heard from him and announce to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him and yet keep on walking in the darkness, we are lying and not practicing the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
  • Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:19 Do not extinguish the Spirit.
  • Psalm 66:18 If I had harbored sin in my heart, the sovereign Master would not have listened.
  • Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.
  • 1 Corinthians 2:10-16 God has revealed these to us by the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who among men knows the things of a man except the man’s spirit within him? So too, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things that are freely given to us by God. 13 And we speak about these things, not with words taught us by human wisdom, but with those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. 14 The unbeliever does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him. And he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The one who is spiritual discerns all things, yet he himself is understood by no one. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to advise him? But we have the mind of Christ.
  • Ephesians 3:16-19 I pray that according to the wealth of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, so that, because you have been rooted and grounded in love, 18 you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and thus to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

(2) Misery, loss of joy, because we are controlled by the sinful nature.

  • Psalm 32:3-4 When I refused to confess my sin, my whole body wasted away, while I groaned in pain all day long. 4 For day and night you tormented me; you tried to destroy me in the intense heat of summer.

(3) Dissipation or wastefulness of our spiritual, mental, and physical resources.

  • Ephesians 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, which is debauchery, but be filled by the Spirit,

(4) Production of the works of the flesh with their awful consequences.

  • Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, depravity, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish rivalries, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, murder, drunkenness, carousing, and similar things. I am warning you, as I had warned you before: Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God!
  • Galatians 5:26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, being jealous of one another.

(5) Divine discipline, the heavy hand of God on our lives to turn us around.

  • Hebrews 12:5-10 And have you forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons? “My son, do not scorn the Lord’s discipline or give up when he corrects you. 6 “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son he accepts.” 7 Endure your suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? 8 But if you do not experience discipline, something all sons have shared in, then you are illegitimate and are not sons. 9 Besides, we have experienced discipline from our earthly fathers and we respected them; shall we not submit ourselves all the more to the Father of spirits and receive life? 10 For they disciplined us for a little while as seemed good to them, but he does so for our benefit, that we may share his holiness.
  • 1 Corinthians 11:29-32 For the one who eats and drinks without careful regard for the body eats and drinks judgment against himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and sick, and quite a few are dead. 31 But if we examined ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned with the world.
  • Psalm 32:4 4 For day and night you tormented me; you tried to destroy me in the intense heat of summer.

(6) Broken relationships and pain to those around us, especially to our families.

  • Galatians 5:15 However, if you continually bite and devour one another, beware that you are not consumed by one another.
  • Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God, that no one be like a bitter root springing up and causing trouble, and through him many become defiled.

(7) Loss of our testimony in the world and dishonor to the Lord.

  • 1 Peter 2:12-15 and maintain good conduct among the non-Christians, so that though they now malign you as wrongdoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God when he appears. 13 Be subject to every human institution for the Lord’s sake, whether to a king as supreme 14 or to governors as those he commissions to punish wrongdoers and praise those who do good. 15 For God wants you to silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good.
  • 1 Peter 3:15-17 But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess. 16 Yet do it with courtesy and respect, keeping a good conscience, so that those who slander your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame when they accuse you. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if God wills it, than for doing evil.
  • 1 Peter 4:15-16 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or thief or criminal or as a troublemaker. 16 But if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but glorify God that you bear such a name.

(8) Loss of rewards at the Bema seat of Christ.

  • 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 If anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, 13 each builder’s work will be plainly seen, for the Day will make it clear, because it will be revealed by fire. And the fire will test what kind of work each has done. 14 If what someone has built survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If someone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss. He himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be paid back according to what he has done while in the body, whether good or evil. 


Consequences of Continued and Open Rebellion

In addition to the above the following apply:

(1) Increased discipline from the heavy hand of God.

  • Psalm 32:4 4 For day and night you tormented me; you tried to destroy me in the intense heat of summer.
  • Hebrews 12:6 “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son he accepts.”

(2) Continuation in sin may require the church to take action even to the point of excommunication (1 Cor. 5).

  • 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15 6 But we command you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from any brother who lives an undisciplined life and not according to the tradition you received from us. 7 For you know yourselves how you must imitate us, because we did not behave without discipline among you, 8 and we did not eat anyone’s food without paying. Instead, in toil and drudgery we worked night and day in order not to burden any of you. 9 It was not because we do not have that right, but to give ourselves as an example for you to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this command: “If anyone is not willing to work, neither should he eat.” 11 For we hear that some among you are living an undisciplined life, not doing their own work but meddling in the work of others. 12 Now such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly and so provide their own food to eat. 13 But you, brothers and sisters, do not grow weary in doing what is right. 14 But if anyone does not obey our message through this letter, take note of him and do not associate closely with him, so that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
  • Matthew 18:17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. If he refuses to listen to the church, treat him like a Gentile or a tax collector.

(3) Divine discipline to the point of physical death.

  • 1 Corinthians 11:30 That is why many of you are weak and sick, and quite a few are dead.
  • 1 John 5:16 If anyone sees his fellow Christian committing a sin not resulting in death, he should ask, and God will grant life to the person who commits a sin not resulting in death. There is a sin resulting in death. I do not say that he should ask about that.

Certainly, believers are secure in Christ and cannot lose their salvation, a salvation accomplished by the finished work of the Savior who sits victoriously at God’s right hand to plead our case. But reality, and Scripture shows us, unless believers abide in fellowship and deal in faith with the sin in their lives, they can fall into serious conditions of sin just like David. Such can happen because the person was never truly saved, but quite often the real cause is a failure to abide in the life and power of the Spirit of God.

It is our hope that this study on the eternal security of the believer has been a help. The goal of understanding our security is an assurance that motivates to godly living, never careless living or taking the Lord for granted. Remember, God is our heavenly Father who, in love will discipline His children to draw them back to himself.

The Apostle staked his faith on the trustworthiness of God’s grace. Though some understand this to refer to God’s deposit of gifts in Paul, I believe that which he had entrusted, literally, “the deposit,” was his personal faith in the finished work of Christ as the basis of his salvation. Paul was confident that this would be preserved until all the dangers and failures of life would be past with the coming of the Lord.  



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Eternal security, also known as “once saved, always saved“, is the belief that from the moment anyone becomes a Christian, they will be saved from hell, and will not lose salvation. Once a person is truly “born of God” or “regenerated” by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, nothing in heaven or earth “shall be able to separate (them) from the love of God” (Romans 8:39) and thus nothing can reverse the condition of having become a Christian.

Theology affirming the doctrine of Eternal security

The traditional Calvinist doctrine teaches that a person is secure in salvation because he or she was predestined by God and therefore guaranteed to persevere, whereas in the Free Grace or non-traditional Calvinist views, a person is secure because at some point in time he or she has believed the Gospel message (Dave Hunt, What Love is This, p. 481).

Reformed Christianity

In Calvinism, eternal security is a logical consequence of the doctrine of perseverance of the saints, according to which true Christians will persevere in good works and faith. Because faith is God’s perfect gift it will inevitably produce perseverance in faith and good works. Thus condemnation to hell because of sin, unbelief, or apostasy is not possible for true Christians.[1] Reformed theology holds that one’s continued belief in Christ and good works are evidence of one’s saving faith and that if one does not bear this fruit, he/she was never truly regenerated to begin with.

Free grace

Free grace theology says that anyone who believes in Jesus Christ will go to heaven regardless of any future actions—including future sin, unbelief, or apostasy—though Christians who sin or abandon the faith will face God’s discipline.[2]

Free Grace doctrine views the person’s character and life after receiving the gift of salvation as independent from the gift itself, or in other words, it asserts that justification (that is, being declared righteous before God on account of Christ) does not necessarily result in sanctification (that is, a progressively more righteous life). Charles Stanley, pastor of Atlanta’s megachurch First Baptist and a television evangelist, has written that the doctrine of eternal security of the believer persuaded him years ago to leave his familial Pentecostalism and become a Southern Baptist. He sums up his deep conviction that salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone when he claims, “Even if a believer for all practical purposes becomes an unbeliever, his salvation is not in jeopardy… believers who lose or abandon their faith will retain their salvation.”[3] For example, Stanley writes:

Look at that verse [John 3:18] and answer this question: According to Jesus, what must a person do to keep from being judged for sin? Must he stop doing something? Must he promise to stop doing something? Must he have never done something? The answer is so simple that many stumble all over it without ever seeing it. All Jesus requires is that the individual “believe in” Him.

— Charles Stanley[3] (p. 67).

In a chapter entitled “For Those Who Stop Believing”, he says, “The Bible clearly teaches that God’s love for His people is of such magnitude that even those who walk away from the faith have not the slightest chance of slipping from His hand (p. 74).” A little later, Stanley also writes: “You and I are not saved because we have an enduring faith. We are saved because at a moment in time we expressed faith in our enduring Lord” (p. 80).

The doctrine sees the work of salvation as wholly monergistic, which is to say that God alone performs it and man has no part in the process beyond receiving it, and therefore, proponents argue that man cannot undo what they believe God has done. By comparison, in traditional Calvinism, people, who are otherwise unable to follow God, are enabled by regeneration to cooperate with him, and so the Reformed tradition sees itself as mediating between the total monergism of the non-traditional Calvinist view and the synergism of the Wesleyan, Arminian, and Roman Catholic views in which even unregenerate man can choose to cooperate with God in salvation.

Theology rejecting the doctrine of Eternal Security

Catholic, Methodist, and Eastern Orthodox theology hold to synergism with respect to salvation and view the doctrine of eternal security as heretical, instead teaching that one’s one’s salvation is conditional on one’s continued faith, good works, sanctification, and avoidance of sin.[4]


In Catholicism, Christians do not have eternal security because they can commit a mortal sin.[5] The Church teach that Christians are subject to the cleansing torment of purgatory before entrance into heaven.

Classical Arminianism and Wesleyan Arminianism

The Arminian view, inclusive of the Classical Arminian position and Wesleyan-Arminian (Methodist) position, opposes any concept of eternal security, holding that a true Christian can fall from grace and be condemned to hell.[6]

Verses used to support eternal security

Some verses which are used to support the doctrine of eternal security are:[7][8]

John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

Ephesians 4:30: And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

John 3:15–16: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 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.

Romans 8:38–39: For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 4:13-14 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life”

John 5:24: Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life

John 11:25-26: Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?

See also


  • Pink, Arthur W. (2001). Eternal Security. Lafayette, IN: Sovereign Grace Publishers, Inc. pp. 39, 47, 58. ISBN 1589601955.
  • Stanley, Charles (1990). Eternal Security: Can You Be Sure?. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson. pp. 81, 116–118. ISBN 0840790953.
  • Stanley, Charles. Eternal Security: Can You Be Sure? Nashville: Oliver Nelson, 1990. ISBN 978-0-8407-9095-8 pp.1-5
  • Peters, Ted (1 August 2015). God–The World’s Future: Systematic Theology for a New Era, Third Edition. Augsburg Fortress Publishers. p. 391. ISBN 9781506400419. Justification is not enough for the Methodists. The Christian life cannot get along without transformation as well. Transformation is accomplished through the process of sanctification. “The one [justification] implies what God does for us through his Son, the other [sanctification] he works in us by his Spirit.” The spiritual life of the Methodist ends up reiterating what the Roman Catholics had deemed so important, namely transformation.
  • Marshall, Taylor. “Can You Lose Your Salvation?”. The Catholic Perspective on Paul. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  • Shank, Robert (1989). Life in the Son. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers. pp. 31-48. ISBN 1-55661-091-2.



Perseverance of the saints

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 

Perseverance of the saints is a Christian teaching that asserts that once a person is truly “born of God” or “regenerated” by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, they will continue doing good works and believing in God until the end of their life.

Sometimes this position is held in conjunction with Reformed Christian confessions of faith in traditional Calvinist doctrine, which argues that all men are “dead in trespasses and sins”, and so apart from being resurrected from spiritual death to spiritual life, no-one chooses salvation alone. However, it must be distinguished from Arminianism, which also teaches that all men are “dead in trespasses and sins”, and could not respond to the gospel if God did not enable individuals to do so by His prevenient grace.[1]

Calvinists maintain that God selected certain individuals for salvation before the world began, before drawing them to faith in him and his son, Jesus. In support of this, they maintain the interpretation of John 6:44 as Jesus stating the necessity of men being drawn to him as pre-ordained by God before they believe in him, and that only those pre-ordained for belief in him by God are drawn to him. Calvinists also use their interpretation of Ephesians 1:4 and Philippians 1:4 in the writings of the apostle Paul as indication that God chose believers in Christ before the world was created, not based upon foreseen faith,[2] but based upon his sovereign decision to save whomever he pleased to save.[3]

The doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints is distinct from the doctrine of Assurance, which describes how a person may first be sure that they have obtained salvation and an inheritance in the promises of the Bible including eternal life. The Westminster Confession of Faith covers Perseverance of the Saints in chapter 17, and Assurance of Grace and Salvation in chapter 18. Perseverance of the Saints is also distinct from the doctrine of Eternal security, the former indicating security of sanctification/condition while the latter indicates security of (forensic) justification/salvation.


Church Father Augustine of Hippo taught that some of those whom God chooses to save by regeneration through water baptism are given, in addition to the gift of faith, a gift of perseverance (“donum perseverantiae”) which enables them to continue to believe, and precludes the possibility of falling away.[4][5] He developed this doctrine in De correptione et gratia (c. 426–427 CE), explaining why some regenerated infants persevere in faith and good works, while others fall away from the faith.[6]

The traditional Calvinist doctrine is one of the five points of Calvinism that were defined at the Synod of Dort during the Quinquarticular Controversy with the Arminian Remonstrants, who objected to the general predestinarian scheme of Calvinism. Arminianism teaches that salvation is conditioned on faith, therefore perseverance of the saints is also conditioned.[7]

The traditional Calvinist doctrine of perseverance is articulated in the Canons of Dort (chapter 5), the Westminster Confession of Faith (chapter XVII), the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith (chapter 17), and may also be found in other Reformed Confessions. Nonetheless, the doctrine is most often mentioned in connection with other salvific schemes and is not a major focus of Reformed systematic theology. It is, however, seen by many as the necessary consequence of Calvinism and of trusting in the promises of God.

Traditional Calvinism voiced its opposition to carnal Christianity and the non-traditional Calvinist doctrine in the recent controversy over Lordship salvation.

Reformed doctrine

The Reformed tradition has consistently seen the doctrine of perseverance as a natural consequence to predestination. According to Calvinists, since God has drawn the elect to faith in Christ by regenerating their hearts and convincing them of their sins, and thus saving their souls by his own work and power, it naturally follows that they will be kept by the same power to the end. Since God has made satisfaction for the sins of the elect, they can no longer be condemned for them, and through the help of the Holy Spirit, they must necessarily persevere as Christians and in the end be saved. Calvinists believe this is what Peter is teaching in 1 Peter 1:5 when he says that true believers are “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation”. Outside Calvinist denominations, this doctrine is widely considered to be flawed.

Calvinists also believe that all who are born again and justified before God necessarily and inexorably proceed to sanctification. Failure to proceed to sanctification in their view is considered by some as evidence that the person in question was never truly saved to begin with.[8] Proponents of this doctrine distinguish between an action and the consequences of an action, and suggest that after God has regenerated someone, the person’s will has been changed, that “old things pass away” and “all things are become new”, as it is written in the Bible, and he or she will as a consequence persevere in the faith.

The Westminster Confession of Faith defined perseverance as follows:

They whom God hath accepted in His Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved. ─Westminster Confession of Faith (chap. 17, sec. 1).[9]

This definition does not deny the possibility of failings in one’s Christian experience, because the Confession also says:

Nevertheless [believers] may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins; and for a time continue therein; whereby they incur God’s displeasure, and grieve his Holy Spirit: come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts; have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded; hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves (sec. 3).[9]

Theologian Charles Hodge summarizes the thrust of the Calvinist doctrine:

Perseverance…is due to the purpose of God [in saving men and thereby bringing glory to his name], to the work of Christ [in canceling men’s debt and earning their righteousness ], to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit [in sealing men in salvation and leading them in God’s ways], and to the primal source of all, the infinite, mysterious, and immutable love of God.[10]

On a practical level, Calvinists do not claim to know who is elect and who is not, and the only guide they have is the verbal testimony and good works (or “fruit”) of each individual. Any who “fall away” are assumed not to have been truly converted to begin with, though Calvinists do not claim to know with certainty who did and who did not persevere.

Essentially, Reformed doctrine believes that the same God whose power justified the Christian believer is also at work in the continued sanctification of that believer. As Philippians 2:13 says, “It is God who is at work in you, both to will and work for His good pleasure”; thus, all who are truly born again are kept by God the Father for Jesus Christ, and can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace, but will persevere in their faith to the end, and be eternally saved. While Reformed theologians acknowledge that true believers at times will fall into sin, they maintain that a real believer in Jesus Christ cannot abandon one’s own personal faith to the dominion of sin, basing their understanding on key scriptural passages such as Christ’s words, “By their fruit you will know them”[Mt 7:16,20] and “He that endures to the end will be saved.”[Mt 24:13] Similarly, a passage in 1 John says, “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God.”[1Jn 3:7-9] The person who has truly been made righteous in Jesus Christ did not simply have faith at some point in life, but continues to live in that faith ([Rom 1:17]). This view understands that the security of believers is inseparable from their perseverance in the faith.[a]

Free Grace doctrine

The Free Grace or non-traditional Calvinist doctrine has been espoused by Charles Stanley, Norman Geisler, Zane C. Hodges, Bill Bright, and others. This view, like the traditional Calvinist view, emphasizes that people are saved purely by an act of divine grace that does not depend at all on the deeds of the individual, and for that reason (in contrary to Calvinism) insists that nothing the person can do can affect their salvation. In the Free Grace view, saints can fall away (stop persevering) in both conduct and faith yet remain eternally secure.

Evangelical criticism

Both traditional Calvinism and traditional Arminianism reject Free Grace theology.[b][c] The former believes Free Grace to be a distorted form of Calvinism which maintains the permanency of salvation (or properly speaking, justification) while radically divorcing the ongoing work of sanctification from that justification. Reformed theology has uniformly asserted that “no man is a Christian who does not feel some special love for righteousness” (Institutes),[13] and therefore sees Free Grace theology, which allows for the concept of a “carnal Christian” or even an “unbelieving Christian”, as a form of radical antinomianism. Arminianism, which has always believed true believers can give themselves completely over to sin, has also rejected the Free Grace view for the opposite reason of Calvinism: namely, that the view denies the classical Arminian doctrine that true Christians can lose their salvation by denouncing their faith.[d]

Free Grace theology maintains the middle ground of the permanency of salvation seen in Calvinism with the maintained belief that a believer can still give up their faith, choosing to live a life of unbelief. Both Calvinists and Arminians appeal to Biblical passages such as 1 Cor. 15:2 (“By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain”), Hebrews 3:14 (“We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first”), James 2:21-22 (“faith without works is dead”), and 2 Tim. 2:12 (“If we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us”).

Biblical evidence

In addition to fitting neatly in the overarching Calvinist soteriology, Reformed and Free Grace advocates alike find specific support for the doctrine in various passages from the Bible:

  • 1 Peter 1:23: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” 
  • John 5:24: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” 
  • John 6:35-37: Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.  But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” 
  • John 10:27-29: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.   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.” 
  • Romans 5:9: Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
  • Romans 8:1: There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
  • Romans 8:35: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
  • Romans 8:38-39: For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • Romans 11:29: For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
  • Hebrews 3:14: For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.
  • 1 John 2:19: They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with usBut they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 
  • 1 Corinthians 15:10:  But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:19: …that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
  • Ephesians 2:4-6: But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus ….
  • Ephesians 4:30: And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
  • Philippians 1:6: And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
  • 2 Timothy 1:12: …which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.
  • 2 Timothy 2:13: … if we are faithless, he remains faithful — for he cannot deny himself.
  • Hebrews 13:20-21: Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
  • 1 John 3:9: No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.
  • 1 John 5:4-5: For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world.  And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
  • Ephesians 1:13-14: In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
  • John 17:2,12: “… since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.”  …  “While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”
  • 1 Corinthians 1:6-8: … even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you — so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24: Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:3: But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.
  • Hebrews 9:12: …he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.
  • 1 Peter 1:3-5: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
  • 1 John 5:11-13: And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.
  • Hebrews 6:17-19: So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.  We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain …
  • Jeremiah 32:39-40: I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.
  • Psalms 121
  • Isaiah 46:3-4: Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save
  • Romans 9:6-8: But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.
  • Psalms 20:6: Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand.
  • Psalms 31:23: Love the LORD, all you his saints!  The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
  • Psalms 37:28: For the LORD loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
  • Psalms 55:22: Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved
  • Psalms 125:1-2: They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even for ever. 


Counter evidence

Calvinist interpretations

Some Calvinists admit that their interpretation is not without difficulties. One apparent consequence is that not all who “have shared in the Holy Spirit”[Acts 10:44-48] are necessarily regenerate. This is a consequence Calvinists are willing to accept since the Bible also says that King Saul had the “Spirit of God” in some sense and even prophesied by it,[1Sam 19:23-24] [11:6] but was not a follower of God. Calvin says,

God indeed favors none but the elect alone with the Spirit of regeneration, and that by this they are distinguished from the reprobate… But I cannot admit that all this is any reason why he should not grant the reprobate also some taste of his grace, why he should not irradiate their minds with some sparks of his light, why he should not give them some perception of his goodness, and in some sort engrave his word on their hearts.[14]

Some challenge the Calvinist doctrine based on their interpretation of the admonishments in the book of Hebrews, including several passages in the Book of Hebrews,[15] but especially Hebrews 6:4-12 and Heb 10:26-39.[16] The former passage says of those “who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come” that, when they “fall away”, they cannot be “restored to repentance.”[6:4-12] The latter passage says that if one continues in sin, “no sacrifice for sins” remains for that person but “only a fearful expectation of judgment.”[10:26b-27a] The author of Hebrews predicts grave punishment for one who “has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace.”[10:29]

The debate over these passages centers around the identity of the persons in question. While opponents of perseverance identify the persons as Christian believers, Calvinists suggest several other options:

  • These passages are not clear enough to describe a regenerate person (or “true Christian”), and thus they do not describe the situation of a true believer. Instead, the persons in question may well have been part of the church community and had the advantages concomitant with that membership (citing the benefits of being a member of the covenant community in the Old Testament mentioned in Romans 3:1-4 and 9:4-5) without being truly “saved”—as with King Saul. In an effort to corroborate this interpretation, they also cite such passages as 1 John 2:19: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” However, this interpretation also has difficulty with verse 6 which states that it is impossible “if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance.”
  • These passages can refer to a regenerate person, but what is described is not a loss of salvation (because they believe other scriptural passages say that this is impossible), but instead a loss of eternal (or millennial) rewards.
  • The author is employing hyperbole to effect positive change in his audience’s behavior, possibly referring to Christians leaving fellowship in Hebrews 10:25.
  • The passages refer to Jewish Christians who were reverting to Judaism.
  • The passages refer to the rejection of the covenant community as a whole, not individual believers (Verbrugge).

Passages put forth against the Calvinist doctrine

Some other passages put forth against the Calvinist doctrine include:

  • Matthew 10:22: but whoever endures to the end will be saved.
  • Romans 11:22: Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.
  • 1 Corinthians 9:25-27: Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
  • 1 Corinthians 10:12:Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall.
  • Galatians 5:4: You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.
  • 2 Peter 2:20: For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.
  • Colossians 1:21-23: And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
  • Hebrews KJV:Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.
  • Revelation 3:2-5: “Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.”

In general, proponents of the doctrine of perseverance interpret such passages, which urge the church community to persevere in the faith but seem to indicate that some members of the community might fall away, as encouragement to persevere rather than divine warnings. That is, they view the prophets and apostles as writing “from the human perspective”, in which the members of the elect are unknowable and all should “work out [their] own salvation”[Phil 2:12] and “make [their] calling and election sure,”[2Pet 1:10] rather than “from the divine perspective”, in which those who will persevere, according to Calvinism, are well known. The primary objection to this Calvinist approach is that it might equally be said that these difficult passages are intended to be divine warnings to believers who do not persevere, rather than a revealing of God’s perpetual grace towards believers.

Interpretations of Hebrews 6:4-6

Hebrews 6:4-6 is said by some[17] to be one of the Bible’s most difficult passages to interpret, and may present the most difficulty for proponents of the Eternal Security of the Believer. The passage is understood by some to mean that “falling away” from an active commitment to Christ may cause one to lose their salvation, after they have attained salvation either according to the Reformed or Free Grace theology. However, numerous conservative Bible scholars do not believe the passage refers to a Christian losing genuinely attained salvation.

For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.

  • One interpretation holds that this passage is written not about Christians but about unbelievers who are convinced of the basic truths of the gospel but who have not placed their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. They are intellectually persuaded but spiritually uncommitted. The phrase “once enlightened”[6:4] may refer to some level of instruction in biblical truth. “…have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away…” could be a reference to those who have tasted the truth about Jesus but, not having come all the way to faith, fall away from even the revelation they have been given. The tasting of truth is not enough to keep them from falling away from it. They must come all the way to Christ in complete repentance and faith.[17]
  • A second interpretation holds that this passage is written about Christians, and that the phrases “partakers of the Holy Ghost”, “enlightened”, and “tasted of the heavenly gift” are all descriptions of true believers. Some passages, including Hebrews 6:4-6 and 10:23-31, are taken by some to suggest that a ‘saved’ person can lose their salvation. Others see them as severe warnings which do not include the loss of salvation, but in many cases fiery judgment for those who were never saved and only playing at Christianity.[18]
  • A third interpretation maintains that Hebrews 6:4-8 describes only those who temporarily backslide in their faith, and does not address the issue of the loss of salvation. This interpretation is well presented in an exegetical outline of the book of Hebrews found on the website of Ariel Ministries, a Messianic-Jewish organization founded by Arnold Fruchtenbaum in 1971. Some advocates of this position claim that the passage says that those who experience the five spiritual privileges mentioned in verses 4 and 5 cannot lose their salvation and then be saved again later (i.e. be “restore[d]… again to repentance”) because that would require a recrucifixion of Christ (v. 6), thus rendering ineffectual his initial propitiatory death, putting Him to open shame. This position maintains that the Greek word used for “repentance” in verse 6 refers to “salvation repentance” rather than “repentance to restore fellowship.” Supporters of this interpretation also cite the overall context of chapters 5 and 6 as evidence for their position: chapter 5 concludes with a rebuke to the recipients of the epistle for wasting time, dawdling in spiritual infancy, while chapter 6 begins with an exhortation not to continue wasting time as spiritual infants, but to “press on to maturity.”
  • Biblical theologian David DeSilva writes that “Many interpreters are driven to treat this passage as either a ‘problem passage’ or crux for a specific theological or ideological conviction.”[19] DeSilva agrees that the passage cannot refer to “saved” individuals since the author of Hebrews views salvation as the deliverance and reward that awaits the faithful at the return of Christ. Those who have trusted God’s promise and Jesus’ mediation are “those who are about to inherit salvation’ which comes at Christ’s second coming.[Heb 9:28] He argues that the passage refers to unbelievers who have received God’s gifts and have benefited from God’s grace, yet still remained skeptics.
  • Biblical theologian B. J. Oropeza suggests that those who read and listened to this letter had experienced persecutions in the past, and the author of Hebrews acknowledges that some church members had become apostates. The several terms in Hebrews 6:1–6 are to stress that these former apostates had experienced conversion-initiation; there is no place in the New Testament, for example, where unbelievers or fake Christians explicitly share in the Holy Spirit as did these former members. The author of Hebrews thus rhetorically stresses that despite all these benefits and experiences that confirmed their conversion, they fell away; and now he warns the hearers of this message that in their present state of malaise and neglecting church gatherings, the same thing could happen to them. The consequences of apostasy without restoration are portrayed as dire (Hebrews 6:7–8; Hebrews 10:26–29; Hebrews 12:15-17).[20]


The primary objection put against Perseverance of the Saints is that its teaching may lead believers to sin freely, if they know they can never lose their salvation, without fear of eternal consequences. Traditional Calvinists see this charge as being justly leveled against the Free Grace doctrine, which does not see sanctification as a necessary component of salvation, and in the controversy over Lordship salvation, traditional Calvinists argued against the proponents of the Free Grace doctrine. Traditional Calvinists, and many other non-Calvinist evangelicals, posit that a truly converted heart will necessarily follow after God and live in accordance with his precepts, though perfection is not achievable, struggles with sin will continue, and some temporary “backsliding” may occur.

Arminian view

The central tenet of the Arminian view is that although believers are preserved from all external forces that might attempt to separate them from God, they have the free will to separate themselves from God. Although God will not change his mind about a believer’s salvation, a believer can willingly repudiate faith (either by express denial of faith or by continued sinful activity combined with an unwillingness to repent). In this manner, salvation is conditional, not unconditional as Calvinism teaches.

Traditional Calvinists do not dispute that salvation requires faithfulness. However, Calvinists contend that God is sovereign and cannot permit a true believer to depart from faith. Arminians argue that God is sufficiently sovereign and omnipotent to embed free will into humanity, so that true Christians may exercise free will and fall away from the saving grace they once possessed.[e]

Roman Catholic view

The 22nd Canon of the Decree Concerning Justification of the Council of Trent (Sixth Session, 13 January 1547) has this to say regarding perseverance: “If anyone says that the one justified either can without the special help of God persevere in the justice received, or that with that help he cannot, let him be anathema.” In this canon, the Council reaffirmed that perseverance absolutely requires divine help—a divine help that cannot fail.

Respecting these parameters, Catholics can have a variety of views as regards final perseverance. On questions of predestination, Catholic scholars may be broadly characterized as either Molinists or Thomists. The views of the latter are similar to those of Calvinists, in that they understand final perseverance to be a gift applied by God to the regenerated that will assuredly lead them to ultimate salvation. They differ from Calvinists in but one respect: whether God permits men to “fall away” after regeneration. Thomists affirm that God can permit men to come to regeneration without giving them the special gift of divine perseverance, so that they do fall away. Calvinists, by contrast, deny that an individual can fall away if they are truly regenerate.

Lutheran view

Like both Calvinist camps, confessional Lutherans view the work of salvation as monergistic in that “the natural [that is, corrupted and divinely unrenewed] powers of man cannot do anything or help towards salvation”,[22] and Lutherans go further along the same lines as the Free Grace advocates to say that the recipient of saving grace need not cooperate with it. Hence, Lutherans believe that a true Christian – in this instance, a genuine recipient of saving grace – can lose his or her salvation, “[b]ut the cause is not as though God were unwilling to grant grace for perseverance to those in whom He has begun the good work… [but that these persons] wilfully turn away…”[23]

Comparison among Protestants

This table summarizes the views of three different Protestant beliefs.

Calvinism Lutheranism Arminianism
Perseverance of the saints: the eternally elect in Christ will certainly persevere in faith.[24] Falling away is possible, but God gives assurance of perseverance.[25] Preservation is conditional upon continued faith in Christ; with the possibility of a final apostasy.[26]




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