Monday, July 26, 2010


Though I embrace the phrase “eternal security,” I have many problems with the interpretation of it. Many seem to believe they can make an emotional commitment to Jesus Christ, subsequently fall into sin, live in that sin without repentance, and rely upon the eternality of Christ’s finished work of redemption as assurance of their salvation. Such a position, I believe, is a prostitution of the phrase “eternal security.”

Paul, in First Corinthians 6: 9ff clearly demonstrates that one’s conduct is a reflection of his relationship to Holy God when he declares, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

Time and again, I find people whose present conduct is diametrically opposite that which Scripture says should be reflected by the child of God, yet they believe their conduct is inconsequential as it relates to their relationship to God because they believe in “eternal security.”

Now, please do not begin to associate me with Pelagianism which asserts that one can lose his salvation, and that such salvation is dependent upon human works. I certainly do not believe Scripture teaches such. I believe Scripture teaches that one’s salvation is wholly dependent upon the finished work Jesus Christ, and that man’s corrupt nature can never affect such merit as to be acceptable to God until by God’s own grace, he has been born again into the family of God. It is a work wholly of God, independent of any merit of man.

Having said that, however, I wish to further develop the theme that one’s conduct necessarily reflects God’s holiness. The writer of Hebrews states in 12:14, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” There can be no doubt that those who see God will live holy lives, if one accepts the veracity of God’s Word.

So, the question comes, “What about our failures?” The clear fact is you and I will fail. We will sin, and some of our sin will be extremely socially and governmentally repugnant. Does that mean one is not saved? Not necessarily.

The example of David is, I believe, instructive for us. David committed an abominable sin. Not only did he commit adultery, he murdered to cover it up. Yet, David is called “a man after God’s own heart.” How can this be consistent with the thesis I’ve presented?

David’s sin wreaked great pain upon him and his family, but the faithful servant of God, Nathan, confronted David with his sin, and he was broken over it. He repented and accepted God’s chastisement as well as, His forgiveness, after which God demonstrated that forgiveness by elevating Solomon, David’s son by Bathsheba, to the throne.

The missing element in contemporary church life is genuine repentance. 1 John 1:9 is written to Believers who have stumbled along the way, and like David, desire restoration. However, the preponderance of people today seems to believe that one can simply continue on without such a sense of remorse which leads to repentance as long as he believes in eternal security. The hard cold fact is that “eternal security” does not mean that one can make a commitment to Christ, then live an unholy life and be justified before Holy God.

If there is no remorse over one’s sin when confronted with the evidence of that sin, and no conviction by God’s Holy Spirit that one is out of God’s will for his life, then he probably is not genuinely converted. He is probably one of that group who when the disciples inquired as to why they no longer walked with them, Christ replied that they were no longer with them because they were really never a part of them.

Do you have loved ones or friends, who have turned aside from the path of righteousness and seem oblivious to the demands of God on their lives? If so, it is incumbent upon you to begin to treat them as lost people that they might be saved before it is too late. Pray for their salvation, confront them with their error, and don’t attempt to cover over their condition lest you encourage them in that error.

Time and again people tell me that they fear such direct confrontation will drive their loved ones farther away. I remember Vance Havner saying, “How far are you going to drive a lost man? Hell number two? Hell number three?”

Listen, dear friends, Believers must not place the imprimatur of approval upon the aberrant lifestyles of contemporary society. Drunkenness, cohabitation, drug abuse, pornography, sexual deviancy, homosexuality, idleness, and promiscuity are leading to broken homes, multiple marriages, slothfulness, and financial irresponsibility. All of which are contrary to the holy life God requires.

One’s belief in “eternal security” is not enough. One must be converted by a supernatural work of God which affects such a change that he attempts to live a life which honors God and reflects His handiwork.

© 2010 Mike Rasberry


Loren Hutchinson said...

Mike said: "One’s belief in 'eternal security' is not enough. One must be converted by a supernatural work of God which affects such a change that he attempts to live a life which honors God and reflects His handiwork."

I would remove the words "attempts to" from the last sentence. That seems to imply an effort (work) on the part of the saved. The life that honors God is an overflow of the Spirit in us, not something we "attempt" to do.

I heard a preacher say once that "once saved, always saved" should be "once saved, always changed." Your last sentence would then read:

"One must be converted by a supernatural work of God which affects such a change that he lives a life which honors God and reflects His handiwork."

Mike Rasberry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Rasberry said...

You are absolutely correct, Loren. The Christ honoring life is one where the individual is not perfect, but rather is willing to confess his sin, turn from it in the power of Christ's Spirit, and appropriate His forgiveness.

Many seem to think that one must be perfect, and seeing the impossibility, never enjoy the power of His presence in their lives.

Scott Wiggins said...

The act of surrendering to the call to salvation carries with it the idea that one has also given up their personal rebellion against Heaven's King, choosing to submit to and obey His will. Once one no longer has to chart their own course and struggle in their own strength to meet puny goals dwarfed by those God would empower them to meet, security and assurance naturally result.

The eternal part of eternal security is based squarely on God's faithfulness, not our own. When one truly and *ultimately* surrenders to the call to salvation (following genuine brokenness over sin, repentance of that sin, and faith in the Christ Who forgives it), the regenerative process that results will cause people to seek God's will when they would by default have only sought their own.

This is how one can be saved and serve God, but occasionally turn away...the struggle with the old man continues, but spiritual maturity, that growth in grace and knowledge, reduces its influence. And when that person is filled with the Spirit (a command not always faithfully followed), we truly see that it is "God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." (Ph.2:13)

Mike Rasberry said...

You are correct, Scott. The "eternal" aspect does indeed rest squarely on God's faithfulness. But that is not the issue here.

The issue at hand, deals with man's understanding of that phrase which leads him to believe that an emotional response to God's call upon his life is sufficient. However, throughout Scripture, God tells us that a saving response will result in actions that reflect His holiness.

I am not a legalist, I am free like Paul, but I'm free to refrain from living a profligate lifestyle because I now have His strength to rely on, and when I stumble, I exercise the clearest sign of a redeemed life by repenting of that sin and starting over again in the power of His presence.