“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto
“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)
Eternal security is a biblical truth that is often an issue that divides believers and denominations. The purpose of this booklet is to examine this truth from a biblical perspective so that you can see what God says about it. The words “eternal security” are not found anywhere in the Bible, but other words that carry the same meaning are used frequently such as “preserved”, “eternal life”, “everlasting life”, “saved to the uttermost”, and others that we will examine in the context of Scripture. This issue is important to our peace as believers because if we can lose our salvation then we are responsible for keeping it, but the Word of God assures us that we are “…kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.” (1 Peter 1:5) We must understand that eternal security only applies to those people who have truly been born again. We have used the phrase, “Once saved, always saved”, but this is referring to those people who are truly saved. Not every person that says they are saved is going to Heaven. Churches are full of professors, but only possessors of Christ will go to Heaven.
James state that some “say” they have faith. I can say that I am a professional plumber, but the proof is in my work not my verbal profession. The Word of God describes certain people as wolves “in sheep’s clothing” ( Matthew ), “tares” among the true wheat ( Matthew -30), and those who “went out from us” but “were not of us” (1 John). I have been asked the question, “What if someone says that they are saved and commits murder, turns completely from the faith, and turns wholly to sin?” A person that follows this pattern did not lose their salvation. They were probably never saved in the first place. It is possible for a believer to commit sin and live worldly according to 1 Corinthians 3:3, “For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is
among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” The word “carnal” is to follow the desires of the flesh. Paul was writing to the church members at
and said that they were walking “…as (lost) men.” He wasn’t saying that they had lost their salvation, but they were acting like they were lost. When a believer commits sin and will not repent, he is convicted, chastened (Hebrews 12:5-11), and even called home to Heaven, but he is still a child of God. Corinth
“If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.” (I
“To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (1 Corinthians 5:5)
For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep (dead).” (1 Corinthians 11:30)
“Know ye not that ye are the
, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the templeof God templeof God, him shall God destroy; for the is holy, which temple ye are.” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17) templeof God
People would think that I was a cruel father, if the first time my child disobeyed me, I picked them up by the scruff of the neck, opened the door, and threw them out into the front yard then slammed the door and locked it. God is a far-better Father than I am or will ever be, and He would never cast me out just because I disobeyed Him. He convicts (warns me), chastens (whips me), and calls me home through death if I continue to disobey. 1 Samuel 16:7 says that man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. Only God knows if a person is truly saved (
Matthew -30; 37-40). How can I discern if a person is saved? Man looks on the outward appearance. Jesus said, “…by their fruits ye shall know them.” ( Matthew 7:20) Some fruits to look for are heresies (2 John1:7, 9), hatred (1 John),
abandonment of the faith (1
John), a total return to their sin (2 Peter ), or a lack of chastening (Hebrews 12:8). These things are evidence that the person was never saved. Even an unsaved man will ask, “I thought Christians didn’t do these things?” He is right! It is a reproach on the name of Jesus Christ when an unsaved person has to remind a Christian of sin.
Preservation is the act of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit in completing the work of salvation in all true believers. Preservation is not perseverance. Perseverance is the act of man through the power of the Holy Spirit in remaining faithful to God. Preservation is entirely the act of God in keeping us saved. Perseverance deals with our actions in this life. Preservation deals with the act of God in guaranteeing that those who are saved will receive eternal life. Preservation is not God conditionally preserving those believers who do endure because of their endurance. God doesn’t save us then leave it up to us to hold on until He calls us home. An example of this “holding on” would be God putting handles on the outside of the ark and guaranteeing all those who could hold on for 40 days and nights complete safety and deliverance. Two major views of salvation are Calvinism and Arminianism. Calvinism teaches that those people whom God has chosen are guaranteed perseverance to “hold on”, and only those who persevere were saved. Arminianism teaches that we are kept saved because we persevere, and only those who persevere can stay saved. Both of these teachings are unscriptural. Perseverance is a Scriptural teaching, but it is given as an evidence of salvation. If you persevere, it is evidence that you are truly saved. A Genuine believer will not turn completely from the faith or apostasize.
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” (I
But this does not mean that a genuine believer will not sin. If a believer sins, they are worthy of chastening (Hebrew 12:5-11) even to the point of physical death (1 Corinthians 5:5; ; 1
John). Preservation is not a guarantee that all those who profess Christ are genuinely saved, but only those who possess Christ will be preserved. You may profess to know Christ, but a person who possesses Christ will have evidence of a true inward change by their outward actions. Some denominations view preservation as an excuse or license to sin, but this is a false view because true believers receive a new nature according to 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Also, believers are convicted, chastened, or even lose their lives when they continue in sin.
Biblical Teaching Concerning Preservation and Eternal Security
The Word of God teaches that salvation is completely by grace. Grace is the undeserved love or unmerited favor of God. It is the act of God in freely giving His salvation and all the blessings accompanying that salvation to undeserving sinners at the moment of their simple faith in Christ, apart from any works of righteousness or merit on their part, based entirely upon the sacrificial death of Christ. If I have to earn salvation, it is not of grace because it contradicts every aspect of this definition of grace. Mixing grace and works is like the hillbilly girl who was named after her father and mother. Her father’s name was Ferdinand and her mother’s name was Liza. They named her Ferdiliza. The Bible clearly teaches that salvation is by grace through faith apart from works.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
If I could work to save myself, I could take all the glory and have something to brag about, which is pride, but since salvation is by grace, God gets all the glory.
“And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” (Romans 11:6)
This verse clearly states that salvation is completely by grace because if it is by works then it is not by grace. In fact, if we could get to Heaven by being good, Jesus Christ suffered all the pain, agony, beatings, abuse, humiliation, and reproach for nothing!
“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21)
Salvation comes by the Holy Spirit.
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;” (Titus 3:5-6)
Salvation is given by the Holy Spirit apart from our works, and it is foolishness to think that I can do anything to keep salvation if I had nothing to do with providing it.
“This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? (The answer is by the hearing of faith) Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (by the works of the flesh)” (Galatians 3:2-3)
Jesus spoke of false professors in
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Notice the statement that Jesus made concerning these false professors…“I never knew you.” If a person could be saved and
lose their salvation, would not Jesus have said, “I once knew you” or “I thought I knew you”. He said, “I NEVER knew you.” Jesus either knows you as one of His own or He doesn’t know you. In
John10:27, He said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I KNOW THEM, and they follow me.”
God has promised to preserve me “…unto His heavenly kingdom”.
“And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (2 Timothy 4:18)
The word “unto” is the Greek word “eis (ice)”, which means to the point reached or entered. In other words, I will be preserved as a believer until I have reached God’s heavenly kingdom and entered in. I used to have a difficult time understanding Hebrews 6:4-6.
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”
Once I understood the promise of eternal preservation, I realized that God has given us a supposition in this passage. According to these verses, suppose I had tasted of the heavenly gift (salvation/grace), was made a partaker of the Holy Ghost, and tasted the good word of God, if I could fall away or lose my salvation, it would be impossible for me to get it back because Jesus Christ would have to die again for my sins. The blessed truth is…YOU CAN’T LOSE IT! Jesus died once for sin for all forever.
“For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.” (Romans 6:10)
“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:” (1 Peter 3:18)
God’s standard for holiness is perfection. In order for a person to be perfect, he could never break one of God’s laws. Since God’s standard is perfect holiness, if we had to be good enough to keep our salvation, it would only take breaking one law to be lost.
“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” (
If salvation were based on good works, none of us could go to Heaven because we have all broken God’s law. Preservation is an act of God, and if a person completely turns from the faith, that person was never saved.