Ever broken a promise, not kept your word, or been late for an engagement? Of course you have. Now you know why many Christians are worried sick that they may fail God. After all, isn’t the Bible full of exhortations to hold fast, continue, and endure to the end? It is – but not so that we might get something we don’t already possess in Christ.
I spent the summer studying some 300 scriptures pertaining to this issue of eternal security. I have to be honest and tell you my motives were mixed. The pure motive was that I simply enjoy studying scripture and I wanted to settle this issue once and for all in my heart. The “impure” motive was that I am fed up with those fear-mongers who try to unsettle the secure, condemn the guiltless, and otherwise spread a message of anxiety that contradicts the Lord’s own message of, “Fear not little flock” (Lk 12:32).
Uncertainty is a faith-killer. If you are uncertain about your eternal position how can you trust God? You won’t. If this issue isn’t settled in your heart you’ll lie awake at night wondering whether you are good enough or have done enough to impress him. And then you’ll set aside grace by taking out a little works insurance just to be safe.
Insecurity about the future is just one example of the prevailing winds of unbelief that assail the church. If you are insecure and in doubt, know that I write so that you might repent (change your doubting and unbelieving mind) and believe the good news. I write so that you might trust Jesus to finish what he started.
But first, you may need to change your glasses…
What you look through determines what you see
If you wear cracked glasses, everything you look at will appear cracked. If you are insecure, every scripture in the Bible will appear to support your prior notions of insecurity.
In my last post I identified four cracks in the lens of insecure theology. To save time I could have just pasted this little gem from Andrew Farley:
Every Christian I’ve met who believes they can lose their salvation has always given a reason that involves them. What if I commit suicide? What if I get a divorce? What if I stop believing? What if I…? You fill in the blank there, but it’s all the same. Every hypothetical scenario puts ourselves at the center of the equation. But our faithfulness to God is an old-covenant problem that is solved by the new. ~God Without Religion, pp:30-31
Bingo. Drew has nailed it. The reason we are even having this discussion is because so many Christians don’t know what makes the new covenant new. They read the Bible through the old covenant mindset that says “Do to be.” If this is you, let me tell you about Jesus! That old covenant is obsolete. We no longer stand on our promises to him but on his promises to us.
Bet your life on his word, not yours
If I could show you just one promise from the Lord that guaranteed your eternal security, would you quit fretting? Would you stop listening to the lies of the confused and trust instead in the truth of God’s word? Would one promise from the Faithful One be good enough for you? Well, here’s one:
He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. (1 Cor 1:8-9)
Wow! This scripture is the atom bomb that obliterates the doubts of the insecure. If you struggle with doubt and anxiety, you should frame this verse. It will remind you that salvation is not about your faithfulness but his and God is faithful.
And don’t forget who Paul was writing to either. This scripture was addressed to Christians many today would write off as reprobates. The Corinthians weren’t what you call “good Christians.” Yet Paul looks at these clowns, sees God’s fingerprints all over them, and speaks confidently of their future. “Our hope for you is firm” (2 Cor 1:7).
Who called you into fellowship with Christ? God! Who will keep you strong to the end so that you will be blameless on that Day? God! Who is faithful? God! It’s not about you but him. Do you see it yet? If not, here’s another promise you can stand on:
Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. (2 Cor 1:21-22)
The word “guarantee” means a down-payment or pledge, “i.e. part of the purchase-money or property given in advance as security for the rest.” So either God has nothing but more good stuff planned for you – guaranteed! – or he is a liar.
Are you getting this yet?
I said one promise from the Lord should be enough and I’ve given you two. Just to settle matters once and for all, here are seven more promises from your heavenly Father that speak directly to your eternal security. Write them on your heart and take them to the bank because they are gold! If you are a Christian, the chances of you losing your salvation are exactly the same as the likelihood God will violate his promises. Since God is utterly faithful, you can be utterly secure.
Seven golden promises about your future
For a Christian to lose their salvation and be expelled from the kingdom…
1. God would have to forsake us, when he said he wouldn’t (Heb 13:5)
2. God would have to cast us out, when he said he wouldn’t (John 6:37)
3. God would have to condemn us, when he said he wouldn’t (Rom 8:1,34)
4. God would have to withdraw his Spirit, when he said he wouldn’t (John 14:16-17)
5. God would have to remember our sins, when he said he wouldn’t (Jer 31:34, Heb 10:17)
6. God would have to forget that we are his children, when he said he wouldn’t (Is 49:15)
7. God would have to blot our names out of the book of life, when he said he wouldn’t (Rev 3:5)
Good news, no?
“But Paul, what about all those scriptures that say we have to hold fast, continue, and endure to the end?”
I’ll to get to some of those scriptures in the coming weeks but let me put your mind at rest right now. Do you have a need to hold fast? Do you have a need to continue and endure? Do you have a need to overcome, obey, avoid sin, be holy, and persevere? Yes, we all have these needs. But look at this…
My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (Php 4:19)
How many of your needs will God meet? All of them! How many of your needs must you supply to stay qualified for the kingdom? None of them! The only thing to do is receive what God has already provided in Christ Jesus. The only thing to do is say, “Thank you Jesus!” and abide in that place of restful trust.
Anything and everything that needs to be done to see you safe to the end, will be done by him. Trust him! The one who “began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” (Php 1:6). (See what I did there? I just slipped in another promise.) Salvation is not from yourself it is the gift of God (Eph 2:8), and his gifts are irrevocable (Rom 11:29). (Two more promises!)
No doubt there will be some who will write to tell me I am presenting an unbalanced view, that I have left out important bits of the Bible. What they really mean, though, is God is a mealy-mouthed mincer of words who doesn’t say what he means or mean what he says. I disagree. Through the death and resurrection of his Son, God shouts to the human race, I am for you and I will do whatever it takes to win you back to myself! I believe him. I choose to stand on his promises to us. I encourage you to do likewise.
Saint, you are one with the Lord. His future is your future. Since Jesus isn’t going to lose his salvation and go to hell, it can’t happen to you. You may fall asleep on the job, but the one who watches over you never slumbers (Ps 121:3-4). Be confident. Be secure. Be at peace.