Eternal Security and Grace

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eternal-security

Eternal security & Grace

I grew up in a denomination that has the following phrase stated in its doctrinal statement. ”We believe that the gift of eternal life is a present possession of every true disciple of Jesus Christ, and that nothing or any person can take it from him.  However, it is a realistic possibility, for a true believer, once saved, of his own free will to no longer “continue in the faith” but instead to apostatize , “depart from the faith” return to sin, and consequently forfeit the eternal life he once possessed.”

Never has anyone pressured me to hold either position for or against eternal security, or the possibility of forfeiting or losing one’s salvation.  On the contrary as a young Christian within the denomination, I had always assumed that there were proponents for, as well as against “eternal security”.  I somehow imagined that there was no definite position on the matter.

It was only after I left for the foreign mission field that I noticed that the phrase “We believe . . . that it is a realistic possibility, for a true believer to forfeit the eternal life he once possessed”, was included in the doctrinal statement.

To say that there is a possibility that we can forfeit eternal life is, in practice, no different that stating that there is a possibility that we can lose it. If we can forfeit something, then it is not permanent, it is not secure.  If someone were to hold a gun to your head and force you to renounce your faith, or to forfeit your salvation, if that were possible, you would lose it.

I used to teach that while the bible teaches that nothing can separate us from the Love of God we ourselves can depart and turn our backs on God.  In other words, we cannot lose our salvation but we can throw it away. Let us be honest, if we can throw something away, it is not secure.  Eternal security states that salvation is not losable, thus the position that there is a possibility however distinct or remote of losing it, is the same as stating that salvation can be lost and that eternal security does not exist and is a lie.

As I began to dedicate more time to the study of the Word, I consolidated my conviction that there does appear to be more scriptural passages to support the rejection of Eternal Security than the acceptance of it. For years in my pulpit ministry, I pounded away at what I considered “false hopes” of church members who could not seem to get out of bondage to sin.  I now see these poor souls as “defeated Christians” and even practicing “apostates” but not “lost” or reverted to an unregenerate state.  I have come to see that the logical end of the arguments that I was using is that hardly anyone may realistically expect to make it to heaven, or at least it is extremely difficult to both receive salvation and keep it.




No Responses to “Eternal Security and Grace”

  1. Todd says:

    Thank you for answering my question.

  2. ToddR says:

    Please excuse my lack of undestanding. What do you mean there does appear to be more scriptural passages to support the rejection of Eternal Security than the acceptance of it. Thank you.

    • vinebrancher says:

      I am refering to passages like Matthew 5-7. If Jesus was establishing the way to salvation in these chapters (which I don’t believe He is) that almost everyone would be disqualified from receiving eternal life.

  3. mikedaroza says:

    I would like to begin by saying I know no more than anyone else about the true heart of Grace and Works, but I have my thoughts, and I hope you would find them reasonably well thought out.

    Good subject by the way, one that has MANY layers and depths.

    And you do a good job of presenting this.

    My question would be this, since we cannot “earn” salvation by our works, how could we ever give it back (which would in effect by a work on our behalf)??

    There’s no doubt that history is filled with people who said they were saved or lived lives that very much appeared to be that of a saved person only to turn evil or away from God or both.

    Many would say that is proof we can lose or forfeit or give back our salvation.
    My contention is that perhaps those individuals a) didn’t fully understand the Gospel, or b) weren’t really actually saved in the first place.

    I think in order to really become saved, one must undergo a transformation – a restructuring of the heart.

    That is NOT to say that a saved person cannot or will not continue to sin.

    But, I think a truly saved person no longer looks at sin as a rule or law to live by.
    I think a truly saved person gazes upon Jesus and what He did for us, and with a true understanding of the Gospel, those people begin to see sin as hurting a loved one (Jesus) or committing an act that makes the death of a loved one (Jesus) seem to be done in vein.

    The Pharisees followed the rules and laws as much as anyone in history, and yet who did Jesus seem to have to preach to the most?

    The rules and laws are vital, but if they’re followed just from a moralistic stance, they are simply snares for pride.

    If we meditate on Jesus, we will see things more clearly.

    We were/so so wretched that He HAD to come and die for us – and that should humble us, and rob us from feeling too high of ourselves no matter how successful or revered we are.

    But at the same time, we were/are so loved that Jesus was GLAD to die for us – and that.should humble us, robbing us from feeling too low of ourselves.

    When we get that into our bones, our full gratitude and appreciation for what He did for us will motivate our works.

    Keep up the great work, and I look forward to part 2.

    Would love for you to stop by my site sometime and tell me what you think
    http://achanginggrace.wordpress.com/

    In His Grace,
    Mike

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