Summary: You can't be a backslider unless you slid forward to begin with!
This week we take another break from our series in Revelation with a look at the topic of losing one's salvation. Rather than to look at the doctrine of Eternal Security in depth, we will take a short look at it tomorrow then look at some of the reasons that people think that a person can lose their salvation.
Have you ever wondered why it is that some people make professions of faith, taken off like a shot in the faith, then all of a sudden just faded away and was not heard from anymore? I have seen that a lot in the past 13 years in pastorate.
What about one of those people that are in church for many years, then all of a sudden "fall away" into gross sin?
What about those people that were in church for many years only to end up denying the faith or perhaps even joining a cult?
Answers to all of those questions this week.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone 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 My Father's hand. I and My Father are one."
John 10:27-30 (NKJV)
I would say that if there is one particular doctrine other than the Good News of Jesus Christ itself that I love more than others it would be the doctrine of Eternal Security of the Believer. The idea is that once a person is saved he is secure in that faith and can never lose that faith.
This doctrine has caused much consternation among believers for centuries. The idea that most people that believe in "conditional security" is, basically, that if one sins to a particularly terrible manner then they have lost their salvation. The idea goes further to state that a person can be saved, lose their salvation, then gain it back, then lose it again, then gain it back, and so on.
Let's examine a few scriptures, and let God's Word speak. First, in examining the above scripture, John 10:27-30, we see that a person that is saved will never perish. In other words, you live forever. And Jesus states here that no one can snatch us out of His hand--not false teachers, not Satan or his demons, or actually even ourselves. He gives believers eternal life as a gift (Romans 6:23b) in Himself.
Also, it is important to look at three key verses in the Gospel of John: 3:16, 3:36 and 5:24. Easily the most well known verse in God's Word, John 3:16 teaches us a valuable truth:
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. John 3:16 (KJV)
This verse, and the other two which are quotes from Jesus Himself, make the statement that all believers have everlasting life. These verses are in present tense; in other words, each person possesses eternal life from the very moment they are saved.
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17 a great truth: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. What is key here are two Koine Greek terms, kainos ktisis; kainos meaning new in freshness or kind and ktisis meaning creature or creation. What happens is that at the moment of salvation the believer is changed forever by God. Does it make any sense that God, who is eternal in nature both in the past and in the future (He exists in all places and times at once) would change a person just to have to change him back? I think not.
In addition to these scriptures, we can look to the verses that deal with the sealing by the Holy Spirit (i.e., 2 Cor 1:22, Eph 1:13, 4:30), the recording of a believer's name in the Lamb's book of life from the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8, 17:8, 20:15) and others.
"Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: "Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them."
"Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.
Matt 13:3-4, 18-19, NKJV
I have had the wonderful opportunity over the past 15 years to witness to literally hundreds of people. As I have mentioned many times before, it is the Holy Spirit that draws people to salvation (John 6:44), and unless God is in it, a person does not get saved. For those of us that are saved, we see the truth clear as crystal. But for some, as are mentioned in today's key verses, they reject not only the Gospel message but even anything that looks close to it.