Summary: A sermon on Eternal Security of the Believer
38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,
39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. NKJV
Charles Ryrie, in his book So Great Salvation, quoted the late Harry Ironside:
Harry Ironside stated that salvation was like Noah inviting a pagan in his day to place his trust in God's Word and come in to the ark. Some view salvation like Noah offering to put a peg on the outside of the ark. "If you just hang on through the storm, you'll be saved." Salvation is not dependent on our holding on to God, but on our being securely held by and in Christ.
I had the majority of the message done, and was completing it last night when I had an interesting discussion with a fellow Christian on Facebook. She is a former member of a church that teaches that you can lose your salvation, but now attends a Baptist church. Up until last night, she did not believe in Eternal Security...but now she has much food for thought.
With this in mind, let's take a brief overview of the doctrine and perhaps solidify the teaching in our mind, along with providing great comfort to those who have never come to terms with the doctrine.
I) Some Flawed Ideas On Eternal Security
Before we go very far, let me state that of all of the doctrines of the Bible, Eternal Security is the nearest and dearest to my heart aside from the major doctrines regarding the Godhead himself.
When properly understood, this is a doctrine that is a great comfort to the believer, and a source of greater confidence in God. However, if it is misconstrued, it can be a source of great damage to a person's faith.
Let's take a look at some of the flawed ideas on eternal security:
A) Flawed Biblical Interpretation
Folks that are in the "eternal insecurity" camp as I call it use certain proof scriptures that just don't add up.
Here are a few:
21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.
22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: "A dog returns to his own vomit," and, "a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire."
The problem with using this scripture is that it has nothing to do with "falling away" or losing one's salvation. If you check the context, the entire chapter is dealing with false teachers who were never saved to begin with. John speaks of these false teachers, whom he calls "antichrists"--small a--in 1 John:
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.
19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. NKJV
John 15:6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. NKJV
Again, if you check the context, this speaks of what would look to be believers but instead are not at all. A similar line of thought would be the "thorny ground hearer" in Jesus' parable of the sower. Quick growth, but no roots.
But perhaps the keystone scripture used is Hebrews 6:4-6:
4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,
6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. NKJV
Charles Ryrie, in his NASB Study Bible, concisely and correctly shows the different ideas behind this scripture:
6:4-6 This much-debated passage has been understood in several ways.
(1) Arminians hold that the people described in these verses are Christians who actually lose their salvation. If this be so, notice that the passage also teaches that it is impossible to be saved a second time.
(2) Some hold that the passage refers not to genuine believers but to those who only profess to be believers. Thus the phrases in verses 4-5 are understood to refer to experiences short of salvation (cf. v. 9). The "falling away" is from the knowledge of the truth, not personal possession of it.