Summary: If you're saved by the Savior, you'll be safe with the Savior.
The Promise of Eternal Life
Rev. Brian Bill
At a recent televised awards ceremony on BET, the individual announcing the winner mistakenly gave the wrong name. Things immediately became very awkward. Apparently the electronic tablet she was reading from said something different from the teleprompter so she didn’t know what to do. After a commercial break, things were straightened out and the award was given to the right person.
Friends, when it comes time for the Lamb’s Book of Life to be opened, there will be no confusion or uncertainty. No wrong names will be called. Those who know Jesus Christ can be certain that they are saved. Here’s the sermon in a sentence: “If you’re saved by the Savior you’ll be safe with the Savior forever.”
This first promise in our “Summer of Promise” series has been referred to as “Eternal Security,” “Perseverance of the Saints,” or by the phrase, “Once Saved, Always Saved.” The promise of eternal life means that those who are born again can never lose their salvation and are assured that they will inevitably go to heaven.
In his “Systematic Theology,” Louis Berkhof defines this doctrine as “That continuous operation of the Holy Spirit in the believer, by which the work of divine grace begun in the heart is continued and brought to completion.” The Westminster Confession of Faith puts it like this: “They whom God hath accepted in His Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither…totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.” And here’s how our Articles of Faith reads: “We believe that every born again believer is the possessor of everlasting life and is kept by the power of God, and is thus secure in Christ forever.”
As important as Systematic Theology and Confessions of Faith and even PBC’s Statement of Faith is, they cannot give you the assurance you need. My words in this sermon won’t settle it for you either. The only way you can be sure is by going to the Scriptures themselves. In an age of short attention spans, sound-bite sermons, superficial spirituality and doctrinal shallowness, I plead with you to dig into the Word with me so that the promise of eternal life becomes very personal to you.
It’s my aim today that you will be convinced by both the content and clarity of God’s Word. My plan is to saturate us with Scripture so that we get this settled once and for all and that we pass this promise on to our children and grandchildren as well.
On this 4th of July weekend, we commemorate the founding of our country and the importance of our constitution. Did you see the recent cover of TIME magazine that shows our constitution being run through a shredder with this question superimposed over it: “Does it Still Matter?” Some are suggesting that we just start over like the country of Iceland that is using Facebook to rewrite their constitution. But what is our country without the constitution and the writings of our founding fathers? In a similar, but more profound way, what is Christianity without the Bible? We must constantly go back to the foundation of our faith.
Let me just say that this promise is extremely practical. I know many seemingly saved people who have no assurance of their salvation. When asked if they know for sure if they are going to heaven when they die, they will answer something like this: “I hope so” or “I think so” or “If I’m good enough.” I’ve talked to people who are filled with fear.
The way I see it there are four possibilities related to our topic today.
1. To be lost and know that you’re lost.
2. To be lost and think you are saved.
3. To be saved and not know it for sure.
4. To be saved and know that you’re secure.
I would love to have everyone in this final group by the time we’re finished this morning because if you’re saved by the Savior you’ll be safe with the Savior forever.
Here’s how I want to approach our topic today. Instead of walking through a number of Books of the Bible like we did last week, I’m going to limit our focus to one of the human authors of the Bible and to two of the five books he wrote. His name is John and I want us to first camp in the Gospel that bears his name and then we’ll move over to the first letter that he wrote known as 1 John. Here’s an interesting insight. Of the 42 instances that the phrase “eternal life” is used in the Bible, 22 of them are found in these two books.