GOT QUESTIONS ETERNAL SECURITY CRITIQUE
This page was created to Biblically challenge the doctrine of eternal security as found at http://www.gotquestions.org/eternal-security.html. You are encouraged to discern truth from lies using God’s Word.
The first passage they provide as proof for eternal security is Jude: “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy” (Jude 24, ESV).
The webpage being challenged states (as of 7/14/17), “God’s power is able to keep the believer from falling. It is up to Him, not us, to present us before His glorious presence. Our eternal security is a result of God keeping us, not us maintaining our own salvation.”
First, this verse doesn’t promise that one who is presently in the faith will always remain in the faith (eternal security). Second, while God is always faithful, His faithfulness should not be confused with the believer’s responsibility to remain in the faith.
Third, because God is able to preserve us, we are not excused from the responsibility to persevere. Our ongoing faith is not “maintaining our salvation” as this website misrepresents conditional security proponents. Our faith in Jesus secures our salvation. He is eternal life! “Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes [an ongoing action] to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). If you have not started feasting on Jesus, the Son of God, Master and Lord, please start feasting on Him while it is still day!
Fourth, a few verses earlier, Jude commanded his readers to: “keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life” Jude 20-21. Dear believer in Jesus Christ, while Jesus is always faithful, we should not mistake His faithfulness with our responsibility to remain “in the love of God” (Jude 21).
Summary: The first verse provided by gotquestions.org doesn’t promise that God preserves those who leave the faith, and that perseverance is not required.
This is the second passage provided by gotquestions.org as proof for eternal security:
“My sheep hear hear [present tense verb] my voice, and I know them, and they follow [present tense] me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will 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 the Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29).
For verse 28, who are the “them” (“I give them eternal life“)? Verse 27 identifies “them” as those who “hear” (verb with ongoing action) and “follow” (verb with ongoing action). So the promises of verses 28-29 are active while the conditions stated (“hear” and “follow“) in verse 27 remain true.
Summary: In John 10:27-29, those who “never perish” (v. 28), are those who “hears” (v. 27) the voice of Christ and “follows” (v. 27). We should not overlook these semantic qualifiers based on established rules of grammar. God’s Word is truth.
Ephesians 4:30 is the next verse provided as evidence: “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for [not until] the day of redemption.”
Paul clearly identifies his target audience in chapter one. They “are faithful” (v. 1). Paul “heard of their faith” (v. 15), and they “believe” (v. 19). Contextually, Paul wrote to Christians living in an ongoing, obedient faith in Jesus Christ. This group is “sealed for the day of redemption.” So, Paul is not writing (contextually) to those who formerly were in the faith and since have abandoned it to inform them that they will remain sealed.
Secondly, God who seals is not powerless to unseal. In fact, this verse doesn’t explicitly state that they will/won’t remained sealed —but that they “were sealed for [purpose] the day of redemption.”
As believers in Jesus Christ, living in ongoing faith (as the Ephesians), we can confidently know that we are “sealed for the day of redemption.” This gives us great hope and confidence that Christ will keep His promise as we remain in the faith!
The web page being critiqued, states (for Ephesians 4:30), “If believers did not have eternal security, the sealing could not truly be unto the day of redemption, but only to the day of sinning, apostasy, or disbelief.”
Please consider a few facts. The quote above is a theological argument read into Scripture and not a contextual, grammatical, and explicit teaching from God’s Word. Church doctrine must come from an explicit, contextual and grammatical understanding to be valid. A correct, explicit understanding of Scripture is God’s authority for doctrines, and not man-made theological arguments.
Similarly, I could make my own arguments. Both sides can make convincing arguments outside of God’s inspired framework. When Jesus tempted Satan in the wilderness, God’s Word was twisted outside of context. This tactic remains a viable option in Satan’s arsenal.
Secondly, they write “if believers.” The problem is that those who no longer believe are no longer believers. The very name believers mean one continues in a state of belief. Many adults used to believe in a Santa Clause who brought them presents through a chimney. But when they got older they no longer believed in him.
Summary: In Ephesians 4:30, Paul did not write that they were free to live in sin or unbelief because their seal was irrevocable. Those sealed were not to grieve the Holy Spirit. The Bible is correctly understood when we draw out the truth as intended by its authors. Ephesians 4:30 offers great words of comfort to those who continue to believe.
The next passage provided is John 3:15-16: “that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
The webpage states, “John 3:15-16 tells us that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will ‘have eternal life.’”
This quote is in error. The verses state that those who “believes“ (in the present) “have” (not “will have” future) eternal life. There is a big difference. Satan loves to change God’s Word; an eternity in hell is at stake.
John 3:16 starts with God and ends with eternal life. “Whosoever” (open ended) “believes” (Greek present tense participle; ongoing belief here) “in him should not perish but have (right now) eternal life.” Those who “believes” in the present, “have” in the present “everlasting life.” This passage offers believers in the faith, ongoing security.
We will now cover possibly the most common theological argument outside of Scripture to teach the doctrine known as eternal security. The webpage states:
“If a person were to be promised eternal life, but then have it taken away, it was never ‘eternal’ to begin with. If eternal security is not true, the promises of eternal life in the Bible would be in error.”
Once again, man-made arguments have become church doctrine. What a sad commentary on the state of the church. A few examples will illustrate the folly of this theological argument.
Suppose a man is gifted a $100 dollar bill; it’s his and worth $100. If the bill is spent, given away, discarded, etc., he no longer has possession of it —the bill is still worth $100.00. It would be illogical to conclude he cannot forfeit it because the bill will always be worth $100.
Many employers offer life insurance to their employees while they remain with the company. It would be unreasonable for former employees to conclude that their life insurance will always remain in effect, even after leaving the company because it’s called life insurance.
In John 3:16, possession of eternal life is true (“has“) while a person “believes” in Jesus Christ. To overlook these semantic qualifiers based on rules of grammar is to reject God’s inspired Word. A correct grammatical interpretation of Scripture is necessary for a correct doctrinal understanding.
The final passage provided as evidence for eternal security is Romans 8:38-39: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
These two verses were plucked from foundational context. It’s possible to work backwards to identify the recipients (“us“) of these beautiful promises (v. 39).
An important principle of interpretation is that verses only have meaning in context. That means it’s wrong to isolate a partial passage and read in a meaning not intended by its author.
It would take pages to analyze the context proceeding verses 38-39. The following is only a brief summary:
In Romans 8:1, those who are presently “in Christ” are not under condemnation. Verse 13 reads, “For if you [believers] live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” There are two outcomes. The first road is filled with fleshly desires and ends in death. The second road is Spirit led, the flesh is crucified daily, and the outcome is life.
Paul wrote to believers who loved God in the present. This is evident by verse 8:28: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Romans 8:28 begins a golden chain that is conditional on the first link. That is, while the first link remains active (“love God“), the remaining links (foreknowledge, predestination, calling, justification, and glorification) are realities.
Romans 8:28 describes those in the faith right now (“those who love God“) —not those who left for the pleasures of sin. The word “love” is a verb in the Greek present tense. It describes those who love God in the present. The verses that follow must be understood in context for a correct interpretation.
“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (v. 29).
God is omnipotent. Nothing will happen today that He didn’t know before the foundation of the world. This includes who will persevere in the faith. For an omniscient (all knowing) God, foreknowledge (knowing what will happen in advance) logically precedes predestination.
Verses 30-37, describe (contextually) those in a love relationship with their Savior. Please read and consider the background verses leading up to 8:38-39.
The author of Hebrews encouraged believers to persevere in their faith to be saved. He wrote, “Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if [conditional] indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope” (Hebrews 3:6).
He went on to write: “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God [a possibility; he wasn’t joking]. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if [conditional] indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end” (Hebrews 3:12-14).
Consider Romans 8:31: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us” (v. 31)? When Paul writes, “If God is for us” —he is writing to those in ongoing faith. In the next verse Paul uses the word “us.” The context is about those in the faith in the present and not those who have placed their hand on the plow and looked back (Luke 9:62).
Consider verse 35: “Who shall separate us [those who love God in the present is the context] from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword” (v. 35)?
Conclusion: Romans 8:38-39 should be understood in light of the context. Nothing is able to separate believers (those who remain in active faith) “from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Every believer is responsible to study God’s Word as a Berean. Please allow God’s Word to determine what you believe. God’s Word is truth!
Last edited on 7/14/17
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