Basic Bible Doctrine
Many Christians live with the terrifying insecurity that somehow, at any given moment, they can lose their salvation. Despite their love for God, they fear that God will withdraw His love from them and banish them from His heavenly home forever. There are a number of teachings that are floating around that leads people to believe this. One such teaching is "sinless perfection". Basically, this false doctrine says that when you get saved, you can not sin again, and thus inter into a state of sinless perfection. This teaching goes on to say that if you sin, after being saved, you obviously were never saved to start with. Another false doctrine, that goes along similar lines is that of "conditional salvation". In this false doctrine, a person is taught that you are saved by God's Grace, but after that, your salvation is conditional, based upon many factors, several of which are not sinning again, and doing good works.
Of course, for a person to believe either of these lies, they must ignore may verses in the Bible completely, and they must twist others to make them say something they don't. One of the first rules of Bible studying is that you NEVER ignore the clear, undeniable verses and base your doctrines on verses that seem to teach something else. God's Word NEVER contradicts itself, so, if you see verse that seem to say different things, you always take a stand on the clear unmistakable majority verses, and then seek to understand what the other verses are saying. Eternal salvation verses conditional salvation is one of these doctrines. Falling to head this basic Bible study rule has lead many to believe a lie. They live a very insecure Christian life, relying on their perfection to keep a salvation that God gave freely. In the Bible, however, God repeatedly assures His people that once He sets His love on them, they are secure in that love forever. For this lesson, we will concentrate on exactly what God promises in His Word. In the Apologetics class we will look more closely at the false teachings and how to defend your faith.
Secure Forever Because God Keeps His Promises
The place to begin to understand a believer’s security with God is with God, for a believer’s security is not rooted in the believer, but in the believer’s God.
Though he had far more evidence in his life than almost anyone else to assure him of his salvation, the Apostle Paul looked not primarily to himself, but to the character of God for assurance that his soul was safe with Him. Paul’s testimony was, “I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12). What was true for Paul is true for every other believer: God is able to securely guard the salvation He gives to believers, from the first moment of faith until the Day of Judgment and their entrance into heaven.
One of the most reassuring aspects of the character of God for fearful believers is the fact that God keeps His promises. God “never lies” (Titus 1:2). In fact, “it is impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18). As Scripture reminds us, “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” (Numbers 23:19).
Among His many promises are these:
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31), and “everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21), and “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). Along with these is the great promise of John 3:16. Try to read it as though you have never encountered it before: “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."
In these verses, as well as many others, God uses words such as "Everlasting", "Eternal", "will be saved", and "shall not perish". The question that needs to be ask is this, "if God gives us "everlastng" life, and then we can lose it, was it "everlasting"? If we can sin and lose our salvation, or we can decided to walk away from God after being saved, wa it "eternal"? No, it was conditional salvation, and nowhere in Scripture do we ever ready "believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall receive conditional salvation".
However, to believe in the Lord Jesus is not merely to agree that the information about Him in the Bible is historically accurate. Faith in Christ means trusting that God's death on the cross through Jesus Christ satisfies all the requirements for being acceptable to God forever, and that His death satisfies all the righteous wrath of God upon your sinful failure to keep those requirements. If any person–regardless of how sinful, weak or disappointing–trusts in these promises about who Jesus is and what He has done to make him or her right with God, but then is eventually rejected by God, God would be a liar.
Understanding what Jesus actually did on the cross will help to understand the extent to God's forgiveness. First, we must understand that we are all sinners. Scripture tells us that "all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Further, Scripture tells us that if we have broken one of Gods laws, we have broken them all (James 2:10). As we look further into our sin situation, we also learn that our righteousness...the very best we could possible be, is nothing more then filthy rags compared to God's Holiness and Righteousness (Isaiah 64:6). In plain English, what Scripture tells us is that we are all sinners, completely, wholly, and eternally separated from God. This condition is complicated even further when we learn that this sin condition we all have can only end one way... DEATH (Romans 6:23). However, the good news is, God loves us so much that He Himself took on human form through the body of Jesus Christ, and died on an old rugged cross so that our sins could be paid for.
Now lets take a moment to look at this price that God paid for us. Hebrews 9:22 tells us that without the shedding off blood, there can be no washing away of sin. Leviticus 22:21 teaches us that the sacrifice must be a perfect sacrifice as well. So, only a Holy, Eternal, sinless God could pay the price for our sins. Now, when Jesus died on the cross, the Bible records His final words, "It is finished" (John 19:30). What exactly did Jesus mean by this? In Romans 6:10 we read "For in that he died, he died unto sin once..." Furthermore, in Hebrews 9:12 we read that Jesus took His blood into the Holy of Holies "ONCE", and by so doing, obtained "eternal redemption" for us. These verse teach us that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross was something that will only happen ONE time. When He died on the cross, salvation was finished. He will never die again for sin. His blood, shed once, is sufficient.
Now, given that God Himself, took on human form, shed His perfect, and holy blood to eternally pay the p
rice once and for all for our sins, the next question we should ask is, "what sins did He pay for?" Hebrews 10:10 answers this question, "Once for all". But, lets not stop there. We also learn from Mark 3:28 that "all sins" shall be forgiven. This tells us that Jesus died for all sins, for all mankind, for all eternity. Past, present, and future sins are all under the perfect, eternal blood of Jesus Christ. In fact, the only sin that is not, and can not be forgiven is the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:29). This "blaspheming the Holy Spirit" is rejecting the convicting work of the Holy Spirit in your life. It is saying "no" to the Holy Spirit when He convicts you of your need for salvation. So, The only sin that anyone will ever go to hell for, is the sin of rejecting God's salvation. He has paid the price for all sins, for all mankind for all eternity, and the only thing we must do is repent, and trust Him.
Now, in regards to eternal security then, if all of our sins are paid for, past, present, and future, and we can do nothing about it, but trust God and His salvation, once saved, how can we sin and lose it? Or, If Christ did everything to pay for our sins, how can or works keep that salvation? The Apostle Paul ask this very same question in Galatians 3:3, "Are ye so foolish, having begun in the spirit are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" The truth is, Jesus saved us, Jesus keeps us. Ephesians 4:30 tells us we are "sealed unto the day of redemption". Notice it didn't say sealed until we sin again, or until we walk away from God. No, God seals us with His Holy Spirit the second we trust Jesus Christ and repent. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us, and as previously mentioned NOTHING can separate us from that love.
In addition to these wonderful truths, God has also promised to love forever those who are united with Christ by faith. In Romans 8, He goes to great lengths to assure us that nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39). God so wants to convince His children of the eternality of His love for them that He devotes an entire chapter in His Word (Psalm 136) in which every one of the 26 verses repeats the promise, “His steadfast love endures forever.” And so, if He ever stopped loving a believer in Christ, He would be lying about His love being “steadfast” and “forever.” If God ever allowed anything to separate one believer from His love, He would be a liar.
I am sure you would not call God a liar. In fact, I’m confident that you have unquestioning trust in the truthfulness of many promises He has made. If you can believe His promise to return to this earth, and if you can believe His promise to prepare a place for those who love Him, you can also believe His promise to eternally save, love and secure all who come to Christ.
Secure forever because God loves His Son
Another of the many reasons believers can feel eternally secure in their relationship with God has to do with the steadfast love of God for His Son, Jesus. Certainly you do not doubt that God is satisfied with Jesus. He has declared, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 17:5). Furthermore, He raised Jesus from the dead as a declaration that He was pleased with the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross as a substitute for sinners. He then joyfully received Jesus back into heaven and seated Him at His right hand. God’s love for Jesus is perfect and irrevocable.
So how should the fact that Jesus is eternally secure in the love of God give assurance to the believer in Christ? Remember that those who biblically believe in Christ are united with Christ. Because of this unbreakable bond with Christ, those united with Him by faith are as eternally secure as Jesus Himself.
All who believe in Christ can rejoice in the truth of unity with Christ as expressed in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” As glorious as this is, the believer’s union with Christ is so inextricably intertwined so as to be described in Scripture not only as Christ in the believer, but also as the believer in Christ. Thus, all believers have been made “alive together with Christ,” and God has “raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 2:4-6). Did you catch that? We are already, as far as God is concerned, seated together with God in heaven !!! Just as Christ lives within every believer here on earth, so it is equally and breathtakingly true that in one sense believers live in Christ at the right hand of God in heaven at this moment.
Because God does not, cannot and never will condemn Jesus, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). To reject a believer in Christ, God would have to cast Jesus Himself out of heaven.
While the Bible teaches that believers can be assured that their salvation is eternally secure, it also warns about the counterfeit of false assurance. In Matthew 7:21, Jesus gave one of many such New Testament warnings for those who presume that their souls are secure: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven.” But Jesus is not taking away with one hand an assurance He gives with the other. What He condemns is claiming assurance where the Word of God does not support it.
Hell is filled with people who were sure they were heaven-bound because they relied solely upon a public response they made in a church service or some other Christian meeting, or upon their baptism, church attendance, contributions to the church, love for their family, community or military service, an extraordinary experience or some list of accomplishments. The fatal flaw in all these sources of assurance is that they are based upon what the individual has done rather than what Christ has done. To build your hopes for heaven on something–anything–in your life rather than upon the life and death of Jesus is to build on a rotten foundation.
The Bible does speak much of the evidence found in the life of a person who biblically believes in Jesus Christ. The little book of 1 John, for instance, specifically addresses this issue and points to as many as 10 indications that a person has truly come to know God through Christ. But the Bible is clear that while we should be encouraged by the signs of eternal life in our souls, we should rest our hopes in the root of our salvation (that is, Christ) and not the fruit.
To put it another way, suppose someone asked you, “Why do you think God accepts you and will let you into heaven?” Beware of any answer that would begin with, “Because I …” Don’t misunderstand. There are some things we must do to know God and go to heaven. We must repent, and we must believe the Gospel (Mark 1:15). But even things we’re commanded to do, such as repent and have faith, are effective only because of what Christ has done, so that the security of our salvation rests solely on Christ and not on us.
But what about those who leave?
One of the verses that has become a stumbling block to some is found in Hebrews 6:4-6). In these verse Paul talks about those who were once "enlightened", and "taste" of the heavenly gift, and then fall away. He says of them that it would be impossible to bring them back unto repentance because Christ would have to be crucified all over again. However, this verse brings up an interesting question, but it does not say that this falling away of a saved person is possible. It only says that if it were to happen, it would be impossible to be saved again. Another verse found in 1 John 2:19 tells us that people leave the faith because, "they were not of us". He goes on to say that if they had been truly saved, they would never have left. So, these two verse confirm God's eternal salvation for those who are truly saved, but also gives a warning that if you know the truth, understand your sins, and know you need to be saved, but turn your back on Gods salvation and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, there is left no salvation for you because you have committed the one sin that will never be forgiven....blaspheming the Holy Spirit.
BUT, No one that God has adopted will ever be ripped from His arms or be sent tearfully away from Him. A heavenly promise for all God’s children is, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). And Jesus assures all who trust in Him, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).
Finally, remember what God promises in John 3:16 to all who believe in Jesus? He says they will “not perish but have eternal life.” Note that: eternal life. If this life He gives to believers in Christ were not secure–if it could be lost, taken way, or was in any sense temporary–it could not be called eternal. And there is nothing more secure than that which is eternal.
Answer the questions below. If you miss a question, go back and study that portion of the class and then retake the test. Once you have received a 100% you may proceed to the next class. You DO NOT have to submit this test for grading. Only the final test will be submitted.