Safe and Secure

John 10:22-30 - Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. The Jews gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

Can believers lose their salvation? If we look at this question logically, we must conclude that believers cannot lose their salvation—unless God’s standards of righteousness are lowered. Now follow the logic. As Christians, we are far from perfect—we don’t even come close to measuring up to God’s perfect standards! Therefore, if believers could fall from grace and lose their salvation, they would be losing it continually—unless the perfect standards which God demands be lowered to less than perfect.

If God’s requirements of perfection were not lowered, then what would happen, for example, if we were to die between our continual prayers for restoration? What if we should overlook or forget to confess a sin which took us out of God’s family? What would happen if we were to die in our sleep after dreaming that we were involved in a sinful activity? Would we be lost forever if we didn’t even realize we had committed a “sin of omission” and therefore failed to confess and ask God for restoration of salvation? What if we think we’re still saved, when we have actually lost our salvation?

The “what If” list goes on and on. Our only hope for relief would be to lower God’s standards—so that we can hang in there or at least climb back in over a lower barrier! Or—we can maintain God’s high standards of perfection and believe what the Bible says about the eternal security of Christians who have been born again and now have the righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed (or credited) to them! Read 5:12-21 in this connection. So logically, then, if we agree that God’s holy standards demand perfection, believers are eternally secure because they are righteous in Christ. If we don’t believe this truth, then what believer is not in a continual state of having lost his or her salvation?

But what about serious sin in a believer’s life? The work of Christ on the cross was sufficient to save us and keep us saved—even when we sin (see Romans 8:31-39). It’s true that there are professing believers involved in sin that do not have salvation, not because they lost it but they never had it! But backslidden believers have not lost their salvation if they were truly born into the family of God. In the first 3 chapters of 1 Corinthians, Paul did not address the carnal Corinthians as lost believers who needed to be saved again, but as backslidden believers who were not spiritual.

There are several dangerous theological problems involved when persons choose to believe that salvation can be lost—in fact, some come very close to heresy! One theological problem we would face, if we believed our salvation could be lost, would be that we would have to draw lines regarding which sins cause loss of salvation. But the Bible does not allow line-drawing when it comes to salvation as we’ve already discussed. The Bible says we must be perfect! (See James 2:10, for example.)

If we believe our salvation can be lost, another very serious problem we face is that we actually lower the value of the work of Christ! The person who believes salvation can be lost says, in effect, that the work of Christ does not cover all sins of the believer—past, present and future. If this were the case, then how should Scriptures like Hebrews 9:26-28 be interpreted?

A third problem is that “eternal life” must be defined as an entity that a believer can lose. Therefore it is not eternal life, because, in this view, it only begins when the believer dies. This idea contradicts John 3:16, the most well-known verse in the Bible, in which Jesus Himself says we have (present tense) eternal life when we believe!

In addition, if salvation can be lost, God’s character is maligned and defamed by inferring that He will “kick us out of His Family” if we don’t maintain our sanctification in our own strength. As our loving heavenly Father, God certainly disciplines us to correct us and guide us in paths of righteousness, but He doesn’t disown us or consign His children to Hell if we fail to meet perfect standards in His family! No, He loves us and as a kind father, He works patiently with us to develop us into followers who more closely resemble their Lord. (See Philippians 1:6 and 2 Corinthians 3:18.)

John 10:22-30 is one of the clearest and to-the-point Scriptures teaching the eternal security of the individual who believes in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Now let’s just suppose God really wanted to communicate in His Word the concept of “once saved, always saved.” That is, once you have personally truly believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and have been given divine eternal life, and have been declared righteous based on the finished work of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, and have been brought into God’s own family, then you are one of God’s children forever and can’t ever lose your salvation. How would God best communicate this truth in His Word and leave us in no doubt as to the eternal security of our salvation? How about John 10:22-30 for starters?! John 10:22-30 is one of the clearest and to-the-point Scriptures teaching the eternal security of the individual who believes in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior—in the words of Jesus Christ Himself! What more could He say or how else could He say it more concisely?
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