«      »

A steadfast anchor

By Josh Paczok

Many Christians do not understand what the Bible says about the doctrine of eternal security; however the Bible clearly teaches that a Christian cannot lose his salvation. I would like to share three reasons why we as Christians must believe in our own eternal security.  First, Jesus taught that the believer is eternally secure. The apostle Paul also taught that the believer is eternally secure. Thirdly, the writer of Hebrews powerfully argues that the believer is eternally secure.

The first reason that a believer in Jesus Christ should believe that their salvation is secure for eternity is that Jesus taught that the believer is eternally secure. In John five and verse twenty-four Jesus equates salvation with eternal security. Jesus said: ” Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” In this verse Jesus shows us two things that He believes about eternal life. First of all notice that Jesus believes that eternal life begins the moment in which a person believes. Jesus used the past tense to describe the possession of eternal life “. . . has eternal life.” So once a person believes they do not wait until they get to heaven to have their eternal life. Rather, eternal life begins the moment that a person believes!  Next we see that Jesus believes that once a person believes, they do not come into judgment, because they have already passed from death to life.  A second example of Jesus’ teaching on this matter is found in John chapter ten and verses twenty-seven through thirty.

Jesus teaches that God’s strength is the basis of a believer’s security. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow 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. I and the Father are one.” Jesus teaches us three important truths about eternal security in this passage. The first important truth that Jesus teaches about eternal security is that an indication of our eternal security is that we have a relationship with Jesus. Notice Jesus says “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Eternal security is obtained when Jesus knows a person. Eternal security is evidenced by a person’s response to Christ’s leading, through His word. The second important truth that Jesus teaches us in this passage is that because He gives his believers eternal life, it is impossible for them to ever perish. Notice He says “. . . they will never perish. . .” As if this statement was not enough to prove that a believer can never perish, Jesus went on to say why a believer can never perish. Jesus said, “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.” The basis of eternal security is because God the Father is the one who has given the believers to Jesus. Since God the Father is greater than all, no one is able to undo what God has already done.

A second reason to believe this crucial doctrine is that the Apostle Paul believed that the believer is eternally secure. In Romans chapter eight and verses twenty-eight through thirty-nine, Paul describes the overwhelming victory of the believer. In this passage, Paul describes two facets of one important truth. In verses twenty-nine through thirty a difficult concept is discussed. This is the same concept as Jesus talked about in John chapter ten. Jesus said ” My sheep hear my voice, and I know them. . .” According to God’s knowledge of us beforehand, He has actually predestined those who believe to be made to be like Jesus, which is the ultimate goal of all Christians. The reason that Paul brings this up is to prove that believers cannot lose their salvation because God chose us, before we chose Him. The second facet of this one great truth is found in verses thirty through thirty-nine.  Paul emphasizes what he is about to say with a rhetorical question. He asks “it is God who justifies who is to condemn?” Paul then goes on to answer his rhetorical question by stating that absolutely nothing in all creation is able to separate the believer from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.

The apostle Paul uses no uncertain speech when he says:  “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.” Thus the one great truth that the Apostle Paul is declaring in this passage is that salvation is all about God, and as such it is impossible for one who has been saved to then be unsaved. Since God is the one who makes a person righteous there is no one left who is able to make that person a sinner again. A second example of the Apostle Paul’s teaching of eternal security is found in Ephesians chapter one and verse four through verse fourteen. Paul simply describes what it means to be a believer. There are three truths about the believer revealed to us in this passage. In verses four and five Paul teaches that believers have been chosen by God before the foundation of the world for two things. Believers have been chosen to do the good works that God has laid out for them. Also, believers have been chosen to be adopted into the family of Jesus Christ. Upon believing, a believer immediately receives redemption. Ephesians 1:7 says “In Him we have redemption. . .” We have already seen from Paul’s letter to the Romans that redemption is irrevocable. The next truth that this passage reveals about believers is that a believers eternal inheritance is absolutely guaranteed.

In verse eleven the text says: “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will. . .” Believers even have a divine down payment on this inheritance as the text says in verses thirteen and fourteen. “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,  who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” There are two important things to note in these two verses.  First of all notice, just as Jesus said, the believer is eternally sealed at the moment in which they believe. Secondly notice that the text says “. . . until we acquire possession of it. . .”  The inheritance is ours the moment we believe. The Holy Spirit of God guarantees that truth, until we actually take possession of what is already ours.

The writer of Hebrews argues that salvation truly is eternal.  In Hebrews chapter five and verse eleven through chapter six and verse twenty,there is a clear articulation of the fact that our eternal security as believers is based on the oath God swore on Himself. Although this passage is often misunderstood, it is the writer’s argument for eternal security. In chapter five verse eleven through chapter six and verse three the writer of Hebrews describes the spiritual condition of those to whom He is writing. This sets the stage for what He is about to write. He makes two observations about the believers to whom he is writing in chapter five and verses eleven through fourteen. The believers to whom this passage is addressed have become spiritually “dull of hearing.” That is to say they no longer understand God’s word in the way that they should. In addition, these believers are spiritually not as mature as they should be.

Their spiritual development is delayed. One might say that they are spiritually retarded. In Chapter six and verses one through three the writer of Hebrews sets the stage for His argument. He says,  “Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.  And this we will do if God permits.” So since the spiritual maturity of the people to whom the writer of Hebrews is writing is so delayed, he now goes on to logically explain a doctrine that accompanies maturity, with a list of arguments. The first argument that the writer of Hebrews proposes is the one that is often misunderstood.

The text says in Hebrews chapter six and verses four through eight, “For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit,  and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.  For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.” Before you allow your theology to color your interpretation of the text, notice three things. First of all notice, that these verses are not in fact a warning to anyone, for this reason.

The term “fall away” is not defined, if the writer were warning his readers not to fall away, he would have told them specifically what not to do. The fact that the writer does not define the term “fall away” or accompany this statement with a specific warning indicates that one of two conditions is true: Either the writer is assuming that the believers know exactly what he means, or he is specifically addressing a particular erroneous belief. Given the prior context we can be sure that the writer is not assuming any knowledge on the part of his readers, so we must conclude that these few verses are in fact a direct contradiction to an erroneous belief held by the believers to whom the writer is writing. Therefore, we must not add our theology into the equation but carefully disect what this passage is saying and take it at face value. Is there a  direct warning that any specific action or failure will cause a believer to lose their salvation?   If you are honest you will say, “no there is not.” So what is the statement that the author is making in these verses? All he really says is that if a believer falls away he cannot be re-saved. The issue of whether or not a true believer can actually fall away is not mentioned here.

Finally, notice that the emphasis of this passage is not the falling away. Instead the emphasis is on the impossibility of re-salvation. Thus we must conclude that this passage is not a statement that salvation can be lost. Instead we must conclude that this passage explains the truth that a person who has previously been saved, and has fallen away could never be saved again. The purpose of these verses is to correct the idea that a person can bounce back and fourth between salvation and unsalvation. The truth that is being communicated here is that re-salvation is impossible. As we can see in the rest of this passage, these verses become the first argument in a series of arguments, designed to combat the spiritually immature belief of the readers to whom the book of Hebrews was written. Evidently these believers believed that they were bouncing back and forth between a state of salvation and a state of condemnation. They probably thought that their salvation was contingent upon their actions. This belief probably came from the Jewish Legalism which plagued the church of the day. Salvation is not contingent upon human action, however. This truth becomes abundantly clear as one continues in this passage of Scripture.

The next argument that the writer of Hebrews makes is found in chapter six and verses nine through twelve. The writer of Hebrews argues that a believer’s belief and subsequent security are evident by their works. I notice two things about this argument. First, the author mentions “things that accompany salvation.” The reader should ask himself “what are these things which accompany salvation.” Secondly I notice in verses eleven and twelve that believers are to be motivated by their assurance.  A third argument that the writer of Hebrews makes is that God swore an oath by Himself in order to show the believer the unchangeableness of His purpose. This is found in Hebrews chapter six and verses thirteen to eighteen. This gives the believer strong encouragement, because believers are heirs to His promise. This also refutes the belief that a person who has been saved can fall away.

God knows who He is going to save before He saves them, if He chose to save you in the first place, will you persuade Him to change His mind?  According to this argument, that would be impossible. The writer of Hebrews concludes his argument for eternal security by affirming the solid foundation upon which our security is based. He says in verses nineteen and twenty, “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” Carefully consider a few elements of this conclusion. First of all, notice that the writer says, “We have. . .”  Thus the “things which accompany salvation” mentioned earlier are found right here in the conclusion. What do the believers have? They have assurance! The reason we have this steadfast hope is because Jesus is our forerunner. The writer here is using imagery from the Old Testament worship system in which the high priest would go “behind the curtain” to act as a go-between from the people to God.  Jesus is permanently filling that position as the high priest between humanity and God.  Therefore, since we are told that He is our high priest forever, it would only be possible to lose our steadfast assurance once eternity is over!

A  believer cannot grow to spiritual maturity in Christ unless they understand the truth that their salvation is eternally secure, as we can see from the way the writer of Hebrews rebuked his readers for failing to understand this fundamental doctrine. Praise the Lord that our salvation is all about Him, and what He did! We did nothing to gain it and we can do nothing to lose it, but we sure can waste time trying to keep it. If you are a believer and you have not yet understood this biblical truth, stop robbing yourself of the joy and peace of your salvation. As the writer of Hebrews points out, our assurance is to motivate us to serve the Lord! If you are  a believer who is still serving God out of fear of punishment, right now take hold of the assurance that is provided for you. Pray to God and say something like this: “Heavenly Father, thank you for adopting me into your family. Thank You for saving me from my sin and eternally sealing me with your Holy Spirit when I placed my faith in you. Thank you Lord Jesus for being my high priest forever, so that I never have to be separated from you again. Now Lord help me to serve you out of love and devotion and gratitude, rather than fear of punishment. In Jesus’ eternal name, amen.”

Josh Paczok is a graduate of Word of Life Bible Institute in Pottersville, NY and has a BA in Bible/Theology from Appalachian Bible College in Beckley, WV.

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com <a href=”http://www.faithwriters.com”>CHRISTIAN WRITER</a> – <a href=”http://www.highpowersites.com” target=”_new”>MAKE WEBSITES ONLINE</a>

One Response to “A steadfast anchor”

  1. RealTime - Questions: "Was the Son of God present when the Word of God was given?" Says:

    […] […]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  • Stay Up to Date with TheHolyStory News!
    Get Your TheHolyStory News here!
    * indicates required
  • Categories
  • Search the Net from here!
    Custom Search
WP Flex by WP Queen
Wordpress theme developed by Simpler Computing and others - Wordpress and WPMU Plugins, custom code and more.