Posted Mar 07, 2017 by Michael L. Brown

The modern grace message would tell us that,  as believers in Jesus, nothing that we do (or do not do) can ever change our standing before God—even willful, persistent, unrepentant sin and unbelief. Numerous scriptures challenge that view (see, for instance, John 15:6; 1 Corinthians 15:2; 2 Timothy 2:12; and Hebrews 10:26.) But does that that we cannot be secure in our salvation? Absolutely not!

But rather than asking if it is possible to “lose” your salvation, let’s ask the question, “Is it possible for you to walk away from God? As a follower of Jesus, do you still have a free will? Can you still make choices? If so, can you choose to deny Jesus and choose a life of sin instead?”

When looked at from this angle, it should be obvious that the answer is, “Yes, I have still have a free will, and I can still make choices as a believer, so theoretically it would be possible for me to deny the Lord and abandon Him.”

You might say, “But I want to live for the Lord all the days of my life. I’m just afraid that I could mess up in some way and lose my salvation.”

Well then, let’s focus on that word “lose” for a moment. There’s a reason I prefer not to use it.

Normally, you lose something accidentally, like losing your car keys, your glasses, or a business card. “Where did I put those keys? I can’t find them anywhere.”

That is not the way things are with God and salvation. You don’t simply “lose” your salvation, as if it was as easy as that. God has promised to keep us, assuring us that nothing can separate us from His love (Rom. 8:31–39) and that no one can pluck us out of His hand (John 10:28–29). He is the Author and the Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), and He who began a good work in us will see it through to completion (Phil. 1:6).

Jesus is our Savior; we do not save ourselves. And just as we didn’t get saved by accident, we can’t lose our salvation by accident.

This means that if you want to live for the Lord, you have nothing to worry about in terms of “losing” your salvation. He will keep you, help you, empower you, guide you, correct you, and deliver you until you see Him face-to-face.

Think of it like being a passenger on a plane that is guaranteed to reach its destination overseas. Unless you choose to do something crazy and open the emergency door and jump, you will arrive at your destination safely.

It’s the exact same thing with salvation.

The “plane” you are flying in is piloted by a perfect Pilot, and there is nothing that can bring this plane down—not enemy fire, not bad weather, not anything—and you can enjoy the ride without fear of crashing. If you choose to do something crazy and walk away from the Lord—in the case of the plane analogy, open the emergency door and jump—then you choose to forfeit your salvation. But as long as you want to reach your destination and stay on the plane, you have nothing whatsoever to worry about it. In fact, you can even enjoy the ride!

You might say, “But that’s what scares me. If I have any choice in the matter, then I could be lost forever.”

The fact is, you do have a choice, and there is not a verse in the Bible that says that once we become believers, we do not have a free will in Jesus and are no longer capable of making spiritual choices. If that was the case, the entire New Testament would make no sense at all, since the Word constantly calls us to make choices as believers. But God has promised to keep you, so if you put your trust in Him rather in yourself, you have nothing to worry about.

You may be now thinking, “But the modern grace message makes me feel so much more secure, since it tells me that no matter what I do, no matter how many times I sin, even if I deny the Lord, He will not let me go.”

Perhaps it makes you feel more secure, but what you’re hearing is not true. That’s what makes the message so dangerous: It exaggerates wonderful truths about God’s love, kindness, and longsuffering, and goes beyond what Scripture says.

Why in the world would you want to take comfort by believing in something false? That would be like going to a doctor who says, “You are now cancer-free and that cancer will never come back,” only to die one year later from cancer because the doctor misled you. What kind of help is that?

Some say, “But once you have eternal life, it cannot be cut short. And once God makes you His child, you can’t cease to be His child.”

But that’s not what the Word says (which I will illustrate shortly), and it is on the Scriptures (not our logic) that we must base our beliefs, letting the Word speak for itself.

To repeat: Our Father has given us wonderful promises, and our salvation is not some flimsy thing that can be found one day and lost the next, nor is our salvation dependent on our ability to “stay saved.”

It is God who is at work in us, and He will finish what He started. He will hear your cry for help, He will have mercy on you in your weakness, and He will forgive one hundred times a day if you come to Him for cleansing. But He will not keep you against your own will, which is why the Lord gives us so many warnings in the New Testament.

  • And you, who were formerly alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and blameless and above reproach in His sight, if you continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and are not removed from the hope of the gospel, which you have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. (Colossians 1:21–23, emphasis added)
  • For if after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than to have known it and then turn back from the holy commandment that was delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb, “The dog returns to his own vomit,” and “the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mud.” (2 Peter 2:20–22)
  • Therefore we should be more attentive to what we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken by angels was true, and every sin and disobedience received a just recompense, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation, which was first declared by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him? (Hebrews 2:1–3)
  • Be attentive, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, and you depart from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence firmly to the end, while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” (Hebrews 3:12-15)

The New Testament authors had no trouble issuing strong warnings to believers, sometimes putting these warnings side by side with God’s glorious promises. Both are true, and both should be taken to heart. That’s why Hebrews 12:2 can speak of Jesus as “the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (NET) while Hebrews 12:25–29 can warn us about the dangers of refusing to obey God’s voice. In the same way, Philippians 2:12–13 put our responsibility side by side with God’s responsibility, saying, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but so much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For God is the One working in you, both to will and to do His good pleasure.”

To help put all this in perspective, let me give you some further background. Within evangelical circles, there are three main beliefs concerning the possibility of a child of God forfeiting his or her salvation, and countless thousands of pages have been written debating the question. These are the three main views:

  1. The teaching commonly known as “once saved, always saved” (OSAS) states that once you are truly saved, no matter how you live or what you do, even denying Jesus and turning your back on Him, you cannot lose your salvation. Although your sin might shorten your life or lessen your future rewards, you will still be eternally saved.
  2. The teaching called “perseverance of the saints” states that a true believer will not ultimately turn away from the Lord, and therefore if you claim to be born-again and die in sin, denying the Lord, you were never truly saved.
  3. The final teaching doesn’t have one specific name associated with it, but it states that a true believer can choose to apostasize, reject God’s grace, and forfeit salvation. Although we are secure in Jesus, if we ultimately reject Him, we forfeit our secure standing.

Those holding to the first view point to verses like Romans 8:28–39, which state that nothing that can separate us from God’s love, or John 10:26–29, which state that Jesus’s sheep have eternal life and no one can pluck them out of His hand.

Those holding to the second viewpoint emphasize those same passages but also point to verses such as 1 John 2:19, which states that those who left the church were never really part of it, or 1 John 3:6, which states that those who continue to live in sin have never really known the Lord.

Those holding to the third viewpoint look to verses such as Colossians 1:21–23, which state that our salvation is assured if we persevere in faith to the end, or 2 Peter 2:20–22, which state that it would be better never to have known the Lord than to know Him and then turn away from Him.

For the most part, modern grace (also called hyper-grace) teachers emphatically hold to the doctrine of “once saved, always saved” (viewpoint number 1), although some seem to hold to the doctrine of “perseverance of the saints” (viewpoint number 2) making comments such as, “It is totally impossible for a true Christian to reject Christ, since true Christians are one in spirit with Jesus. If someone claims to be a follower of Jesus and then denies Him and chooses a life of sin and rebellion, that person was never saved, no matter what they claim.” (This is a paraphrase of some common hyper-grace teachings. You can find exact quotes in my book, Hyper-Grace.)

Of course, there is an irony when modern grace teachers hold to views like perseverance of the saints, since it ultimately puts the emphasis back on the believer’s “performance.” In other words, “If I claim to be a believer and I’m living right then I’m saved, but if I claim to be a believer and have turned away from God, I guess I was never saved.” This is obviously the last thing intended by hyper-grace teachers, but again, it is the logical conclusion to statements like the one just quoted.

How then do we sort things out?

It’s really very simple.

God’s promises are to believers—to those who want to follow the Lord and whose lives belong to Him—not to rebels who have chosen sin and rejected His Lordship. Put another way, there is not a single promise anywhere in the Bible that God will bless us with eternal life if we ultimately reject Him and choose rebellion, and we give people false assurance when we make that claim. (In other words, viewpoint number 1 is not true.)

Find me one verse anywhere in the Bible—just one—that gives assurance of eternal life and blessing to an unrepentant rebel who is living in willful, persistent sin, denying the Lord in an ongoing, hardened way, and I will invite you to join me on national radio or TV and tell the whole world that I was wrong. Just one verse!

Without a doubt, you’ll find many verses promising mercy and forgiveness to those who turn back (thank God!) and you’ll find many verses assuring us of God’s keeping power, but note clearly that the promises are given to Jesus’s sheep—to those who know His voice and follow Him (John 10:27)—rather than to those who reject His voice and walk away from Him. In short, viewpoints number 2 or 3 could be right, but number 1 cannot.

So, on a practical level, it comes down to this: If you have put your trust in the Lord and desire to serve Him, He has given you absolute assurance that He will never leave or forsake you, that He will keep you safe to the end, and that no one and nothing can separate you from His love. Rest secure in Him! He is the Author and Finisher of your faith!

But if you believe that since you were once saved, even if you reject Him and live in unrepentant sin you are still saved, then you have deceived yourself and are in danger of falling under God’s judgment. (That’s why Jesus and Paul often warned us not to be deceived; see, for example, Matthew 24:4-5 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.) If you walked away from the Lord, either you were never saved or you have forfeited your salvation, so turn back to Him now, knowing that He is quick to forgive, that He loves to show mercy, and that He can restore you to Himself with life, hope, and purpose through Jesus. To repeat: The promise of eternal life is only to Jesus’s sheep, those who know His voice and follow Him.

But why would we ever want to walk away from Him? Everything we need is found in Him, and in Him alone is life—true, abundant life—so drink deeply of His incredible love. Be assured that He who began the good work in you will bring it to completion (Phil. 1:6). And if you find yourself playing games with sin and growing distant from the Lord, get sober, get serious, and turn back to the cross. The cleansing blood of Jesus will never lose its power.

(Adapted from Michael L. Brown, The Grace Controversy: Answers to Twelve Common Questions.)

Sign Up or Login to post comments.


user profile
DavidM posted a comment · Jun 24, 2021
Dr. Brown, how do you interpret Ephesians 1:13-14 (NIV)? "13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory."
user profile
OnceSaved posted a comment · Jan 24, 2021
"Find me one verse anywhere in the Bible—just one—that gives assurance of eternal life and blessing to an unrepentant rebel who is living in willful, persistent sin denying the Lord in an ongoing, hardened way, and I will invite you to join me on national radio or TV and tell the whole world that I was wrong. Just one verse! " 1 Corinthians 5:3,5 YLT - "for I ... have already judged... him who so wrought this thing: ... to deliver up such a one to the Adversary for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be SAVED in the day of the Lord Jesus." So here's a Corinthian believer who was living in unrepentant sexual immorality, refusing to repent even after confronted by the church. Paul said he would be put to death, but his spirt would still be saved. I look forward to meeting you on national television. :)
Yehoshua posted a comment · Mar 31, 2017
It’s time to set the record straight once and for all. What does it take to be saved? I think the best answer to that question is the one the Lord gave in John 6:28-29. Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” Here was a perfect opportunity to list all the things we have to do to meet God’s requirements. Jesus could have rattled off the 10 commandments. He could have repeated the Sermon on the Mount. He could have listed any number of admonitions and restrictions necessary to achieve and maintain God’s expectations of us. But what did He say? “Believe in the one He has sent.” Period. It was a repeat of John 3:16, confirming that belief in the Son is the one and only requirement for salvation. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. A few verses later in John 6:38-40 He said that this wasn’t just His idea, as if that wouldn’t be enough, but that His Father was in complete agreement. And not only would our belief suffice to provide us with eternal life, but that it was God’s will that Jesus lose none of those who believe. You and I have been known to disobey God’s will, but has Jesus ever done so? And isn’t He the one who’s been charged with the responsibility for keeping us? Let’s read it. “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:38-40) Just in case we missed this promise, Jesus made it again even more clearly in John 10:28-30. “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.” The Father and the Son have both accepted responsibility for our security. Once we’re in Their hands, no one can get us away. I have used words straight from the Lord’s own mouth to make this case because I can already hear the choruses of “Yes Buts” mounting as those who refuse to take them at face value get ready to trot out their favorite verses denying Eternal Security, misinterpreted though they are. The one characteristic of God’s that gives us the most comfort is knowing that He can’t lie or change His mind or contradict Himself. He can’t say something in one place and then say something entirely different in another. He’s consistent. If He says that we’re saved solely because of our belief in Him, and that He’s accepted responsibility for keeping us so, then we can count on that. As we’ll see, anything in the Bible that seems to contradict these simple, straightforward statements has to be talking about something else. But first, since He puts so much emphasis on belief, let’s take a closer look at that word. What does He mean when He says “believe”? It must be more than just a casual thing because reliable statistics show, for example, that 85% of those who come forward to “receive the Lord” at a crusade or other evangelistic outreach never form any connection with a church or Bible Study or in any other way demonstrate a relationship with the Lord afterward. And Jesus spoke of the seed that fell on rocky places. He said, “This is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.” (Matt. 13:20-21) If these people were saved and then fell away, all His promises above have been broken. There must be more. So what does it mean to believe? The Greek word for believe is “pistis.” According the Strong’s Concordance, it’s a “conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervor born of faith and joined with it.” In connection with the Lord Jesus, it means “a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God.” The Apostle Paul gave us valuable insight into the nature of this belief. He wrote, If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10) This isn’t just some intellectual thing that carries us away on the words of a captivating speaker, only to leave us flat a short time later. It’s a conviction that’s formed deep in our heart, the realization that Jesus is not just a man. He’s the Lord Himself, and He took upon Himself the penalty due us for our sins, which is death. And to prove that God counted His death as sufficient, He raised Jesus from the dead to be seated beside Him in the Heavenly realms. (Ephes. 1:20) Since God can’t dwell in the presence of sin, and since the wages of sin is death, every one of our sins has to have been paid for. If even one remained unpaid, Jesus would still be in the grave. We have to believe that Jesus rose from the grave in order to believe that we will. It’s that kind of belief that gets you saved and keeps you that way, because it sets in motion a chain of events that’s irreversible. There are four links in this chain. You supply two and the Lord supplies two. You hear and believe, and the Lord marks and guarantees. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14) The word translated “deposit” is a legal term. Today we would say Earnest Money. It’s a down payment that constitutes a legal obligation to follow through with the purchase. If you’ve ever bought any Real Estate, you’re familiar with the term. If not, here’s another example. It’s like we’ve been put on “lay away.” The price has been paid and we’ve been taken off the display shelf until the one who has purchased us returns to claim us. In the mean time we cannot be bought by anyone else, because we legally belong to the one who has paid the deposit. “You are not your own,” we’re told. “You were bought with a price.” (1 Cor. 6:19-20) All of this happened at our first moment of belief, before we could do anything to either earn or lose our position. The man on the cross beside Jesus is the prototype for this transaction. Having done something bad enough to get himself executed, he was promised a place in Paradise solely because he believed in his heart that Jesus was the Lord of a coming Kingdom. Paul made it even clearer when he repeated this incredible promise in 2 Cor. 1:21-22. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. This time He removed all doubt as to just Who it is that keeps us saved. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. What could be clearer? Union And Fellowship If the Doctrine of Eternal Security is so clear then why all the disagreement about it? I’ve found two reasons. The first is the two-sided nature of our relationship with the Lord. I call one side Union. It’s eternal and unconditional, based only on our belief. Ephesians 1:13-14 describes our Union with God, sealed and guaranteed. Once we’re born again, we can’t become unborn. It’s good forever. The Holy Spirit is sealed within us from our first moment of belief until the day of redemption. I call the other side Fellowship and it’s a bit more complicated. Fellowship is that state of continual closeness to God that enables Him to bless us in our daily lives, by making things happen for us and protecting us from attack. It’s like He’s teamed up with us to give us a supernatural advantage. Fellowship is defined by 1 John 1:5-9 as being both Earthly and conditional upon our behavior. Even as believers, as long as we’re here on Earth we’ll continue to sin. Since God can’t abide in the presence of sin, our unconfessed sins interrupt our Earthly relationship with Him and may deprive us of blessings we might have otherwise received. We’re still saved in the eternal sense, but out of Fellowship here on Earth. When we’re out of Fellowship, we’re legitimate targets for our enemy’s mischief, just like Job was. His sin was self-righteousness and because he wouldn’t confess it, God had to let Satan afflict him in order to bring him to his senses. For a New Testament illustration, look at the parable of the Prodigal Son. (Luke 15:11-32) Like the younger son, we’ll still belong to our Father’s family, but won’t receive any of its blessings while we’re out of Fellowship. And like both Job and the Prodigal, when we return to our Father and confess our sins, we’re immediately purified from all unrighteousness and restored to Fellowship. One reason that many Christians live such defeated lives is that having only learned about the Union part of being a believer, they only know that God has forgiven their sins and that they’ll go to be with Him when they die or are Raptured. They don’t realize that they still need to confess every time they sin to stay in Fellowship. And so, being deprived of God’s providence, they may become discouraged and even stop praying and attending church. Other believers, who don’t understand the dual relationship either, look at the mess they’re in and think they must have lost their salvation. Like Job’s friends, they look in God’s Word for confirmation, and by taking verses out of context, believe they have found the proof. Union and Fellowship are not just New Testament ideas. In the Old Testament, even when Israel was being obedient in thought and action, doing their best to please God, the priests still had to sacrifice a lamb on the altar every morning and every evening for the sins of the people. 1 John 1:9 is the New Testament equivalent of those daily sacrifices for sin. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. It was written for believers who are already saved, but are in danger of being out of Fellowship because of their sins. The Gift And the Prize The other reason people get confused is that there are two types of benefits in Eternity. The first is the free Gift called Salvation that’s given to all who ask in faith irrespective of merit and guarantees our admission into the Kingdom. Ephesians 2:8-9 is the model, saying that salvation is a Gift from God. The second consists of Heavenly rewards we can earn for the things we do as believers here on Earth. Philippians 3:13-14 are good verses for explaining this. Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. In addition to the Gift, there’s a Prize. A gift is something given out of love, irrespective of merit, and is never taken back. A prize, on the other hand, is something we qualify for and earn. And if we’re not careful we can lose it. (Rev. 3:11) Paul had already received the Gift of salvation, it was behind him. Now he was focused on winning the Prize as well. In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 he explained the difference in greater detail. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. No Olympic athlete was satisfied just to have qualified to participate in the games. Everyone wanted to win the victor’s crown. Likewise, we shouldn’t be satisfied just to have received the Gift of salvation. We must now live our lives as believers in such a way as to win the Prize as well. The Bible calls some of these prizes crowns, and while the athlete’s crown soon wilted away (it was a wreath of ivy) the crowns believers can win last forever. They’re worth making some sacrifices for. That’s why Paul said, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Cor. 9:27) The crowns are identified as the Everlasting Crown (Victory) in 1 Cor 9:25, Crown of the Soul Winner in Phil 4:1 and 1 Thes 2:19, Crown of Righteousness in 2 Tim 4:8, Crown of Life in Jas 1:12 and Rev 2:10, and the Crown of Glory in 1 Peter 5:4. The difference between the Gift and the Prize is also seen in 1 Cor. 3:12-15. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. At the judgment of believers, the quality of our work on earth will be tested by fire. Only work that survives the test will bring us a reward. But notice that even if all our work is destroyed in the fire, we’ll still have our salvation. Why? Because it’s a free Gift, given out of love, irrespective of merit. The Lord mentioned other rewards as well. In Matt. 6:19-21 He advised us, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” There are things we can do as believers while here on Earth that will cause deposits to be made to our heavenly account. Some believe that this passage refers to the way we use the money we’re given. Do we use it to enrich ourselves, stacking up possessions that far exceed our needs? Or do we use it to further the work of the Kingdom? Here’s a hint. Our tithe is what we owe to God. It’s what we do with the money we have left that really counts. And with the measure we use, it will be measured to us. (Luke 6:38) To summarize, in the New Testament there are verses like Ephesians 1:13-14 that talk about Union. There are verses like 1 John 1: 8-9 that talk about Fellowship. There are verses like Ephesians 2:8-9 that talk about the Gift and there are verses like 1 Cor 9:24-27 that talk about the Prize. Union verses: The verses that stress belief, explain the permanent nature of our bond with God, and are directed toward eternity are Union verses. Gift verses: Those that involve grace and faith are Gift verses. Fellowship verses: Those that require work and are directed at the quality of our lives on Earth are Fellowship verses. Prize verses: And those that require work and involve eternal rewards are Prize verses. When you view Scripture from this perspective, all of the apparent contradictions disappear and you no longer have to wonder why God seems to be saying one thing here and something different there. The issue becomes one of correctly identifying the focal point of the particular passage you’re looking at. Determine the context by reading verses around it, and assign it to one of the four categories. Give Us An Example Hebrews 6:4-6 is a passage often cited in opposition to Eternal Security. The entire letter is to Jewish believers who are being enticed back into keeping the Law, so the context is New Covenant vs. Old. And in verse 9 the writer hints that he’s been talking about things that accompany salvation. That tells us that verses 4-6 are not related to salvation but things that accompany it. More importantly the idea that a believer could do something to irretrievably lose his salvation is in direct contradiction to the very clear promise that the Holy Spirit is sealed within us from the very first moment of belief until the day of redemption. So what could these believers be in danger of falling away from due to their sins? Fellowship. And what could prevent them from being restored? The practice of Old Covenant remedies for sin rather than invoking 1 John 1:9. They’d be relegating the death of the Lord to the same status as that of the twice-daily lamb. The Law was only a shadow of the good things to come, not the realities themselves. Once the Reality appeared, the shadow was no longer effective. And what would be their penalty? Living a defeated life, bearing no fruit, all their works burned in the judgment of 1 Cor. 3. But still saved? Yes. Hebrews 6:4-6 is a Fellowship passage. Suppose There Is No Security? In closing, let’s look at the alternative. What are we faced with? If Hebrews 6:4-6 for example applies to our salvation then if we ever sin after being saved we’ll be lost forever with no way back, because the Lord would have to be crucified all over again to retrieve us. The New Covenant would be worse than the Old, not better. They were condemned for their actions. According to Matt. 5 we’d be condemned for our thoughts. They couldn’t murder. We couldn’t even be angry. They couldn’t commit adultery. We couldn’t even have a lustful thought. Think of it. No anger, ever. No lust, ever. No envy, ever. No idolatry, ever. No favoritism or discrimination, ever. No impure thoughts or deeds of any kind, ever. Is this the Good News, the incomparable riches of His Grace? Did God become man and die the most painful death ever devised only to put His children into an even more untenable position than before? Are we saved by grace only to be placed under the constraints of an even more severely administered law? I can’t believe so. Some take a more moderate view of this saying that God would never take back the gift of salvation, but that we can return it. To justify this position they have to put words in the Lord’s mouth. When He says in John 10:28, “No one can snatch them out of my hand,” they have to insert the phrase “but us” after “no one”. Same with Romans 8:38-39. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. They have to insert the phrase “but us” after “in all creation”. None of this defense of Eternal Security is intended to condone sin. As an indication of our gratitude for the gift of salvation, believers are continually admonished in Scripture to live our lives in a manner pleasing to God. Not to earn or keep it, but to thank the Lord for giving it to us. And to help us do that, the Holy Spirit has come to dwell in us to guide and direct us, and to pray for us. Since the Spirit of God lives in us we are no longer controlled by the sin nature and can choose to please God by the way we live. And even though we do this out of gratitude for the Gift He’s already given, which is Union with Him, He blesses us both here on Earth (Fellowship) and in Eternity (the Prize). Selah 10-07-06
user profile
ecasavant posted a comment · Mar 11, 2017
This article by the good Dr. Brown is religious doubletalk at its finest: God won't divorce you but you can divorce God. Does it even make shred of spiritual sense? Are we, as blood-bought believers, the fulfillers of the New Covenant that was cut between God the Father and Jesus the Son on Calvary or just partipators (believers)? This view that Michael Brown continues to promulgate about believers in Jesus walking away from the Lord who bought them is just pure touchy-feely nonsense. But if you live by your feelings, you'll die by them as well. Surely, he believes that he is not the one of the believers that he is calling out: "an unrepentant rebel living in willful, persistent sin". All of his sins, apparently, were never intentional (yeah, right). Furthermore, he's made sure that his spiritiual checkbook has been balanced -- that the confession of his sins perfectly matches the sins that he's committed throughout his 62 year old life. When you believe as Michael does, you live out your Christian walk not from the position of your identity in Christ but rather whether or not your sin checkbook gets "overdrawn". How sad, tragic and short-sighted. It's a repudiation of the New Covenant that Jesus bled and died for and of the truth that we are co-crucified and resurrected with Him. If Michael really believes this believes this pathetic "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps" theology, then lets see him take the next logical step: Open up the checkbook. Michael, why don't you go over your life with us and explain how you've perfectly identified and cancelled out your sins throughout your whole life with your perfect sin confessions? Also, explain to us why you have not sinned like a rebel both in the past and now in the present. Persuade us that your sin is more acceptable to God than those other willfully unrepentant believers that you reference. Then regale us with how you've perfectly cleaned yourself up and continue to keep yourself clean. Your gospel is mostly about you.
Deancooper posted a comment · Mar 11, 2017
You said, "if you want to live for the Lord, you have nothing to worry about". But what if one part of you wants to live for the Lord while another part of you continually indulges in sin? Isn't that being "lukewarm" for which God says He'll spit you out? Your plane analogy makes it seem like it takes an extreme choice on our part to leave God, but that verse in Hebrews you quoted talks about being careful not to "drift away". Isn't that how these things really happen? People rarely make a deliberate choice to reject God, but many drift away from Him over time. Are you saying that those who drift away have nothing to worry about? Does the overall tone of the New Testament convey that we who "want to live for the Lord" have nothing to worry about? Or does it convey a tone that we need to run the race to the end, to be on guard, to overcome, and to persevere? I'm thinking that what you personally mean by "want to live for the Lord" and how many Christians actually live that out are two very different things, and that's why you don't seem to be seeing the peril that I'm thinking a large percentage of Christians could well be in.
Yehoshua posted a comment · Mar 10, 2017
Arminianism and Lordship Salvation are actually heretical. Salvation is via Free Grace. One is saved by Grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone ... plus nothing. No Mitzvahs before during or after salvation can ensure of maintain one's salvation. Actually the 'Lord Lord' of Matthew 7 is for Lordship Salvationists. Check this out ... if you are not convinced, you are either deceived or unsaved.
user profile
Wafaring Stranger posted a comment · Mar 09, 2017
I wish Dr. Brown had listed more scriptures where Jesus and Paul warned us about the coming deception which will result with many of the faithful being deceived. For example in Matthew 24: 23-28 and Mark 13:19-23, Jesus warns that a false one is coming and will deceive many. Paul in 2 Corinthians 11: 1-4 and 2 Thessalonians 2: 1-12 also warns us of this same event. Those who are alive at this time and believe that they will not go through this tribulation, due to a rapture, are most likely to be in the same camp as the 5 virgins who did not make it as Jesus taught in Matthew 25: 1-12.