The Doctrine of Eternal Security of believers also known as once saved always saved is a Biblical doctrine, and this writer explains what the Bible teaches on the subject of once saved always saved.
You CANNOT lose your salvation!
by David J. Stewart
Eternal Security is the Biblical doctrine that a believer CANNOT lose salvation in Christ Jesus. I recently spoke with a Church of Christ minister who believed that a Christian could LOSE their salvation by failing to maintain a “relationship” with God. Of course, that is a lie of the Devil. The Charismatics are also plagued with this false belief that a person can lose their salvation. Calvinists call this false doctrine, the “Perseverance of the Saints,” that is, they say that you must persevere in good works and continued faith to remain in a state of salvation. The Salvation Army teaches this heresy.
In sharp contrast to the heresies you’ve just learned about, the Bible teaches: “If Saved, Always Saved.” Salvation is not doing your best, it is having Christ’s best put to your account through receiving Him by faith. Christ died for our sins on the cross, He was buried and raised up bodily from the dead three days later. This is the Gospel (1st Corinthians 15:1-4). John 6:28-29, “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” Believe and the work is done, you are saved securely and eternally.
Eternal security is not a separate doctrine than salvation. The great Bible teacher, Dr. Ray Stanford (1916-2012) said, “The moment you are saved, you become a member of the body of Christ. If you could ever become unsaved, part of Christ’s own body would go to hell” (source: “Handbook Of Personal Evangelism,” chapter two, “Eternal Security”).
Once Saved Always Saved is Eternal Life
Salvation is By Faith Alone in the Gospel
Since mankind has nothing to do with saving himself, then why would God require men to do something to maintain it? Salvation is of God, not men. Paul said to “work out your own salvation” in Philippians 2:12; the Bible doesn’t say to work out GOD’S SALVATION. God saves a person, pulling them out of the fires of Hell, but now that person needs to be recycled. It is up to us whether we yield to the Holy Spirit or not in our daily life, to search and obey the Scriptures. However, salvation and discipleship are two separate things entirely. Whether or not a believer lives a holy life has nothing to do with the “free gift” (Romans 5:15) of salvation. Those who say otherwise are adding works to grace, which the Bible condemns (Romans 11:6). Salvation cannot be by God’s grace AND man’s self-righteous works. Revelation 22:17 states: “…And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
We are clearly taught from God’s Word that works are NOT essential to our salvation. Titus 3:5 states… “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us…” And again in Ephesians 2:8,9 we are told, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” We are all Hell-deserving sinners! We do NOT have anything to do with salvation except to receive God’s free gift by FAITH. Salvation is receiving, NOT giving. Romans 4:5 reads, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” This is how Abraham was saved in the Old Testament, i.e., his faith was COUNTED for righteousness (Genesis 15:6). Acts 10:43 teaches that Old Testament sinners were saved exactly as they are today… “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”
If I cannot do good works to get saved,
then how can I do bad works to lose salvation?
Eternal life is a gift, paid for by Jesus’ precious, redeeming, literal, physical, liquid, blood (1st Peter 1:18,19; Hebrews 9:12; Revelation 1:5). Shame on those heretics, such as Dan Corner, who corrupt the simplicity that is in Christ.
There is a perverted theology today that mixes faith in Christ with surrendering one’s life to God in obedience. This false doctrine is called “Lordship Salvation” and it is evil. The very idea that one’s lifestyle is a part of saving faith is damnable heresy. Opponents of Eternal Security all follow Lordship Salvation, and they all use the corrupted New International Version.
Perhaps you ask, what if a believer loses faith? A believer certainly may become discouraged, or falter in their faith for a time. John the Baptist became discouraged and wavered in his faith, even questioning if Jesus were the Christ (Matthew 11:3); yet, Jesus called John the greatest born amongst women (Matthew 11:3,11).
The Apostle Peter denied that he knew Christ, cursing the name of Jesus; but the Holy Spirit convicted him, and Peter afterwards repented. When king David commit the sins of adultery, conspiracy and murder, he greatly shamed and brought reproach upon the name of the Lord; yet, we find David repenting, crying out to God for mercy as a Christian in Psalms 51, and God faithfully pardoned him. David never lost God’s salvation. If saved, always saved! None of these believers LOST their salvation, and there’s not one shred of Biblical evidence to show otherwise.
If you are a parent, your child didn’t make a commitment to become your child; but rather, they were born to become your child. Likewise, we are born-again to become God’s child. Just as a child has absolutely NOTHING to do with his or her own birth, neither does the Christian have anything to do with their spiritual birth. It is completely of God. Our part is done the moment we receive Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God—believing that He died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and raised up from the dead three days later (1st Corinthians 15:1-4). John 1:12, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”
If you don’t believe the Bible, you can either get right or die wrong.
False Christians Never Saved to Begin With
A born-again believer does NOT convert to the Mormon faith or become an atheist. When a man claims that he “used to be a Christian,” but now has become a Jehovah’s Witness, he’s a liar. He never was a Christian to begin with. He may have once had the philosophy of Christianity (as the Greeks), or the organization of Christianity (as the Roman Church), or even partook of a culture of Christianity (as exists throughout Europe); but he never had genuine Christianity, which is a “new birth” by faith in Jesus Christ alone.
You don’t trust Christ one day and then forsake him the next, it doesn’t work that way. A child of God will always be a child of God. If you don’t have Jesus Christ today, it is ONLY because you never really trusted Him at all. In contrast to the other Apostles, Judas was a known unrepentant thief (John 12:6). We have no Scriptural reason to believe that Judas was ever a believer. This is why the Bible warns us to make sure we are saved—“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith…” (2nd Corinthians 13:5). Most of America’s churchgoers are still lost and on their way to Hell. Satan’s greatest weapon is to con people into living the Christian life without ever being born-again.
They have religion, but not Jesus Christ. They have been lied to by false prophets like Dan Corner, Ray Comfort and John MacArthur to think that they must live lives of obedience, holiness and faithfulness to validate their salvation. They are self-righteous. Are you really a Christian? Churches today are filled with people who are not saved. Most people today have churchianity without Christianity. Please make certain you have been born-again. You need HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS! The road to Hell is paved with good intentions (Proverb 14:12; 2nd Corinthians 11:13,14). Please don’t miss the gift of God.
Genuine Believers Cannot Lose God’s Salvation
John 5:24 states: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
If you’re a believer on Jesus Christ, then you can NEVER lose your salvation. Jesus said in John 10:28, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” Did you read that? We shall NEVER perish, and NO MAN can affect our salvation. Someone may pray to God for you to “burn in Hell” (a popular saying in society today); but that simply cannot happen to a believer. You choose your own destiny based upon your acceptance (or denial) of Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Did you know that God CANNOT lie? According to Titus 1:2 God cannot lie! Well, God promised in Romans 10:13 to save anyone who trusts on Jesus’ name… “For whosoever shall call [rely] upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
We are wonderfully reassured in 1st John 5:13 that we can KNOW that we are eternally secure:
“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” —1st John 5:13
I love this verse!… that we may “KNOW,” not think, but KNOW that we have eternal life. How could anyone be so foolish as to think that a person could lose “eternal life?” If you can lose it, then is it eternal? No! When God promises us eternal life, that is exactly what He means. Jesus didn’t say, “I give unto them temporal life”; no rather, He said, “I give unto them eternal life (John 10:28).” I am eternally secure in Jesus’ arms…
“The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms…” —Deuteronomy 33:27
Don’t tell me I can lose my salvation! There is NO such teaching in the Bible!
What about “falling from grace?”
You cannot lose your salvation, period. You can lose fellowship with God and the joy of one’s salvation, buy you cannot lose your salvation. Can a son no longer be a son? Of course not! You can disown Him (which I think is horrible and unscriptural), but he’s still your son. No matter what your son does, he’s still your son. The same is true with our Heavenly Father. Jesus never forsakes us…
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” —Hebrews 13:5
God cannot lie! (Titus 1:2). As a matter of fact, the Bible is speaking of Eternal Security when It tells us that God cannot lie… “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Titus 1:2). What a loving God! You can speak to people from many different religions and you’ll discover a pervading sense of fear and uncertainty. They don’t have the precious promises which the Bible offers to the Christian believer.
No wonder Jesus said:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” —Matthew 11:28
False religion enslaves people, placing souls into chains of bondage which are not easily broken. Oh don’t be so foolish to believe their lies! You can KNOW that you are saved certain. You must realize that salvation is completely of God; NOT man in any way. Our faith is merely a key which unlocks God’s saving grace. Salvation is a supernatural act of God in response to our faith. I did not save myself—Jesus saved me. If I did nothing to earn salvation, then how can I do something bad to lose it? Jesus paid a debt He did not owe, because we owed a debt we could not pay. Eternal life is the free gift of God, available ONLY through faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:10-12; John 14:6).
The Bible clearly teaches that eternal life is a gift. As a matter of FACT, the Bible even calls our salvation a FREE GIFT.
“…the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life”
Serious Flaws in Teaching that Salvation Can Be Lost
Let me ask you a question. What would you say if I were to give you a Christmas present, but then tell you that I’m going to be watching you over the next year to see if your good enough to keep it? If you’re not good enough I’m going to take away your GIFT. Would that make any sense to you? Of course not, you’d say I’d been laying out in the sun too long. You’d say I was crazy! A “gift” is NOT a gift if there are ANY strings attached to it. A genuine gift is UNCONDITIONAL. God is not a con-artist. God doesn’t promise eternal life to those who believe, and then take it away from them because they commit further sins. I mean, that’s the entire reason Jesus died for our sins, so we wouldn’t have to.
Some people have the wrong idea that one’s salvation is CONDITIONAL upon the way they live. Nothing could be further from the truth of God’s Word. I am not advocating living in sin, nor taking the Christian life lightly (Romans 3:31; 6:15). I am simply saying that one’s salvation is a gift from God, rooted in God’s unconditional love (Romans 5:8) and the precious blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ (1st Peter 1:18,19). Salvation does not depend upon one’s desire to forsake sin, nor live a holy life; for that would be Works Salvation.
The concept of losing one’s salvation is flawed in so many ways. I mean, at what point would a person lose it? How much sin is too much? Where would you cross the saved/unsaved line? The whole idea of losing one’s Eternal Security is preposterous. How can a person have Eternal Security if no one can be eternally secure? It just doesn’t add up. Let the Scriptures be your guide. In John 5:39 Jesus commanded His disciples to SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES!!!
Sealed with the Holy Spirit
I triple-dog dare you to show me one person in the Bible who lost their salvation. King David lost the “joy” of salvation, but he didn’t lose his salvation. Jesus never spoke of anyone losing their Eternal Security. The Bible has much to say about the assurance of our salvation. As a matter of fact, God gave us the Holy Spirit as an “earnest” of our inheritance in Heaven. The Greek word for “earnest” literally means “down payment.” God gave me the Holy Spirit as PROOF that I am a “purchased possession.” If you are a believer, then you belong to God and He has made His claim on you.
“…ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” —Ephesians 1:13,14
Don’t tell me I can lose my salvation… my sins have been washed away by the blood of Jesus! I am a “purchased possession.” The Holy Spirit is God’s claim upon me as His own, which means the Devil cannot claim my soul to Hell. You cannot affect my salvation. I cannot change my eternal security. God has placed His down payment within my body—the Holy Spirit of God.
A License to Sin?
I am going to Heaven, regardless of how I live. But you say, that’s crazy! No! That’s Bible! So do Christians have a license to sin? Yes, if you want to view it that way. Of course, no believer has God’s permission to sin, which is why He has set apart a judgment, i.e., the JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST, just for believers (2nd Corinthians 5:10; 1st Thessalonians 4:6; Romans 12:19; 14:12). God expects every believer to fulfill the Law. The Apostle Paul makes this very clear…
“Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” —Romans 3:31
“What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” —Romans 6:15
Carefully notice that a believer is NO LONGER UNDER THE LAW. There is no condemnation for the believer. However, a believer who sins must give account to God at the Judgment Seat of Christ someday (2nd Corinthians 5:10). Please read Defraud Not Thy Brother. No one is going to get away with anything friend. It is this misunderstanding that often prompts people to create false doctrines about losing one’s salvation. They are tired of phony Christians, and so am I. However, we are all phonies to some degree if we’ll be honest with ourselves, because even the best of Christians still sin.
Fallen from Grace?
No believer can fall from grace. Paul was addressing the unbelievers in the church, who had heard the Gospel, but were still not saved. Galatians 5:4, “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” This Scripture clearly reveals an unsaved person, for no one can be justified by the works of the Law (Romans 3:20). Anyone who rejects the Gospel has “fallen from grace,” i.e., they have passed up their only ticket to Heaven.
When the Christian believer sins (and we ALL do continually), we fall “IN GRACE,” never “FROM GRACE.” Romans 5:20 teaches that when we sin (and we ALL do) “GRACE DID MUCH MORE ABOUND.” Romans 5:20, “Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” The Galatians had embraced a satanic cult which taught partial faith in Christ plus circumcision (works). Galatians 3:1-3, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” We are saved by BELIEVING the Gospel when we hear it preached. That is the “simplicity” that is in Jesus Christ (2nd Corinthians 11:3).
Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. They went out and sewed fig leaves together. They knew something was wrong and they tried to hide it. Adam and Eve were happy with their fig-leave religion until God came. When God came they were embarrassed with their fig-leave religion and they ran and hid themselves.
God killed an innocent animal, which is a picture of the substitutionary death of Jesus. God skinned that animal to make coats for Adam and Eve. God didn’t let them keep one fig-leaf of their own making.
You may be satisfied to stand before men with your fig-leaf religion, as were Adam and Eve; but how will you feel on Judgment Day when you stand before God, and He casts you into the Lake of Fire? Religion is a paved road to Hell.
There are many false prophets today who pervert the gospel, teaching that a sinner must amend his ways, forsake the world, and make a total surrender to Christ’s Lordship in order to be saved. Salvation is the free gift of God (Romans 5:15,6:23), paid for by the precious literal blood of His dear Son, Jesus Christ (1st Peter 1:18-19; Revelation 1:5).
If Saved, Always Saved
There is nothing wrong with the term “Once Saved, Always Saved,” but I prefer the statement, “If Saved, Always Saved” better. If a person is genuinely saved, then there is no possible way that person could ever be unsaved. Christianity is not a philosophy that can be renounced. It is not an organization that can be resigned. It is not a business that can be dissolved. Christianity is a new birth, a supernatural act of God Almighty in response to one’s faith in Jesus as the Christ. Once a sinner has been born-again into the family of God, all the hordes of Hell cannot change that. God NEVER disowns His children.
The enemies of Eternal Security fail to address Hebrews 12:6-8 where God says He chastens His children… “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” The Bible doesn’t say that God disowns His children; but rather, He chastises them. The idea that God kicks children out of His family when they sin and then requires them to forsake their sins in order to be accepted back into the family is an insult to the blood of Jesus Christ.
Eternal Life is the Free Gift of God
God is not a liar. God has promised salvation to all those who trust upon the name of Jesus Christ… “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” God gave us the rainbow as a token that He is an honest God Who keep His promises. Yet, those who deny Eternal Security call God a liar.
The Scriptures expose Dan Corner as a big liar. The Bible teaches that salvation is a “free gift” (Romans 5:15; 6:23). Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” A gift means a gift, with no strings attached.
The very idea that salvation is CONDITIONAL (as Daniel Corner teaches) upon the life we live negates the gift of God. In John 6:29 Jesus tells us the only “work” we need to do to be saved… “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” That’s it, to BELIEVE (i.e., trust) upon Jesus to forgive one’s sins. We are sinners and Jesus is the Savior. That is the simplicity of salvation.
Dan Corner is a false prophet! The Word of God exposes Mr. Corner as a false teacher because he requires self-righteous works for salvation. Adding anything to faith alone in Christ is a guaranteed road to Hell. If we are not saved by good works, then how can we be lost by bad works? Salvation is of the Lord. We are NOT saved by our own self-righteous efforts; but rather, by the righteousness of Christ Jesus. Jesus paid a debt He did not owe, because we owed a debt we could not pay. Thank God for the gift of His only begotten Son.
Dan Corner places a heavy burden upon sinners, teaching that their salvation is CONDITIONAL upon holy living, denying the flesh and avoiding certain sins. If this were true, then how could salvation ever be a free gift? It couldn’t. By every definition of the word “gift,” it must be offered free of ANY OBLIGATION OR COMPENSATION. Carefully notice in Romans 12:1 that the Apostle Paul pleads with the believers at Rome to live for the Lord… “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Notice that Paul said it was their “reasonable service”; not their required service. 1st Corinthians 6:20 tells us that we are bought with a price, i.e., the blood of Jesus Christ. God gave the ultimate sacrifice to pay for our sins. Thus, eternal life is a free gift that does not require any compensation, obligation or prerequisites to receive it. God does remind us that He paid a great price and we ought to live for Him; but this is NOT mandatory to have the gift of eternal life.
In 1st Corinthians 5:1-5 we read about a Christian man, a member of the Church of Corinth, who was living in open fornication in the church. He was carnal and the church was also carnal (1st Corinthians 3:1). 1st Corinthians 5:5, “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” This Christian man was living in unrepentant sin and Paul said to give him over to Satan for “the destruction of the flesh,” but notice that Paul also said the man’s spirit would “be saved in the day of the Lord.” He was saved and DIDN’T lose his salvation.
I recently saw a commercial on TV offering a “gift” to anyone who opens a new account at their bank. That is false advertising. If I am required to open an account to get the “gift,” then it’s NOT really a gift, it is a reward. There is a big difference between a gift and a reward.
Critics of Eternal Security Guilty of Self-righteousness
Eternal life cannot be lost, because it is not ours to give. Salvation is of God alone. Our only part in salvation is to BELIEVE… “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (John 6:29). The greatest argument against those who teach that salvation can be lost is this… If salvation can be lost by our own sinful words, attitudes, or actions, then self-righteousness is part of salvation. Romans 10:3-4 condemns such thinking… “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”
Those who claim that salvation can be lost are guilty of teaching salvation by self-righteousness. If I have to maintain a certain degree of faithfulness to God, a holy lifestyle, and a certain amount of faith to remain saved, then I am earning my own salvation. Ephesians 2:8-9 clearly refute such thinking… “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” No one deserves to go to Heaven. We all deserve Hellfire. We need HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS to be saved (2nd Corinthians 5:21); and not our own.
I was recently reading an excellent book, 508 Answers to Bible Questions, by M.R. DeHaan M.D. (1891-1965). Now Dr. DeHaan was a great man of God, and I respect him dearly; BUT, I disagree with something he said in his book concerning the Eternal Security of the believer. Dr. DeHaan DOES believe in eternal security; however, he said that those who don’t are still saved, just so long as they are trusting the Saviour. Now, I have a big problem with that type of thinking. Why? Because the very idea that someone can lose their salvation, places salvation in men’s hands, instead of 100% in God’s. As born-again believers, why would anything we do affect whether or not we’re still saved? Did we have to do any good works to get saved? No!, we simply rested upon the Saviour, because He paid the price for our sins with His blood. We did NOTHING to merit or deserve salvation. Salvation is of God, not man. Our part is to believe on Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31), and God’s part is to save (Isaiah 43:11).
The Hypocrisy of Those Who Don’t Believe in Eternal Security
The biggest flaw in the thinking of the enemies of Eternal Security is that they fail to realize just how sinful they are themselves. They hypocritically condemn other believers who live in unrepentant sin, failing to realize that they’re just as sinful in God’s eyes. If salvation can be lost, then who is righteous enough to keep their own salvation? Only a self-righteous hypocrite would claim to be self-righteous enough to please God. Isaiah 64:6 puts Dan Corner to shame… “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
I thank God that my salvation is solely in the hands of my righteous Savior Jesus Christ; and not dependent upon my own sorry, frail, insufficient, rotten and sinful self-righteousness. Critics of Eternal Security are hypocrites. They are no less sinful than the adulterous believers they condemn. They condemn other believers, whom they consider more sinful than themselves, accusing others of losing their salvation, but they’re just as much dirty, rotten, hell-deserving sinners, who fail to see the sinful beam in their own eye.
A correctly understood gospel—salvation by grace alone through faith alone on the basis of Christ’s finished work alone—mandates eternal security. On the other hand, if one is trusting in one’s works or a “commitment” to perform works or to live a certain way to be saved, then salvation cannot be assured, and the doctrine of eternal security is either negotiable or is denied.