Eternal Security – Will God Fulfill His Promises/Part 2
|By: Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr. John Weldon; ©2002|
|In the conclusion of our series on “eternal security” the authors give more reasons why God will “keep” and “complete” Christians, just as He promised!|
- 1 Eternal Security—Will God Fulfill His Promises — Part Two
- 1.1 D. The Christian is God’s workmanship
- 1.2 E. The Christian is the beloved child of God
- 1.3 F. The Holy Spirit is a seal and pledge of our inheritance.
- 1.4 G. The believer’s name has been permanently inscribed in the book of life from before the foundation of the world.
- 1.5 H. The believer’s promised reward
Eternal Security—Will God Fulfill His Promises — Part Two
D. The Christian is God’s workmanship
Scripture declares that every believer in Christ is an actual work of God Himself. If so, it is inconceivable that God’s workmanship would not be complete or that He would permit it to be destroyed or marred. If a believer is God’s work, will He not finish it?:
For we are His workmanship. (Eph. 2:10)
Know that the Lord himself is God; it is he who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture. (Ps 100:3)
The people whom I formed for myself will declare my praise. (Isa. 43:21)
For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. (1 Cor. 3:9)
E. The Christian is the beloved child of God
God does not disown His children. If He did, it would be incredible that being God, He could call Himself Father, let alone Eternal Father. The truly faithful and loving human father will not abandon his children because of their own unfaithfulness or sin. Indeed, he will use whatever means he has in his power to secure their best interests and welfare. If we properly understand the infinite love of a heavenly Father for His own children, and the infinite power He has, then there is no room for a child of God ever to be lost.
In a similar manner, Christ calls Himself “the Good Shepherd.” A shepherd’s principal job is to protect the flock. A good shepherd, especially one with all power in heaven and earth, will protect the sheep, both from enemies outside the flock and often even from their own carelessness or stupidity.
Behold the Lord will come with might, with his arm ruling for him. Behold his reward is with him, and is recompense before him. Like a shepherd he will tend his flock, in his arm he will gather the lambs, and carry them in his bosom; he will gently lead the nursing ewes. (Isa. 40:10-11)
See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God and such we are. (1 Jn. 3:1)
But as many as received him to them he gave the right to become children of God even to those who believe in his name. (Jn. 1:12)
For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also. (Rom. 8:15-17)
Notice the progression in this verse: a) We are children; b) if children, then heirs. Unless we are heirs of hell, this must refer to heaven. The American Heritage Dictionary defines an heir as “a person who inherits or is entitled by law to inherit the property, title or office of another.” What we inherit as Christians is all that God is and all that God owns in eternity (1 Cor. 3:22; Rom. 8:32).
F. The Holy Spirit is a seal and pledge of our inheritance.
The Bible teaches the Holy Spirit has been given to every child of God as a “down payment” of our eventual full inheritance of all that is involved in salvation. In human transactions, it is often the amount of down payment which determines the security underlying the transaction: the larger the down payment, the more the seller is assured that the transaction will be completed. What more could God give than His own Son and His own Holy Spirit as proof of the believer’s eternal security?
In addition, God says that He has given the Holy Spirit to the believer eternally, something that could not be true if a person could lose their salvation.
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, that he may be with you forever. (Jn. 14:16)
In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession to the praise of his glory. (Eph. 1:13-14)
Now he who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us as God who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge. (2 Cor. 1:21-22)
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Eph. 4:30; cf. Gal. 3:2-3)
Consider these verses. Would God go back on a pledge He gave; would He go back on His word? His pledge to the believer was given “to the praise of His glory.” If God’s elect are lost, is God glorified? If they are sealed to the day of redemption, how can they lose their salvation? The American Heritage Dictionary defines a seal as “to prove authenticity or attest accuracy, quality, etc.; to establish or determine irrevocably.”
Consider 2 Corinthians 1:20-22 in different versions:
He has put his brand on us—his mark of ownership—and given us his Holy Spirit in our hearts as guarantee that we belong to him, and as the first installment of all that he is going to give us (The Living Bible).
[He has also appropriated and acknowledged us as his], putting his seal upon us and giving us his (Holy) Spirit in our hearts as the security deposit and guarantee [of the fulfillment of his promise] (Amplified).
Consider Ephesians 1:14 in other translations:
That [Spirit] is the guarantee of our inheritance—the first fruit, the pledge and foretaste of the down payment on our heritage—an anticipation of its full redemption and our acquiring [complete] possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (Amplified)
His presence within us is God’s guarantee that he really will give us all that he promised; and the Spirit’s seal upon us means that God has already purchased us and that he guarantees to bring us to himself. (The Living Bible)
You were sealed with the Spirit of the promise, the Holy Spirit, who is the token payment of our inheritance guaranteeing the full payment of all. (Wuest)
Do the above Scriptures sound like Christians can ever lose their salvation?
G. The believer’s name has been permanently inscribed in the book of life from before the foundation of the world.
Relating to the doctrine of election, believers are said to have their names written into the book of life from the time of the world’s creation.
And those who dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names have not been permanently inscribed upon the scroll of the life from the time of the foundation of the universe. (Rev. 17:8, Wuest).
And who dwell on the earth will worship him [the beast], everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. (Rev. 13:8)
Be rejoicing that your names have been written in heaven and are on permanent record up there. (Lk. 10:20, Wuest)
As noted, Jesus promises that He will not erase a true believer’s name from the book of life. God promises the believer that “whatever is born of God overcomes the world” (1 John 5:4). And Jesus promised, “He who overcomes shall thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels” (Revelation 3:5).
H. The believer’s promised reward
Many Scriptures promise the believer rewards for the work that they have done; there is no hint that these rewards might not be given. The apostle Paul emphasizes that our toil “is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58); Jesus Himself appointed us to bear fruit “and that your fruit should remain” (Jn. 15:16). We are told that for “whatever good thing each one does this he will receive back from the Lord” (Eph. 6:8). In Hebrews 6:10 we read, “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”
These verses could not be true if the Christian could lose his salvation after years of faithful service and lose all rewards.
In conclusion, the above promises and scriptural truths are impossible to reconcile with the doctrine of the loss of salvation. Consider just a few of these again. As far as God is concerned, every Christian:
- Is given everything pertaining to life and godliness;
- Is blessed with every spiritual blessing;
- Is made complete in Him;
- Is perfected for all time;
- Possesses all things and belongs to Christ;
- Has received Christ’s fullness;
- Is holy and beloved;
- Has overcome the world;
- Can know that he has eternal life;
- Is loved by God as much as God loves Jesus;
- Is loved by Jesus as much as Jesus is loved by God;
- Has all grace abounding toward him and all sufficiency in everything;
- Has promised that God will perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish him;
- Has the mind of Christ and is a new creature;
- Has surpassing power working towards us;
- Is the workmanship of God Himself;
- Is the beloved child of God;
- Has the Holy Spirit Himself as an eternal pledge and companion;
- Has his name written in the Book of Life;
- Will be glorified.
As the Apostle Paul says, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us” (Rom. 8:31)? Need we say more?
J. F. Strombeck also summarizes some of the things that are true of the Christian:
The saved person has been redeemed from under the law (Gal. 4:5) and the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13) by an eternal redemption (Heb. 9:12). He is dead to the law (Rom. 7:4) and shall not come into condemnation (Jn. 5:24; Rom. 8:1). He is reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:18) and is at peace with him (Col. 1:20). He is justified (Rom. 5:1), and all trespasses have been forgiven (Col. 2:13). He has been delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of the Son of God (Col. 1:13). He has been born again of incorruptible seed (1 Pet. 1:23), is the son of God (Jn. 1:12), and has eternal life (Jn. 5:24). He is a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17). He is perfected forever (Heb. 10:14), is complete in Christ (Col. 2:10), and has been accepted of God (Eph. 1:6). He has been born of the Spirit (Jn. 3:6), baptized by the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13), is indwelled by the Spirit who abides forever (Jn. 14:16-17), and is sealed by the Spirit until the day of redemption (Eph. 4:30). He has become the object of God’s love (Eph. 2:4), of his grace (Ro. 6:14), of his power (Eph. 1:19), and of his faithfulness (1 Cor. 1:19). He is a citizen of heaven (Eph. 2:19; Ph. 3:20), is seated with Christ in the heavenly places (Eph. 2:6), and is already glorified (Ro. 8:30). (J. F. Strombeck, Shall Never Perish (Chicago: Moody, 1966), p. 22.)
In light of all this, we must ask ourselves: can any of the above Scriptures and truths be reversed or avoided, changed or lost? The answer is no. If the answer is no, then how can a Christian lose his/her salvation? Again, the Christian is in the eternal purpose of God (Eph. 3:11-12), and has eternal redemption (Heb. 9:12), eternal inheritance (Heb. 9:15), eternal glory (1 Peter 5:10), eternal salvation (Heb. 5:9) and eternal life (1 John 5:13). If a Christian can lose his/her salvation, then again, the definition of eternal must be altered.
The issue is settled, every true Christian is secure—eternally secure.