Refuting the false teaching that a Christian can lose his salvation.
A Critique of Eternal Security
There is a common teaching that is spreading in some circles that true Christians can somehow lose their salvation.
I believe this is a totally false teaching that shows a clear misunderstanding of the redemption the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished for all of God’s elect people on the cross of Calvary.
The King James Bible, when rightly understood, does not contradict itself. God is not at cross purposes with himself. Nor is the Lord Jesus Christ a Liar or a Failure. He DID what he came to do - to save His people from their sins.
“ALL THAT THE FATHER GIVETH ME SHALL COME to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:37
“Therefore said I unto you that NO MAN CAN COME UNTO ME, EXCEPT IT WERE GIVEN UNTO HIM OF MY FATHER.” John 6:65
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them ETERNAL LIFE; AND THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH, neither can any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, WHICH GAVE THEM ME is greater than all; and NO MAN CAN PLUCK THEM OUT OF MY FATHER’S HAND. I and my Father are one.” John 10:27-30
“As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life TO AS MANY AS THOU HAST GIVEN HIM.” John 17:2
If Christ has given us ETERNAL life, then we cannot have it for a short period of time and then lose it. Otherwise it would not be eternal but temporary.
Let’s take a look at what these “A Christian can lose his salvation” people are teaching in this video of theirs.
Example # 1. John 15:2 and 6. Those that deny the eternal security of the believer tell us that if the branches that are taken away are Christians who lose their salvation and go to hell.
The image or picture of the vine and the branches is much like other portions of Scripture we find. It is a portrayal of the outward, visible professing Church, among which are found true believers and false professors. We see a similar picture of the vineyard of the LORD in Isaiah chapter 5 that “brought forth wild grapes”, and of the Olive Tree in Romans chapter 11 where some of the branches were broken off and the Gentiles were grafted in and took part in the fatness of the root.
The Vine portrays the outward profession of faith, the Visible Church, among which are true members and false professors.
All true Christians bear fruit to differing degrees, some thirty, some sixty and some a hundred. They can’t help but do so because “the fruits of righteousness are by Jesus Christ”, and “he that began a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:8 and 11)
“Every branch that beareth not fruit he taketh away” and “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch…and they are burned.” Notice he does not say “If YOU abide not in me” but rather “if a man abide not in me.”
Many Bible commentators like John Gill, John Trapp (English Puritan), Matthew Henry, Matthew Poole, and Jamieson, Fausset and Brown have all been in general agreement about the meaning of the passages found in John 15 about the Vine and the branches.
Matthew Henry -
John 15:2 - Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away -The doom of the unfruitful (John 15:2): They are taken away. [1.] It is here intimated that there are many who pass for branches in Christ who yet do not bear fruit. Were they really united to Christ by faith, they would bear fruit but being only tied to him by the thread of an outward profession, though they seem to be branches, they will soon be seen to be dry ones. Unfruitful professors are unfaithful professors, and no more. [2.] It is here threatened that they shall be taken away, in justice to them and in kindness to the rest of the branches. From him that has not real union with Christ, and fruit produced thereby, shall be taken away even that which he seemed to have, Luke 8:18.”
As the apostle John says in 1 John 2:19 “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”
Example # 2. The Parable of the Sower and the Seed.
These 5 point Arminians next refer to the parable of the sower and the seed and they point to Luke 8:13 and tell us that it teaches that some people can have “saving faith” and yet end up lost and go to hell.
The passage says: “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, WHICH FOR AWHILE BELIEVE, and in time of temptation fall away.”
What they fail to take into account is the fact that the Bible does refer to several examples of a false faith or a natural faith, that is not the true faith God gives to his people.
Many people believe in the historical Jesus. That he existed and did many miracles and died on the cross and rose again. But they do not really believe that they themselves are lost sinners in BONDAGE to sin who deserve the wrath of God and that Christ alone can save them from their sins.
Jesus referred to this false faith several times in the gospels. See my article “Is there a type of "faith" or "belief" in Jesus Christ that is NOT a saving faith?”
Example # 3. Matthew 18:21-35 The servant who would not forgive another’s debt.
The parable is of a certain servant who did not have the money to pay his debt and his lord was moved with compassion and forgave him the debt. But this same servant went out to one of his fellowservants who owed him a much smaller amount and he refused to forgive his debt but cast him into prison till he should pay it.
Then his fellowservants told their lord what this man had done. He then called him and said “O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.” Matthew 18:31-34.
This eternal security denier takes the last verse which says: “So likewise shall my Heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” and then he concludes: “The meaning of the parable is clear. One's sin debt may be reassumed if one neglects to forgive others even as he also has been forgiven.”
I admit that if this were all the Bible tells us about forgiveness and the difference between the impossible standards of the law verses the gospel of the grace of God, he might have a valid point.
But what this false teacher is telling us is that God can forgive us all our sins, and then if we turn around and do not forgive others, then God will remove the forgiveness he once gave us and condemn us to hell. This is clearly teaching salvation by works and is in stark contrast to what Christ did for his people on the cross and what the New Covenant of grace is all about.
The parable is in fact showing us the impossibility of being able to live under law and a merit system. We cannot live up to it nor meet its standard. And we have nothing in and of ourselves to be able to pay the debt with.
We need a Saviour who can pay the debt for us, and that is exactly what Christ did for his people on the cross “having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.” Colossians 2:13-14.
What we see in the revelation of the New Testament God has made with his people who are in Christ is an entirely different basis for forgiving others. Notice carefully what Scripture tells us in places like Ephesians 4:32 and Colossians 3:13.
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, EVEN AS GOD FOR CHRIST’S SAKE HATH FORGIVEN YOU.”
And “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: EVEN AS CHRIST FORGAVE YOU, SO ALSO DO YE.”
The entire basis and reason we forgive others is because God HAS FORGIVEN US. It is NOT because if we do not, then God will UNforgive our debts and cast us into prison till we pay them.
God will NEVER revoke or remove this forgiveness of sins that he has given us in Christ. The whole motivation for forgiving another is not the abject FEAR of being unforgiven ourselves and cast into hell, but rather is LOVE that springs from what God has already done for us.
Example # 4. Romans 8:12-13
“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”
This “Christians can lose their salvation” guy then tells us that “Paul is warning his readers that if they live after the flesh they will return to the spiritually dead state from which God had saved them.”
I think this false teacher has totally ripped these verses out of context and misapplies them in such a blatant way as to deny all that the apostle had been telling us.
Whenever we see the word “Therefore”, we should look to see what it is “there for”. It refers to what had just been taught before this.
“To live after the flesh” is to go back to the pre-Christian state of the fallen, natural man under the law.
We were told that there is no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.”
He continues with: “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded IS DEATH; but to be spiritually minded is LIFE and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; FOR IT IS NOT SUBJECT TO THE LAW OF GOD, NEITHER INDEED CAN BE. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. BUT YE ARE NOT IN THE FLESH, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you”
We that belong to Christ and were crucified together with him are no longer in the flesh under the law trying to work out our own righteousness, which the flesh CANNOT do.
So he summarizes the argument in verses 12-13 reminding us that we are NOT debtors to the flesh, for if we live after the flesh we shall die. That is, if we life in the flesh of the natural man under the law the only result will be death.
“But if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” And we ARE in the Spirit and not in the flesh any more. This is how we live the Christian life - dead to the law which we could not fulfill or do, and now walking in newness of life in the Spirit of Christ.
Notice the next two verses 14-15. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear (this would be back under the law in the flesh that is weak and is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be) BUT ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”
This false teacher is guilty of the very thing Paul warns us about. He is trying to put Christians back under the law in the flesh and subject AGAIN to the spirit of bondage to fear.
Example # 5. Romans 11:17-23
Here the apostle refers to God’s people as an olive tree and some of the branches were broken off (the unbelieving Jews) and Gentiles (but obviously not all Gentiles) were graffed in.
Then Paul says in verse 21 “For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.”
Then he refers again to the Jews in verse 23. “And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for GOD IS ABLE to graft them in again.”
God is at present visiting “the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.” (Acts 15:13) But he will again turn to the Jewish nation and pour out upon them the spirit of grace and supplications and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced - See Zechariah 12:10.
This false teacher “explains” the passage by telling us that if we, as an individual Christian, stop believing or having faith, then we too will be cut off and end up losing our salvation.
Two things to note here. See the use of the singular “thee” used as a collective noun referring to an entire group of people in places like Deuteronomy 9:1 and 27:9 and Joshua 7:13, or even here in Romans 11:17 “and thou, being a wild olive tree wert graffed in among them”.
Secondly and most importantly, what all Arminians entirely miss when they speak about faith or believing is that they think faith is the result of fallen man’s own efforts and ability. ALL of them ignorantly think this way and this is what leads them into so many theological errors.
The Biblical truth is that true faith is the gift of God that he gives to his elect. That is why it is called “the faith of God’s elect” (Titus 1:1), and Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). God also blinds others so that they cannot believe.
As noted here in Romans 11:23 “if they abide not in unbelief, shall be graffed in; for GOD IS ABLE TO GRAFF THEM IN AGAIN.” That is, God will again turn to the Jews and give them both repentance and faith.
For proof of these things, see my article “Why is it that some people believe (have faith) in Christ as their Saviour and others do not?”
Example # 6. 1 Corinthians 10:12 “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”
Christians can fall into sin. Most of us have from time to time. That is all the apostle is warning us about. But this false teacher and others like him tell us that this is no mere fall into sin, but “a fall from salvific grace which leads to divine rejection.”
He is only reading things into the verse that he wants to see.
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” Galatians 6:1
Example # 7. Colossians 1:21 -23.
“And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
23 IF ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;”
Here this false teacher tells us “The word IF seems to give clear evidence that salvation can be lost.”
I would again counter that these verses say nothing about “losing your salvation”. There are false professions of faith as we have noted before, but these verses are teaching that we have been reconciled to God and are among that group IF we continue in the faith, that is, in the objective truths of the gospel.
If we continue to believe the truths of the gospel it is evidence to ourselves that we are among the elect of God who have been reconciled. Faith does not make us reconciled. If we have been reconciled to God then we will continue in the faith of the hope of the gospel.
You will notice that the verbs used here are all passive verbs, both in English and in the Greek. “Grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope”. These are not things we do ourselves. God is the one who grounds us and settles us and prevents us from moving away.
“He that began a good work in you will perform it until the day of Christ.” Philippians 1:8
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13.
Example # 8. 1 Timothy 1:19-20 - “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck; Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.”
Here again we do not know for sure if these two men were “false brethren” (2 Corinthians 11:26, Galatians 2:4) who never had saving faith or if they were seriously backslidden Christians, who like the fornicator in the Corinthian church who was delivered unto Satan “for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Corinthians 5:5) and who was restored to fellowship with the brethren. (2 Corinthians 2:6-10).
Some people I know are Christians. I know my wife is a Christian, and several friends of mine are and I know I am; but there are others I just am not sure about. But I firmly believe for a multitude of Biblical reasons that if a person is one of God’s elect, for whom Christ died, they will never be lost.
Example # 9. - Here this false teacher refers to 3 different sections of Scripture and tells us that “Paul assumes that salvation can be lost.”
1 Thessalonians 3:5 -“…I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labor be in vain.”
Philippians 2:16 “Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.”
Galatians 4:9-11 - “But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.”
None of these verses teach that a true Christian - including Paul himself- can lose their salvation.
In the case of the Thessalonians Paul sent Timotheus to “establish and comfort them concerning their faith that no man should be moved by these afflictions” to which they were appointed, and Timothy brought good tidings of their faith.
Here Paul was concerned that they might have stumbled or become discouraged in their faith because of the afflictions and persecutions they were suffering, but they remained strong and his teaching regarding these things was not in vain.
In the example of Philippians Paul was concerned if they had obeyed his teaching about working out (not “for”) their salvation (For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure) and Do all things without murmurings and disputings.
And in the example of the Galatians the apostle’s concern was whether or not they had learned the difference between the works of the law and the grace of Christ, and that you cannot mix the two. The early church was plagued by this theological battle.
In Acts 15:5 there was a church counsel because "But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees WHICH BELIEVED, saying, That is was necessary to circumcise them (the Gentile converts) and to command them to keep the law of Moses."
Again in Acts 21:20-24 Paul himself was confronted by no less than James and all the elders who told him: "Thou sees, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are WHICH BELIEVE; and they are all zealous of the law." They then counseled Paul to purify himself with an offering, shave his head that they may know "that thou also walkers orderly, and keepeth the law."
And in Galatians 2 we see that even Peter himself and Barnabas dissembled and had separated themselves from the Gentile believers, and Paul confronted him and said he was to be blamed for not walking uprightly according to the truth of the gospel. Did this mean that James (Acts 21) and Peter (Galatians 2) were in danger of losing their salvation? No, of course not; but they were wrong in their teaching and needed to be corrected. Even Paul himself went slightly astray in Acts 21.
The Galatians Christians also were being led astray by the false teaching of trying to combine a mixture of law and grace - as many Christians are even today - but he was not questioning their ultimate salvation.
As he says in verse 9 “But now, after that ye have known God, or rather ARE KNOWN OF GOD, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?”
The Lord knows them that are his, but God’s people can be mislead by false doctrines. It happens all the time. The very people who made this video teaching that a Christian can lose his salvation are teaching false doctrines and leading others astray.
Example # 10. - 2 Peter 2:20-21 - “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.”
Then this false teacher tells us that “it would be very difficult to deny that saved people are in view since they are described as having actually escaped the corruption that is in the world.” Then he goes into some false argument about the how the Greek word epignosis means “a saving knowledge”, when in fact the same word is used in Romans 1:28 where we are told of those who “even as they did not like to retain God in their KNOWLEDGE, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.”
And they conveniently left out verse 22 which tells us: “ But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”
These people never were true Christians. A person can make a false profession of faith and outwardly clean up their lives for awhile, but if they never were truly born again and received a new nature, they always were dogs and pigs. Their nature had never been changed and they never were true Christians to begin with.
Their next video is supposed to go through Hebrews chapters 6 and 10 where they think they have indisputable evidence that born again Christians who were redeemed by the blood of the Lamb can in fact then turn away from the faith and lose their salvation.
I have also written an article about these two sections of Scripture that may be of help in showing that the verses they refer to do NOT at all teach the things they want us to believe.
You can see this study here - Hebrews 6:6 "if they shall fall away" and 10:26 "for if we sin wilfully"
In closing this study let’s take a good look at the truths presented in Romans chapter 8 verses 28 through 39.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.
34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
ALL of grace, believing the Book, the King James Holy Bible.
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