As a pastor, I often get asked, “With God, is our security really eternal?” In other words, once we begin a relationship with Christ by faith, can that relationship be lost by bad or sinful behavior? This very question plagued me early on in my experience with Christ. When I have such questions, I go to God’s Word for answers. Some of the greatest scripture passages are the following.
1. John 1:12-13. In this passage, it makes clear that those who believe in Jesus Christ by faith have a relationship with God in which they are called His children. It’s not based upon our behavior or works, but upon Christ’s work in our behalf.
2. John 10:27-30. In this passage, Jesus promises that when we trust Him by faith, we are placed in His hand. In His hand is the place of safety and security. But, that’s not all. When we trust in Christ, we are given the double protection of also being in the Father’s hand. Therefore, two members of the Godhead promise that they will hold onto us in spite of our behavior. And to seal the deal, Jesus states, “I and the Father are One.” What did He mean by that? Notice the reaction of the Jews. They took up stones to stone Him because in the Old Testament, anyone who claimed to be God was supposed to be killed for the sin of blasphemy. They knew exactly what Jesus was claiming here. In other words, the most powerful Beings in the universe, the Father and the Son who is seated at the Father’s right hand, hold onto us for an eternity. Now, that’s the highest security we can have!
3. Romans 8:37-39. In this passage, Paul states that if we have truly trusted in Christ, we will never be separated from the love of God. Neither death nor life . . . nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from God’s love for all eternity. Satan and his demons are unable to separate us from the love of God. This is not based upon our performance, but upon His work in our behalf.
4. Ephesians 1:13-14. In this passage, Paul says that the Holy Spirit “seals” us once we trust in Jesus Christ. In Christ’s day, cattle were branded much as they are today. So if someone’s cattle wandered off or ran away, the brand would be called upon and the cattle returned to its proper owner. In the same way, when we place our faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, we are “branded” by the Holy Spirit as a sign that we fully belong to God. But, that’s not all. The Holy Spirit is also a “guarantee” that we belong to God. The word means a “down payment.” When we bought our home in Florida, after we signed a large stack of papers, we gave our real estate agent a check for the down payment on our home. We paid only a small portion of what we owed, but the real estate agent did a curious thing. She gave us a big smile and handed us the keys to the house, declaring, “Enjoy your new home!” Now, we hadn’t paid the full price, but that house was now considered to be ours even though we would be paying on that home for many years. In John 14-16, Jesus promised that once He was taken up into heaven, He would send the Holy Spirit as our counselor, comforter, guide, and teacher. He would dwell within us as a sign that we fully belonged to God. Praise God that the Holy Spirit is our down payment that we belong to God!
5. 1 John 5:11-13. In this passage, John states that if we have truly believed in Jesus Christ for salvation, we can know that we have eternal life. The Greek word for “know” is ginosko, which means to know 100% factually and experientially with no questions asked. In other words, we can be totally secure in our salvation not based upon what we have or have not done, but upon the work of Christ upon the cross.
So, based upon these scriptures and many others, we can be totally secure in our salvation.
However, a different question is, what happens if a person who claims to be a believer in Jesus Christ lives a life of disobedience before God? I’ll answer that significant question in another blog post. Stay tuned. . . . Pastor Bob, Believers Bible Church