Eternal Security

By Ron Jones

©Titus Institute 2009 (Updated August 2022)

Can a Christian lose his or her salvation? If you have turned from sin and accepted Christ as your Savior and his payment on the cross, could you at some point in the future lose that salvation that was once yours? If you have accepted Christ, are you continually in need of accepting him again and again as you slip in and out of your salvation as a result of a lack of dedication to him? This is a crucial question. If we believe that we can lose our salvation, it is extremely difficult to have the kind of peace that the Lord promises to us if we are never quite sure if we are saved or not saved. It is also extremely difficult not to fall into a legalistic way of life as we seek to do good works to keep our salvation in Christ.

We believe that a true Christian who has genuinely accepted Christ cannot lose his or her salvation because we believe that is what the Bible clearly teaches. Once a person is saved, he or she is secure in Christ forever. Jesus Christ provides for those who accept him as Savior a secure love and foundation for life that will last forever. This is what we want to look at in this article.

The Bible is very clear that all Christians, at the moment of salvation, receive total forgiveness of their sins, eternal life in union with Christ, the promise of a future resurrection by Christ, and an eternal love from which they cannot be separated. First, we see in Colossians 1:13-14 that Paul tells us that we have total forgiveness of our sins. Therefore, no sin that a believer commits after he is saved, can cause him or her to lose his or her salvation. He writes, "He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." God has delivered us from the dominion of darkness where we were dead, dominated, and doomed and has brought us, spiritually transferred us, into the kingdom of his beloved Son.

We are able to enter this kingdom because we have been united to Christ and received redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Redemption refers to being freed from the bondage of sin and its judgment. Right now, we have forgiveness of sins. "Forgiveness of sins" is not something God gives to us each time we confess our sins. It is something that we possess. It is something he gives to us when we come into redemption at the moment of salvation, redeemed by the blood of the lamb. There is no distinction made in the Scriptures between past, present and future sins regarding redemption. All were paid for on the cross and all were forgiven when we came to Christ by faith. In Colossians 2:13-14, Paul further describes this, "And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross."

Notice, "all our trespasses (sins)" which includes all our sins in the past, present, and future. Our sins are viewed as a "record of debt" which is cancelled at the moment of our salvation because of Christ's death on the cross. Hebrews 10:12-14 makes a powerful statement about the forgiveness of sins. It says, "But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified." Jesus Christ made one sacrifice for sin, once for all people for all time. That sacrifice sanctified and perfected for all time those who have accepted it by faith. Hebrews is saying that there is no such thing as partial forgiveness of sin. Either all sins are forgiven by a Christ's sacrifice or no sin is forgiven. One sacrifice for sins for all time by Christ gave total forgiveness for sins of the past, present and future. We cannot be forgiven of all our sins at salvation and then be unforgiven at a later time. When we confess our sins on a daily basis, God applies that forgiveness we already possess to our lives.

Second, we see that believers have been given by God the Father to Jesus his Son and Jesus promises to raise them up on the last day. In John 6:35-40, Jesus proclaims, "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."

Jesus reveals how people come to faith in Christ. "All that the Father gives me will come to me" is a declaration of divine sovereignty. God opens the mind and heart of a person to recognize who Christ really is and believe in his Son. This is how the Father draws people to Christ. Jesus then says that whoever comes to him (given to him by the Father) he will never cast out. This means that every one whose mind is opened by God the Father will come to Christ and every one of these individuals Christ will accept and save because they have been given to him by the Father. Then Christ goes further. He says that he always obeys the Father and so everyone the Father gives him will be raised up on the last day. Our bodies will be resurrected from the dead and will be brought into conformity with Christ's glorified body. Make no mistake, this is Jesus' promise that everyone who is given to him by the Father will be in heaven with him forever. There will be no true Christian who lost their salvation and did not make it to God's eternal kingdom.

How do we know that these "given ones from the Father" are all believers in Christ? Jesus tells us in the next verse that they are when he says, "everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him." He says that they will receive eternal life and he will raise them up on the last day. That says it all. No one who believes genuinely in Jesus will be left out of the resurrection to be with Jesus. This is important. Sometimes, people say that they used to be Christians and no longer believe in Jesus. Even some ex-pastors have said this. Make no mistake, they were never genuine Christians. Sometimes people embrace Christianity without embracing Jesus. They add Jesus to their lives, but they don't center their lives in him. They enjoy the blessings of Christianity but don't have a relationship with Jesus. Later when troubles occur in their lives and the blessings of Christianity no longer seem important, they leave. True Christians who have trusted Jesus for their salvation will persevere and trust him in the most difficult situations. The Holy Spirit empowers them to do this.

Third, Jesus promises that his sheep are in his hand and will never perish. In John 10:27-28, Jesus makes this incredible promise when he proclaims, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand." The sheep of Jesus are true Christians, not Christians in name only. Jesus explains that true Christians listen to his voice. After he left the earth, Christians listen to his voice by reading his Word. Jesus knows us and we follow him. We read his Word and then follow his instructions that are in his Word. True Christians follow Jesus. If someone calls himself a Christian and does not follow the Word of God, he or she is not a Christian. That is what Jesus is implying. Then Jesus makes a powerful promise to his followers. He says, "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish." When we accept Christ as Savior, Jesus gives us eternal life and he promises here that we will never perish or end up in hell, the place of punishment for those who have rejected Jesus. The word "never" means just that, never. To reinforce that, Jesus tells us that no one has the authority or power to snatch them out of his hand once they are his, not Satan, not even the person himself. That is eternal security.

Fourth, Paul says Christians cannot ever be separated from the love of God in Christ Jesus. In Romans 8:38-39, Paul writes, "For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Once we have become Christians, we are "in Christ." We are in union with Christ, united to Christ. Once that happens, we are bound to God's love so that we cannot be separated from God's love ever. Paul uses a group of descriptions of circumstances that possibly could separate us from the love of another human being to reveal to us that nothing can separate us from the love of God once we are saved. Not even we can do that! What an incredible promise.