What is eternal security? It is when we have the confidence that we will live forever in the afterlife. And by living forever, I mean in heaven–not hell or the lake of fire (Rev. 20:11-15). Both are eternal destinies if we examine the subject of eternal life Bible-style.
If you are from America, there is a very good chance that you would define yourself as a Christian if you were asked about your religious or spiritual beliefs. About 75% of Americans claim as much. As a professing Christian, no matter what country you are from, you may have wondered, "Can a Christian lose their salvation?" The short answer is this: Once saved always saved, as one phrase goes.
In article one of this 2-part series, I asked the question, "Are you sure you're a Christian?" In that article, we learned how to examine our faith to be sure we are true believers. You might want to read that article first. If you are convinced you are really a Christian as the Bible defines one, there is nothing that can cause you to lose your eternal relationship with our loving Creator.
There are dozens of Bible verses that teach the principle of eternal security. Nobody should have to fear every day of their lives where their soul will go once they breathe their last. Too many people push the whole idea of eternity out of their minds and just live their lives anyway they please. That is dangerous. But every person who has really placed their faith in Jesus Christ as their only way to a wonderful afterlife can have peace of mind. A Christian cannot lose their salvation!
Many Christians begin to doubt their own salvation because of a guilty conscience. We are only human. We still have the same desires as we did before believing in Christ. But we have the power of the Holy Spirit to help us. We struggle between our own desires and the leading of God's Spirit (Galatians 5:16,17). However, we are taught in scripture not to take advantage of God's grace and forgiveness by willingly yielding to sin (Romans 6:1,2). It is a good thing if we feel guilty when we know we have given into our natural tendencies to sin, or even if we aren't sure. It shows a heart that wants to please God. But true Christians do not have to bring themselves to emotional torment over it.
For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? – Hebrews 9:13,14, NKJV
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. – Hebrews 10:22,23, NKJV
It is the blood of Jesus Christ that has washed us clean. We can live our lives with a clear conscience. I am going to provide 7 biblical reasons why true Christians truly have eternal security. Let the Bible speak for itself.
1. God's grace through our faith in Jesus Christ is what alone saves us, so we can't earn salvation by working for it or lose salvation by bad behavior.
yet knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the law, because no flesh will be justified by the works of the law. – Galatians 2:16, WEB
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. – Ephesians 2:8,9, NKJV
Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. – II Timothy 1:9,10, NKJV
(Also see Romans 4:4,5; 11:6; Acts 13:38,39; Titus 3:5-7)
Many people have been led to believe in works-related salvation. They think that because they are a good person like give to charities, volunteer at the PTA or Food Bank, provide for their family, don't abuse their spouse, obey the law, etc., they would of course go to heaven. Those are all well and good, but we can't earn salvation by good works or being a good citizen. That is where Israel went wrong with Moses' Law. The Law was only given to point out our sin–to prove that we can never perfectly obey God (Hebrews 7:19; 10:1; Romans 3:20; Galatians 3:21-26). But all it takes is one sin to separate us from a relationship with God (James 2:10). That's why eternal life had to be provided by the undeserved gift of grace as we believe in the death of Christ alone.
2. Jesus died so we wouldn't have to pay the death penalty for our sins.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 6:23, KJ21
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. – Romans 5:8,9, NKJV
For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. – I Thessalonians 5:9,10, NKJV
(See also Colossians 1:13,14; Hebrews 2:14,15; 9:24-28; 10:10-14)
Because we are the offspring of Adam and Eve, we have the curse of physical and spiritual death upon us (Genesis 2:17; 3:1-7; Romans 5:12). First we die and then we experience the wrath of God in the afterlife as punishment for our sins. But God provided a way out by sending Christ to die in our place if we just believe in Him alone
3. Christ always represents believers to God when we sin.
Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. – Romans 8:33,34, NKJV
But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. – Hebrews 7:24,25, NKJV
My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world. – I John 2:1,2, NLT
Again, because of the temptations of this world we still live in and our natural tendencies of lust and selfishness, Christians still sin. But Christ is our defender and advocate. He speaks on our behalf. Something like this I suppose. "Father, I already completely paid the penalty for his (or her) sin. Do not hold this against them."
4. Jesus Himself promised that Christians cannot lose their salvation.
And this is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all which He has given Me I should lose nothing but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes on Him should have everlasting life. And I will raise him up at the last day. – John 6:39,40, MKJV
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one. – John 10:27-30, NKJV
It doesn't get much clearer than that. God told Jesus, in essence, that He is not to lose anyone who was given the gift of grace. That answers directly the question, "Can a Christian lose their salvation?" Everlasting life is guaranteed and Christ is to raise their corpses from the grave in the resurrection to reunite with their souls which have already entered the presence of the Lord (II Cor. 5:8). They will never be destroyed by death and nothing can snatch their souls away from God.
5. The indwelling Holy Spirit is the Christian's guarantee of the afterlife.
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. – Ephesians 1:13,14, NKJV
Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. – II Corinthians 1:21,22, NKJV
Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. – II Corinthians 5:5-8, NKJV
(Also see Romans 8:9-11,15,16; John 14:16,17; Ephesians 4:30)
As soon as we first truly believed in Jesus Christ's death in our place, we were forgiven of our sins, and then the Holy Spirit of the living God entered our souls. He is our guarantee throughout the rest of our lives that we belong to God and have eternal security. The Holy Spirit will never leave us, so once we're saved we're always saved.
6. Eternal life starts as soon as we become Christians
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. – John 5:24, NKJV
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. – Colossians 3:1-4, NKJV
For He has delivered us from the power of darkness and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son; in whom we have redemption through His blood, the remission of sins. – Colossians 1:13,14, MKJV
Let's put these together: has passed from death into life…you were raised with Christ…has translated us into the kingdom. What all this is saying is that we've bypassed death and already have eternal life. Just as Christ was raised from the dead, our souls have already raised from the death created by our sin. Our souls and spirits have already been transferred to eternity. Our current citizenship is in heaven, not earth (Philippians 3:20).
7. Believers will never face God's judgment.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who don’t walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. – Romans 8:1, WEB
He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. – John 3:36, NKJV
(Also see John 5:24; 10:27-30; Romans 5:8,9; 8:33,34; I Thessalonians 5:9,10)
Finally, we can be assured that we will never experience the judgment, condemnation, or wrath of God. Bluntly speaking, we will be spared hell and the lake of fire if we have truly believed in the Son of God, Jesus Christ and have the Holy Spirit residing within us.
I hope that if you ever feared hell before, you are now at peace. If you are sure that you're a Christian, you can be sure that you have eternal life.