ETERNAL SECURITY: PROVIDED BY THE FATHER (Pt. 2)
The Doctrine of Eternal Security Pt. 5
by Dennis Rokser
Is salvation forever or can it be lost, given back, forfeited, etc.? Can a sinner who has trusted in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross be absolutely certain of going to heaven five years from now? Is the believer on divine probation or is he kept forever saved by God's power and grace? These questions strike at the core of the issue we are addressing in this present series on the doctrine of eternal security. In our last article (and for the next several ones) we are examining numerous passages of Scripture that clearly teach that every genuine believer in Christ stands eternally secure in their salvation because of all three members of the Triune Godhead the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
ETERNAL SECURITY BY GOD THE FATHER
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. 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. 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. (Romans 8:28-30)
There are no spiritual dropouts when it comes to God's purpose of glorifying every child of God. For any to be lost who were once justified by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone demands a failure in God's plan and purpose of glorifying the believer. God forbid! What God starts, He finishes PRAISE THE LORD!
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 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? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. 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. (Romans 8:31-34)
If God is for you (and He is); if Christ died for all your sins (and He did); if God raised Christ from the dead as proof of His acceptance of Christ's substitutionary sacrifice on your behalf (and He did); if God is declaring you righteous in Christ regardless of your failures (and He is); and if no one can properly bring an accusation in the future or rightly condemn you in the meantime because of Christ's advocacy and intercession (and they can not); HOW COULD YOU EVER LOSE YOUR SALVATION? Impossible!
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? (Romans 8:35a)
Is not this the very question we are seeking to answer? Does this question directly relate to the issue of eternal security and guaranteed future glory for the believer in Christ? Can a believer under certain circumstances ever lose this salvation and be separated from God's love so as to face His righteous wrath instead of guaranteed future glory? This is the question Paul raises right on the heels of what we have previously examined in Romans 8:28-34.
Verse 35 underscores seven potential difficult circumstances that Christians face as the question; "who shall separate us from the love of Christ?"; is expanded. "Shall "
As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. (Romans 8:36)
Believer, these are troubles that every believer can expect while living under the curse (Gen. 3) in the devil's world. Our Lord taught, "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33b) Is the fact that you are experiencing any or all of these mentioned circumstances proof that God has forgotten you and ceased loving you? Are these conditions in your life evidence that you are not saved and secure in God's hand? If you base the assurance of God's love and your eternal salvation upon your circumstances or walk, you may begin to doubt and wonder. Yet if the security of your eternal salvation is based on Christ's work on the cross for you; and if the assurance of your eternal redemption is based on the promises of God to you, then you can declare with the apostle Paul (who knew firsthand of these difficulties)
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (Romans 8:37)
The definite and scriptural answer to the question of verse 35 is an emphatic "NO!" Every believer is a special object of God's agape love and a super-conqueror through Christ. There is no tribulation too serious, no distress too great, no persecution too intense, no famine too severe, no nakedness too revealing, no peril too frightening, no sword too sharp, to ever separate any believer from the love of Christ. Fantastic! Now does this mean that believers have never failed the Lord under these circumstances? No, for the Scriptures are replete with even great and godly believers who failed the Lord miserably at times. However, though you and I may fail the Lord after we have been saved by His amazing grace, yet God's love never fails us! This is why Paul concludes this triumphant passage with this dogmatic affirmation,
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 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. (Romans 8:38-39)
In expanding on the question of verse 35, the apostle of grace now examines five spheres or situations that are not able to separate the believer in Christ from God's perpetual love.
Does God qualify the kind of death? No. Whether it is an automobile accident, maximum divine discipline via the sin unto death, or even suicide; can "death" ever separate the child of God from the love of his Heavenly Father? No! Nor can any failure, trial, sin, or difficulty in "life." By the way, do you know of anything in between "death" and "life?" So if death, nor life can separate the believer from the perpetual love of God, how could one ever lose his or her salvation?
These three terms are used in Scripture to refer to ranks of angelic beings, whether good or bad (Ephesians 6:12; Colossians 1:16, 2:15). This then would also include Satan, who is a fallen angel. If angels generally, and ruling angels specifically, including Satan, cannot separate the believer in Christ from the love of God, how could one ever lose his or her salvation?
Nothing in the now (your sin, your unbelief, your carnality, etc.), nor anything in the future (including the future judgment of God) can create a chasm between the believer and God's agape love. Since your past has not separated you from God's love, and because your present and future cannot separate you from the love of God, how could you ever lose your salvation?
These are extremes of space. Wherever believers could travel in the universe, they would never arrive at a place where they can escape God's love. However, this is not true of the unsaved, as they will be separated from the blessings and love of God in eternal hell due to their rejection of Jesus Christ (John 3:18, 3:36, 5:24, 8:24). Since "death" in the Bible involves separation, eternal separation from God is called "the second death" (Rev. 20:14). So how could one who has been born again into God's family, who possesses "eternal life," and who cannot be separated from God's perpetual love ever lose his or her salvation?
Paul has enumerated the spheres and extremes of existence, angelic beings, time, and location. Can you think of anything not included in this list? It includes everything in heaven and in hell, now and in the future. And among them all, not a thing can be found which can separate one who has been saved by God's grace from the love God.
Now Paul is ready to answer the objection of the doubter or denier of eternal security who retorts, "But while all of this is true, yet can't I personally separate myself from God's love and His eternal salvation by my conduct, will, choice or sin?" Anticipating your objection Paul adds in verse 39,
"nor any other creature (created being) "
Now this includes everybody. To nail the coffin of human objection closed, Paul adds; "nor any other creature." Every human being falls into the category of a created being, including you and me. You (believer) cannot separate yourself from the love of God and neither can I. And though believers in Christ can spurn the fellowship of God, grieve the Holy Spirit through sin, and lose their joy now and their rewards in heaven later, the Scriptures dogmatically assert
"nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8 begins with the liberating truth of "no condemnation" in Christ (8:1) and ends with the triumphant refrain of "no separation" in Christ Jesus our Lord. And between these wonderful bookends of God's grace is the wonderful promise that "all things work together for good." It does not get much better than that!
Perhaps you noticed that I purposefully omitted any comment on the first phrase of verse 38, "For I am persuaded " The Greek word translated "persuaded" (pepeismai) means "to arrive at a conclusion or to be convinced of something, not based on one's feelings or emotions, but by the influence of reason or moral considerations." The issue of eternal security does not rest on what you feel, what you heard someone say, or what a particular church affirms. Paul was persuaded and convinced that these truths were true because of what God's Word taught. "Persuaded" is a perfect tense (literally I stand completely convinced from the past to this day) passive voice (Paul did not convince himself of this; God convinced him based on the Word of God and the work of Christ) and indicative mood (this is a fact of reality whether someone believes it or not) verb. There is no question in Paul's mind where he stands on the issue of God's perpetual love and his eternal security.
Now let me ask you dear reader; do you stand persuaded or convinced based on the Scriptures? Do you have a hope-so salvation or a know-so salvation? The divine verdict is out and the verdict is clear. No one or nothing at any time or place, whether angelic or human, can ever separate the born again child of God from God's perpetual love. Now that is eternal security!
However, if you have never trusted in Jesus Christ alone to give you eternal life, these truths do not apply to you. If you are relying on Jesus Christ plus your holy life, your not sinning, getting baptized, going to church, keeping the Ten Commandments, confessing your sins, etc., then you are still working for your salvation and have not accepted eternal life as a gift from God.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Eph. 2:8-9)
If you think you are saved because you have prayed a prayer, signed a card, raised a hand, asked Jesus into your heart, or went forward at a public invitation; then you also are deceived, as all of these things are simply more "works."
But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. (Romans 4:5)
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. (Acts 16:31)
The promise of eternal security and God's perpetual love is given only to those who, while admitting their helpless, hopeless, and hell-bound condition before a holy God as sinners; have decided to rely on Jesus Christ alone, who died for them and their sins and rose again to save them. Only then can you confidently sing:
Jesus my Lord will love me forever;
From Him no power of evil can sever.
He gave His life to ransom my soul;
Now I belong to Him.
Once I was lost in sin's degradation;
Jesus came down to bring me salvation
Lifted me up from sorrow and shame.
Now I belong to Him.
Joy floods my soul, for Jesus has saved me
Freed me from sin that long had enslaved me.
His precious blood He gave to redeem;
Now I belong to Him.
Now I belong to Jesus; Jesus belongs to me
Not for the years of time alone, but for eternity. ’