ETERNAL SECURITY: PROVIDED BY THE FATHER (Pt. 3)
The Doctrine of Eternal Security Pt. 6
by Dennis Rokser
In this on-going series on the biblical teaching of eternal security, we have previously...
this wonderful but too often neglected scriptural truth.
ETERNAL SECURITY BY GOD THE FATHER
4. Every believer in Christ is eternally secure because of the POWER of God the Father.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)
Four wonderful truths emerge from this passage relative to every believer in Christ.
a. You have been born-again according to God's mercy. (1:3a)
The phrase "hath begotten us" (anagennesas) means to "give new birth or life to" someone. If you have put your trust in Christ alone for your salvation you have been born-again. Who was the source of your new birth? God the Father (1:3). And how did God accomplish this? Peter answers this question later in this chapter where he writes:
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. (1 Peter 1:23-25)
God used the instrument of His Word, and in particular – The Gospel of Jesus Christ – to give spiritual birth and life to ungodly sinners who were spiritually dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1).
On what basis did God do this for you? Was it because you deserved it? Was it due to human merit, religious works, or church ritual? No, it was all "according to His mercy." This marvel of God's grace gives all the glory to Him and all of God's blessings to the believing sinner.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4-7)
Furthermore, this new birth ("begotten again") is a completed and non-repeatable event (aorist participle) from the very moment that you put your trust in Christ alone to save you (John 3:1-18). So how then could you later be unborn through some sin or wrong choice? And if you could lose your salvation and need to regain it, would you not have to be born again, and again, and again, and again? This is clearly not what the Bible teaches.
b. You now have a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1:3b)
The new birth has given every believer the confident assurance of God's certain and future blessing ("hope"). Unlike the empty and false hopes of this world-system, God has given you a "living" hope through a resurrected Saviour ("by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead").
…His bodily resurrection from the dead (ek nekron)... was the demonstration that He is indeed the Son of God and the Saviour of the world, and that his dying sacrifice is sufficient to cancel the sins of the world and to satisfy the righteousness of God.1
What certain hope does the believer in Christ have?
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:2)
And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? (Romans 8:23-24)
For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. (Galatians 5:5)
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: (Colossians 1:27)
But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. (1 Thess. 5:8)
Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; (Titus 1:1-2)
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; (Titus 2:13)
If you could lose your salvation, is your hope really a certain one? And if not, would it really be any different than the iffy hopes of this world?
c. You now have a reserved inheritance waiting in heaven.
To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, (1 Peter 1:4)
In this context, the believer's "living hope" is directly connected with his heavenly inheritance. Notice carefully the four-fold description of your inheritance.
Believer, does this description of your heavenly inheritance sound like something that can be lost? Nothing can destroy it, defile it, diminish it, or displace it! One author remarks how these terms picture your inheritance as "death proof," "sin proof," and "time proof."2
The Greek word translated "reserved" means your inheritance is reserved, guarded, kept, or preserved. The perfect tense of this verb lays great stress on the fact that your inheritance was placed under God's safekeeping in the past and remains preserved to this very day. It indicates a permanent possession. The passive voice of "reserved" indicates that God, not the believer, keeps preserved this inheritance. And where does God have it kept? "In heaven" – a great and safe place. And for who is it reserved? "For you" who have been born again, as no other conditions are given. If you have been born again, this inheritance is not probationary depending upon your walk or works. It has been permanently reserved for you. If you could lose your salvation inheritance due to sin, apostasy, carnality, etc. – why does it remain reserved in heaven for you?
These specific truths would be very comforting to Peter's readers who had been displaced from their homeland and had suffered great physical and financial loss due to their faithfulness in serving Jesus Christ.
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, (1 Peter 1:1)
While these believers may have lost their earthly inheritances, they would never lose their heavenly inheritance which God the Father had given and was reserving for them.
d. Not only is your heavenly inheritance eternally safe, but you (the inheritors) are eternally secure. (1:5)
Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
(1 Peter 1:5)
"Who" refers back to those who had been born again due to the "blood" (vs.2) and "resurrection" of Jesus Christ (vs.3). The phrase "are kept" (phrouroumenous) is a military term for being guarded or protected. This guarding of these heavenly heirs was continual and on-going (present tense). The passive voice indicates again that God, not the believer, assures their safe-keeping. This divine protection is not an on-again, off-again guarding. God takes no coffee breaks when it comes to His perpetual guarding of His children and heirs.
How is the believer kept, protected, and guarded? "By the power of God." Is there any power greater? Can the power of man's will or of Satan's forces ever defeat this? NEVER!
Dear friends, why did God reserve this inheritance in heaven for you? Why does He constantly keep you secure if somewhere along the way He knows you are going to blow it and go to Hell anyway? And why use such powerful adjectives and strong grammar to describe this inheritance and these inheritors, if they could lose their salvation?
So how does one obtain and enter into this inheritance and the keeping power of God? "Through faith." The one condition is simply to put your trust in Jesus Christ as presented in the Gospel.
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. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
What does all of this eventually result in for the believer in Christ?
"Unto (resulting in) salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1:5b)
This future salvation from sin's very presence encompasses this heavenly inheritance in its eschatological sense, including the glorification of our bodies.
Peter portrayed our future salvation as something ready to be revealed in the last time! "Ready" indicates that all that was needed for the realization of salvation has been accomplished.3
Nothing need be added to God's preparation. The salvation that God has got ready does not need a few final touches from us... God's salvation, finished, perfect, and unchangeable is kept for us by God Himself.4
Dear readers, this is the doctrine of eternal security. And how should this encourage every believer to respond?
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (1 Peter 1:3)
Wherein (referring back to vs. 3-5) ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: (1 Peter 1:6-7)
Like the old black spiritual articulates so well,
This world is not my home,
I'm just a passing thru,
My treasures are laid out,
Somewhere beyond the blue;
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door,
And I don't feel at home in this world anymore.
Dear reader, do you have the absolute assurance of going to heaven based on the work of Christ and the promises of God?
5. Every believer in Christ is eternally secure because of the unfailing PROMISES of God.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (Romans 5:8-10)
Verses 9 and 10 are two tremendous promises from God that all believers should know. "Much more then…" reminds us that if Christ died for us when we were sinners (vs.8), what will He do for us now that we are God's children? God has declared every believer righteous before Him ("justified") from the moment of faith in Christ (5:1) by means of our Lord's substitutionary death on the cross ("His blood"). In light of this, God's guaranteed promise is... "we shall be saved from wrath through Him." Like I Peter 1:5, this future salvation from wrath (future tense) is solely accomplished by God (passive voice) and is a guaranteed fact (indicative mood) through Jesus Christ alone. Did you notice that there were no on-going conditions for you to fulfill in order to possess this salvation; such as not sinning, confessing your sins, being faithful, or as long as you...? This guaranteed promise is given to every believer in Christ who as been justified by God and His grace. This is eternal security!
If verse 8 was not thrilling enough, verse 9 comes along and also guarantees...
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (Romans 5:9)
The word "if" (first class condition) assumes a reality. It could read, "For if when we were enemies (before our salvation) we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son" (and you were). "Reconciled" is pregnant with meaning; indicating a completed act (aorist tense) which God did for you (passive voice), resulting in a know-so salvation (indicative mood) through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. Isn't that wonderful!
As if that was not enough, verse 10 ends by declaring "much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved (future, passive, indicative) by His (resurrected) life." Does this guaranteed future salvation sound questionable, uncertain, or doubtful? NEVER! These verses also set forth the biblical teaching of eternal security.
If you noticed carefully in verses 9 and 10, what doctrine is omitted which normally is found been justification and glorification? – the believers sanctification. This will be Paul's discussion in Romans chapter 6-8, which he begins by writing:
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (Romans 6:1-2)
But God did not choose to discuss how to live the Christian life until the issues of your justification by grace and your eternal security were completely settled. Why? Perhaps it is because your salvation and eternal security is not based on your Christian walk, but upon Christ's finished work on the cross.
Thus, your eternal salvation and redemption is not assured due to your faithfulness to Christ but due to His unfailing promises to you. May we never confuse this! And how should these wonderful promises from God cause you to respond?
And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement (recon-ciliation). (Romans 5:11)
The songwriter, P.P. Bliss, captured this wonderful truth of eternal security when he penned:
Children of God, O glorious calling,
Surely His grace will keep us from falling;
Passing from death to life at His call,
Blessed salvation, once for all.
Once for all, O sinner receive it;
Once for all, O brother believe it;
Cling to the cross, the burden will fall,
Christ hath redeemed us once for all. ¢
1R.C.H. Lenski, The Interpretation of the Epistles of St. Peter, St. John, and Jude. Pp. 29-20, (Luthern Book Concern) as quoted by D. Edmond Hiebert in his commentary of 1 Peter.
2William McDonald, 1 Peter: Faith Tested, Future Triumphant, p. 16 (Harold Shaw Publishers).
Dennis Rokser has been involved with the Duluth Bible Church for the last 17 years, serving as pastor-teacher for the last fourteen years.