ETERNAL SECURITY: PROVIDED BY THE SON (Pt. 1)
The Doctrine of Eternal Security Pt. 7
by Dennis Rokser
As we explore again the Scriptures regarding the tremendous truth of eternal security, let's shift from…
ETERNAL SECURITY BY GOD THE FATHER… to… ETERNAL SECURITY BY GOD THE SON
For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come in the volume of the book it is written of me, to do thy will, O God. (Hebrews 10:1-7)
By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. (Hebrews 10:10-14)
The writer of the book of Hebrews logically explains chapter by chapter how Jesus Christ is "better" than the prophets (1:1-3); the angels (1:4-2:18); and Moses (3:1-6). He clarifies how Jesus Christ provides a better rest (4:1-16); as a better high priest (5:1-8:5); with a better covenant (8:6-9:24); having offered a better sacrifice for sin (9:25-10:39).
Though the punishment for sin is death (Gen. 2:17; Rom. 6:23), and while the Old Testament sacrifices could picture the truth of substitutionary atonement, the blood of bulls and goats could never take away sins. Thus, the Old Testament priesthood and sacrifices were inferior to and stand clearly contrasted with the superior Person and Work of Jesus Christ in this passage (Hebrews 10:10-12):
Jesus Christ, in His eternal High Priesthood, offered His body as a sacrifice for all our sins past, present, and future – without exception. The reason He then "sat down" is because His once and for all sacrifice for sins was totally complete. No more sacrifices for sin would ever be needed again.
It is in a failure to understand the finished work of Jesus Christ that religion repeatedly misses the mark. All religious systems inevitably teach that salvation will ultimately be obtained by human merit and good works. Thus, if one believes in God (however the particular religion defines him/her/it) and sincerely tries to do his best (whatever religious works are prescribed), his chances of obtaining heaven (nirvana, the after-life, etc.) are good; but not guaranteed. This is true whether it be the religion of Buddhism (following the 7-fold path, bathing in the Ganges River to wash away sins, etc.); Islam (praying 5 times a day and making a pilgrimage to Mecca); Roman Catholicism (observing the sacraments, saying the last rites, etc.); or traditional Protestantism (baptismal regeneration, partaking of confirmation, trying to keep the 10 Commandments, etc.). These merit approaches to eternal salvation run contrary to the Gospel of grace and say in effect that Christ's work on the cross alone is insufficient to save the sinner.
I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. (Galatians 2:21)
Any absolute assurance of a person's salvation is then decimated, for how does a sinner know when he has done enough good works to finally qualify for heaven? This is beautifully illustrated by the late Roman Catholic leader, Cardinal O'Connor, who said,
"Church teaching is that I do not know at any given moment what my eternal future will be. I can hope, pray, do my very best – but I still do not know. Pope John Paul does not know absolutely that he will go to heaven, nor does Mother Theresa…" (New York Times interview, 02/01/90)
Contrast this religious uncertainty with the assuring promises of God's Word.
And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (1 John 5:11-13)
Unfortunately, much of modern evangelicalism repeats the same error by also adopting a works approach to obtaining salvation (asking Jesus into your heart, giving your life to Christ, repenting from your sins, etc.). The Bible is extremely clear when it reads,
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)
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved… (Acts 16:31)
However, to truly grasp the significance and value of Christ's sacrifice on your behalf, you must come to grips with how God the Father viewed and responded to His Son's vicarious death.
And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:9-10)
This Godward aspect of the death of Christ is underscored by the term "propitiation" (hilasmos), which refers to a satisfactory payment. The holy demands of the righteous law courts of heaven were fully satisfied with Christ's substitutionary sacrifice for you. The first proof that God the Father was propitiated through His Son's payment for your sins was that Jesus Christ cried out on the cross… "It is finished" (John 19:30).
The second proof of the Father having been propitiated via Christ's cross-work was that God Himself ripped the Temple veil in two, which had separated the Holy Place from the Holiest of Holies. This was the divine death-blow for the Old Testament sacrificial system.
And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; (Matthew 27:51a)
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; (Hebrews 10:19-20)
The third proof of propitiation was that God Himself raised Jesus Christ from the dead on the third day. Our Lord's resurrection acts as the cancelled check that our sin debt to God was fully paid by the Saviour and accepted at the bank of Heaven.
Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for (because of) our justification. (Romans 4:25)
Since God has been propitiated, what did Christ's sacrifice accomplish for sinners who put their trust in Jesus Christ plus nothing? Hebrews 10 declares…
By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:10)
Every believer has been given a position in Christ in which they have been permanently (perfect tense) set apart unto God (sanctified) by God Himself (passive voice) the very moment they place their faith in Christ alone. To God be the glory, great things He hath done!
For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14)
The Word of God declares that every believer has a perfect standing before God forever (dienekes – uninterrupted time) which is a permanent (perfect tense) reality (indicative mood). This is true regardless of the believer's less-than-perfect state which God is seeking to progressively change through on-going spiritual growth ("them that are sanctified" – present tense). God does not accept us on the basis of our works or performance for Him, but because of Jesus Christ's sacrificial death for us ("for by one offering"). Dear friends, why would God declare believers in Christ to be permanently sanctified and perfected forever in their standing before Him if at some later time they could lose, forfeit, or give away their salvation?
Regarding this, the late Pastor Leonard Radtke insightfully wrote,
To deny eternal security is to deny the finished work of Christ upon the Cross for the sins of the world and to reduce the sacrifice of Christ to the level of Old Testament sacrifices which could never take away sin (Heb. 10:4); thus, putting the person in the hopeless position of always seeking to atone for his sin by his own religious works. One must see that the sin question has been forever taken care of, once and for all (Heb. 10:10-14), and that God is no longer holding man's sins against him (2 Cor. 5:19), which is what God, in His love, did for man. One must see that it is no longer the Sin question, but the Son question. If sin, then, is no longer a condemning factor with the lost, how can sin be a condemning factor with the saved? The sinning believer loses God's blessing, not salvation.
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18)
Dear friends, these wonderful truths of God's grace are foreign to the natural thinking and pride of spiritually blind sinners who repeatedly seek to earn and merit the blessings of God via their good, religious works. Furthermore, those misguided souls who think they can lose their salvation through committing a particular sin (or pattern of sinning) fail to comprehend the reality of how God has been propitiated through Christ's ransom payment for all our sins. Is the Father fully satisfied regarding your sins through the finished work of Christ or not? Must you do something more to gain God's acceptance?
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood… (Romans 3:23-25a)
What does all of this really mean? It means that true biblical Christianity is not a religion; it is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ alone. This eternal relationship is not accomplished by human achievement but by divine accomplish-ment. Furthermore, your salvation is not obtained by your good works or religious rituals; it is all by God's grace through faith alone in Christ alone. So which do you have – a religion or a relationship with God? Are you trusting your imperfect works and holy life to obtain or maintain a right standing before God? Or have your rested by faith in the sufficiency of Christ's cross-work alone to save you forever? If God the Father is fully satisfied with what Jesus Christ has done for you on the cross, the only question that remains is: "Are you satisfied with what Jesus Christ has accomplished, to now receive Him by faith as your personal Saviour?"
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. (John 1:12) ¢
Dennis Rokser has been involved with the Duluth Bible Church for the last 17 years, serving as pastor-teacher for the last fourteen years.