ETERNAL SECURITY: PROVIDED BY THE SON (Pt. 3)
The Doctrine of Eternal Security Part 9
by Dennis Rokser
One of the blessed benefits of God’s gracious gift of salvation is that it is eternal and secure. As a result, God wants every believer to “know that ye have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). Therefore, in this on-going study we have previously examined…
A. ETERNAL SECURITY BY GOD THE FATHER…
B. ETERNAL SECURITY BY GOD THE SON.
1. Every believer in Christ is eternally secure because of the PROPITIATORY SACRIFICE of Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 10:10-14, 1 John 2:2)
2. Every believer in Christ is eternally secure because of the guaranteed PROMISES of Jesus Christ.
a. John 3:16
b. John 4:13-14
c. John 5:24
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. (John 5:24)
Eternal life is guaranteed to the individual who is willing to simply believe God's record of His Son. The verb "hath" is in the present tense and indicative mood, which sets forth that eternal life is a present reality, not a future possibility. God gives a know-so, not hope-so salvation. Notice also the two-prong promise, followed by a definite statement from Jesus Christ Himself.
· Promise #1: "hath everlasting life"
· Promise #2: "and shall not come into condem-nation…"
If you could lose or forfeit your salvation (by sin, sinning, not confessing, etc.), you would relinguish eternal life and would then come into God's condemnation. Our Lord guarantees that this is impossible. Jesus Christ’s two-fold warranty declares for you the certain and forever salvation of every believer who through faith permanently "is passed (perfect tense) from death (out of spiritual death – separation from God) unto life (in to spiritual life – union with God).” This is another wonderful promise by Jesus Christ of the believer's eternal salvation and security.
d. John 6:35-40
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:35-40)
In this great discourse on the bread of life, Jesus Christ compares Himself to the manna from heaven which provided life to the Exodus generation of Jews (vs. 31-33). Thus, in order to have eternal life, sinners need to come to Christ by faith. The issue is not coming forward to the front of a church and praying the "sinners prayer." Nor is it a matter of coming to a baptismal fount or baptistry to wash away your sins.
· The Person of the offer… "I am the bread of life."
· The condition of the offer… "he that cometh to Me"
· The promise of the offer… "shall never ("ou me") hunger"
· The condition clarified of the offer… "he that believeth in Me"
· The promise reiterated… “shall never (“ou me”) thirst.”
This sounds a lot like the promise Christ made to the Samaritan woman (John 4:13-14). And once again He emphatically teaches the absolute guarantee of eternal security through the use of the double negative "ou me." This combination of Greek negative particles stresses that under no circumstances or conditions shall the believer in Christ ever spiritually hunger and thirst again.
So what issue does Christ now put his index finger on? What were Christ's hearers still missing?
But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. (John 6:36)
The word "believeth" (vs. 35) and "believe" (vs. 36) are both in the active voice indicating that faith involves a choice to trust in Christ. This was the decision Christ's audience was unwilling to yet make. To further support the eternal security of the believer, the Saviour declared,
All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. (John 6:37)
This verse beautifully balances divine sovereignty (first half) and human responsibility (second half). Please note that "all" means "all." Christ's absolute pledge to all who come to Him by faith is that He "will in no wise ("ou me" – never) cast out." If Jesus Christ will accept all believing sinners like the song says,” Just as I am," why would He later kick one out when He see flaws and faults in his/her Christian walk? Being omniscient, the Lord knew up-front and in advance who He was accepting and who He would die for. Yet, He will never cast you out, for He came "to seek and save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10).
In fact, this litiotes indicates that Christ will do just the opposite – He will keep you in.
For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. (John 6:38-39)
Did you realize that Christ's mission in fulfillment of the Father's will involved an eternal and secure salvation… "I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day." Interestingly, this same concept is found earlier in this chapter in the feeding of the five thousand and His command to the disciples to "gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost" (6:12). No believer in Christ will ever be lost again!
And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:40)
Again Jesus Christ guarantees that anyone may have "eternal life" who puts his trust in Christ alone. What a powerful passage (John 6:35-40) and six-fold guarantee of eternal security!
…"shall never hunger" (vs. 35)
…"shall never thirst" (vs. 35)
…"I will in no wise cast out" (vs. 37)
…"I should lose nothing" (vs. 39)
…"may have everlasting life" (vs. 40)
…"I will raise him up at the last day" (vs. 40)
Jesus Christ has promised every sinner who chooses to trust Christ as Saviour, via the convicting work of God (vs. 44), that he will receive eternal life right now, as well as have a certain bodily resurrection in the future… "and I will raise him up at the last day." What a complete and guaranteed salvation!
Dear readers, which verse describes you? Are you the sinner who, while recognizing your sin and worthiness of God's righteous condemnation, comes to Christ by faith for salvation? Or are you like those of whom Jesus said, "That ye also have seen Me, and believe not"?
I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. (John 8:24)
3. Every believer is eternally secure because of the divine PROTECTION of Jesus Christ.
Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. (John 10:7-11)
I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. (John 10:14-18)
There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him? Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind? And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. (John 10:19-26)
John chapter 10 pictures the shepherd-sheep relationship of Jesus Christ with those who trust in Him. In verses 27-30, seven unconditional statements are emphatically stated at the end of this discourse which are true for all of Christ’s sheep.
#1) “My sheep hear my voice” (divine illumination)
#2) “and I know them” (divine fellowship)
#3) “and they follow me” (divine guidance/personal trust)
#4) “And I give unto them eternal life” (divine eternal life)
#5) “and they shall never perish” (divine security)
#6) “neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” (double divine security)
#7) “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.” (triple divine security)
Please observe that there are no “ifs” in these statements such as, “if my sheep hear my voice, and if I know them, and if they follow me, then I give unto them eternal life…” If you have put your trust in Jesus Christ who died for you (vs. 11), then you are a sheep and each of these statements apply to you.
The phrase “I know them” should remind us of those who trust Jesus Christ plus their works for salvation (Matthew 7:22); of whom Christ declared,
I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:23b)
To reinforce Christ’s assurance… “And I give unto them eternal life,” He wonderfully adds, “and they shall never perish.” The Greek “ou me” construction, translated “never,” again underscores that under no conditions and circumstances shall Christ’s sheep ever perish. That’s eternal security.
But for those who may be still skeptical of this wonderful truth, it would be helpful to note that there are three Greek words in the text that are not translated; “eis ton aiona.” Consider their other occurrences in the book of John (some which are translated and some which are not).
I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever (eis ton aiona): and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. (John 6:51)
This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever (eis ton aiona). (John 6:58)
And the servant abideth not in the house for ever (eis ton aiona): but the Son abideth ever (eis ton aiona). (John 8:35)
And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never (ou me) die (eis ton aiona). Believest thou this? (John 11:26)
Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never (ou me) wash my feet (eis ton aiona). Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. (John 13:8)
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever (eis ton aiona). (John 14:16)
“Eis ton aiona” literally means “into the ages,” or “forever.” How much stronger statements regarding the believer’s eternal salvation and security could Christ make?
…”I give unto them eternal life”
…”they shall never (ou me) perish (forever – eis ton aiona).
Are these promises absolutely ironclad even if you fall, stumble, or live in carnality in the future? “Neither shall any man (anyone) pluck them out of my hand.” The Greek verb translated “pluck” (harpazo) means to seize or snatch by force. In fact, it is used by Jesus in 10:12 of the wolf’s violent snatching of sheep, and by Paul to refer to the Rapture of the Church in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (“caught up”).
The word picture in John 10:28 is that every believer is viewed as in the hand of Jesus Christ, so that no one in the future “shall pluck (future, active, indicative) them out of (ek) My hand.” Simply being Christ’s sheep is the only condition attached to this, not the quality of your following, as the obtaining and maintaining of salvation is based on Christ’s work, not your walk. It does not rest on the believer’s faithfulness or ability to cling, but on Christ’s faithfulness and infinite power to keep His own in His hand. This is another promise of eternal security. But there is more!
My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. (John 10:29)
Verse 29 shifts from the emphasis being on Christ’s hand, to His Father’s which “is greater than all.” While verse 28 precludes anyone snatching the believer out of Christ’s hand in the future, verse 29 guarantees that no one shall pluck (present tense) the believer out of the Father’s hand in the meantime. Believer, you are in good hands with Jesus Christ and God the Father as “I and my Father are one” (10:30). This is another guarantee of eternal security! Could the passage be any plainer or stronger?
Now I am aware that in spite of these tremendous promises, there are those who upon hearing this would object, “but can’t you jump out of their hands?” Dear reader, if you could jump out you would have to be stronger than God the Father, and remember, “My Father…is greater than all.” Secondly, if you could jump out of God’s hands you would then “perish.” And what did our Lord and Saviour declare?… “And they shall NEVER PERISH.”
But still others object, “But doesn’t eternal security violate free will?” Not at all. Every believer within God’s hand still has many choices to make as to the kind of Christian walk they will have and the quality of their decisions.
While this statement by our Lord does not violate your free will, it does however recognize what free will can and can not do. For example, you may choose to jump off a building and go up; however, the law of gravity will make certain that you will instead go down. Is your free volition violated? No! But it certainly is limited as to what it can and can not do. What is clearly and emphatically declared by Jesus Christ here is the guarantee of eternal life and the impossibility of ever losing your salvation. This wonderful Shepherd is all-powerful and the sheep in Him have nothing to fear. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!
Dr. H. A. Ironside once preached on the subject of the security of the believer. A woman came up to him afterwards and said, "I don't agree with your doctrine."
"What don't you agree with?" he asked her.
"Well, this doctrine of once saved, always saved," she replied.
"Let me read you a verse which supports this doctrine," he said.
"Oh, I know what you are going to read. You're going to read John 10:28, aren't you?"
"As a matter of fact, that is the verse I was going to read." So he read the words: "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand." Then he looked her in the eye and asked her, "Do you believe those words?"
"Not as you interpret them," she replied.
"But I didn't interpret them at all! I just read them to you."
"Well," she replied, "I don't believe those words mean what you say they mean."
"Then let me read the verse this way," he said. "Supposing Jesus said, 'I give them life for twenty years, and they shall never perish for twenty years and no one can snatch them out of my hand for twenty years.' What would you think that means?"
"I think that means they would be safe for twenty years."
"Let us say we changed twenty years to forty years. Would they be safe for forty years?"
"Yes," she said, "I think they would be safe for forty years."
"But it doesn't say twenty years or forty years, it says forever: 'and they shall never perish.' The Greek text is very strong at that point. What it literally says is, 'They shall not ever perish forever.' Let's read it that way: 'I give unto them life forever and they shall never perish forever.' Do you believe that?"
"Not the way you interpret it," she replied.
At this point, Dr. Ironside could only throw up his hands.
If you are willing to take God’s Word at face value and not take the mental posture, “don’t confuse me with the facts,” you will find these verses to be of great comfort and assurance. Your eternal security does not depend on your feeble hold on Christ, but on His firm grip upon you. What a Saviour!
O what a wonderful, wonderful day–
Day I will never forget!
After I’d wandered in darkness away,
Jesus my Savior, I met,
O what a tender, compassionate Friend!
He met the need of my heart–
With joy I am telling, He made all the darkness depart!
Born of the Spirit with life from above
Into God’s family divine,
Justified fully thro’ Calvary’s love–
O what a standing is mine!
When as a sinner I came–
Took of the offer Of grace
He did proffer. He saved me;
O praise His dear name!
Now I’ve a hope that will surely endure
After the passing of time.
I have a future in heaven for sure,
There in those mansions sublime.
And it’s because of that wonderful day
When at the cross I believed;
Riches eternal And blessings supernal
From His precious hand I received.
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul,
When at the cross the Savior made me whole.
My sins were washed away,
And my night was turned to day.
Heaven came down and glory filled by soul! ¢
In our next article, we will examine ETERNAL SECURITY PROVIDED BY GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT. So look for it!
Dennis Rokser has been involved with the Duluth Bible Church for the last 17 years, serving as pastor-teacher for the last fourteen years.