Doctrine of Eternal Assurance

Once Saved Always Saved

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will. – Ephesians 1:4-5, NIV

21  Now it is God who establishes and confirms us [in joint fellowship] with you in Christ, and who has anointed us [empowering us with the gifts of the Spirit];  22  it is He who has also put His seal on us [that is, He has appropriated us and certified us as His] and has given us the [Holy] Spirit in our hearts as a pledge [like a security deposit to guarantee the fulfillment of His promise of eternal life]. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, AMP

I decided to write a reformed research paper on the subject of the saints persevering to heaven once saved; meaning that a believer cannot lose their salvation once it has been granted by God. Perseverance of the Saints is listed by John Calvin as the 5th point of his TULIP which is Calvin’s doctrinal views on salvation. I am in agreement with Calvin’s fifth point but not points 2-4 on unconditional election, limited atonement, and irresistible grace. I do believe in Calvin’s 1 st point of the TULIP (Total Depravity). I have a variation of point one (Total Depravity). It is possible for people to believe but only through the father drawing people to his Son John 6:44. However, responding to scripture is the responsibility of human beings. God will not repent for us, although we cannot repent by the unaided will; we cannot take credit for our salvation. Because repentance is not considered (works); repentance is literally interpreted as a (change of mind). God gives us the ability to believe although people are incapable of coming to faith on their own power, because we are dead in our trespasses Ephesians 2:1.

Although I am not in agreement with the entire TULIP, I do agree with the last point which is Perseverance of the Saints. I am in agreement with how God will not allow his own people (those who are born-again) to fall away from the faith and be lost; to be lost means to be condemned for an eternity burning in a Lake of Fire Revelation 14:11. I believe falling away from the faith is evidence that they were not saved to begin with. They went out from us [seeming at first to be Christians], but they were not really of us [because they were not truly born again and spiritually transformed]; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out [teaching false doctrine], so that it would be clearly shown that none of them are of us. 1 John 2:19, AMP

There are several key scriptures that emphasis eternal security. Some believe that you can not earn salvation in the beginning, but you must earn your salvation in order to keep it. God was wise enough not to leave something as important as eternal security in the hands of people. Jesus was referring to his sheep that were the elect when he said, “And I give them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” John 10:28John 6:3917;211122 Timothy 1:12Romans 8:37-39.

This is one example of how the carnal mind thinks regarding eternal security. What is to stop someone from living as sinfully as they want to live without the fear of losing one’s salvation? Romans 8:1 (CEV) If you belong to Christ Jesus, you won’t be punished. The context of Romans 8:1 is eternal punishment. But God didn’t say that he wasn’t going to discipline those in Christ Jesus.

Scripture states that God disciplines those he loves, his children (Hebrews 12:6). If you were at a grocery store and you saw someone’s children misbehaving, would you spank them yourself? Chances are that you answered no. Why? Because you wouldn’t discipline children that are not your own. Only those who are born again in Christ are children of God (Galatians 3:26). The unbelieving are not Father God’s children; they are only his creation unless they repent of their sins. This is why God doesn’t discipline those who do not belong to him.

Those who never fall away are saints. The ones who take the view of “I can live however I want now that I am saved!” may possibly not have a regenerated heart (Ephesians 2:1). If it were up to a Christian to either be saved or remain saved, we would be unable to do either. There is no power within me apart from the Holy Spirit. I know that I can take confidence in the scriptures and in the Holy Spirit to teach me (1 Corinthians 2:14); however, 2 Timothy 2:15 is my responsibility.

15  Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15, AMP

8 Therefore there is now no condemnation [no guilty verdict, no punishment] for those who are in Christ Jesus [who believe in Him as personal Lord and Savior]. Romans 8:1, AMP

38  For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers,  39  nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Creation can’t thwart His purpose for believers in Christ. What a climactic way to affirm the certainty of believers’ salvation! 1 1 John A. Witmer, “Romans,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 475–476.

11  And such were some of you [before you believed]. But you were washed [by the atoning sacrifice of Christ], you were sanctified [set apart for God, and made holy], you were justified [declared free of guilt] in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the [Holy] Spirit of our God [the source of the believer’s new life and changed behavior]. 1 Corinthians 6:11 Amplified Bible (AMP)

I want born again believers to feel secure in the arms of their savior Jesus Christ. If bad behavior caused us to lose our salvation, then none of us would have been saved to begin with. Many believe that once they are saved, you have to continue to earn your salvation in order to keep it; rather than knowing confidentially that there is nothing that anyone can do to earn forgiveness by their works. The issue of forgiveness is strictly a faith issue (Ephesians 2:8-9) which was accomplished at the cross of Calvary thousands of years ago by Jesus death and resurrection. When trying to understand the correct interpretation of scripture, we must weigh in all the other relevant scriptures in their proper context if we wish to understand the meaning of one particular scripture. I also want the readers of this article to know that I intentionally took a seminary course on Book of Hebrews in order to study the fallen away scriptures within their proper context.

8  For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God;  9  not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation]. Ephesians 2:8-9 Amplified Bible (AMP)

2:8 By grace refers to God’s favor upon those who have transgressed his law and sinned against him. But grace may also be understood as a “power” in these verses. God’s grace not only offers salvation but also secures it. Saved refers to deliverance from God’s wrath at the final judgment (Rom. 5:9); “by grace you have been saved” is repeated from Eph. 2:5 for emphasis. The verb form for “have been saved” (Gk. sesōsmenoi, perfect tense) communicates that the Christian’s salvation is fully secured. through faith. Faith is a confident trust and reliance upon Christ Jesus and is the only means by which one can obtain salvation. this. The Greek pronoun is neuter, while “grace” and “faith” are feminine. Accordingly, “this” points to the whole process of “salvation by grace through faith” as being the gift of God and not something that we can accomplish ourselves. This use of the neuter pronoun to take in the whole of a complex idea is quite common in Greek (e.g., 6:1); its use here makes it clear that faith, no less than grace, is a gift of God. Salvation, therefore, in every respect, is not your own doing.

2:9–10 Salvation is not by works. If it were, then those who are saved would get the glory, created … for good works. Salvation is not based on works, but the good works Christians do are the result and consequence of God’s new creation work. Falling away from the faith scriptures and their meaning in context; 4 For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once
enlightened—those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come—6 and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame.  Hebrews 6:4-6 (NLT)

If you notice, this book is written to the Hebrew people. Because no matter what God did for many of them, the many miracles, the parting of the Red Sea, or manna from heaven, many of them refused to believe and even had the nerve to worship a golden calf. I think this shows continuous disbelief of behalf of many of the Hebrew people. These people returned back to either Judaism or a different religion that was pagan-based such as they learned in Egypt. Since it was so common for the Hebrew people to do this even after witnessing numerous miracles, the book of Hebrews was written with their disbelief in mind. Another issue at hand was persecution as many of the Jewish people suffered persecution and were tempted to go back to Judaism. If they did go back to Judaism, that was evidence of the following bible verse.

19  They went out from us [seeming at first to be Christians], but they were not really of us [because they were not truly born again and spiritually transformed]; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out [teaching false doctrine], so that it would be clearly shown that none of them are of us. 1 John 2:19 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Results of Justification
5 Therefore, since we have been justified [that is, acquitted of sin, declared blameless before God] by faith, [let us grasp the fact that] we have peace with God [and the joy of reconciliation with Him] through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed). Romans 5:1 Amplified Bible (AMP) The main issue here is whether or not someone is actually in Christ and only Christ knows that; the issue was not about someone losing their salvation. We may be given clues by fruit evaluation but we are not omniscient like God, so we cannot see what he sees. Only God knows who is saved and who is not, unless he chooses to reveal it to us supernaturally.

29  For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable [for He does not withdraw what He has given, nor does He change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call]. Romans 11:29 Amplified Bible (AMP) God is not like humans, he does not revoke his love, his gifts or his calling once he has given it. Nor does He revoke the salvation that he has given us in Jesus Christ.

8  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Hebrews 13:8 (NKJV)

Since believers are in Christ and he never changes nor revokes, then our position in Christ never changes or gets revoked. 1 Corinthians 15 states that believers that live a lifestyle that is displeasing to the Lord will only suffer loss of rewards in heaven for the continuous evil they have done in the body here on earth.

And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.
Ephesians 4:30 (NLT)

The duration of which the Holy Spirit is sealed inside of believers which is on the day of redemption of our physical bodies upon the Lords return back to earth. There is no mention of the Holy Spirit being unsealed at any point because of our sinful behavior. Instead the verse tells us that we continuously grieve the Holy Spirit by living in sin, there is no mention of the Holy Spirit fleeing from us.

The way that I interpret the commentary above is that those who are truly saved will not continue to deliberately live in sin. I believe that a believer may have certain strongholds that they may never have broken free of and may not have persevered here on earth to have those strongholds broken by Christ through the discipleship process. Perhaps their pride may have gotten in the way of this painful but rewarding process called discipleship. I believe the above comment made by the Faithlife Study Bible commentators were speaking of unbelievers who do not care what God thinks and live as they please not because of strong-holds, but because they do not know God, therefore they live by the flesh because they do not have the Spirit of God living in them. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:16 (NIV) As you see if you do not have the Spirit of God to begin with, you cannot stop gratifying your flesh. People who do not believe in Christ live this way, although living in the flesh looks different for all the unsaved people of the world.

20 Therefore, by their fruit you will recognize them [as false prophets]. 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me on that day [when I judge them], ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and driven out demons in Your name, and done many miracles in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them publicly, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME [you are banished from My presence], YOU WHO ACT WICKEDLY [disregarding My commands].’  Matthew 7:20-23 (AMP)

I hope that my study on the subject of salvation has in some way helped you feel more secure about your salvation. The carnal mind is extremely sinful, to the carnal mind Once Saved Always Saved can often take on the meaning of live however you want. The Apostle Paul deals with this type of thinking in the Book of Romans 6:1-2.

6 What shall we say [to all this]? Should we continue in sin and practice sin as a habit so that [God’s gift of] grace may increase and overflow?  2  Certainly not! How can we, the very ones who died to sin, continue to live in it any longer? Romans 6:1-2 Amplified Bible (AMP)

6:1 Shall we go on sinning …? The immediate occasion for Paul’s rhetorical question is 5:20: “where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” But this same question naturally arises from Paul’s broader teaching about the gospel: if people are justified by faith alone, are they free to live any way they want?
6:2 By no means! Paul rejects any such implication with his strongest negative (Greek mē genoito, a formula typical of the diatribe style Paul is using [see note on 2:1]). died to sin. Not removed entirely from sin’s influence but set free from its absolute power (vv 3 . 6, 14, 18, 22).

We all must allow the Holy Spirit (our teacher) to adjust our theology and doctrinal beliefs. God is the only one who knows exactly what he meant when His Spirit inspired men to write the Bible. We can only know about scripture and the things of God by way of His Spirit (The Holy Spirit).

14  But the natural [unbelieving] man does not accept the things [the teachings and revelations] of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness [absurd and illogical] to him; and he is incapable of understanding them, because they are spiritually discerned and appreciated, [and he is unqualified to judge spiritual matters]. 1 Corinthians 2:14 Amplified Bible (AMP)

My last point in the defense of the doctrine (Perseverance of the Saints) is as follows.  There is only one sin that leads a person to hell.  That sin cannot be committed by a believer. It’s the only sin that God will never forgive.  This means all other sins are forgivable. The pharisees saw all the evidence that Jesus was from God and is God in human form. God can raise the dead to life, cure leprosy, make the lame walk, the blind sees and the deaf hear, just to name a few miracles that Jesus performed. Then to take absolute confirmation that Jesus is in fact God in physical form and reject his merciful miracles and label them as evil via a demonic spirit is a sign that nothing else that Jesus does will be able to convert those who had hardened their heart against Christ.

The Pharisees showed that no matter what Jesus did, they still wouldn’t believe and since they saw the revelation with their own eyes and chose to reject God’s revelation of Christ as messiah. They had in fact committed the only sin that would keep them out of heaven and condemned in a Lake of Fire for an eternity.  Only those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit which is to (Reject Jesus Christs offer of Salvation and die in unrepentant sin will go to hell for an eternity.)    This is what the pharisees did, they rejected Christ.  How can a believer reject Christ if they are already in Christ?

31  “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy [every evil, abusive, injurious speaking, or indignity against sacred things] will be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the [Holy] Spirit will not be forgiven. 32  Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit [by attributing the miracles done by Me to Satan] will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. Matthew 12:31-32 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Here is a gracious assurance of the pardon of all sin upon gospel terms. Christ herein has set an example to the sons of men, to be ready to forgive words spoken against them. But humble and conscientious believers, at times are tempted to think they have committed the unpardonable sin, while those who have come the nearest to it, seldom have any fear about it. We may be sure that those who indeed repent and believe the gospel, have not committed this sin, or any other of the same kind; for repentance and faith are the special gifts of God, which he would not bestow on any man, if he were determined never to pardon him; and those who fear they have committed this sin, give a good sign that they have not. The trembling, contrite sinner, has the witness in himself that this is not his case.

Bibliography
Barry, John D. et al. “Faithlife Study Bible.” Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016. Eze 36:26–27.
Boothe, Charles Octavius. “Plain Theology for Plain People.” Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2017. 73.
Crossway Bibles, “The ESV Study Bible.” Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008. 2385.
Henry, Matthew and Scott, Thomas. “Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary.”
Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1997. Mt 12:31.
Henry, Matthew and Scott, Thomas. “Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary.”
Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1997. Lk 7:11.
Moo, Douglas J. “The Letters and Revelation,” in NIV Zondervan Study Bible:
Built on the Truth of Scripture and Centered on the Gospel Message, ed. D. A. Carson.
Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2015. 2302.
Witmer, John A. “Romans,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the
Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985.
Witmer, John A. “Romans,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the
Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985.

Source: Genesis University

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