In our prior lesson we closed by considering John 10:27-29. It is true that none of Jesus' sheep will perish, but His sheep are those who listen to and obey Him. If one stops hearing or stops obeying the Good Shepherd, he will stop being a sheep at some point. So, genuine believers do have eternal security, but not all who claim to follow Christ actually do so.
This conclusion is consistent with Romans 8:1, which reads - "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." No one who is in Christ and walking according to the Spirit will be lost; they have security. However, those who claim to follow Jesus but actually walk accordingly to the flesh have no eternal confidence. God has not allowed such a one to be stolen out of His hand by the devil, but such a one has chosen to leave the light and walk in darkness. This sort of person has no security of salvation. Those who truly love Christ will keep His commandments (John 14:15). They, although far from sinless, have nothing to fear as they walk in the light and trust the blood of Jesus to continually cleanse them (and those are conditions, by the way). I John 1:6-9 is written to Christians and explains:
"If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
"But Stephen, once a son always a son!" This is a common objection, but it is not difficult to answer. Friends, a son can die, can't he? Continued, habitual sin will kill a child of God. It is possible to be a child of God living in error. He is still a brother though he can become dead in sin again. Such a one should be disciplined by his spiritual family who love him and want to save his soul. II Thessalonians 3:6 says - "But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us."
Another common objection is this: "But Stephen, God won't blot a name out of His book once He's written it down; God doesn't make mistakes!" My reply would be this: This isn't about God making a mistake but about a human who had come out of darkness and entered the light choosing to go back to the darkness. God told Moses that He does, in fact, blot people's names out of His book. Moses pleaded with God: "'Yet now, if You will forgive their sin--but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written.' And the LORD said to Moses, 'Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book'" (Exodus 32:32,33).
As we conclude this study, I believe the following quote sums things up nicely:
"Please excuse me from the company of any who maintain that the believer is insecure. It is abundantly evident from the Scriptures that the believer is secure. But only the believer. Many who have debated "the security of the believer" have missed the issue. The question is not, 'Is the believer secure?' but rather, 'What is a believer ?'" - Robert Shank
Indeed, believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are secure, but not all who claim to be believers are. Jesus Himself addressed this in the Sermon on the Mount - "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!" (Matt. 7:21-23). True believers will do the will of the Heavenly Father. Such ones have nothing to fear. Their salvation is secure with the Almighty. However, those who know that God exists and that Jesus is Lord but refuse to submit in faithful obedience aren't real believers (e.g., James 2:19). Friends, we must endure to the end; we must not be lukewarm for the Lord. God has elected to save believers in Christ. Are you a believer? Are you in Christ? Are you faithful? If we can assist you in your spiritual walk in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us.