Eternal Security Doctrine
This doctrine was first introduced by Satan to Eve in the Garden of Eden with the words, “…Ye shall not surely die.” (Genesis 3:4) With these five words, Satan introduced the Doctrine of Eternal Security. He, as well as all who embrace this doctrine, call God a liar, for God said if you do not conduct yourself according to My rules, “…thou shalt surely die.” Genesis 2:17
This false doctrine cloaks itself in many guises; once-saved-always-saved, salvation in sin, perfection in Christ is impossible this side of heaven, and the most subtle introduction of this doctrine of Satan is, we are still God’s people regardless of conduct.
This doctrine of “conduct does not matter” has been with us from Old Testament times. Cain thought he should still be respected of God, even in his disobedience of God’s requirements. Genesis 4:5
Christ had to confront this doctrine from Satan in the Jewish church. Even though the Israelites had rejected God by worshiping Baal, Moloch, and many other heathen gods, even offering their children as burnt sacrifices to gods of wood and stone; even though they consulted the devil for counsel (II Kings 21:6) and desecrated the temple of the Lord by erecting images of other gods right in the house of God, they still declared themselves to be God’s people. They believed Satan’s doctrine that conduct does not matter – ‘we have eternal security’.
Christ made it perfectly clear you only have eternal security “…if ye do whatsoever I command you.” (John 15:14) When you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are not given a license to sin and live as you please with a guarantee of salvation. The apostle Paul says when we have accepted the gift of salvation, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law.” Romans 3:31
Jesus made it very clear. If you are not seeking through divine aid to live up to all the light of truth you possess, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.” (John 8:44) The Israelites had bought into the eternal security doctrine. They said, “We have Abraham as our father.” (Matthew 3:9) They really thought that regardless of their conduct, they were still God’s people.
John the Baptist said it is not your genealogy that gives you your eternal security. It is not even your possession of truth. It is your practice of the truth you possess that makes you one of God’s people. “Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance.” (Matthew 3:8) Jesus confirms this truth presented by John in these words: “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:20,21) Jesus made this statement against the false doctrine originated by Satan that possession of the truth makes you one of God’s people and your conduct does not matter.
Christ’s death upon the cross was complete sacrifice for our sins. But that does not mean, in any sense of the term ‘complete’, that you do not have a work to do in the Plan of Salvation. This insidious doctrine of eternal security denies even the necessity of asking forgiveness of sin after accepting Christ. This doctrine instructs people that Christ ‘did it all on the cross.’’ God’s Word teaches otherwise: “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, . .. the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.” I John 1:7
Herein lies our only hope of eternal security – obedience to all of God’s commands. Anyone teaching or embracing security outside of unquestioning obedience to God’s commands give evidence to the master deceiver, “seeking whom he may devour.” I Peter 5:8
The agents of Satan are very clever. Their doctrine is built upon the same lie their father the devil deceived Eve with: Disobedience still keeps you under God’s grace – you have eternal security!
Salvation is held out only to him who is willing and remains on the basis of unquestioning obedience. “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Isaiah 1:19
Here were certainly two and only two choices left entirely with the people of God. They could, by will, obey or rebel, which is the privilege that establishes man a free moral agent. But making the choice to disobey God’s commands disqualifies one from being numbered among God’s people; and there is no eternal security as is so subtly being advocated by Satan’s pastors today for those who are willfully disobedient. A drowning man has no other recourse than to drown until help is offered. Then he has the privilege to accept or reject life. “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17
The case of Lucifer should be convincing in itself that the doctrine of eternal security, while in willful sin, is a false one. “How are thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How are thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” (Isaiah 14:12) “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee… I will cast thee to the ground.” Ezekiel 28:15,17
We need nothing more to prove not only that it is possible to turn away from God and be lost, but having a knowledge of the truth without corresponding obedience to that truth, will only have you “cast out from being numbered among God’s people.”
Satan, very subtly, is seeking to destroy the Plan of Redemption which includes not only Christ’s death upon the cross, but also His administration in the Most Holy of the Heavenly Sanctuary. This is brought to light by the apostle Paul: “For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (I Timothy 2:5) Christ, our High Priest, now pleads His blood on our behalf. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9
Christ, as our Mediator, provides atonement for ignorant, or accidental, sin. (Hebrews 9:7; I John 5:16,17) Contrasted with this is God’s direction in the disposition of willful disobedience. Hebrews 10:26 says, “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.”
But the most deceptive doctrine of eternal security refutes this by declaring that no iniquity, be it willing, presumptuous, or otherwise, will cause you to be lost; and, if you possess the truth, you cannot be cut off from God’s people.
Oh, what a fatal deception! Is it not possible that a man can become a servant of the devil after knowing the Lord, as did Satan? Yet the doctrine of eternal security says God’s mercy must grant him an equal portion of “. . . the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” I Corinthians 2:9
Please understand it is possible to become so infatuated with men and their doctrines that good judgment is impaired. Jesus said “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27) Now suppose one refuses to hear the voice of Jesus. Would he be granted eternal life? No. He would not even become one of Christ’s sheep. Obviously, being one of Christ’s sheep is contingent upon hearing His voice and a continual following after Him.
It is not difficult at all to see that here are two statements definitely dependent upon the conduct of the individuals referred to as “sheep”. Jesus would never say He knows the sheep that hear His voice and that they continue to be His sheep if they discontinue to do so. Neither would He maintain “they follow Me” if and when they begin to follow Satan again. These two statements absolutely are conditional. They cannot be applied to one who quit hearing the voice of Christ, and who stopped following Him.
Whether the person once did or did not, is not a question here. Since it is possible to stop hearing and following the true Shepherd, we must then conclude that eternal life does not apply unconditionally. “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclear person, nor covetous man, who is an idolator, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of “Christ and of God.” (Revelation 22:14,15) And then Paul issues a warning which many so-called Christians pay no heed to: “Let no man deceive you with vain words: For, because of these things, cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” Ephesians 5:5,6
You can be sure no one, no matter how much truth they may possess, no matter how much knowledge of God’s Word they may have, if they are not listening to the voice of the Shepherd and are not daily following Him, they are not His sheep and can have no share in this life and the life eternal in the kingdom of Christ and God.
Consider this scenario that may help simplify this subject for you. A governor who has pardoned a convict may also describe his condition in similar terms thus:
- He accepted my recommendation to go straight.
- I know him to be sincere.
- He is following an example of a good citizen.
- I have given him his freedom.
- He shall never be returned to prison.
Is it not clear, and please follow along with this, for these are God’s terms for eternal life and for being numbered among God’s remnant people; that when this pardoned criminal has a change of mind about accepting the recommendation to go straight and ceases to follow the example of good citizenship, his freedom and security against imprisonment is no longer valid?
If this was not to be thus understood in Jesus’ words in John 10 regarding His sheep, why was the deportment of the ‘sheep’ so closely related with the reward, or why not describe their behavior in the past tense, if eternal life is unconditionally granted?
This is only consistent with the message throughout the whole of God’s infallible Word – ‘obey and live’, or ‘rebel and die’. “And being made perfect, He became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him.” Hebrews 5:9
Every deceptive doctrine held out to men has some artful construction that makes it appeal to those whose minds are not fortified with the precious truths of the Scriptures. To deceive Eve in the Garden of Eden, Satan used the serpent, which the Bible states “. . . was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.” Genesis 3:1
Likewise, to propagate a doctrine that a friend of the world is not an enemy of God when God’s Word declares he “. . . is the enemy of God” (James 4:4) is clearly a case of tampering with God’s Word and changing its meaning.
As though he had foresight of the deceptive doctrines that would assail God’s last-day people, John warns, “Let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous… He that committeth sin is of the devil . . . Whosever doeth not righteousness is not of God.” I John 3:7,8,10
Applying all these texts we can, as Jesus directed, know the false pastor by the fact that the doctrine he presents does not concur with Bible truth. Pastors who present the eternal security doctrine have many followers for several reasons: It is an easy religion and one can live outside the law of God and feel secure of God’s mercy. As long as one knows the truth and goes through the rituals, such as attending church each week and putting money in the offering plate, salvation is sure – no need to obey all of God’s commands. But Jesus made it plain to the Jews of His day that to expect anything from the promise to the “seed of Abraham” they were to qualify as the children of Abraham by doing the works of Abraham. John 8:39
“This world is the place in which to prepare to appear in God’s presence. Individuals will here show what power affects their hearts, and controls their actions. . . If they prize anything higher than the truth, their hearts are not prepared to receive Jesus, and He is consequently shut out. . . The Spirit of God will leave them with their sinful traits unsubdued, to the control of evil angels.” Our High Calling, pg. 162
God’s last-day people will seek to find how close they can walk according to His counsel, not how far they may deviate and still be saved!