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There can be no question whether eternal life will endure. It cannot cease. But the point of many solemn warnings in the New Testament is that our privilege of participating in that eternal life is directly dependent on our continuing to abide in Him in whom, alone, that life is available to men. It we fail to abide in Him, the eternal life continues; but our participation in that life ceases.

Three Examples

1. Adam and Eve were removed from the garden. Gen. 3:24

2. Cain's sacrifice was not pleasing to God. Gen. 4:4-6; Heb. 11:4

3. Simon of Samaria. Acts 8:5-13; 18-24

Statements of Jesus

1. Parable of the Sower (Luke 8:11-15; esp. 13)

It is possible for one to believe only temporarily.

Those who bring forth fruit with patience are those who kept the word.

2. Parable of the Unjust Steward (Luke 12:42-46)

Outline of the passage:

Question - 42 Who is faithful and wise?

Answer - 43 Servant found doing the Lord's will.

Reward - 44 He will be a ruler.

Peril - 45 The servant might grow careless and unfaithful.

Penalty - 46 He will be cut off with unbelievers.

3. Parable of Forgiveness (Matthew 18:21-35)

Forgiveness is conditional.

God can "take back" forgiveness already granted.

4. Vine and Branches (John 15:1-6)

Three essential truths:

1. The indwelling of the Savior depends on the choice of the disciple.

2. The consequence of abiding in him is his continued indwelling.

3. The consequences of failure to abide in Christ are:

a. Fruitlessness. (4)

b. Removal. (6)

c. Cast out and burned. (8)


Proof Texts

We will now examine some "proof texts" often given to teach and support the doctrine of eternal security. Notice two things in these passages:

A. The Present Active tense is used in all of these passages. This tense in the Greek language means an "action in progress". It is liner and durative. This means it is an action that is currently going on and continuing.

B. "If" statements (conditions) are used. Jesus establishes conditions on which the promises will be kept. These statements are not a privileged position, which once attained, are for ever irrevocable. The privilege is governed by specific conditions being present.

1. John 10:27-29 "Never perish"

A. Does this passage "guarantee against ourselves"?

B. This promise is one-sided:

a. On God's part - the promise is sure and firm. God will not break this promise and cast us away. God will not allow other men to "pluck" us away from God.

b. On man's part - conditions must be met. We control the choice. We can meet the conditions of this promise, or we can resolve to go our own way. We must "keep on" hearing his voice and following him to have the promise.

2. John 8:51 "Never see death"

A. John 11:25-26 "Never die"

B The condition - "Keep my saying."

3. John 8:12 "Have the light of life"

A. You will not walk in darkness.

B. You will have the light of life.

C. The condition - "He that followeth me."

4. John 5:24 "Hath everlasting life - not come into condemnation"

"Where the faith is, the possession of eternal life is; and when the one remits, the other is forfeited." Alford's commentary

"Most assuredly, I am saying to you, He who habitually hears my word and is believing the One who sent me has life eternal, and into judgment he does not come." Wuest's paraphrase translation.

5. John 1:12 "Power to become the sons of God"

6. John 4:14 "Shall never thirst"

A. John 7:37-38 "never thirst, rivers of living water"

B. Does this passage teach: "The person who takes one drink of the spring of eternal life never thirst again"?

7. John 3:3-6 "Born of water and the Spirit"

A. The argument - How can I be unborn? I may be a wayward, disobedient son, but I must remain my father's son.

B. There are three differences between physical and spiritual birth.

Physical Birth Spiritual Birth

1. The inception of life 1. Transition from one mode to another

2. No prior knowledge or consent 2. Requires knowledge and consent

3. Receive life independent of parents 3. Our Father "is our life"


C. Rom. 8:14 - Sonship depends on our obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

8. 1 John 2:29-3:10 "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin"

A. These verses do not teach that it is "impossible" for a Christian to sin.

B. Here is the logical argument:

Major premise: All who stand begotten of God avoid habitual and deliberate sinning. (9)

Minor premise: Only those who abide in Christ avoid habitual sinning. (6)

Conclusion: Only those who abide in Christ stand begotten of God.

C. "Abiding in Christ" is more than a matter of fellowship. It is life itself. It is remaining in Him "who is our life." We must continue to stand begotten of God.

9. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 "Given us the earnest of the Spirit"

A. Study also:

1. Ephesians 1:13-14 "Ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise"

2. Ephesians 4:30 "sealed unto the day of redemption"

B. "Seal" means "an official mark to designate as genuine"

1. It does NOT mean "to make air tight" like a Ball Dome Lid.

2. God does not trap us in the kingdom and "seal" us in.

3. He does identify us as genuine.

C. What is the "earnest of the Spirit" to the Christian?

1. Do not assume that Christians can not be lost because of the faithfulness of God. God can not fulfill His promise to those who become unfaithful. Hebrews 10:28 says that God is faithful that promised.

2. The Holy Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance and the pledge of God's faithfulness. This does not guarantee that we will not grieve, quench and do despite to the Spirit.

Other Passages to Study

1. 1 Timothy 4:1 Some shall depart from the faith

2. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 Saved IF you keep in memory what was preached.

3. Colossians 1:21-23 Continue in the faith ground and settled, not moved away

4. Hebrews 3:12 Depart from the living God

5. Galatians 5:4You are fallen from grace

6. Hebrews 12:15 Lest any man fail of the grace of God

7. Hebrews 6:4-6 If they shall fall away

8. 2 Peter 2:20-22 They are again entangled therein, and overcome


Dangers We Face

This list could continue for a long time. There are many passages that warn of the danger of apostasy. While many members of the churches of Christ understand and defend the teaching that it is possible to lose the security in Christ, they are not convinced that they have any security in Christ.

  1. Possibility vs. Probability We have (and rightly so) argued the possibility of apostasy so strongly that many are afraid of the probability of it. There is no "Blessed Assurance" in many lives. My brethren do not "know for sure" if they would go to heaven when they die. They do not understand 1 John 5:13. Many flatly deny that we can know our eternal destiny.
  2. Salvation by works Many are still trying to work their way to heaven. Attend, pray, read the Bible, take communion, etc. Many do not understand (or accept) the grace of God for salvation. They reject Ephesians 2:8-10.Here is the problem: IF we are saved by saying prayers – How much prayer is enough? What if I forget one? What if I say three a day and God wanted four?
  3. Continued forgiveness There are many who do not understand or even reject the idea that God "continues to cleanse" us from sin. 1 John 1:7-10 is difficult for us to accept.


"The New Testament affirms that eternal life in Christ is our present possession only on the condition of present living faith, rather than as the irrevocable consequence of a moment's act of faith sometime in the past."

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