This past Wednesday, a group of us were in Jerusalem, standing at the empty tomb of Jesus. And I was preaching a message on the resurrection. And it was a message you would expect me to preach about the centrality of the resurrection and our Christian faith about the evidence for the resurrection. That’s what I was preaching about but not what I was thinking about.
What I was really thinking about as I looked at that empty tomb was, “Okay, Jesus conquered death; am I going to conquer death one day? Do I absolutely know for sure I’m going to be a part of that resurrection?” 1 Corinthians 15:22 says, “That as in Adam all die, so in Christ all shall be made alive.” We’re all in, Adam. We’re genetically a part of Adam. Meaning we all die, not just physically but spiritually. The only way to escape spiritual death is by being in Christ.
What does that mean to be in Christ? Only those who are in Christ will be raised from the dead. And if I am in Christ, is there ever anything I can do later to be out of Christ? I’ve been in the ministry for more than 40 years, and I would say the number one question I’ve been asked through these 40 years is this—Can a Christian ever lose his salvation? Having a pained eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ, is there anything I could do to lose that eternal life?
You know, some people say, “Well, that’s not an important issue. The doctrine of the eternal security of believers—that’s kind of a secondary or tertiary issue.” But no, I believe it’s a vital truth for three reasons.
1. Why the Doctrine of Eternal Security Matters
- This Doctrine Affects My Eternal Destiny
- This Doctrine Affects My Intimacy With God
- This Doctrine Affects My Christian Service
2. Why Some People Believe They Can Lose Their Salvation
- Failure to Understand the Biblical Concept of Salvation (1 John 4:10)
- Belief That the Doctrine of Eternal Security Leads to Sinful Living (2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 6:4-7)
- Troublesome Passages in the Bible (Hebrews 6:4-6; Hebrews 3:12)
- Failure to Distinguish Between Salvation and Rewards (2 Corinthians 5:10; Hebrews 6:10)
3. Five Reasons We Can Believe in the Eternal Security of the Believer
- Salvation Is What God Has Done for Us, Not What We Have Done for God (Ephesians 2:1-5; Romans 5:6-8)
- To Lose Our Salvation Would Be to Reverse an Act of God (Romans 11:29)
- Christ’s Death Resulted in Eternal Salvation (Hebrews 7:25; John 6:37)
- Christ’s Death for Our Sins Is Final and Complete (Colossians 2:13-14)
- God Has the Power to Keep Us Secure (Jude 24; John 10:28-29)
So how do I know that I’m eternally secure? God has the power to keep us secure. God alone has the power to save you, and God alone has the power to keep you saved. Jude 24 says, “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of his glory blameless with great joy.” God’s the one who keeps you from stumbling.
If after trusting in Jesus as your savior, if having put your faith in him to save you from your sins, if having done everything the Bible says you need to do to be saved, if after all of that, you find yourself in Hell, you would have lost your eternal soul. But God will have lost his good name, reputation, and ability to keep his promise. Do you think God’s going to allow that to happen? No. Not on your life. His reputation is at stake.
Some of the best words about eternal security are the ones we read from John 10:28-29 which says, “And I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish. No man shall snatch out of my hands those whom the Father has given me.”
One popular Bible teacher recounts the story of the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco— the world’s largest suspension bridge. When it finished in 1937 for 77 million dollars, accomplishing that engineering phenomenon was quite a feat. During the first phase of the construction of the San Francisco Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, 23 men lost their life by falling into the icy waters of the San Francisco Bay. They stopped the bridge’s construction and decided something had to be done differently. So, the engineers came up with the world’s largest safety net. It was manufactured out of Manila Cordage and cost 100 thousand dollars, which was a lot of money back then. But they found two things once they resumed construction of the bridge.
First of all, 10 lives were saved. They fell into the net instead of the icy waters below. But they also found, interestingly, that once that safety net was in place, the work on the bridge went 25% more quickly than on the first phase of the bridge. Why? Easy. The fear of falling had been removed. God has placed his hands underneath each one of us as his safety net. All fear of falling has been removed, and the result of that is not that we go out and live recklessly or disobediently, but we work consistently and confidently for Jesus Christ, knowing that we are saved forever.