Thursday, May 15, 2014

Is There Or Is There Not Eternal Security For the Believer?

Is eternal security really taught in the Bible or can you lose your salvation? This question is intertwined with the question of free will versus election and I did write an article on that already here , but as I see this is becoming a matter of debate over who is a false teacher or not based on whether they teach eternal security or not, I felt that it deserved another go around. If the reader is a proponent of election and does not believe in free will then it is really imperative that the above article be read first before continuing with this one.

I have heard a slightly new teaching that says that free will exists up to the cross, but after that you no longer have free will and thus are eternally secure. Let's take a logical look at that statement. You are born with free will, which means you can utilize your will to make choices for or against God, but after you accept Jesus or Yeshua as your Savior, you no longer have the ability to exercise free will choices for or against God. If this hypothesis is true, then we should be able to look and see Christians who, whether they believe this doctrine or not, never sin. (Because God's truth applies to all His children regardless of how ignorant they might be of the Scriptures.) This must be the end result of this tenet, as once we are inhabited by the Holy Spirit, if we are unable to make free will choices, we must by default only do that which is godly and right. Therefore we can never sin, because sin would be a choice of the old man (or our free will) overcoming the new man, which according to this theory is impossible, for we are eternally secure from ever exercising our free will to go against God.

The question that presents itself that what the evidence suggests? Well, I don't know about you, the reader, but that is not what I see in Christians as a whole, (as a whole I see incredible apostasy and sin in the church) and try as hard as I might, that is not even what I can see in my own life. I readily admit that there are times I give in to sin. I sometimes get angry, jealous, and even sometimes covet material possessions, even if only ever so briefly. I am a sinner....still. Yet I have been born again since I was a little child. I require repentance daily for falling short of the standards of God. So to say that free will exists up to the time of the cross, but after that we no longer have free will would not seem to be an accurate assessment of the situation. Christians still do sin. All of them. I see people who say they are born again Christians struggling with the same problems I do and many other problems that I don't. People gossip, are deceitful, get angry, jealous, covet others property, even lie or cheat. And yes, they are true believers. If everyone who commits a sin was “never really saved to begin with” as the excuse is given, then I don't think there are very many real Christians in the world. Possibly none, because I have yet to know of a sinless person other than Christ.

I think logically we can dispense with the idea that free will exists up to the cross and then we are incapable of making decisions against God. Clearly we can and do sin against God. We continue to choose and have free will choice to defy God.

So, you might say, just because we commit a sin here and there does not mean that we lose our salvation. I agree. 1 John 1:9”If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Confession is good for the soul, as they say. And the spirit too. If we confess our sins, God restores our relationship with Him to what it should be. That is why it requires constant repentance on our part when we sin. Losing your salvation is not that easy.

Christ gave us a lot of parables to show us truths. Maybe we need to take a closer look at what He said. In the parable of the mustard seed in Matthew 13:3-8, 18-23 it says, “And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

In examining this parable, without applying a preconceived interpretation, we see something that is often overlooked. In each case, the Holy Spirit puts the seed in the hearers heart. In the first case, the hearer did not understand. It was meaningless to him, so Satan was able to grab it away from him. In the second case notice that it says he receives it.....I repeat, he receives it. He receives it with joy. And he continues in the faith for a while. But because he does not let it really get rooted deep down - it is a shallow faith - and he does not grow and let that root penetrate deep into his life, and does not bring forth the fruit, he only continues to walk in faith until tribulation and persecution arises. Then he chooses to abandon or walk away from the faith, permanently. This to me is the kind of easy Christianity that we see today. People are being told that all they need to do is believe and they are saved. They truly do believe. They truly want it and accept it. Yes, belief and receiving the gift is what is necessary for salvation, but so is taking it deep into your life and letting it become so rooted that nothing else matters. It is putting Christ first in your life before all things, and being willing to suffer and sacrifice for him. If we don't let it root that deeply, when tribulation and persecution comes, when the God of love that is so easy to respond to seemingly deserts us to allow us to suffer, then people choose, I repeat, people choose to walk away from the faith that causes them to suffer. This is what I fear will happen to many pre-tribbers when they suddenly find themselves in the great tribulation after believing all along that Jesus would never let His Bride suffer, as I hear them all say. These people love God, but they aren't willing to suffer for God.

The third seed falls on ground that also receives it. And like the second seed, notice that not only is it received, but it must actually grow, for thorns can't choke out something that doesn't exist. And what is the result of this choking? The result is that the cares and riches of the world prevent the person from producing fruit. They are too busy with these other things to be engaging in God's work. In other words, it is expected that once the word is received, that the evidence that it is rooted and is not being choked out is that, as any viable seed would, it will produce fruit. Now people immediately will jump on that and say, “But that's works. You are trying to work your way to heaven.” No, that is not what this is teaching. It is teaching that once we have received the word, if we want it to continue to live in us, to make it viable, we need to make sure we are bringing forth fruit. John 15: 1-2, 5-6 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” Jesus tells us that if we are not abiding in Christ and bringing forth fruit (and not just some fruit, but much fruit), we will wither, be taken away, and thrown in the fire (of hell), just as this seed perishes. If we are bearing fruit, it doesn't mean everything is easy going. God, like a farmer, will prune (purge) you to make sure you bring forth even more fruit. It takes pruning a fruit tree to keep it producing a lot of fruit, but pruning is painful for the tree. And we need to weed ourselves of sin. Purging, discipline, tribulation, hardships, persecution, all these things God allows so that we will grow deeper roots and bring forth more fruit.

This brings us to the fourth seed which indeed verifies the idea that fruit is a necessary part of salvation, not to earn it by works, but to prove it by evidence. This person hears and understands the word. In other words, these people understand that there is more to it than easy believe-ism. They understand that it requires putting down roots, weathering the storms of life, and bringing forth fruit. Naturally not everyone is going to bring forth the same amount of fruit, but everyone must bring forth fruit nonetheless. So grounds number two and three initially receive the gospel, but lose their salvation due to their inability to continue in the faith and endure to the end, while producing fruit along the way. And we see that in the next parable also.

Matthew 25:14-30 “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Take careful note of what the first sentence says. “..a man....called his own servants.” This is not speaking of believers versus non-believers. This is talking about several different servants of the Lord God. People who belong to God. They are His own servants, not someone elses. The master divides up the talents in different amounts to the different servants. He does not give the same thing to everyone. He spreads the talents out among the servants in differing amounts for His own reasons. Notice that he doesn't expect an unreasonable amount of return. The five talents yielded five more. The two yielded two more. But the one who buried the talent, who did not do the work expected of him in doubling the talent, was in serious trouble when the master returned. Not only is the single talent taken away, but far worse the unprofitable servant is thrown into outer darkness (hell, where he loses his salvation). Again, we see that it is apparent that our Master (God) is expecting that we will be doing works on His behalf, bringing in some sort of “profit” for His kingdom. To say that works are unnecessary is to blatantly disregard what Christ is telling us. They do not earn our way to heaven, but they do keep us from losing the salvation that has been given to us. Just as you have to take care of a car or it “dies” and ends up on a junk heap, you need to take care of your salvation and nurture it or it will die and you will end up in outer darkness.

The next parable has been used by various camps of thought to try to prove their interpretation. In some cases it requires leaving all logic behind to accept the explanation they give. Let us look at it and see what is said. Matthew 25:1-12 “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.”

The first thing we notice is that there are ten virgins who are awaiting the bridegroom. Now I have heard people say that five are real Christians and five people who think they are Christians but aren't, or five are pre-trib Christians and five are Christians who embrace another doctrine of the rapture. Neither fits the scenario in any logical way. There are ten virgins. They are waiting for the bridegroom. The fact that they are all virgins waiting for the bridegroom can only mean that it stands for ten Christians. Non-believers would not be virgins waiting for Christ. There is no other way of interpreting what virgins mean in this case. The second case is where pre-tribs say that the wise virgins represent them and the foolish virgins represent other Christians is not only illogical, but ludicrous. Pre-tribbers expect Christ to come back early. In the above scenario, the wise virgins know that the bridegroom will not be coming right away, and that they need to have that extra oil, so that they can refill their lamps after they burn out in the long wait. The wise virgins did the “work” of packing extra oil and bringing it along for the wait, not knowing how long it might be. The foolish ones didn't think they need go to the trouble of packing and carrying it along, as they did not expect to have to wait that long. They expected an early arrival. They were wrong. And it cost them being shut out of the wedding. Am I saying that no pre-tribber will make it into heaven? Of course not. What I am saying is that those who do not have a deep-rooted faith that can endure, those who have the easy believe-ism Christianity including those who are also pre-tribbers, who don't think God would ever ask them to suffer, will most likely abandon the faith when persecution comes. They have not done the work of growing in the faith. Those pre-tribbers who have that faith will be terribly surprised and disappointed to find themselves in the tribulation, and will probably die in it, but they will not let persecution rob them of their salvation. They will suffer (or “work” as they call it) and endure to the end to make their salvation sure, for he who endures to the end will be saved. Ultimately what this parable is teaching is that no matter when you believe the rapture will happen, if you have not been abiding with Christ and doing the works He has given you to do, you will not have that oil when you need it.

Matthew 10:22 “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”

Matthew 24:13 “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”

Mark 13:13 “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”

Is not enduring a “work” of sorts? And if you cannot lose your salvation, why must you endure?

So far all of these parables are teaching us that you can lose your salvation. You can be cast into outer darkness. You can - not make it to the wedding.

Jesus speaks yet another parable. Matthew 22:1-13 “And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

In this parable we see that when Israel who was supposed to come to the wedding would not come, and not only would not come, but killed the messengers starting with Stephen, God sent forth armies to destroy the murderers of His servants, and cast them forth out of Jerusalem. He then offered the gospel to the Gentiles. The Gentiles accepted the gospel, and were furnished with wedding garments, but when the time for the wedding came, there was a man who accepted the invitation and showed up at the wedding, but did not have on a wedding garment. As a result he was cast into outer darkness, which we know as hell. The amazing thing is, this man was speechless because he was so shocked. And why was he shocked? Because he apparently thought the wedding garment was automatically provided for him when he got there by virtue of his accepting the invitation. But it wasn't. Why wasn't it? What was this garment he was lacking? How did he fail to show up without it? Let's see if we can figure this out. Where else is the wedding garment mentioned?

Revelation 19:7-9 “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.”

This tells us that the wedding garment is the fine white linen of the righteousness of the saints. But all our righteousness comes from Christ, does it not? So then if that is the case, why did this man not have one on? He accepted the invitation. He accepted and believed in Jesus, otherwise he wouldn't have come to the wedding at all. Right? So what was missing?

Well, we've already seen in the previous parables that works are a necessary followup to accepting Yeshua as our Savior. God created the works for us to do, even before we accepted Him.

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

Titus 2:7a “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works.”

Titus 2:14 “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

Titus 3:8 “This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.”

Titus 3:14 “And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.”

Hebrews 10:24 “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.”

Philippians 2:12 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

Even Paul considered it a possibility for him to lose his own salvation if he did not continue to abide in Christ and bring his life into subjection. He realized he had to endure to the end.

1 Corinthians 9:21-27 “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

2 Timothy 4:7-8 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. ”

We are warned about being contemptuous of works. For to deny works as a part of our salvation is to deny God.

Titus 1:16 “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.”

Getting back to the wedding garment, which is the righteousness of the saints, let us take a look at what is considered the righteousness, to know what constitutes our wedding garment. It is not the acceptance of the invitation, (which is accepting Jesus as your Savior) obviously, otherwise the guest would not have arrived inappropriately dressed. So it must be something else. Abraham seems to hold the key.

James 2:14-26 “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

We are told that Abraham believed God and it was imputed unto him for righteousness. But we already know that that does not give you a wedding garment. But then we see there is something more to that righteousness. By works along with his faith a man is justified (made righteous). Faith alone is not enough. A man needs to have the evidence of his faith made apparent. And that evidence is found in the form of works. What righteousness is there in just believing? If that belief is not tested, is not proven, is not shown to the world, of what use is it to God? Our faith is justified by our works. Our justification and our righteousness is made complete by our works. It proves our faith. Without the works, our faith is a dead faith.

So it would seem that our righteousness is not simply accepting Christ as our Savior, it also requires the evidence of our works. The wedding garment is made by our works. This is why the man at the wedding lacked a garment. He had not been doing the works. He had not taken his talent and doubled it for the Lord. He had not been producing fruit.

So we see that it is possible to lose our salvation by neglect. What about by commission, by a deliberate act of turning from God?

Do we have eternal security regardless of what we do, or can we choose to walk away from God and quit believing after having accepted His Son as our Savior? Do we have free will after the cross? It would seem from the parable of the seeds that we do. What else does the Bible say? Hebrews 6:4-6 “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” How can people read these verses and not understand them? What do they say? They say that it is impossible to renew the repentance of those who fall away. Fall away from what? From having once been enlightened, tasted the heavenly gift, been a partaker of the Holy Ghost, tasted the word of God, and the powers of the kingdom of God. These things only occur to someone who has accepted Yeshua as their Savior. It does not happen to unbelievers. Unbelievers cannot partake of the Holy Spirit or taste the Word of God or the heavenly gift (justification) anymore than someone can partake of or taste a meal unless they actually eat it. The only way to partake of the Holy Spirit is to be indwelt by Him. Notice that they can fall away, but it is impossible to renew them to repentance again. This falling away is speaking of one that is equivalent to blaspheming the Holy Spirit, not simply committing a sin. For if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John1:9) Added to this is the fact that it says that they cannot renew their repentance. You can only renew something if you have had it before. If they had not had justification applied to their lives, it would not be talking about renewing it again. It would be the first time, not the second.

Hebrews 10:26-31 For if we sin wilfully (note the free will choice to sin) after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Notice the words in bold print. If we sin how? If we sin willfully. That denotes a choice of our free will. When is this choice made? After we have what? After we have received the knowledge of truth. This does not just mean intellectually receiving it. This is talking about having accepted Christ into our hearts. How can we be sure of that? Because it says how much greater will the punishment be for those who trod under foot the Son of God and have counted unholy the blood by which he was what? By which he was sanctified. One is only sanctified when one accepts Yeshua as their Savior and is set apart by God as one of His own. There is no other way of reading this. Does this mean that if we deliberately sin all is lost? We will all sin, sometimes willfully, but this is much more than that. This is a complete rejection of the blood of Christ and considering it a worthless thing. It is blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

We may sin, but most of us feel remorse and guilt and repent of that sin. We can be forgiven for sinning against Yeshua, Luke 12:10 “And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.So even though as Christians we should not willfully sin, we sometimes do. Fortunately God is faithful to forgive us our sins. We do not throw the baby out with the bathwater and reject Christ's sacrifice or stop believing in it, because we have committed a sin. In fact we cling all the more to the promise of forgiveness, knowing how unworthy we are to receive it. This verse is talking about those who willfully walk away from Christ and reject Him totally to the point of unbelief, not those who commit a sin, whether by deception or intent. If that were the case, then why tell us in 1 John 1:8-10 “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. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” We are sinners trapped in a sinful body and will be at war with ourselves all our lives to try to be obedient to God and turn from sin, however we will all sin from time to time in spite of our best efforts. We might be able to control our physical actions, but capturing every thought, which is also required to be sin free, is another matter entirely and extremely hard to do. It is that place where sin originates, inside of us in our hearts and minds before it ever manifests in our actions.

So are we eternally secure? Well, as long as we abide in Christ we are. Abiding in Christ means striving to run the race, to bring our bodies and minds into subjection, to keep Christ's commandments (If ye love me, keep my commandments, John 14:15), to do the works God has preordained for us to do, to endure to the end. People who believe in Calvinism and eternal security within the definition of that theology like to quote the following verse to say that it is impossible to lose your justification. Romans 8:35-39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We are promised that nothing outside of ourselves has the power to separate us from Christ as long as we choose to remain in Him. Nothing and nobody else has that right. However notice that God does not include us in that list. We do have the ability to separate ourselves from Christ by our own free will choice. Hebrews has taught us that. So eternal security is available for the Christian, but only if you persevere and remain in Christ. You can walk away.

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