Is Eternal Security Biblical?

Eternal Security, Once Saved Always Saved, Losing Salvation, and What the Bible Actually Says

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. – Jude 1:24-25

Is eternal security biblicalPerhaps the reason so many Christians question if God will take away their salvation is because deep down every Christian should know they deserve for their salvation to be taken away. However, while every Christian deserves to lose their salvation, Jesus Christ deserves that every Christian retain their salvation for eternity.

Eternal Security is Biblical Because Christ Deserves for Us to be Saved

Since our salvation was never based in our own merit to begin with, but only in the merit of Christ (Philippians 3:9), we will retain our salvation even when we do sin because our sinlessness was never what qualified us for heaven to begin with. Christ’s sinlessness transferred to us through faith by grace is the only reason we are saved (Ephesians 2:8-9), and Christ perfections are still perfect even after we sin. Our sins after we are saved do not stain the perfect life of Christ which our salvation is based upon (but they do hinder our experience of it).

Eternal Security is Biblical Because Christ’s Sacrifice is Greater than Our Sin

The debt of our sins will never outweigh the price Jesus Christ paid on the cross, even the sins we commit after we are fully forgiven once and for all, “For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14). As odd as it sounds, before we even sin our next sin God has forgiven us of it. God is eternal, therefore future sins are as disdainful as presents sins to him. If he did not forgive us of every sin, even our future sins, the perfect and holy God could never be in relationship with us because he can never tolerate any form sin. Of course, though, the need for ongoing confession and repentance of our sins is still necessary so we can experience our positional purity in Christ and so we are demonstrating the evidence of a changed heart (sanctification).

Eternal Security is Biblical Because “Your Salvation” Belongs to God

The great error in the question, “Can I lose my salvation?” is to believe “my salvation” is based in me. The salvation Christians posses is rooted in God’s actions on behalf of man through the work of Christ. The idea of “our salvation” really belonging to God and being from him can be seen in both the Old Testament and New Testament:

“I wait for your salvation, O Lord.” (Genesis 49:18)

“The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation . . . .” (Exodus 15:2)

“But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.” (Psalm 13:5)

“The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.” (Psalm 37:39)

“. . . for my eyes have seen your salvation” (Luke 2:30)

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”(Acts 4:12)

“After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God . . . .” (Revelations 19:1)

Since “our salvation” is based in the actions and faithfulness of God, and no person is strong enough to overpower God, there is no way a person who is truly saved can lose their God-given salvation. Jesus said, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:28-29). Because God is greater than all, no one can lose what he gives.

Eternal Security is Biblical Because God Would Never Detract from His Glory

Additionally, it is vital to note that everything God does, he ultimately does for the glorification of himself, including saving people (Ezekiel 36:32, Psalm 23:3, Ephesians 2:7). God would never give a gift and then take it away because God gave the gift to give himself glory, and God would never detract from his own glory. “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake!” (Psalm 79:9).

Eternal Security is Biblical Because True Salvation Results in a Visibly Changed Life

Having said all of that, the doctrine of eternal security should never encourage sinful living because you believe you can’t lose your salvation. Knowing how faithful God is despite our unfaithfulness should produce more obedience to him, not less. In fact, the Bible makes clear that what you do validates and is evidence for what you truly believe (James 2:18, 1 John 2:3-6). Therefore, those who are truly saved will be showing certain fruit to prove that they are a new tree (Matthew 7:17-20, Galatians 5:16-24).

No Christian will be sinless, but over the course of their life they should sin less as evidence of their sanctification. If you are truly saved, you will have guilt over sin (1 John 1:8-10), you will demonstrate an eagerness to repent when you do sin (2 Corinthians 7:10-11), you will continue to seek sanctification and growth towards God your entire life (2 Peter 1:8-10), and ultimately you will be clearly seeking to follow Jesus in every area of your life, learning to obey all his commands (Matthew 28:20). Put simply, perfection will be absent, but a pursuit of Jesus must be present in every true Christians’ life. Therefore, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Eternal Security is Biblical Because Those Who Renounce Christ Were Never Truly Saved to Begin With

Lastly, if someone has a season of following Jesus but then falls away, confesses Jesus as Lord but then denies him as Lord, or says they believe in Jesus but their life shows no biblical evidence of a transformed heart, the correct theological diagnosis is not that they lost their salvation but that they were never truly saved to begin with. Perseverance will be present in every true Christian:

“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” (1 John 2:19)

“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.” (Colossians 1:21-23)

Let us “not move from the hope held out in the gospel.” The victory is ours, we just have to finish the race.

So no matter how many times you fail, no matter how many times you turn from God, no matter how many times life does not work out the way you had hoped, what is of the uttermost importance is that you do not give up and you always turn back to God, seeking him above everything else – not because we can lose our salvation, but because a true Christian will want to show the evidence of their salvation.