(These two messages were preached over radio station WPAD, Paducah, KY, February 20 and 27, 1938, while I was pastor at the West End Baptist Church. Hundreds were then distributed. This multilith reproduction, January 21, 1964 is left as delivered).
I delight to speak on this glorious theme of the eternal security of all the saved. I beseech you to hear me whatever your view may be. Do not make up your mind against this doctrine until you hear me today and then again next Sunday afternoon when I shall explain Scriptures sometimes quoted against this doctrine. If you have something that troubles you, write me and I shall be glad to explain it next time.
Certain thins need to be made clear. Just what do Baptists mean by eternal security? To them first belongs the right to explain what they believe. Surely, one who believes a certain doctrine has the indisputable right to explain what he means by the doctrine. This glorious truth shines with comforting assurance and fruit-producing effect when it is cleaned of sincere misunderstanding and caviling misrepresentations.
All Christians may and do sin. Eccl. 7:20, "There is not a just man on earth that doeth good and sinnedth not". But sinning and falling away so as to be eternally lost are different things. Sin in the life of Godís child breaks his fellowship with his heavenly Father. Yet it cannot break the relation of Father and child established by faith in Jesus Christ. Once a child of earthly parents, always a child. Once a child of God, always a child of God. But we may be disobedient and undutiful. Instead of disowning His child, He chastises him that he may bring forth fruit.
Again, some confuse backsliding and falling away from salvation. Our salvation rests on Christ and His finished work on the cross. Our fellowship with Him or freedom from backsliding depends on our loyalty and obedience to Him. If a child of God is lost every time he sins, none of us would get to heaven. Thank the Lord the sins of Christians are not put down to their account. Rom. 4:8, "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin".
People often misunderstand the security of God's saints because they study it as a single truth and not as it is just one glorious thread in the great fabric of truth. Here are some related doctrines. Man needs a sure salvation; he is helplessly and hopelessly lost in the ruin of sin. He is unable to lift himself out of sin's ruin and unable to keep saved unless grace hedges him in.
Another kindred truth and the very foundation of eternal security is in the enduring nature of Christís work for the saint. He has paid the debt in full. He has wiped the record clean. Not one thing will ever or can ever stand against the redeemed. "Jesus Paid It All". "The Old Account Was Settled". Now if salvation depends partly on what we do, surely we may fail. But salvation rests on Jesusí dying as our Sin-bearer and Substitute. When you take Him as your personal Savior that settles forever the penalty of sin that drags to hell forever.
Note another related truth: the assurance of eternal security is in the unchangeableness of God and His promises. Note once more: we teach not only the preservation of the saints but their perseverance. His saints are preserved or kept by His power and promise; they persevere or endure because they are preserved. The cause is God's keeping power; the result is their living for Him who died for them. (More of this next Sunday). But let no man presume that he is kept by God;s love unless God;s keeping produces in his heart love for God. Salvation within changes the without.
Please get this: we do not claim that all professors will get to heaven. We claim that those who have been born from above, those who have been washed in the blood of Jesus, those who have truly repented and believe on Jesus Christ are saved and that eternally. We affirm nothing for mere professors. They go away and stay away because they are not true professors. I Jn. 2:19, "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have not doubt continued with us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not of us".
It would be impossible to mention all the Scriptures that declare the eternal safety and security in Christ of all those who have been washed in the blood. This glorious truth is taught in every Bible book. It is at the heart of Godís comforting promises. It grows out of salvation by grace. All I can do is point out several of the many lines of proof that all the saved are sure to get to heaven.
I am going to present these proofs in a way I hope you will remember. All three persons of the Godhead are pledged to secure eternally the salvation of every believer. God the Father purposed; God the Son purchased; God the Holy Spirit applies salvation to every believer.
I. Now let us look at what GOD THE FATHER DOES TO MAKE SURE THE SALVATION OF SINNERS THAT TRUST IN THE SAVIOR.
1. His Covenant. Jer. 32:40, "And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts that they shall not depart from Me? Here we have both sides of the question. He will not turn away nor permit them to depart so as to be lost. This text is of itself enough to settle the matter forever. It is an everlasting covenant or agreement. Will God go back on His word or agreement?
2. His Gift to His Son. John 6:37, "All that the Father giveth to Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out". They were given in purpose in eternity; they are given in fact when they believe on the Savior, when they come to Him. He will not withdraw His gift, and Jesus will not be unfaithful with the gift.
3. His Choice and Purpose. Rom. 8:28-30, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among man brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, the He also called; and who He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified."
Here is God's golden chain of five links. Two stand in eternity past ó His foreknowledge and predestination. Two stand in time ó calling by the gospel and the Holy Spirit and justification by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. One stands in eternity future ó glorification, to be completed in the resurrected body. Now these five acts deal with the same persons. God's chain of purpose is continuous and unbreakable. Never worry of its breaking; only make sure you are within its blessing by hearing His call and being justified by faith in the precious blood.
4. His Justification. Rom. 8:33, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth." God clears a man of the penalty of his guilt the moment he trust the Savior. In God's hand alone is the right to condemn; instead of condemning, He justifies. How blessed!
5. His Power. I Pet. 1:3-5, "Blessed be the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." The inheritance or heavenly home is kept there, and we are kept here in readiness for it at His call. God takes care of all the needs and interest of His own. Who can overcome His power? Who can snatch our home from the skies? What blessed security! What inexhaustible power!
6. His Roll Book of Heaven. Luke 10:20, "Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven." Does God make mistakes? Does He write a name there and then erase it tomorrow and then add it the next day, and so on? The God I worship and preach is not a God of mistakes like that because He is the God of the Bible. If your name ever gets on the page bright and fair, be assured it will never be erased!
7. His Chastisement. So many forget this sure means of the Father's loving care. I Cor. 11:31-32, "For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord." Why? Note it. "That we should not be condemned with the world." If God left us alone, all His saints would go to hell at last, but His care chastens or whips us so that we will not be "condemned with the world." What a new light that throws on our chastisements; how blessed they are. O Lord, keep me by Thy rod when my heart strays from Thee.
The strongest and completest Scripture on the eternal security is Psalm 89:27-37. (Read it). He makes His seed to endure forever (v. 29). When they sin, they are not lost; He whips them (vs. 30-32). Yet God's lovingkindness is not taken from him; His faithfulness to the great Son of David is at stake (v. 32). Godís word is sure (v. 34). Study this passage until its great truths stick in your soul.
II. We turn now to what GOD THE SON DOES TO MAKE CERTAIN THE SALVATION OF EVERY ONE THAT BELIEVES IN HIM. God the Father and God the Son are One on the question of eh eternal security of the Believer. He could promise "him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out" because of the things which He does for His own.
1. His Hiding. Col. 3:3 "For ye are dead, and your life is his with Christ in God." The homely story o the colored Brother illustrates this text. Put a babe into a keg and seal it. That is the sinner in Christ. Put that keg into a barrel and seal the barrel. What must one do to get to the babe? Go through both the barrel and the key. You must break through God and Christ to get the soul hid with Christ in God. Sinner, trust in Jesus; He will keep you forever.
2. His Intercession. Heb. 7:25, "Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them." "The uttermost" means "to the end" (Greek). The reason is the intercession of Christ. Peter was secured, while he denied Jesus, by His prevailing intercession. "I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not." What glorious comfort in that. How I praise Him that He pleads my case there for me. He takes our case to the Supreme Court of heaven, and He has never lost a case. I Jn. 2:1, "And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous." His work is sure. Your soul is safe in His hands.
3. His Keeping. II Tim. 1:12, "I know Him whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day." Do you know Him in the forgiveness of sins? The basis of assurance is in certain knowledge of salvation in Jesus. "Persuaded" means in the Greek a firm conviction, not a mere passing inclination. He is able; will He use His power? No one who knows His heart of love and promises of truth could afford to doubt. He keeps or guards against all foes. He keeps my deposit; His bank never breaks. It is a time depositó"against or until that day." Never fear if you have deposited your soul into His hands. If you are still holding back and depending on something of your own, you may well fear. Trust Him!
4. His Grip. Jn. 10:27-29, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father, who gave them Me, is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of His hand." Christ's hand alone is sufficient, but the double divine grip is unbreakable. No man, not even the sinner himself, is able to pluck out of His hand. Place a nickel in the hand of a child, and then let a strong man clasp that hand. What security!
5. His Love. Read Rom. 8:35-39. "Who shall separate us from the love that Christ feels for us?" H surveys the foes; yea, he includes "nor any other creature," which includes the sinner himself or the devil either. Then He triumphantly shouts that none of these "shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." love experienced and bestowed becomes inseparable, unloseable.
6. His Life. Jn. 6:47, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath life everlasting life." Can everlasting end? Some say it might last forever and yet be lost to the believer. That is foolish dodging. Christ does not so taunt us with words. "Christ is our life." "Because I live, ye also shall live" (Jn. 14:19). Our living is dependent on His life. His life is the cause; our living is the effect. You must first remove the cause before you remove the effect. We can never more die I the sense of going to hell than Jesus can.
7. His Redemption. Gal. 3:13, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law." "Jesus Paid It All." Our sins are debt too, great future sins ó all our sins. His blood cleanses from ALL sins (I Jn. 1:7). He has redeemed us from ALL iniquity (Titus 2:14). God will not require payment twice. Jesus paid for my sins once for all; I will never have to meet them. What a blessed Savior and salvation. O Sinner, I beg you to receive such a blessed Savior. Your case cannot fail in His hands and under His precious blood.
III. Lastly, let me point you to what GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT DOES TO SECURE FOREVER THE SALVATION OF EVERY BELIEVER. The three Person of the blessed Trinity are pledged and working for the salvation of every single believer in Jesus Christ. What more glorious combination can one want? No wicked, demonic, satanic combine can get one soul that is truly His. Are you His by faith in His blood? Then fear not.
1. His Regeneration. The Holy Spirit gives the believer a new nature in the new birth. II Pet. 1:4, "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature." In the new birth we get an implantation of the divine nature; a new nature is imparted. Therefore, for a saint to go to hell would mean that a part of God goes to hell. That is unthinkable, but no less unthinkable that the theory that one can be once saved and afterward lost. Once a child of God, always a child of God. We cannot born ourselves into His kingdom, nor can we unborn ourselves. His nature remains, and He will card for His own.
2. His Seal. Eph. 1:13, "After ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise." His seal indicates ownership; we are His, and He will care for His property. The Holy Spirit guards the interests of Christ. The seal pledges that we will get there at last. God the Spirit will not leave us uncollected on some far away shore, as some tie-collector might neglect some ties marked to his company. He will gather us to Himself with unerring eye. His seal tells that we now have a foretaste of what awaits us. Glorious privilege and security!
3. His Intercession. Rom. 8:28, "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." Will God turn down His cries? Will He fail to secure His end in interceding? There is only one answer; He cannot fail.
Thus I have set before you what each Person of the Holy Trinity does to make enduring the salvation of every one that trusts in Jesus Christ and Him alone. Dear Saint of God, what more can you want to secure and make sure of heaven at last. O Sinner Friend, what more sure and blessed can you need and desire than such salvation in Jesus Christ? May every heart turn to Him, I pray.
CAN A CHILD OF GOD FALL AWAY AND BE ETERNALLY LOST?
I note today some of the arguments of sometimes brought to prove that a child of God can fall away and be eternally lost. The discussion of a few must indicate that the others mean. A doubtful passage must never discount the multitude of passages that are unmistakably plain. Satan has assailed the doctrine of eternal security through sincere misunderstanding and cavilling misrepresentation. In our first message we brought the light of Godís Word to clear up sincere misunderstanding. We challenge any one to study the Bible with an open mind on this theme. We shall endeavor to answer calvilling misrepresentation with clear presentation of the truth. We beg for your ears and your hearts.
I. EXPERIENCE IS QUOTED. One says, "I know you can be saved and lost; I was once saved and now am lost." Beloved friends, which is true, the Bible or that manís supported experiences? The Bible tests and interprets our experiences. Our experiences can never disprove the word of God. Many suppose that they are saved when they are not. We affirm that a man saved in the Bible sense can never be lost. One of two things is true of the man just quoted: either he was never saved, born again, justified by the blood; or he has fallen into doubts through sin.
Note this: before you can prove apostasy, you must first prove that Mr. A. was actually saved; then you must prove that this same Mr. A. went to hell. That is a burden of proof that has never been produced.
II. CERTAIN BIBLE EXAMPLES have been cited to prove certain saved ones were afterward lost. Let us examine these carefully and with an open mind.
1. The angels that kept not their first estate. Note that angels were never grace, never objects of Christ's redeeming love. Hence they cannot be said to be once saved by grace ad then lost.
2. Adam as created was not under grace. He was innocent; grace deals only with the guilty. He was under probation in a sense in which no other man has ever been. The test was not whether he would as a saved man hold out and not be lost; but it was whether as an innocent creature he would become guilty by disobedience and thus a subject of redeeming grace. We are not now as sinners by nature and by choice under the same or even similar conditions that Adam was in Eden. Facts point to the belief that Adam saw in the coats of skin the Savior's blood and trusted in Him. If he had fallen after that, his case would be in point.
3. King Saul was never a child of God; he was chosen as a king of the people, not as was David the man after Godís heart. No sign appears in Saulís formality that he knew the grace and mercy of God in salvation. He is not said to have a new heat as one born again would; God gave him another heart, which the context shows was a hart to be a king instead of a farmer. The strongest proof that Saul as a worldling who did not know the first letter in spirituality. Beware; do not be a Saul. God chastised Solomon as a child; He rejected Saul as a worldling who did not know the first letter in spirituality. Beware; do not be a Saul.
4. David did not pray for the restoration of his salvation. He cried out, "Restore unto me the JOY of Thy salvation" (Ps. 51:12). When a Christian sins, he does not lose salvation. Salvation is based on the immovable and unloseable Rock of ages. But when a Christian sins, he does lose the enjoyment of salvation. One may let something come between him and his Savior many times, and then be restored. But that is quite different from losing a once bestowed salvation.
If you make the joy of salvation and salvation the same thing, you must believe that one can be saved and then lost, or you must believe in sinless perfection for this life. Those who believe in sinless perfection are the only ones who take this question to its logical issue. Salvation in any part by works of man logically requires that a man live above sin to make sure of heaven. But since that is impossible, only salvation by grace through faith, and that a sure salvation, is the safe and possible route for sinful creatures. Enjoyment and salvation are two different things; salvation is a gift of grace; joy of salvation is the result of daily obedience.
5. I marvel that any student of Scripture would cite Judas as once a child of God by faith in Jesus. Judas is called a devil more than a year before he betrayed Jesus. He is called a thief, a devil, a son of perdition; God does not so speak of His blood-bought children. Judas was never saved; his religion was only outward, as is the case with many today. Judas went unto his own place; that is, the place for which he was fitted, which could be none other than hell. He did not fall from salvation. The Scripture say, "This ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell" (Acts 1:25). He had nothing but his ministry and apostleship from which to fall. Honestly desists from using this case against the security of the saved.
6. Peter was the backslider that returned penitently; Judas was the false professor that never came back because he had nothing to which to return. Peter and Judas are the Bible illustration of the great difference in backsliding and false profession. The two can be judged by the fruit alone. You cannot say surely that one is saved just because he professes; you know he possesses salvation when you see it in his everyday life. The intercession of Jesus secured Peter. He returned because of salvation; salvation did not come as a result of his returning.
7. Matt. 12:43-45 is Jesus' description of the self-righteous Pharisees that opposed Him. He describes the man at his best as being "empty, swept, and garnished." "Emptyí, but the Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit; he has Christ in him the "Hope of glory;" at no time can you call the child of God "empty." "Swept" speaks of the moral cleanliness of life; they were reformers, but had not been washed in the precious blood. Morality does not save. "Garnished" or decorated with religious ceremonies but unsaved. Religion and salvation are not the same. Salvation is what God does for us; religion what we do for God.
8. Matt. 24:13, "He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." Probably the salvation refers to the final stage of salvation; that is, deliverance from the presence of sin. The passage does not discuss the cause of salvation; it does not say their endurance causes or keeps salvation. Here is the cause: "His seed also will I make to endure forever" (Ps. 89:29). The endurance is evidential, not causal. We affirm the endurance of the saints because they are preserved.
9. II Pet. 2:20-22. The sow still loved the mire; the dog still loved his vomit. No conversion there. Saved ones have been killed to the love of sin and sinful ways.
10. Heb. 6:4-6. The ASV is correct on v. 6 and clears up this passage: "And then fell away." They had come to the threshold of repentance and tuned away from Christ. "It is impossible to renew them again unto repentance." They had advanced no further; they were just ready to repent but refused. This was true of the Jewish professors to whom Paul was writing; at last, a part of them. Heb. 10: 26ff is of similar import. Study the whole epistle to get the background of these texts.
11. The expression in Gal. 5:4 ó "ye are fallen from grace" ó is snatched from its setting and made to teach that they were saved in Christ and then fell away so as to be lost. Read the whole verse, "Christ is become of none effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." Ye who? Ye who are justified by the law. Any man who turns to the law as a ground of justification has departed from salvation by grace. This text proves too much; it proves that the man who turns to self-effort and salvation by works is already out of the reach of grace. Read a passage in the light of its setting; it will explain itself.
III. Some urge that we surely can fall and be lost because we are warned against falling. I once asked a friend for his proof of this. He referred to Christís warning to "watch and pray let ye fall." That looked as if he had the proof, but I read on. "Lest ye fall into temptation." Nothing is said of falling away and being lost but into temptation. Every child of God falls into temptation daily, but his salvation rests on Christ, not oh his escaping temptation.
Take one more of these warning. II Pet. 3:17, "Ye therefore beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness." Fall from what? Not salvation, but your own steadfastness. Sin cripples the lives of Christians but cannot touch their salvation because it is founded on Christ Jesus.
IV. Perhaps the most frequent objection to the doctrine of the security of the believer is this: they charge that it makes one take his fill of sin. Hence they declare it is a dangerous doctrine. This is not true, historically nor practically. Baptist were once called Cathariópure onesóbecause of their separated living. No body of people today lives cleaner lives than Baptist who contend for eternal security for every child of God.
Salvation kills the love of sin; we had our fill of sin before we were saved. True we do not claim to live above sinónone live thatóbut our lives do tend to glorify God. If they do not, we had better examine ourselves to see if we are saved or hypocrites.
The man, who says he would take his fill of sin if he believed what I have preached, shows thereby that he has not been killed to the love of sin. A young lady said to another, "I would like to dance, attend the movies, live loosely, but I fear I would go to hell." The other said, "I do not do them, but it is not because I fear hell, but because I love my Savior better." We preach service from love, not fro fear. We serve not in order to be saved but because we are saved. Salvation produces the desire to honor Him in the life.
IN CONCLUSION let me point briefly to some blessed results of this glorious doctrine. Fruit tests doctrine; this doctrine has a most blessed record in the lives of God's redeemed ones.
First, it assures us that the redemptive purpose of God the Father does not fail. His purpose realized takes multitudes to heaven.
Second, it teaches us that the atoning death of God the Son does not go unrewarded. "He shall see of the travail of His soul."
Third, it demonstrates that the gracious wooing of God the Holy Spirit is not fruitless. His work really brings them and reborns them.
Fourth, it furnishes a true basis for Christian assurance and joy. Only those who are saved here and now and forever can be sure of getting to heaven and joying in it. Uncertainty breads fear, not joy.
Fifth, it gives a true motive for Christian service. Love produces more service than fear. That is the kind of service Jesus likes.
Sixth, it brings salvation within the reach of all. It saves the worst and the best. It keeps the man who cannot hold out; it puts Christ in Him for motive power to do good and to resist temptation.
Such a glorious doctrine! Why not believe it? It magnifies God, humbles and enriches man, and peoples heaven. I beseech you to receive from the nail-scarred hands of the risen Christ His gift of salvation to you. He gives; your part is to receive. You believe; He keeps.
[This document was supplied by Ben Stratton, Hickman, KY ó jrd]
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