I think anybody who reads here knows that I believe in the Eternal Security of the believer, Once save always saved, or Perseverance of the Saints. I believe God’s Word clearly teaches that the salvation of a truly saved person will never be revoked, nor can it be taken from us.
This is problematic for some, as many consider this doctrine to be nothing more than the granting of a license to run out and sin all they want. Sadly, many who oppose the Doctrine of Eternal Security are made to feel this way by the conduct and lifestyles of those professing to believe. Sadly, some do actually believe that salvation is no more than getting their ticket to heaven punched, and that they can in fact do as they wish with no repurcussions
On a side note, stolen from Adrian Rogers. I do, in fact, sin all I want to. I just don’t want to like I used to.
The Apostle Paul answered the question about Eternal Security being a permit to sin very directly in Romans 6:15-23. This question is far from a new one.
Romans 6:15-23 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Clearly, salvation is not a permit to sin at will. God said that in His Word. Also, clearly, God has expectations of us once we are saved.
Not only does The Bible teach that grace and security are not a permit to sin, but Christians should keep in mind that we all face a judgment one day. Understand clearly that a truly saved person will never face judgment for their sins; the issue of Heaven and Hell is decided only in this life. Believers will, however, be judged at some point in time for how they lived their lives for Jesus Christ while they were alive. The ultimate goal of every believer at the Judgment should be to hear the same words the good steward heard in the Parable of the Talents which Jesus told, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Let’s take a look at this judgement believers face. We learn in Romans 14:10-12 as Paul wrote to the Roman believers, that we will all stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ and account for how we lived our lives for him. Since we aren’t going to be judged for our sins what then is the purpose of this judgment? The judgment believers face is to determine our rewards we will receive for the things we have done for Jesus while living. One of the best descriptions of what will happen can be found in 1 Corinthians 3:10-17
What we receive are crowns for various services we have rendered on behalf of Jesus Christ during our lives. Descriptions of these can be found in several places in Scripture: 2 Timothy 2:5, 2 Timothy 4:8, James 1:12, 1 Peter 5:4, and Revelation 2:10.
Not only do saved believers face a judgment later for their works, but we also need to understand that we do not necessarily escaped unscathed in this life for the things we do wrong. We escape the eternal punishment for our sins due to our salvation, but not the earthly consequences for them. The things we do on this Earth affect our lives on this Earth.
God Himself may discipline us. Notice the difference between punishment and discipline. We are free from the eternal punishment for our sins: past, present and future. Like a good parent, however, God will chastise and discipline us in order to bring us back in line with His desire for our lives.
Hebrews 12:6-8 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
God disciplines us as His children; if fact, if He does not discipline us then we are not actually His!
Sin has earthly consequences which are not necessarily handed out by God, but just the natural outflow of our actions. King David is one of the finest examples of actions and consequences we can find anywhere in the Bible. Only a very few people would even try to make a case for David being unsaved; there is almost universal agreement that as we speak, David is in Heaven with The Lord. Yet, we all also know the truly terrible sins David committed at one point in his life. We all know the story of his adultery with Bathsheeba and his murder of her husband Uriah. David certainly was forgiven by God for those sins, but if one reads the full story of his Kingdom it is easy to see that the consequences of what David did set the stage for many things.
- The rape of his daughter Tamar by her half brother Amnon and Amnons subsequent murder by Absalom. 2 Samuel 13
- Absalom’s banishment from the house of David and partial restoration. 2 Samuel 14
- Absalom’s later rebellion against David. 2 Samuel 15-19
Just a casual reading of this story and it is easy to draw the conclusion that David’s failure as both a father and husband led ultimately to some very serious consequences. One might even say that his other son Solomon behaved in some of the ways he did due to the example set by his father David.
To sum up the above, eternal security in our salvation is not a license to run out and sin all we want to. I heard a preacher say once, “Since I got saved I sin all I want to;” the audience grew silent and he then stated, “but I don’t want to.” Let’s recap quickly.
- True saving faith and salvation will produce works, or fruit
- We will all be judged for the quality of our works.
- God will discipline and chastise us for our actions
- We still face earthly consequences for the things we do
The whole idea that the Doctrine of Eternal Security is no more than a license to sin is probably the single biggest argument that is used to counter the doctrine. As we can see, the argument is simply not a valid one.