Perhaps the biggest argument against the Doctrine of Eternal Security is that it somehow becomes “a license to sin.” In other words, one can become saved and then go out in the world and do whatever one chooses with no consequence. After all, one’s sins past, present, and future are all forgiven. Technically, that is a true statement. Technically a truly saved person, no matter how far they might backslide, is still forgiven and heaven bound.
Sadly and to the discredit of churches today, we do much to foster this skepticism about the Doctrine of Eternal Security. We have pews full of people who only darken the doors of a church for an hour on Sunday morning, then barrel back to the outside world and conduct themselves just like, or worse than, the rest of the world. This same group of people justifies their behavior by resting on some claim that they are saved, so..”I’m all good, I’m saved and heaven bound. Jesus has forgiven me so it’s cool.” This is a classic case of the tail wagging the dog. Salvation is not about getting a ticket to heaven punched. God truly, deeply loves us and offers us the gift of salvation, but salvation is not about us!
A quick summary is in order here. God was not sitting around in Heaven lonely one day and decided to create humanity to alleviate His loneliness. God is self-existent and self-sufficient and has no need for us whatsoever. God does not save us so that He can fill some empty void in His existence. We were only created for His honor and glory in the first place. In fact, the entire plan of redemption formed before the beginning of time was simply to declare God’s glory to the universe.
The point of this is God does not save us “for” us. He saves us for a purpose and a reason, and the reason is not us. The most notable Bible passage on salvation based on grace, not works is, of course, Ephesians 2:8,9. Where people go wrong, however, is they stop there. Because right after God makes it clear through the Apostle Paul that works don’t save us, He goes on to tell they whys of our salvation.
Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
That’s just a start. There are numerous passages that teach us the true saving faith will produce fruit(works). These are merely a few.
James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:22.23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
1 John 3:6-9 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
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.
Coming up…Part 4 Rewards for the believer