Security In Christ
When a person comes to Jesus Christ
for new life and forgiveness of sins, how secure is his or
her new position as a son or daughter of God? Is it possible
for a true believer in Christ Jesus, having been saved, to
ever become lost again? Within the following pages I would
like to highlight some truths in the Word of God that have
caused me to come to the conclusion that our position in Christ
Jesus is an eternal position, safe in the arms of a loving
Father. I will also be addressing many of the scriptures that
seem to cast doubt on this position, and hopefully, add some
clarity to the issue . It is for me, a precious and priceless
doctrine, and one that in my opinion adds to the life, love
and godliness of the true believer in Christ Jesus.
Security of Predestination
The Scriptures declare that predestination
is a fact: "According
as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world…having
predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ
to Himself." Ephesians 1:4-5
Predestination is not that God chooses
some to go to heaven and some to go to hell, for the Lord
willing that any should perish, but that all should come to
repentance." 1 Peter 3:9.
Rather, predestination is the working
of God in accordance with His foreknowledge. God knows who
will and will not receive Him ahead of time and makes sure
that those who will receive Him will find Him.
"For whom He
did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to
the image of His Son…Moreover whom He did predestinate, them
He called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and
whom He justified, them He also glorified." Romans 8:29-30.
The Eternal God who stands outside
of time has already foreknown, predestinated, called, justified
and glorified the true believer in Jesus Christ. Notice that
this verse puts our future glorification in heaven in the
past tense, it being a finished action in the foreknowledge
of God. If this glorification is already completed in the
mind of the Lord when He calls us, how then can a true believer
in Christ subsequently become lost? In God's eyes our glorification
is as much a fact as our justification and our calling, all
of which was known beforehand by His foreknowledge.
When in the garden of Gethsemane,
Jesus prayed: "I
have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me
out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me."
Jesus said again: "All
that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and Him that cometh
to me I will in no wise cast out…And this is the Father's
will which hath sent me, that of all which He hath given me
I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the
last day." John 6:37,39.
Jesus declares in these verses that every believer that God
has seen in his foreknowledge will indeed come to Him and
that He "should
Security of the New Nature
John 3:6 says: "That
which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born
of the Spirit is spirit."
We have been born again and our new nature has taken on His
attributes for we are "In
Him." Ephesians 1:4.
Our new nature has been "created
in righteousness and holiness" Ephesians 4:24,
and by its very nature is righteous and everlasting, for He
is righteous and everlasting. How then can one be unborn?
We are a new creation in Christ Jesus and although our flesh
sins and is sinful, our new nature cannot sin: "Whosoever
is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth
in Him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." 1 John
And Peter also declares: "Being
born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible,
by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." 1
Therefore how can this new nature ever become lost? Note the
words of the Apostle Paul when describing a particular rebellious
such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that
the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." 1 Corinthians
The new nature, being born of the
Spirit, is eternal as well as righteous. Jesus said:
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, he
that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath
everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but
is passed from death unto life." John 5:24.
If a true converted believer in Jesus Christ can be damned,
how can "shall
not come into condemnation”
be true? or how can someone truly have everlasting life and
lose it? If they did lose it, did they ever really have everlasting
life to begin with?
Security of the Keeping Power of Christ
Jude sums it up quite wonderfully
when he writes: "Now
unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present
you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding
joy." Jude 24.
Again in 1 John: "We
know that anyone born of God does not practice committing
sin, but the One Who was begotten of God carefully watches
over and protects him and the wicked one does not lay hold
on him." 1 John 5:18, Amplified Bible.
Jesus also said in the book of John: "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 pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which
gave them me, is greater than all; and no is able to pluck
them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one." John
10:27-30 (Italics removed).
One of my favorite scriptures says it most clearly: "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." Romans 8:38-39.
We know that hell by its very nature is separation from God
and therefore separation from His love. Hell is everlasting
punishment without redemption. Yet this scripture declares
that nothing can separate believers from God's love. Demonic
principalities cannot do it ("nor
So if a true believer can be tempted and drawn away unto damnation,
how could this verse be true? This verse declares that not
only the present but also the future can't separate me from
God's love! Wouldn't that include myself, that I wouldn't
leave God's grace? Again, how could this scripture be true
if I could? Or consider the words
"nor any other creature."
How could these words be true if I were able to separate myself
from Him? Remember, when we were born from above we received
a new nature and spirit that "cannot
sin." 1 John 3:9.
Security of the Sealing of the Holy Spirit
Paul wrote: "And
grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto
the day of redemption." Ephesians 4:30.
The scripture declares that we are sealed to the day of receiving
our resurrected bodies in glory! This covers all the time
during our pilgrimage on this fallen earth, within the tents
of our sinful bodies of flesh.
Again the Apostle writes: "…after
that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation:
in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that
Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest (or deposit)
of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession."
Security of Grace
If it is possible for a born again believer to lose his salvation,
what must we do to keep it? What is the work? What is the
"keeping effort" that one must maintain? What good thing must
we continue to do in our own effort? The scriptures declare
that we are "not
under law but under grace"
and also "If
by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is
no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace:
otherwise work is no more work." Romans 11:6.
But you may say, "If you teach grace
as true grace, won't it promote sin?" On the contrary! In
fact it is the law that promotes sin and not grace, as it
is written: "The
sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law."
1 Corinthians 15:56.
Paul again states: "For
sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under
the law, but under grace." Romans 6:14.
True grace will lead us into a loving
relationship with our heavenly Father, and thus produce the
fruit that the law never could produce. "But
now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein
we were held; that we should serve in newness of Spirit, and
not in the oldness of the letter." Romans 7:6.
And again: "For
the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to
all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly
lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in
this present world." Titus 1:11-12.
Paul wrote again: "…that
I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own
righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through
the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by
faith…" Philippians 3:9.
Notice that Paul did not rely on his
own righteousness, nor did he glory in his own faith, but
faith of Christ"
in him (KJV & Greek). If a true believer in Christ Jesus
can lose his salvation, then what law is he under that he
must maintain to keep his salvation? What is the source of
the possibility of God's wrath upon him that he must beware
of? Scripture says "The
law brings wrath: but where there is no law there is no transgression."
Romans 4:15 (RSV).
True fruit always comes about in an
environment of love. Growth may require some correction, but
never condemnation. Again "There
is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ
Jesus." Romans 8:1.
How can this verse really be true if, as a born again believer
in Christ Jesus with a regenerate spirit, one can then be
damned? How else can we interpret the words "no
if there is the possibility of some?
Security of Jesus' Eternal Sacrifice
We can usually grasp that Jesus' sacrifice
on the cross covers all our past sins and even present sins,
but what about our future sins? Does His sacrifice cover these
The first thing you might ask yourself
when looking at this question is how many of your sins were
future when Jesus died for them 2000 years ago? Were they
not all future? In fact, when we receive Christ as our personal
Savior, we enter into His finished work on the cross which
He accomplished long before we were even born. Scripture bears
this out quite plainly when it states: "But
this man (Jesus), after He had offered one sacrifice for sins
for ever, sat down on the right hand of God." Hebrews 10:12,
and again, "For
by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified."
much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal
Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience
from dead works to serve the living God?" Hebrews 9:14.
If Christ's sacrifice covers all my
sin, what sin can remove me from Him?
But someone might ask, what about
the blaspheming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus said it would not
be forgiven? (Luke
We must keep in mind that when Jesus spoke of the blaspheming
of the Spirit, He was speaking to unregenerate individuals
who were attributing the works of the Spirit of God to the
works of Satan. It is this very Spirit that brings about conversion
and the new birth. Individuals who knowingly and willing with
their heart blaspheme the Spirit of God prevent the very Spirit
of repentance to grant them this repentance and eternal life.
Christians do not fall into this category because they have
already received eternal life along with a new spirit “created
in righteousness” (Ephesians 4:24)
that cannot blaspheme the Spirit. I suppose one could make
the argument that if that law exists for the Christian, then
that very law could provoke the flesh nature in its rebellion
to blaspheme the Spirit (i.e., you could be so afraid of doing
it, that you do it). But this is the flesh, and not the real
man of the new nature in Christ that God sees. God looks at
the heart. Consider again the scripture: "Whosoever
is born of God
that new nature within us)
doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth
in Him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." 1 John
I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit
of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that
Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Spirit.' 1 Corinthians
what about Uncle Ernie? Was he really saved?
We all know people who have professed
a belief in Christ and then proceeded to live like the devil.
Or they may have walked with Christ for a season and then
lived like the devil. Am I really saying that this is what
the grace of God is all about? Not at all! Here is where a
big question comes up: Was Uncle Ernie really saved to begin
True conversion will bring about fruit.
Maybe not immediately, but eventually you will indeed know
the tree by its fruit. Some believers are drawn away for a
season, only to return to that true nature inside of them.
Loss of fellowship with Christ will ultimately bring about
misery for the believer. There is no joy for a Christian who
walks in the flesh. It brings about sin, sadness, disharmony,
loss of eternal rewards and ultimately, if need be, physical
The Lord in his mercy will discipline His children in love
to draw them back to His green pastures, but He will not
condemn them (Romans
God is dealing with them as sons and not His enemies.
Others, however, may never have been
converted to begin with. It is amazing to me how many admonitions
are in the New Testament Epistles regarding false believers
within the church.
Jude writes about "ungodly
men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and
denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." Jude
He also goes on to call them "clouds
without water" Jude 12
and again, "These
are they that separate themselves, sensual, having not the
Spirit." Jude 19.
Jude specifically refers to them as
not having the Spirit, therefore not being born again. Peter
calls this same class of individuals as
as well as "wells
without water." 2 Peter2:1,13,17.
Peter goes on to say: "For
if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through
the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are
again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse
with them that the beginning. For it had been better for them
not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they
have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered
unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true
proverb, 'The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the
pig that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.'" 2 Peter
This is a strong admonition, but is
Peter really talking about those who have put a living faith
in the Lord Jesus Christ or have only "known
the way of righteousness?"
he speaking of those who,
“through the knowledge of the Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ,” have
been saved or merely “escaped
the pollutions of the world?”
take the case of Judas. He was one of the twelve. He walked
with Jesus and was sent out with the twelve to cast out demons
and to heal the sick. Yet Jesus said after washing the disciples
are clean, but not all" John 13:10,
and again, "I
speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that
the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with
me hath lifted up his heel against me." John 13:18
and again, "Have
not I chosen you twelve and one of you is a devil? John 6:70.
In these verses, Jesus is declaring
that although Judas was chosen to walk with the disciples,
He was never chosen in the spiritual sense, for He said "I
speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen." Jesus
went so far as to call him a devil. Notice that Jesus didn't
say that he will become a devil but is a devil. So
how could Judas have truly been part of the twelve? Would
Jesus call a true disciple a devil? Though Judas was part
of the twelve and "tasted
…the powers of the world to come" (Hebrews 6:5)
he never was of the twelve. Which brings me to one
of my favorite scriptures on this subject.
"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 they might be made manifest that they were not all of
us." 1 John 2:19.
Within this verse we see an amazing
revelation in scripture. The "of
and the "not
It pops up in several other places in the Epistles as well.
John here is saying that some followers have left the Christian
fold, but if they really were "of
or true believers in Christ Jesus, they would have "continued
He declares that they left because they were never "of
to begin with.
What a precious promise to true believers
that we, by His grace, will continue with Christ.
In fact John also writes: "Let
that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the
beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning
shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and
in the Father." 1 John 2:24.
And if I might add my own paraphrase of that verse: If the
tree takes root, it will live!
So we see that this verse again confirms
what we have noted concerning Judas and false brethren. In
fact you will find that many of the difficult scriptures concerning
this truth have to do with false believers. Notice, in the
scripture mentioned earlier, that Peter says that a dog returns
to its vomit again. Why? Because it is still a dog, and that
is a natural thing for a DOG to do. Again, Peter said a pig,
after being washed, returns to its wallowing in the mire.
Why? Because it never stopped being a PIG. In the same way,
those who have only a head knowledge of salvation, without
truly repenting within their hearts, will ultimately return
to what they always were…a natural, unregenerate person.
There are many other scriptures that
bring this out.
The book of Hebrews has two in particular
that talk about people who have tasted of the things to come,
and have tasted of the heavenly gift - and fall away, and
yet the writer declares "But,
beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things
that accompany salvation." Hebrews 6:9.
Therefore the situation the writer was writing about did not
accompany salvation in the first place, because he was writing
about those who were not truly saved.
Again Hebrews talks about those who
willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the
and those who have "counted
the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an
unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace."
We must remember that the blood of Jesus was shed for the
entire world, not just believers. The blood has sanctified
us all for forgiveness, but forgiveness is only imputed upon
by our faith. When one receives Jesus as personal Savior,
he or she enters into the "sanctification
of the Spirit" 1 Peter 1:2.
It is like the parable Jesus spoke
of concerning the man who purchased an entire field just to
own the treasure he had found hidden in the field (Matthew
The field is the entire world that Jesus bore the sins for
and bought by His blood, and the treasure is the called out
believers who, by faith, receive Him as Savior. An individual
who rejects the sacrifice that Jesus accomplished on the cross
has no future hope of atonement. Another Jesus will not come
and die for the sin of rejecting Christ's sacrifice. Thus
we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge
of the truth
there is no faith here, only knowledge),
there remains no more sacrifice for
sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgement…" Hebrews
Notice what the writer goes on to say at the end of his admonition:
we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them
that believe to the saving of the soul." Hebrews 10:39.
Sound a little familiar? Remember John's "of
in the scripture (1
previously mentioned? Interesting!
about Ananias and Sapphira?
In the book of Acts we find the story
of Ananias and his wife Sapphira (Acts
They were two individuals who deliberately lied to the disciples
and more significantly, the Holy Spirit, while the Lord was
building His early church. It is important to note that their
sin had nothing to do with the keeping back of some of their
money, but of the lie they told the church. In this story
there are a couple of very telling scriptures that give us
some insight into who Ananias and Sapphira were. After both
Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead by the Lord for their
deception, we read: "And
great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard
these things…and of the rest did no man join himself to them.
And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes
both of men and women" Acts 5:11,13-14.
Here we read two different things.
On one hand "of
the rest did no man join himself to them"
and then "believers
were the more added to the Lord."
Who were the "of
of? Again, what was the group referred to as "of
no longer joined themselves to the disciples, part of? It
would seem that they were of the rest of those just previously
mentioned, Ananias and Sapphira. This class of people:
who no longer joined themselves to the disciples, are in direct
contrast to the believers who "were
the more added to the Lord."
Therefore, the "of
of whom Ananias and Sapphira were a part, were unbelievers
or even more accurately false brethren, joining the infant
church. Is it no wonder that the Lord would protect and watch
over His flock? The result was clear: "of
the rest did no man join himself to them."
The judgement of God kept other individuals from joining the
church for other reasons than true faith. This verse is speaking
of a judgement of God on false brethren within the church
and not of condemnation to the believers.
Peter, in his rebuke to Ananias, goes
so far as to say: "Why
has Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?" Acts
Jesus summed it up when He said "Beware
of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing,
but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. Ye shall know them
by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of
thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth food fruit;
but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree
cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree
bring forth good fruit." Matthew 7:15-18.
about the verse "work out your own salvation with fear and
trembling (Ph 2:12)?"
Many Christians take this scripture
to mean that we are to always have fear and trembling regarding
our eternal security. But that is not what it says at all.
Paul was speaking to the Philippian church and telling them
the salvation that was already in them. For the very next
verse reads "For
it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His
good pleasure." Philippians 2:12-13.
It is a scripture encouraging believers to work out of them
the eternity that was put within them. It is a question more
of growth than eternal security. It is the working out of
a salvation that has already been given to the believer, and
to which the Lord Himself sees fit to continue to work within
about the verse "He that shall endure unto the end, the same
shall be saved?" (Mark 13:13).
The first thing to realize concerning
this verse is its context. It is written about the time of
the end concerning the tribulation. It is during this time
when those believers, born again after the rapture of the
church, will face martyrdom for their faith. But nevertheless,
who are they that endure to the end? John writes: "Whatsoever
is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory
that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that
overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is
the Son of God." 1 John 5:4-5.
Again Paul writes "…so
that you come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of
our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall also confirm you unto the
end that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus
Christ." 1 Corinthians 1:7-8.
about the verse "If we deny Him, He will deny us" (2 Timothy
As mentioned in many of the previous
scriptures, those who deny the Lord ultimately never were
saved to begin with. "Who
is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He
is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever
denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father." 1 John 2:22-23.
Again, the scripture mentioned earlier says it all:
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 they might be made manifest that they were not all
of us." 1 John 2:19
It's important to note the precious
promise that follows the verse we are here discussing, namely:
we are faithless, He remains faithful: for He cannot deny
Himself." 2 Timothy 2:13.
Why does He remain faithful in not denying himself when he
remains faithful to us? Because He is in us and we are "in
Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1).
This is a beautiful verse regarding the security of our life
about the verse "ye are fallen from grace?" (Galatians 5:4).
The Apostle Paul, in admonishing the
Galatian church not to return to Judaism and the keeping of
the law wrote: "Christ
is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified
by the law; ye are fallen from grace." Galatians 5:4.
This verse in context is speaking
of the individual who looks for salvation in works and not
by the grace of God and the atoning work of Christ. Such an
individual truly has fallen from the grace of God to a system
of effort and law that provide no salvation. It is not a verse
for individuals who fall back in the world, but for those
who fall back into Judaism. Again, John wrote so clearly:
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 they might be made manifest that they were not all
of us" (1 John 2:19).
about the Scripture that says "because thou art lukewarm…I
will spue thee out of my mouth"? (Rev 3:16).
This verse is found in the letter
that was written to the church of the Laodiceans, in the book
of Revelation. Because it was written to the church (as were
the rest of the letters in Revelation,
it has often been understood that a true believer could lose
his salvation. It we look at this verse a little closer and
in context, we will see once again, that this verse is really
talking about those who are merely pretending within the church.
The entire verse of Revelation
reads as follows, with Jesus saying:
"I know thy
works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou were
cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither
cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth" (Rev 3:16).
If Jesus is referring to born-again
believers with a new heart and spirit, why would He rather
them be cold over being lukewarm? Wouldn't it be better to
be at least lukewarm rather than cold toward the things of
God? The verse itself doesn't seem clear unless we begin to
see Jesus as speaking to those in the church who are merely
religious - and not in a personal relationship with Christ.
In this context, the Scripture indeed begins to make sense.
It is better in God's eyes to be cold toward God, obvious
in your sin, than to be like the Pharisees of old. These men
were outwardly religious, but inwardly they were "a
brood of vipers" (Matthew 3:7).
Why? Because it is easier for those who are cold to come to
the realization of their need of a Savior (as the prostitutes
and tax collectors did in Jesus' day), than for those who
think they are righteous in their own eyes (as the Pharisees
were). The religious self-righteous person, who is in the
church externally but not internally, has no true relationship
to Christ. To know Christ is to receive Him in the heart,
trusting Him as your Savior. Those who are merely playing
church are not in the true body of Christ, nor are they assimilated
into it. Thus Jesus uses the strong words written here: "because
thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee
out of my mouth."
He is saying that they are not part of Him. They never were
in the first place. If we read on in this letter to the Laodiceans
we see even more evidence of this. Jesus says in verse 18:
counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou
mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed,
and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint
thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see."
Here we see the counsel toward those
who are spiritually poor. They do not have white raiment as
clothing, they do not see, and they are in the shame of their
sin, naked before God. This could hardly be true of those
who have trusted in Christ for salvation. For Jesus gives
us His righteousness as a garment, He opens our eyes to the
truth, and clothes us with forgiveness and mercy, through
His sacrifice on our behalf. He has bought us and brought
us back to the Father by His precious blood (1
Reading on in this same letter we see a very popular Scripture.
It is nearly always used when ministering to unbelievers.
It is verse 20:
I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice,
and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with
him, and he with me."
Here we have a clear invitation to someone who does not have
Christ in the heart already. It is no surprise that we find
this in the letter to the Laodiceans, which is full of correction
for those in the church who are not of the church - the lukewarm,
who, just like the cold, need to receive Jesus as their Savior.
about Galatians 5:21 where it says, "they who do such things
shall not inherit the kingdom of God"?
In the book of Galatians Paul writes:
the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery,
fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, sorcery,
hatred, strife, jealousy, wrath, factions, seditions, heresies,
envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and the like; of
which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past,
that they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom
We read the truth in this Scripture
that those who live in and practice the works of the flesh
will not inherit the kingdom of God. This is good news because
if this were not the case, then heaven would not be heaven.
There cannot be perfect peace and love and harmony where wickedness
dwells. If but one person were to swear in heaven, then heaven
would cease to be heaven.
Paul emphatically declares that the
kingdom of God is not of such as these. But is Paul speaking
of those who know Christ as their Savior, having a new nature,
and then fall into some sin? Are they therefore lost, excluded
from the kingdom and all the promises God made to them? If
this were the case, what would happen to all the verses we
have thus far mentioned? Is God's word then broken? Is there
now some condemnation for those in Christ? Of course not!
If we look at this verse a little
more closely we will see that the Apostle makes a distinction
between this class of people, who live out their lives in
the works of the flesh, and those who bring forth the fruit
of the Spirit in their lives (verse
He is comparing two different types of people: those without
Christ and those who are Christ's. This comparison is made
clear in verse 24:
they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections
Again he states in verse
"If we live
in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."
What Paul is saying is that those
who continually walk in the works of the flesh will not inherit
the kingdom of God because they really are not Christ's at
all. This is the root of the matter. If someone calls himself
a believer, but after time shows no fruit of the Holy Spirit
in his life, it is highly questionable if he really gave his
heart to Jesus at all. In these verses Paul is causing the
Galatian church to recognize this.
It is as Jesus said, "a
good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth
forth evil fruit…by their fruits ye shall know them" (Matthew
Does this mean that true Christians
never fall into sin? No, but it does mean that something has
happened in us. We have been "crucified
with Christ" (Galatians 2:20, Romans 6:6)
and we "are
no longer in the flesh but in the Spirit" (Romans 8:9).
It doesn't mean we won't walk in the flesh (though we aim
not to), but that we are not in the flesh. Isn't it nice to
know we live in the Spirit? What a nice place to have a home!
This is where our heart is, and it is the very reason why
we grieve over sin.
But notice the order here: We live,
then walk. This indeed is salvation by grace and not works.
It could have been written: We walk, then live. But praise
God, it wasn't! Paul is speaking here of a people, a different
type of people than those previously mentioned who will not
inherit the kingdom of God. It is a people who are alive in
Christ. Paul is telling us in these verses to live out who
we really are. He warns that those who are alive only in the
flesh, with no fruit or life in the Spirit, will not see the
kingdom of heaven.
But there is another place in the
Scripture where Paul makes this even clearer. It is in the
first book of Corinthians. Here Paul states almost the exact
ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom
of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters,
nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves
with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor
revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God"
(1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
Paul goes on to clarify his thoughts
in verse 11:
such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified,
but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by
the Spirit of our God."
So Paul declares that those of whom
he was speaking, who shall not inherit the kingdom, are not
the same as those who were washed, sanctified, and justified.
Notice the beauty of verse 11. Our sanctification is not only
in the name of the Lord Jesus (Who died for our sins), but
also by the Spirit of God (Who keeps us from sin). Hence,
we are not only saved by grace; we are kept by it as well!
Oh, what a great salvation! (Hebrews
about Romans 11:21-23 where the scripture speaks of branches
that are "cut off"?
if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he
also spare not thee. Behold, therefore, the goodness and severity
of God: on them who fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness,
if thou continue in his goodness; otherwise thou also shalt
be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief,
shall be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again."
In this chapter 11 of Romans, it is
important to remember that Paul has been speaking of nations,
or rather, the Jews and the Gentiles (those not Israeli-born).
The entire context of grafting in and being cut off has to
do with these two families of peoples. At the present time,
the Jews are considered cut off from the gospel (though not
entirely because many Jews are finding Jesus as their Savior
- the Apostle Paul was one of them). Initially, it was the
Jews who were meant to receive Jesus as their Messiah and
spread the gospel to the Gentiles. Jerusalem was (and is)
to be to the world as Washington D.C. is to America.
But the Jews rejected Jesus and in
the foreknowledge and plan of God, the gospel when out to
the highways and byways to whoever would come in (Luke 14:16-24),
and the believing church, made up mostly of Gentiles, carrries
this message. This is the age we are in now.
But even in Old Testament times, when
the Gentiles were "cut
as a nation from knowing God, the God of Israel was still
saving them. A perfect example is king Nebuchadnezzar
He came to know the God of Israel as His God (see also Cyrus-
the people of Nineveh- Jonah
This Scripture in Romans is telling
us that mercy has been shown to the Gentiles as a nation.
If they continue in it (as a whole) they will not be cut off
- they will continue to hold forth the light. But if, as a
whole, they boast and hold their head high and refuse to believe
the gospel, then they can be cut off as well. And the Jews
can be grafted in. Indeed, the Bible states that after the
last of the gentiles comes into the kingdom, then all Israel
shall be saved: "For
I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this
mystery, lest ye should be wise in you own conceits: that
blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness
of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved"
So this chapter in Romans is not speaking
of individuals who are grafted in and lost, but of nations
that are either in belief or unbelief. There is, however,
a portion of Scripture that does talk of individuals being
cut off. Jesus said in John
branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away; and every
branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth (prunes) it, that it
may bring forth more fruit."
This is again, like so many of the
Scriptures we have been discussing. Those who bear fruit are
manifesting that they have been saved and are truly in Him.
Those that are not will eventually been seen for who they
really are and be removed.
Remember those words of Jesus when
"Every good tree bringeth forth good
fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good
tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt
tree bring forth good fruit…by their fruits ye shall know
them" (Matthew 7:17,20).
Again, Jesus says:
make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree
corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his
fruit" (Matthew 12:33).
Do you see what He is saying? The whole issue is how the tree
is made in the first place (i.e., is it born again or not?).
As Jesus said to Nicodemus: "Ye
must be born again" (John 3:7).
Those who are in Christ will remain
in Christ; those who are imitators will go their own way.
As John made clear:
"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 they might be made manifest
that they were not all of us" (1 John 2:19).
Again the Apostles states: "Let
that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the
beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning
shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and
in the Father" (1 John 2:24).
Again those sweet words of Jesus: "All
that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh
to me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37).
of my favorites!
I thought I would wind up this study
with one of my favorite Scriptures concerning this study.
I'm not ending here because I've answered all questions, only
God can do that. I've only desired, with the help of my Lord,
to share some of the comfort in the Scriptures that He has
given me. Look to Jesus, "the way, the truth and the life"
(John 14:6). Seek Him and let His word dwell in you. Ask Him
questions and wait upon His understanding. His word is like
a good stew. Sometimes it takes time and prayer to simmer
in our hearts.
also have a more sure word of prophecy, unto which ye do well
that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark
place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in you hearts"
(2 Peter 1:19).
Jesus has promised us that His word will make us free: "And
ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free"
And He has promised us that the Spirit that He has given us
all truth" (John 16:13).
The Word of God says in Hebrews
heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart
of unbelief, in departing from the living God…For we are made
partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our
confidence steadfast unto the end."
This verse is much like the verse
we have previously spoken of (see section on "He
that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved").
But what is so interesting to me about this verse is what
it appears to say and what it actually does say. Obviously
the beginning of the Scripture (verse 12) is speaking of those
with an evil heart. How can a believer with a new heart, with
the Holy Spirit now dwelling in him, be categorized as having
an evil heart? As it is written in Ezekiel 11:19: "I
will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony
flesh is still sinful, but our hearts have been made pure
4:24, Romans 8:10, 7:22-23).
Note also that the verse is speaking
of an evil heart of unbelief. As has been said throughout
this study, and as the Scriptures make abundantly clear: there
are many in the church that are not really "in" the church.
They still possess a heart of unbelief. Remember that keynote
Scripture in 1
John 2:19: "they went out from us but were not of us, if they
were of us they would have continued with us."
This little verse in I John is like a hub that ties all the
spokes together. Those who really are saved stay saved, and
those who do not, never were.
But what really gets me is verse 14.
We read a verse like that and think it says "we will be partakers
of Christ if we hold fast our confidence to the end." But
that is not what the Scripture says. Notice again the tense.
"We are made partakers if we…" The
NASB Bibles says it more clearly: "We
have become partakers of Christ if we…" This verse
is saying that by reason of us holding our confidence to the
end, we are manifesting who we were all along already. For
it will be known that you already have become partakers of
Christ by reason of the fact that you remain in Him. And why
should this surprise us? Doesn't if fit perfectly in harmony
with the words in Philippians which say:
confident of this very thing, that He which hash begun a good
work in you will finish it until the day of Jesus Christ"
Amen and Amen!
As we have looked at these Scriptures
it is good to remember some things. First of all, God's word
is perfect and does not contradict itself. It's funny how
we can read a hundred Scriptures affirming our security in
Christ, but if we read one that seems to say otherwise we
tend to lean toward it. I believe this is because we live
in a world where it's hard to be comforted. What I mean is
that it's easier to believe in what we fear than what we hope
for. But bless God, His word is true and He indeed is good.
This is why it takes revelation from Him to understand Him.
He is not like the natural world around us that takes and
takes. He gives and gives and gives even more, and this is
foreign to us. Indeed, it is of another kingdom, based on
Secondly, we must keep in mind that
scripture interprets Scripture. Paul encourages us to be "rightly
dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15),
the counsel of God" (Acts 20:27).
Sometimes a Scripture can only be understood in light of other
Scriptures. To me it is like putting together a puzzle. As
they come together here and there, a picture starts to be
formed. And that picture is Jesus!
Think of it. When putting together
a puzzle do you ever throw out all that you have already put
together for the little piece that your not sure of? No, rather
you keep what you have become convinced of and build on it.
I think the Word of God is the same way. Just as Paul wrote
to Timothy: "abide
thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured
of" (2 Timothy 3:14).
This is really how we know a truth for sure. We become assured
of it through the Holy Spirit.
The Bible was never meant to be a
biology book, where we study, using our mental energies and
power. No, in fact the reason why sometimes it doesn't make
sense to us is because God ordained it so. It's not that it's
difficult…it's impossible! (on our own). God reveals it to
little children. As Jesus said: "I
thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou
hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and hast
revealed them unto babes" (Matthew 11:25).
That's just it. He wants us to humble
ourselves so that He may reveal it to us. He doesn't want
us to understand it on our own, without Him. Know why? Because
God is much more into relationship than knowledge. Adam and
Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and it
never brought them (or us) closer to God. But praise His wonderful
Name, when we receive Jesus, we partake of the tree of life.
We learn and grow by His Spirit. We grow in the knowledge
of Him, and by Him. This indeed is true knowledge…and true
life. As Jesus says: "And
this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only
true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (John 17:3).
I hope this was of some help. What's
so important about knowing your security in Christ anyway?
One word…grace. Maybe another…love. How can we know love when
we are striving in some way to earn what has been freely given
Many years ago I was with a friend
of mine in Boston and I purchased three roses around Valentine's
Day to give away for free. My friend just put up with me,
but I was thinking of God's free gift of grace and wanted
to give some flowers away to some people I thought were lonely.
As I proceeded to give the flowers away, I came to realize
what a difficult task I had undertaken. Nobody wanted to take
them because they couldn't believe it was really for free…no
strings attached. In fact, it took me all day to give away
those three roses.
On one occasion I was pleading with
a woman to receive the rose. I said "Please, I have been trying
all day to give these away; you can throw it away in the trash
if you want to, but please take it."
She finally did take it, much to her
unbelief and my joy. How hard it is to let go of our pride
and receive. How pleasing it must be to our God to give, and
have us receive the gift of His Son and everlasting life.
May we all remember the words of Jesus
when He said "To
whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little." (Luke 7:47).
I think it safe to therefore conclude: To whom much is
forgiven, the same loveth much.