For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed
lest He also spare not thee....
Romans 11:21



ne debate among Christians which has raged throughout the centuries and continues to this day, is the debate over "eternal security". Simply stated, the main question of the debate is:

Can a person who is once saved and places faith in Jesus, ever lose their salvation?

The answers to this are generally never as simple as a mere 'yes' or 'no'. For example, we could also ask: What constitutes "saving faith"? What if someone expresses faith in Christ and shows no evidence of change whatsoever in their life? If a once saved person commits some deep horrible sin, are we to assume the person was never saved? If works are to be sought as evidence of saving faith, does this then contradict the fact that salvation and eternal life are a free gift?

Any Bible student will find no shortage of works attempting to answer these questions. In my own personal study, I have never found any answers that truly satisfied me. Having gone from being Catholic as a young child to independent Baptist as a young adult, I have seen and studied both ends of the spectrum. As a Baptist I always vigorously upheld the doctrine of eternal security to the point where I believed that one single act of faith one time in a persons life was all that was required for salvation, but that any attempt to find evidence of this saving faith in a person's life was a perversion of the gospel which resulted in a salvation by works.

I understand that this is still the view of many fine people. I do not doubt the sincerity of those who continue to believe and teach this. In general, those who believe this exhibit an evangelical and missionary zeal which is rarely seen in trying to reach the lost with the Gospel.

However, I cannot help but think that the doctrine of eternal security in its most extreme form (that which requires only a simple one time act of faith, or a short prayer, and promises heaven regardless of how one's life is lived) is the natural reaction, and is directly related to the the teaching that the lost will suffer eternally in hellfire.

No one wants to believe that anyone will burn forever. Many vehemently profess to believe this until death takes the life of one close to them. At that point, any rationale will be used to avoid the conclusion that a person has gone to hell to suffer eternally. This is where the doctrine of eternal security comes into play. It can be reasoned that although a person exhibited nothing in their life which would indicate faith in Christ, there is always hope that perhaps at some point in the persons life they called out to God, or prayed in such a way that God accepted as saving faith, thus guaranteeing the person's eternal destiny in heaven.

Personally, the doctrine of eternal security has always made me a bit uneasy. As a Baptist, I was taught how to be a "soul-winner"; one who leads someone to Christ. This was to be done in four steps, followed by saying a short prayer with the person who was to be "saved". After this, it was the "soul-winners" job to give the "convert" assurance from scripture that they were "saved"; that they had passed from death to life, and that no amount of personal sin or unrighteousness in their life could ever undo it. They were bound for heaven, their destiny was sealed, and the person should never doubt it.

I always thought to myself; "Who am I to tell this person or anyone else whether or not they are 'saved'". Ultimately it is God alone who knows who has trusted Him to the point of saving. In fact, it's God himself who does the saving. The last thing I wanted to do was to give anyone a false hope and assurance. But, on the other hand, if I asked someone to look at their life as evidence of salvation, wasn't this teaching salvation by works?

These issues, which I have struggled with for a long time, finally came to head when I was studying prophecies relating to the end of the age.

In Matthew chapter 24 Jesus says:

For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before.
Matt 24:24-25

And then says at other points in the same chapter:

But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. Matt 24:13

Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matt 24:42-51

I found it rather confusing that we are introduced to one group which our Lord calls "the elect" of which he states, rather explicitly, that they can not be deceived. He also says of this same group:

For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. Matt 24:21-22

And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Matt 24:31

On the one hand, we are introduced to this "elect" group which seemingly can not be deceived while enjoying special protection from God, but on the other, strict warnings to watch for the second coming lest it overtake those listening and they find themselves in the same position as "the hypocrites".

This contrast between full assurance of salvation, and sober warnings to endure, is by no means limited to the book of Matthew, but can be seen to run through the entire New Testament. Anyone with even a slightly open mind will be forced to admit that there are scriptures that can be brought forth in support of either viewpoint. The problem in this particular case, is that this isn't simply a matter of plotting obscure passages against clear ones, but that both sides seam to have scripture which argues emphatically in their favor.

Those that argue in favor of eternal security maintain that if salvation is truly a free gift, then nothing other than faith itself must be required to obtain it. Of those who hold this view, there are two main viewpoints as to what a Christian life should be after someone obtains salvation by faith.

One group holds that a "saving faith" must, and always will result in a fruitful life of good works. They maintain that although the works have nothing to do with the salvation, they are the evidence that it's there. If someone who at one time claimed to have gotten saved shows no evidence of spiritual fruit in their life, it is maintained that the person was never saved to begin with. In this particular line of thought, the truly saved man will endure to the end because he can not do otherwise. Those who do not endure to the end were "never saved to begin with". If "the dog returns to its vomit" it was "never saved". If someone "fall's from grace", they never had it. Although "faith without works is dead", a "saving faith" will always produce good works.

The other view of eternal security is more extreme. They maintain that a person can be saved even if the person shows absolutely no evidence of faith or change in their life. If a person expresses faith one single time, then the person is sealed for all eternity and is heaven bound, no matter how they choose to live their life. Those who hold this view maintain that to look for evidence of salvation in ones life shows a lack of faith, and is akin to "salvation by works".

In recent years, these two schools of thought have been very antagonistic toward one another, even to the point of accusing each other of damnable heresy. Those who hold that evidence of saving faith must be demonstrated, have dubbed the opposing camp as "easy-believism". Those who hold that nothing except a one time act of faith is required have dubbed their opponents as "lordship-salvationists".

In contrast to both of the above camps, are the "Arminians" who believe that salvation is gift which is conditioned upon our keeping the faith and maintaining good works. They believe that a person once fully saved, can sin to the point of losing their salvation and ultimately end up in hell.

These views are summarized in the following chart:

  "Easy-Believism" "Lordship Salvation" Arminianism
Salvation Obtained By... A one time act of believing that Jesus died for your sins, and trusting Him and Him alone as your only hope for heaven. Believe that Christ died for your sins, trust Him for your salvation, repent of your sins and make Jesus the Lord of you Life. Believe that Christ died for your sins, trust Him for your salvation, repent of your sins and make Jesus the Lord of you Life.
Salvation Maintained By.. Nothing... God's promises offer full assurance. Nothing is required on the part of the believer. Nothing... God's promises offer full assurance. Nothing is required on the part of the believer. Keeping the faith, plus maintaining good works.
Salvation Evidenced By... No evidence is required, or should be looked for. Such would be equating salvation with works. Good works, plus enduring to the end of ones life, or the end of the age. Failure to show these in one's life is taken as evidence that one was never truly saved to begin with. Good works, plus keeping the faith.
Purpose of Good Works Earn the believer rewards in heaven, plus comforts in this life.. peace, health, prosperity, etc. To show evidence that one is in the faith, to earn rewards in heaven. To maintain salvation, to show evidence of one's salvation, and to earn rewards in heaven.
Failure to Maintain Good Works Results In... Loss of heavenly or temporal rewards, although the person will still go to heaven. Evidence that the person was never truly saved. Loss of Salvation
Can Ultimately Lose Salvation? No No Yes

The differences in these four views are striking, and to me, somewhat disturbing. How is "the church" supposed to make disciples when it can't even agree on the nature of salvation?

Most people see the above three methods of scriptural interpretation as the only alternatives. The problem is, I have never felt comfortable with any of them, mainly because I don't feel that any of them do a good job of harmonizing ALL the scriptures without resorting to "mental gymnastics". One very common example of this is a passage out of Hebrews 6:

For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. Heb 6:4-8

Those who teach "lordship salvation" say that the passage is hypothetical. That is, someone who is really saved can't really fall away, but if such a thing were possible, then they could never be renewed to repentance.

Those who teach "easy-believism" maintain that the passage doesn't apply to Christians at all but to "tribulation age saints" after the "rapture". Or some teach the above method, that the passage is hypothetical, and still others believe that the person in the passage was never saved to begin with. They were "enlightened" but never "believed". They "tasted" but never "swallowed", etc.

The third group maintains that the verse tells of a very real danger; that a Christian can lose their salvation and end up in hell. The problem is that those who teach this do not also teach what the verse so explicitly states... that those who lose it can never get it back!

I would ask the reader, are you really truly comfortable with ANY of these explanations? Isn't it obvious that all of them seem to be avoiding what the passage so clearly states, even though different parts of the passage are denied by the different viewpoints?

Let's look at another:

For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. Heb 10:26-27

The explanations are as follows:

  • The person who willfully sins and loses it never really had it.

  • The person really had it and lost it, but it doesn't apply to Christians in this age, but the age to come after the rapture.

  • The passage is hypothetical.. it can't happen, but if it did, etc.

  • The person is a Christian who really lost their salvation, although it can't really mean that there's no more sacrifice for sins, because the person can get it back.

Once again, NONE of the explanations offered by orthodox scholars seem to fit the plain, literal sense of the passage.

I don't claim to be a scholar or to have any advanced knowledge. But I honestly believe that if I come to a passage of scripture such as these, where no known explanation seems to fit the passage without resorting to twisting, then something is just wrong with our understanding. I don't believe that the word of God ever contradicts itself, but on the other hand, I don't believe that we should have to force it NOT to contradict itself. In other words, if the plain, clear sense of a passage contradicts my system of theology, then I'm the one who is in error. If no known explanation fixes the problem, then they are equally all wrong.

This isn't a matter of pride, or of me thinking that I'm right and everyone else is wrong. It's a matter of honesty and conscience. I believe that there is a way to make sense out of all the scriptures without creating any contradictions, or having to resort to mental gymnastics.

I believe that these problems are created by the following:

  • The belief that the salvation of a Christian is strictly a salvation from "hell"

  • The belief that the purpose of a Christian life is to primarily bring peace, joy, and happiness to the saved person

  • The complete failure to discern what the "rewards" are which have been promised to a faithful Christian

  • The complete failure to discern that to lose these "rewards" is disastrous to a Christian and to miss the entire point for which he was saved.

  • The belief that when a person dies, their fate is sealed.

  • The belief that man has an "immortal soul".

  • The tendency to read "hell" every time the words "fire" or "judgment" appear in the Bible.

So once again we see that these problems run very deep. They run right to the core of what most people are taught from a very early age, and because of this, they are not easily solved. I believe that the reason why most scholars cannot resolve the seeming contradictions between the texts which would teach eternal security and those which would argue against it, is because their entire system of theology is fundamentally wrong.

Any system which believes in the immortality of the soul, and in so doing founds itself on Satan's very first lie, "Ye shall not surely die", can only end in confusion and contradiction and such is the case when it comes to the doctrine of eternal security.

I honestly believe that if we are willing to drop preconceived ideas, and believe the Word, even when it goes contrary to our our traditions, that we can, and will arrive at the truth. . I hope to show on the pages of this web site that there are no contradictions in the scriptures once we realize the following:

  • That salvation is not from hell, but from sin, death, judgment and the grave. Notice, none of these are spelled H-E-L-L.

  • That God has limited his call in this age to those he has chosen to hear it. That no one can understand and believe the Gospel unless the Spirit gives them the ability.

  • That the purpose of the saving men in this age is to call out a "holy nation" and a "royal priesthood" to be co-heirs, kings, and priests in the age to come; the kingdom age.

  • The entire purpose of the Christian life is to prepare for that age to come. Hence the emphasis laid on developing the fruit of the spirit and Christian character.

  • That to attain to and obtain rulership and kingship in the age to come is the purpose and goal of running the race which has been set before us. It is the prize for which we are to run.

  • That although "the gifts and calling of God are without repentance", Jesus will force no man to run the race to which he has called him. He did not will to create character by divine fiat.

  • That a lazy servant, whom God has enlightened and given eternal life, but refuses to use his talents or to run the race set before him will not only not obtain the prize, but will have "received the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ in vain", and will have missed the entire point of his calling and Christian life.

  • Such people do not become co-heirs with Christ and will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

  • Such people, having received the grace of Christ in vain, will have no share in the first resurrection, and hence find themselves in the general resurrection and judgment of mankind, which is not a resurrection to damnation, but to a fiery trial, a purification, and a time of testing and chastisement.

  • That those who find themselves thrust out of the kingdom and in a position of trial and judgment with the rest of mankind will realize the full meaning of what it is to suffer loss. They will experience weeping and gnashing of teeth when they fully realize the opportunity they missed.

  • That such people, because originally chosen by God, and as such cannot be be lost, are ultimately saved, but as one who dodges the flames and in no better state than those of the rest of mankind which are to be brought back to fullness of life during the kingdom age.