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Sun, Apr 04, 1999

43 - Eternal Security

Galatians 5:4 by Robert Dean
Series:Galatians (1998)
Duration:1 hr 0 mins 26 secs

Eternal Security
Galatians 5:4

 

Galatians 5:4 NASB "You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace."

 

The issue now is eternal security. "You have been severed from Christ" has been misunderstood and mistranslated by some and misapplied by others into teaching that we can lose our salvation. The verse begins with the verb katargeo [katargew], aorist passive indicative. It means to leave, to occupy, to nullify, to make of no effect. So Paul is saying, "You have nullified Christ, been severed from Christ, or made your relationship with Christ of no effect." The point that he is making is not that their salvation has disappeared but that all that God has done for them in salvation is not benefiting them at all in their spiritual lives as long as they are operating on the principle of legalism. He says in conclusion, "you have fallen from grace." There are so many people who take this passage in the sense of losing their salvation, and what they are doing is making the mistake of interpreting grace as some sort of status, and if you are in this status of grace you are saved and that of you fall from grace then you are no longer saved. That is not what the passage is saying at all. The verb here that is translated "fallen" is the Greek pipto [piptw]. It means to fall, to be removed, and it was a nautical term which means to be driven off course. What Paul is saying is that they have been driven off course from grace, diverted from grace by the false teaching of the legalists.

 

What is the solution? It is through restoration, and restoration comes through confession of sin. Confession means to acknowledge or to admit your sin privately to God the Father. 1 John 1:9.

 

Today when we come to this issue of eternal security we face three different problems and three different approaches to this doctrine. The first is what is usually associated with Arminianism. Arminianism is a system, it start with a definition of the nature of man as being totally free. That is an important concept, that man is born totally free in the same sense that Adam was free ion the garden. Adam was created free in the garden because he was created righteous. He had the perfect righteousness of God because he was created in the image and likeness of God. So Adam had a sense of freedom that we do not have. He was created free from sin; he was not in bondage to sin. But the problem with Arminianism is that it says that every single person is born in that same condition: that we do not inherit a sin nature from Adam; that we are sinners because we sin. That is not what the Bible says. The Bible says we sin because we are sinners; we sin because we are born with a sin nature we inherit from Adam; that Adam's original sin was imputed to that sin nature, and we also commit personal sins. But our condemnation is based upon Adam's sin and its imputation to us, and it is not based upon our individual acts of sin. Arminianism falls apart here because it puts all the emphasis on human volition and says every human being is absolutely free and man can choose for God, and when you trust Christ as saviour that is the issue. They will say that salvation is the result of faith in Christ but they will also say that God did all he could do for you at the cross and now the rest is up to you. God is going to save you but it is up to you to keep that salvation. Therefore any kind of security is based on your works. Frankly, that is not security at all. You never know if you are saved.

 

The second approach is what we call front-loading the gospel with works. It is not really faith alone in Christ, it is faith plus works. It is works that keeps you saved. But if you can do something to lose your salvation that means you had to do something to gain your salvation. A more subtle form today is what is known as Lordship salvation. It is called that because in its most extreme form it is saying that the salvation message is that you must believe Jesus died for you and accept Him as Lord of your life. Sometimes it defines faith as making a commitment to Jesus. Faith does not mean to make a commitment. There are more subtle forms of Lordship salvation. What is inherent in it is the idea that somebody can have faith in Christ and they say that when you believe and have true "saving faith" it will necessarily produce works. How do you know you are saved in the Lordship system? They would say that you can have a faith in Christ that is non-saving. Their hidden assumption is that something happens at regeneration to limit, reduce or nullify part of the sin nature so that after salvation you won't be as bad as you were before you were saved. Yet regeneration doesn't say anything about getting rid of the sin nature and says everything about acquiring a new nature. But the old sin nature is still there and is just as powerful as it was before we were saved. 

 

In the Calvinist solution in the Lordship crowd says that you can be justified by faith alone but "the faith that saves is never alone," is what they say. The problem there is the same. You can't know you are saved until you die. Think about this: if real saving faith produces works then the only way you are going to know that you had saving faith instead of having non-saving faith is if you have works. So the Lordship crowd is not based on the Word of God, assurance is based on your lifestyle. And you don't know if you have persevered in good works until you die. That is heresy. 1 John 5:13 NASB "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life." Paul says in Galatians that justification is by faith alone—faith plus nothing.

 

The doctrine of eternal security

 

1.  Definition: Eternal security is the work of God which guarantees that God's free gift of salvation is eternal and cannot be lost, terminated, abrogated, nullified or reversed by any thought, act or change of belief in the person saved. It guarantees something so that we can know with certainty that we have eternal life. God does not take back what He has once given, so eternal security is an unbreakable relationship with the integrity of God.

2.  God the Father's purposes in salvation cannot be overridden. Romans 8:29, 30 NASB "For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined {to become} conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified."  Here we have one group of people called "whom." These He foreknew and He also predestined. He doesn't leave anybody out and doesn't acquire anybody else. Predestined means that we have the destiny of Jesus Christ; it is a future concept. Those whom He foreknew have a destiny with Christ, to be conformed to His image. Then "those whom He predestined"—no more and no less; the same group—these He called. And "whom" [the same group of people] He called [the same group of people He predestined] He justified. It is the same group of people; He doesn't lose any; he doesn't gain any. "…and these whom He justified, He also glorified."  That tells us that everyone that God justifies is glorified. The Scripture says that if you believed in the Lord Jesus Christ at that instant you were justified. This verse tells us that everyone who was justified will be glorified. So you can't lose your salvation.

3.  God the Father's omnipotence is more powerful than human attempts to negate their salvation. Therefore He is able to keep the believer secure. Jude 1:24 NASB "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy." It is Christ who keeps us, not we who keep ourselves. John 10:28, 29.

4.  God is omniscient; that means that God knows all the knowable. God is eternal; that means that God has eternally known all the knowable. Since God has eternally known all the knowable and since God never changes, God has known all the knowable simultaneously forever. This is linking together immutability, eternal life and omniscience. That means that when God planned salvation in eternity past He knew all the facts. He knew what would happen and he is not surprised, and because He is omnipotent he was able to devise a plan that was large enough and complex enough to cover every single contingency and to deal with every single sin in human history. So there is no sin or evil that we can commit that is too great for the power and the knowledge of God. He could provide a perfect plan for us.

5.  No one, angelic or human, can bring a charge or condemn those who are saved. Why is that? a) Christ's death paid the penalty for every single sin in human history; b) Christ's righteousness was imputed to every believer at the moment of faith alone in Christ alone. Therefore, because the basis for our acceptance with is Jesus Christ no charge can be brought against us because the issue is not us, the issue is Christ and no charge can be brought against Christ. His payment was sufficient. Now what we can reason is that if any sin can undo a believer's salvation then either a) Christ's death did not pay for that sin, or b) Christ's payment was not enough and so we have to add something to it. Both are blasphemy. Romans 8:33, 34 NASB "Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us."

6.  To think that you can help God out is nothing but arrogance. God doesn't need our help; we need God's help. That is the grace policy of God. Man's character does not cancel the integrity of God. God's plan is not based upon our success but upon His success. Man's weakness cannot negate God's strength. Lack of integrity in the believer cannot nullify the integrity of God. Failure to live out the plan of God in our life does not cancel our eternal salvation. The problem is we are more impressed with our failures than with the integrity of God and the grace of God.