Home > Chafer's Systematic Theology, Collateral Studies, Doctrine, Salvation > Eternally Secure in our Salvation

Eternally Secure in our Salvation

 Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer

(Major Bible Themes)

From chapter entitled Security and Assurance of our Salvation

Major Bible Themes by Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer

(Founder of Dallas Theological Seminary)

 

COLLATERAL READING ASSIGNMENT FOR PMI STUDENTS

Collateral reading and reporting is part of your required coursework. When summarizing material, refrain from opining or you will have to redo your assignments. I am not interested in your opinion; I want to see how well you can read, analyze, and then communicate the material- as it is presented- in writing.

  • Make a Title Page for this collateral project called Security and Assurance.
  • Read this booklet at least two times and state you have done so on your Title Page.
  • Write out and then answer all questions on the pages listed below.

 

SECURITY

This chapter is concerned with the Biblical answer to the question, “Could a person once saved ever be lost again?” Since fear of eternal perdition must destroy the believer’s peace, and since to suppose that one once saved might be lost again, of necessity, limits the saving grace of God as it is in Christ, the subject of this chapter is of utmost importance.

The claim that one who is once saved might be lost again is usually based on a form of rationalism which, emphasizing certain passages of Scripture, does not consider sufficiently the testimony of all the Word of God. Concerning this question, church creeds have taken opposing sides; but it will be observed that belief or disbelief in the security of all who are saved is more personal than creedal. While the great body of New Testament Scriptures which bear directly or indirectly on this question declare the believer to be secure, there are upwards of twenty-five passages which have been cited in evidence by those who maintain that the believer is insecure. It is certain that an individual could not be at the same time both secure and insecure. Therefore, of these two bodies of Scripture, one body of Scripture must of necessity conform to the other.

 

From careful study it will be seen that the so-called “insecurity passages” are not such in reality, that they do not oppose the positive doctrine of security, and that they seem to teach insecurity only when they are misunderstood or misapplied. Certain, of these do not apply to the Christian since they belong to another dispensation (Matt. 24:13; Ezk. 33:7, 8; Matt. 18:23-35; 25:30). Other passages refer only to false and unregenerate teachers of the “last days” (1 Tim. 4:1, 2; 2 Pet. 2:1-22; Jude 1:17-19). One passage describes that which is merely a moral reformation (Luke 11:24-26). Several of these Scriptures bear on the important fact that Christian profession is justified by its fruits. Salvation which is of God will, under normal conditions, prove itself to be such by its own fruits (1 John 3:10; John 8:31; 15:6; 2 Pet. 1:10; Jas. 2:14-26; 1 Cor. 15:1, 2; Heb. 3:6, 14). In addition to this, there are certain passages that contain warnings which, when rightly interpreted, do not imply the insecurity of the believer under grace. Jews are warned that since their sacrifices have ceased they must turn to Christ or be lost (Heb. 10:26), in like manner, unsaved Jews as well as Gentiles are warned against “falling away” from the illuminating, converting work of the Spirit (Heb. 6:4-9). So, also, unspiritual Jews are warned that they will not be received into the coming kingdom (Matt. 25:1-13), and Gentiles are given a corporate warning which has no reference to the individual believer (Rom. 11:21). Again, the one who is saved and safe may lose his reward (1 Cor. 3:15; Col. 1:21-23), and be disapproved concerning his service for Christ (1 Cor. 9:27). Likewise, he may lose his fellowship because of sin (1 John 1:6), and he may be chastened of God (1 Cor. 11:29-32; John 15:2; 1 John 5:16). And, finally, it is possible for the believer to “fall from grace” (Gal. 5:1-4), which, however, is never accomplished by sinning; for the Christian falls from grace only when he turns from his true liberty under grace to the bondage of the law.

 

The positive doctrine of security rests upon an extended body of truth in which no less than twelve unchangeable facts of divine grace and its accomplishments are declared; any one of which alone would suffice to form an adequate basis for perfect rest and peace.

 

I. THE COVENANT OF GOD

The direct, unqualified promises of security (John 5:24; 6:37; 10:28) form an unconditional covenant in which God simply declares what He is going to do, which is also an expression of His unchangeable will. In Romans 8:29, 30 this eternal purpose is revealed and its realization is assured through sovereign grace and apart from every human work and merit.

 

II. THE POWER OF GOD

As being absolutely free from every limitation the Scriptures assert that God is able to keep all who are saved through Christ (John 10:29; Rom. 4:21; 8:31, 38, 39; 14:4; Eph. 3:20; Phil. 3:21; 2 Tim. 1:12; Heb. 7:25; Jude 1:24).

 

III. THE LOVE OF GOD

Not only is God revealed as one who is able to do according to His eternal purpose, but His love for His own is a motive which can never fail. In Romans 5:8-11 that love is declared to exceed even His love for sinners because of which He gave His Son to die (John 3:16). The argument is simple: If He loved men enough to give His Son to die for them when they were “sinners” and “enemies,” He will love them “much more” when, through redeeming grace, they are justified in His sight and reconciled to Him. Such knowledge-surpassing love for those whom He has redeemed at such limitless cost is sufficient assurance that they could never be plucked out of His hand until every resource of His infinite power has been exhausted.

 

IV. THE PRAYER OF THE SON OF GOD

While here on earth Christ prayed that those whom the Father had given Him should be kept (John 17:9-12, 15, 20) and this prayer which had its beginning on earth, we may believe, is continued in Heaven (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25. Note, also, Luke 22:31, 32). Considering this, there is abundant assurance of security in the fact that no prayer of the Son of God could ever be unanswered.

 

V. THE EFFICACIOUS SUBSTITUTIONARY DEATH OF THE SON OF GOD

The death of Christ is the sufficient answer to the condemning power of sin (Rom. 8:34). When it is claimed that the saved one might be lost again, that claim is usually based on the fact of possible sin. Such an assumption of necessity proceeds on the supposition that Christ has not borne all the sins the believer will ever commit, and that God, having saved a soul, might be disappointed and surprised by unexpected, subsequent sin. On the contrary, the omniscience of God is perfect. He foreknows every sin or secret thought that will ever darken the life of His child, and for those sins the sufficient, sacrificial blood of Christ has been shed and by that blood God has been propitiated (1 John 2:2). Because of that blood which avails for the sins of both saved and unsaved God is as free to continue His saving grace toward the meritless as He is to save them at all. He keeps them forever; not for their sakes alone, but to satisfy His own love and manifest His own grace (Rom. 5:8; Eph. 2:7-10). It is because of the fact that salvation and safe-keeping depend only on the sacrifice and merit of the Son of God that all condemnation is forever removed (John 3:18; 5:24; Rom. 8:1. R.V.; 1 Cor. 11:31, 32).

 

VI. THE RESURRECTION OF THE SON OF GOD

The eternal security of the believer is made certain through two vital facts connected with the resurrection of Christ:

 

  1. The gift of God is eternal life (John 3:16; 10:28; Rom. 6:23), which life is the resurrection life of Christ (Col. 2:12; 3:1), eternal as He is eternal, and as incapable of dissolution or death as Christ is incapable of dissolution or death.

 

  1. Likewise, by union with the resurrected Christ by the baptism with the Spirit and the impartation of His eternal life, the child of God is made a part of the New Creation in which he stands in the federal headship of the Last Adam. Since the Last Adam cannot fall, there is no fall possible for the weakest one who is in Him.

 

VII. THE INTERCESSION AND SHEPHERDHOOD

OF THE SON OF GOD

 

The present ministry of Christ in glory has only to do with the eternal security of those on earth who are saved. Christ both intercedes and advocates. As Intercessor, He has in view the weakness, ignorance, and immaturity of the believer — things concerning which there is no guilt. In this ministry, Christ not only prays for His own who are in the world and at every point of their need (Luke 22:31, 32; John 17:9, 15, 20; Rom. 8:34), but on the grounds of His own sufficiency in His unchanging priesthood, He guarantees that they will be kept saved for ever (Heb. 7:25; Rom. 5:10; John 14:19).

 

VIII. THE ADVOCACY OF THE SON OF GOD

The present ministry of Christ as Advocate has to do with the Christian’s sin — that concerning which there is guilt. Since sin is always sinful in the sight of God and can be cured only on the ground of the blood of Christ, the death of Christ is efficacious as much for the sins of the saved as for the unsaved (1 John 2:2). God is infinitely holy; therefore the Christian’s sin in every case merits eternal condemnation, and that judgment would of necessity be executed were it not for the fact that, a Advocate, Christ pleads the saving value of His own blood before the throne of God (1 John 2:1; Rom. 8:34; Heb. 9:24). This He does, not after the Christian sins, which would imply that there might be even a moment of insecurity in the believer’s position before God; but when he is sinning he has an Advocate with the Father.

 

IX. THE REGENERATING WORK OF THE SPIRIT

By the regenerating work of the Spirit the believer is made a child of God (John 1:13; 3:3-6; Titus 3:4-6; 1 Pet. 1:23; 2 Pet. 1:4; 1 John 3:9), an heir of God and a joint-heir with Christ (Rom. 8:16, 17). Having thus been born of God, he has partaken of the divine nature and that nature is never said to be removed or disannulled.

X. THE SPIRIT’S INDWELLING

The fact that the Spirit now indwells every believer (John 7:37-39; Rom. 5:5; 8:9; 1 Cor. 2:12; 6:19; 1 John 3:24) and never leaves him (John 14:16) should be recognized by every Christian. The Spirit may be grieved by unconfessed sin (Eph. 4:30), or He may be quenched in the sense that He is resisted (1 Thess. 5:19); But He, as the divine Presence in the heart, is never removed. For this reason, the child of God continues as such forever.

 

XI. THE BAPTISM WITH THE SPIRIT

By the Spirit’s ministry in baptizing, the believer is joined to that body of which Christ is the Head (1 Cor. 12:13; 6:17; Gal. 3:27) and he is therefore said to be in Christ. To be in Christ, constitutes a union which is both vital and abiding. In that union, old things — as to position and relationship which might be the ground of condemnation — are passed away, and all positions and relationships have become new and are of God (2 Cor. 5:17, 18). Being accepted for ever “in the beloved,” the child of God is as secure as the One in whom he is and in whom he stands.

 

XII. THE SPIRIT’S SEALING

Finally, it is declared that all true Christians are sealed with the Spirit unto the day of redemption (Eph. 4:30; 2 Cor. 1:22; and Eph. 1:13 which should read “having believed ye were sealed”). Since this sealing is of God for His own purpose and glory, and since it is unto the day of redemption, this ministry of the Spirit also guarantees the eternal security of all who are saved.

 

CONCLUSION

It may be concluded, then, from this extensive body of truth that the eternal purpose of God which is for the preservation of His own can never be defeated. To this end He has met every possible hindrance. Sin which might otherwise separate has been borne by a Substitute who, in order that the believer may be kept, pleads the efficacy of His death before the Throne of God. The believer’s will is held under divine control (Phil. 2:13), and every testing is tempered by the infinite grace and wisdom of God (1 Cor. 10:13).

 

It cannot be too strongly emphasized that, while, in this chapter, salvation and safe-keeping have been treated as separate divine undertakings as an adaptation to the usual ways of speaking, the Bible recognizes no such distinction; for, according to the Scriptures, there is no salvation purposed, offered, or undertaken under grace which is not infinitely perfect and that does not abide for ever.

 

QUESTIONS

  1. What is the fundamental question involved in the doctrine of Security?
  2. Could both the doctrine of Security and the doctrine of Insecurity be true?
  3. In what ways are the so-called “insecurity passages” misinterpreted and misapplied?
  4. What form of covenant do the promises of saving grace constitute?
  5. In what ways do the power of God and the love of God guarantee the believer’s safe-keeping?
  6. What peculiar certainty is there in the prayer of Christ?
  7. How does the death of Christ provide for the Christian’s eternal security?
  8. Name two assurances of security which are provided in the resurrection of Christ.
  9. Distinguish between Christ’s intercession and advocacy.
  10. Might the divine nature within the believer be disannulled?
  11. a. Does the Spirit indwell every true Christian?
  12. Does He ever leave the one in whom He dwells?
  13. In what way does the baptism with the Spirit guarantee the security of the child of God?
  14. What time limit is placed on the Spirit’s sealing?
  15. Why is it that the believer’s sin, his own will, or his own liability to be tempted are unable to break his eternal security in Christ?

 

 ASSURANCE

The theme of this chapter should be distinguished clearly from that of the preceding chapter. Security relates to the absolute, eternal safety of those who are in Christ, while assurance relates to a personal confidence in a present salvation.

 

According to the Scriptures, that assurance of salvation which is justifiable rests upon two lines of evidence:

 

(a) normal manifestations of the indwelling Christ, and

(b) the veracity of the Word of God.

 

I. NORMAL MANIFESTATIONS OF

THE INDWELLING CHRIST

 

Among the various divine accomplishments which together constitute the salvation of a soul, the impartation of a new life from God is, in the Bible, given the supreme emphasis. Upwards of eighty-five New Testament passages attest this feature of saving grace. Consideration of these Scriptures disclose the fact that this imparted life is the gift of God to all those who believe on Christ (John 10:28; Rom. 6:23); it is from Christ (John 14:6); it is Christ indwelling the believer (Col. 1:27; 1 John 5:11, 12), and therefore is as eternal as He is eternal.

 

On the basis of the fact that Christ indwells him, the believer is appointed to judge himself as to whether he is in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5); for it is reasonable to expect that the heart wherein Christ dwells will, under normal conditions, be aware of that wonderful Presence. However, the Christian is not left to his own misguided feelings and imagination as to the precise manner in which the indwelling Christ will be manifested, it being clearly defined in the Scriptures. For the Christian who is subject to the Word of God, this particular revelation serves a two-fold purpose: it protects against the assumption that fleshly emotionalism is of God — a belief far too prevalent at the present time — and sets a standard of spiritual reality toward which all who are saved should ceaselessly strive.

It is obvious that an unsaved person, be he ever so faithful in outward conformity to religious practise, will never manifest the life which is Christ. In like manner, the carnal Christian is abnormal to the extent that he can in no way with accuracy prove his salvation by his experience; for all normal Christian experience (but never the imparted divine life) is limited, if not dissipated, by that which is carnal (1 Cor. 3:1-4). It should be recognized that a carnal Christian is as perfectly saved as the spiritual Christian; for no experience, or merit, or service can form any part of the grounds of salvation. Though but “a babe” he is, nevertheless, in Christ (1 Cor. 3:1). His obligation toward God is not one of the exercise of saving faith, but rather one of adjustment to the mind and will of God. It is of fundamental importance to understand that a normal Christian experience is vouchsafed only to those who are Spirit-filled.

 

The manifestations of the indwelling Christ which are mentioned in the Scriptures are:

 

  1. The Knowledge of God as Father.

In Matthew 11:27 it is declared that no one knoweth the Father save the Son and he to whom the Son will reveal Him. It is one thing to know about God, which, experience is possible to the unregenerate; but quite another thing to know God, which can be realized only as the Son reveals Him, “And this is life eternal that they might know thee the only true God” (John 17:3). Fellowship with the Father and with the Son is known only by those who “walk in the light” (1 John 1:6). A normal Christian experience includes, therefore, a personal appreciation of the Fatherhood of God.

 

  1. A New Reality in Prayer.

Prayer assumes a very large place in the experience of the spiritual Christian. It becomes increasingly his most vital resource. By the indwelling Spirit the believer offers praise and thanksgiving (Eph. 5:18, 19), and by the Spirit he is enabled to pray according to the will of God (Rom. 8:26, 27; Jude 1:20). It is reasonable to believe, also, that since Christ’s ministry both on earth and in Heaven was and is so much one of prayer, the one in whom He dwells will if normal be moved to prayer.

 

  1. A New Ability to Understand the Scriptures.

According to the promise of Christ, the child of God will understand through the Spirit the things of Christ, the things of the Father, and things to come (John 16:12-15). On the Emmaus road Christ opened the Scriptures to His hearers (Luke 24:32) and their hearts to the Scriptures (Luke 24:45). Such an experience, though so wonderful, is not designed alone for favored Christians; it is the normal experience of all who are right with God (1 John 2:27), since it is a natural manifestation of the indwelling Christ.

 

  1. A New Sense of the Sinfulness of Sin.

As water removes that which is foreign and unclean (Ezk. 36:25; John 3:5; Titus 3:5, 6; 1 Pet. 3:21; 1 John 5:6-8), so the Word of God displaces all human conceptions and implants those ideals which are of God (Psa. 119:11), and by the action of the Word of God as applied by the Spirit the divine estimate of sin displaces the human estimate. It is impossible that the sinless Christ who, on becoming a sin offering, sweat drops of blood, should not, when free to manifest His presence, create a new sense of the sinfulness of sin in the one in whom He dwells.

 

  1. A New Love for the Unsaved.

The fact that Christ has died for all men (2 Cor. 5:12) is the grounds upon which the Apostle Paul could say “Henceforth know we no man after the flesh” (2 Cor. 5:16). Apart from all earthly distinctions, men were seen by his spiritual eyes only as souls for whom Christ had died. Likewise, for the lost he ceased not to pray (Rom. 10:1), to strive (Rom. 15:20) and for them he was willing to be “accursed from Christ” (Rom. 9:1-3). As a result of the divine presence in the heart the divine compassion should be experienced by every Spirit-filled believer (Rom. 5:5; Gal. 5:22).

 

  1. A New Love for the Saved.

In 1 John 3:14, love for the brethren is made an absolute test of personal salvation. This is reasonable, since by the regenerating work of the Spirit the believer is brought into a new kinship in the household and family of God, wherein alone the true Fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man exist. The fact that the same divine Presence indwells two individuals relates them vitally and anticipates a corresponding bond of devotion. The Christian’s love one for the other is therefore made the insignia of true discipleship (John 13:34, 35), and this affection is the normal experience of all who are born of God.

 

  1. A Manifestation of the Character of Christ.

The believer’s subjective experiences which are due to the unhindered divine Presence in the heart are indicated in nine words: “Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Gal. 5:22, 23), and each word represents a flood tide of reality on the plane of the limitless character of God.

 

This is the life which Christ lived (John 13:34; 15:11; 14:27); it is the life which is Christ-like (Phil. 2:5-7), and it is the life which is Christ (Phil. 1:21). Since these graces are wrought by the Spirit who indwells every believer, this experience is provided for all.

 

  1. A Consciousness of Salvation through Faith in Christ.

Saving faith in Christ is also a definite experience. The Apostle related of himself, “I know whom I have believed” (2 Tim. 1:12). A personal reliance upon a Saviour is so definite an act of the will and attitude of the mind that one could hardly be deceived regarding it. But it is the purpose of God that the normal Christian shall be assured in his own heart that he is accepted of God. To the spiritual Christian the Spirit beareth witness that he is a son of God (Rom. 8:16). Similarly, having trusted in Christ, the believer will have no more the consciousness of condemnation because of sin (Heb. 10:2; Rom. 8:1; John 3:18; 5:24). This does not imply that the Christian will not be conscious of the sin which he commits; it rather has to do with a consciousness of an eternal acceptance with God through Christ (Eph. 1:6; Col. 2:13), which is the portion of all who believe.

 

In concluding the enumeration of the essential elements of a true Christian experience, it should again be stated that mere fleshly emotionalism is excluded, and that the experience of the believer will be normal only as he is “walking in the light” (1 John 1:6).

 

II. THE VERACITY OF THE WORD OF GOD

Above and beyond all that the believer may experience — which experience is too often indefinite and overshadowed because of carnality — there is given the abiding evidence of the dependable Word of God. In addressing believers the Apostle John states, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). By this passage assurance is given to every believer, carnal or spiritual alike, that they may know that they have eternal life. This assurance is made to rest, not on a changeable experience, but upon the things which are written in the unchangeable Word of God (Matt. 24:35; Psa. 119:89, 160; Matt. 5:18; 1 Pet. 1:23, 25).

 

The written promises of God are as a title deed (John 6:37; 5:24; 3:16, 36; Rom. 1:16; 3:22, 26; 10:13; Acts 16:31) which challenge confidence. These promises of salvation form the unconditional covenant of God under grace and call for no human merit, nor are they proven to be true through any human experience. These mighty realities are to be reckoned as accomplished on no other ground than the veracity of God. God hath spoken. It becomes man to believe, and all lack of assurance concerning personal salvation will be found to be due to one or the other of two forms of unbelief:

 

  1. Doubting One’s Own Committal.

Multitudes are in no way certain that they ever have had a personal transaction with Christ regarding their own salvation. And while it is non-essential that one should know the day and the hour of his decision, it is imperative that he should know that he is now trusting Christ without reference to the time it began. The Apostle states that he is persuaded that God is able to keep (Lit., guard his deposit) that which he had committed unto Him (2 Tim. 1:12). Obviously the cure for any uncertainty as to one’s acceptance of Christ is to receive Christ now, reckoning that no self-merit or religious works are of value — Christ alone can save.

 

  1. Doubting the Faithfulness of God.

Others who lack assurance of their own salvation do so because they, though having come to Christ, are not sure that He has kept His word and received them. This state of mind is usually caused by looking for a change in their feelings rather than looking to the faithfulness of Christ. Feelings and experiences have their place; but, as before stated, the final evidence of personal salvation, which is unchanged by these, is the truthfulness of God. What He has said, He will do, and it is not pious or commendable to distrust one s salvation after having definitely cast one’s self upon Christ.

 

 

QUESTIONS to answer

  1. State the difference between the doctrine of Security and that of Assurance.
  2. State the lines of Biblical assurance.
  3. What one aspect of salvation is made the test of the believer’s experience?
  4. Wherein may this experience fail or be misleading?
  5. Prove that a carnal Christian is saved and safe in Christ.
  6. State the meaning of Matthew 11:27.
  7. How might the indwelling Christ inspire the believer to pray?
  8. State the normal effect of the indwelling Christ on the believer’s knowledge of the Scriptures, upon his sense of sin, and his love for the unsaved.
  9. a. On what basis is 1 John 3:14 a reasonable test of a real Christian experience?
  10. Why is it reasonable to expect Christ-likeness in the believer?
  11. What passages indicate that a spiritual Christian will be conscious of his acceptance with God?
  12. Is a normal Christian experience essential to salvation?
  13. On what certainty does assurance rest apart from experience?
  14. What should one do who doubts his own trust in Christ?
  15. What should one do who doubts Christ’s promise to receive even after having trusted Him?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PUBLISHED BY

POB 177 – Battle Creek, MI 49016-0177 – (269) 282-9381

PmiMinistries.com

 

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