The Earth Belongs to HaShem and the Fullness Thereof.

שמע ישראל ה 'הוא האלוהים שלנו הוא אחד

Shema Yisrael Adonai Elohaynu Adonai Echad
"Hear Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One"


The Biblical Doctrine of Eternal Security
Does the Bible teach "Once Saved Always Saved?"
By Yochanan ben Avraham (John of AllFaith) © 8.12.10)
Discuss this piece on my blog!

This ongoing controversy finds biblical support on all sides with the use of "proof texts" however when we "rightly divide the Word of Truth" (II Timothy 2:15) I believe the doctrine of our eternal security (or "Once Saved Always Saved") is clear. In the end Adonai alone grants or withholds salvation according to His Grace and Will and He has told us what we need to do to "be saved." Let's look at the idea of our eternal security a bit deeper.

There are creeds and statements of faith that say all sorts of things. All man-made creeds and confessions do is show what their adherents believe. That's not enough evidence to base a doctrine on. The Holy Scriptures are to be the source of our beliefs, not human traditions.

Those who accept the doctrine of eternal security are not saying, as some suppose, that once a person is saved sin is irrelevant, that one can live however the flesh wills and that's just fine. The Scripture is clear:

Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Likewise those who embrace "salvation by works" are not excluding God's Grace from the equation as some who accept Eternal Security suppose. Both sides of the debate believe God is the final judge and both are trying to understand how this inconceivable gift works. They are however saying that our salvation is based in part on our own efforts and that is a doctrinal error.

Even with the Ruach HaKodesh or Spirit of God within me I am perfectly capable of committing any sin I choose. I could go out and commit adultery, murder someone etc. but I choose not to. They are saying my choosing not to sin is what keeps me "saved" (since doing so might cost me my salvation) and that violates the teachings of the New Covenant established through Y'shua and explained by Paul and others.

And yet we read:

James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

Why does James says this if our salvation is eternally secure? What is Y'shua' brother telling us here?

James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

"Faith" (pistis in the Greek) in this context means to be convinced about something. Believing the Gospel is true is not enough. The Devil and his demons know Y'shua is real, they know HaShem is real, etc. Saying one "believes" means nothing! There is "pistis" or belief that a thing is real and then there is embracing that belief fully, acting upon that faith.

I believe gas will power my car but unless I put gas in the tank my car wont run. This is James' point. The Greeks and Romans were very philosophical and intellectual. James is saying that accepting the intellectual arguments of people like Paul in favor of the Gospel is not enough. One must personally be born again (John 3:16,17). One must act on that pistis (belief/faith).

Now let's continue with James' teaching and we will see this principle in action.

James 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

Actually no, he wasn't! Not as this is being interpreted in either/or terms. Consider:

Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went...

Is this a contradiction? Not at all!

Because by faith (again pistis) Abraham did these actions, but he did them based on FAITH. It was his faith that saved him not his works. His works stand as a testimony of his faith in God's salvation. Read this chapter of Hebrews for a litany of acts (works) done BECAUSE of faith.

James agrees with this interpretation as he continues:

James 2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

Now we get to the central difference of opinion.

Abraham believed God, he had faith in what God told him and hence he acted in faith. What did he do with that faith? He acted on it and so we know of his works and have been blessed because of them.

If Abraham logged into our chat room and said "I have faith!"

We'd say, "Prove it."

He'd reply, "Well, based on my faith I offered my son etc... because I believed/I had faith (pistis) in what God told me to do. That is my evidence.

But what if he replied, "Well, I... er... I met some angels once at my tent and ah I pray... occasionally... and ah...

We'd reply, "I see no evidence of your faith!" This is what James is saying. Paul is clearer when he says:

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Understand that God has ordained that we should produce fruit if we believe, if we have faith in Him. This is clear.

Has a given person actually been saved? Can you say with certainty that anyone other than yourself (hopefully) has been redeemed by Adon Y'shua?

We can say we believe so and so is "saved" because of the evidence we behold in their lives...

As Y'shua explains:

Matthew 7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

We can certainly use discernment and decide how we will interact with others (i.e. as brothers or sisters in the Lord etc) because:

Matthew 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits....

But we can not judge another person's salvation and we must realize that all humans stumble from time to time and that none of us fully understands the things of God. Indeed if someone denies they are fallible they are lying to you (I John 1:10)! There are MANY "Christians" who do things or believe things I find ungodly or un-scriptural (even anti-scriptural at times). I will say, when appropriate, that this or that act or belief is out of harmony with the Scripture and biblical doctrine in my opinion. If they are open to dialogue we may discuss our doctrinal differences, but I can not add "And so you are not saved!" Only God knows that.

The question is what happens at salvation.

Salvation is not a mere agreement that the Bible is true, an acknowledgment that Y'shua (or Jesus) died as the paschal lamb for our sins. Again, the Devil believes that too!

No, salvation is something much more intimate than mere "belief."

Romans 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Those who are truly "saved" or "born again" have been adopted into the family of God. They have been grafted into the tree of Israel (Romans 11). They have become joint heirs of the Kingdom. What does this mean?

This means that we who have been "grafted in" have entered into a mutual covenant/contract with God (known as the B'rit Hadashah or "New Covenant")! It means that we have accepted the terms of that covenant and that as a result God has reciprocated by "adopting" us into His own family. This is why Adon Y'shua so often stressed the Fatherhood of God.

Of those who are adopted he says:

John 18:9 .... Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.

None.

John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
10:29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

"Eternal life" means eternal, unending. If salvation were lost at some point it would not be eternal. Once a person is actually adopted (as the Jews are) by God, once we are placed into his hands as our mediator with the Father (I Timothy 2:5), we are eternally secure. No one can pluck us out of his care.

The argument to this is that we can remove ourselves, however the text suggests no such thing. Indeed Y'shua says of these adopted spiritual Jews (Romans 2:29) those which thou gavest me have I lost none.

"I have lost none." It is Y'shua our Cohen Gadol (High Priest) who keeps us "saved" not our own efforts (otherwise we could boast).

As a father I can so relate with this. One of my sons went through a period where he wanted nothing to do with his mom and me, but our love and prayers for him remained unshakable and he eventually grew out of it. A loving parent never gives up on a child, even when he/she thinks he knows he wants to be abandoned and separated from the family. God is the perfect Parent. He never gives up on His children no matter how foolish we may be.

Understand that salvation is God's free gift to us and it is His responsibly to maintain it since we can't. Salvation is not the mere recitation of some set prayer on the back of a "Chick tract," "Dear Jesus I know I sin, come into my heart anyway amen..." It is the entering into a serious covenant relationship with God Almighty! Not everyone who claims to have been "adopted in the family" have been (Matthew 7:21). This adds to mistrust of this biblical truth, but it certainly doesn't change it. Just because there are counterfeits does not mean the original does not exist. Both sides must accept the contractual agreement for it to come into effect.

We are not capable of holding up our end of this contract! This is why Y'shua, our high priest, holds "power of attorney" for us and acts in our behalf (Hebrews 4:14).

Again

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God...

We don't even have enough faith to get saved in the first place! How could we possibly have enough to stay saved? Its all God's free gift.

Ephesians 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Salvation is not based on our works but on God's Grace. Both sides agree with this. But...

Now that I'm "saved" (as of 1969 in my case) if I could say I've maintained my salvation through good works, through obedience etc. then I'd have 41 years to brag about! I could say, "Look at me! I have maintained my salvation for so many years when others lost theirs in a matter of a few weeks or months! My faith must be really strong huh?"

But no, what does the Word say: ....that not of yourselves and ... Not of works, lest any man should boast. I have NOTHING to boast about! EVERYTHING I have was given to me by HaShem through Adon Y'shua. The truth is, I should have been discarded and left "unsaved" myriad times over the years -- indeed, I didn't deserve to be adopted in the first place!

But God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and we have a high priest and mediator who makes intercession on our behalf. So...

Romans 8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.
8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Having been grafted in (Romans 11) we talmidim (students of Adon Y'shua), along with the Jews, are become the Elect of the God of Israel and through our Cohen Gadol (High Priest) Y'shua nothing can be charged again us that would cost us our salvation! Why? Because ...It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us..

Now consider this: Again people say these verses are only talking about what others can do to us but that does not fit what Paul is saying here:

8:35 Who ["tis" in the Greek which means "who," "which" or "what"] shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

The answer is that NONE of these things, including distress (stenochoria which suggests depression, doubts etc) can do so. Why?

Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
8:39 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.

What can take away my salvation when NOTHING that may come upon me (including my own doubts and anxieties) can separate me from the family of God! The same is true of all who have been "grafted in" or adopted.

Besides, ask yourself this: If "works" can keep you saved at what point might you lose your salvation?

Remember the historic context here. Paul is speaking about the works of the Torah, the Jewish halacha or laws, to a primarily Jewish audience. These laws are divided into 613 mitzvot or commands. How many of these laws can one break without losing salvation? One? Ten? And for how long can one continue in the violation of the commands, when does our failure to repent become terminal?

Because remember, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews said that if it WERE possible to lose salvation one who lost it would never be able to be "re-saved.":

Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
6:2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
6:3 And this will we do, if God permit.
6:4 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,
6:5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
6:6 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.

IF a saved person were to lose salvation he/she would be eternally lost! Such a person could never successfully repent, never receive forgiveness, never again be saved no matter what they did because salvation is a gift of God and here we find that once given and lost (were that possible) it would never be possible to give it a second time!

Imagine such torment! Knowing one was once saved, say as a child, made too many bad choices based on fear, greed, uncertainty, stupidity or whatever, and now when one wants to be saved again its too late! Imagine never being able to receive it again!!! Knowing one was destined to die with God even though one yearned for the Gift with all of ones heart! Does this sound like something Y'shua would do? Of course not. He came so that all could be saved (John 3:16,17).

Were such the case we should never lead our children to salvation! Rather, in such a scenario we would do best to encourage them to wait until they are adults and have "sown their wild oats." Otherwise, we might well be responsible for the loss of our own child's salvation! IF that is having received salvation they could lose it as this teaching says.

No, the most loving and important thing a parent can give a child is the knowledge of God and His salvation! Praying with ones child to enter this covenant with God before the weight of the world become too strong is a glorious gift!

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

ONCE we have been adopted into the family of God we are eternally secure.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

It can be assumed that one who has been saved will do good works, even though he/she will fall short of God's righteous desires for us.

Again going back to James:

James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

IF one has the faith that comes with salvation one will manifest evidence in some way because real faith moves us to act. But understand that we all have unique gifts and fruit and personal foibles and so we can not judge another.

James is not talking about losing ones salvation in these verses as some legalists suppose but about developing "the fruit of the Spirit."

Salvation is our only eternal security. Everything else can be taken from us, our nation, our health, our possessions, our family... our very lives... but our salvation, once granted, is secure because of the ongoing work of our high priest, Y'shua. Working that salvation out or manifesting it in our lives as God's workmanship is our responsibility, our "reasonable service" (Romans 12:1) as Believers, not done to be or stay saved rather, these works are performed, these fruit of the Spirit manifest in our lives, because we are saved.

Our salvation is absolutely secure because we have been grafted in to the family of God, into Am Israel:

Romans 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

Or as the Complete Jewish Bible has it:

Romans 11:29 for God's free gifts and his calling are irrevocable.

Salvation is God's free gift and it is irrevocable.

Be Blessed and Secure in the Love of God!

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