A. NO! - in the sense of his justification (righteous standing) before God.
B. YES! – in the sense of his sanctification (or fellowship) with God.
WHY A BELIEVER CAN NEVER LOSE HIS RIGHTEOUS STANDING (JUSTIFICATION) BEFORE GOD
1. It is based on Christ’s work on the cross in his behalf - not on his own works (Eph. 2:8-9, Titus 3:5, Rom. 3:24-26).
2. His justification is because the righteousness of Christ has been imputed to him – not that he has any righteousness in himself (II Cor. 5:21, Rom. 4:25, Phil. 3:9). God can never change His attitude toward His Son (Heb. 13:8)
3. His justification in Christ is based on God the Father’s sovereign purpose in which He chose him in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4, Rom. 8:28-30, II Tim. 1:9, II Thess. 2:13, John 6:37-40, 44, John 10:27-30)
4. His justification is based on Jesus Christ’s eternal work of redemption for the believer (Rom. 8:31-33, Col. 2:14, Heb. 9:12; Heb. 10:12,14; I John 2:1-2)
5. His justification is based on the Holy Spirit’s work of regeneration (new spiritual birth) and his work of indwelling and sealing the believer until Christ comes (Titus 3:5, II Cor. 5:17, John 14:16, Eph. 1:13-14; Eph. 4:30).
6. The life that the believer receives is eternal life – not temporal life - as clearly stated in Scripture (John 3:16; 5:24, 11:25-26, 4:14; 6:35, 37, 10:27-30)
WHY A BELIEVER CAN LOSE HIS FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD AND THEREFORE (POTENTIAL) ETERNAL REWARDS
1. My moment-by-moment walk with God depends on God’s grace and my
obedience to His commands (works) – Phil. 2:12-13; John 14:21-23, I John 1:7, Titus 3:8, II Cor. 7:1.
2. It is therefore possible for a believer to go backwards in His salvation (walk with God or sanctification) – Heb. 5:11-12, I Cor. 15:1-2, Heb. 7:25, I John 1:6, Rom. 8:17, II Tim. 2:12.
3. It is possible for disobedient believers to lose reward at the Judgment-Seat of Christ where all believers will be evaluated for their works (not their sins) – II Cor. 5:10, I Cor. 3:9-15, Rev. 2:23, II John 8, I John 2:28, I Cor. 9:24-27.
The Three Tenses of Salvation
|Past I have been saved from the penalty of sin. JustificationPresent I am being saved from the power of sin. SanctificationFuture I will be saved from the presence of sin. Glorification|
· My justification (getting to heaven) is based on the finished work of Christ. What I do when I get there is entirely dependent on what I do with what I have been given here on earth (my works).
· The doctrine of the security of the believer rests entirely on what God is like and what He has purposed. The sovereign God will most certainly accomplish what He sets out to do. He will not be defeated in the realization of all His intentions (Eph. 1:11-12).
· In Romans 8:28-30, God speaks of glorification (heaven) as though it is already past - “those whom He predestined, He has glorified”. In my experience, I have not arrived there yet. But God’s purpose is so secure and so sure that He treats it as an accomplished fact. Everybody that is foreknown and predestined and called is justified and sanctified and glorified. God works all things after the purpose of His will – not some things.
· There is a real problem if a person asserts that a sin will unsave a person. James 2:10 declares that every sin, big or little, is a sin. Because of Jesus Christ’s propitiatory death on the cross, the infinite power of God is set free to secure my eternal salvation (II Tim. 1:12).
· John 10:28 is an unconditional statement. Jesus didn’t say, “I give them life until they sin”. Because He had given them eternal life they can never perish. There are no “if”s (conditions) here. No one (even the devil) can snatch them out of His hand because He is the greatest.
· God has declared all of His chosen ones righteous. No one can therefore bring a charge against them (Rom. 8:33ff). Furthermore to deny my being resurrected with Christ (arrival in heaven) is to deny His resurrection (Col. 2:12). If I can lose my resurrection life, then Jesus Christ can lose His resurrection life.
· To be started in human generation is to continue. To be started in spiritual regeneration (born again – John 3:3ff) is to continue. I cannot reverse the process.
· The Spirit of God permanently indwells us (John 14:16-17). He identified me, permanently, with all that has been accomplished in the death and resurrection of Christ (I Cor. 12:13). Furthermore, God set a seal upon my life, in the Person of the Holy Spirit, until the redemption of my body (in heaven) – Eph. 1:13-14, 4:30.