Verses Supposedly Refuting Eternal Security CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
One of the great difficulties among those who believe you can lose your salvation is the inability to see what a verse says in its context. They are so convinced that they can lose their salvation that they read their belief into any verse that seems to teach what they believe. So, in this answer, we will look at some of the common verses used to oppose eternal security to see what the verses actually say.
Matt 7:21-23 – Not everyone that sayeth unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. Problem: The Lord said, “I never knew you,” (v. 23) [Compare 2 Tim 2:19]. Hence, these folks were never saved to begin with, though they could demonstrate some miraculous works. And the kingdom considered here is the kingdom of heaven, thus, we are not dealing with born-again believers, whose kingdom is the kingdom of God (Jn 3:3-7).
Matt 24:13 – But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. Problem: “The end” is not a reference to the end of a man’s life. It is a reference to “the end of the world,” (Matt 24:3) [see Jas 4:4, 1 Jn 2:15-17]. The world ends when Jesus Christ returns at the Second Advent. That is because the god of this world (2 Cor 4:4) will be chained in the bottomless pit (Rev 20:1-3) while Jesus rules over all the kingdoms of the world (Rev 11:15) for a thousand years (Rev 20:4-7). So, you can’t teach that a man has to endure to the end of his life in order to be saved, because this verse doesn’t “say” that!
Jn 15:6 – If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered. Problem: The two little words “abide” and “as.” There are many “professing Christians” who hang around God’s people and even go to church with them. But they are not God’s children. They do not abide (“dwell”) in Jesus. And if a person is not “in” Jesus, he is not saved. Therefore, he is cast forth “as” a branch because he is not literally a branch and he is burned forever in hell (Matt 3:12). A good example of this before Calvary was Judas Iscariot who, though he was a disciple, was really a devil (Jn 6:70-71).
Rom 11:20-22 – otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. Problem: This passage refers to Gentiles as a whole and not to individuals. The trouble with using these verses to teach that you can lose your salvation is that they are not about individual salvation. The whole chapter is about Israel and Gentiles. Gentile salvation opened when the Jews rejected Jesus. God only extends salvation to us on an individual basis, in the church age, and not on a national basis (compare Ex 4:22; Rom 11:25-27 and Heb 8:8-12). The admonition, therefore, in this passage is not for an individual Gentile to keep his salvation, but for Gentiles as a whole to remember the goodness of God in extending salvation to us. Unbelief among Gentiles will cut off salvation to them as quickly as it did to the Jews (Matt 13:13-15; Acts 28:25-28). Indeed, if you know anything about the work of the Holy Spirit in Europe four or five centuries ago compared with his work today, you would fully appreciate what Paul said in Rom 11.
1 Cor 9:27 – lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. Problem: The whole chapter is about the ministry. Paul’s concern was not losing his salvation (2 Tim 1:12; 2 Tim 4:8); his concern was being “shelved” as a preacher for not keeping his body under subjection. Many preachers have fallen to bodily temptation and have destroyed their ministries and been castaway [see 1 Tim 3:6-7].
Gal 5:4 – ye are fallen from grace. Problem: This passage is addressed to people who “are justified by the law.” They were trying to be saved by circumcision (Gal 5:2-3; Acts 15:1). In other words, he was addressing lost people who were looking to the law to save them. A Christian is not justified by the law (Gal 2:16) but by the blood of Jesus Christ (Rom 5:9). A man that chooses to reject the blood of Christ for his justification and seeks to be justified by the law is indeed “fallen from grace.
Eze 18:24 – A man turns from his righteousness and dies in his sin. Problem: This passage is Old Testament, pre-Calvary. His righteousness was his righteousness, not Christ’s (Phil 3:9).
Mk. 3:28-30 – A man blasphemes the Holy Ghost. Problem: This sin can only be committed when Christ is on earth. It is committed by accusing Jesus of doing His work by the power of the devil, Mk 3:30.
Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, and 21 – A man must overcome to be saved. Problem: You have already overcome (1Jn. 4:4; 5:4). Furthermore, you have already been given what these guys are promised or else you don’t need what they are promised. These verses apply specifically to saints in the Tribulation who will have to endure to the end to be saved – see Matt 24:13, above.
2 Pet. 2:1, 20-22 – A man is entangled and overcome after he had knowledge of Jesus. Problem: Nothing in these verses says that they lose their salvation. The trouble with these folks is that after they were clean escaped (v.18), after they had escaped the pollutions of the world (v.20), they were entangled by false teachers and false prophets. Now they are worse off than before they were saved as it concerns “the way of truth,” 2 Pet 2:2. Why? It is easier to reach unsaved men with the truth than it is to reach saved men who have been deceived by false prophets and teachers once they have turned from the holy commandment.
Gal. 5:19-21 – A man can be disinherited and therefore lost. Problem: These verses deal with a man’s inheritance, not his salvation. It is possible for every Christian to receive an inheritance (Rom. 8:17). However, he can lose his rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ (Rom. 14:10-12; 2 Cor. 5:10-11) for not walking in the Spirit and for the sins found in 1 Cor 6:9-11; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 5:5. His works [of the flesh] are burned up at this judgment and he suffers loss, “but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire,” [1 Cor 3:15].
The problem with most of these verses is that you can make them teach what you want by just lifting them out of their context. That’s dangerous business. Best to trust what God “said” not what you want Him to “teach”, for whatever reason!