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The True Gospel of Jesus Christ
Are Believers Eternally Secure?

Summary:  When you trust Jesus Christ as your Savior, God gives you a new nature and He comes to live in you, thereby joining His life to you (1 Corinthians 6:17). You receive both the gift of righteousness (Romans 5:17) and the gift of eternal life (1 John 5:11,12a).

Discussion: Is the doctrine of "once saved, always saved" a myth or a Biblical teaching? The idea of unconditional eternal security is an affront to many people because they believe it gives "license to sin," allowing people to go around sinning as much as they want and still go to heaven.

The two key concepts to understanding whether eternal security is true or not are:
1. What it means to be saved, and
2. The inner “man” and outer “man”

What is "Salvation"

Those who reject eternal security view “salvation” and forgiveness of sins as being the same thing. Therefore, it seems obvious to them, a person who keeps sinning cannot be saved. This point of view has a questionable foundation: it says if you commit many or grievous sins, you probably are not a believer but if you only commit occasional or minor sins, you can confess them and get back into “fellowship” with God.

What is missing here is the requirement that you must be fully and forever righteous to be in the family of God. Under the Old Covenant Law, you would have had to keep the entire Law all your life to be declared righteous before God. Only Jesus did that. So, confessing infrequent or minor sins will never result in you being declared righteous. Also, the notion of getting back into fellowship with God is not found in the New Testament.

Salvation is not having your sins forgiven; rather, it is when God comes to live in the born again heart of one who trusts in Jesus Christ as their Savior. The Bible teaches very clearly that the sins of all people for all time were forgiven on the Cross of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:19; Mark 3:28; Hebrews 9:26b); forgivness happened only one time on the Cross, not at any point after. God forgave your sins because of Jesus, not because what you may or may not believe. The Holy Spirit living in you is what saves you and that happens to all people who trust Christ as Savior.

Inner and Outer “Man”

To understand whether eternal security is true or not, you also must recognize the distinction between your inner “man” and the outer “man.” This truth is not taught often but the Bible is quite clear. You have an inner spirit and an outer mortal body. Note: "Spirit," "nature" and "heart" all mean the same thing and are used interchangeably.

2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

As a believer there is something quite different going on between your inner and outer person; your body is growing old and will die while your spirit, your inner “man,” is getting better in some way.

Another verse makes the same distinction:

Romans 8:10 and if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.

It says that your body is dead, but your spirit is alive. If you understand this truth, you will understand eternal security.

The Inner "Man"

Whereas your response was not a factor in forgiveness, it is essential when it comes to eternal life. Only when you trust Jesus Christ as your Savior does God remove your old sinful inner nature (Romans 6:6) and replace it with a brand new, clean heart indwelled by the Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 36:26; Ezekiel 11:19; 1 Corinthians 3:16). God joins His righteous and eternal life to you. You are now in the family of God, having been transferred into the kingdom of Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:13).

The second half of that same verse in Romans 8 shows that you are righteous in you inner spirit.

Romans 8:10b and if Christ is in you, …, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness (because your inner man has been redeemed and made righteous).

God gives you what is required to realize eternal life, the gift of righteousness (Romans 5:17). You are fully and forever righteous because Jesus Christ lives in you. Nothing can ever change that. There is no verse in the Bible that remotely supports the notion that Jesus can come to live in you and then leave; you are joined to Christ forever (John 10:28,29).

The Outer "Man"

Your mortal body, however, has not yet been redeemed or made righteous; it awaits a future redemption (Romans 8:23b). This is the reason you can still sin in your mortal flesh, and this is the reason many are opposed to unconditional eternal security. They are looking at the outward behavior instead of the inner spirit. The Apostle Paul addresses this specific issue.

Romans 6:1-2 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? [2] May it never be! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

You died to sin when God removed your old sinful nature. Yet, you live in a mortal body that can still sin. Grace scares people because you cannot out sin grace. Those who abuse grace in this way most likely have never been taught about our inner and outer person.You have a mortal body incapable of being righteous, and this is the very reason you live by faith. Faith is letting Jesus live His righteous life in you and through you (Galatians 2:20). The whole point of faith is to live a righteous life by the power of Christ in you, not get away with sinning.

Your born again heart is the real, eternal you, not your mortal body; your physical body is your temporary "house" (2 Corinthians 5:2,4) that will one day see decay. So, even though you can sin in your mortal body, your inner spirit remains holy because of the indwelling presence of Jesus Christ.

This might help: consider what will happen when you die. Your body will go to the grave because it has not yet been redeemed; but, your spirit will remain joined as one to the Lord forever (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Jesus is Your Eternal Security

Maybe the best way to understand eternal security is to understand that Jesus alone possesses eternal life. Jesus Christ is Eternal Life.

1 John 1:2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us-

1 John 5:11 and the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

The Bible specifically states that if you have Jesus, you have eternal life; if you do not have Jesus, you do not have eternal life because Jesus does not live in your born again heart.

1 John 5:12 He who has the Son has the lifehe who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

Therefore, once you know that Jesus Christ lives in your born again heart (Colossians 1:27; Colossians 3:3) and that by His presence you possess eternal life, the answer to the question of eternal security is clear. Eternal security is indeed true, a wonderful promise of God.

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