Security in Salvation
Just as you must have a plan to achieve your goals in life, so also God has a plan. From the world’s foundation, God’s goal to glorify Himself included a plan to redeem lost humanity. And those on whom God has bestowed mercy are born again to a living hope and are eternally secure through Jesus Christ.
What do we mean by eternal security? Bible scholar Charles Ryrie defined the term succinctly: “Eternal security is the work of God that guarantees that the gift of salvation, once received, is forever and cannot be lost.”1
The apostle Peter clearly stated that believers are “kept by the power of God through faith for salvation” (1 Pet. 1:5). The word kept is a military term that means God has placed a divine garrison around believers to guard and protect them. In other words, if you are born again, your security does not depend on anything you do, but rather on the triune God: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The triune God plays the major role in the eternal security of all who receive salvation in Christ.
The Father’s Role: It is God the Father who, through the good pleasure of His will, chooses you to be saved (Eph. 1:4–5). Those whom God has chosen and predestined will, without question, eventually be glorified, indicating their destiny is eternally secure (Rom. 8:30).
Jude stressed God’s glorious and mighty power to preserve Christians: “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling” (Jude 24). The Lord is sovereign over all things; and in His omnipotence, He is able to deliver you through your pilgrimage on Earth. The word keep means “to preserve” and assures us that we are eternally secure in Christ.
The Son’s Role: Jesus Christ guarantees our security in salvation: “He who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life” (Jn. 5:24).
Jesus also said, “All that the Father gives Me…I should lose nothing” (Jn. 6:37, 39). Nothing can separate us from Christ’s love (Rom. 8:35–39). Therefore, we are eternally secure. Neither can anyone (not even we ourselves) pluck us out of God the Father’s hand (Jn. 10:28–29). Jesus said, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life” (3:36, emphasis added). That is, if you are born again, you received eternal life at the moment you put your faith in Christ, thereby making you eternally secure.
The Holy Spirit’s Role: The Holy Spirit plays a key role in our eternal security. It is He who regenerates, or plants within us a new nature that is a new-life relationship with God (2 Pet. 1:4). The Spirit indwells Christians forever at the time of their new births (Jn. 14:16). He also baptizes believers, placing them into the body of Christ at the moment of regeneration. We also are “sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance” (Eph. 1:13–14). The indwelling Spirit is a down payment, or pledge, of our complete redemption, indicating that we are eternally secure.
God’s Word provides the proof of eternal security in Christ. This truth should give Christians security and assurance of our position in Christ. There is a slight difference between the words security and assurance. Security is based on God’s faithfulness to fulfill His promises of redemption. Assurance refers to the inner confidence believers have based on God’s Word, not on one’s feelings.
Finally, the apostle John revealed that believers in Christ can know with certainty, from the authority of God’s Word, that they are eternally secure: “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 Jn. 5:13). Jesus said, “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again’” (Jn. 3:7). And Scripture teaches that once you are born again, you remain so forever.
- Charles C. Ryrie, So Great Salvation (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1989), 137.