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Permanent Preservation of the Believer in Christ

Can a saved person ever perish? If a person has been truly born again, he can never perish. The believer is safe and secure forever. Seven passages of Scripture are listed below as evidence of this glorious truth, though many more could be given.

1.—John 10:27-29.

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

Notice these words of Christ, "I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish." Plant your feet on that. This is the promise of Christ without any conditions attached. No sheep of His will ever perish! Notice, too, that both Christ and the Father hold you securely.

2.—John 5:24.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Here again the Lord Jesus Christ is speaking. He promises that the person who hears His Word and believes on the One who sent Him has everlasting life, and will never come into condemnation, or judgment. If one believer were ever lost, then the Son of God would have failed to keep His promise.

3.—John 3:36.

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life." Notice that it does not say, "he will have everlasting life." He has it at the present time. Now, how long is "everlasting"? Clearly it is forever.

4.—Romans 8:38,39.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 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.

The Apostle Paul announces that neither death, life, angels, principalities, powers, things present, things to come, height nor depth can separate the Christian from the love of God. And lest any child of God might worry that he might separate himself from the love of God, Paul adds, "nor any other creature." The believer is as safe as God can make him.

5.—II Timothy 1:12.

For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

Paul here expresses his confidence that Christ is able to keep what Paul had committed to Him, that is, his soul. In John 6:39, we learn that God has entrusted Christ with the preservation of all believers. Is it possible that Christ could be unfaithful to His trust?

6.—Jude 24.

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.

The Lord Jesus is the One who is able to keep Christians from falling, and to take
them safely home to heaven. Christians are no more able to keep themselves saved than they were to save themselves in the first place, but Christ is able (I Peter 1:5).

7.—Romans 8:30.

Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

"Whom He justified, them He also glorified." Every saved person is glorified. Although Christians do not yet have their glorified bodies, yet it is so certain that God speaks of it as an accomplished fact. If you are justified, then, as far as God is concerned, you are glorified too. In other words, the Christian is just as sure of heaven as if he were already there.

In connection with the subject of the Christian's security, the following facts should be remembered.

1. A Christian does not lose his salvation when he sins. Christ has already paid the penalty for all his sins—past, present and future. God will not demand payment twice. Since Christ has died for my sins, I will never have to die for them. God the righteous Judge, forgives the sinner who believes on Christ.

2. But when a Christian does sin, he displeases his heavenly Father, and the happy family spirit that should exist between the child and his Father remains broken until that sin is confessed (I John 1:9). Notice clearly that there is a big difference between God, the Judge, dealing with a sinner, and God the Father dealing with an erring child. In the former case, the penalty for sin is death and hell. In the latter case, the result of sin is broken fellowship (I John 2:1,2).

3. Even the Christian cannot sin cheaply. If a child of God wanders away from his Father, he can expect to be corrected (Hebrews 12:6,7). The Father might use sorrow or suffering to bring him back. In some cases, God even takes the believer home to heaven, his body dies, but his soul is saved (I Corinthians 5:5).

4. While a Christian can and does, unfortunately, commit acts of sin, no true child of God lives a life of continual sin. "A Christian is not sinless, but he does sin less." If a person can keep on sinning without being brought back to fellowship with God through chastenings, it is a sure sign that he was never born again. Our security must not be an excuse to sin, but rather an incentive not to sin.

5. There are several verses in the Bible which might seem to indicate that Christians can be lost again. However, if you examine them carefully, you will find that they refer to those who merely pretend to be Christians, or to those who have known the way of salvation and have rejected it. Nowhere do the Scriptures say that a truly born again person can perish. It is only such [born again] persons who are secure.

From What Christians Believe: Basic Studies in Bible Doctrine and Christian Living by Alfred P. Gibbs... [et al.]; staff members of Emmaus Bible School. Chicago: Moody Press, 1951.

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