Chances are good that you've heard someone refuting the idea of eternal security and defending that horrible "on again, off again" doctrine of salvation called "conditional security." This is the doctrine that teaches that you can be saved and on your way to heaven, but then sin enough to overpower the covenant Jesus made with God on the cross and be back on your way to hell again. Back and forth, from being saved and unsaved, a wavering Christian supposedly goes, conditional security supporters say. I'm sorry, but this mess is simply one of the apostate, hell-sent doctrines that (1st Timothy 4:1 and Romans 16:17-18) warned us about.
What I've noticed is that this "conditional security" doctrine is being adhered to by two different groups of people. One consists of people who have been led to believe in conditional security and are now confused and depressed because they're realizing how impossible it is to quit sinning completely. They've been taught that they have to get "saved again" every time they sin. You're going to see further below why that's not the case at all. I have no aggression towards these poor people. It's the OTHER group of conditional security supporters that I have a huge problem with. These are the ones teaching the other group that they're back on their way to hell. These are those people that hold their "superior" walk with God AGAINST other Christians as a point of validation and pride. They seem to be HOPING to find proof of a gospel that lets THEM go to heaven, but sends those nasty, lesser Christians they don't approve of to hell. In fact, have you noticed that NO ONE who supports the idea of conditional security thinks THEY are going to hell? They take the perfect standard that Jesus set and bring it down just low enough to where THEY make it, but not too many other people do. They define "righteousness" in terms of where they believe their OWN righteousness to be, and anyone underneath that is supposedly going to hell. This is why a lot of them even start trying to keep parts of the old Mosaic Law and then demand that other Christians do the same to "stay saved." See, they start coming across eternal security supporters who are living as righteously as they are, so the only way to take the bar higher is to start adding to the requirements. But what happens when one conditional security supporter thinks another conditional security supporter isn't living sin-free enough to go to heaven? Where's the line at, and who determines it? What happens if someone lives their whole life like a saint, but decides they'd rather live a life of sin one day before they die? What happens if someone lives their whole life like the devil, but decides they want to start living right only hours before they die (for example, the thief on the cross beside Jesus who asked Jesus to remember him when he went to his kingdom - Luke 23:39-43). See, the problem with conditional security is that the condition rests on man, who is made of shifting dust and is fickle, wavering, and constantly changing. Eternal security rests on Jesus, the rock who NEVER changes (James 1:17).
Forgive me if I sound a little aggressive in this post, but I am fighting a false gospel here, and one of the things I get bulldoggish about most is when someone tries to re-define the gospel of Jesus to suit their wishes. I consider conditional security to be the most abominable heresy ever thought up. There is an ever increasing number of false apostles out there spreading this false gospel around (especially over Youtube), and they are dangerously convincing. The Bible said this would happen (2nd Timothy 2:13).
And let me just say this: I am not saying that eternal security is a free license to sin. You'll realize that as you read on. It seems like if you simply utter the words "eternal security" to a conditional security supporter they automatically assume you're trying to find a way to sin it up as much as possible and still go to heaven. Somewhere between your mouth and their ears the words "eternal security" get twisted into a declaration that Jesus said we can now sin all we want with no consequences. You'll see very quickly below, that that is not the case at all.
So, let's get to it....
When we get saved, we are crucified, buried and resurrected with Jesus Christ. Our old inner man is killed and we are then raised together with Christ:
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection
When we are raised with Christ, we are baptized by the holy Spirit into the body of Christ:
3. Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4. Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
1st Corinthians 12:12-13
12. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
13. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
Our old spiritual man is crucified and the body of sin within us is not only completely destroyed, but can no longer sin:
6. knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
7. For he that is dead is freed from sin.
When the old man dies, a NEW man is raised from the dead as part of the body of Christ and Jesus now lives within us, which is why we say that Christ lives within us:
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
That new man, Christ within us, CANNOT fall back into death because death has no more dominion over him:
9. knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
10. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
That's why we are ALREADY seated with him in spiritual places:
5. Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved:)
6. And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
...and have already been translated into the kingdom:
13. Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
14. In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins
This is why the Bible says that Jesus will confirm you until the day of Christ:
1st Corinthians 1:6-8
6. even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
7. so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
8. who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is why, after you get saved, you are a purchased possession and not your own any more:
1st Corinthians 6:19-20
19. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
20. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
You are SEALED unto the day of redemption by the Holy Spirit:
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
When someone says that a saved person can become unsaved again, they are not only saying that we can become unsealed, un-purchased and snatched back down out of heavenly places, but that Jesus himself could be put back in the grave and back on the cross. That will never happen. To drive the point home even further, let me show you what Jesus himself said:
37. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
38. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
39. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
"of all which he hath given me, I should lose nothing,"
Once someone has been saved by Jesus, Jesus will NEVER lose them.
Now, you might be arguing that if we were free from sin, we would no longer sin. Let me clarify: the NEW MAN cannot sin. Your mortal body can still sin, but the inner man can sin no more:
1st John 3:9
Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
And this seed that remains in the saved person can never be corrupted:
1st Peter 1:23-25
23. being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
24. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
25. but the word of the Lord endureth for ever.
Does this mean we can sin all we want and never worry about a thing? No! Even though the new man will never be tainted with sin any more, our mortal bodies will reap the wages of sin, which is nothing but death. If you keep wallowing in sins - drinking, drugs, fornication, stealing, etc - you will eventually bring your mortal body to an early death. That's what the "sin unto death" is:
12. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
13. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
14. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
15. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
16. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
People I want to show you how dangerous it is to teach conditional security. Remember, the new man inside you is the body of Christ inside you and cannot be put back into death. When you say that someone can become unsaved again, you are saying that the body of Christ can be put into death TWICE. Now, pay close attention to everything that follows:
The Bible calls Jesus the ROCK in 1st Corinthians 10:4 and Jesus said that the WATER he gives cures thirst forever in John 4:14.
1st Corinthians 10:4
and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
Moses was told by God to strike the rock at Horeb ONCE and that water would pour from it for the Israelites to drink:
Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.
This rock was very much a type of Christ and the striking of the rock was a type of Jesus being crucified and dying. How many times did Jesus die on the cross for our sins? ONCE. We just studied Romans chapter 6 above, and how many times does it say that Jesus died to sin? ONCE:
For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
But how many times did Moses strike the rock? TWICE. This is why Moses was not permitted to bring Israel into the promised land:
11. And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.
12. And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.
God had wanted to use Moses' one time striking of the rock as a type of Jesus only having to die to sin once, but Moses ruined that picture. His wrongful actions became a symbol of suggesting that Jesus' one-time sacrifice on the cross was not enough, a belief taught by conditional security supporters, who believe that Jesus can't save you forever (also shared by Catholics, who think that Jesus gets re-sacrificed over and over at every Eucharist.) Conditional security supporters believe that Jesus gives you an initial push towards salvation and then you earn the rest with your own righteousness. Did God at any point tell Moses to strike HIMSELF? No! Likewise, our salvation will never be earned by OUR own righteousness and suffering.
Now, Moses would have never denied the one-time finished work of Jesus on the cross, of course, and he was definitely saved by the same (he appeared with him on the Mount of Configuration), but his actions were definitely used as a prophetic warning for preachers to come afterwards, and this is the important part: Moses was not allowed to bring Israel into the promised land for striking the rock twice, and I firmly believe that a preacher who's preaching conditional security will, at the very least, lose out on spiritual blessings and the ability to lead others on spiritual matters. Worse that that, they may even lose their inheritance in the millenial kingdom, even if they somehow led a few people to salvation, who went on to learn the truth about the ETERNAL security of their salvation. And I hate to think of what the WORST case scenario is for such a preacher. Conditional security is a completely different gospel than that of Jesus crucified, buried and resurrected ONCE, and the Bible that states that anyone who teaches a different gospel is accursed:
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
Let's move on to Hebrews 6:4-6.
I know this may sound obvious, but the book of Hebrews was written to the Hebrews. Mind you, I said "to" the Hebrews, not just "for" the Hebrews. The blessings in it are for everyone, but the target audience of it was the Hebrews and you'll see why in just a moment. The Hebrews were the Jews, of course. A lot of people think that Paul wrote the book, and I don't see any reason to not accept that, so, for simplicity's sake, I'm just going to assume that Paul wrote the book. Paul wrote the book of Hebrews at a time when the Jews were first starting to convert from the Mosaic Law to the gospel of grace. It was a very scary time for them. They were being asked to switch from a system of religion that they had adhered to (religiously, anyway) for fifteen hundred years, and they were being hounded and persecuted by the unbelieving Jews to stay under Judaism, to boot. Many of the Jews who had believed in Jesus Christ and had accepted the gospel of grace and had gotten saved were, out of fear, switching back to Judaism - at least, outwardly to appease the Pharisees and unbelieving Jews. Paul warns them not to do this and in Hebrews chapter 3 he likens their current situation to that of the Jews at Kardesh Barnea who had been delivered out of Egypt and had traveled to the very cusp of entering the promised land, but turned back out of fear of the giants roaming there, thus, not only missing out on the blessings of the promised land, but wandering around in the wilderness for 40 years until almost all of them died off. That's not to say that their wandering in the desert was a type of someone falling back into damnation (otherwise that would mean that Moses fell back into condemnation as well, seeing as how he wasn't allowed to enter the promised land either), but they missed out on the opportunity to mature into the promised land.
Likewise, in the book of Hebrews, Paul warns the Jews that were making a show of turning back to Judaism to appease their persecutors that they were on the cusp of getting the blessings of spiritual maturity under the gospel of grace, but those blessings would be halted if they fell away. Just as their fore-fathers had remained saved but wandering in the wilderness, they would remain babes in Christ, never being blessed by God to go on to greater works for Christ.
That Hebrews 6:4-6 is a warning of losing the blessings of spiritual maturity in Christ instead of a loss of salvation becomes obvious when one reads the verses that follow, which not to many seem to do. So, let's read Hebrews 6:4-6 and cover some things and then move on to the following verses:
4. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
5. and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
6. if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
Okay, we can see right away that these people have been partakers of the Holy Ghost, so they were definitely saved. But have they lost their salvation? No. We need to keep reading. Paul is about to tell them that good ground that yields vegetation (fruits i.e. works) will be further blessed by God, but if it starts yielding only thorns and briers it's close to being cursed and its end is to be burned. Sounds pretty serious, right? That was the intent. Paul was using Old Testament imagery to get their attention. But he then shows that he wasn't referring to a loss of salvation with words like "cursed" and "burned." He says - and I'm putting this into my own words - "Even though I'm speaking with such graphic language, I'm convinced that you're saved because God has not forgotten the works you did for him and the love you had for him and your care for the saints." Keeping that paraphrasing in mind, let's take a look at the verses that follow:
7. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:
[Good ground will continue to be blessed by God]
8. but that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.
[But if it stops producing good fruit and starts producing thorns and briars, it's closed to being burned]
9. But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.
[But even though Paul's using such strong words, it's just to get their attention because he knows they are saved.]
10. For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
[He knows they are saved because they've already yielded some good fruit that could only have come from the Holy Spirit.]
11. And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
12. that ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
["Hope until the end," he says. Hope of what, that they stay saved? No. He's already said that he knows they're saved because they've already done good works before and that's impossible without the holy Spirit working in someone. And remember what we pointed out above, that when someone is saved, the old spiritual man is dead, the new spiritual man rise up with Christ as part of the body of Christ, and the body of Christ can never fall back into death, nor can you be un-bought from being purchased. The assurance of hope that Paul mentioned in verse 11 was that they inherit the promises. What promises? That of spiritual growth under the new gospel.]
Now, today, we all fall into sin and backslide from time to time, but we can always wake back up and get to working for God again. Paul stresses that this was a very particular and very important transition point in time and it was imperative for the Jews to handle it well. Those who did were going to get blessings analogous to the blessings given to those Jews who actually entered into the promised land (a place of eternal rest), and those who didn't handle it well and fell away would not be moved again to come back to growth under the gospel of grace because they weren't going to be allowed to crucify Christ to themselves again and make a laughingstock of Jesus' work on the cross. I mean, think about it, everyone sees them switching to the gospel of grace, but then they abandon Jesus and go back to the Law, but then they come back to Jesus, but then they deny him again and go back to the Law, but then come back to Jesus... see what I mean? They weren't going to be allowed to do that. They would still be saved, but their chances of maturing as stewards of the gospel of grace were over and they would just be stuck on the milk as babes in Christ.
Someone might then try to draw a comparison between the language of "thorns and briars" with that seed mentioned in the seed parables of Luke 8 and Mark 4, and Matthew 13 that fell into the thorns and briars. This will be a good opportunity for me to knock two birds out with one stone, because a lot of people use the seed parables to support the notion that you can lose your salvation. So, let's go look at those parables and in the process of explaining them, I'll explain the one about the thorns and briars as well in back reference to Hebrews 6:4-6. Let's start with the one in Luke chapter 8:
First, Jesus gives the parable:
5. A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.
6. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.
7. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.
8. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold.
And then he explains the parable:
11. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
13. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
14. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
15. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
What the conditional security supporter will do first is point out that the stony ground people in verse 13 DID believe and then say that, therefore, they must have been saved. They'll try to prove this by drawing a comparison to the words "believe and be saved" in verse 12, then say that verse 13 is talking about the same kind of belief. It certainly is not. There are two kinds of belief present in verse 12 and 13; one that leads to salvation (verse 12) and one that does not (verse 13.) Notice that the devil does not show up in verse 13. Why not? Because he isn't worried about that kind of belief. Also, notice that no part of verse 13 says that the person was saved. It only says they believed. Big deal. Satan believes in Jesus too, but that doesn't mean he is saved. There is a big difference between believing in Jesus AS your savior, and just merely believing that Jesus IS the savior.
James referenced this shallow form of belief that even the devils have, and how it doesn't save someone:
Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
He's saying that just believing that Jesus is real and believing that he is the savior isn't going to save you any more than it saves the devil. The belief that saves you involves godly sorrow toward God for your sins, and leads to realizing you can't save yourself and that you need Christ to redeem you with his shed blood on the cross. This type of belief will never be turned away from because it has deep roots, unlike the shallow belief that the stony ground had. These are those people that hear about heaven and decide that, yeah, it'd be great to go to heaven, and get excited about it, but as soon as they're faced with some sort of persecution or hardship that they'd have to endure for their faith, they realize that they never really wanted it that much after all, and fall away.
How can we be sure that this wasn't a belief to salvation, though? Let's look at the seed on the stony ground in one of the other gospels:
And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: 6 but when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
Notice that it sprang up immediately. There was no growth at all. Look at what Paul said about how witnessing to the unsaved works:
1st Corinthians 3:6-7
6. I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
7. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
God has to give the increase to the seed:
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
And who does God use to speak to us about Jesus? The holy Spirit:
16. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17. even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
13. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
14. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
So, only if God has given the increase and growth to the seed by way of the holy Spirit will it grow to be saved. That's what Paul meant in Hebrews 6:4-6 when he said that those people had been partakers of the holy Spirit. That's how he knew they were saved.
Let's move on to the seed that thrown in the thorns. Let's re-write the verse here so you don't have to scroll back up:
14. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
The rich man coming to Jesus and asking what he could do to go to heaven, and turning away as soon as Jesus told him to go give away all of his possessions, is a good picture of this type of belief (Matthew 19:16-24, Mark 10:17-25, Luke 18:25.) The thing to notice though, is that it didn't produce any fruit. Not any GOOD fruit, any way. The holy Spirit was not behind any of it. Someone might argue that they DID produce fruit, but just not to perfection, therefore they did produce fruit and were saved. But we can see that this isn't the case by once again looking at this parable in another gospel:
And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit.
18. And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
19. and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
What we can draw from this is that the fruit that did not go onto perfection was never fruit from the holy Spirit. It counted as "no fruit." They do "works" but none of them are from the holy Spirit. This is a picture of someone thinking that their volunteer work for the church and their community and their big donations here and there are going to save them and serve as bribes so they don't ever have to commit fully to Christ. They think works lead to salvation, instead of thinking that salvation leads to works. When they get that perfect test from God that REALLY sifts their hearts, they reveal that they love their lifestyles more than God, and that they had actually been avoiding salvation that leads to good fruits and works. They had worldly sorrow, not godly sorrow:
2nd Corinthians 7:10
For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
The people of the thorny ground in the seed parables were never saved. The Jews referenced in Hebrews 6:4-6 WERE saved, even though Paul made reference to the picture of thorns and briars being cursed and burned. That's why he said he knew they were saved "though we speak thus." Let's write it again out here so you don't have to scroll back up:
8. but that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.
9. But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.
Folks, keep in mind that a lot of people start out looking and acting like Christians, but when they right test comes along, they reveal that they never WERE Christians:
1st John 2:19
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
Since I brought up James and works, this would be a good place to address that issue. A lot of people say there is a conflict and even contradiction between what Paul said in James said in James 2:14-25. They argue that Paul said that salvation comes not by works and that James said salvation DOES come by works:
8. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9. Not of works, lest any man should boast.
1. What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
2. For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
3. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
4. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
14. What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
15. If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16. and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17. Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21. Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22. Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23. And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
24. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
25. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
26. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Sounds like we have a problem here, right? No, we don't. There's no conflict here at all. I don't see why this remains such a hot topic of discussion among Christians. Paul is saying that works do not lead to salvation, and James is saying that true salvation will produce good works. To simplify that: Your works before salvation are worthless; your works AFTER salvation are good fruit because they are being directed by the holy Spirit. Ironically, the false salvation that comes from trusting in your works for salvation is exactly one of the things James is warning us about here. Remember the thorny ground in the seed parables we just covered. They produce fruit but none of it is any good. None of it comes from having actually been saved. Remember the two types of belief: one of godly sorrow that leads to salvation and one of worldly sorrow that leads to death. James is warning us to make sure that we have the belief that leads to salvation that then leads to GOOD works. And by good works, I mean works that the holy Spirit directs, not just making big donations, or volunteering in the kitchen, or cutting the church grass, etc. He covers the other kinds of bad ground too: the stony ground, the one that believes for a bit, but reveals that they never believed to salvation when the fall away with the first bit of persecution. The people from this ground do not produce ANY fruit.
One might argue that Paul said plainly that "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" and claim that that proves that there need not be any works after salvation. But, again, that's not the kind of works Paul is talking about. He is talking the works that come BEFORE salvation that someone might mistakenly think are required for salvation. Again, to keep it simple folks, remember that Paul was talking about works BEFORE salvation (worthless and unneeded) and James was talking about works AFTER salvation (fruits of salvation).
Let me stress again: your works before salvation are not going to earn you salvation. It is a free gift because you can't earn it. But after you ask for it and receive it, you will start producing good works because you are now Jesus' workmanship (Ephesians 2:10) and the holy Spirit is going to be working in you. The good ground produced fruit, some a hundred, some sixty, some thirty, like the seed parables said. Notice the different amounts. Not everyone is going to do the same amount. But there is going to be SOME good work from someone who is actually saved, even if it's just a ministry of prayer, which Epaphras, who had been confined to prison and was unable to preach, had:
Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
James is simply saying that if you do not ever feel any compulsion to do ANY work for God, you need to examine yourself and make sure you actually believed to salvation. It could be that the first bit of persecution or temptation that comes along is going to reveal that you never really believed to salvation.
If you DID have to "stay" saved with works after salvation, how much do you have to do? Where, in the Bible, does it give the amount? If you fall below the line, do you become unsaved? Does the body of Christ within you go back into death? Does the rock get struck twice? Does Jesus LOSE you, like he clearly said he wouldn't? See what I mean?
Let's move on...
There are verses that conditional security supporters use to suggest a present tense of salvation, meaning that it is not secured by some past moment of belief. For example, they will use the following verses and point out the word "believeth" is only in the present tense:
1st John 5:5
Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
They say, "See? Believeth is only in the present tense, so, even if you're saved, you'll lose your salvation if you ever stop believing."
They have a problem in that there are several verses that DO point backwards to a particular point in which one act of belief saved us forever. For example:
in whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
What they will try to do when you point out such verses to them is tack their own gospel at the end of those verses as a parenthetical catch-all, turning something like Ephesians 1:13 into this:
in whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, (...unless you stop believing)
Don't let them do this. If you believed to salvation, you will never turn away from that belief. Plus, I've noticed that if you ever ask one of these conditional security folks if THEY will ever stop believing in Jesus in the future, they emphatically declare that they would not. What an arrogant double standard.
Let's move to Hebrews 10:26-31. Much like Hebrews 6:4-6, this one causes a lot of problems for Christians until the context and timing of it are understood. Just as with the rest of the book of Hebrews, this passage was written to - you guessed it - the Hebrews. And, again, it was being written to them during a very scary time of transition from the law to the gospel of grace. Like Hebrews 6:4-6, Hebrews 10:26-31 is a warning to Hebrews that have been saved under the gospel of grace, but are thinking of going back under the law. Paul is warning them that there is no more sacrifice for sins under the law. That system is gone. This means that they'll be going back under the law thinking that those old animal sacrifices will cover them again, but they won't. Not only that, but they'll be committing a grievous sin by turning their back on Christ's work on the cross and, in the case of some of them, even despising it. Paul is warning them that God will deal with them furiously and then he tells them why: Because he judges HIS PEOPLE:
26. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
27. but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
28. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
29. of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
30. For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
31. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Notice that verse 29 says these people have been sanctified by Jesus' work on the cross. Sanctification is different from salvation, but it comes only AFTER salvation. These people are saved. That's why verse 30 warns that God will judge his people. Also, if we look just a few verses before this passage, we find something else that confirms that these people were saved and were never going to lose that salvation:
For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
Remember, these people were being given the gospel in a very particular and important point in time and were expected to handle it well. If one of them dropped the ball, they were going to be punished severely, but they wouldn't lose their salvation.
Moving on, we come to the big guns, the two verses that conditional security supporters pull out last: Revelation 22:19 and Revelation 3:5. I know Revelation 3:5 comes first in the Bible, but since Revelation 22:19 seems to get hauled out the most, let's look at that one first
And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
The claim that conditionals security supporters make is, if a person - even if they are saved - takes away from the book of Revelation they're going to be blotted out of the book of life and put back on their way to damnation. But this is so wrong. The quick and simple answer is that Revelation 22:19 only applies to people alive during the 70th week. For proof of this, look at the context for the people who ADD to the book of Revelation:
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
Notice that those who ADD to the book of Revelation have to suffer the plagues that are mentioned in the book of Revelation. But when do those plagues happen? During the 70th week, of course. Therefore, the condition can only apply to people who are here for the 70th week. Think about this: what book is going to be of utmost importance and guidance during the 70th week? Why, the book of Revelation, of course. Twisting and tampering with its words could cause all kinds of stumbling blocks for the people trying to endure the harshness of the 70th week and the very strong temptation to take the mark of the beast. Deception is going to be horribly strong during the 70th week and the only sure-footing people will have are the pure, inspired words of the King James Bible. Remember, the dispensation of salvation changes once the 70th week begins. It is no longer being saved by grace through faith, but by faith and works, which is much harder. Jesus even gives warning that in the 70th week, one can fall back into perdition right up to the very end, even as they are running to safety. "Remember Lot's wife!" he says in Luke 17:32, when he's describing the second day of Christ.
People, we must remember that the new man in us (Christ Jesus) can no longer sin, as we have covered thoroughly above. We can sin with our mortal bodies, but no sin is ever attributed again to the new man. It is an untouchable foundation that can not be put back into the dominion of death. Therefore, when you combine the immovability of the new man not being able to be put back into death, with the strength of Revelation 22:19 saying that tampering with the book of Revelation will get you blotted out of the book of life, we have to conclude that this warning can only apply to a time when salvation is not earned and retained until the very end, which is the 70th week.
Besides, Paul made it clear that true Christians would never willingly tamper with the Bible:
2nd Corinthians 2:17
For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.
Now, let's take a look at Revelation 3:5
He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Conditional security supporters say that since this verse gives a condition (overcoming) for not being blotted out of the book of life, that to fail that condition (not overcoming) means that you WILL be blotted out of the book of life. They then say that since you don't get into the book of life unless you are saved, that the word "overcometh" does not refer to being saved, but resisting your sinful nature and doing lots of works or some such thing. This is where they are wrong. The Bible shows us clealy what "overcome" means:
1st John 5:4-5
4. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
5. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
So, having read that we now know that Revelation 3:5 is saying that if you don't get saved, you are going to be blotted out of the book of life.
But wait a second, you might be saying. If you don't get saved, how can you be blotted out of the book of life? Don't you have to be saved get INTO the book of life? The answer is no. A lot of people today are under the impression that you get written into the book of life when you get saved, but you will not find even one verse in the Bible that supports that. The fact is, everyone (except a certain group of people) were all written into the book of life at the beginning of the world. Check it out:
The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
Look closely at what that verse is saying. During the 70th week there will be a group of people that were not written in the book of life at the foundation of the world and they will wonder after the beast. Everyone else WAS written into the book of life when the world was created and the way you get blotted out is to die without getting saved (overcoming). If you think about it, it makes more sense that we were written into the book of life when the world was created than the notion that we are only written in when we get saved. How do little children and babies that die before they get saved get written into the book of life? And besides, as I said, there isn't even one verse in the Bible that indicates that we only get written in when we get saved.
By the way, who are these mysterious people that weren't written into the book of life with the rest of us at the creation of the world? I truly believe these are the people mentioned in Jude who were ordained to condemnation from old, reserved for outer darkness. They are wandering stars, which means they are devils that look like humans. They were not written into the book of life because they are not made in the image of God. They will take the mark of the beast.
Jude verse 4
For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jude verses 10-13
10. But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.
11. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.
12. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;
13. raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.
What a conditional security supporter will do next is ignore all of the above and harp endlessly on the technicality of the word "repentance." They'll bring up these verses:
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, REPENT: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: REPENT ye, and believe the gospel.
And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. And they went out, and preached that men should REPENT.
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye REPENT, ye shall all likewise perish.
Then Peter said unto them, REPENT, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
REPENT ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to REPENT:
After they show you these verses, the conditional security supporter will probably give you a dictionary definition of repentance which states that repentance means "change," then tell you that repentance is necessary for salvation, then tell you that the change you need to make is to stop sinning.
They are correct when claiming that repentance is required for salvation and they are correct in claiming that repentance means to change. However, they are wrong in claiming that repentance means to stop sinning. First, let me show you from scripture that it is impossible to stop sinning and then let me show what 'repentance' actually means in those verses above.
King David said his sin was ever BEFORE him:
For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
In other words, no matter how good he tried to be, new sin was constantly waiting on him. It's also why the Apostle Paul said in (Romans 7:18-19) that his proneness to the fleshly nature constantly lead him to do the things he knew not to do and to NOT do the the things he knew he should do:
18. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
19. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
And then he says something PROFOUND in verse 24:
O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this DEATH?
These fallen, carnal bodies of ours are incarnations of sin and death. If someone never left their bed again, they could not keep themselves free of sin. It would be like a scarecrow trying to stay free of straw. We are practically MADE of sin. That's why God told Adam in (Genesis 3:19) that from then on man's fleshly body would be cursed. It's why King David said the human body is literally conceived in sin:
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
And John had this to say to anyone who thinks they are somehow free of sin:
1st John 1:8
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
It gets worse. Any amount of sin AT ALL sullies us as though we were COVERED with sin. This is why Paul said in (1st Corinthians 5:6, Galatians 5:9) that even a little leaven (sin) ruins the whole lump of dough.
1st Corinthians 5:6
Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
James put it more bluntly:
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in ONE POINT, he is guilty of all.
I think we've driven the point home: You will never repent of your sin enough to be free of it, and if you have ANY of it on you, it's the same as being covered by it. Thus, 'repentance' does NOT mean committing no more sins. That's impossible. So, what do those verses mean by 'repentance' then? Remember, repentance means to CHANGE, and the change you have to make is to stop running from God and embrace his conviction of your sin and his chastisement if you try to remain in it. Once you get saved the Holy Spirit seals you, lives inside of you and will convict you dearly of your sin from that point on. In fact, the litmus test of having been truly saved is that you are never comfortable with your sin, afterwards. You will be in one of two states at all times: Getting out of your sins or being convicted to get out of your sins. Not only that, but you will be subject to chastisement for your sins if you try to remain in them, because God punishes those that he loves when they stray (Hebrews 12:6). And if you STILL try to remain in your sins after that, you'll eventually commit the sin unto death and be taken home early (1st John 5:16). And see, everyone's spirit KNOWS this. Their spirit knows they will be subject to conviction and chastisement, and that's why the simple act of asking Jesus to be someone's savior is such a BIG PROBLEM with the world today. It's why they'd rather follow Buddhism, Wicca, and other self-employed religions that have a form of godliness, but deny the true God, just like 2nd Timothy 3:5 says would happen a lot in the last days. Thus, the repentance those verses above are referring to is to quit running from God's conviction and chastisement and get SAVED.
Anyway, that will just about do it. Don't fall for the lie of conditional security folks, and mark those "preachers" that teach such nonsense. They are deceivers who are preaching a different Jesus:
2nd Corinthians 11:3-4
3. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
4. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.