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THE SECURITY OF THE SAINTS
this article there are three expressions which we shall use
interchangeably: The Security of the Saints, the Preservation of the
Saints, and the Perseverance of the Saints. While these are not identical
statements, they do affirm the same thing of saved people, namely, their
eternal safety. The preserving power of God accounts for the perseverance
of the saint in faith and holiness: "For the Lord loveth judgment,
and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever" (#Ps
are two doctrines which are mutually exclusive, antagonistic, and
destructive. There is no compromise possible between them. They neither
give nor ask quarter. One is true, the other is false. One is the doctrine
popularly called apostasy, which means that a saved person, a saint, one
born of God, made a partaker of the Divine nature, justified by faith in
the Lord Jesus Christ, may through sin forfeit his saintship, become a
child of the devil, and be finally and forever lost. The other is known as
the perseverance of the saints, which means that one born of God, made a
saint by the effectual call of the Holy Spirit, justified by faith in the
Lord Jesus Christ, may do that which is wrong, grieve the Holy Spirit,
lose the joy of salvation, and bring upon himself the corrective
chastisements of the Lord; nevertheless shall persevere in faith and shall
not be lost in the end.
is based upon salvation by works in whole or in part; security is based
upon salvation by the grace of God. The one makes salvation a human
project; the other makes salvation a Divine undertaking. If salvation is
of man, failure is not only possible but certain; if salvation is of the
Lord, it must be a success.
of the doctrines is established by Scripture, the other is denied by
Scripture. So all arguments pro and con must be based upon Scripture.
Unaided human reason and human experience and observation have no place in
the discussion. "What saith the Scripture?" must be our guiding
THE DOCTRINE IS
doctrine we subscribe to is rarely, if ever, correctly stated by those who
reject and oppose it. It is dressed up in a false and ugly garb, then
ridiculed and held up to scorn. The opponents build up a man of straw and
then proceed to tear it to pieces. They never deal with the doctrine as it
is believed and preached by its friends.
1. It is no
part of the doctrine that all church members are secure and
certain to go to heaven.
All church members ought
to be saints, but alas, many of them are not. To those who have no other
ground for thinking they are saved than church membership, this doctrine
offers no hope or ground of rejoicing. Security is predicated of saints,
born again people, who are justified by faith in Christ. These are
preserved by God and persevere in their attachment to Christ as Lord and
Saviour. Persevering faith in Christ is the grand mark which distinguishes
saints from superficial professors.
are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence
steadfast unto the end" (#Heb 3:14). One who
has been made a partaker of Christ by faith will persevere in faith until
the end of his days.
said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him; If ye continue in my word,
then are ye my disciples indeed" (#Joh
8:31). There is a faith that is temporal, where the root of the matter
is not in the professor, where there has really been no experience of
grace. This is the faith of the stony ground hearer. But real disciples
have a Divinely given faith and continue in the word of Christ.
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" (#1Jo
2:19). These were superficial professors, not real professors of the
grace of God, and their departure from the fellowship of the saints made
manifest their true character. John plainly says that if they had been
real saints, they would have continued in the fellowship of the saints.
This verse unmistakably supports our doctrine. Judas furnishes an apt
illustration of the apostasy of false professors.
Judas was never a real believer, although associated with real
believers: "Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed
not who should betray him" (#Joh
2. It is no
part of the doctrine that all who are active in religious
work shall be saved forever.
religious workers are not saved now. They are not saints. They have not
been born again. They have not partaken of the Divine nature. The Saviour
says, "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not
prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy
name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never
knew you: depart from me ye that work iniquity" (#Mt 7:22,23). The
flagellants were a religious sect in Italy in the 13th century. They were
active as long as they could parade in the streets and publicly scourge
themselves. But when their public processions were prohibited the sect
died out. They could not survive in obscurity. In the time of Christ there
were many who did things to be seen of men for human praise. And there is
every reason to believe that the race of those who love the sound of human
praise has not perished from the earth. All saints should show their faith
by their works, but their works should be works of love to Christ, and not
works of love for human acclaim. May this truth probe the hearts of both
writer and reader.
It is no part of the doctrine that saints may not fall.
have fallen and been sorely bruised by the fall. But every fall does not
mean a broken neck, either physically or spiritually. Many have fallen and
lived to tell the story. And so in religious life, saints have fallen into
sin, and who among us dares to deny that he has never fallen into sin?
Where is the sinless person? The sinner was not saved by becoming
sinless, and he is not kept saved by living a sinless life. The sinner was
saved by trusting Christ as Saviour, and he is kept saved by the power of
God through faith. He continues as he began; a poor helpless sinner
trusting a mighty Saviour. The born-again person can never be lost,
because he will never renounce his faith in Christ and go about looking
for another Saviour or give up in despair. Hearken to the Scriptures:
"Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy; when I fall, I shall arise;
when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me" (#Mic
7:8). "A just man
falleth seven times, and riseth up again" (#Pr 24:16).
"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he
delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down:
for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand" (#Ps
THAT THE DOCTRINE IS TRUE
from Scripture are so abundant that one hardly knows where and how to
begin in arranging them. A saint is one who has been elected by God the
Father, redeemed by God the Son, and regenerated by God the Holy Spirit.
And so the first reason we shall give for the security of the saint is as
1. All the
persons of the Godhead are for him: "If God be for us who can be
against us?" (#Ro
1a) The Father is for us in election: "Who shall lay anything to the
charge of God's elect?, "(#
He is for us in Predestination: "For whom he did foreknow, he also
did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son" (#Ro
8:29). He is for us in
the effectual call. "Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also
called" (#Ro 8:30).
"But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and
called me by his grace" (#Ga
1:15). He is for us in justification: "It is God that justifieth"
He is for us in the gift of His Son: "He that spared not his
own Son, but delivered him up for us all..." (#Ro 8:32).
He is for us in His purpose to glorify us: "and whom he
justified them he also glorified" (#Ro
1b) The Son
is for us In redemption "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of
the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one
that hangeth on a tree:" (#Ga
3:13); in Intercession
"Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that
is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh
intercession for us" (#Ro
8:34); "I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them
which thou hast given me; for they are thine" (#Joh 17:9);
"Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come
unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them"
7:25); in His second coming "And if I go and prepare a place for
you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am,
there ye may be also" (#Joh
14:3); "So Christ
was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him
unto salvation" (#Heb
9:28); "For this we
say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain
unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with
the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in
Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be
caught up together with them in the clouds,
in the air:
and so shall
be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort
words" (#1Th 4:15-18).
Holy Spirit is for us: In regeneration "Among whom also we all had
our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the
desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of
wrath, even as others" (#Eph
2:3); in intercession "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our
infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the
Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be
uttered" (#Ro 8:26),
as a seal "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are
sealed unto the day of redemption" (#Eph
4:30); in our resurrection "But if the Spirit of him that raised
up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the
dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in
8:11). Or to go over the same ground---the birth
the saint safe.
"Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth
in him: and he
because he is
born of God" (#1Jo
3:9); "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and
this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith...We know
that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God
keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not" (#1Jo
5:4,18); "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of
incorruptible, by the word of
God, which liveth and abideth for ever" (#1Pe 1:23); the
indwelling of the Spirit makes him secure: "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?" (#1Co
6:19); "And I will
pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may
abide with you for ever; "(#
Joh 14:16); and the
sealing of the Spirit makes him secure. A seal is a mark of ownership; it
is to secure what is sealed; and it is a guarantee of safe delivery.
Haldeman describes a beautiful vase he once saw. It was almost covered
with outer coverings, and had a great seal upon it, and an inscription
which stated that it had been purchased by an Oriental Prince, and was to
be delivered to him in his palace in his capital city. Now the saint bears
a seal, a mark, a stamp, and an inscription which declares that he has
been purchased by Jesus Christ. This seal of the Holy Spirit marks us as
belonging to Christ as His purchased possession, guarantees our safety,
and also that we shall be delivered safely to His capital city in heaven.
We are still surrounded with the outer covering of sinful flesh,
but in that great day the covering will be taken off and we shall shine as
the sun in the kingdom of our Father.
saint is secure because all the attributes of God are for him The will of
God is for him: "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" (#Joh
6:39). The power of God
is for him: Christ said, "My Father... is greater than all and no man
is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand" (#Joh
10:29). "Who are
kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed
in the last time" (#1Pe
1:5); "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" (#2Ti
1:12). The love of God is for the saint. There is nothing able to
separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus "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" (#Ro
8:38,39); "For God
so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever
believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (#Joh
3:16). God's mercy is for
the saint. God is rich in mercy: "But God, who is rich in mercy, for
his great love wherewith he loved us" (#Eph 2.4). It was
mercy that made us alive when we were dead, and mercy will not destroy
that which he saves. The holiness of God is for the saint "Once have
I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall
endure forever, and his throne as the sun before me" (#Ps 89:35,36).
God's word and His oath are given to the one who has fled to Christ
for refuge, that he may have strong consolation: "For men verily
swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of
all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of
promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:
That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to
lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay
hold upon the hope set before us:" (#Heb
God's wisdom is for the saint. Wisdom found a ransom: "Then he
is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I
have found a ransom" (#Job
33:24). Christ is made
unto us wisdom. "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is
made unto us wisdom, and
sanctification, and redemption:" (#1Co
1:30). Divine wisdom took into account all contingencies in the work of
salvation. God's justice is for the saint.
Justice put Christ to death for the believer's sins, and justice
will not punish two persons for the same offence. If one died as a
substitute for all, then it follows all died: "For the love of Christ
constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then
were all dead" (#2Co
5:14). The sin Christ died to was our sin imputed to Him; therefore,
His death to sin was our death to sin, and this led Paul to say,
"Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but
alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (#Ro 6:11).
The saint is secure because he is not under the moral law as the way of
life. One under law would have to keep the law perfectly or be condemned.
If he only broke the law one time in one point, he would be a
lawbreaker, and condemned. The only possible way of escaping condemnation
and judgment is to get out from under the law. And the only way to get out
from under the law is to trust Christ, Who is the end of the law for every
believer. "For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the
law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them" (#Ro
10:5). One cannot get out from under the law by obeying it. Obedience,
if possible, would prevent condemnation, but it would not remove from
under the law. And of course, one cannot get out from under law by
breaking it; he only gets in the toils of it and is punished by it. Nor
can one get out from under law by mourning. Mourning does not satisfy law.
Neither can the law be set aside; it must be satisfied. The only way to
get out from under the moral law of God is through faith in Christ Who met
its penalty and satisfied its claims against the sinner by His death on
The believer is declared to be dead to the law. "Know ye not,
brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath
dominion over a man as long as he liveth?
For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her
husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed
from the law of her husband. So
then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she
shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free
from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to
another man. Wherefore, my
brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that
ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead,
that we should bring forth fruit unto God"
(#Ro 7:1-4). Paul reminds us that the law has dominion over a man as long as
he liveth. To be saved he must die to the law. He illustrates the thought
by the law of marriage. The
law binds the wife to her husband as long as he lives. When he dies
physically, she dies to the law that bound her to that particular man.
She still lives as a woman, but not as a wife. So the believer,
says Paul, is dead to the law by the body of Christ. The death of Christ
was the believer's death to the moral law of God, and being dead to the
law he is no longer under it as the way of life. Christ said, "I am
the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by
me" (#Joh 14:6).
believer is "free from the law of sin and death" (#Ro
8:2). There is no law by which the one who trusts in Christ can be
condemned. God would have to resort to mob violence in sending a saint to
saint is eternally safe from the danger of hell because he is dead to sin;
"Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but
alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (#Ro 6:11).
This is death in the judicial sense and is on the ground of the
substitutionary death of Christ. The believer is not yet dead to sin
subjectively, but only objectively. He is not yet dead to sin as an
experience, for he is more sensitive to sin as a saint than when he was a
lost sinner. He is dead to the guilt and penalty of sin because Christ
bore the penalty in His own body on the tree.
I was dead in sin,
hope within me died;
now I'm dead to sin,
height I cannot reach!
depth I cannot sound;
love, O boundless love,
my Redeemer found!
cold ungrateful heart,
can from Jesus turn,
living fires of love
on His altar burn.
live--and yet not I,
Christ that lives in me,
from the law of sin
death hath made me free."