It’s wonderful to be together again as we look into the Word of God.  The title for our lesson is: “Shall Have Eternal Life.”  And our primary text is taken from the gospel of John chapter 6 verses 37 through 40.  Please listen to the Word of God.

     “All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” This is the Word of God.  May he add his blessing to the public reading of his Word.

     Young children have a tendency to make sweeping statements.  For example, my number 2 son was watching a scary show on television, so I asked him if it caused him to be afraid. He quickly responded, “Dad, you know all TV is fake, except of course, the Discovery Channel.” Some sweeping statements are silly and unimportant.  However, other sweeping statements are very serious and important to understand correctly.

     For example, for centuries the debate has continued in Christendom regarding eternal life, which according to the Bible only God can grant.  One sweeping statement by many Christians is: “Once saved it is impossible to lose one’s salvation.”

     So, is eternal security, in Christ Jesus unconditional or conditional?  Is the perseverance of the saints absolutely guaranteed or is it not?  The more popular saying is “Once saved, always saved;” or do born-again believers have a genuine choice to fall away from the living God?  Is “once in grace, always in grace,” true?

     As Bible-believing Christians all our doctrines, all our beliefs, need to come from the Holy Bible.  The problem arises with many beliefs having different interpretations apparently being possible.  There are some general basics regarding our handling of the Word of God, handling it rightly regardless of the issue or controversy.

  • Never should we add nor subtract from the Word of God. “All scripture is God-breathed (or inspired of God) according to Second Timothy chapter 3 verse 16A.
  • As Christians we should not fall into a sectarian or denominational position in order to prop-up some predetermined belief. Our attitude should always be not to come to the scriptures with our mind already made-up.  But instead allow the scriptures, by the Holy Spirit, to guide us into truth.
  • Being just Christians, we should have absolutely no axes to grind to sharpen our own preconceived opinions.
  • Many well-meaning Christians always take the viewpoint that one must, for example, harmonize two apparently conflicting Bible positions then stick with a pro or con stance. The wiser approach is to remain open-minded until one well understands the harmony, in the meantime to take both sides as written in scripture because both sides may have truth.  Doctrine is not always necessarily an either/or proposition, but sometimes its this and thus.  Meaning that our efforts to explain away one side in favor of another could amount to a wrong conclusion.  Not all scripture is purely black or white.  As Christians our priority is not what we can ‘make to fit’ but instead to believe the sum total of all scripture.

     This seems to be the case with the question of eternal life and its eternal security from mankind’s perspective.  We need not concern ourselves with God’s side of this thorny issue.  Simply because God will do what he will do.  It’s our side, our position as accountable human beings that we must concern ourselves with seriously.

     So, what say the scriptures?  Consider a few clear texts regarding eternal life.  The words of Jesus Christ: John chapter 6 verses 39 through 40 “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me but raise them up at the last day.  For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

     Again, the words of Christ in: John chapter 10 verses 27 through 29 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”

     Also, consider the inspired words of the apostle Paul regarding God’s beloved: Romans chapter 8 verses 38 through 39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels not demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

     These are a few sample passages which emphasize eternal security for all those in Christ Jesus.  In a saving relationship in Christ Jesus.  These clear and precious promises the Lord has made to his own, ‘to keep to the end’; ‘to not separate us from his love’, and they are all dear to us.  As Bible-believing Christians we should not detract one iota from any of these passages.  They are all God breathed, inspired of God.

     It is a clearly revealed truth of God that genuine believers, in Christ in a saving relationship in Jesus Christ, are promised eternal life and therefore eternal security, in Christ.  Moreover, Christians can know and have assurance of this reality now!  Really?

     First John chapter 5 verses 11 through 13 “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.  I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”  Therefore, eternal life is in Christ Jesus. However, there are also many Bible passages that emphasize an individual believer’s responsibility and accountability, before God, with solemn warnings, serious warnings, and admonitions regarding eternal life.

     These truths are also part of God’s Word revealed and recorded for our attention and obedience.  We should also never dismiss or attempt to explain away these passages.  They are part of God’s Word for a reason, to balance our understanding of eternal life for the genuine believer.

     Consider the words of Jesus in: John chapter 5 verse 24 “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my words and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”

Note the words “hears” and “believes”.  These terms do not mean ‘hear’ or ‘believe’ once or for a season.  But hears and believes meaning as ongoing.  Literally in the original Greek grammar this could be translated “whoever hearing my words and believing him who sent me has eternal life.”  The admonition is therefore the necessity for the Christian to continue hearing and believing to receive eternal life.

     The inspired words of the apostle Paul in: First Timothy chapter 4 and verse 1 says “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” Here we have a solemn warning directed to Timothy to pass on to Christians that evidently abandonment of the faith, the faith is possible.  That is to commit apostacy, or ‘fall away’ from the faith.  Those that strive to counter this warning point out it here says “some” as in just professing Christians, or imposters.

     But that’s not what the expanded text reveals to be fair and careful.  Notice in: First Timothy chapter 4 verse 6 which says, “If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith, and of the good teaching that you have followed.”  So, this serious warning was to be given to the “brothers”, that is to the brothers in the faith of Timothy and Paul.

     Moreover, note in First Timothy chapter 4 verse 1 it’s the “Spirit”, Holy Spirit of God, who says this about abandoning the faith.  The Spirit of God, unlike men, knows hearts and so never, ever makes mistakes as to merely professing Christians versus genuine Christians.  Also consider a most serious and solemn warning in the book of Hebrews chapter 6 verses 4 through 6, these words written by the Hebrew writer are as follows “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.” 

     This passage that we read, we read again with emphasis of the description of a very believer that says: “have once been enlightened, tasted the heavenly gift, shared in the Holy Spirit,” etc.  Surely these are genuine Christians.  Verse 6 “if they fall away” is evidently possible for true, born-again, baptized believers.

So, what’s the final analysis of all this.

  • a) We know and believe all scripture is God-breathed. That is not debatable for the Bible believing Christian.
  • b) Therefore, since God cannot contradict himself – there are no contradictions in scripture.
  • c) So, of course, regarding eternal life and eternal security both of these type passages are true: God’s promises and God’s warnings, are all both true.
  • d) These are two sides of the same truth, one side emphasizing God’s sovereignty by his promises. The other side emphasizing mankind’s responsibility by his warnings.  Both should be given equal weight as truth to be accepted.

We should not violate scripture but accept it as it is given, as it is written.  In scripture we have this balance affirmed: Jude verse 24 “To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault.”  Is God’s side.  However, it is also true in Jude verse 21 it says, “Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.”  That’s mankind’s side.  All in scripture is true and good.  We greatly welcome all God’s promises and we also greatly heed all God’s warnings.

     All these truths are combined on the issue of eternal life, which should be of great interest to all believers.  We can accept from scripture this summed-up as: all genuine believers will have eternal life with God and eternal security in him with our personal perseverance in Christ Jesus as our responsible and accountable choice.  It all boils down to: ‘Trust and obey for there is no other way.’

     Here is a valid sweeping statement of scripture: “God has given us eternal life and this life is in his Son.”  “us” equals born-again faithful Christians.  Are you dear listener in Christ Jesus, are you persevering in him?

This is only possible by God’s grace through obedient, persevering faith in Christ Jesus and believing and accepting his work on the cross on our behalf.


                                  David Johnson is minister of Sellersburg Church of Christ in Sellersburg, IN.