John 19:26–30 (ESV) —26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. 28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
It is finished. Jesus finished the work he came to do. He finished fulfilling every prophecy given about the life and death of the Messiah. He finished once for all the payment for our sins.
He forgave us. We need to trust Jesus to receive the blessing of forgiveness and be reconciled to God. In Christian circles it is commonly called, “being saved.”
We are saved from sin, death and hell. We are reconciled to God through the death of Christ on the cross. We are given eternal life.
The big question comes, “Can we lose our salvation?” Is there anything that we can do that will cause us to fall out of favor with God?
Within the Christian community, people fall into one of three camps.
First, there are those who believe that a person who trusts Jesus is saved until they sin.
Some will say that every time they sin the need to go, ask forgiveness, and be saved again. If they died without asking forgiveness, they wouldn’t go to heaven.
Others within this camp say that it takes a horrible sin to lose one’s salvation. A person who trusts Jesus and murders someone or commits suicide will lose his or her salvation. If they beat people up, torture or rape someone or molest a child, they will lose their salvation. According to this group, people don’t lose their salvation for smaller sins like anger, gluttony or gossip. But they will for bigger sins.
The second camp doesn’t accept this. They will tell you that your sins are all forgiven. The only way you can lose your salvation is if you lose your faith. If you believed in Jesus and then lost that faith, you would lose your salvation. They say that salvation is based on faith in Jesus. Once that faith is gone, the salvation is gone as well.
The third camp believes in a doctrine called eternal security. The slogan that they use is, “Once saved, always saved.” If a person believes in Jesus then they will never lose their salvation.
Some in this third camp will say, “I knew someone who sincerely trusted Jesus at a youth rally when they were twelve years old. They will say today that they don’t believe in Jesus. They are living in immorality, never crack a Bible or enter a church, swear worse than a sailor, and are mean to their dog. They accepted Christ at a young age and no one can every pluck them out of the hand of the Father. They are eternally secure, no matter how they live or what they believe today.
This morning I want to preach on the doctrine of eternal security. God has done some wonderful things for us. When we know what Jesus did for us, we often can find no adequate response other than to say, “Thank you.”
One of these blessing is that when we are saved, born again, we are saved for eternity.
I believe in eternal security for several reasons.
The first is that when we trust Jesus he gives us eternal life. Eternal life doesn’t have an end date on it.
Second, John 10:27–29 (ESV) —27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
If the Father is greater than all, then no one is strong enough to take someone out of the Father’s hand.
Our sin cannot do it. Jesus said, “It is finished.” What is finished is finished. One sacrifice for all sin finished the work.
Our faith cannot take us out of the Father’s hand… that is, if we have genuine faith.
Peter writes on this and gives us a fuller picture of this teaching.
1 Peter 1:3–7 (ESV) —3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
I want to first draw four truths out of this passage.
The inheritance is kept in heaven.
1 Peter 1:3–7 (ESV) —3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,
We are guarded by God’s power through faith.
5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
The trials show the genuineness of our faith.
6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
The outcome of genuine faith is the salvation of our souls.
8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls
Second, I want to develop these thoughts in our minds.
God has our backs.
He has an inheritance for us. As the New Testament uses the word inheritance, it does not focus on what happens when the owner dies, it focuses more on the fact that once it is written in the will, we can claim it as ours, even though we do not possess it yet.
We have eternal life.
God is guarding us. He is exerting all his power to keep us.
We have a way to know if our faith is genuine.
If you have been through trials, then two things are true.
First, the trials were tough. Peter doesn’t sugarcoat the experiences many Christians walk through.
Second, if you came through with your faith intact, then you have assurance that your faith is genuine.
The word in the Greek expresses something that is tested and found to be genuine. Your faith has been through the test. You might think a little different, have a greater sense of the reality of how hard life can be, but if you came through with your faith intact, your faith is genuine.
**Genuine faith is enduring faith.
Third, our faith tells us that these trials have an end.
They are temporary. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
We used to sing the song, “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus.”
Third, I want to demonstrate the application of these truths in our lives.
We need to rest in this truth.
If we have genuine faith, God guards us with his power. We can be eternally secure.
We need to have a greater concern for those whose faith is not seen to be genuine under pressure.
Through the trials, we need to come alongside and bring Jesus with us. If people don’t have genuine faith, sometimes the trials bring them to the point of wanting God.
This last week several people experience real trials. Rob Coates family is dealing with his death, Sandy Keller lost her brother, George. Junior McKenney was in the hospital. Becca Leavitt went to Portland for tests. Many of you or people you know have faced real issues.
We often look for the leadership in the church to respond, and we should. But the Bible tells us that every Christian has the responsibility to care and to act if they are able.
We have a great salvation, eternally secure. The reality of our faith is seen during trials. Trust God in those trials and be God’s hands, feet, mouth and arms to come alongside others who are going though trials. Some without faith may find faith because of you. Some with weak faith may find strength through your caring. And your faith may grow through your trials and through the ministry of helping others.