ETERNAL LIFE should not be confused with immortality, which, according to 1 Cor. 15:54 is put on at the time of the resurrection of the body and therefore has a beginning. Moreover eternal life is not synonymous with the term "new birth," although the two are closely related. The reason we get eternal life when we are born again is because we RECEIVE the Eternal Son. 1 John 5:11,12 says,"And this is the record that God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." Thus you will notice that eternal life is ours along with the abiding presence of the Son.
WHEN one is "born again" he has an "experience" which we call being ""saved or "born again." Obviously this experience is not eternal for IT has a beginning. Yet we truly have eternal life because we have the Eternal Son. Since our experience has a beginning when we voluntarily accept the Son, it follows that we can also terminate the experience by a volitional act of disobedience whereby we sever fellowship with the Son. The error of those who assert that salvation can never be lost lies in confusing the new birth with eternal life. This fact is made clear in John 8:31,"Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, IF ye continue in My Word, THEN are ye My disciples indeed."
AN examination of some of the texts dealing with eternal life will throw much light on this subject. In John 3:16 we read..."That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." Failure to notice the grammatical form of the verb "believeth" in this text has led many to suppose that once a person believes he can never be lost. "BelievETH" is the present indefinite tense of the verb "believe." It differs from the aorist or historic tense (Greek) which is used elsewhere, as in John 8:31, which reads: "Then Jesus said to those Jews which believED on Him, IF YE CONTINUE...then are ye my disciples." To HAVE believED is the beginning of the Christian life. It is past or historic tense. When you believED you got saved. To continue believing, i.e., whosoever believETH (that is, continue believing) hath eternal life."
AN example in John 6:68 proves this point. "Then Peter answered Him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life." Verse 67 says that many of the DISCIPLES went back and walked no more with Him. They had walked with Him and were disciples, but they left Him. When the invitation to leave Christ was given to the apostles, however, Peter realized that to take such a step would be to lose eternal life just as some other disciples had done. It is very clear that eternal life ceases when one takes leave of Jesus Christ.
AN oft quoted text is that of John 10:28 "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my Hand." This verse is sometimes interpreted to mean that a saved person can never be lost. What is really taught is that a saved person "follows Christ." The Pulpit Commentaries have this to say, "MY sheep hear my voice, and I know them... That is mutual recognition. They follow Me, and I give them eternal life", i.e., mutual activity. "They shall not perish for ever, and no one shall pluck them out of my hand," i.e., and authoritative assurance and its pledge or justification. Who shall never perish? THEY, that is, those who hear the voice of the Saviour and follow Him---no man shall pluck THEM out of My hand. To claim a never-ending birthright without fulfilling the conditions thereof is entirely unwarranted. As long as a person "follows" Christ he cannot be lost. The 17th chapter of John says much about eternal life but makes it clear that it is not apart from constant faith, as v. 6 says, "They have kept My word." The frequent warnings against worldliness would be superfluous were it not for the consequences of falling from grace. Heb. 12:15 says: "Looking diligently lest any man 'fall from' the grace of God (marg.) as Esau who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright." Esau had a birthright. His loss is emphasized when, at the death of his father, he ruefully regretted his tragic, hapless blunder.
THE case is further strengthened by 1 John 2:24,25: "If that which ye have remaineth in you ye shall continue in the Son...(and if you do) this is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life." Failure to continue in this relationship forfeits the attending blessing. Again quoting 1 John 5:12, "He that hath the Son hath (eternal) life, and he that hath not the Son hath not (eternal) life." Hath is the present tense. It means now. Naturally he that hath the Son will manifest the life of the Son---a Christian life. A backslider cannot do that any more than a sinner who has never been saved. Why? Because he has not the Son. Thus the backslider loses eternal life when he takes leave of Christ, and must be won back or the fate revealed in v. 16 will be his lot: "If any man see a BROTHER sin a sin which is not unto death...there is a sin unto death"---a sin which even a brother may possibly commit, else why is the warning given?
WHEN the mothers of Salem brought their little ones to Jesus He told them of such IS the Kingdom of Heaven. Were one of them to die in infancy he would go to Heaven.
NOW that implies that little children have eternal life through the mercy of Christ. How then, can it be maintained, that a child who has never sinned before the age of accountability, can then fall into sin and be lost, if an adult who has once been saved can commit all manner of sin subsequent to his conversion and not be lost. Can willful sin committed by one who was once a believer be less heinous in God's impartial judgment than the same sinful deed done by one who never believed? Never! Calvin taught that hell would be filled with countless infants who were 'potential' sinners, that is, they would have sinned if they had grown up to maturity. We believe that Calvin was in grievous error, but if children are saved as Christ says they are, then they have eternal life. When and how do they lose it? The answer is they lose it the same way any sinner loses it, namely when they depart into willful sin and determine to reject the Son of God in Whom IS eternal life.
A girl once came to her minister and asked if a person could be lost after once having been saved. On being assured that she could not she went and committed suicide. Did she have the Son when she committed that act? Will Christ go with you to gambling dens, to beer parlors, saloons, to dance halls or participate in any form of iniquity? Certainly not! If HE does not go then you must go WITHOUT ETERNAL LIFE IF YOU GO, regardless of whether you once knew Him or not, for eternal life is in Him. It will stay where He is, not where we go if we choose our own path.
MY earnest prayer goes with this message to any who may be trusting in a past experience. No matter how genuine it may have been, make sure you are in Christ today. Make sure you are doing His will now. Don't trust theology, trust HIM. To really believe means to obey. The test of the genuineness of your experience of salvation is the willingness with which you walk with Him, now. LAY HOLD ON ETERNAL LIFE. It is in the Son...none other.
NOTE: Here's the first response to this article:
Thank you for the article.
This article is RIGHT ON concerning the lie of ONCE IN GRACE ALWAYS IN GRACE.
Mr. H.C. Heffren did a superb job in debunking the unsupportable theological thesis of OSAS.
Those today who are adamantly promoting the doctrine of Eternal Security boldly declare that once an individual is saved they can NEVER again become unsaved – no matter even if they want to. Hence, they no longer have a free will and the ability to choose in this matter – free will is forfeited by their initial momentary act of Salvation.
Likewise, there is absolutely NO sin(s) regardless of quantity or quality that they can willfully commit that can EVER sever their relation with Yahweh and Yeshua – they are heaven bound regardless.
When asked, they boldly tell me that even self murder (suicide) subsequent to the new birth is acceptable under the doctrine of Eternal Security. For example, I just recently received a correspondence from two grieving parents who informed me that their son who was a student at a prestigious university had taken his own life (suicide – self murder). All during his young life and after his Salvation, he was taught by his pastor and parents alike the doctrine of Eternal Security. As such, he was taught that while Yahweh God does not want nor expect a ‘saved’ individual to commit suicide they nonetheless will NOT lose their eternal position in heaven, if this self murder is committed subsequent to Salvation…only rewards. Teach them while they are young and they will not depart from it when they get older. (Prov. 22:6)
In today’s world of declining moral values this doctrine is opening the doors for unimaginable sins that are being committed by those who say they have been born again – under the misleading guise of the doctrine of Eternal Security.
Do people honestly think that they can teach individuals to be eternally lost and then be saved themselves?
Eternal Security (OSAS) is truly a doctrine of devils.