ETERNAL SECURITY                        

                            AND LOGIC                             

                                       BY JEFF PATON                                         


As with any doctrine or theology, people will be passionate for what they believe. There are many appeals to the Scriptures and to logic itself in the defense of controversial subjects. Since those who believe in the doctrine of Eternal Security have many arguments that play to the listeners sense of logic, these should be examined in the light of logic.

We are rational beings. We gravitate towards that which we believe will bring sense and order to our existence. In the consumer oriented society that we live in, we are bombarded with all kinds of advertising that seeks to compel us to buy their products. Without a doubt, many of these advertisements use endorsers such as famous actors and sports figures, and some use beautiful people. This is an effort to make us believe that if we use this product we too will be just like this famous person, play sports better, or be more beautiful. Eating a cereal may give us more energy, but it will not make us play sports any better, make us more beautiful, or even make us rub shoulders with somebody famous. What is implied in this advertising is what we would call a logical fallacy. There are many different fallacies that consistently fool those who take in everything without any discrimination. Eternal Security literature makes appeals to our logic for one main reason: its doctrine is unbiblical, and must seek its proof from an external source. Since they cannot find Scriptural proof of such a doctrine within the Bible, they must somehow find its sanction from outside of the Bible. They rest their doctrinal cornerstone upon flawed arguments and logic.

Statements such as:

"If Eternal Life can be lost, how can it be eternal"?

"How can someone be Born-Again and become Unborn?"

"If Jesus paid for my sins on the cross 2,000 years ago, werenít all of my sins future sins when He paid them? Doesnít this mean that all my future sins are already forgiven"?

"I canít do anything of my own to get saved, so I cannot do anything to get unsaved."

These are just a few of the appeals to logic that we hear today. It is impossible to show you all of the examples that are out there, but I will dwell on the most common examples.


The first point that I wish to address from the argument from logic is why it is safer for a believer to not believe in eternal security:

"If you live out the doctrine of eternal security and find yourself standing before God only to find out that you were wrong, then you have everything to lose. If you live out your life believing that eternal security is false, and you aspire to live a holy life and find out in heaven that you were wrong about Eternal Security, you are safe because you were unconditionally secure and did not know it!"

From the standpoint of logic alone it does not make sense to believe in eternal security and deny that God has enabled us to walk in a manner pleasing to Him. If you teach Eternal Security to others and they find out when they stand before the Judgment Seat of God that the wages of their sin is still death, you will have their blood on your hands! My friend, you have nothing to gain from believing Eternal Security; there is no virtue in believing a lie!

The irony of it all, is that the content of the letters I receive from those who disagree with me on this matter is that they chime out with accusations of salvation by "works" and charges of "legalism." Bitter rebukes and suggestions that I am "lost" are strewn throughout these letters. The irony of this is that these are from those who believe in Eternal Security! They act as if you can commit adultery, abuse drugs, rape and murder, and still be a child of God! But yet, if you contend for holiness and living a godly life, you are lost and not Eternally Secure! According to the Bible, the sin of legalism is just as damning as license! But from the logic of Eternal Security, it is faith in their doctrine, and not Christ, that saves you!  This is proven by the fact that they do not believe their own doctrine by claiming that a Legalist is lost! According to their doctrine, wouldn't the Legalist be just as secure as the one who wallows in license? I used to believe in Eternal Security but I donít anymore; doesn't this mean that I would still be "eternally" secure, even if I became an ardent Legalist according to the logic of this doctrine? It is of the utmost hypocrisy to say that we can commit the most heinous crimes and be safe and secure, and at the same time, treat those that love God and feel obligated to obey Him as enemies of the cross! If Eternal Security were true, then the different attitudes towards legalism and license should not matter, for they are both sins. If these people really believed in Eternal Security they would have never written to condemn me!

Based on logic, the greatest possible position of assurance and security for the believer is to be in opposition to Eternal Security!


 

"If Eternal Life can be lost, how can it be eternal?"

This logic pivots on the meaning of eternal. If it is eternal, how can it then end? These are pertinent questions.

There is a point in time where one who believes receives eternal life. If this life is "eternal" then it has no beginning or ending, but yet we admit that we do not possess it until we believe! Does this mean that it is not "eternal" since there has to be a beginning to our possession of it?

If I receive an eternal Pearl of great price as a gift, it is mine; I "have" an eternal Pearl. It is something that I should cherish and rejoice in! But what if I trade it in for something I would rather have? What if I no longer cherish the gift or the One that gave it to me. What if I then become careless and then I lose it somewhere? Even if I cast it away, the Pearl remains eternal! It just ceases to be my possession!

Those that key in on the word "eternal" fail to see that the quality of "everlasting" is connected to "life" and not to our "having" it or "possessing" it! The "life" is "eternal," and not the believer! Having Eternal Life does not mean that we have an irrevocable possession of it! Whether we accept Christ and the gift of eternal life has no bearing on the quality of the gift, "eternal life." The gift stays eternal whether we possess it or not! The quality of the "life" is "eternal," whether anyone would ever believe on Christ or not.  

The logic of an Eternal Gift is interesting, but it cannot, and does not, establish a fact of a Eternal possession or an Eternal Security!


 

"How can someone be Born-Again and become Unborn"?

This argument takes many different forms: "How can a sheep become a goat"? "How can someone that has been adopted become un-adopted"? As for the first argument "How can the Born become Unborn," we answer: They do not become Un-Born, this is drawing on from something that is not a human concept. Isn't it more logical to say that that which is Born spiritually can Die spiritually? The same is to be said of the logic of using adoption. We do not become un-adopted, but we can be disowned and disinherited!

The most illogical argument in this group is: "How can a sheep become a goat."? The same people who believe that this cannot be done have no trouble believing that a goat can become a sheep! To follow their thinking to its logical end, we would have to say that if the nature of someone cannot be changed, then regeneration and the New-Birth are impossibilities! In essence, they are saying that it is impossible to be saved!

The faulty logic of saying one has to "un" birth or "un" adopt in order for the nature of believer to be changed back into an unbeliever, has to ignore that a process can be halted or cease to be without having an exact parallel that shows a process of a reversal.  A postage stamp is worthless to a post office once it bears the marks of cancellation. A stamp does not have to be "un-printed" to become void of postal value. With Eternal Security "logic" we could stand at the counter and argue with the Postmaster that they must honor our cancelled stamps because there is no such thing as being "un-stamped"!!


 

"If Jesus paid for my sins on the cross 2,000 years ago, werenít all of my sins future sins when He paid them? Doesnít this mean that all my future sins are already forgiven"?

The largest flaw in this logic is the fact that it presupposes that someoneís sin was paid for on the cross of Calvary! This is one of those examples where we see that in the absence of any unambiguous statement of Scripture to prove their point, that many will bolster their cause by using a man-made theory and elevate it to the level of inspiration!

By following this theory and its logic, letís see where it leads us. Whoís sin was paid for according to this theory? The whole world? All men? (1 Jn. 2:2.) If "all men" and the "whole worldís " sin has been paid for, is it not logical to say that everyone will be in heaven? Did he not "pay" for ALL future sin? Will Jesus be robbed of His right to what He has paid for? Where in the Scriptures does it say that anyone was ever un-atoned for? If anyone ends up in hell, where does it say Jesus is an Indian-giver and un-pays what He has already paid? Isnít unbelief a sin? If this is so, and All sin was paid for, then ALL unbelievers are saved!

To have the unconditional security that Eternal Security proponents contend for there must be a real payment of our sins. If the payment is real and absolute, the one who has been paid for cannot be judged before God. If payment has been made for the guilty, the guilty must be acquitted in order for God to be just. Payment cannot be turned off and on, it either occurred in time and was "finished" on the cross or it was not! A payment made in previous time cannot be activated by faith or belief because that implies that this payment would be conditional, denying that the believers sin was actually "paid for" on Calvary! If Jesus "paid for" sin, it was completed at Calvary. Sin that has been paid cannot ever be punished again in the future. If Jesus paid for the sins of the whole world, the whole world must be saved! Salvation therefore, cannot be contingent upon faith and belief according to this theory. Belief is nothing! It is merely a matter if your sins were paid for on the cross!

The Penal (payment) theory of the atonement was developed to bolster the fatalistic notions of Calvinism. The only logical conclusion of Calvinistic predestination is that the atonement is limited if it is a payment. Only the saved were paid for on the cross and no one else. Belief is therefore only waking up to the fact that you have been saved all this time! Unbelief cannot hinder one from becoming saved, nor can believing assist it. According to the theory of payment, it has been completed in the past, and nothing that we can do in the present can make it ours. This fatalism reduces the Gospel into bad news for the individuals that God does not love, and has predetermined that Christ would not atone for their sins. There can be no way to be sure if you are one of the "elect" since you cannot know for sure whether your sins have been paid for or not. The fatalism of pure Calvinism may be consistent with its theory of the atonement, but fails to give the believer any true knowledge of personal assurance whatsoever.

The atonement is a provision that requires conditions to be met in order for the benefits to be applied. In Scripture, atonement is never presented as a blanket for future sins. It covers only our "sins past" (Rom. 3:25, 2 Peter 1:9), and requires confession of any failures in order for there to be any continued forgiveness and cleansing (1 Jn. 1:9). If Christ has already paid all our future fines in court, we would not need Him as our present Advocate before the Judge! (1 Jn.2:1)

Logic proves that it is impossible to reconcile the payment theory of the atonement with the universal offer of salvation and the possibility that anyone could be lost. Logic also proves that if we limit the atonement, it does not help us any in this matter of the assurance of anyone who thinks they are saved by believing, since present belief does not have anything to do with God's decision of making someone elect in the past. According to this theory, we cannot know whether our faith and trust in God, or our believing that we have salvation, is anything more than wishful thinking and a fiction! Assurance can only be truly known after death!

The conclusion is that since there are no unambiguous statements in the Scripture that say explicitly that through the death of Jesus that our sins were "paid for", we are justified in avoiding such deceitful terminology in favor of the idea that the atonement is a "provision" which makes the Gospel the good news, truly good news for all. A provision is not a payment and thereby is not for the limited few, but is for the whole world. As a provision it can and does demand conditions in order to receive its benefits. A provision is conditional, a payment is not. A provision is made for ALL; and a payment is made for FEW. If we admit that some will not be saved, and we believe that Jesus died for "every man" and the "whole world," we should be able to see that it must be a provisional atonement and not a payment in times past, for a payment is denied by the fact that some are lost. A provision commands us to repent and believe the gospel as a condition (not a merit) of receiving the application of its benefits. This is not a "works" salvation, it is genuine saving faith!


 

"I canít do anything of my own to get saved, so I cannot do anything to get unsaved."

Since doing good works did not get you saved, then sin cannot get you un-saved, seems like irresistible logic. "I cannot do anything to save myself!" Is this true? Are we either saved or lost by fate? Are we to believe in the mysterious lucky lotto of limited atonement? Why would God tell us to flee from the wrath to come if we cannot choose whether we can escape or not?

The statements made to defend eternal security are good logic, that is, if you hold to absolute fatalism. If you believe that in order to become a Christian one must repent and believe in the Lord Jesus and His work on the cross for us, you have admitted that there are conditions to salvation. The logic of this argument that we have nothing to do falls apart on itself! You had to do something in order to get saved, you had a way in, it is called faith! Logic should tell us that if there is a way in, there is a way out! We have to have faith to please God, there is no salvation without faith. God no more believes for us than He repents for us! This is clearly something that we must do!

It makes sense to say that the same conditions that are required as essential to receive salvation must be present in order to maintain salvation. Is this works? If you consider a continuous reliance on the grace and mercy of God received through the atonement of Christ a work, go ahead, but I call it faith. I make no claim to merit, and my faith makes no pretense to merit. The other side of the issue is, if I cast off my faith in favor of disbelief (sin), I forfeit the present benefits of a relationship with Christ, cleansing from all sin. (1 Jn. 1:7) We are saved by grace through faith.  We are required to have faith in order to have salvation, for without faith it is impossible to please God. (Heb. 11:6). If we cease to have faith, the only conclusion is that the condition of salvation is no longer present, salvation is abandoned by us. This should cause us to believe the Scriptural demand that is all throughout the New Testament that exhorts us, and warns us, that we must remain, abide, and continue in the faith to be saved. Logic tells us that if we are warned to remain, abide, and continue, there is the possibility of not remaining, not abiding, and not continuing.

Logic says that if there is a way into salvation, there must be a way out! If we are free to "believe" and put our "trust" in Christ for salvation, we must conclude that we are just as free to reject Christ and His salvation. We cannot have free-will before belief, and not have free-will after belief. Such a concept is not to be found in Scripture. "For if the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." 


 

"You cannot live without sinning! The Bible says the wages of sin is death! We all die, and this is proof that we all sin."

The Bible is a book that is from cover to cover against sin. If the Bible says explicitly that we can live above sin, then we must believe that it is possible through the grace of God and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. First we should examine the premise of this argument. Are the wages of sin death? Yes they are! Is it true that if we were to live without sinning we would not die? No it is not! The logical fallacy is that this is proven by the Scriptures but no one can seem to find where! Letís take a look at our first parents to see why this is wrong.

Adam and Eve were told by God that they could eat of any fruit in the garden except the tree of knowledge. They were warned that in the day they ate from it, they would die! Satan comes along and tempts Eve and says, "In the day you eat thereof, you shall not surely die!" Notice that God says the wages of sin is death, and the devil says that "you shall not surely die." Also notice that God says "the wages of sin is death" and the Eternal Securist sides with the devil and says, "you shall not surely die." The devil is a liar! But wait! Did they die in "the day" they ate thereof, as God said? Not physically, but spiritual death was immediate! From that point they had a fallen nature that has been passed on to their entire posterity. God removed them from the garden in order that they could no longer eat from the Tree of Life. You see, even it we were to be sinless, we are still under the curse of the fall, we have no access to the Tree of Life. The logical fallacy of their argument is that it is not based in any fact. The Scriptures tell us why the righteous still die, and it is not because of sin.

Is the whole purpose of this argument for the necessity of sin supposed to prove that Eternal Security is an essential doctrine? Or is it an excuse for sin? Is Eternal Security popular because it is a license for sin? I believe that many times it is! Matthew 1:21 tells us, "his name shall be called Jesus, for He shall save His people FROM their sins." If he cannot save us FROM our sins, He is a failure, His death was in vain, and His mission defeated! 1 Jn 2:1 says, "My little children, I write these things to you that you may not sin, (have one occurrence of sin. Gk.) 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us, "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." It sounds like there is no excuse one can offer up to God FOR sin! Titus 2:14, "Who gave Himself for us, that he might redeem us from ALL iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." We are saved for a purpose! Jesus spoke, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever commiteth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son shall therefore make you free, ye shall be free indeed." John 8:34-36. Free from what? The slavery of sin! To the woman at the well, Jesus said, "go and sin no more." John 8:11. Doesnít God promise to aid us and then command us to "sin no more"? Does He command and promise impossibilities? Instead of fighting against holiness, follow the injunction of Paul and, " Awake to righteousness, and sin not." 1 Cor. 15:34. Follow the example and promises of Scripture and not the discouragement and failure of men! We can believe the Scriptures, or we can believe the doctrine of Eternal Security which denies these Scriptures, which in essence, is unbelief.  

Logic would tell us that if the Bible says that we should not sin, there must be a provision and the capability not to sin. Where there is capability, there is responsibility. If we are not capable by the power of the Holy Spirit to avoid sinning, then we must conclude several things: 

The first is that we must question the accuracy of honesty of God. If we are commanded in Scripture not to sin, and we are promised that He will not allow us to have more temptation than we can handle, then we must say that God has lied or the Bible is not the Word of God. 

Secondly, if these promises and exhortations are impossibilities under the dispensation of the gospel, then we must conclude that God is unjust to damn anyone that commits a transgression that they could not help but to commit. They could not do otherwise because God made them that way! If God must "cover-up" these violations with "Eternal Security," then He is either too weak, or unwilling, to deliver us from our bondage here and now. And if sin does not affect relationship here and now, then we can justly say salvation from sin in heaven is not necessary or essential to the nature of God, nor can we have any reason to believe that He has any more power or resolve to deliver us in the future than He has right now. According to the doctrine of Eternal Security, God must not really be all that opposed to sin. For a "holy" God to make a way of salvation that provides for continued sin in the believer while they are living, and to withhold the power to deliver them from sin to a time where only the dead can witness it, is to defy common sense and logic.   


 

It does not take Scripture to disprove these appeals to logic by unconditional security proponents. Logic is of use only if it is applied properly and where it is consistent with the Scriptures. Logic will not save us, the Scriptures are our source and rule of faith. Our interpretation of Scripture should not lead to confusion because it is illogical. God is not illogical, and the devil is the author of confusion. The conclusion of all of this is, that it is obvious that many people are convinced of this false doctrine because of their lack of discernment. You would think that those who desired to argue for a doctrine that has no clear proof from the Scriptures would have stronger arguments when it came to defending their position logically. When we look at all of the Scriptures that deny Eternal Security, and the lack of proof that such a doctrine is asserted by the Bible, it is illogical to believe that it could be true. Any doctrine that cannot be supported by Scripture should be disbelieved. Any theoretical doctrine that cannot be supported by both the Scriptures and its own logic should be exposed for the man-made heresy that it is!

 

 

BIBLICAL THEOLOGY  ETERNAL SECURITY

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