Those who don’t believe in eternal security say that this doctrine makes it easy for the believer to sin, but this is because they don’t understand the Bible’s doctrine of eternal security.
First, the Bible teaches that salvation changes the person’s life so that he is a new creature in Christ (2 Co. 5:17). If the individual doesn’t have a change of life, he is not saved, no matter how much he professes to know Christ (1 Jn. 2:3-4). The born again child of God can still sin, but he no longer wants to sin. He has new loves and a new direction. The biblical doctrine of eternal security goes hand-in-hand with the doctrine of a changed life. See John 10:27-29 and 1 John 3:1-3.
There are many biblical evidences of salvation, contrary to what some teach. Steven Anderson, for example, says the child of God can kill someone and still be saved because he has prayed the sinner’s prayer and therefore has eternal security. He says,
“No matter if you quit church, even if you did something awful like kill somebody or kill yourself, ok, God will not take away your salvation from you” (“Basic Soul-winning Demonstration,”www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXMA4xOS5BY, 8:08f).
But the Bible plainly states that such a person was never saved (1 John 2:9; 3:10, 14-15; 4:20).
Second, if a true believer does sin, there are many consequences, and ultimately there is a sin unto death for those who do not repent.
So if a person lives in continual disobedience to God, either he is not saved or he is in a backslidden condition and ultimately in danger of the sin unto death.
There are consequences to sin in the Christian life.
Broken Fellowship with God (1 John 1:5-7)
The blessings of the Christian life are unlimited, but one of these is more valuable than all others combined, and that is fellowship with God in Christ. The saved individual can walk and talk with God every moment of every day. The blood of Jesus Christ has forever removed the great chasm between his soul and God that once existed because of his sin. By faith in Christ’s blood, the believer enters into the very presence of the great and wonderful God.
The Christian might be nothing in the eyes of society, but he can walk with the Lord of Glory. He might be condemned, even hated, by men, but he is the apple of God’s eye and can bask in God’s affection. The Christian might not be able to gain the hearing of even one of this world’s nobility, but he can converse at will with the King of kings. The Christian might have to endure sickness, ridicule, poverty, and many other sore trials, but the individual that walks with God learns there is in that communion a joy, a peace, a sweetness, a wisdom, and a strength that makes all trials lose their ultimate bitterness. The Christian might be lonely for human companionship; his friends might even forsake him; but he knows he has a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
What a treasure is fellowship with God! And this treasure is through Jesus Christ. The precious Lord Jesus, the Lord of glory, is the Christian’s portion. The Christian is a part of His very body, of his flesh, and of his bones (Eph. 5:30). This is how intimate is the relationship between God and the believer.
But in this present life, the believer must choose to walk in the light, to follow hard after God’s will, to confess his sins, or he will not enjoy the fellowship with God for which he was redeemed.
Powerlessness in Prayer (Psa. 66:18; 1 John 3:22)
Unconfessed sin and disobedience hinders prayer, and that is a no light matter.
Powerlessness in prayer affects one’s marriage (1 Pe. 3:7). It affects one’s children. Nothing is more important than prayer in raising children for Christ. It affects one’s spiritual victory, because prayer is part of the armor of light (Eph. 6:10-18). It affects one’s nation (1 Ti. 2:1-2). It affects one’s church. It affects one’s evangelism efforts.
Walking in carnality and spiritual darkness results in a bad influence on others, and this can have eternal consequences.
Consider Lot. He walked according to the flesh and lived after his own thinking and appetites rather than by God’s Word and made his own choices rather than seeking God’s will (Ge. 13:10-13). As a consequence he wasted his life in Sodom instead of walking with God as his uncle Abraham did. He was saved and his righteous soul was vexed by the wickedness of Sodom (2 Pe. 2:7-8), but he did not separate from that place when he had a chance.
His folly had a great influence upon his own family. His wife and married daughters and their sons were not saved and perished in Sodom (Ge. 19:12-14, 26). Lot lost all of his property and ended up in a miserable cave (Ge. 19:30). His daughters learned the wicked ways of Sodom and committed incest with their own father (Ge. 19:31-38).
David also had a bad influence when he sinned with Bathsheba. He brought reproach upon the name of God by the heathen (2 Sa. 12:14). His illegitimate son died, and some of his other sons rebelled against him.
I think of a man who was backslidden and instead of encouraging his son to serve the Lord and attend Bible college as he wanted to do after graduating from high school, he put pressure on him to go to secular college. Because of the father’s bad influence, the young man did not do what he had long believed God wanted him to do, and only the Lord knows what the long term effect will be.
God’s Chastening (Hebrews 12:6-13)
The Lord does not stand idly by while His children live in sin. He takes active steps to bring them into His perfect will.
We see many important lessons about divine chastening and even chastening in general:
- Chastening is love (He. 12:6).
- Chastening is evidence of salvation (He. 12:8).
- Chastening is for the purpose of producing holiness (He. 12:10).
- Chastening is not pleasant (He. 12:11). If it is pleasant it is not effectual.
- Chastening yields good fruit (He. 12:11).
- Chastening must be received (He. 12:12-13). These verses picture a backslidden believer. His hands are hanging down because he is not serving the Lord. His knees are feeble because he is not praying as he ought. He is in danger of being turned aside even more if he does not receive God’s chastening and repent.
How does God chasten?
- He chastens through the Scriptures (2 Ti. 3:16).
- He chastens through preaching (2 Ti. 4:2; Re. 2:16).
- He chastens by allowing Satan to sift us (Lu. 22:31).
- He chastens through sickness and trouble (Ps. 32:4-5; 38:1-3, 18; 119:67, 71). When Abraham went to Egypt and lied about his wife he got into trouble with the king of Egypt (Gen. 12:10-20).
- He chastens by church discipline (1 Co. 5).
- He chastens through death (1 John 5:16-17). Ananias and Sapphira committed the sin unto death (Acts 5:1-11). Some at Corinth committed this sin (1 Co. 11:30). David almost committed this sin (2 Sa. 12:13-14).
God doesn’t want to chasten His people; He wants to lead them by His Word. “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee” (Ps. 32:8-9).
Loss of Opportunities for Service and Fruit
A life lived outside of God’s will is a great loss! Precious hours, days, weeks, and months that could have been used for God’s service are wasted on vanity, and sacrificed on the altar of self, sin, and worldliness. Gifts and talents that could have been developed and dedicated to God are squandered. Spiritual fruit that could have been borne for God’s glory is not borne.
Perhaps the most awful part of lost opportunities is this: they can never be regained. They are lost forever. Only in this life can we exercise our God-given office as ambassador and preach the gospel to the lost (2 Co. 5:20). Only in this life can we stand for God and His truth in an evil and antagonistic world. Only in this life can we choose to resist sin for the glory of Jesus Christ.
My dad said he was called to preach as a young man, but he did not surrender to that and he regretted it all his life.
A Day of Accounting at Christ’s Judgment Seat
Not all sin is dealt with in this present life. “... some men they follow after” (1 Ti. 5:24).
What will the judgment seat of Christ involve for the careless Christian?
- It will mean loss of reward (1 Co. 3:11-15). The context of the judgment seat of Christ is service to Christ in His great harvest.
- It will mean loss of treasure (1 Ti. 6:17-19).
- It will mean loss of position (Re. 2:26-27).
- It will mean shame and disgrace (1 Jn. 2:28).
What a terrible thing it will be to ignore God’s perfect will and then to stand at the judgment seat of Christ, in the presence of saints and angels, and suffer the disgrace of being judged for having lived in rebellion or indifference against the will of God and thus having promoted the cause of Satan in one’s earthly life.
Either way, therefore, lost or saved, careless professers of faith in Christ should not be left to be comfortable in their waywardness. We must sound a trumpet warning against spiritual carelessness.
Those that do not have clear evidence of salvation are most likely lost and bound for eternal damnation. If they are saved but are spiritually pygmied like Lot, they will suffer the consequences of the wayward Christian.
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