“I am secure in Christ. I no longer have to fear death. I can never be condemned. No matter what I do, I cannot end up in hell. I am going to live like the devil and get away with it.” These last words reflect spiritual immaturity at best—lack of true regeneration at worst.
Fearing new believers might consider such a path, some Christians overreact. Some jettison the doctrine of eternal security and teach that a believer can lose their salvation. Others stress works almost to the point of adding conditions to salvation beyond faith alone. Yes, true faith works (James 2:26). But those works are not a condition for salvation but rather a result of it (Ephesians 2:8–10).
Neither rejecting the Bible’s clear teaching on eternal security nor hedging on salvation by grace through faith is the solution for the abuses of this truth. Despite what some fear, eternal security is not a threat to Christian growth or holy living. What then do healthy responses to eternal security look like?
1. Learn to Live Consistently with Eternal Life.
The apostle Paul faced this dilemma 2,000 years ago. Early Christians heard the truth that when sin abounds grace abounds even more (Romans 5:20). Then, they jumped to the same conclusion as some modern-day believers—”we can live any way we want without consequences” (Romans 6:1, 15)! Paul quickly countered their logic: “Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it” (Romans 6:2)? Twice Paul asks, “Do you not know?” (Romans 6:3, 16). He then instructs these ignorant believers in the truths of our identity in Christ. We died with Christ and so died to sin. We were raised with Christ and so now should walk in newness of life. Our earthly life should be consistent with our eternal life (Romans 6:22). Abuse of the truth of eternal security sometime comes out of lack of knowledge. Learn to live consistently with your eternal life.
2. Obey Out of Thankfulness.
You were dead—hopeless and helpless (Ephesians 2:1). You could not save yourself. But Jesus died in your place, saving you and giving you eternal life. What is a healthy response to such sacrificial love and eternal security? Grateful obedience! “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:14–15). Jesus died for you. It only makes sense to live for Him (Romans 12:1–2). “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15)! This gift should motivate us to thankful obedience to Christ’s commands (Matthew 28:20).
3. Endure with Your Eyes on the Finish Line.
You know for sure where your earthly race ends. Your destiny is with Jesus Christ like so many who have run before you. So, don’t head for the concession stands, pursuing temporary pleasures. Don’t join the spectators in the bleachers, trying to avoid the strenuous, daily battle against sin to serve God faithfully. No, run. Endure. Press toward the goal. Keep your eyes on the prize (Philippians 3:14).
The writer of Hebrews powerfully employs this imagery of a race: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1–2). Endure with your eyes on the finish line.
Healthy Responses to Eternal Security
Eternal security lays the foundation for healthy Christian living.
- Learn: You will spend eternity in a new heaven and new earth, so live in newness of life now. Learn to live consistently with who you are in Christ and where you are headed because of Him.
- Obey: Christ died for you, so out of thankfulness live for Him now.
- Endure: You know your ultimate destiny, so live with Christ-focused purpose now, heading for the joys set before you at the finish line.
Eternal security is not an excuse for wasted living but an inspiration for making every moment here count for eternity.
Dr. Conrad serves in urban Asia. He, his wife, and their four children squeeze into a 700 square-foot apartment where he seizes rare moments of quiet to write amidst homeschooling, a cacophony of musical instruments, and the steady stream of visitors they so enjoy having in their home. He enjoys birding, board games, and basketball. He is the author of, so far, two books.