Eternal Security vs Conditional Salvation

When people come to know Christ as their Savior, they are brought into a relationship with God that guarantees their eternal security. Jude 24-25 (HCSB) Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.

God’s power is able to keep the believer from falling. It is up to Him, not us, to present us before His glorious presence. Our eternal security is a result of God keeping us, not us maintaining our own salvation. Because if we had to “MAINTAIN” our Salvation then it would be a works based salvation, not a grace based salvation.

The Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed, John 10:27-29(HSCB) My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me.28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. Both Jesus and the Father have us firmly grasped in their hand. Who could possibly separate us from the grip of both the Father and the Son? Jesus tells us that he gives eternal life to the sheep, the Christians.  He clearly and definitely states that they shall never perish.  There is no qualifier here.  There is no statement such as, “they shall never perish if they remain faithful.”  There is only the clear declaration that they shall never perish.  This inability to perish is a result of the Lord Jesus giving them eternal life.

Furthermore, Jesus says that no one shall snatch them out of his hand, which further emphasizes the idea that those who have eternal life will never perish.  But, can we snatch ourselves out of Jesus’ hand?  No, we can’t because the term “no one” includes the person who is saved.  Therefore, you cannot snatch yourself out of Christ’s hand.

There are opponents to this position that would state elsewhere in Scripture such declarations exist that teach we can lose our salvation.

Ephesians 4:30 (HCSB) And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by Him for the day of redemption. tells us that believers are “sealed for the day of redemption.” If believers did not have eternal security, the sealing could not truly be unto the day of redemption, but only to the day of sinning, apostasy, or disbelief. John 3:15-16 (HCSB) so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life.16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. This tells us that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will “have eternal life.” If a person were to be promised eternal life, but then have it taken away, it was never “eternal” to begin with. If eternal security is not true, the promises of eternal life in the Bible would be in error.

What sin is so big that Jesus’ death could not atone for it? There is none that I know of.Every sin that man can commit against God and man, even the most heinous was dealt with at the cross of Calvary. If this is so, then what sin can be so bad that it would cause God to “unforgive” that which He has already paid for?

The most powerful argument for eternal security is Romans 8:38-39 (HCSB)For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers,39 height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!” Our eternal security is based on God’s love for those whom He has redeemed. Our eternal security is purchased by Christ, promised by the Father, and sealed by the Holy Spirit.

Please understand that eternal security is not a license to sin.  The Christian is regenerated.  He is changed from within–being made a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17 (HCSB) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.)  Those who were indwelt by the Holy Spirit will war with their sin and not seek to abide in it.  Those who declare that they are eternally secure and then go out and sin on purpose in any manner they so choose are probably not saved to begin with since this is contradictory to what Scripture teaches.  1 John 2:4-5 (HCSB) The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” yet doesn’t keep His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly in him the love of God is perfected. This is how we know we are in Him:

 There are a lot of verses raised by Christians who believe it is possible to lose one’s salvation.  I could analyze each one and provide explanations of how they fit together, but it would not be necessary if we can find Scripture that clearly states that a person cannot lose his salvation.  If found, this would mean that any other Scriptures used to teach we can lose our salvation must be interpreted in a manner consistent with the one(s) that clearly say we can’t.

John 6:37-40 (HSCB) 37 Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I should lose none of those He has given Me but should raise them up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of My Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

1 John 2:19 (HCSB) They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. However, they went out so that it might be made clear that none of them belongs to us.

The context is as follows.  In 1:1-4, John speaks about the manifestation of Christ in the world.  In 1:5-10 he speaks about God being light and the forgiveness of our sins.  In 2:1-6 John says he writes so that we will not sin, that Christ is the propitiation for our sins, and that we are to keep his commandments so as to demonstrate that we are walking in him. In 2:7-11 is where John writes about a new commandment–about loving your brother and walking in the light rather than darkness.  In 2:12-14 he tells us that our sins are forgiven and that we have overcome the evil one.  In 2:15-17 John tells us not to love the world and that the world is passing away with its lusts.  In 2:18-24 he writes about the Antichrist and those who deny the Son.  In 2:25ff he speaks of the promise of eternal life and of loving one another, etc.

So, 2:18 is the immediate context of John telling us that many antichrists have arisen, and then in v. 19 he says that they were not from us.  Now, some people say this verse does not prove eternal security because the people who left were antichrists; and they naturally would not have stayed. But, John is not telling us that if the antichrists had been of them, they would have stayed with him.  That would make no sense.  The reason the antichrists left was to show they were not of us, that is, of God.  John declares that if these people had been “of us, they would have remained.”  Antichrists aren’t going to remain; only the true believers will.

To me, this declares clearly that those who really are of God will remain; and those who are not will leave.  It does not say that Christians become antichrists or that Christians lose their salvation.  It differentiates between those who are true and false and states that the false will leave and the true will stay.

Again eternal security (the position that a Christian cannot lose his salvation) is not a license to sin. Such accusations are made by those who believe they can lose their salvation and thus have to maintain it either through obeying the commandments of God or by their deliberate act of remaining faithful to him. I have never heard any believer in eternal security ever make the statement that since he is secure in Christ, it’s okay for him to sin. In fact, I have always heard the opposite, and those I have encountered who believe in their security in Christ have universally sought holiness before the Lord Jesus.

Romans 6:1-2(HCSB) What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

Romans 6:6-8(HCSB) For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, since a person who has died is freed from sin’s claims. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him,

 Those who truly are born again are also regenerate, and those who are regenerate have the Holy Spirit in them (Romans 8:9-14; Galatians 4:6) who convicts of sin (John 16:8). Also, those who are truly born again are new creatures (2 Cor. 5:17). In other words, real Christians are really changed. Real Christians war against their sin as is exemplified by the apostle Paul in Romans 7:18-25. And, real Christians have recognized they have sinned against God and have trusted in Christ to deliver them from their sins. If there is no war against sin, then there is no evidence of regeneration. Therefore, anyone who would say that once he is saved he can go out and sin all he wants is actually implying he is not regenerated.

  • Titus 1:16, “They profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, and disqualified for any good work.
  • 1 John 1:6, “If we say, “We have fellowship with Him,” yet we walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth.
  • 1 John 2:4, “ The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” yet doesn’t keep His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
  • 1 John 4:20, “ If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother he has seen cannot love the God he has not seen.

We are not kept in the faith by our good works. However, our faith should be manifested by our good works. Likewise, Scripture tells us that if we say we believe in Christ and yet go on walking in darkness, then we are liars (1 John 1:6) and the truth is not in us (1 John 2:4).

Contemporary Christianity has a shallow view of salvation. Many people don’t understand the security of the believer. God, in eternity past, chose us to believe in the truth (2 Thess. 2:13 ). Now we have to show a response. I don’t fully understand how those two come together. Some people think that the people who go to hell go there because God rejected them. But the Bible says that people go to hell because they reject the gospel (John 3:18). That may not make sense to us, but it shouldn’t matter. God is smarter than us. Would you want a God who is our equal? I wouldn’t!

For if you did “lose” your salvation then it is impossible to get it back. Hebrews 6(HCSB)For it is impossible to renew to repentance those who were once enlightened, who tasted the heavenly gift, became companions with the Holy Spirit, tasted God’s good word and the powers of the coming age, and who have fallen away, because, to their own harm, they are recrucifying the Son of God and holding Him up to contempt.

You are no more justified the first day you accepted Christ than the your last day on earth, you may be more sanctified but you are no more justified. A Christian is justified. Romans 5:1 (ESV)“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” To “justify” means to “declare righteous.” All those who receive Jesus as Savior are “declared righteous” by God. For a Christian to lose salvation, God would have to go back on His Word and “un-declare” what He had previously declared.

The other side of the coin is conditional security.

“Conditional security” is a theological term used in reference to the salvation of believers in Jesus Christ. It describes the supposedly tentative quality of the Christian’s salvation. In other words, a Christian’s salvation is “conditionally secure.” This begs the question: upon what condition is the believer’s salvation secure? Proponents of conditional security assert that the salvation is conditional upon remaining faithful until the very end. To use an analogy the Bible uses, the athlete must finish the race in order to receive the prize.

Matthew 24:11-13 (ESV)“And many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

Romans 8:12-14 (ESV)“So therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

1 Corinthians 15:1-2(ESV)“Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.”

Galatians 6:7-9 (ESV)“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

These passages, and many others that could be cited, point to the conditional quality of the believer’s salvation. In each of these passages, the biblical author (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) uses conditional language (e.g., if you endure, then you will be saved) to highlight the nature of the believer’s security in Christ. In order to ensure the security of our salvation, the believer must:

1) Endure to the end

2) live by the Spirit

3) hold fast to the preached word

4) sow to the Spirit.

It’s not as if the gift of salvation is lacking in any way, but the individual believer must earnestly strive to remain faithful.

We do nothing to obtain or earn salvation (salvation being a free gift of God’s grace), then how can we lose salvation? Conditional security is acceptable only to those who also believe that they somehow contributed to their salvation in the first place (which Arminian theology logically implies).

Ephesians 2:8-9(ESV) “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast,” which clearly states that we contribute absolutely nothing to our salvation; even the faith necessary to receive the gift of grace, is itself a gift from God.

On the other hand, conditional security gives man a reason to boast in the end. If by my cooperation with the Spirit of God I remain faithful to the end, I can boast (a little) about how I was able to stay the course and finish the race. However, there will be no boasting in heaven except to boast in the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:31). The doctrine of conditional security is not biblical; the Bible is quite clear that we persevere because God preserves us.

Salvation is a gift. And therefore, if it is a gift that God gives, it would have to be a gift that God would have to take back. And what would cause Him to take it back? He saved you when you were a lost sinner. Why would He take away your salvation because you fall or stumble or make a mistake or sin?

He’s not going to take your salvation back. He is a giver and He doesn’t take His gifts back. In fact, the Bible says in Romans 11 that “The gifts of God are without repentance.” They’re irrevocable. God doesn’t take His gifts back. And one of those gifts is salvation. And that Scripture is the proof that He won’t take your salvation away from you, because it is a free gift.

So you’ve got to keep putting your faith in Jesus Christ and keep standing on His Word but it will not keep you saved. The only way to lose your salvation, I guess, would be for you to reject Jesus and say, “I don’t want Him any more, I don’t believe in Jesus any more, I don’t believe He died for my sins and rose from the dead. I don’t even believe in God any more.” If you really felt that way, then I guess you wouldn’t be saved. But I don’t believe you ever really were saved if you could come to that place where you don’t believe Him any more.


One thought on “Eternal Security vs Conditional Salvation


    Some believers in Christ honestly believe that that truth is so offensive that Christians should only proclaim that God is love. Example: Only preach and teach that God loves everyone. Simply repeat John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (NKJV)

    The problem is even John 3:16 offends most people.

    Those who reject God’s truth find part or all of it offensive.


    1. Mark 16:16 “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.(NKJV)

    Mark 16:16 offends those who believe that water baptism is not essential for salvation.

    2. John 16:23 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.(NKJV)

    John 16:23 offends those who want to pray to the Virgin Mary and other dead saints.

    3. Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.(NKJV)

    Titus 2:11 offends those who believe God’s grace is only offered to a predetermined select few.

    4. Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame. (NKJV)

    Hebrews 6:4-6 offend those who believe in once in grace always in grace.

    5. Deuteronomy 4:39 “Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the Lord Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.(NKJV)

    Deuteronomy 4:39 offends those who believe in polytheism.

    There is one God. Men are not God nor can they become gods.


    1. Faith: John 3:16
    2. Confession: Romans 10:9
    3. Repentance: Acts 3:19
    4. Water Baptism: Acts 2:38

    The terms for pardon offend those who reject the terms.


    Posted by Steve Finnell at 3:13 PM No comments:
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