© 1999 James A. Fowler

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I. Biblical references.

    A. There are no Biblical references that use the phrase "eternal security."
    B. Examples of Biblical references that use the word "eternal."
         1. "Eternal life" - approximately 44 references in New Testament.
         2. "Eternal salvation" - Heb. 5:9
         3. "Eternal redemption" - Heb. 9:12
         4. "Eternal inheritance" - Heb. 9:15
         5. "Eternal covenant" - Heb. 13:20
         6. "Eternal kingdom" - II Peter 1:11
    C. There are no Biblical references that use the word "security" to refer to the Christian's
         relationship with Jesus Christ.

II. "Eternal security" is a theological concept and phrase originating in the
     Augustinian/Calvinistic theological system.

    A. This theological system emphasizes God's sovereign action to the neglect, diminishing or
         denial of human responsibility.
    B. Calvinistic theology characterizes itself by the TULIP acrostic.
         1. Total depravity.
         2. Unconditional election.
         3. Limited atonement.
         4. Irresistible grace.
         5. Preservation of the saints.
             a. It is this latter tenet from which the labels of "eternal security" and "once saved, always
                 saved" are derived.

III. A consideration of the words "eternal" and "security."

    A. Eternal
         1. Eternality is an attribute of God alone, never inherent in another and
             never dispensed as a commodity to be possessed by another.
         2. God's eternality must be understood both qualitatively as well as quantitatively; not just as
             timeless, endless, immeasurable.
         3. The eternality of God's character constitutes His life, salvation, inheritance, covenant,
             kingdom, etc.
    B. Security - from Latin word securus meaning "without care or anxiety"
        1. God is absolutely secure without reference to any other.
         2. As anything or anyone else is joined in dynamic solidarity with God,
             it too will share in His security, being as secure as He is secure
         3. The Christian who is thus joined spiritually and dynamically with God through Christ is
                 a. secure from fear, anxiety, care
                 b. secure from risk, danger, loss
                 c. secure in the pledge, deposit or guarantee of the perpetuity of participation in the
                     relationship and character with God.

IV. Biblical categories to be considered.

     A. Assurance
         1. Definition - the subjective awareness and confidence of spiritual identification with Jesus
         2. Examples of Scriptural support
             Rom. 8:16 - "the Spirit bears witness with our spirit"
             II Tim. 1:12 - "I know whom I have believed and am convinced..."
             Heb. 10:22 - "draw near in full assurance of faith"
             I Jn 5:13,14 - "you may know that you have eternal life..confidence"
     B. Dependability, faithfulness
         1. Definition - the objectivity of God's faithful character.
         2. Examples of Scriptural support
             John 6:37 - "one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out."
            John 10:28,29 - "no one shall snatch them out of My hand."
            Rom. 11:29 - "gifts and calling of God are without change of mind"
             Heb. 13:5 - "I will never desert you, nor will I forsake you."
    C. Preservation
         1. Definition - God's active work to protect, guide and maintain our Christian life.
         2. Examples of Scriptural support
             I Cor. 1:8 - "Jesus Christ shall confirm you to the end"
             Phil. 1:6 - "He will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ."
             Heb. 12:2 - "Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith"
             I Pet. 1:5 - "protected by the power of God."
    D. Perseverance
         1. Definition - the Christians' active role in being receptive to God's continuing preserving
         2. Examples of Scriptural support
             Rom. 8:25 - "with perseverance we wait eagerly for it"
             I Cor. 15:2 - "you are saved, if you hold fast the word preached..."
             Col. 1:23 - "present you before Him...if you continue in the faith"
             II Tim. 2:12 - "if we endure, we shall also reign with Him"
             Heb. 10:39 - "those who have faith to the preserving of the soul"
    E. Apostasy
        1. Definition - to stand away from Jesus and renounce Him, having previously identified with
         2. Examples of Scriptural support
             I Tim. 4:1 - "some will fall away from the faith"
             Heb. 3:12 - "falling away from the living God"
            Heb. 6:4-6 - "tasted of heavenly gift and then fallen away"
    F. Revocation or alienation
         1. Definition - the severing and termination of identification with Jesus Christ.
         2. Examples of Scriptural support
             John 15:6 - "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away.."
             I Cor. 9:27 - "lest I should be disqualified"
             Gal. 5:4 - "you have been severed from Christ..fallen from grace"
             II Pet. 2:20,21 - "last state is worst than the first"
    G. No irrevocable identification or relationship.

V. Differentiating between a static and dynamic understanding of our relationship with
     Jesus Christ.

    A. Eternality is not static, but dynamic.
        1. Eternality is not a time or duration measurement.
        2. Eternality is the perpetual expression of the character of God.
        3. Our participation in eternality is only in dynamic solidarity with the Eternal One.
    B. Salvation is not static, but dynamic.
         1. Salvation is not an entity or a product that we can possess.
         2. Salvation is not an event, experienced by certain procedures.
         3. Salvation is the process of being made safe from dysfunctional humanity in order to
             function as God intended.
             a. We are not "once saved..."
        4. We participate in salvation as we continually allow for the dynamic saving activity of the
             Savior to be operative in us.
    C. Security is not static, but dynamic.
         1. Security is not based upon believing a promise.
         2. Security is not based upon having gone through a procedure.
         3. Security is not based upon association.
         4. Security is based on a dynamic spiritual union with the Person of Jesus Christ and the
              function of His character in and through the Christian.



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