Text: I John 2:1-6
I. A large number of denominations follow a set of teachings popularized by John Calvin in the 1400's
A. His teachings were not new. They actually date back to man named Augustine who lived in the 400's. Augustine’s teachings were very influential in the formation of the Roman Catholic Church
B. What Calvin did was make Augustine’s teachings more consistent and presented it as five points.
C. We’re going to focus today on his point regarding the perseverance of the saints.
1. “A child of God cannot so sin as to lose his soul eternally.”
D. People often accept this without question
1. “There is one verse in particular which I have a hard time reconciling with the rest of Scripture. I know that you can't lose your salvation (John 10:27-29), but how is it possible to "fall" from grace? (Galatians 5:4) There are some questions I just can't find the answer to. And if one can not lose their salvation, then wouldn't that mean that no shift in doctrine of lifestyle would be damning to them if they are already saved?”
2. Because of their preconceived belief, simple statements, such as the warning not to fall from grace in Galatians 5:4 becomes confusing.
II. Arguments for the idea of eternal security
A. A popular argument goes this way: “If your son did not do what you asked, would you completely reject him as you claim God will His unfaithful children?”
1. The argument is based on emotion, not facts
2. The fact that people have been disinherited in the past doesn’t deter the arguer.
3. Nor the fact that we cannot measure what God will or will not do based on human feelings. - Isaiah 55:8-9
4. But even so, we can show the flaw in the thinking.
a. If a man promised his son a new car upon graduation from college, if the son dropped out in his junior year, is he still obligated to give the car?
b. Obviously no, he may still love his son, but the promise was conditional
c. The failure to receive the promise is on the son’s part, not the father’s
5. God promised eternal life, but with conditions - Romans 2:5-9
a. If the conditions are not met, God is not obligated to fulfill His promise
b. It will not be a failing on God’s part, but on man
B. Another popular passage is I John 3:9
1. What doesn’t come across well is that in the Greek is “does not sin” means does not habitually sin or persist in sin.
2. In regards to “cannot sin,” Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament states, “This is a wrong translation, for this English naturally means "and he cannot commit sin" as if it were kai ou dunatai hamartein or hamartêsai (second aorist or first aorist active infinitive). The present active infinitive hamartanein can only mean "and he cannot go on sinning," as is true of hamartanei in verse 1Jo 3:8 and hamartanôn in verse 1Jo 3:6.”
3. Actually John, in I John 2:1, does talk about the possibility of a Christian sinning and what must be done about it.
4. To claim no sin would be a lie - I John 1:8-10
5. It is no different than what Paul stated - Romans 6:1-2
6. Sin is not the natural state for a righteous man, so he doesn’t remain in it.
C. Two other passages are John 3:16 and John 5:24
1. But notice there are conditions stated: hearing and believing.
2. These verses do not rule out the possibility that a believer can become an unbeliever - Hebrews 3:12-14
D. What about John 10:28?
1. It states that no external force can remove a believer.
2. What isn’t ruled out, however, is for a believer to choose to leave.
E. A similar passage is Romans 8:34-39
1. “Nothing can separate us from the love of God”
2. Paul is asserting that nothing can pull the believer away, but he doesn’t say the believe cannot bar himself - Isaiah 59:1-2
3. But some have separated themselves - II Timothy 4:10
4. Ephesians were on the brink - Revelations 2:4
III. Proofs to the contrary
A. After listing out the sins of Israel, Paul gives warning - I Corinthians 10:12
1. I Corinthians 10:13 - God insures a way of escape, but its presence doesn’t imply that it must be taken. If it were always taken, there would be no reason for the warning.
B. The Galatians were children of God - Galatians 3:27
1. But some had fallen - Galatians 5:4
2. Why? Because they were listening to a different gospel - Galatians 1:6-9
C. Enlightened, but fallen - Hebrews 6:4-6
1. If eternal security exists, this is impossible
2. As an aside: Some worry that they might go too far.
a. Notice who this is written to: those who remain
b. It is a warning that if someone goes too far, it is impossible for those who remain to pull them back.
c. It doesn’t say that they may never come back on their own, though it is highly unlikely since they have denied the reason to come back.
D. Escaped, but entangled - II Peter 2:20-22
1. Worse off because the ability to persuade is missing
E. Galatians 6:1 - Why attempt to restore if one cannot fall?
IV. Extremes in silliness
A. Sam Morris, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Stamford, Texas: "We take the position that a Christian's sins do not damn his soul! The way a Christian lives, what he says, his character, his conduct, or his attitude toward other people have nothing to do with the salvation of his soul. ... All the prayers a man may pray, all the Bibles he may read, all the churches he may belong to, all the services he may attend, all the sermons he may practice, all the debts he may pay, all the ordinances he may observe, all the laws he may keep, all the benevolent acts he may perform will not make his soul one whit safer; and all the sins he may commit from idolatry to murder will not make his soul in any more danger ... The way a man lives has nothing whatever to do with the salvation of his soul."
B. Can a Christian lie?
1. Ananias and Sapphira did - Acts 5:3
2. But all liars end up in hell - Revelation 21:8
a. There is no distinction between regenerated and unregenerated liars.
C. Can a Christian get drunk?
1. Evidently since there are warnings against it - Ephesians 5:18
2. But a drunkard cannot go to heaven - Galatians 5:21
D. Can a Christian commit fornication?
1. It has happened - I Corinthians 5:11
2. But they cannot inherited the kingdom in that state - I Corinthians 6:9-10
V. We must always be on guard
A. Paul understood the danger - I Corinthians 9:24-27
B. The warning of the parable of the sower - Luke 8:13-14
C. So is there no security?
1. There is, but it is conditional - II Peter 1:10-11
2. It is based on obedience - Hebrews 5:9
D. Do I doubt my salvation? Not at all, so long as I know I am obedient - I John 2:3-6