Charles Stanley - Your Convictions About Eternal Security
What is your conviction about eternal security? You say I don't know what that means. Well I'll explain it in just a moment. So, let me ask you this: has there ever been a time in your life when you placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, asked Him to forgive you of your sins, maybe you were baptized, maybe you joined a church? But can you point at some place in your life where you say there's where it happened to me?
Well let me ask you this: have you ever doubted that that was real? Have you ever doubted that God forgave you? Or maybe you found yourself at some point in life doing things that you know you shouldn't do? And then, did you begin to doubt if you were ever saved? Well, what I want to do in this message is clarify this whole issue of eternal security. Very, very vital part of what you and I believe. And I will define it for you in just a moment. The Bible says, "It is appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgment". So, one of these days you're going to die. You do not want to die not knowing where you're going.
So, how secure are you in what you believe? So, it's very, very important that you listen carefully. Write down as much as you can because it's going to affect you all the rest of your life. So, I'm going to give you some scriptures that clarify, unmistakably, where you are. And I trust that you'll jot those down. Let's start with how you got saved. For example, the scripture says in Ephesians two, eight, listen to this carefully, "For by grace," that's God's undeserved, loving favor, "by grace you're saved, you've been saved through faith," you trusted in Him, "and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God".
Now watch this next phrase, "Not the result of works, so that no one can boast". When you trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you didn't experience salvation because you were good, going to be good, have been good or anything else. For by grace you've been saved through faith. That is the grace of God; is His unmerited, undeserved, loving favor. He chose to save you because He wanted to. Most people think that salvation's based on their performance. "If I'm good enough I'm going to heaven. If I don't do so well, I don't know where I'm going". And so, they're uncertain about it.
So, what I want you to note is this: I want to read you a passage from Romans chapter five, very important passage, and just to remind you how you got saved. We just read that it wasn't because of anything you did. So, Romans chapter five, listen to this, beginning in verse six, While we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous person, though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified," that is declared no longer guilty, "by His blood," watch that, "we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies unsaved," living in sin if while that was going on, "we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life".
Now let me just explain that quickly. Notice what He said, "While we were still helpless at the right time Christ died for us". And then He says, "We were justified by His blood". Let me explain that. When you and I were living in sin and we could not save ourselves, He says we couldn't and we can't, what made it possible for us to be saved is Jesus went to the cross and shed His blood. As He says here, "Justified by His blood". Well what does justified mean? It means that holy God looked upon us as sinners and in spite of our sin He was willing to forgive us of our sins and give us the gift of eternal life. That is Jesus came as the atoning sacrifice for the primary purpose of dying on the cross. Watch this carefully. Why was that necessary? Because holy God couldn't just say, "Okay you're all right". But rather His Son Jesus laid down His life at Calvary, paid our sin-debt in full in His one life.
Think about this. What happened at the cross was powerful enough to save every person who's ever lived or ever will live. So, when He says here, "Justified by His blood we shall be saved, we will be saved from the wrath of God through Him. While we were enemies we were reconciled". Brought back into a relationship with God, brought into a relationship with God as a result of the death of His Son. That's why Jesus said, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life". Believes in Him does not mean just believe about Him. Believing to the fact that you've surrender your life to Him, that you yield to Him, that you acknowledge that He is God's method of saving you from your sin.
So, when we look at those passages, then I want you to look in Romans chapter ten for a moment. We're talking about salvation at this point, now. So how does that happen? Verse nine of chapter ten of Romans, "If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved". That means that you are willing to agree with God that as a result of Jesus' death on the cross, He is willing to forgive you of your sins, if we confess with our mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart God has raised Him from the dead, you'll be saved. Which means that you believe He went to the cross, shed His blood payment for your sin and mine, and rose proving to the world that He was God's accepted offering for man's sin. Did you get all that? Say, "Amen".
Okay, so that's salvation. That's how God has saved us. He didn't save us on the basis of our good works, not by good works. He says, "but according to His mercy He saved us". So, all of us who are saved are saved as a result of confessing the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal savior, confessing our sins to Him, surrendering our life to Him. And the moment we do that, we're saved for eternity. Now it's that eternity that bothers some people. Because there are many people who have been saved, but they're not sure. If you ask them are you saved? They'd say, "Well I think so". Well why do you just think so? "Well, because I've done this, and I've done that, and I've sinned here, and I haven't been perfect, and all these mistakes I've made". Mmm, on and on they go and so therefore, they're not sure.
Listen to me: God would never give you the gift of salvation without giving you the assurance that it's yours. And you remember the scripture says that we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, sealed by the Holy Spirit. The moment you trusted Christ as your Savior the Holy Spirit, third person of the trinity; God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, that the Holy Spirit the scripture says, "Sealed you unto the day of redemption". And nobody can break that seal. So, you are a child of God. Saved, listen, if you were saved by your works we'd all have reasons to doubt it. But as a result of accepting His sacrificial death at the cross and receiving Him as our Savior, personally, we're saved.
So you've been saved. Now, so now that you've been saved, what we have to deal with somebody says, "Okay, that being true, what about sin in my life"? What about that? Okay, so the gift of eternal life includes the gift of eternal security and all the folks don't realize that. I was saved at twelve and the pastor told me, "Charles grow up and be a good boy". Well at twelve years of age that wasn't too bad. By the time I got thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen it got a little harder. So was I lost? Did I get saved then was I lost? So, I want to define eternal security.
So you ought to write this one down. Eternal security: that work of God in Christ which guarantees that the gift of salvation once received by faith, is possessed forever, and cannot be lost. If you can be saved and be lost, and there are many people who believe that and some people who preach it, if you can be saved and be lost, listen, you are never secure. You never are secure in your relationship to God if you can be saved, and sin, and be lost. Because the truth is all of us sin at some point in our life, and many people will tell you, "Well, I think I'm okay".
Now watch this: just because you don't drink and run around and you do a good job, and you have good friends, and all these good things in your life, hmm, just all that good stuff that you just pile up and say, "Well how in the world could God do anything but just bless me"? Because He says, "Not by works of righteousness which we've done but according to His mercy He saved us". It isn't what you've done. Now remember this: you don't have to commit any of the things I mention and a whole more, but watch this. There are a lot of people who live from their perspective, a good life. Pay their bills, true to their husband or wife, and try to do their best, this, that and the other, watch this, but ignore God. No place for Jesus Christ in their life. They wouldn't fall in the category of being a very sinful person. They'd fall in the category of being a good person, but without Jesus, without God, because they don't feel they need anything else, and they're totally deceived by the devil.
And so, when they say, "Well you're talking about getting saved". Getting saved from what? "I do a good job, I'm honest, and all the good things". Not by works of righteousness which we've done but according to His mercy He saved us. Because you see when you reject the Lord Jesus Christ you have rejected the one avenue to eternal life. He's the only way. There are people who'll tell you I don't need religion. Well neither do I, but I need Jesus, because religion does not get you to heaven. And the big mistake is your view of how good you are when the Bible says, "There is none good, no not one". None good enough to be accepted into heaven on the basis of your goodness. So, let's look at this for a moment. Does this mean that I can't sin at all after I'm saved? No, it does not.
Now I want you to listen very carefully: sin doesn't fit who we are now that we're saved. It doesn't. But sin will be in our life at times. I want to clarify one thing. When a person understands the Biblical doctrine of eternal security, watch this, they're not going to excuse themselves for this sin, and that sin, and the other, or take advantage of their secure position as being a child of God, and live in sin. They're not going to do that. So, I want you to think about this for a moment. Turn to First John, let's turn to the first chapter of First John. This is not the gospel. This is First John way back in the back. Listen to what he says. Chapter one verse seven, "If we walk in the Light as He Himself," that is Jesus, "is in the Light," righteousness, "we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son is continually cleansing us from all sins". You get that? If you and I are saved, the blood of Jesus Christ is continually cleansing us from all sin.
You say well in my Bible it says "cleanses". It is a present tense which means continuous, habitual action. Continually cleansing us. Now watch this, "If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us". Now He's writing to Christians, now watch this, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous or just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness". Watch this, if my salvation was conditioned upon anything that I do, this wouldn't even be in the Bible. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness".
All right, let's keep reading, "If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His Truth is not in us". Well, we wouldn't say we've not sinned. All right, look at the second chapter and that first verse. "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin". Writing to believers, so that you may not sin. "And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate," like one who acts on our behalf. Like if you were on trial, you have a lawyer to help you. "We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous One". Look, "And He Himself is the propitiation," or the sacrifice, "for our sins and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world".
So, if a sin or sin of any kind would break your security this wouldn't even be in the Bible. He's saying it's not the will of God that any sin, but if you do and when you do, He says, here's how you're to respond. You're to confess it; not hide it and deny it. If we confess it, "He's faithful and righteous". What does righteous mean? Righteous, the other word for that, of the translation is just. For example, watch this, how does a Holy God justify forgiving me of all my sin? If He's holy and I'm sinful, how does God justify that? He justifies it by sending His only begotten Son, a part of the Trinity, Holy Jesus, as a living sacrifice at the cross. The shedding of His blood, which atoned for all the sin of all mankind, all the way back to Adam to the last person who was ever born.
And so, how does God, who is holy, justify those of us who are sinners? Because Jesus has already paid the price of our sins, and it is applied to me when you and I confess our sins to Him, and we're confessing our sins on the basis that we believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, and He has atoned for our sins, and therefore my confession to Him, my acceptance of Him as my Savior, justifies me before God. So, look at this: when you were saved, you were eternally saved. Listen, how you get saved? By the shed blood of Jesus. How do you stay saved? Shed blood of Jesus. So, my salvation is never in question once I have trusted Christ as my personal Savior. And so, sin is an issue we all have to deal with and we just decide do we want to live a holy life or not. And you can live a holy life, a godly life because you have the Holy Spirit living in you. But if you do sin he says here's what you and I deal with.
Now, I want you to turn to Hebrews, chapter twelve for a moment. And let's look at this passage because all of these verses go together. So, Hebrews chapter twelve, listen to what He says. Beginning in verse five: "And you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons," watch this carefully, "my son," or my daughter, "do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him," convicted by Him, "for those whom the Lord loves..." Did you get that word? "Loves He disciplines. And He scourges every son whom He receives". That is, you practice sin, God's coming. For the simple reason it doesn't fit who you are.
And so, somebody says, "Okay, are you telling me that I can be saved and that I can commit sin"? Sure, you can. And He's going to chastise you, and He's going to discipline you. In other words, when people think they're getting away with it, and sometimes we wonder why people are going through things. And you can't judge other folks by what's happening in their life, necessarily, but there are people who are going through things in their life, and it's the pure, watch this, the pure, loving but strong, painful, discipline of Almighty God. He says, don't practice sin. If you do, you can expect God's hand to come upon you.
So, what I want you to see is this: if you are really saved, truly saved, you're saved forever. What kind of life are you to live? A godly life, a holy life; righteous life, not just good, but a godly life. If you don't, you can ask God to forgive you, and He'll forgive you. Now watch this carefully, are you listening? Say, "Amen". Depending upon the nature of the sin, that will depend upon the type of chastisement you receive, or discipline, and the length of it. The discipline, the chastisement that comes upon believers, not unbelievers, believers disobeying God depends upon the nature of that sin, how long you continue to sin, and the degree to which you sin. So nobody, watch this, nobody gets away with sin. You say, "Well, I know so-and-so," no you don't. You don't. If a person's saved and they disobeyed God, there's going to be chastisement.
Let me ask you this, and I'm raising my hand. How many of you have ever felt chastised? Now don't do this, come on. In other words, the truth is, we've all who've been saved. Now if you're not saved, that's not true. God's just letting you walk in your sin, but your lost. And the Bible says, "It's appointed unto men once to die, and after the judgment". And when you die without Christ, you're going to be eternally separated from God. When you trust Christ as your Savior, eternally secure. Disobey Him, chastisement, discipline. And all that's for the purpose not of destruction, but of saving you and using you.
I'm saying one last thing. Remember this: you are not saved and secure because of anything you do good. You are saved and secure because of what Jesus Christ did at the cross. And you accepted that personally, in your personal belief, that He died on the cross for your sins, and you have surrendered your life to Him. And I would say to you, if you have never done that you can get saved sitting right where you are. You've heard the truth of the Gospel. If you pray this prayer silently, or you can pray it out loud, if you wanted to.
You pray to Him: "Father, I heard the truth, I'm asking You to forgive me of my sin, I've not been who I should have been. I've failed You, I've sinned against You, and I know that I cannot be saved by my good works. I'm asking You to forgive me of my sin, I surrender my life to You, and I choose to obey You, and believe that from what I've heard today, the Holy Spirit living within me will enable me to live a godly life. Lord, it doesn't look like it now, but Lord, I'm trusting You, in Jesus' Name". He will eternally save you, and bless you, when you make that decision. And I hope that you wouldn't dare walk out of here without being certain. If you're lost, you get saved. If you're saved, live a godly life. And not only that, tell somebody else. Look at all the people you work with and live around, who don't know the truth about the Word of God, and you can tell them.
Father, how grateful we are, you make it simple for us. And when you gave through Your Son that simple, powerful, verse, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life". Thank you for that, and I pray that everyone who listens to this message will take it to heart, will realize that it's the truth, and will make whatever decision is necessary to make them acceptable to You, in Jesus' Name. Amen.