Conditional Security of Christian Believers
SECURITY: the quality or state of being secure: freedom from danger, fear or anxiety
I have been a believer for over 35 years, having been saved at the ripe ol’ age of 21. One of the first teachings I received was the eternal security, “once saved always saved” (OSAS) doctrine. This doctrine teaches that once a person has placed faith in Christ (asked Jesus into his/her heart?), that person is eternally and irrevocably destined to heaven. It was, in my thinking, a contract I signed with God, a business transaction. Please understand, I am in no way reducing the covenantal promise He has provided to all who will trust in Him, but I suppose I question the duration of trust required.
Although I was never explicitly taught that sin could not break the contract I “signed” with God through faith, there was no fear to indulge in some peripheral sin. I was secure – I was going to be just fine! For close to 25 years I belonged to an eternal security denomination. I would only read eternal security books, eternal security pamphlets, and listen to teachers who taught eternal security. Every few sermons seemed to emphasize the eternal security of the believer, sometimes even using certain Scriptures to support the teaching. I vowed to never entertain that heresy of the “dark side”.
I just couldn’t risk the conflict in my mind.
I thought the OSAS logic was air tight. Certain Scriptures seemed to only teach the eternal security position. I would simply avoid the odd “bothersome” passages, (which began to pile up after a while), or find some way to explain the passage away.
It was a very comfortable place to be.
A Loss of Security
Then the church I was (heavily) involved in found sin in us and told us to leave. We were shocked and disoriented.
Just a few days previously, I had lost my job. We were living in a small Texas town with no possibility for work.
The security we found in our local church and our cushy job fell down around us.
I eventually found a position approx. 3 hours away. During my 3 hour commutes Monday morning and Friday afternoon, I began to listen to a Bible teacher who held different views than I. Initially I was drawn to this teacher’s eschatology, since my faith in dispensational teachings was slipping. He is a methodical and thorough Bible teacher who is not afraid to consider alternate viable interpretations of the Scriptural text.
I found him to be very challenging. Only one weakness – he had a “dark” side – he didn’t teach OSAS!
As I listened to his teaching on Israel, the church and the end times, I would occasionally catch a reference to his “dark” side teaching and at first easily rebuffed his argument in my mind. That is until the passages became too numerous. It seemed that all I was doing was excusing, avoiding or rearranging Bible passages.
I started to study the passages and other authors from the dark side, until I found a book by Robert Shank, called “Life in the Son”. If you desire to continue in the OSAS camp, do not read this book. The exposition of numerous passages became too much for me.
So what is true security?
So far, I think true security is found in a consistent, direct relationship with the Savior. A desire to please Him and to do as He directs.
Although I have learned much since I began to consider conditional security, two thoughts come to mind.
- The new covenant is an agreement between two parties.
- He is faithful in all His activities and promises.
- I am asking for help to become like Him.
- If the nation of Israel, God’s covenant nation, was cut off and destroyed, how could I be so proud to think my relationship with the Living God could be ignored and not suffer?
No matter which camp you may fall into, we need to be motivated to please Him in all our ways.
As I publish on this blog, I will occasionally write on this topic, based on a Bible passage or topic. I look forward to all comments and remarks.
I hope you will join me in “Considering the Bible”
2 Timothy 2:19
Howbeit the firm foundation of God standeth, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his: and, Let every one that nameth the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness.