Sunday, February 01, 2009

Eternal Security Pt. 2: How Long Does "Eternal Life" Last?

The question that must be asked here is this: "How long does 'eternal life' last?" Well, by definition, "eternal life" lasts forever. On this basis alone one can confidently reject the notion that our salvation, our "eternal life", can be forfeited. If our "eternal life" can come to an end, then it is not "eternal life." If "eternal life" is anything but "eternal" and "everlasting" then Jesus has given false promises. Eternal life means eternal life.

Someone might avoid the above conflict by asserting that eternal life doesn't begin until we die physically. But is this true? Well, IF it's true, then your eternal life is conditioned not on your faith in Christ, but on what you do between the time you believe in Christ and the time you die. In other words, salvation becomes a product of your works and not a product of God's grace through faith in Christ.

John 3:3, John 3:7 and 1 Peter 1:23 all use the phrase "born again," referring to salvation. John 3:6 contrasts the birth of the body (flesh) against the birth of the spirit. Also, 2 Cor 5:17 and Gal 6:15 both say that you are a "new creature" in Christ. If our eternal life doesn't begin until we die, then why did the Holy Spirit use these descriptions?

Eternal life begins the moment you place your trust (faith alone) in Jesus Christ for salvation. This is when you become a "new creature" and are "born again." If eternal life begins at salvation, and if eternal life is truly "eternal", then there can be nothing we can do to lose our salvation.

The following verses all promise eternal life or everlasting life specifically, or "life" synonymously, conditioned on faith in Christ: John 3:15, John 3:16, John 3:36, John 5:24, John 11:25, John 20:31, 1John 5:13 And note that John 5:24 and John 11:25 both represent the words of Jesus Christ Himself.


  1. Does this mean that those that are "saved" and then fall away, are still eternally saved?

  2. Precisely. The point, for this particular reason, is that if Christ promises eternal life, He must mean eternal life; that is, forever. As in everlasting." No ifs ands or buts about it. If eternal life lasts forever, then there can be no way of losing it. It lasts forever. Eternal life that can be lost is not eternal, is it?


  3. So you can become saved and then go murder, rape, pillage, act in sadistic ways and still be saved?

  4. Actually, the literal answer to your question is "Yes." Now that might freak you out, but either Christ died for all sins or He only died for some sins.

    Here's a question for you: If your "post salvation" sins can cancel out Christ's work on the cross, then how could Christ's work on the cross have ever cancelled out your "pre salvation" sins?

    And also note that, once again, if sins can cancel your eternal life, then you never, in fact, had eternal life.

    Salvation is by grace.

  5. And I forgot to mention that the "literal" answer to your question is pretty theoretical. And also that if a person did do that, they'd have a MISERABLE life here and then no rewards in Heaven. In other words, we're not supposed to do that. But our salvation isn't threatened by ANY sin. ALL sins were paid for on the cross.

  6. I could have done a better job in responding to this particular challenge, although the answer ultimately hasn't changed.

    Actually Part 1 addressed this with God's omniscience. Let's just imagine some schlep named Earl who accepts Christ as saviour on a given day, is saved as a consequence, and then, 10 years later, robs a bank, kills 3 people and rapes a woman. (as unlikely as that would be… but still possible in the grand scheme of things) The question is, on the day that Earl accepted Christ and became saved, did God know that Earl would rob a bank, kill 3 people and rape a woman in ten years, or did He NOT know this?

    If He did NOT know this, then what happened to God's omniscience? It's gone, isn't it? Non-existent.

    If He DID know this would happen, then why did He save Earl on the day that the man accepted Christ?

    And if God withheld salvation from Earl on that day BECAUSE God knew that Earl would rob a bank, kill 3 people and commit rape, then guess what? Salvation has now become contingent on Earl's works, his obedience, and not on his trusting in Christ. Suddenly, placing his trust in Christ did not have the result (salvation; eternal life) that Jesus promised it would.

    And not only that, but now God is holding Earl responsible for sins that Christ already took the punishment for. This violates God's attribute of perfect Justice… God cannot extract payment twice for the same offense. Either Christ paid the penalty, or He didn't.

    Also notice one other thing, if you don't mind: I believe that there's absolutely NOTHING I can do to cancel my salvation AND YET, you don't see me out murdering, raping and pillaging and otherwise acting in sadistic ways.

    Nobody is saying that because salvation cannot be revoked that we are then free to do whatever we want. We will suffer various consequences here on Earth, our lives will be ruined, and then we'll end up in Heaven with no rewards… things of that nature. But nowhere in the Bible does it say that salvation is anything other than entirely permanent and "non-refundable." That's grace.

    Look at John 10:28, the words of Jesus:

    "and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand."

    They shall NEVER perish!! In the Greek, the word translated "never" is the expression "ou me" (oo may) which, literally, means "no no". It's a double-negative… except double negatives in Greek aren't a big 'no-no' as they are in English. In Greek, a double-negative is emphatic. It adds emphasis to the negative. You might think of it as "never EVER" if that helps. Those to whom Christ gives (notice it's a gift) eternal life will NEVER EVER perish! And NO ONE will snatch them out of his hand!

    What room is there, in a passage like this, to think for a moment that you are anything but eternally secure in Christ?