Eternal Security Of The Believer
Elder O. B. Mink
Now In Glory
An Old Testament Truth
“As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about His people from henceforth even forever” (Psalms 125:2).
The Old Testament informs the believer that God is his Fortress, Refuge, Strong Tower, Strength, Rock, Salvation, etc. (II Samuel 22:2, Psalms 18:2, Psalms 28:1, Psalms 19:2). It is in the Old Testament that the believer sees his abiding place to be under the shadow of God’s wing (Psalms 63:7). It is in the Old Testament the believer learns that God has him hidden in His pavilion: “For in the time of trouble He shall hide me … He shall set me upon a rock” (Psalms 27:5).
The field of Old Testament theology was thoroughly sown down with the truth of the security of the individual believer, and God’s people in this age are blessed with the inexhaustible harvest. Yet, in the face of this infinite and irrevocable evidence, there are some who tell us, the Old Testament promises are exclusively restricted to the nation of Israel, and cannot be rightly referred to for support when contending for the eternal security of the individual believer. Nothing could he more illogical; for God to preserve His chosen nation Israel, is to preserve the chosen individuals which constitute the true nation of Israel.
Harmony Of The Two Testaments Regarding
The Eternal Security Of The Believer
“For the LORD loveth judgement, and forsaketh not His saints; they are preserved forever …” (Psalms 37:28).
“The Lord …will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom …” (II Timothy 4:18).
“For He is our God; and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand …” (Psalms 95:7).
“My sheep hear My voice … and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand” (John 10:27–28).
“For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken” (Proverbs 3:26).
“Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24).
“… I will be with thee; I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Joshua 1:5).
“… He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).
We could go on indefinitely comparing Scripture with Scripture, showing the perfect harmony existing between the Old and New Testaments as relates to the God honoring doctrine of the eternal preservation of the saints, but will conclude this point by saying, any interpretation of Scripture that contradicts the final preservation of the believer, is a wrong interpretation, and is injurious to faith.
A Dramatic Illustration Of The Security
Of The Believer In The Old Testament
One of the most vivid illustrations portraying the eternal security of the believer in the Old Testament is found in the bitter experiences and faithful life of Job. Satan plying his trade and office of Devil, that is, slanderer and accuser of the children of God, presents himself before the Lord (Job 1:6). On this particular occasion, the Lord said unto Satan, “Hast thou considered My servant Job; that there is none like him in the earth?” (Job 1:8). Satan knowing God has abundantly blessed Job, counters with an accusation against Job: “Doth Job fear God for nought?” (Job 1:9). He charges Job with a wrong motive, that Job loves God, because God has made him rich, or that he serves God for what he can get in return. And to augment his charge against Job, says to God, “But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face” (Job 1:11).
Satan tells God the reason Job is not a traitor and rebel against Him is because “Thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side …” (Job 1:10). Satan in essence says, “Your wall of benevolent providence around Job is too high. I cannot cross over. You lower your wall and let me have him for a little while; then he will curse you to your face.” God accepts what Satan believes is a challenge, saying, “All that he hath is in thy power” that is, “only upon himself put forth not thine hand”, spare his life (Job 1:12). Job’s faith is to be tested by the arch adversary. He is made a ready target for the fiery darts of Satan. Can Job’s faith endure the awful pressure? Can his faith absorb the shock of disaster upon disaster, or will his great loss destroy his trust in God?
Satan speaks to Job through his friends, and says, “Where is the goodness of God toward you, if God loves you, why has He taken your substance, and made you the poorest of the poor? He has taken your precious children in death, and has consigned you to a disease that is more repulsive than death. Why don’t you take the easy way out? Curse God and die.” But the answer of a God given faith comes through clear and plain; “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15).
Job’s faith was in the omnipotent God Who doeth everything His soul desireth (Job 23:13). So, Job’s faith is of such nature that it transcends his present and painful circumstances, and enables him to see that God has a gracious purpose in all that has befallen him. And with absolute assurance he exclaims, “When He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10). Job knew that his reserves would magnify God by having a sanctifying effect on his own heart and life.
God may allow Satan a lot of liberty in persecuting the saint, but He will never permit Satan to touch the redeemed soul. The final security of the believer is off limits to Satan, and he will never be able to nullify God’s saving grace. God raised up Pharaoh that He might cast him down, and thereby manifest the utter impotence of Pharaoh’s resistance against His sovereign power. And God raised up Job, and permitted Satan to cast him down, yet not without a wise and gracious design; for we in retrospect see that God gives to His saints a faith which ultimately triumphs over the Devil.
How About David?
Some will say, “How about David? You know he was a backslider.” To this assertion I say, “A-men.” Then ask, how about that “just and perfect” man Noah, who got so drunk he passed out? How about faithful Abraham, who lied two times about his wife Sarah, saying that she was his sister? How about the wise man Solomon, who tried everything to erase God from his mind? How about Samson who consorted with the evil Delilah? How about conniving Jacob?, etc.
Then, how about Hebrews, the eleventh chapter? Is it not in this chapter we learn that God’s erring Old Testament saints enter Heaven as more than conquerors? David was a backslider, but not an apostatizer. David never renounced his faith in God, but was repentant toward God. David prayed, “LORD be merciful unto me; heal my soul; for I have sinned against Thee” (Psalms 41:4). David’s sin was shameful beyond mortal description, but not beyond Divine forgiveness. David’s sin merited and received a severe rebuke from the Lord. We read from David’s pen: “The LORD hath chastened me sore, but He hath not given me over unto death” (Psalms 118:18). David’s sin cost him much. He lost the joy and comfort of his salvation, but not his salvation. God’s gift of salvation has been exempted from recall, and the cup of Divine chastening is filled with the grace of recovery (Romans 11:29; Hebrews 12:11). David’s fellowship with his heavenly Father was broken, but not his relationship as a son of God. For his sin to have deprived him of his son ship in the family of God is to have consigned him to ever lasting destruction, for there is NO repetition of the spiritual birth. “I know that, whatsoever, God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it …” (Ecclesiastes 3:14).
Sin does not weaken the believer’s security, nor does faithfulness strengthen it, for the believer’s security is of such nature that it CANNOT be affected. But the saint needs to be consistently and acutely aware of David’s prayer, prayed with infinite pathos, “Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation” (Psalms 51:12). “I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears” (Psalms 6:6). When backsliding Israel is corrected and restored to her land, the Scripture says, “They shall serve the LORD their God, and David their King, whom I will raise up unto them” (Jeremiah 30:9).
Old Testament Saints Protected By Holy Angels
“The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them” (Psalms 34:7). It should humble the believer to realize God has set in motion an innumerable, invincible, and invisible host of angels to care for His elect. Squadrons, upon squadrons of angels have been dispatched from the throne of God’s sovereign mercy to minister to His elect. “God … hath sent His angel and delivered His servants that trusted in Him” (Daniel 3:28). The thought of angelic care should cause us to be awe stricken. To think that beings with knowledge and power infinitely greater than the strongest saint should gladly perform these unnoticed services for us should fill our hearts with gratitude toward God. It should strengthen our faith in the providential care which God exercises in behalf of His saints. The knowledge that spirits of such high rank are ordained of God to minister to the feeble saints should encourage them in their struggle against sin.
The elect angels cast Satan and the reprobate angels out of Heaven, and will in due season cast the evil hordes of this earth into the winepress of the wrath of God (Revelation 14:19). It was angels that put the torch to Sodom and Gomorrah, and it was an angel that laid gentle hands upon lingering Lot and led him out of the city of destruction (Genesis 19:16).
In Psalm 68:17 we learn that 20,000 chariots with thousands of angels accompanied God to meet with Moses at Mt. Sinai. Later, we learn that one of these angelic chariot drivers is dispatched by God to bring the prophet Elijah to Heaven. While Elijah and Elisha were conversing, “Behold,there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire and parted them both asunder, and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (II Kings 2:11). With great astonishment, and adoration Elisha cries out, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof”(II Kings 2:12).
This scene was deeply engraved in the mind of Elisha, and caused his faith in God’s providential care to know no bounds; the evidence of which is found in another remarkable and striking experience in the life of Elisha. The details of this account are found in II Kings 6:8–24. Elisha, at the time, is number one on Satan’s list of most hated men, and Satan employs the king of Syria and his mighty army to destroy Israel and Elisha. The king’s military strategy was no sooner planned than it became public property of Israel, and the king was greatly disturbed by this. He fears there is a conspiracy in his own ranks, and asks, “Which of us is for the king of Israel?” (II Kings 6:11). And one of his servants said, “None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speaketh in thy bed chamber”(II Kings 6:12).
God had “bugged” the Syrian king’s palace, and put Elisha on the listening end. The king of Syria sends his armies out after Elisha and during the night they encompass the city where the prophet lived. Elisha’s servant, a young man, rises up early in the morning, and as he goes forth, he beholds a sight that strikes terror to his heart. He sees the mighty Syrian host everywhere he looks. In fear and desperation he says, “Alas, my master! how shall we do?” (II Kings 6:15).
The old prophet does not get excited. He is exceedingly rich in the experience of God’s providential protection, and his love for and faith in God have purged fear from every nook and cranny of his being. As far as human power is concerned, there is no escape from the invading Syrians, and Elisha’s young servant is arrested by dread and fear and despairs of hope. But Elisha is a believer in the final preservation of the saints and implicitly trusts in God’s all powerful ability to deliver His children from the cruelest of enemies. So, Elisha prays not to be spared, for he knows he is “kept by the power of God” but that his young servant may know this great truth also: “LORD, I pray Thee, open his eyes that he may see” (II Kings 6:16). “And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw; and behold, and the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha” (II Kings 6:16). Thus, it was then, thus it is today, “Fear not: for they (the angels of God) that be with us are more than they that be with them” (II Kings 6:16; Hebrews 1:14). Elisha’s young servant did not feel secure, but he soon learned that feelings have nothing to do with security. Fears and doubts may come to the believer and try his faith, but they do not make the least indentation in the wall of security God has built around His blood bought children.
In the infinite counsel of God the redemption of His people antedates the creation of the universe. Time is but a minute speck floating in the boundless expanses of eternity, and God speaks of the redemption of His people as being an eternal accomplishment (Hebrews 9:12). Thus, it is, Paul speaks of the glorification of the elect of God in the past tense (Romans 8:30). When the Holy Spirit speaks of the Lamb’s Book of life written from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8), He has in view the names of the Old Testament saints as well as those of any other age. Moses and Elijah were Old Testament saints and being born fallen sons of fallen parentage, they were men of like passion the same as all the children of Adam. Yet, in the mind of God their sins were atoned for by the eternal efficacy of Christ’s shed blood.
The New Testament provides us with a scene where Moses and Elijah are standing with Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 7:14). Moses and Elijah being members of the alienated family of man during their sojourn on earth were, in this scene, standing on the ground of perfect reconciliation, and, apart from the shed blood of Christ, there is no reconciliation (Romans 5:10). Yet, while Christ spoke with Moses and Elijah on the Mount, His blood was running warm and pure in His veins. He had not yet in time suffered in the room and stead of His people. Nevertheless, Moses and Elijah were already enjoying the benefits of Christ’s vicarious atonement.
The security of the Old Testament saint is not any more sure this side of Calvary than it was thousands of years the other side. David said, “He hath made with me an everlasting convenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation …” (II Samuel 23:5). And David’s present place in glory has not enhanced his security one scintilla.
Jesus is the “Great Shepherd” of the Old Testament sheep as well as those of the New Testament, and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of all His sheep, and this was done on the merits of the “blood of the everlasting covenant” (Isaiah 53:6, Hebrews 13:20).
The practical effects produced by this doctrine in the life of the believer are not as the objector claims. It is often suggested by the contrary school that belief in the doctrine of eternal security is equal to having a license to live in sin. Nothing could be more opposed to Scripture, and the experience of a regenerate heart. The Scriptures provide the sincere seeker of truth with many an answer to this Arminian absurdity, but in this treatise we note only one, and this one should serve to shut the mouth of every would-be gainsayer, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:1,2). The blood of Christ shed for the elect has eternally nullified the condemning power of sin against them, and God ever stands ready to forgive the sins of His regenerate children (I John 1:9), but shall we that are bought with so great a price take advantage of God’s long- suffering and continue in sin? The Scriptural answer is an emphatic, NO, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not …” (I John 2:1).
Remember, it is God’s ability that keeps the saint, and not his own will or strength. And it is trust in God’s almighty ability that makes the victory experientially sure for the saint in his present spiritual warfare. He that has tasted and learned that the Lord is gracious (I Peter 2:3) has embarked upon the road of continuous sanctification, and the effect produced is abhorrence of sin and an ever increasing spiritual maturity (Romans 12:1, 2; Philippians 1:6). They which correctly understand this God exalting doctrine never contend for the preservation of those who consistently cultivate evil, and those which use this doctrine to support themselves in a low standard of Christian conduct are, I fear, damnably deceived.
“Moment by moment, I’m kept in His love.
Moment by moment, I’ve life from above.”
(The Sovereign Grace Advocate – March, 1981)