Here is a recent study we did on Eternal Security or the idea of "once saved, always saved."
“Once saved, always saved” or Eternal Security is the belief that once a person experiences true conversion, he or she cannot lose their salvation.
This assumes 3 facts:
1.) The person must experience a true conversion from unbelief to belief in Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior;
2.) The existence of false converts is prevalent and true;
3.) God’s promise of salvation is powerful and able to keep true believers throughout eternity.
Fact #1 – The person must experience a true conversion
Elements of a True Conversion
1.) Drawn by God – A true conversion is not a response to man’s request (i.e. praying a prayer, walking an aisle, etc) but a response to God’s conviction laid upon your heart by the active work of the Holy Spirit in your life.
• Jeremiah 31:10-14
• Hosea 2:14-20
• John 6:44-59
• Acts 2:37
• Romans 8:28-30
• Ephesians 2:8-9
2.) True Belief in Christ – a belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior of the world and the object of our faith and affection
• Isaiah 9:2-7
• Micah 5:2-5
• John 1:11-12
• John 3:16-18
• 1 John 5:10-15
3.) Repentance – a continued response of hatred toward the flesh and of love toward God; A daily dying to self and living for Christ. Hebrew word “teshuvah” – “to turn”. Greek word “metanoia” – “to change the mind.”
• 2 Chronicles 7:11-22
• Deuteronomy 30:1-10
• Luke 3:7-14
• Acts 2:38-39
• 2 Corinthians 7:10
Fact #2 – The evidence of false conversion is prevalent and true. A person can experience the fellowship of the church, teaching of the world and understand spiritual things yet not experience true conversion.
The evidence of bearing spiritual fruit consistently, hatred toward things of the flesh (especially in one’s own life) and a desire to rid life of anything that hinders worship of God are exhibitions of a true convert.
• Isaiah 29:13-16
• Matthew 7:21-23
• Mark 4:5-6; 16-17
• John 15:1-17
• Romans 8:9-17
• Galatians 5:1; 16-26
• Hebrews 6:4-8
Fact #3 – God’s promise of salvation is powerful and able to secure believers unto eternity.
• Isaiah 44:6-8
• Jeremiah 4:1-2
• Jeremiah 31:31-34
• Micah 7:18-20
• Zephaniah 3:14-20
• Zechariah 9:14-17
• John 10:7-18
• John 15:4
3 Questions about your salvation –
1.) Do I have a present trust in Christ for salvation?
• Is your faith in Christ active today, not relying on good deeds or past deeds?
• Colossians 1:23
• Hebrews 3:14; 6:12
2.) Is there evidence of a regenerating work of the Holy Spirit in my heart?
• Romans 8:15-16
• 1 John 4:13
• The Holy Spirit bears witness in your heart that you are a child of God and you are led to obedience of God.
• Galatians 5:19-24 – Test your life against the deeds of the flesh or the deeds of the Spirit. Which ones are more prevalent? That should give evidence of your faith and salvation.
3.) Do I see a long-term pattern of growth in my Christian life?
• 1 Peter 1:13-23
• 2 Peter 1:3-11 – particularly focus on verses 5-9
• As your faith grows, you become more secure in what you believe on the basis of Biblical proof, not judgmental bias.
• Christian growth is growth in fruit of the Spirit, those fruit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
From Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, page 806:
“But here we see why the phrase “eternal security” can be quite misleading. In some evangelical churches, instead of teaching the full and blanced presentation of the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints (eternal security), pastors have sometimes taught a watered-down version, which in effect tells people that all who have once made a profession of faith and been baptized are “eternally secure.” The result is that some people who are not genuinely converted at all may “come forward” at the end of an evangelistic sermon to profess faith in Christ, and may be baptized shortly after that, but then they leave the fellowship of the church and live a life no different from the one they lived before they gained this “eternal security.” In this way people are given false assurance and are being cruelly deceived into thinking they are going to heaven when in fact they are not. Of course, not all who use the phrase “eternal security” make mistakes of this sort, but the phrase is certainly open to such misunderstanding.”