This is the third Little Lesson where we’ll be discussing this subject of the security of the believer. Is it unconditional, or is it conditional?
When you believe in Jesus, does that guarantee that you have a salvation that there’s no possible way you could forfeit? Or is your security conditional? Conditional upon you continuing in the faith, as evidenced by your continued walk of obedience to the commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ?
If you’ve been listening to the last two Little Lessons (you can view the first one here and the second one here), you know that I’m in the camp that says that security is conditional upon a continued walk with Christ.
Now, we want to walk in love toward one another. We want to realize that the most important thing is not whether or not you can lose salvation. The most important thing is whether or not you have it right now! And if you do have it, there needs to be some evidence of this in your life. Faith without works is dead.
What Jesus Taught About Conditional Security
One of the most obvious texts that shows us that it is indeed possible for a true believer to revert back to a life of sin and to miss out ultimately on salvation and eternity in the Kingdom of Heaven is in the Olivet Discourse. Jesus is speaking to His closest disciples. After He tells them about all of the signs that will precede His coming, He begins to warn them repeatedly of the importance of making sure that they’re ready.
So, I’m going to begin in Matthew 24:43, the first of three stories that Jesus tells that all have the same moral: make sure you’re ready, because if you’re not, there are dire consequences! Again, He’s talking to Peter, James, John and Andrew, his closest disciples.
But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will. Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. – Matthew 24:43-47
So, there is a slave who is now contrasted with an evil slave,
But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time,’ and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards; the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. – Matthew 24:48-51
A hypocrite is someone who professes to be something they really aren’t, as evidenced by their actions.
An Interesting Interpretation
Now, commentators who believe in unconditional, eternal security have to twist this scripture to such a degree in order to make it fit their particular doctrine. They say that the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth is not Hell. Oh no, it’s a place outside the main portals of Heaven where it’s not so bright and light!
The outer darkness is a place where unfaithful Christians will be regretting that they weren’t faithful. They’ll be over there weeping and gnashing their teeth for a while until Jesus comes and, as the scripture talks about, wipes every tear. Then he’ll welcome them in.
It’s so obvious what’s being said here. Jesus is talking to Peter, James, John and Andrew, His closest disciples. And He’s warning them, “Make sure you’re ready. Don’t be like the evil slave who thinks the master will be a long time in coming, so there’s no sense in worrying about what He will think of me or if I’m doing his will.”
So, this will represent a believer who becomes an unbeliever or a believer who is a stupid believer and who’s counting on something that he shouldn’t be counting on: the delay of his master.
Jesus said, “You don’t want to be like him, because, in the end, that guy is placed with the hypocrites. There’s weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And if you study Jesus’s use of the phrase, “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” it’s always a reference to Hell. Okay, so these guys are really desperate when they start saying that this place is Heaven!
Five Foolish Virgins
This parable is followed by two others. First, the parable of the 10 virgins (Matthew 25:1-13). Take note that it was spoken to Jesus’ closest disciples, Peter, James, John and Andrew. And it’s moral is, “Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour” (v. 13).
That is, you don’t want to be like the five foolish virgins. All 10 were ready at the beginning, but five of them became unready and they were not allowed into the wedding feast. “Don’t be like them, Peter, James, John and Andrew.” So, obviously, it was a possibility that these men, as free moral agents, could have become like the evil slave and the five foolish virgins and not have been ready and faced the consequences.
Three Stewards, Two Prepared, One Unprepared
Then finally, the very next parable is the parable of the talents. All of these men received some talents. One received five talents. One received two and one received one. The master goes on a journey and then He comes back.
The man with one talent buried it in the ground. And when the master came back, this man wasn’t ready. He didn’t have anything to present before his master as a return on his investment. His master said to him, “Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:30).
“This man wasn’t ready for his master’s return, Peter, James, John and Andrew. You don’t want to be like him.”
Keep Following Jesus!
Okay, so, what’s the message? The message is, yes, it is possible. It is possible to forfeit salvation. That’s very clear from these scriptures. If you’re not ready when Christ returns or at your death, you will forfeit salvation.
And so the message is, keep following Jesus. Strive to enter by the narrow door, as Jesus said.
If you make a mistake, well, just keep your heart soft. Ask God’s forgiveness, repent, get up and get going again. All of these men didn’t just make one little slip up. They had major, major flaws where they were not ready. So, I want you to be ready. I want to be ready. Let’s be ready together!
All right. Much more to be said on this subject. Books have been written about it. I’ve written a chapter on this subject in my book Forever Rich, and an entire book dealing with true and false assurance called The Great Gospel Deception. Thanks for joining me! God bless.