For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, andhave become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of theage to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again forthemselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
(Heb. 6:4-6 NKJV)
And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
(Matt. 10:22 NKJV)
The Calvinists countered with verses in accordance with the following to prove that aChristian cannot lose his salvation.
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separateus from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Rom. 8:38-39 NKJV)
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, andthey shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has giventhem to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand.
Today, most discussions about this subject are of a totally different nature than theywere historically. The current tendency is to start in the middle of the subject and thenproceed to go round and round in useless arguments. The discussion of this subject hasradically changed in the last one hundred years. As mentioned above, it must beemphasized that in the beginning of this dispute, both Calvinists and Arminians agreedthat only those who persevered unto the end would be saved. Both sides acceptedMatthew 10:22 at face value. The Calvinist insisted just as strongly as the Arminian thatone had to endure to the end, or he would indeed be lost. The argument was not overthe necessity of perseverance but over the certainty of it. The point of disagreement waswhether all Christians would be able to persevere unto the end. The doctrine of free willforced the Arminian to believe that some Christians would not be able to hold out andcould, with their free wills, turn back to unbelief and be lost. The doctrine of free andsovereign grace forced the Calvinist to say, “We agree that only those who persevere tothe end will be saved, but we also insist that God’s grace and power will enable all true believers to persevere.”I am sure the reader will notice that I use the phrase “the perseverance of the saints”and not “eternal security.” I assure you that the choice of words is deliberate. If weunderstand three vital points, we will not only understand the biblical doctrine ofperseverance; we will also see how radically different that doctrine is from the idea ofeternal security as it is believed and taught by most evangelicals today. Here are thethree key questions:(1)
Exactly what, or who, is a true Christian?(2)
How does a person become a true Christian?(3)
How does any individual know for sure that he is a true Christian?