By: Joel Joyce
A sense of security is a basic need we all have. After food, clothing, shelter, and love, security is probably the next need we try to fulfill. We seek security in many areas: job security; financial security; social security; national security; home security. We spend an enormous amount of money on security. Consider the cost of health insurance and auto insurance. What are we purchasing? Security. Although you probably pay a great deal of attention to security in your day to day life, you may be ignoring the most important security you need—eternal security. What security do you have for eternity, for the endless life of your soul that will follow your death? How sure are you that you will be in heaven? Do you know that you can gain security for eternity in this present life? You have likely invested significant money and time to achieve security for this life. Take a moment to consider your need for eternal security.
Eternal security comes from possessing eternal life. It results from having a right relationship with God and knowing that your sins are forgiven. The Lord Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 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). The phrases “I give unto them eternal life,” “they shall never perish,” and “neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” prove that those who are Christ’s sheep are completely secure for eternity—they could not be more secure.
When Christ spoke of His sheep, he was speaking figuratively of those who had put their faith in Him. The figure is so appropriate. Sheep are among the most vulnerable animals. They have no natural defense against any predator. They are helpless animals. And that is our condition before God because of our sin. The Bible says, “when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:8). We are without strength to remove our guilt before God, without strength to acquire God’s forgiveness, and without strength to shelter ourselves from eternal punishment for our sins. But while we are powerless, Christ is not, “Christ died for the ungodly.” We deserve eternal punishment for our sins, but Christ became our substitute and bore that punishment when He died on the cross. Through His death, Christ has made it possible for us to be eternally secure from facing punishment for sins.
How do we get eternal security? It is a gift, “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians. 2:8,9). We can’t earn it by good living, because our lives could never meet God’s perfect standards: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Jesus said, “none is good, save one, that is, God” (Luke 18:19). And we can’t obtain it through church sacraments such as baptism or communion. Although these practices are taught in the Bible, they are not presented as a means of gaining eternal security. They are merely symbols that show spiritual truth. Eternal security is a gift personally received from God, through an act of faith. It is not a life long process, but rather a moment in a person’s experience when he abandons trust in himself and trusts Christ as his Savior.
How can we be sure we are eternally secure? Christ does not leave His sheep in the dark. When He gives us eternal life, He also assures us that we have it. This assurance comes not through feelings, but rather through something concrete, reliable, and unchanging—His Word. The Apostle John wrote, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). This promise of assurance is given to those who have believed on His name.