There are other places in Sacred Scripture that those who believe in a doctrine of Eternal Security will point to in support of their understanding. One is John 5:24 where Jesus says “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” As a Catholic I think one of the important things to note about this verse is that “believes” is present tense and indicates a current state of faith residing within the person.
However, in John 10:27-29 Jesus also says this: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” From the Catholic perspective I would see in that verse a great testimony to the faithfulness of God in providing us the grace to remain firm in our faith. But does it indicate that grace becomes irresistible at this point? Or even though no one can “snatch us,” can we ourselves yet willingly choose to leave our Father’s hand? As Catholics we would not see this verse as professing that grace is irresistible or that our free will to make a different choice is no longer intact. Rather we see it as a testimony to God’s faithfulness, not our own.
In Romans 11:28-29, St. Paul writes “As regards the gospel they are enemies of God, for your sake; but as regards election they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.” In context this is writing about the Jewish people, but the statement that the gifts and call of God are irrevocable is a general truth. I would again see this as a testimony to the faithfulness of God, not a statement that we can no longer choose to abandon God’s gift and our calling.
And there are other examples we see in Scripture that speak to God’s faithfulness to us:
Ephesians 1:13-14 “In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”
Ephesians 4:30 “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
1 Corinthians 1:6-8 “even as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you— so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ; who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 “May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”
These verses together could be a compelling case that once we’re saved we cannot lose that salvation if there were not so many comparable verses that indicate we indeed can. We will be looking at those over the next few posts. The only way I can reconcile the two is to again note that the verses above are a great testimony to the faithfulness of God and His desire to save us. When we choose to continue in the faith, to persevere and rely on God’s promises, we can indeed know that He will forgive us, strengthen us, sanctify us, and bring us home.