1. THE DOCTRINE OF THE SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER
2. OBJECTIONS TO THE DOCTRINE OF THE SECURITY OF BELIEVERS
A. The Doctrine of the Security of Believers is Objected because of Bible characters who, supposedly, lost their salvation.
1) Judas (He never was saved as John 6:70, 71 and 17:12 indicate).
Judas acted so much like a true believer that when Christ announced to the twelve that one of them would betray him, they all began to ask at the last supper, “Lord, is it I?” Not, “Lord, is it Judas?”
2) 1 John 2:19 describes professing believers who were never saved. Their departure from Christ and his church was proof they were never believers.
3) Mt. 7:21-23 describe the end at the Great White Throne for professing believers like Judas. It is interesting what Jesus will say, “I never knew you.” Not, “I once knew you when you were a believer, but now since you have fallen from grace, I know longer know you.” No, Jesus will say, “I never knew you” because these religionists were never believers even though they performed religious works.
B. The Doctrine of the Security of Believers is Objected because of Warning passages. Different views concerning this warning passage: Hebrews 6:4-6.
1) Saved but lost view. This is the Arminian position.
“It should be noted that once they have lost their salvation, there is no way they can regain it. The one item that is unequivocal in this passage is that it is impossible to renew them to salvation (v.4), a point which many Arminians ignore (Erickson, p. 992).
2) Non-Christian view. This was John Calvin’s view.
These individuals were not believers but they were professors who apostasize (John Calvin, Commentaries on the Epistle to the Hebrews, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. 1949, pp. 135-140).
Lewis Sperry Chafer also held to this interpretation (Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, Dallas: Dallas Seminary Press, 1948, pp. 302, 303).
Wayne Grudem expounded this view in his Systematic Theology, pp. 796-803.
3) Hypothetical view. This Erickson’s view.
The key element in the present context is found in verse 9: “Though we speak thus, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things that belong to salvation” . . . They are genuinely saved people who could fall away. Verses 4-6 declare what their status would be if they did. Verse 9, however, is a statement that they will not fall away. They could, but they will not!
Their persistence to the end is evidence to that truth. The writer to the Hebrews knows that his readers will not fall away; he is convinced of better things regarding them, the things that accompany salvation. He speaks of their past work and love (v. 10), and exhorts them to continue earnestly in the same pursuits (v.11). The full data of the passage would seem to indicate, then, that the writer has in view genuine believers who could fall away, but will not (Erickson, pages 993, 994).
4) Lack of maturity view (Dr. Bowman’s view)
The purpose of the book is to demonstrate the superiority of Christ and Christianity over Judaism. The addressees were Hebrew Christians: they are termed “holy brethren” (3:1), “partakers of a heavenly calling” (3:1), and “partakers of Christ” (3:14). Although their present condition was dangerous, the writer nonetheless considered them saved (6:9) but in need of maturity (6:1) and progress in their walk with Christ. They were in danger of lapsing back into Judaism (5:11-6:3; 10:19-25). These Hebrew Christians were suffering persecution and had become discouraged (10:32-34; 12:4). They had lost their property and had suffered public ridicule and ostracism for their faith in Christ. The writer addresses these circumstances, exhorting them to go on to maturity (4:14; 6:11 ff.; 10:23, 36; 12:1). He also warns them about the seriousness of apostasy (6:4-8; 10:26-31; 12:14-29) (Paul Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology, Chicago: Moody Press, 1989, p.118).
Next we are going to discuss the need to go on to maturity, the encouragement to go on to maturity and the warning about continued immaturity.
a) The need to go on to maturity (Heb.5:11-14)
1) They were bored listeners (v.11).
2) They were students and not teachers (v.12).
3) They were babies and not full grown adults (vv.13, 14).
What then are the biblical principles underlying spiritual maturity? A mature believer should be able to teach others, both from his knowledge of Scripture and from his years of Christian living. As a spiritual adult, he can prepare his own meals from the Scriptures; he does not have to be nursed or spoon-fed. His spiritual senses have been sharpened to make correct moral decisions. His spiritual body (mind and muscles) is well conditioned and coordinated. The immature Christian is just the opposite. Bible teachers have a hard time trying to make spiritual truth simple enough for him to understand. He is dull of hearing, apathetic, indifferent at times to the preached Word.
He has been saved long enough to be a spiritual college graduate, but actually he is still in the first grade, learning his spiritual ABCs. He is ignorant of basic biblical principles, therefore he cannot make that distinction by himself. He is entirely dependent upon others; he has no spiritual stability of his own (Robert Gromacki, Salvation is Forever, Chicago: Moody Press, 1973, p. 175).
b) The encouragement to go to maturity (Heb. 6:1-3 “Let us go on”).
1) Homer Kent considers these “principles of the doctrine of Christ” to be NT Christian doctrines that are considered foundational
2) Dr. Bowman thinks they are OT doctrines foundational to NT truth
1. “repentance from dead works” The Levitical System that was no more benefit to them.
2. “faith toward God” Initial faith for salvation.”
3. “doctrines of baptism” Ceremonial washings of Levitical System as in 9:10.
4. “laying on of hands” Identification with sacrifices.
5. “resurrection of the dead” Not as detailed as the NT (Job 19:25; 1 Cor.15:52 ff).
6. “eternal judgment” Not as detailed as the NT (Psa.1)
3) The warning about continual immaturity (Heb. 6:4-9).
(These Jewish believers had experienced had experienced these five salvation experiences)
a) They had been enlightened. The writer’s only other use of the verb ‘enlightened’ is Hebrews 10:32, where the reference to true Christian experience can hardly be doubted (Zane Hodges, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Hebrews, Victor Books, 1987, p.794).
b) They had tasted the heavenly gift. They had tasted the heavenly gift of salvation just as fully as Christ had fully experienced death at the cross (2:9). “Jesus did not sample the cup of divine wrath; He drank it all down (Gromacki, p.152)
c) They had become partakers of the Holy Spirit. This word metochos as used in 3:14 means a very close participation with Christ in a saving relationship (Grudem, p. 797).
d) They had tasted the Word of God. Here the thought naturally applies to converts whose instruction in “the Word of God” had given them a genuine experience of its “goodness” and who likewise had known the reality of miracles. The word rendered “powers” is the usual one in the NT for miracles. . . In every way the language fits true Christians with remarkable ease (Hodge, p. 794).
e) They had fallen away from maturity to Judaism and yearly sacrifices. According to Dr. Bowman, “having fallen away” refers to these Jewish believers who had lapsed back into Judaism and had fallen away from maturity. Now it is impossible to renew them again to repentance (v.6). These Jewish Christians were used to the OT covering of sins for one year where an animal was slain to cover their sins. If you fall away, Christ will not be crucified again for you. The writer of Hebrews is saying, “This is not the OT.” You will have to give an account at the Judgment Seat. Verses 7 and 8 relate to the Bema and the lapsed time of being out of fellowship and for which there would be no rewards.
Time wasted out of fellowship and in immaturity will result in the lost of rewards or standing empty handed at the Judgment Seat as Paul described in 1 Cor. 3:15 with similar language to Heb. 6:7 and 8.
In order to go on to maturity and Christian effectiveness, there must be assurance because of security in our salvation.
In 1937, the famous Golden Gate Bridge was completed. At that time it was the world’s longest suspension bridge. The entire project cost the U.S. Government $77,000,000.00. During the process of construction the first section of the bridge, very few safety devices were used, resulting in 23 accidental deaths as workers fell helplessly it the waters far below. The toll was so significant, something had to be done before the 2nd section was built. An ingenious plan was arranged. The largest safety net in the world (it alone cost $100,000!) was made out of stout manila cordage and stretched out beneath the work crews. It proved to be an excellent investment in view of the fact that it saved the lives of at least 10 men who fell into it without injury. Furthermore the work went 25% faster, since the workers were relieved from fears of falling to their deaths. God’s great net of security spans this globe, His omnipotent hands (Charles Swindoll).