Is everlasting security a "license" to sin?

Question: "Is everlasting security a "license" to sin?"

The most frequent objection to the doctrine of everlasting security is that it supposedly promotes the idea that Christians can live any way that they want to - and still be saved. While this is "technically" true, that is not the "essence" of everlasting security. A person who has truly accepted Jesus Christ as his or her Savior "can" live a sinful life - but he or she "will" not do so. We must draw a distinction between how a Christian should live - and what a person must do in order to receive salvation.

The Bible is abundantly clear that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 14:6). A person is saved by faith - faith alone. The moment a person truly believes in Jesus Christ, he/she is saved and secure in that salvation. It is not that salvation is gained by faith, but then maintained by works. The Apostle Paul addresses this issue in Galatians 3:3, "Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?" If we are saved by faith, our salvation is also maintained and secured by faith. We cannot earn our own salvation. Therefore, we cannot earn the maintenance of our salvation either. It is God who maintains our salvation (Jude verse 24). It is God's hand that holds us firmly in His grasp (John 10:28-29). It is God's love that nothing can separate us from (Romans 8:38-39).

Any denial of everlasting security is, in its essence, a belief that we must maintain our own salvation by our own good works. This is completely antithetical to salvation by grace. We are saved because of Christ's merits, not our own (Romans 4:3-8). To claim that we must obey God's Word or live a Godly life to maintain our salvation is equal to saying that Jesus' death was not sufficient to pay the penalty for our sins. Jesus' death was absolutely sufficient to pay for all of our sins - past, present, and future, pre-salvation and post-salvation (Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

So, with all that said, does this mean that a Christian can live any way he/she wants to and still be saved? This is essentially a hypothetical question, because the Bible makes it clear that a true Christian will not live "any way he/she wants to." Christians are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). Christians demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), not the acts of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). 1 John 3:6-9 clearly states that a true Christian will not live in continual sin. In response to the accusation that grace promotes sin, the Apostle Paul declared, "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" (Romans 6:1-2).

everlasting security is not a "license" to sin. Rather, it is the security of knowing that God's love is guaranteed for those who trust in Christ. Knowing and understanding God's tremendous gift of salvation accomplishes the opposite of giving a "license" to sin. How could anyone, knowing the price Jesus Christ paid for us, go on to live a life of sin (Romans 6:15-23)? How could anyone who understands God's unconditional and guaranteed love for those who believe, take that love and throw it back in God's face? Such a person is demonstrating not that everlasting security has given him or her a license to sin, but rather that he or she has not truly experienced salvation through Jesus Christ. "No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him" (1 John 3:6).

Recommended Resource: everlasting Security by Charles Stanley.

Related Topics:

Once saved always saved?

If I am saved and all of my sins are forgiven, why not continue to sin?

If our salvation is everlastingly secure, why does the Bible warn so strongly against apostasy?

Can a Christian lose salvation?

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Is everlasting security a "license" to sin?