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Jude 1 by Robert Dean
Series:Jude (2012)
Duration:54 mins 47 secs

Eternal Security–Part 2
Jude 1
Jude Lesson #05
January 24, 2012
Dr. Robert L. Dean, Jr.

Slide 4

The word that we find in Jude 1, “preserved” or “kept,” is the perfect passive participle of TEREO which means to keep, to preserve, or in some cases to obey. As a perfect participle it indicates past completed action with an emphasis on ongoing results. So we are kept and it is a permanent keeping. Just the grammar alone emphasizes that we are permanently kept by Jesus Christ.

Slide 5

What is interesting is that when we come to the end of the epistle in Jude 1:24 that we have a similar phrase, a little different, that emphasizes something slightly different from the eternal security of the believer. This is the phrase in the opening of the benediction,

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling.”

The fact that it focuses on being kept from stumbling is important because the real challenge that we have in this epistle is not to stumble, not to fall into false doctrine, not to be seduced by false doctrine. This is always a problem in Christianity, the church has always been influenced by the thinking of the world around it and the thinking of the world around it is the thinking of Satan. It is extremely subtle and complex, sophisticated, and attractive.

It is even more so today after 2,000 years we understand that there are numerous philosophical systems, rationalizations, different religious systems, all of which purport to give everything that Christianity does and more. They have added revelation in some cases, brought in new sophisticated scientific or psychological data and it appeals to our sin nature. Our sin nature has a natural attraction or affinity for these systems because at the very core of our sin nature is this desire to somehow be self-sufficient, and the focus of the sin nature is ultimately on human independence from God, being able to solve our problems on our own terms.  

What we are told here is that Christ is sufficient to keep us from stumbling; the Word of God is sufficient to keep us from stumbling. But the word that is used here is the Greek word PHULASSO, which is used in several other passages as a term that is synonymous with TEREO and also emphasizes eternal security, i.e., that God is the one who secures the believer in his salvation, in his new status of being in Christ, and that cannot be lost. The believer does nothing to gain salvation; the believer can do nothing to lose salvation.

Slide 6

Many Christians reject the idea of eternal security. In the United States among the various denominations there is what could probably be divided into two main groups. One group is influenced by Roman Catholic theology and in some sense that also applies to those who are in the Eastern Orthodox churches. There is no eternal security in that theology because the idea is that somehow you gain grace through works. It doesn’t matter how they wrap it up in other terminology to indicate that they somehow understand or think of it as being related to grace they distort the meaning of grace. Their concept of grace is warped.

Then among Protestants there are a lot of denominations that do not believe in eternal security, though a large number do. Many Calvinists affirm eternal security, but it is related to their understanding of the “perseverance of the saints,” that final P in the acronym TULIP.

At the Synod of Dort there was this division between those who were Arminians and who believed basically that everybody was born in the same state as Adam and that they could make good, righteous choices in life and not need to rely exclusively upon the cross, and that their salvation was totally dependent upon their will, and they could therefore makes choices that could cause them to lose their salvation. In Arminian theology in the five points, the remonstrance of the Arminians, they believed that a person who had once believed in Jesus could disbelieve in Jesus and lose their salvation.

Slide 7 

Two groups: Arminian and Lordship. Representatives of both of these groups are found in many denominations, although in many Presbyterian denominations they would be in the Calvinist camp. Lordship is actually a subdivision of Calvinism. Today it has really become a dominant group. It was represented a lot by Puritan theology in the 1600s. They would determine if they were among the elect or the predestinated by looking at their works. If they had works of fruit that was in keeping with salvation then they knew they were saved.

How did they know they were saved? Not by looking at the promise of the New Testament, that if you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ you will be saved, but you know that you are saved by your works. So, you don’t have faith plus works as the gospel message, you have in Lordship salvation faith but it is the right kind of faith. If it is “saving faith” then it will automatically be joined to certain kinds of works to give evidence that you have the right kind of faith.

According to many in the Calvinist or Lordship camps you can have a faith in Jesus that is not a saving faith. It is very confusing. There is no scriptural evidence whatsoever for that position. They often use a cliché: “While you are saved by faith alone; the faith that saved is never alone.” This is not scriptural whatsoever. In the Lordship camp it is that right kind of fruit which is really your basis for assurance of salvation.

We believe in what has come to be called and identified as the free grace gospel. “Free grace” is something of a redundancy, but it has been necessary because of the theological discussions. What often happens in the history of theological refinement is that a word is used, and that word starts to become redefined, and in order to clarify it you have to add an adjective to it. This is seen in the debate over the authority of Scripture.

First of all, we simply said that we believed that the Bible was the Word of God. And everybody meant that they believed that God authored, inspired the authors of Scripture so that that the Scripture was without error and absolute authority and infallible. But before long the term “Word of God” became perverted. People who said they believed the Bible was the Word of God were really saying they just believed the Bible contained the Word of God; much of the Bible was just man’s opinion but some of it was the actual message from God.

So, we had to change that meaning to the “infallible Word of God.” Then before long “infallible” began to be redefined and they had to say that inspiration was verbal and plenary, so we believe in the verbal, plenary, infallible, divinely inspired Word of God. Then there were some great battles over inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture in the sixties and seventies in numerous denominations. Usually these battles are lost because the trend of the evangelical church is to go downhill.

An organization that suffered loss in this battle was Fuller Theological Seminary. Fuller Seminary was originally named for Charles Fuller who was a conservative inerrantist Christian believer who believed in the infallible, inerrant Word of God. But his son was sent off to study in Europe and when he came back after getting his PhD he rejected inerrancy of Scripture. So Fuller Seminary began to drift away from its historical roots.

From the founding of Fuller Seminary to its drift was pretty quick. By the late sixties it had completely slipped its anchor to the infallible, inerrant Word of God and the consequences of that were pretty tragic, and they have had an enormous impact across the board. We will later see how this has impacted evangelical Christianity.

But one way in which it did was in the whole arena of the role of the Holy Spirit in the church and the rise of the signs and wonders movement, also called the Vineyard movement, also called The Third Wave of the Holy Spirit in the Church Age. This was the result of a course that was taught at Fuller Seminary by John Wimber and Peter Wagner. Peter Wagner’s name is one that pops up in the background of a lot of heresy and perversions and distortions in the mission and role of the church in the last forty years. Peter Wagner is also the grandfather, we might say, of the entire church growth movement.

He is connected with people like Robert Schuller at the Crystal Cathedral who also plays a major role in this. These men and Fuller Seminary influenced one of their graduates who leads a “Purpose-Driven Life.” Rick Warren comes out of that background.

These trends, these ideas sneak in. We will notice in Jude 1:4 of our text it says, “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed.” And that is what happens. First they slip a little in and then a little more and these ideas start to permeate the thinking of the Christian community and one day you wake up, like we do now in the second decade of the 21st century and we look back over sixty years of evangelicalism and what happens in evangelicalism in this country doesn’t bear any resemblance to what went on in churches for 1,800 to 1,900 years before that.

This change comes because of this slippage that occurs. One of these areas is, as we have seen, in the area of vocabulary, e.g., inerrancy. Now we say that the original autographs (original writings) were without error, inerrant. They are infallible, inspired verbally and plenarily: every word and the totality of Scripture is breathed out by God—all that simply to say the same thing that 100 years earlier could be stated by simply saying you believed the Bible was the Word of God.

And that is happening in the doctrines of salvation now. We used to be able to say we believe in the grace of God but that has been perverted by Lordship’s advocates and now we have to say we believe in the free grace of God. Who knows what we will add to that in the future generations in order to clarify the concept that salvation is a free gift and we do nothing to earn it or deserve it.

At the heart of this is the issue of security and what secures the believer, what is the basis for our assurance of salvation, and what is the basis for our conviction that no matter what we might do, think or say in our Christian life nothing can ever cost us this gift that we have been given.

Slide 22

The doctrine of eternal security

Slide 16 

5. (continued). The problem we have in understanding eternal security is that people have a low view of God, a high view of man and man’s ability, and they have a low view of sin. Because they have this low view of sin they think that somehow it is man alone, because they have a high view of man, can overcome the sin problem. They don’t understand how extensive and pervasive sin is. Sin is a constitutional defect from Adam on. It permeates every cell in our structure, every thought, every act, every deed prior to our salvation. There is nothing that we do that is not energized by the “flesh,” a term the apostle Paul uses to describe the sin nature. 

James 2:10, “For whoever keeps the whole law—all 613 commandments—and yet stumbles in one {point,} he has become guilty of all.” So if we tell just a little white lie, a little exaggeration, then we violate the entire Mosaic Law and are just as guilty of breaking the law as if we had gone out and committed mass murder. That is the sinfulness of sin, that sin is any act, thought or deed on the part of the creature wherein he acts independently to any degree from the authority of the creator and in doing so violates the righteous standard of God. So to understand eternal security we have to understand the totality of our depravity. Total depravity doesn’t mean that we are as depraved as we can be or that every act of every human being is extremely depraved, it means that in the totality of our being everything has been corrupted by sin and so there is not one thing that we can possibly do to gain God’s approval.

Slide 17

We see in Jude 24 that only God is able to solve that sin problem: “Now to Him who is able …” He is able because of His power. He has the power and ability to accomplish whatever it is He sets out to accomplish. He can keep us; nothing is greater than the omnipotence of God. “… to keep you from stumbling …” In context that stumbling relates to falling into false doctrine. That doesn’t mean that a person will not do that, but it means that relying exclusively upon Him we cannot fall into error.

It also indicates and implies that He keeps us secure because He not only keeps us from stumbling, but He is able to make us stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy. That is not based upon who we are internally, He doesn’t change us to be blameless, but we are blameless because we have received the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. We are blameless because Christ is blameless. We are blameless because by faith in Christ God has reckoned or credited or imputed to our account the perfect righteousness of Christ, so that He is able “to make you [us] stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy.”

Slide 18 

Another tremendous verse for understanding eternal security and the role of God is in John 10:29, “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.”

It is interesting that the word for “snatch” here is the same Greek word that refers to the Rapture, an immediate grabbing of something. It refers to the fact that in the Father’s omnipotent hand we are held like a pen or a pencil. Just as an infant or child could not take a pencil out of its parent’s hand there is no way any creature can remove us from the hand of God. He is the one who holds us and keeps us.

Slide 19

Some other passages that also speak of the power of God are Hebrews 7:25, “Therefore He [Christ] is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

Slide 20

This refers to the omnipotence of the Son, rather than the Father here. 1 Peter 1:4, 5, “to {obtain} an inheritance {which is} imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 

Slide 21

2 Timothy 1:12, “For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard—PHULASSO—what I have entrusted to Him until that day.”

We have entrusted our salvation to Him, and He is able to keep it because no one is able to snatch us from the Father’s hand. So all of these verses together speak of the power of God.

Slide 22

6.  The love of God. God’s love sent the Son. God’s love is such that even though we were enemies of Christ (Romans 5:8), while we were as dark as we could be, blackened by sin to the greatest extent, He sent His Son, a perfect solution, to us in order to die on the cross for us. So, if God loved us in our worst condition and provided salvation in our worst condition, and saved us in our worst condition, then can we do anything worse in our Christian life that would cause Him to take away that salvation? Of course, the answer is no. 

Slide 23

Romans 8:38, 39, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Slide 24

7.  The promise of the Son. Also, this relates to the power of the Son as well. John 10:28, in reference to the sheep, those who have believed in Him. “and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” The promise of eternal life and eternal security is not conditional. The word “never” in the Greek is emphatic. The promise is from the one who holds the universe together – “in Him all things are held together,” Colossians 1:16, 17.

Slide 25

8.  The prayer of the Son. Remember that Jesus is interceding for all believers in John chapter seventeen, the true Lord’s prayer where Jesus prayed on behalf of those who believed in Him, and this is a model to help us understand how Jesus prays for us, even today. He continually prays to the Father that the Father would keep us in our salvation. Since Jesus’ prayers fulfil all the conditions God has laid down for answering prayer God always answers Jesus’ prayers. John 17:2, “even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life.”

Then nine times in this prayer He refers to believers as those whom the Father gave Him. So those whom the Father gave Him Jesus gives eternal life.

John 17:11, “I am no longer in the world; and {yet} they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep [TEREO] them in Your name, {the name} which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We {are.}

John 17:12 While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.”

The “son of perdition” refers to Judas Iscariot who was lost because he was never saved.

Slide 26

John 17:13, “But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves.

John 17:14, I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

John 17:15, I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil {one.}”