The Eternal Security of the Believer Part 1 -- By: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 106:423 (Jul 1949)
Article: The Eternal Security of the Believer Part 1
Author: Lewis Sperry Chafer


The Eternal Security of the Believer
Part 1

Lewis Sperry Chafer

Introduction

This aspect of Soteriology, commonly styled by earlier theologians the perseverance of the saints, contends that no individual once the recipient of the saving grace of God will ever fall totally and finally from that estate, but that he shall be “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation” (1 Pet 1:5). The doctrine of security is one of the five points of the Calvinistic system, but it is more distinguished by the fact that it is set forth in the New Testament in the most absolute terms and is there seen to be an indivisible feature of that which God undertakes when a soul is saved. This major doctrine is well stated in the Westminster Confession of Faith, which declares: “They whom God hath accepted in his Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved” (17.1).

That the Scripture on this theme requires careful exposition to the end that it may not even seem to contradict itself is readily conceded, and this feature of this truth will not be overlooked. In such a consideration, a “verily, verily” should not be countermanded by an “if.” The words of certainty must stand as they appear on the Sacred Page.

The Calvinistic system, which is here both held and defended as being more nearly Pauline than any other, is built upon a recognition of four basic truths, each of which should be comprehended in its basic character. These truths are: (1) Depravity, by which term is meant that there is nothing in fallen man that could commend him to God. He is an object

of divine grace. (2) Efficacious grace, by which term is meant that fallen man, in being saved, is wrought upon wholly by God—even the faith which he exercises in his salvation is a “gift of God” (Eph 2:8). (3) Sovereign and eternal election, by which term is meant that those who are saved by efficacious grace from the estate of depravity have been chosen of God for that blessedness from before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4; Rom 8:30). (4) Eternal security, by which term it is meant that those chosen of God and saved by grace are, of necessity, preserved unto the realization of the design of God. Since sovereign election purposes this and sovereign grace accomplishes it, the Scriptures could not—being infinitely true—do other than ...

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