I am often asked how I can believe in conditional security; meaning that I believe we must continue in the faith to be saved. One of the common questions I am asked is to explain how eternal life can be eternal if you can have it one day and not have it sometime later.
Their point is that for eternal life to be eternal it can't be lost or given back because it is eternal. The problem is that they don't truly understand eternal life. They view eternal life as just living with God for all eternity, but it is much more than that. In fact I would say the question shouldn't be what is eternal life, but rather who is eternal life.
Let me show you what I mean by; who is eternal life.
1 John 1:1-2 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life-  and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us- [NASB-U]
We know who the Word is:
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [NASB-U]
And we see that John says in 1 John 1:2 that the eternal life was with the Father and was manifested to us. He is of course speaking of a person, Jesus Christ.
1 John 5:11-12 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. [NASB-U]
Eternal life is in the Son (Jesus Christ) and if you have Him you have life, but if you don't have Him you don't have life.
1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. [NASB-U]
John tells us that eternal life isn't just an abstract idea, but rather a person.
2 Cor. 13:5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you-unless indeed you fail the test? [NASB-U]
Paul says that if we are in the faith then we have Jesus Christ but if we are not in the faith we do not have Jesus Christ. Now since Jesus is eternal life, if we don't have Him, we don't have eternal life. You can't separate the two, they are one and the same.
Yes eternal life is a gift given to us who believe in Jesus, but yet at the same time it is the person of Jesus Christ also. You can't have one without the other and you can't reject one without rejecting the other.
And what does Jesus say about those who cease to follow Him?
John 15:6 "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned." [NASB-U]
If we do not abide (remain) in Jesus, we are also not remaining in eternal life, we will dry up and be cast into the fire. My heart aches for those who go to church week after week and never hear this message.
1 Peter 1:17-19 If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;  knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,  but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. [NASB-U]
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of righteousness, but you won't hear that often in churches today, it might upset someone. But we should live in fear of the Lord, not because He is unpredictable or because He might change His mind, but rather because He is awesome and powerful.
Proverbs 14:27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, That one may avoid the snares of death. [NASB-U]
Our fear should bring reverence and righteousness, and it should remind us to continue in the faith, because our fate would be worse than those who never believed if we retreat and reject Him who bought us.
Hebrews 10:28-31 Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?  For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge His people."  It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. [NASB-U]
2 Peter 2:20-21 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.  For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. [NASB-U]
For those who would try to tell you that the Bible only says you will lose your rewards but not eternal life, ask them; how could losing rewards ever be worse than never knowing Jesus in the first place?
Don't be fooled by the prevalent teaching of today, that claims you can live anyway you want and only risk your rewards, it isn't true.
Galatians 6:7-8 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.  For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. [NASB-U]
Remain in Eternal Life and He will remain in you.
These devotionals are written by Ralph Dettwiler, and reflect his views.
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