Among many who profess to be evangelicals, the big issue regarding how a professing Christian lives is often said to be true or false conversion. In other words, if one who professes to be a Christian then strays into open, blatant immorality sometimes it will be mentioned that all he had was a false conversion and therefore was never really saved at all. [At other times, the salvation of a person who strays into wickedness is never questioned, as when King David strayed into adultery and murder. This is one of the amazing inconsistencies they are blinded to.] True or false conversion is their sometimes-answer and an eternal security theological loophole to avoid being accurately branded as a license for immorality teacher.
The two passages cited (and misused) to exalt true or false conversion into the big issue (when it isn’t) are 1 John 2:19 and Mt. 7:23. Let’s look at these Scriptures, and their context, in that order.
1 John 2:18-26
The Apostle John wrote the following:
Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. (1 John 2:18) They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. (1 John 2:19) But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. (1 John 2:20) I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. (1 John 2:21) Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. (1 John 2:22) No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. (1 John 2:23) See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. (1 John 2:24) And this is what he promised us—even eternal life. (1 John 2:25) I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. (1 John 2:26)
John is warning Christians about dangerous false teachers whom he calls antichrists. Those same antichrists were trying to teach the Christians a spiritually deadly doctrine, which caused John to have godly concern. They were antichrists because they denied Jesus was the Christ (v. 22). [The problem was over doctrine, not morality.] The same antichrists didn’t remain with the apostle John, but left, showing they were also false apostles by not remaining [and teaching as the true apostles did—that Jesus is the Christ].
John wanted his readers to know that they must continue to embrace the true doctrine about Jesus being the Christ to remain in the Son and in the Father (v. 24). It was the Christian’s responsibility to continue to believe this truth about Jesus. Such, according to John, was nothing less than a salvation issue, for it deals with eternal life (v. 25).
Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. (Mat 7:20) Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Mat 7:21) Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?” (Mat 7:22) Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Mat 7:23)
The Lord here is referring to religious people, who did the same signs and wonders that real Christians did in the Book of Acts, but Jesus said they were never saved (v. 23). The eternal security teachers never mention the fact that v. 23 also identifies those same religious people as continuous-tense evildoers, as the Greek shows. They were never set free from the slavery of sin. [It is important to remember, the fruit by which we can know a person (v. 20) is not their miraculous deeds, but instead their moral life, and those evildoers performing miracles were lacking this evidence.]
The latter part of Mt. 7:21 is not readily known either. That verse reads:
Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
The above verse also proves that it takes a continuous tense doing of God’s will, according to the Greek, to enter God’s kingdom. This fact is declared by only some of the eternal security teachers when they are cornered by Christians over their license for sin doctrine.
Among other things, we just learned that 1 John 2:18-26 emphasizes the importance of continuing in certain doctrine for salvation’s sake (even among those who have already been saved), while Mt. 7:20-23 magnifies the importance of moral living as the fruit of present tense salvation. Both of these truths are denied by the eternal security teachers who use (or more properly misuse) these same passages to conceal the true identity of their own theology (security-in-sin).
The Bible has dozens of Scriptures which show there is evidence of saving grace and that the early church knew who was saved and who wasn’t. (See our book, The Believer’s Conditional Security.) Hence, if a person who showed evidence of being a Christian turned away from God in the early church, they never thought it was a false conversion.
Besides all of that, those same people (Calvinists) say election is secret and one who might think he is saved could be deceived and only have an evanescent grace, according to John Calvin. The Apostle John, who gave us 1 John 2:19, also gave us 1 John 3:10, which says:
This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.
The Lord’s apostles taught that one’s present tense behavior would identify who was a child of God and who was a child of the devil. Since this is what the early Christians believed and openly taught, this is also what we better believe and teach or we are in trouble with God, as well as being a snare for others. The problem for many is, their eternal security theology will not allow them to teach as John did, that is, our present tense behavior identifies us as a Christian or non-Christian.
The Real Issue—
Is He Saved Now?
The real issue isn’t if one was truly saved or not (even though that is important), but instead is he saved now. There are over a dozen examples of people in the Bible who once had salvation and afterwards died spiritually and became lost again. This is spiritual reality and needs to be the emphasis, for it carries with it the vital warning that the same horrible thing can also happen to any real Christian in our day, if spiritual precautions are not taken. Hence, Christians must be on their much-needed guard to endure and remain faithful to Jesus to the end for their own salvation’s sake.
In deadly contrast, all eternal security teachers will do everything they can with their Scripture twisting to convince the real Christian that his salvation cannot be lost under any circumstances, including adultery, drunkenness, murder, etc. As we have said before, all eternal security teachers (also known as the perseverance of the saints, once saved always saved or the preservation of the saints) are very dangerous people, though they are usually considered to be great spiritual leaders in our dark day. It is long overdue to set the record straight about these issues and to contend steadfastly against these grace changers (Jude 3,4) who have led millions to hell by their venomous teachings!
Stop Helping The Enemy!
Please know that to donate to or financially support eternal security congregations or ministries is to help spread this sinister doctrine and to be partly responsible for all the harm/evil that will be done through them (2 John 10,11). The same can be said by giving them a web site link or attending their congregations. Take this warning to heart and stop assisting the spread of this poisonous doctrine, which had its origin with the devil.
Much More Help
The Believer’s Conditional Security is the most powerful and complete Scriptural refutation to eternal security ever written with no close second. This 801 page volume is the book the eternal security teachers do not want you to read! If you want to help your family and friends out of the doctrinal snare of eternal security get them to read this book. Many lives have been changed by it. Bulk discounts are available. GOD BLESS YOU.