"God the Father predestinated His people “to be conformed to the image of His Son ” ( Romans 8:29), which conformity is not fully wrought in any of them in this life, but awaits the day of Christ’s appearing ( 1 John 3:2). Now is the Father’s eternal purpose placed in jeopardy by the human will? is its fulfillment contingent upon human conduct? or, having ordained the end will He not also make infallibly effectual all means to that end? That predestination is founded upon His love: “I have loved thee (says the Father to each of His elect) with an everlasting love, therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” ( Jeremiah 31:3).
Nor is there any variation in His love, for God is not fickle like us: “I am the Lord, I change not: therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” ( Malachi 3:6).
Were it possible for one of God’s elect to totally apostatize and finally perish it would mean the Father had purposed something which He failed to effect and that His love was thwarted.
Consider God the Son in His mediatorial character. The elect were committed unto Him as a trust by the Father: said He “Thine they were and Thou gayest them Me ” ( John 17:6). In the covenant of redemption Christ offered to act as their Surety and to serve as their Shepherd. This involved the most stupendous task which the history of the universe records: the Son’s becoming incarnate, magnifying the Divine Law by rendering to it perfect obedience, pouring out His soul unto death as a sacrifice to Divine justice, overcoming death and the grave, and ultimately presenting “faultless ” before God (Jude 24) the whole of His redeemed. As the good Shepherd He died for His sheep, and as the great Shepherd it is His office to preserve them from this present evil world. If He failed in this task, if any of His sheep were lost, where would be His faithfulness to His engagement? where would be the efficacy of His atonement? how could He triumphantly exclaim at the end “Behold land the children which God hath given Me” ( Hebrews 2:13)?
The person of the Holy Spirit is equally concerned in this vital matter. It is not sufficiently realized by the saints that they are as definitely indebted to the third Person of the Godhead as truly as they are to the first and second Persons. The Father ordained their salvation, the Son in His mediatorial character purchased it, and the Spirit “applies” and effectuates it. It is the blessed Spirit’s work to make good the Father’s purpose and the Son’s atonement: “He saved us by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” ( Titus 3:5).
Said Christ to His disciples “I will not leave you orphans (though I leave this world): I will come to you” ( John 14:18).
That promise given on the eve of His death was made good in the gift of the Spirit “But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, the same shall teach you all things” ( John 14:26).
Christ’s redeemed were thus entrusted to the love and care of the Spirit, and should any of them be lost where would be the Spirit’s sufficiency? where His power? where His faithfulness?
This, then, is no trivial doctrine we are now concerned with, for the most momentous considerations are inseparably connected with it. We are satisfied it is because of their failure to realize this that so many professing Christians perceive not the seriousness of their assenting to the opposing dogma of the total apostasy of saints. If they understood more clearly what was involved in affirming that some who were truly born again fell from grace, continued in a course of sin, died impenitent and were eternally lost, they would be slower to set their seal unto that which carried such horrible implications. Nor may we regard it as a matter of indifference where such grave consequences are concerned. For any of the elect to perish would necessarily entail a defeated Father, who was balked of the realization of His purpose: a disappointed Son, who would never see the full travail of His soul and be satisfied; and a disgraced Spirit, who had failed to preserve those entrusted to His care. From such awful errors may we be delivered.
The importance of this truth further appears from the prominent place which is accorded it in the Holy Scriptures. Whether we turn to the O.T. or the New it makes no difference; whether we consult the Psalms or the Prophets, the Gospels or the Epistles, we find it occupies a conspicuous position. If we cited every reference we should have to transcribe literally hundreds of verses. Instead, we will quote only a few of the lesser known ones. Here is one from the Pentateuch: “He loved the people, all His saints are in Thy hand” ( Deuteronomy 33:3).
One from the Historical books: “He will keep the feet of His saints” ( 1 Samuel 2:8).
One from Job: “When he hath tried me I shall come forth as gold” ( 23:10).
One from the Psalms: “The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me” ( <19d808> Psalm 138:8).
One from the Proverbs: “The root of the righteous shall not be moved” (12:3 contrast Matthew 13:2 1).
One from the Prophets: “I will put My fear in their hearts that they shall not depart from Me” ( Jeremiah 32:40).
These are fair samples of the Divine promises throughout the O.T.
Observe the place given to this truth in the teaching of Christ. “Upon this Rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it” ( Matthew 16:18). “False Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if possible, even the elect” ( Mark 14:22) —it is not possible for Satan to fatally deceive any of the elect. “Whosoever cometh to Me and heareth My sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like: he is like a man which built a house and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock; and when the flood arose, the storm beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it; for it was founded upon a rock” ( Luke 6:47-48). “This is the Father’s will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing” ( John 6:39).
The writings of the apostles are full of it. “For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son; much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” ( Romans 5:10). “Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He hath promised to them that love Him” ( James 2:5). “Kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation” ( 1 Peter 1:5). “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for of they had been of us, they would have continued with us” ( 1 John 2:19). “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling” ( Jude 1:24).
The tremendous importance of this doctrine is further evidenced by the fact that it involves the very integrity of the Scriptures. There is no mistaking their teaching on this subject: the passages quoted above make it unmistakably plain that every section of them affirms the security of the saints. He then who declares the saints are insecure so long as they remain in this evil world, who insists that they may be eternally lost, yea that some of them—like king Saul and Judas—have perished, repudiates the reliability of Holy Writ and signifies that the Divine promises are worthless." —A. W. Pink (1886–1952)