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“If” Insecurity?

Nothing is more clearly taught in the Word of God than the everlasting security—the present and eternal salvation—of every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. He gives His sheep eternal life and assures them that they will never perish; they are held in His hand of power, and that of His Father; He saves evermore all who come unto God through faith in Him (John 10:27-29; Hebrews 5:9; 7:25).

However, there are many passages of Scripture, generally introduced by the little word "if," that seem to many to imply a doubt as to the eternal salvation of all God's children.

A careful consideration of these warning "ifs" will reveal the fact, though, that they are the testing of profession. Many take the place and name of Christians, but only those who endure are truly born of the Spirit. Therefore the Lord Jesus says, "If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned" (John 15:6). Genuine branches in the living Vine will abide. Those who take that place in profession, but do not continue, are dead despite their pretenses.

So, likewise, the apostle Paul could write to the Corinthians of "the gospel … by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain (1 Corinthians 15:1,2). He tells the Colossians that they are now reconciled to God and will be presented unblameable in His sight, "If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel" (Colossians 1:21-23). The Hebrews, likewise, are told "whose [God's] house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end (Hebrews 3:6). It is of mere professors that he writes: "If they shall fall away" in Hebrews 6:6, and again, "If any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him" (Hebrews 10:38).

Of those who are real he immediately adds, in verse 39, "But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul."

The "ifs" never contradict the direct, positive affirmations of Scripture. They are put in to rouse the consciences of any who might be content with a mere profession, but who give no evidence of possessing that divine life which leads the believer to press on to the end.

To be saved, safe, and secure forever, it is imperative that a person accepts the gift of God which is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23). Have you received this gift?

—H.A. Ironside