If we’re called to bring believers back from their wandering, does that mean true believers can lose their faith? In this lab, John Piper deals with the security of every believer, and draws in lots of texts to explain how God keeps his children from falling away. He summarizes this important doctrine with five critical truths.
Principle for Bible Reading
When you come to a verse in the Bible that seems to contradict other verses in the Bible, work hard to understand the verse in question in its context. Then, step back and look again at the verses in the rest of Scripture that seem to contradict what you’re reading. Work hard to find an explanation that allows every verse (in its context) to be true.
- James 5:19–20 seems to suggest that believers can wander away from the faith. How would you answer that question in a way that does justice to these two verses?
- Read 1 Corinthians 15:1–2, Colossians 1:21–23, and Matthew 10:22. What do these texts contribute to our understanding of eternal security?
- Now, read Philippians 1:6 and 1 Corinthians 1:8–9. What do we learn in these verses about God’s relationship with believers?
Piper: “God himself will keep his children from finally falling away.”
Eternal Security Is a Community Project (01:19–04:22)
- God uses human beings to bring back human beings from their wandering. (James 5:20)
- Human beings save souls from death and cover a multitude of sins. (James 5:20)
- This means Christian community is unbelievably important.
- God uses people to save people the way a lumberjack uses an axe to cut down trees.
Five Truths (01:45–11:44)
- We are justified by grace alone through faith alone apart from works. (Ephesians 2:8–9; Romans 3:28)
- Those who are justified will certainly be glorified. (Romans 8:30)
- But no one will be glorified or finally saved who does not continue in the faith. (1 Corinthians 15:1–2; Colossians 1:21–23; Matthew 10:22)
- God himself will keep his children from finally falling away. (Philippians 1:6; 1 Corinthians 1:8–9)
- God keeps his children by means of his children. (Hebrews 3:13–14)
Will You Be a Believer Tomorrow Morning? (article)
Can a Born-Again Christian Lose Salvation? (interview)
“The Doctrine of Perseverance: The Earnest Pursuit of Assurance” (sermon on Hebrews 5:11–6:12)
Piper: “No one will be finally saved who does not continue in the faith.”