The bible teaches very clearly that if one of the sheep wanders and turns away, that it is the job of the Shepard to make sure that sheep is not lost. It is not the job of the sheep.
"How think ye?
if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?
And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that [sheep], than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.
Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish." Matthew 18:12-14
"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ:" Philipians 1:6
"Who [is] he that condemneth? [It is] Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:34-39
"Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them" Hebrews 7:25
"In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory." Ephesians 1:13,14
"And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." Ephesians 4:30
"For the gifts and calling of God [are] without repentance. Romans 11:29
"[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Romans 8:1
The Eternal Security Of The Believer Once Truly Saved, Always Saved
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one. " John 10:27-30
We are kept by the power of His blood, and not by our own works, good deeds, or our own righteousness.
"Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul." Hebrews 10:38,39
In Christian circles, the topic of eternal security is a hotly-debated subject. But we are not so much interested in man's opinion as we are in what the bible has to say about Eternal Security. So any sincere treatise on eternal security must first start with a look at salvation, and how it is accomplished.
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved
The Lord is gracious, and good to us, much better than we deserve. He is so good to us, that He made sure to make the process by which one is saved unbelievably simple to understand, and simple to do. As I read my bible, I see that there is one thing and one thing only that one must do to be saved, as shown here in Acts 16:
"And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." Acts 16:30,31
That's truly all there is to it - an honest and sincere belief within yourself that Jesus is who He said He is, that He is THE Way, THE Truth and THE Life. It's not complicated, and God purposely set it up that way to make it easy for us. All the work of salvation was done by Jesus Himself. He took upon Himself the punishment for our sins as well as the sins themselves, and went to ther cross and paid for every sin that would ever be committed throughout history. And when you, by faith, BELIEVE that sincerely in your heart, then the price He paid is applied to YOUR sin debt, and your salvation is secured forever. In fact, the bible says that you are not simply secure, but also "sealed" until the Day of redemption.
You are eternally secure because you have beem sealed at salvation
"That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory." Ephesians 1:12-14
Dear one, you are not kept saved because of your good works, or because you read your bible, or because you're nice to people, or anything else. You are saved and sealed by the works of Jesus on the cross and His resurrection, and by the power of the Holy Spirit. This makes sense as you did nothing to earn your salvation, so why would you think you could do anything to keep it? Jesus is the Good Shepard, and as such the responsibilty to keep all the sheep safe are His, not the sheep's. The whole reason why sheep need a Shepard is because they cannot do it themselves.
Forever Safe in the Master's Hands
One of the strongest passages for eternal security is found in the gospel of John, chapter 10, where we read this -
"I am the good shepherd, and know my [sheep], and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave [them] me, is greater than all; and no [man] is able to pluck [them] out of my Father's hand. I and [my] Father are one." John 10
Please go back and reread that passage selection, and let His words and promise to keep to safe eternally sink down deep into your ears, and into your hearts. Jesus promises here that once you are in His Hand, nothing, nothing, nothing anyone can do can put you out of it. He says that "neither shall ANY" take you out. Thats everyone. That includes all external forces like the world, the flesh and the Devil, and internal forces like ourselves. Now if your church teaches something different, don't get mad at us. We are just going by what the bible says.
And not only are we safe in the hands of God eternally, we are more than just "in his hand", we are also part of His body.
"For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church." Ephesians 5:30-32
That is the state of the true believer in Jesus Christ, that we are part of His flesh, a part of His bones. He is not only holding us in His hands, we are grafted into His very body. Nothing exists in this universe or any other that is capable of undoing that. You think you can sin your way out? How? ALL your sins are already paid for at Calvary. All of them. But there is one thing that you can lose, and that is fellowship with our Lord.
Sealed Until The Day Of Redemption
When we become saved, there is also another action that takes place that many Christians who do not study their bible may not be aware of. The sealing of the believer so that they can never fall away. Please note the following verses that discuss the sealing of the believer:
"In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory." Ephesians 1:13,14
"And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." Ephesians 4:30
"For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." 2 Corinthians 1:20-22
Read those verse very carefully, can you see that you are sealed? Remember when Noah and his family got into the ark, what did God do? He sealed them in so they couldn't change their mind once the journey got rough. And it got very rough.
Thats how much God loves us, He has given us a complete salvation. Not a salvation that is part His works and part your works. Thats not biblical salvation by a long shot.
Fellowship and the Judgement Seat of Christ
Scoffers who disallow the eternal security that the bible clearly teaches mockingly say that the doctrine of eternal security is a license to sin, and that is completely untrue. Eternal security is a promise from God to keep those that are His, and as such it is a great comfort to all true believers. But a license to sin? God forbid. If the Christian backslides and becomes a prodigal son, there is something that they absolutely lose for a time, and that is felllowship with the Lord. Note the following onthe prodigal son -
"And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living." Luke 15:13
When the prodigal son took his inheritance and went out to revel in sin, the first thing he had to do was to leave his father's house. The father would not keep him there against his will, that's not love. If you, as a believer in Jesus, backslide and go out into the world, you are free to do so. The son wanted to go join the world, the father whom we can imagine with tears in his eyes, let him go have at it. And Luke goes on to describe the sins that the son fell into. But all the while that the son was engaged in sin, he lost the sweet, intimate fellowship he had with his father. But when did he stop being his father's son? Never.
We all know the story...he spends all his money on booze, whores, nightclubs, dancing and whatever else he could find, until he has nothing. His new-found friends turn on him, he's broke, hungry, and winds up feeding the pigs when all of a sudden he has an idea -
"And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants." Luke 15:17-19
What's his great idea? To return to where is is truly and eternally loved...in his father's house. So he shakes the dust off and returns at full speed to find his father. And what does he find when he gets back to his father's house? He finds this -
"And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him." Luke 15:20
He ran back to find his father only to discover that the father was already looking for him to return, and when he did come back it was a joyous reunion with a full restoration of fellowship. But he lost a few things along the way. He took his inheritance and wasted it. He lost his testimony. And he lost all that time that he could have been with his father. But he did not lose his position as his father's son, that is eternally secure. Another reason that the true believer in Jesus Christ knows that eternal security is not a license to sin is the Judgment Seat of Christ.
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in [his] body, according to that he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences." 2 Corinthians 5:10,11
When we stand before the Lord, we will be judged on how we lived our lives, the things we said and the things we did, as it says in Matthew -
"But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment." Matthew 12:36
The bible says that even as saved Christians, we will sin again. But the Christian who falls into a sin is sealed, and while they may lose fellowship with the Lord, like the prodigal they remain sons and daughters of the Father. Charles Spurgeon said it like this -
"When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him." It was not with icy eyes that the father looked on his returning son. Love leaped into them, and as he beheld him, he "had compassion on him"; that is, he felt for him. There was no anger in his heart toward his son; he had nothing but pity for his poor boy, who had got into such a pitiable condition. It was true that it was all his own fault, but that did not come before his father's mind. It was the state that he was in, his poverty, his degradation, that pale face of his so wan with hunger, that touched his father to the quick. And God has compassion on the woes and miseries of men.
They may have brought their troubles on themselves, and they have indeed done so; but nevertheless God has compassion upon them. "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not." We read that the father "ran." The compassion of God is followed by swift movements. He is slow to anger, but He is quick to bless. He does not take any time to consider how He shall show His love to penitent prodigals; that was all done long ago in the eternal covenant. He has no need to prepare for their return to Him; that was done on Calvary. God comes flying in the greatness of His compassion to help every poor penitent soul." Spurgeon Archive
It is the heart's desire of every blood-bought believer in Jesus Christ to live right, think right, do right and be right. But when we fall short, as we all will do to varying degrees, the bible assures and reassures us that our loving, Heavenly Father is waiting for us with kisses, and full restoration to fellowship with Him, if we will only repent of the sin that dragged us down, and run with all abandon back to the Father's house.
There is so much more to teach on this topic, but for now grasp by faith the simple and amazing promise of God towards us to never, ever let us go.