We are considering six objections to the teaching that assurance of everlasting life is of the essence of saving faith. In this blog we consider objections three and four.
The third objection is that John 20:31 is saying someone can correctly perceive who Jesus is and yet not believe that by faith in Him, he has everlasting life.
I consider that to be missing the point of John 20:31 entirely.
John says that his purpose in writing his book is that the readers “may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have [everlasting] life in His name” (John 20:31). What does the expression “the Christ, the Son of God” mean?
We know what that expression means because of John 11:25-27. There the Lord promised that all who believe in Him will be raised from the dead and that they would never die spiritually, that is, that they are eternally secure.
John 11:27 is the only other place in John where that exact expression occurs (though John 6:68-69 has nearly the same expression and expresses the same idea). Therefore, John is saying that one has everlasting life by believing that Jesus guarantees everlasting life to the one who believes in Him.
John is clearly not saying that anyone who believes that Jesus is the Messiah and is the Son of God is born again. Most people in Christianity believe those things, yet most believe in works salvation. John’s point is that to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (John 11:25-27; 20:31) is the same as to believe in Him for everlasting life (John 3:16; 6:47).
The fourth objection is that Abraham was born again even though he believed in a form of Lordship Salvation and thereby lacked assurance of everlasting life. That objection as well totally misses the point of Gen 15:6; John 8:56; Rom 4:3; Gal 3:6; and Heb 11:10.
Genesis 15:6 tells us that Abraham believed God’s promise that the Messiah would come through him and Sarah and that the Messiah would guarantee their eternal destiny (cf. Gen 12:1-3; Gal 3:8).
Jesus confirms in John 8:56 that “Abraham rejoiced to see My day.” If Abraham lacked assurance, then John 8:56 is a lie.
Romans 4:3 and Gal 3:6 are both used by Paul to prove that justification by faith alone is not some new teaching he made up, but it was the truth which Abraham himself believed.
Hebrews 11:10 tells us that Abraham dwelt in the Promised Land without owning any of it in his day because “he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and make is God.” That is, Abraham was sure that he would be in the kingdom and in the New Jerusalem. That is the city he was awaiting.
The idea that Abraham held to a form of Lordship Salvation is totally contradicted by all the texts I just mentioned.
In Part 4, we will consider objections five and six.