By Shawn Lazar
Does John’s Gospel teach that Jesus promised everlasting life that can never be lost?
Does it teach eternal security?
Is the doctrine of “once saved, always saved” true?
The answers are yes, yes, and yes.
How do I know? Read each of the following verses:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13-14).
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life” (John 5:24).
And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).
“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37).
“This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day” (John 6:39).
“And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28).
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26).
Here are nine reasons why believers are eternally secure.
First, whoever believes has everlasting life (cf. John 3:16, 36; 4:14; 5:24; 6:47). How long is everlasting life? Everlasting. It is not temporary, but forever. If you could lose it, it would not be everlasting.
Second, whoever believes will never perish (John 3:16). If you could perish, as many Christians teach, then Jesus’ promise would be false. It is only true because the believer is eternally secure.
Third, whoever believes will never thirst (John 4:10-14; 6:35). The Lord was comparing the “living water” He would give the Samaritan woman to drink with the well water she had come to fetch. The well water would leave her thirsty again. But if she drank His living water, she would “never thirst” again, but it would “spring up into everlasting life” (v 14). If you could lose your salvation, then you would thirst again. But Jesus says that cannot happen. The believer who drinks once “will never thirst.”
Fourth, whoever believes will not come into judgment (John 5:24). Jesus is speaking about eternal salvation here. Why won’t the believer come into judgment? Because the moment you believe, you get eternal life, so your eternal destiny has already been decided. You are eternally secure.
Fifth, whoever believes will never hunger (John 6:35). Just as Jesus compared believing in Him to drinking living water, He also compared it to eating bread. If you eat the bread of life (i.e., believe in Him), you will never hunger again. If you could go hungry by losing your salvation, then this promise would not be true. If you had to keep on eating to stay full, this would not be true. But Jesus promises that the believer will never hunger ever again. It is forever.
Sixth, whoever believes will never be lost (John 6:39). Once Jesus has you, He will never lose you. (Even if, in this case, the direct application may be to corporate Israel).
Seventh, whoever believes will never be cast out (John 6:37). How many churches teach that you can be cast out if you aren’t good and faithful? Well, that’s wrong. Jesus said it would never happen.
Eighth, whoever believes will never be snatched away (John 10:28). Once you are in Jesus’ hand, there’s no leaving it, falling from it, or slipping through His fingers. He won’t cast you out, and no one can snatch you away. You are secure.
Ninth, whoever believes will never die (John 11:25-26). Jesus was talking to Martha about spiritual death. Once you have everlasting life, you will never die spiritually. If you could die spiritually, then this promise would be false. But that will never happen. If you believe, you will never die.
Friend, do you see that the only salvation that Jesus gives is everlasting? Dwight Pentecost once said,
When God offers a man life, God offers a man only one kind of life, and that is eternal life. Eternal life is the life of God, and as God’s life could never be terminated by death, so the life of God, given to the child of God, could never be terminated (Things Which Become Sound Doctrine, p. 127).
Any other kind of salvation is not what Jesus promised.
But what about the warning passages in Scripture? They exist but be sure to read them in context. They cannot contradict Jesus’ promises. The truth is, there is much that a believer can lose if he or she disobeys, but everlasting life is not one of them. That life is not only for now but forever and ever.
Shawn Lazar is Director of Publications for Grace Evangelical Society. He has been married to Abby for fifteen years.