The answer is “No”. But, this is not the doctrine of eternal security as taught by Calvinism. According to Calvinism, God predestines certain individuals to damnation and certain others to salvation. Those whom God has predestined to be saved will endure to the end. Thus, it is not “those who endure to the end will be saved” but “those who are saved will endure to the end.” In other words, the elect will endure; it is not those who will endure that are the elect. We reject the Calvinist explanation of the security of the elect for several biblical reasons stated elsewhere; but, primary, is that it paints a very wrong image of God. In this post, we will try to explain why we believe that the “elect” of God will not fall. Election is not unconditional, but conditional.
- The elect of God are those whom God eternally knows as the ones who are His, i.e. those who have endured to the end in faith (2Tim.2:19).
- These who are foreknown by God as His are the elect of God according to His foreknowledge (1Pet.1:2), because He predestines these, who He foreknows, to be conformed to the glorious image of His Son (Rom.8:29,30,33).
- Similar is the case also of the elect angels (1Tim.5:21); they are called “elect” because they stood faithful to Christ as His angels (Matt.16:27) during Satan’s rebellion (2Pet.2:4; Jude 1:6).
- Those who do not endure to the end, though they may have had faith earlier, are not counted as among the elect (1Jn.2:19). Again, it is not that they failed to endure because they were not the elect; on the contrary, they cannot be called “the elect” because they failed to endure, and because they cast away their faith.
- In our earthly experience, every believer is accepted as “the elect” or as member of the “election” (1Thess.1:4-5), but only those who are diligent to make their election sure by enduring to the end are the true elect of God according to His foreknowledge (2Pet.1:10; Col.3:12).
- Election is according to grace (Rom.11:5); however, that grace is not unconditional. Only those who did not bow their knees to Baal were protected by God from annihilation (Rom.11:4). Similarly, those who lack faith are cut off (Rom.11:20; Jude 1:5; Rev.3:5); however, those who continue in faith to the end, stand, because it is by faith that one becomes a recipient of grace. Faith is the subjective aspect of what grace is the objective side. In the same manner that “according to grace” doesn’t mean “according to works”, similarly, “according to faith” doesn’t mean “according to works” (i.e. of human merit). However, faith without works is also dead. We must differentiate between works of faith and works of the law.
- False Christs and false prophets will try to deceive the elect, if possible, but the elect will not fall (Matt.24:24). The days of tribulation will be shortened for the elects sake and the elect will be gathered at Christ’s coming to God (Matt.24:22,31). But, there will certainly be a huge falling away from faith (2Thess.2:3; 1Tim.4:1). Those who fall away are not the elect of God.