The Doctrine of Eternal Security And It's Key Passage
The Doctrine of Eternal Security
and its Key Passage
Why You Can Not Lose Your Salvation
Why OSAS is True
Originally published 3/27/05
In a related A-O Report article on Bible Translations/Versions we indicated that translating a word or phrase perfectly into another language such as English can be impossible to do perfectly. We mentioned one such example that could be found in Ephesians chapter 2 and verses 8 and 9.
This is one passage in the New Testament Greek that is totally, and completely untranslatable and maintain its exact meaning from the original Greek. This is perhaps the most critical passage in all of the Bible, for it gives us the full, complete formula for eternal life. This passage is so misunderstood and mistranslated that it was decided that it deserved its own special study on a website primarily devoted to Bible Prophecy.
The verse itself is not only a key verse for understanding salvation but also for understanding that salvation is indeed forever, and eternally secure. If you are one who has had doubts (and most have) the technical understanding of this passage should permanently allay such doubts as long as you remember these details. We would encourage you to print out this article and keep it safe for future follow up reference when doubts might creep up or when you run across someone else having doubts. Feel free to pass it around. Download this page into an E-mail and mail it to everyone you know whom you think would benefit from it. This is what it is put here for, to help you and others. So pass it around. Now let’s get started with our study.
The passage in question is Ephesians 2:8 which states:
"For by grace are ye saved through faith"...
"For" = "te gar" or "gar" = Strong's code # 1063
The word "For" is a conjunction. It is a "connecting" word. When ever you see a "For" in the Bible – and especially in the Apostle Paul's writing - just remember it means: "Hook me onto what went on before" or "Hook me up to what was just written before the "For." Also, "For" connotes the introduction of a reason to what was just said.
SSSSSSSOoooooooooooooooo, when we see the first word in Verse 8, we can say:
"FOR" - [Hook me up to what was said previously because it introduces "reason."
"By Grace" = Xariti (or chariti - as the "X" is a "Ch" sound) Strong's Code #5485
The word can carry a variety of different meanings in its root form - "xaris." Here are some of the lexical definitions as found in various Lexicons such as BAGD, Moulton, Liddell & Scott, Mounce, Thayer, Machen, and also Moulton-Milligan:
#1. That which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness, such as the grace of speech or looks or ability.
#2. Goodwill. lovingkindness, favor. Divine kindness, which is bestowed upon someone who does NOT DESERVE it. Undeserved, Unearned, Unmerited favor. A gift which is totally undeserved, unmerited and unearned by the recipient.' The favor or gift is freely given.
#3. A Divine gift or favor freely given in an over-abundance (as to be limitless) and never-ending.
#4. An act of giving thankfulness or appreciation after receiving a gift. Often applied for the act of prayer before or after a meal.
So, as we examine the definitions, we find that actually definition 2 and 3 are in effect the same for this passage.
#2 merely underscores our prior status as undeserving of the "gift" yet given away freely with the only condition being acceptance being implied. But #3 - because it is of Divine origin also connotes to us the understand-ing that this gift is an over-abundant one, limitless, never-ending. This is further underscored by the verb next to it in the sentence sequential order.
Okay, let's now look at the key word, which illustrates our overall point about translation problems that makes this entire phrase, virtually untranslatable for a translation, which is restricted to proper English grammatical structure. We are talking about the next three words "are you saved" which are only two words in the Greek.
The word "saved" is actually made up of two Greek words which form what is called a "perfect participle".
"este" = you are = This is a verb that is an indicative, active present tense, second person plural.
"sesohsmenoi" = having been saved = This is the actual perfect participle. It is in fact a passive perfect participle that is nominative in agreement with its second person plural status.
Now that is all one big mouthful. Wait til you see its meaning translated.
The passive perfect participle means:
An action performed at some point in the past. That action has continued up to the present moment at which we read this. It is an action that contin-ues past the moment we read it. It is an action, which continues … … INFINITELY FOREVER. It is an action that CANNOT BE STOPPED! It is an UNSTOPABLE, UNALTERABLE action.
It is an action that started in the past, continues into the present moment and then continues and continues and continues and continues, forever and ever and ever and ever and ever. In fact the English term "etc" or
"etcetera" or the three dot symbol ... ... for infinity could be used and applied literally for this word. So that we can take a look at the word in Greek itself - Sesohsmenoi.
Sesohsmenoi = #4982 =
#1. to save, rescue, preserve safe and unharmed, to keep safe and sound, to rescue as in to rescue from danger or destruction. To bring safely to. To deliver from. To set free from. All can be physical or spiritual in nature or both. To change one's mind - convert.
#2. to save or deliver from the penalties of the Messianic judgment. To be a partaker of salvation by Christ. To save from eternal, physical, spiritual death. The action of saving is done by someone on behalf of someone else. To be saved requires normally the actions of another who is not in jeopardy.
Sooooooo. Let's put together what we've already got.
“For” (Reason - hook me onto what just preceded) ... “by an undeserved, unearned, unmerited gift, ...”
“you were saved -- at a point of time in the past that continues up until the present moment and will continue foreever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever ... ...”
Actually, to faithfully reproduce the meaning would mean to never stop writing - forever. Now, how are you ever going to translate that into English?????? - The answer is that -- "You can't translate that fully and effectively into English and not have it break the normal English grammar and sentence structure and still be faithfully accurate to the original Greek text. Keep in mind that we haven't even finished with the phrase let alone the original Greek sentence itself.
Now, let's continue. The next word is "through faith".
“Through” is the Greek word "dia." Dia means "by agency of." It is a channel or a like an electrical conduit or like a pipe.
The following word is "Faith" and in Greek is the word "pisteuoh." = Strong's # 4100 thru 4102.
#1. To believe or to rationally think to be true, to be persuaded of based upon logic or evidence. It is not a "blind" acceptance.
#2. To be convinced or to trust based upon the evidence. A conviction of the truth of anything. A belief. To have a resolute confidence all of which based upon the evidence.
Now let’s finish up the thought ... with the phrase in Ephesians 2:8 ... "and not of yourselves. It is a gift of God.
Here the word gift is not "chariti" or "xaris" but instead the word "dohrahn." It is another word the means "gift" in the normal sense.
Then Verse 9 finishes up the thought of verse 8 with ...
"Not of works, lest any man should boast."
The word "not" is self-explanatory and we do not need to go into the meaning of that word. However, "of" is not as it would appear.
"of" = "ek" = while it has various meanings as a preposition, in this usage it is best translated not merely as "of" -- but "OUT OF" because "ek" means "out of" not merely "of."
The next word is "works"
works = "ergohn" = an action. A deed. A work. Anything done or to be done. A duty.
#1. An action. A deed. A work. A duty. A deed.An accomplishment. Task.
#2. A trade. To trade. To work, to labour, to do business, to do something, to perform something. To Strive to perform, to practice,
#3. A worker, a practicer, a trader, a businessman, workman, labourer, an artist, a craftsman, a laborer.
So in this last phrase, “Not of works” means “not out of human effort.”
Not out of human activity or activities.
Not out of a deed(s)
Not out of an action or actions
Not out of doing something or doing things
Not out of trades
Not out of works
And to our final phrase, “lest any man should boast.” Which carries the notion of being proud and boastful or cocky and arrogant, which itself would then be a sin. So, if your efforts could “save you” it would only be initially because then again you fall into sin – by becoming cocky, arrogant, and boastful. So in other words, even if you could help save yourself, you would only fall right back into it again.
All my experiences have shown me that anyone who thinks they can lose their salvation and who challenges an OSAS (once saved always saved) believer is also someone who mixes their own human efforts with that of Jesus’ cross-work death and resurrection. In turn, they are always arrogant, boastful and cocky in regards to their views. Inside they are full of self-doubt and conflict.
These people fit the description of the Apostle Paul in Galatians 1: 6-9 in which Paul notes that such people are eternally damned because one cannot mix the cross-work of Christ with anything else including their own human efforts.
What we find so insidious in all of this is how a small amount of “works” can become mixed into the equation, subtly and deceptively. We all have an inner nature that wants to add something into the work that Christ has already done on our behalf. Works is like leaven/yeast. It starts out small and soon takes over everything if left to its own devices.
Let’s review our translation of the passage again.
“For” (Reason - hook me onto what just preceded – which was about our unsaved life and His desire to save us and our position in salvation without our earning it) ... “by an undeserved, unearned, unmerited gift, ... … you were saved -- at a point of time in the past that continues up until the present moment and will continue forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever ... ...through the agency of rationally persuaded belief/conviction (certainty) and not of yourselves. It is a gift of God. Not out of human effort otherwise anyone should boast.”
Let’s Try that again and reduce some of the clutter.
“For by an undeserved, unearned, unmerited gift, you were saved -- at a point of time in the past that continues up until the present moment and will continue forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever through the agency of rationally persuaded belief/conviction and not of yourselves. It is a gift of God. Not out of human effort otherwise anyone should boast.”
So there you have it. Salvation is a process for which you cannot escape. You cannot escape the process as it is identified in Ephesians 2: 8-9. You, who rest solely on the cross-work of Jesus Christ as a gift freely offered to you (but cost God everything) on the basis of faith alone, you are in an eternal process for which you cannot escape out of. You are eternally saved and secure.
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise and try to rob you of the effective power of your gift of eternal life. If someone does try this, tell them to come see me and explain the Greek passive perfect participle of "sesohsmenoi" and the grammatical law that it adheres to for the meaning of the word. At best all they could do is make up a rule of Greek grammar to try and negate the “process” action that is infinite in the rule regarding passive perfect participle as applied here in verse 8 for "sesohsmenoi.”
In other words, there is no rebuttal to the evidence to what I have just presented. No one who would try to rob you of this truth I have presented has any textual, Greek grammar evidence that can point to the contrary. All they can do is “spit into the wind,” or maybe they can “pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger” but they can’t mess around (with Jim—as in the song by Jim Croce) with this proper translation of Ephesians 2:8 and the word "sesohsmenoi.”
Also, remember this lesson. Translations are not perfect in their representation of exactly what was written in the original texts. Translations are imperfect and as such are not suitable for framing and forming the basis for “doctrine.” All too many churches and individuals use translations for the basis of their doctrines, which can and usually creates all sorts of error.
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