The Doctrine of Eternal Security: Differing Views


The Doctrine of Eternal Security

Differing views on an important topic 

Within Protestantism, there are two prevailing views of the permanence of salvation: the Reformed view and the Arminian view.

The Reformed view, which was championed by the influential French theologian, John Calvin, states that salvation can only come to those who are truly called. Because the Bible explains that God’s calling is irrevocable, this view teaches that the true “regenerate” believer can never lose his salvation.

The Arminian view was codified, presented, and ardently defended by Dutch theologian, Jacobus Arminius. It states that because men come to Christ of their own volition and through their own free will, it is also possible for them to abandon Christ through their own free will. Because this decision to abandon one’s faith is always possible, eternal damnation could await formerly regenerate believers who abandon their faith and reject God’s free gift of salvation.

The majority of Protestants hold to one of these two views — or some variation/combination thereof.

Can You Lose Your Salvation? – Slideshow Presentation

Reformed View
(Eternal Security)

Arminian View
(Conditional Security)


Eternal security is a necessary and logical outcome of total depravity and unconditional election.


God gives us this freedom to choose Him or reject Him. (Free will) God does not take away this freedom when we become believers.


Scripture plainly teaches that one can never lose their salvation:

  • John 5:24; 6:39-40; 10:25-29
  • Rom. 8:29-30,38-39; 11:29
  • Eph. 1:13,14


Scripture plainly teaches that one can lose their salvation:

  • 1 John 5:16 ; Mark 3:28,29
  • Heb. 6:4-6; 10:26,27
  • 2 Pet. 2:19-22; Gal. 5:1-4


Christians can rest in the assurance of their salvation:

  • 1 John 5:13
  • Phil. 1:6


Scripture plainly teaches that salvation requires a continuous belief until death:

  • Matt. 24:10-13; Heb. 3:6
  • John 3:16; 5:24; 6:40

Reformed View in a nutshell

“Security and perseverance are two sides to the same coin. It is God’s responsibility to protect and secure our salvation and it is our responsibility to persevere in our belief until the end. However, God will enable those who are His to persevere until the end. Those who don’t persevere until the end were not His to begin with.”

Arminian View in a nutshell

“Salvation can be lost through apostate action: scripture proves it and free will requires it. To believe otherwise is a blatant heresy. History supports this view because until John Calvin, no serious church leader had believed in, or promoted, the “once-saved-always-saved” view.”


Conclusion: It is worth noting that both Reformed and Arminian devotees can furnish convincing prooftexts for their respective belief. Some are dogmatic in their persuasion on this matter. However, I am content to hold these two views in tension. Over the years, I have found that an over-obsession with this topic can often indicate a deeper insecurity within the believer.

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Jerry Robinson has been teaching the Word of God since 2002. His desire through this website is to help others know God's Word and to be sensitive to His voice. He is a grateful husband and proud father. He resides deep within the Boston Mountains in Northwest Arkansas.

'The Doctrine of Eternal Security: Differing Views' have 7 comments

  1. February 14, 2015 @ 5:07 pm Frances vincent

    Romans 8:13 says it all quote If you (he is addressing Christians.) live according to the sinful nature you (Christian) shall die (GO TO HELL)


  2. February 15, 2015 @ 4:42 pm Linda Redondo

    The next verse, verse 14 says “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” We must not take a verse out of context. If Our salvation depends on us, we had better be VERY SCARED! We sin even when we are saved but our salvation is evident when we are sickened by our sin and in spite of it, forsake & repent of it & progress in our walk with God cause He has our hand.


  3. February 16, 2015 @ 11:01 am Diane

    Only our LORD knows what is correct. I’ve struggled with this over the years. and come to the conclusion that, whichever view is certain, staying in the Word and loving God with all my heart (though not always easy) brings His certain peace to my heart. As David said, there is nowhere we can go where He is not. And as Peter said, there is nowhere else to be but by His side. If we truly trust Him, we know that He is faithful and just and will not forsake us. Whatever He calls good IS good. And His love for us is without question. We are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. A reverential awe of His greatness (and our non-greatness), a fear of disobeying Him, and an absolute love for Him – assuming this position in our life is His way of protecting us. And aren’t we so grateful?!


  4. February 16, 2015 @ 11:25 am Greg

    To plant your flag in mushy middle is not of the Spirit of God. There’s nothing mushy or middel of the road about His word or His “finished” work on the cross. I was indoctrinated catholically, that didn’t work. Then went pleasure seeking, new age-y karma in life and biz. That blew up on me, thank God. Then actually started reading the Word of God to try and understand how to market certain products to Christians and “wham”. I was run over by the truth. My eyes were opened. Left to study and absorbed the bible without the influences of the opposing doctrines and their astute teachers, the bible and God’s character is pretty darn clear to me. By His grace we all have the opportunity at least once to understand His path for our salvation. We do have the free-will to either choose Him or to carry on our own paths. But if by grace through faith we choose Him, once we receive His free gift of God of eternal life through Jesus we are sealed and guaranteed. How do I know that! The Word of God makes it plainly clear. If I could lose my salvation, I would. We all stumble fighting the good fight, but the blood of Christ has never stopped flowing for us, for we have all entered eternity at various intervals of time and space.
    His holiness declares my past, present and future sins are covered. His love is greater than my propensity for sin. There’s not one human on earth that can maintain his salvation without the “unconditional” covenant God nailed to the cross, buried and resurrected. It is as plain as the face in the mirror, if you could lose it, you would. Our wildly loving LORD did not miscalculate our ungoldliness.


  5. February 16, 2015 @ 8:14 pm Rom Ishi

    I am almost persuaded that those who are saved, and practice their faith by living a life that is pleasing to God will be come the Bride of Christ, but those who are saved by live a life that is self-centered or not caring to live a life pleasing to God, and who don’t believe that all of the Bible is true, will NOT become a part of the Bride of Christ and will have to go through the 7 year tribulation of the wrath of the Lamb. In Luke 21:36, it states: ‘Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” Jesus is not talking to the unsaved, because the unsaved will be watching for things they don’t even believe in, nor will they be praying to escape those things which the verses previous to verse 36 speaks of because they don’t believe they will happen. It was a warning to Christians that if they fail to watch and pray to be COUNTED WORTHY, they will not escape these things that are coming to pass on the Earth, and will have to go through the 7 years of tribulation. Matt 25 which speaks of 10 virgins, 5 were wise, and 5 were foolish. The 5 wise virgins were ready for the Bridegroom because they took extra oil with them. They were prepared no matter that the Bridegroom would delay His return. But the foolish virgins did not showing their complacency about the return of the Bridegroom for them. So when the Bridegroom finally did come, the wise virgins were taken away by the Bridegroom, while the 5 foolish virgins went to buy more oil, but were rejected by the Bridegroom when they tried to enter the wedding. They were told by the Bridegroom, “I don’t know you”. That’s why Jesus said after this parable: “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”
    I am not being dogmatic about this viewpoint, but I would like to read other comments about what I’ve written. But in the end, I believe in eternal security of our salvation. It’s just that maybe not all the saved will become the Birde of Christ Jesus, only those who are watching and praying to be counted worthy to escape all the things that are about to happen and stand before the Son of Man.


    • February 16, 2015 @ 8:25 pm Rom Ishi

      I should have proof read my post before clicking the post button. The words “be come” should read “become”, and the phrase “but those who are saved by live a life that is self-centered” should read “but those who are saved BUT live a life that is self-centered”. And the phrase “because the unsaved will be watching for things they don’t even believe in”, should read” “because the unsaved will NOT be watching for things they don’t even believe in”, and in the phrase: “not all the save will become the Birde of Christ Jesus” should read “not all the saved will become the BRIDE of Christ Jesus”. Sorry for the mistakes.


  6. July 4, 2016 @ 12:48 am Penny551

    When asked my opinion on this debate, I often respond that I’m “Calminian,” acknowledging God’s sovereignty in election as well as our free-will. Admittedly, I lack the theological acumen to expand much further, but I think that’s ok. This is a topic that is certainly fair game for honest debate, but we have to guard against being divided w/ our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ over this topic.

    “In Essentials; Unity. In non-essentials; Liberty. Ina ll things; Charity.”
    -Rupertus Meldenius


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