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The Extent of the Believer's Security

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
May 10, 2021 4:00 am

The Extent of the Believer's Security

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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Renewing Your Mind
R.C. Sproul
Renewing Your Mind
R.C. Sproul
Renewing Your Mind
R.C. Sproul
Grace To You
John MacArthur
Kerwin Baptist
Kerwin Baptist Church

God causes all things to work together for good. No statement made to a believer could contribute more hope and more joy in the heart than that statement, because what it says is that no matter what pain, no matter what failures, no matter what suffering, all things work together for good. Welcome to Grace to You with John MacArthur.

I'm your host, Phil Johnson. Have you ever done something so awful that you worried you might have lost your salvation? Is losing your salvation even possible? Can you know for sure that you are truly and permanently saved?

John MacArthur answers those crucial questions in the study he starts today. It's titled, The Grip of God. Well, John, last week we finished what is the most requested, most listened to of all your series, The Fulfilled Family. And this week, we start a new series on a subject that deals with the question our listeners ask us most often, and it's about the security of the believer, the extent of the believer's security. It's a question that comes up again and again, and there are people who are plagued by it for years.

Why is that? Why do you think so many people wrestle with this issue? Well, I've always felt that people wrestle with the whole notion of eternal security for two reasons.

Reason number one is disobedience. Christians who are sinful, disobedient, expressing themselves carnally, not doing what the Lord wants them to do, inevitably forfeit assurance. They don't forfeit salvation, but they do forfeit assurance. Assurance of your salvation is a gift that comes from the Holy Spirit to an obedient believer. So there are people who question the security of salvation simply because they personally struggle with it because they're not obedient believers.

Secondly, people struggle with this truth because they're poorly taught. Look, there is a whole segment of the evangelical church that denies the doctrine of eternal security, that thinks you're only saved as long as you can keep yourself saved. They want to say you're saved by grace, but at the same time, they think you keep your salvation by your works and your faithfulness and your effort. Bad theology leads to doubting the security of the believer. We want to help eliminate these reasons, and we're going to start by looking at the theology of security in Romans chapter 8.

We're calling this series the grip of God, the grip of God. And Jesus even uses that kind of language in John 10 when he says that he holds us in his hand and in the Father's hand and it's impossible to remove us. Romans 8 is a study of the eternal security of the believer. It is a powerful—really, it is a dead-end argument from which there is no exit.

It is so comprehensive. We're going to explore how suffering and struggling and sin literally cannot overpower eternal salvation. We're going to build some momentum as we go, and by the final crescendo, you're going to have a deep appreciation for the eternality of your salvation. Don't miss a day of the grip of God. That's right, and friend, knowing that you are safely in God's hands and that he will never let you go is one of the most encouraging truths in all of Scripture.

It's something we cannot be reminded of too much. And with that said, here's John MacArthur beginning his study called The Grip of God. Romans 8, 28, 29 and 30, let me read those three verses for you. Romans 8, starting at verse 28, and we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. And whom He predestined, these He also called. And whom He called, these He also justified.

And whom He justified, these He also glorified. Now if you just take verse 28, which as I say is part of this summary of the security of the believer, we could divide it into four sections. Verse 28 talks about the extent of our security. It talks about the recipients of security, the source of security, and the certainty of security comes in verses 29 and 30. The extent of security, it covers all things. The recipients of this security, those who love God. The source of their security, they are called.

The certainty of their security that whoever He foreknew and whoever He predestined and whoever He called and whoever He justified, He glorified. So we see the extent, the recipients, the source, and the certainty of security. Anybody ever asks you where in the Bible it tells them about being eternally secure, this is where you go, first and foremost. Now let's take that first point and let's just talk about the extent of our security. How really secure are we? Well, here is the extent of our security in one simple statement.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good. That is the extent of our security. That is a tremendously comforting and reassuring statement.

There could not be a more reassuring statement than that. No statement made to a believer could contribute more hope, more happiness, more freedom and more joy in the heart than that statement. Because what it says is that no matter what pain, no matter what problems, no matter what failures, no matter what difficulties, no matter what disasters, no matter what sins, no matter what suffering, no matter what temptation, all things work together for good. The extent is emphasized in the word panta in the Greek meaning all things. It is a comprehensive promise and the context has no limits.

The context puts no limits on it. There's nothing that qualifies the all things, nothing. It means absolutely what it says, all things work together for good. God takes anything and everything that occurs in a believer's life and rather than it potentiating the believer's loss of salvation, rather than it potentiating the believer's condemnation, God makes it work together for the believer's ultimate good. This is the greatest promise that we can have in this life. There are absolutely no limits on this statement in this context.

It is limitless. Verse 32, I think, again reiterates the limitless nature of this security when it says if God didn't spare His own Son, I mean if God would give His greatest gift, His Son for us while we were yet sinners, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? In other words, if God would give us the best gift which is His Son to save us when we were sinners, won't God do whatever is necessary to keep us now that we're His?

That's the point. He will freely without restraint give us all things, whatever the extent, whatever the amount, whatever the intensity, whatever the overwhelming character and nature of our trouble, it all is woven together by God for our good. Look back at the verse again.

The verse starts with this confidence, and we know. This isn't something that is ambiguous. This isn't something that is a possibility.

This isn't something that is a potential. This is something that is reality. And we know that God causes all things to work together. Take that verb, work together.

It's the Greek verb sunerge from which we get synergism, which means to work together. Everything is synergistic. Everything blends together.

Everything operates cooperatively. Now, all things then are synergized by God. God woven together, brought together in order to produce good.

Listen carefully. All things are not necessarily good in themselves, right? But God takes all things and weaves them into what is good. The word good here needs our attention.

It's agathon. And agathon means good in the purest and truest sense. What is morally good?

What is practically good? And that is the reason you could never lose your salvation because no matter what happens, it turns out what? Good. That is a guilt-edged promise that nothing can happen in the life of a believer that can end up in ultimate bad. It's another way of saying nothing can separate you from the love of Christ down in verse 35. It's another way of saying what is in verse 31. If God is for us, who is against us? It's another way of saying what is in verse 34. Who is going to condemn us? If everything works together for good, then nothing could possibly cause us to lose our salvation.

That's his point. It is absolutely potent argument. God calls, justifies, and glorifies, and nobody falls through the cracks. Everything is causing ultimately their eternal good.

In Deuteronomy 8, 16, in the wilderness, it says, He fed you manna which your fathers didn't know that He might humble you and that He might test you to do good for you in the end. You know, that is really consistent with God's nature. We read that in Psalm 145 that God expresses Himself in great goodness. God is good, the Bible says. Jeremiah the prophet extolled the goodness of God in Jeremiah chapter 24. Thus says the Lord God of Israel, verse 5, like these good figs, so I will regard as good the captives of Judah whom I have sent out of this place and in the land of the Chaldeans.

I'll set my eyes on them for good. I'll bring them again to this land and build them up and not overthrow them and plant them and not pluck them up. I'll give them a heart to know me for I am the Lord and they will be my people and I will be their God for they will return to me with their whole heart. And he's talking about the Israelites taken into captivity who will come back and he says in spite of their sin, in spite of having to be taken away, I will do good to them. It is the character, it is the nature of God to express Himself in goodness toward those upon whom He sets His love. He is a God of goodness. Genesis 50, 20, that wonderful statement, you meant it for evil, but God meant it for what?

For good, for good. God makes things turn out good. It's not automatic. It is by the working of the Holy Spirit that it happens. In verse 26, we don't know how to pray, so the Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. We don't know how to hold on to our salvation.

We don't know how to do that. We don't know how to hold on to our faith. We don't know how to confront the issues of life and how to battle the kingdom of darkness and how to avoid the temptations that would absolutely overwhelm us. So the Spirit of God is there, constantly interceding for us in this groaning before the throne of God and God who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. So the Holy Spirit is always interceding for us, always praying for us, always coming before the throne of God in perfect harmony with God's will. And what is God's will?

That we go all the way from being predestined, called, justified to being glorified. That's God's will, that nobody get lost in the process. That's the will of Jesus as well who said He wanted to keep all that the Father gave Him. And so the Spirit is the one who works out that will of God and that desire of Christ by holding on to us, interceding for us incessantly as the great priest who dwells within us. The yearning of the Holy Spirit, the groaning, remember, is that we would come to final glory. He is interceding always with these inexpressible communions between the Trinity that we might be brought to glory. It is because of that that verse 28 is true. All things are working together for good because the Holy Spirit is interceding for us, because the Son at the right hand of God is interceding for us as our lawyer of defense and our advocate against any who would come to condemn us and because the purposes of God are being carried out.

Well, this all ties together. This is really a monumentally important passage. We are secure. We are secure forever and in no condemnation status because of the intercessory work of the Holy Spirit and because of that intercessory work of the Holy Spirit and because of the ongoing intercessory work of Christ at the right hand of God and because it is the plan of God and the whole of the Trinity is in harmony that all who have been predestined before the foundation of the world will be brought to glory, that plan is unfolding.

Not just because it was said, because it was said and it is being done. Due to the consummate cooperative work of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, everyone who truly comes to faith in Christ will be brought to glory. Now what we have then in verse 28 is the fact that everything due to this plan of God, due to the will of God, and due to the intercessory work of the Holy Spirit, particularly in verses 26 and 27, He can actually say in verse 28 that everything that happens in your life will work out for good. And the good here, let me say it to you clearly, the good here is eternal glory, okay? The good here is eternal glory. Now that doesn't mean that the only good is going to be realized in eternity. The good here is going to sustain you into eternity.

It involves your eternal glory and it involves getting you to that. You say, well, what do you mean by all things here? Well, there are no limits, so let's talk about it.

Let's see how far we can go with this thing. First of all, and I'll give you two points because there are only two points to make here. There are only two kinds of things that can happen to you.

What are they? Good things and bad things. Pretty simple, isn't it?

Didn't take me long to figure out the outline here. The only things that can happen to you are good things or bad things. And in either case, they work together for what?

For good. Well, let's talk about the good things that work together for good. That's obvious, but maybe so obvious, if I asked you what are the good things that work together for good, you might not know what to say.

What good things work together for good? Well, let's start with God's nature. That's the best thing in existence in the universe because God is perfect and perfectly holy. He is pure goodness and His nature works for our good. What do you mean by that? Well, let's take some of His attributes. His great power works for our good.

How does it do that? Well, His great power supports us, doesn't it? In trouble. 1 Corinthians 12, 9, my strength is made perfect in weakness. It is God's power that provides all that we need. It is God's power that conquers our great enemy, Satan and all other enemies. It is God's power that carries us to victory. It is God's power by which we overcome the flesh and sin. It is the goodness of God's power then that works for our good. We could secondly say His great wisdom works for our good because it is His wisdom that instructs us and He has given us the guidance through His Word. Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. The wisdom of God is revealed on the pages of Scripture and as we expose ourselves to the truth of God, that great wisdom instructs us and leads us in the path of obedience and therefore leads us in the path of blessing and the path of joy.

Happy is the man who hears my Word and does it, Jesus said. And His kindness, His great kindness leads us to repentance, it says in Romans chapter 2. God is kind and His kindness works for our good.

We could also say beyond God's nature, and we could go on with that endlessly, everything in God's nature works for our goodness, His grace, His mercy, His compassion, even His law which calls us to the obedience that produces blessing. But let's take secondly God's promises, not only God's nature, but just talk for a minute about God's promises. God's promises work for our good.

The precious promises of God are the supply for the troubled soul when guilt comes. And we read in the Scripture that He keeps mercy for thousands. He promises to be gracious to the humble, James 4. When disobedience is our experience and when we disobey His Word and disobey His law, we have the promise of Hosea 14, 4, I will heal their backslidings.

The promise of Micah 7, 18, who is a pardoning God like thee? There is grace with Him, there is mercy with Him, there is forgiveness with Him, there is pardon with Him. When trouble comes, we have the promise of Psalm 91, 15, I will be with Him in trouble. Psalm 37, 39, I will give Him strength in the time of trouble. When deprivation comes and we're out of human resources, Philippians 4, 19 says, My God shall supply all your needs. Psalm 37, 25 says, I have not seen the righteous forsaken nor His seed begging bread. Jacob said, Lord, Thou hast said, Thou wilt do me good.

Genesis 32, 12. God's promises secure the goodness of God to us. So God's nature is good and brings us goodness. God's promises are good and produce for us goodness. And I just need to add, not only does the very character of God, the very nature of God, the very promises of God work for our good, but all of Scripture works for our good.

I have to add that because I don't want to just leave it with the promises. All of Scripture works for our good. It says in the 20th chapter of Acts and verse 32, the word of His grace is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all them that are sanctified. And everything that the word calls for produces good, everything, worship, obedience to all the commands of Scripture, all of the means of grace that are there applied, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody in your heart to the Lord, submitting, obeying all the Scripture works for good.

Those are the good things, the character of God, the promises of God, the word of God. And let me add, fourthly, prayer works for our good. This is a means of grace that kind of single out. Prayer works for our good. It is really the key that unlocks the treasury of God's mercy. Prayer keeps the heart open to God and shut to sin. Prayer mitigates the intemperate hearts and the swellings of lust. It was Luther's counsel long ago to a friend when he perceived a temptation began to arise to immediately go to prayer. It is the dispeller of sorrow because it vents the grief, it eases the heart.

It says in 1 Samuel 1 that when Hannah had prayed in her sorrow, she went away and was no more sad. These are good things. All that the Bible calls for, prayer, worship, the Lord's table, any form of obedience, any form of submission to the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control, anything in the Scripture, anything that it calls for, any means of grace becomes a source of good.

Well, let's go beyond that. Let's go beyond the character and nature of God, the promises of God, the Scripture in all its fullness and all that it calls for. And let's talk about angels. Angels are good, good angels, holy angels. And do you know they work for our good? They work for our good, Hebrews 1.14. It says, angels are ministering spirits sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation.

We don't even know what's going on, folks, but it is all the time. Angels are assisting in bringing us to glory. They're sent out to render service to us so that we will inherit our salvation.

They protect us from those things that would destroy us. Matthew 18, verse 10, one of the really remarkable statements of Jesus, He said this, see that you do not despise one of these little ones, talking about believers, these little ones who believe in Me, meaning believers who are childlike, which we all are. Don't look down or belittle or think little of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually behold the face of My Father who is in heaven. And the picture here is God's in heaven and God is watching His children, and if you despise them or belittle any believer, it shows up as concern to God. And the angels are always watching God's face, as it were, to pick up that concern to be dispatched by Him to the aid of those believers.

Tremendous concept. God in His nature works for our good. God in His promises works for our good. God in His Word has produced all kinds of means spiritually to produce our good, and God has even given to the holy angels the assignment of working for our good. And they're always beholding His face so that they're in ready contact with Him to be dispatched to the aid of those for whom He shows concern.

And then I would add another category, there's only one left, and that's people. Other believers work for our good. It's true. Other believers work for our good. I think there would be a lot of places in the Scripture where you could see this, none better than 2 Corinthians 24. Paul says, we are workers with you for your joy.

We are workers with you for your joy. You know, the Lord has distributed through the entire body of Christ spiritual gifts. I have gifts in the area of teaching and preaching. You have gifts in various areas, and those gifts are to be used for the strengthening of believers. And I would hope that the expression of my gift and the expression of my life and the expression of my ministry works for your good, for your spiritual edification, for your greater knowledge of Scripture, your greater love for Christ, your greater love for God, your greater service to the Lord, your greater grasp of truth so that you can honor Him in His Word. Hebrews 10, 24 says, when you come together, stimulate one another to love and good works.

So we come together to worship with the purpose of stimulating each other to goodness. So saints work together to produce good in each other's lives. That's what's such an atrocity when a believer leads another believer into sin, and that's why Jesus said in Matthew 18 also that if you lead another believer into sin, you'd be better off to be drowned with a millstone hanging around your neck and thrown in the deep sea. You never want to lead another believer into sin.

You always want to do good to them. James 5 talks about the spiritually strong helping the spiritually weak and praying for them. So good can be brought about by good things. Our good God is doing good for us constantly as an expression of the goodness of His character and His nature. Our good God has made to us great and precious promises. Our God has given us His good Word, which ministers good to us as we learn it and apply it and obey it. God has called the good and holy angels to our aid to do good for us. And God has designed that saints within the church minister mutually goodness to each other.

These are the good things. That's John MacArthur looking at the lasting peace you can have when you know your salvation can't be taken away. It's part of John's current study on grace to you, titled The Grip of God. Now, this entire series is available to download free of charge at our website. You can also purchase this study in a seven CD album. It's an ideal addition to your church library. To get the series titled The Grip of God, contact us today. The seven CD album is available for a reasonable price and shipping is free. To order, call 855-GRACE or you can visit our website,

This study explains why God saves sinners in the first place, the reason God will never revoke salvation that He's already granted, and how you can be sure that you're a genuine follower of Christ. Again, to order The Grip of God CD album, call us at 800-55-GRACE, or you can order from our website, And remember, you can download all seven messages free of charge in MP3 or transcript format at the website.

The address there again, And while you're at our website, make sure you download the Grace to You app. It gives you access to our current study, past programming, and John's entire sermon archive. That's more than 3,500 sermons in all, and the app is free to download for your smartphone or your tablet at Now for John MacArthur, I'm Phil Johnson. Thanks for starting your week off with Grace to You, and join us tomorrow when John looks at why you can know peace, even when you're facing the greatest tragedies. It's another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth, one verse at a time, on Tuesday's Grace to You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-19 21:43:01 / 2023-11-19 21:53:17 / 10

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