Is eternal security a license to sin?

by Matt Slick

No, eternal security (the position that a Christian cannot lose his salvation) is not a license to sin. Such accusations are made by those who believe they can lose their salvation and thus have to maintain it either through obeying the commandments of God or by their deliberate act of remaining faithful to him. I have never heard any believer in eternal security ever make the statement that since he is secure in Christ, it's okay for him to sin. In fact, I have always heard the opposite, and those I have encountered who believe in their security in Christ have universally sought holiness before the Lord Jesus.

Those who truly are born again are also regenerate, and those who are regenerate have the Holy Spirit in them (Romans 8:9-14; Galatians 4:6) who convicts of sin (John 16:8). Also, those who are truly born again are new creatures (2 Cor. 5:17). In other words, real Christians are really changed. Real Christians war against their sin as is exemplified by the apostle Paul in his discourse in Romans 7:18-25. And, real Christians have recognized they have sinned against God and have trusted in Christ to deliver them from their sins. If there is no war against sin, then there is no evidence of regeneration. Therefore, anyone who would say that once he is saved he can go out and sin all he wants is actually implying he is not regenerated.

  • Titus 1:16, "They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed."
  • 1 John 1:6, "If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth."
  • 1 John 2:4, "The one who says, 'I have come to know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him."
  • 1 John 4:20, "If someone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen."

We are not kept in the faith by our good works. However, our faith should be manifested by our good works. Likewise, Scripture tells us that if we say we believe in Christ and yet go on walking in darkness, then we are liars (1 John 1:6) and the truth is not in us (1 John 2:4). 

We are not atheists

Atheists, because of their denial of God and his work in their lives, believe they have a license to sin. Of course, they don't affirm such a thing as sin. But they lie, steal, and do all sorts of evil things without conviction. They, so to speak, have a license to sin because they feel they can do whatever they want without consequence from God. But such is not the way of the believer. When Christians sin, they are convicted. Christians follow God and do not abide in their sin (1 John 3:6). Nevertheless, critics of eternal security who say that such a position is a license to sin are equating us with atheists who believe, in their denial of God's existence, that they have a license to do whatever rebellious thing they want without consequence from God. That simply is not true.


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.