I have to be honest. I think there are a few verses that proponents of eternal security use that cannot bear the weight of that doctrine. For example, Philippians 1:6.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Though I believe this text helps us see a general principle—that God finishes what He starts—I’m not confident that in this particular text that work that He has started is salvation. I actually think it has more to do with their partnership in the gospel (v5), which is quite possible speaking of their monetary help in advancing the gospel. In fact I believe Philippians is a call to continue the work of advancing the gospel, not so much a call to not abandon the gospel.
Now I could be wrong. And if it is talking about eternal security that’s no skin off my back because I believe the doctrine taught elsewhere. But I always get a little worried when we line up a number of texts (often out of context) to prove a doctrine. Actually those that do not believe in eternal security can pull a good number of verses out of their hat as well. That is why I like to take whole textual units and flows of thought and develop doctrine from that.
The beautiful logic of John 6:38-40
One such place is the sixth chapter of John. This chapter begins with a miracle and the crowds wanting to make Jesus their king. It ends with everyone but the disciples betraying him (and even in their midst is the great betrayer Judas Iscariot). In the middle of this chapter is a discussion about manna, the bread of life, and the eternal provision of Jesus.
The crowds got their fill for the day. Jesus knows that their attempts to crown him is only because “you ate your fill of the loaves”. They are satisfied with temporary provision. Jesus then contrasts this with a desire for that which will eternal satisfy—Himself. In verse 35 Jesus says, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst”. Note the context: eternal versus temporary.
The problem, outlined in verse 36, is that they aren’t coming to Jesus. Yet there is hope because “all that the Father gives” to Jesus will come to Jesus. And whenever anyone (highlight the anyone) comes to Jesus, this one will “never be cast out”. Jesus gives the reason why in verse 38-40. This is true because Jesus has come to do the will of the Father. What is the will of the Father?
And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
Does Jesus always do the will of the Father? Yes.
Did Jesus fully accomplish the will of the Father? Yes.
What is the will of the Father, in this text? That he would lose nothing that was given to him by the Father.
Who are those that are given to Jesus? Those who look upon the Son, those that have come to Jesus.
Therefore, if Jesus loses any of us He does not accomplish the will of the Father. If Jesus does not accomplish the will of the Father what does this mean for His perfect righteousness?
This means that you and I are as eternally secure in the arms of Jesus as He is faithful to the Father. This is what he is saying to the crowd. Bread disappears. Even the heavenly manna disappeared after one day. It is not so with those who come to the bread of life. We will never ultimately go hungry, because the Good Shepherd will never let us go. Whoever comes to Jesus will be satisfied. Eternally.