Matthew 10:22 – Does this passage deny eternal security?

Problem: Jesus told the disciples, “You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved” (Mt. 10:22). Does this mean that believers need to persevere in order to be saved? Can believers lose their salvation?

Solution: When Jesus refers to “the end” in verse 22, we need to note that the Greek is anarthrous—that is, it lacks the definite article. Because it lacks the article, this doesn’t refer to the end of human history or even the end of their lives, but to the end of the preaching mission that Jesus gave them. Carson writes, “The disciples’ perseverance to the end does not mean withdrawal but moving on from city to city until the Son of Man comes.”[1] On this view, Jesus was giving this command to the disciples—not to the Church. This was given for their ministry under the old covenant—not under the new. Compare this with the teaching in John 14-16. It was given primarily to them—not to us. Therefore, we shouldn’t interpret this as grace teaching. It should probably be considered as law teaching, but this was pre-Cross, so it’s not that controversial (compare with Sermon on the Mount).

[1] Carson, D. A. Matthew. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke (Vol. 8). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House. 1984. 251.

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