OceanSide church of Christ
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FALLING FROM GRACE
Victor M. Eskew
Several religious groups teach that it is impossible for a child of God to fall from grace. The doctrine has several names: “Once saved, always saved;” “the perseverance of the saints;” and “the impossibility of apostasy.” These groups will use numerous texts to “justify” their position, but these texts are never offset by the plain passages that teach that a Christian can fall. Let’s look at some of these verses in this article.
I Corinthians 10:12
Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
Question: If a child of God cannot fall, why is this warning found in Scripture? Why didn’t Paul say: “If you think you are standing, you are right, and you will never fall?”
Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
The inspired penman encourages his readers to labor. Why? Because it is possible for them to fall. He even uses the wilderness Jews as an example of those who did fall. Their unbelief led to their exclusion from the Promised Land. The child of God’s unbelief today will also lead to his exclusion from the Promised Land. If a person cannot fall, the Hebrew writer should have said: “Don’t worry. You Christians who are experiencing some unbelief cannot fall like the Jews of old did.”
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing their crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
All of the descriptions of the individual who can fall away in this text point to one redeemed by the blood of Christ. If not, why not? The writer says that these individuals can not only fall away, but fall to such a point that they cannot be renewed unto repentance. My friend, if a person will not repent, Jesus said he will perish. “I tell ye, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). Those who do not believe that a child of God call fall from grace not only deny this text, but they also find themselves at odds with Jesus’ teaching on repentance.
II Peter 1:10
Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.
Here are some questions for those who do not believe that a child of God can fall from grace. 1) What will happen to a Christian if he refuses to add the Christian graces to his life? 2) What will happen to a Christian if he fails to make his calling and election sure? 3) How would you finish this statement: “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do not do these things, ye shall ________________”? Again, if a Christian cannot fall, these words given by the Holy Spirit are senseless and needless.
II Peter 3:17
Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.
Here is another silly admonition from Peter’s pen if a child of God cannot fall from grace. He warns the brethren that they can be led away with the error of the wicked and can fall from their steadfastness. Why did he give this admonition if Christians cannot fall?
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
Paul was writing to members of the churches of Galatia (Gal. 1:2). Judaizing teachers had entered into these congregations and were perverting the gospel (Gal. 1:6-9). Some within these churches were being bewitch (Gal. 3:1). Paul, therefore, warns them that if they returned to the law, Christ would be of “no effect” unto them. Too, those who turned back would fall from the grace of God. How can any honest person read this verse and argue that one cannot fall from grace?
The above passages plainly teach that a child of God call fall from grace. These passages completely annihilate the doctrine of once-saved, always-saved. Those who believe in the impossibility of apostasy will argue against these verses using other Bible verses. The reality, however, is that the passages they use must be modified by the teaching of the texts that are used in this article. We will close with the apostle Peter’s exhortation in II Peter 1:10. “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.”