OceanSide church of Christ
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CAN A CHRSTIAN FALL FROM GRACE?
Victor M. Eskew
There are several religious groups that teach that it is impossible for a Christian to fall from grace. This doctrine is known as “the impossibility of apostasy” or “the perseverance of the saints.” Some refer to it as “once saved, always saved.” Is this doctrine true? By this we mean, is it taught in the Word of God? Or, does the Bible teach that a Christian can fall from grace. Let’s look into God’s Word for an answer to these questions.
If it is impossible for a Christian to fall from God’s grace, would God warn His children about the possibility of falling? Of course not! It is not necessary to warn someone about something that cannot happen. Our denominational friends tell us that the Christian cannot fall from grace. Yet, the Bible warns us in numerous places about the possibility of falling. Let’s set some of the passages before you.
I Corinthians 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
Galatians 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law ye are fallen from grace.
I Timothy 3:6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
I Timothy 3:7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into the reproach and the snare of the devil.
Hebrews 4:11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
Hebrews 6:6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
James 5:12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.
I 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.
I 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.
Listed above are nine passages of Scripture that warn about falling from grace. Why would
the Holy Spirit waste His time discussing something that cannot happen? Why would He warn
of a danger that will never pertain to the child of God? The reality is that God warned about
it so many times because it is a very real possibility. God’s children can fall from grace.
Brother Guy N. Woods taught that there are over 2500 examples in the pages of God’s
Word of those who have fallen from the grace of God. Let’s consider a couple of examples.
The first is found in Acts 8. Philip the evangelist had entered into the city of Samaria and
preached Christ unto them (Acts 8:5). One that heard Philip’s preaching was a sorcerer
named Simon (Acts 8:9). Philip’s message pricked the heart of this sorcerer, and he obeyed
the gospel. “Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with
Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done” (Acts 8:13).
According to Jesus, Simon was a saved man at this point in time. (Mark 16:16). When the
apostles heard of the conversion of the Samaritans, they sent Peter and John so they could
lay hands on them and impart unto them the miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost (Acts 8:14
17). “And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost
was given, he offered them money, saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay
hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost” (Acts 8:18-19). Peter’s response to this man was sharp
and to the point. He left no doubt that Simon was in danger of being lost. “But Peter said
unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought the gift of God may be purchased with money” (Acts 8:20). Peter exhorted Simon to repent and pray to God for the forgiveness of his sins (acts 8:22). Here was a new convert who had been lured into sin. After he was saved, Peter noted that he could perish if he did not repent and seek God’s forgiveness through prayer. This is a clear example of what can happen to a Christian. He can so sin as to be lost eternally.
When we read the second and third chapters of Revelation, we read letters addressed to the seven churches of Asia. Note, these letters are written to churches, that is, to those who had been called out of the world and into the kingdom of God (Col. 1:13). Several of these churches had severe problems involving doctrinal impurity and immorality. They were exhorted by the Lord Jesus Christ to repent. If they did not, they were told that their candlesticks would be removed out of their places. Jesus’ words to the church at Ephesus were: “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Rev. 2:5). Notice that he says that they had fallen, something some say cannot be done by Christians. Notice also that to keep from having their candlestick removed from its place they needed to repent.
We have verses in the Bible that tell us that Christians can fall from grace. We have examples in the Bible of those who fell from grace and were commanded to repent lest they perish. This should be enough proof for anyone who is honest to come to an understanding that it is possible for the child of God to lose his salvation. The doctrine of the impossibility of apostasy is a false doctrine. It will condemn the souls of thousands who have been led to believe that once they are saved they are always saved. How sad that is!!!