When a person is immersed into Christ to have their sins forgiven, is it possible for them to “fall away”? This doctrine of “Once Saved—Always Saved” comes in many packages. Sometimes it is called “Once in Grace—Always in Grace”. Other times you will hear the phrase “Eternal Security” used to describe this doctrine. But is this doctrine manmade or is it biblical? I propose to you that it is manmade and the Bible teaches that a person can “fall away”. Here are some Scriptures to back up my proposal.
Galatians 5:4—”You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace”. The Apostle Paul is writing to the Jewish Christians who are trying to make the Greeks follow the Old Testament Law.
I John 5:16—”If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this”. The Apostle John is referring to a brother who has changed and is now denying the incarnation—or a sin leading to death.
Hebrews 3:6—”but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end”. How do we know that we are the house of Christ? We know IF we hold fast our confidence! IF assumes we could not hold fast our confidence! The late Edgar Harris, the preacher who immersed me, taught that every promise has a string attached to it. This one does with the little word IF.
Hebrews 6:4-6—”For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame”. This text teaches very plainly that a Christian (one who has tasted the heavenly gift and has been made partakers of the Holy Spirit) can fall away.
I Corinthians 9:27—”but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified”. The Apostle Paul thought that he could be disqualified from the Christian “race” if he did not follow the Gospel he was preaching!
I Timothy 4:1—”But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.” The Apostle Paul warns that some will fall away from the faith!
II Peter 1:10-11—”Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you”. Christians will never stumble AS LONG AS they practice these things! That is the string attached to the promise.
II Peter 2:20-22—”For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, ‘A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT,’ and, ‘A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire’”. We must continue faithfully in the way of righteousness.
Church—we need to remain faithful to Christ. We need to continue to be steadfast—and the good news is that God will be faithful. And because of our faithfulness to God and His faithfulness to us, we can have confidence in Him!