This week, we will conclude our series of lessons on faith, works, and grace. As we have read in the Bible, all of these factors must be present if we desire an eternal home in Heaven. When one puts his faith into action and obeys God’s plan of salvation, he comes in contact with the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ and God’s saving gift of grace. This person is now called a child of God and expected to live in a Christ-like manner. He is counted among the saved. However, can this saved child of God ever sin so as to be forever lost? Many would say, “No,” but the Bible gives a different answer.
There is a popular belief among many in our religious world frequently referred to as the doctrine of “once saved, always saved.” This idea teaches that once a person becomes a child of God, he can never do anything to fall from the grace that has been given to him by God and become eternally lost. Now, this belief would certainly sound good, if it were true. The only problem is that it rejects numerous scriptures that teach just the opposite. Let us now look at God’s word and see just what He teaches on this subject of falling from grace.
Jesus taught in the parable of the sower that there will be some “who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away.” (Luke 8:13) Why did these believers fall away? They gave into temptation.
In 1 Corinthians 9:27, Paul states, “but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” Would anyone deny that the apostle Paul was saved? Yet, Paul taught of the possibility of being disqualified from that eternal prize of everlasting life in Heaven.
One chapter later in 1 Corinthians 10:12, Paul warns the family of God (those who had been saved) in Corinth with these words: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.” If God’s grace would save these members of Christ’s body no matter what they did, then why would Paul warn them of the potential of falling from that saved condition?
In Hebrews 3:12, the writer addresses a group of brothers and sisters in Christ (brethren) by saying, “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.” Is it possible for a child of God to fall away from Him? That is precisely what this verse teaches.
The inspired apostle Peter also addressed Christians in 2 Peter 1:10 by saying, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” From what could a child of God ever worry about falling, except out of favor with the Almighty?
Some of God’s children who tried to pervert the law of Christ by embracing parts of the law of Moses were told in Galatians 5:4, “You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” Did you catch that? “You have fallen from grace!” Yet, some still maintain that a child of God cannot fall from grace!
2 Peter 2:20 reads, “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 some, to never know Jesus will be punishment enough. But for others, to know Jesus through salvation only to reject Him later will be far worse!
Many other passages clearly teach this simple message: A child of God can sin so as to be eternally lost. If a Christian takes for granted the salvation that he has been offered, he could find himself rejecting the free gift of God’s grace that we all need to be saved in the end. So, what is the solution to the problem? The answer is found in Revelation 2:10. It reads, “...Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
Remember, God does not force you to be saved, and He does not force you to stay saved. That choice always has been and always will be yours. Therefore, believe, obey, and walk in the footsteps of Jesus always, and God will call you and His other faithful children home because of His unbounding love and amazing grace.
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