Part 2 of 3
PLAINLY DECLARES THAT SOME DID FALL FROM GRACE
“departed from” the faith. “Now the Spirit speaketh
expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart
from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and
doctrines of devils. Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having
their conscience seared with a hot iron”—1 Tim. 4:1–2.
off” the faith. “But the younger widows refuse; for when
they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will
marry; having damnation, because they have cast off
their first faith”—1 Tim. 5:11–12.
shipwreck” of faith. “Holding faith, and a good
conscience; which some having put away concerning faith
have made shipwreck: of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander
whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn
not to blaspheme”—1 Tim. 1:19–20.
aside” unto Satan. “For some are already turned aside
after Satan”—1 Tim. 5:15. The agency of the great
adversary, the devil is promoting the defection of those
who have once entered upon the Christian life is here
recognized by the Apostle Paul. The fearful possibility
of a fatal and final turning aside by true believers is
here clearly implied.
become “cursed children,” forsaking the “right way” and
going “astray,” “Having eyes full of adultery that they
cannot cease from sin, beguiling unstable souls
(unsettled Christians); an heart they have exercised
with covetous practices: cursed children: which have
forsaken the right way, and are gone astray following
the way of Balaam, the son of Bosor, who loved the wages
of unrighteousness”—2 Peter 2:14–15. Some had fallen
from grace, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from
him that called you into the grace of Christ unto
another gospel”—Gal. 1:6. These had been saved. They had
begun in the Spirit. “Are ye so foolish? having begun in
Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”—Gal. 3:3.
been bewitched. “O foolish Galatians (Christians) who
hath bewitched (fascinated) you, that ye should not obey
the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been
evidently set forth crucified among you”—Gal. 3:1.
become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are
justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace”—Gal.
scriptures clearly teach that a number of people in the
days of the Apostle Paul, accepted Christ and His
gospel, were spiritually born again, converted, saved
from sin, and error, and lifted to the high state of the
redemptive grace of Christ, who later forsook the way of
the New Testament gospel, and fell from this lofty plain
of holiness of heart and living, reverting back into sin
and error. That Bible record gives many such instances.
The issue in
this matter is not will a Christian fall from grace, or
must he fall from grace, but can he fall from grace? As
set forth the scriptures teach this is possible.
GRACE TAUGHT BY EXAMPLE
King Saul of
Old. He was the first King of Israel, was remarkable for
his strength and activity, of gigantic stature, taller
by head and shoulders than the rest of the people, in
personal appearance “every inch a King.” He was anointed
by Samuel to be King of Israel. “And it was so that when
he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him
another heart; and all those signs came to pass that
day. And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a
company met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him and
he prophesied among them”—I Sam. 10:9–10. This makes it
clear he was God called, God anointed, with the Spirit
of God upon him, enabling him to do the works of God. He
disobeyed God, was rejected, and died on his own sword.
This great leader and man of God lost God, his glory and
power in this life, and heaven in the world beyond.
Iscariot by transgression fell from the high plane of
redemptive grace. Judas with the other eleven was called
and commissioned to preach the New Testament gospel,
heal the sick, cast out devils (Matt. 10:1–5; Mark
3:13–19). Judas performed his work with the others. “And
he called unto him the twelve, (Judas one of twelve) and
began to send them forth by two and two, and gave them
power over unclean spirits.… And they went out, and
preached that men should repent. And they cast out many
devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and
healed them”—Mark 6:7, 12–13; Luke 9:1–2. If Judas had
been a devil from the beginning he would not have had
the power to perform these works.
that God had “given” Judas to him once. “While I was
with them in the world I have kept them in thy name;
those that thou gavest me I have kept and none of them
is lost, but the son of perdition. That the scripture
might be fulfilled”—John 17:12. Peter said that Judas
obtained part in the ministry. “For he was numbered with
us, and had obtained part of this ministry”—Acts 1:17.
Peter also said that “Judas by transgression fell”—Acts
1:25. Jesus said that Judas was finally lost (John
17:12). Judas only became the son of perdition because
of his wilful malice, his neglect, and abuse of the
grace and instructions of Christ and was condemned
through his own covetousness, faithlessness, treachery,
fellow-laborer” (Philemon 24). He is saved at this time,
and a fellow-laborer of Paul. Demas “greets you” (Col.
4:14). Nothing is said about his labors in the work of
the Lord now. Demas “hath forsaken me having loved this
present world … “—2 Tim. 4:10. If Demas ever recovered
himself from the present world we do not know it.
Angels, meaning God’s messengers, or preachers, and
leaders in the patriarchal age, the world before the
flood that disobeyed God, sinned and fell. “And the
Angels (minister, messengers, preachers) which kept not
their first estate, but left their own habitation
(patriarchal standards of God) he hath reserved in
everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of
the great day”—Jude 6. God did not permit, allow,
sanction, or even tolerate disobedience in any, even
among the greatest, and earliest of his messengers and
meaning pastor of the Church at Ephesus fell. “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 candle stick out of his
place, except thou repent”—Rev. 2:5.
of the book of Hebrews shows the possibility of falling.
“Let us (believers) labour therefore to enter into that
rest, lest any man fall after the same example of
possible for sanctified people to backslide and fall
from grace. “For it is impossible for those who were
once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift
(saved) and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost
(sanctified), And have tasted the good word of God
(obedient disciples) and the powers of the world to come
(the supernatural), If they shall fall away (apostatize
or fall from grace) to renew them again to repentance,
seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh,
and put him to an open shame”—Heb. 6:4–6.
the possibility that one saved and sanctified, can fall
from grace. It does not teach, however, that if one is
saved and sanctified, and backslides, falls from grace,
he cannot be saved again. It is clear that when one
falls, or apostatizes, there is the danger his heart
will become so hard he will not repent, or to renew him
to repentance. Jesus says, “I tell you nay, except ye
repent, ye shall all likewise perish”—Luke 13:3. There
is no salvation short of repentance. If one comes
repenting he can be saved. If his heart is so hard he
will not repent, there is no possibility of salvation.
number of the Jews fell. “Behold therefore the goodness
and severity of God; on them which fell (from a state of
grace and favor with God) severity; but toward thee,
goodness, if thou continue in his goodness; otherwise
thou shalt also be cut off”—Rom. 11:22.
WARNINGS AGAINST FALLING FROM GRACE
against an impossibility would be ridiculous and an
insult to God’s intelligence. Note carefully the various
warnings sounded in the Bible against falling from
becoming careless in this life. “And take heed to
yourselves (you disciples), lest at any time your hearts
be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and
cares of this life, and so that day come upon you
unawares … watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye
may be counted worthy to escape all these things that
shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of
God”—Luke 21:34, 36. Our being ready for the judgment
day is conditioned by our watching and praying.
over confident. “But many of them God was not well
pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness”—1
Cor. 10:5. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth
take heed lest he fall”—1 Cor. 10:12.
continuing in God’s goodness, as we have already
considered (Rom. 11:22) and about being overcome as we
have also noted (2 Peter 2:20–22).
getting bitterness into the heart. “Looking diligently
lest any man fail of (fall from) the grace of God; lest
any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and
thereby many be defiled”—Heb 12:15.
Christian sinning a “sin unto death.” “If any man see
his brother (in the Lord) sin a sin which is not unto
death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them
that sin not a sin unto death. There is a sin unto death
(eternal death) I do not say that he shall pray for
it”—1 John 5:16. This shows the possibility of a
Christian falling and sinning a sin that is beyond the
reach of God’s mercy, or never will be forgiven.
being sanctified. “For we are made partakers of Christ,
if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast
unto the end”—Heb. 3:14. “Let us therefore fear, lest a
promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of
you should seem to come short of it”—Heb. 4:1. Being
ready to meet God is strictly conditional as the
scriptures clearly prove.
warns against becoming intemperate. The great man of
God, the Apostle Paul, “But I keep under my body and
bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I
have preached to others, I myself should be a
castaway”—1 Cor. 9:27. This text clearly shows us that
particular persons are not in Holy writ represented as
elected unconditionally to “eternal life,” but that
believers in general are elected to enjoy the Christian
privileges on earth, which, if they abuse, those very
elect persons will become reprobate. Saint Paul was
certainly an elect person, and yet he declares it was
possible he himself might become a reprobate. He
actually would have become such if he had not thus kept
his body under, even though he had been so long an elect
person, a Christian, and an apostle.
becoming devoured. “Be sober, be vigilant, because your
adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about
seeking whom he may devour”—I Peter 5:8. This text shows
that it is possible for any and all Christians to be
overcome by the devil and be destroyed spiritually in
this world, and lost in the world to come. The
exhortation is strongly given to be watchful and
diligent at all times, and in all places.
Christ gives eternal life. If we can lose it, it would
not be eternal. The Bible teaches that eternal life is
strictly conditional. God has created man a free moral
agent, with the power of choice for life or death. Man
will live his God given allotted time here on earth if
he lives by the laws of physical life. This being true,
God has given man the right to forfeit physical life if
he so desires. This can be done by committing suicide or
violating the many rules and laws for safety of this
physical body, and life. Man has power to forfeit his
physical living any moment he so desires. The laws of
spiritual life is likewise conditional which will be
considered in detail later.
There is a
common statement often stated by those who believe in
the Calvinistic theory of eternal security. “If once
born you cannot be unborn.” This is true physically, but
not spiritually. We are exhorted to compare spiritual
things with spiritual (1 Cor. 2:13).
consideration of a physical birth is in order here. A
physical birth is the bringing forth of life in a
physical form, a beginning, or origin in a fleshly body.
It is a law of the physical that we are not born to be
unborn, this is a physical impossibility, but we are
born to die physically. This will happen when the laws
for physical life cease to function, or are not in
proper operation. Physical death will never happen as
long as all the laws for physical life are fully and
properly adhered to and functioning.
Did you ever
hear of anything being born that could not die? Certain
conditions enacted will forfeit life spiritually and
physically. A dead child belongs no longer to the
parents, likewise, a sinning individual belongs no
longer to God. He is spiritually dead. When God forgives
and saves from sin he gives eternal life, and no man can
take it away. “And I give unto them eternal life; and
they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck
them out of my Father’s hand.”
which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is
able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand”—John
10:28–29. This reveals what God does in the way of
salvation is eternal in nature, and that one cannot take
away another’s salvation, but it does not teach that the
one possessing it cannot forfeit this spiritual life, or
ceases to have the power of choice, and is unable to act
says, “The soul that sinneth it shall die”—Ezek. 18:4.
Man loses spiritual life by sinning which means dying.
When a man sins, or dies spiritually he will be blotted
out of the book of life. “And the Lord said unto Moses,
whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of
my book”—Exodus 32:33. “Behold therefore the goodness
and the severity of God: on them which fell severity,
but toward thee goodness; if thou continue in his
goodness; otherwise thou shall also be cut off”—Rom.
it clear that it is possible for the soul to sin after
being born again, converted, and saved. It also teaches
that it is possible for a believer in Christ to fall
from grace, be cut off, and lost forever.
disobeys God, he will be blotted from, or have his part,
or name taken out of the book of life (Rev. 22:18–19).
God’s work makes it clear that “whosoever was not found
written in the book of life was cast into the lake of
in mind the spirit of Christ entering the soul is the
birth, and the birth is the soul receiving the Spirit of
Christ. The continual abiding of Christ in the soul is
strictly conditional on the part of man. If man lives by
the standard of his word, and the laws of spiritual life
He will remain. If one manifests disobedience and sins,
Christ is grieved, and will depart from that soul. When
Christ departs, his Spirit departs for He is the Spirit.
When His spirit departs the birth departs. Bear in mind
it is impossible to have spiritual life, when the
life-giving Spirit is gone. When this condition exists
the soul reverts back to its former state, which means
separated from God, lost, and is as though it had never
thought to remember, God or Christ never relinquishes
the power of choice, or freedom to act in accordance
with His word. To state when he once moved into the soul
of man that he was unable to move out would say, when a
believer accepted Christ, Christ would forfeit all His
rights of the power of choice, and be powerless to act
according to His divine plan as revealed in the
Scriptures. This means he ceases to be deity, and the
all-powerful God, and Savior the Bible speaks so much
about. To say that all trespasses, past, present and
future are forgiven when one trusts in Christ is gross
does not destroy man’s free moral agency, nor make a
machine out of him. But leaves him the power of choice.
He can choose evil and fall from grace, the same as
accept Christ and choose grace.
doctrine teaches that if one is saved he will be
eternally saved and cannot be lost. Many honest
Christians believe this, but it is dangerous in that it
is gross error, causes believers to become careless, and
backsliders to be eternally lost.
1. If the
doctrine is true, we must admit the following facts.
he is saved is no longer a free moral agent. That the
devil has been a fool, ever since the Garden of Eden, in
soliciting believers to backslide. That we Christians
are safer than Adam and Eve. God said to Adam and Eve,
“But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of
the garden, God hath said, ye shall not eat of it,
neither shall ye touch it lest ye die. And the serpent
said unto the woman, ye shall not surely die”—Gen.
3:3–4. Adam and Eve disobeyed God, partook of the
forbidden fruit. The results, “So He (God) drove out the
man; and he placed at the east of the Garden of Eden
Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way,
to keep the way of the tree of life”—Gen. 3:24. If God
would have ever allowed or tolerated sin, it would have
been in the beginning. It further means that Christ and
New Testament writers are guilty of folly in warning the
Christians against falling. That God will condone sin in
a Christian while condemning sin in a sinner.
part of salvation is eternally secure for us.
one eternal atonement for sin. “And being made perfect,
he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them
that obey him”—Heb. 5:9.
death made possible an eternal relationship between God
and man. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his
only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish, but have everlasting life”—John 3:16.
imparted by the Spirit is eternal in essence, but not
eternal in that it is impossible to forfeit it. “And
this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal
life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son
hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not
life. These things have I written unto you that believe
on the name of the Son of God: that ye may know that ye
have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name
of the Son of God”—I John 5:11–13.
Spirit which effects our salvation, is eternal in
nature. “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who
through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot
to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve
the living God?”—Heb. 9:14. God had made an “everlasting
covenant” with his people “Now the God of peace, that
brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great
shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the
everlasting covenant”—Heb. 13:20.
a Church that “the gates of hell cannot destroy.” “And I
say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this
rock I will build my Church; and the gates of hell shall
not prevail against it”—Matt. 16:18.
Note all of
this is on God’s side, and has nothing to do with man’s
will in the matter.
to us is eternal if we cooperate with God’s plan.
word “if,” meaning on condition. In formal usage, if is
used to express conditions. Notice carefully the voice
from God’s word. The nature of the original creation
reveals that man was created a moral being, with the
power of choice, and freedom to act according to his
will. One is not a moral being if he cannot fall from
grace. First man, Adam, was put on probation, meaning a
testing period. God told Adam, “But of the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it;
for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt
surely die”—Gen. 2:17. This proves that life was given
to man on condition of obedience.
promised on conditions we come to God and forsake sin.
“Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, and call ye
upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his
way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, let him
return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him,
and he will abundantly pardon”—Isa. 55:6–7
repent. “I tell you, nay: but, except ye repent, ye
shall all likewise perish”—Luke 13:3. If we confess. “If
we confess our sins, he is faithful to forgive us our
sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”—I John
1:9. “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but
whoso confesseth, and forsaketh them shall have
mercy”—Prov. 28:13. Man must pray. “Whosoever shall call
upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”—Rom. 10:13.
Believe, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou
shalt be saved, and thy house”—Acts 16:31.
continue. “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of
God; on the which fell, severity; but toward thee,
goodness, if thou continue in his goodness, otherwise
thou also shalt be cut off”—Rom. 11:22. “And you, that
were sometimes alienated and enemies in your mind, by
wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.
“In the body
of his flesh through death, to present you holy, and
unblameable, and unreproveable in his sight.
continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and be not
moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have
heard, and which was preached to every creature which is
under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister”—Col.
remains. “Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have
heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard
from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall
continue in the Son, and in the Father”—I John 2:24.
If we abide
in him. “Abide in me, and I in you as the branch cannot
bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no
more can ye, except ye abide in me.
“I am the
vine, ye are the branches; He that abideth in me, and I
in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without
me ye can do nothing.
“If a man
abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is
withered; and men gather them and cast them into the
fire, and they are burned”—John 15:4–6. Jesus places
strong emphasis on continued spiritual life, and
relationship with him is conditioned on our abiding in
him. This means we have power to forsake him and be lost
if we so desire. If we follow. “My sheep hear my voice,
and I know them, and they follow me”—John 10:27. “If any
man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there
shall also my servant be; if any man serve me, him will
my Father honour”—John 12:26. Note how Jesus stresses
the condition “if.” Not compulsory, but voluntarily.
abound. “For if these things be in you, and abound, they
make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful
in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ”—2 Peter 1:8.
If we hold fast. “But Christ as a Son over his own
house; whose house are we (Christians) if we hold fast
the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto
the end”—Heb. 3:6. “Behold, I come quickly; hold that
fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown”—Rev.
3:11. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my
saying, he shall never see death”—John 8:51.
carefully; all of these “ifs” teach that if we do not
meet these conditions we forfeit the divine life in us.
This union to be eternal must be alive and continuing
and not a mere once-for-all affair that we can presume
means to fall from grace, to apostatize, or lose the
life of the spirit out of the heart after one has been
converted. There are two main schools of thought on this
Calvinists teach one cannot backslide and be finally
lost, once he has been saved.
Armenians teach that one may be saved and afterwards
forfeit this divine life by yielding to temptation, and
unless he is restored, will be eternally lost.
Scriptures Teach the Possibility of Backsliding.
possibility is taught by the direct statements of Christ
(Matt. 5:13, 10:21–22), and by the parables of Christ
(Luke 12:41–46; Matt. 25:1–12; with John 15:1–16). It is
also taught in the warning of the Epistles (I Cor.
10:10–12; Rom. 11:22; with 2 Peter 2:20–22).
scriptures on the direct statements of Christ, the
parables of Christ, and the warnings of the epistles
have been considered, and given in detail in a former
part of this book, hence it would be superfluous to use
space here for repetition.
Reasons Why People Backslide.
conversion is too shallow to begin with. “Those by the
wayside are those that hear; then cometh the Devil, and
taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they
should believe and be saved”—Luke 8:13.
They do not
watch and pray like the disciples in the garden. “And
when He arose up from prayer, and was come to His
disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, And said
unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter
into temptation”—Luke 22:45–46. Some start drifting and
following afar off, like Peter, the account given in
Luke 22:54–60. Some will not go on to perfection, or
entire sanctification, hence are found backsliding, and
dying in the wilderness of sin, because of lack of
obedience to, and belief in God, and his word (Heb.
3:16–19, with Heb. 4:1–6).
some who refuse to walk in the light. “Then Jesus said
unto them, yet a little while is the light with you.
Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon
you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither
he goeth. While ye have the light, believe in the light,
that ye may be the children of light. These things spake
Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from
Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the
world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness,
but shall have the light of life”—John 8:12. Others turn
aside to the world. “Ye adulterers and adulteresses,
know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity
with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the
world is the enemy of God”—James 4:4.
Conditions of the Backslider.
his own ways. “The backslider in heart shall be filled
with his own ways, and a good man shall be satisfied
with himself”—Prov. 14:14.
and unhappy. “Thine own wickedness shall correct thee,
and thy backslidings shall reprove thee; know therefore
and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou
hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my fear is not
in thee, saith the Lord God of hosts”—Jer. 2:19.
which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was
condemned, repented himself, and brought again the
thirty pieces of silver to the Chief Priests and elders,
saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the
innocent blood, And they said, what is that to us? see
thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in
the temple, and departed, and went and hanged
is worse off than before he was saved. This truth is
given in 2 Peter 2:20–22, which has been considered in
detail previously in this book.
Destiny of the Backslider.
He will be
chastened in this life. “And that servant, which knew
his Lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did
according to his will, shall be beaten with many
stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him much
shall be required: And to whom men have committed much,
of him they will ask the more”—Luke 12:47–48.
He will be
eternally lost. “The wicked shall be turned into hell,
and all the nations that forget God”—Ps. 9:17, with
Matt. 24:45–51. Note carefully the attitude and ways of
this unfaithful and unwise servant, and the ending and
result of his life.
punishment than physical death awaits the backslider,
“He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under
two or three witnesses; of how much sorer punishment
suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy who has trodden
under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of
the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, and unholy
thing, and hath done despite to the Spirit of
and will restore the backslider if he will return,
confess, repent, pray and believe, “Go and proclaim
these words toward the North, and say, Return, thou
backsliding Israel, saith the Lord; and I will not cause
my anger to fall upon you; for I am merciful, saith the
Lord, and I will not keep my anger forever.… Return, ye
backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.
Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the Lord our
God”—Jer. 3:12, 22.