Can A Child Of God Fall From Grace?

  • In the 16th century, John Calvin wrote many commentaries and books setting forth his restoration views. Of all his thoughts, the ones for which he was probably most famous are the five points of Calvinism. These were five basic tenets regarding the sinfulness and salvation of man. One of these points related the concept that once a person is saved, they cannot fall from grace and be lost. This doctrine has been called by many names; perseverance of the saints, preservation of the saints, the impossibility of apostasy, once saved always saved, etc.

    Many denominations and people today hold to this view. Do you believe it is possible for a Christian to fall from grace and loose their salvation? Do you believe once you are saved you cannot be lost? Do the scriptures really teach this doctrine? It is not the intention of this work to criticize or question the sincerity of any individual who believes this. It does, however, intend to openly examine the scriptures to explore the truth on this matter.

    The scriptures are very specific regarding the possibility of a Christian falling from grace. The Bible teaches this by way of warning Christians to not fall away and by example of ones who have fallen away.

    First, consider the warning given by the apostle Paul in Galatians 5:4 where the Bible says, "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." Some in the area of Galatia were binding the law of Moses on Christians of their day. The book of Galatians speaks to this error. As Paul deals with this problem, he warns; any person who seeks to be justified by keeping the law of Moses is fallen from grace. Paul's warning is clear. A Christian can fall from grace!

    Peter gives similar warning in 2 Pet. 2:20

    21 where he says, "For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. " Please notice the clarity of Peter's statement. We know the person under consideration is a Christian because they had escaped the pollutions of the world and become entangled again in sin. We know they fell from grace because they were worse off than before they knew the way of righteousness!

    Peter's words are clear and their meaning undeniable! Christians are warned that if after becoming a Christian, you become entangled in sin, your fate will be worse than what it would have been if you had never known the way of righteousness! You most certainly can fall from grace!

    Next, look at the examples provided in scripture concerning people who had become Christians and fell back into sin, endangering their salvation. Such an example is found in Acts 8:13. Here we read, "Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done." Simon believed and was baptized. In Mark 16:16 Jesus said "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved..." According to what Jesus said, Simon was saved when he believed and was baptized. There can be no doubt Simon was a Christian.

    But Simon did not abide in this saved condition. The text reveals that he attempted to purchase miraculous power with money. To this Peter responded in Acts 8:20 21 "...thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou has neither part nor lot in this matter, for thy heart is not right in the sight of God." Because Simon's heart was not right, Peter told him he would perish. This is a specific example of a Christian who acted in such a way as to lose his salvation.

    In James 5:19 20 a hypothetical example is given. The Bible says "Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." The hypothetical person is a brother who had been in the truth but erred from it. Another brother converts this erring brother. In this way the erring Christian was saved from death! Thus here is an example of a person who was a Christian, went back into sin, and if he had not been restored by another Christian, this person would have suffered eternal death.

    In the face of this powerful evidence is there any proof to the contrary? The scriptures never teach that a child of God cannot fall from grace. There are passages that are sometimes misused and misunderstood. An example of this is John 5:24 where Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. " It is argued by many, Jesus is teaching if a person hears and believes they can never come into damnation; and therefore, cannot fall from grace and be lost. Is this the message Jesus conveys?

    No doubt, if a person becomes a Christian, continues to hear and follow the Lord, they will never be damned because they will not act in such a way as to lose their salvation. As long as you believe the Lord and follow the Lord, your salvation is secure. The Question is: "Can you put away this faith and follow after sin, losing your salivation?" In 1 Timothy 5:11 12 Paul speaks of this very thing happening. It says, "But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton a against Christ they will marry; having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith." A Christian can give up their faith and be damned! But the person Jesus describes does not choose to cast off their faith. Rather, they choose to continue to believe the Lord and follow his will. As long as a Christian does this, they will not come to damnation. But if they cast off their faith, they can be lost.

    Many other examples could be given and examined. Surely what has been discussed up to this point is sufficient to demonstrate that a Christian can [all fall grace and be eternally lost. Are you a Christian? If you are, you should be confident in Christ, that as long as you follow him, he will forgive your sins, and you will be saved.

    But don't be enticed into believing once saved, always saved. The Bible never teaches this! Instead we are warned not to be over confident in our security. In 1 Cor.10:12 the Bible says, "Therefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. " The point at which you are convinced you are sale and can never fall from grace is the point at which you are in greatest danger of falling to temptation and perhaps falling completely away from God.

    This doctrine is dangerous! It gives rise to a false sense of security. Don't be deceived! Realize the danger of falling away from God and losing your salvation. Reject this doctrine and those who promote it. Please carefully examine God's word to see that you are living the life he demands. Do this so that your salvation in Christ can be secure and heaven can be your home.