Can a Child of God fall from Grace?
Edgar C. Walker
Can a child of God so sin as to be lost eternally? This simple question has been asked on many occasions. Many answers are given to this simple question that are not in harmony with the will of God. There are some who say one cannot be lost after he has obeyed the laws of their denomination. There are others who say that one can. Too often these teachings come from the teachings of man and not from the word of God. We should realize that the soul of man is at stake and that the answer must be in harmony with the word of God. We are to be judged by God's word (Jn. 12:48). Let us note the following passages:
John 15:1-7. Our Lord pointed out clearly that one can so sin as to be lost, after he has become a child of God. Christ said, "I am the vine, ye are the branches." One only gets into him through obedience. He also said, "now ye are clean," meaning one has been cleansed. He shows that we must abide in him or be cast forth. Note verses 5-6. If we abide in him, he abides in us. If we abide not in him, we will be cast forth as a branch and wither and then be cast into the fire and be burned.
Matt. 13:41-42. "The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." Now let us note for a moment; since the church and the kingdom are one and the same, one must be in the church before he can be gathered out. It is impossible for one to be gathered out of something he has not been in. If he is in the church or kingdom, it was the Lord that added him (Acts 2:47) since the Lord adds to the church daily such as should be saved. Thus he can be "such as should be saved," and then become such as will be lost eternally.
Heb. 10:38-39. "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul." Our Lord has pleasure only in those who are his. To draw back unto perdition is to be lost. The word "perdition," according to Webster, has this meaning: "entire loss, ruin; utter loss of one's soul, or of final happiness in the future state."
Jude 5. "1 will therefore put you in remembrance, though you once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not." Can anyone think of any earthly reason that this would be brought to our attention if it had no meaning? God promised them a land flowing with milk and honey but it was on the condition that they would abide in his will. We are promised a home with him when this life is over, only if we are faithful unto death (Rev. 2:10).
Rev. 3:5. "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels." Now let us notice the blotting of one's name out of the book of life. We find in studying the Bible that one is added to the book of life when he obeys the Gospel. This, then also teaches one can be lost after becoming a child of God. Paul speaks, in Phil. 4:3, about his fellow workers having their names written in the book of life. Also in Rev. 13:8, we learn that those who did not have their names written in the book of life will worship Satan. Rev. 21:27 shows one must have his name in the Lamb's book of life. Rev. 20:12 shows what will happen at the judgment if one's name is not found in the book of life.
Matthew 25:1-13. The parable of the ten virgins shows the end of those that are unprepared at the coming of the Lord. Note verse 13. If there were no danger of being lost, why should we be warned to be prepared at all times? We are going to be judged on the basis of our own lives and not be able to borrow from our fellow Christians. What each of us do with our own lives will determine where we spend eternity.
Heb. 3. We note in this chapter, in the beginning that it speaks of Moses being faithful. Then in verse 6, "But Christ as a Son over his own house; whose house are we, If we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end." If we do not hold fast, then what? Also verse 12 plainly says that one can depart from God. By reading the whole chapter it would be impossible for one not to see that he can fall.
Heb. 4:1-11. Verse one says, "Let us fear." Verse 11 says, "Let us labor lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief." No greater warning could one have.
Heb. 6:4-6. We are told here that those who have fallen away, have put Christ to an open shame. They have crucified him afresh.
1 Cor. 9:27. "But I keep my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself might be a castaway." Paul shows a possibility of his being lost. It is then necessary that we keep our bodies in subjection. That we be careful with our lives each day test we be lost in the end. If there was a possibility of the Apostle Paul falling, each of us needs to walk with care lest we fall. I do not believe that any of our lives will compare with that lived by the Apostle Paul.
2 Pet. 1:1-11. Peter speaks of those who have obtained like precious faith, that is, to those who are children of God. He speaks of seven graces which one should add to his life as a child of God. He says, "if these things be in you and abound, you shall never fall," signifying that one can fall if these things do not abound in his life. We have already noticed in John 15:2 what will happen to the one that is unfruitful; he will be burned as a branch cast forth.
2 Pet. 2:20-22. Here he speaks of those who have escaped the pollution of the world through the knowledge of Christ. If they should again be entangled, the latter end would be worse than the beginning. They would have been better had they never known, than to have known, to have turned back to the world again.
James 5:19-20. If one does err from the truth and one convert him. He has saved a soul from death and hidden a multitude of sins. We know that James is not speaking of physical death since we are told that all must die (Heb. 9:27). All must die and face the judgment.- Death is an appointment we must all make. James is speaking of a soul being separated from God.
Rev. 2:1-3:22. John is writing, to the seven churches in Asia showing that five of them are in a lost condition unless they repent. Each of these five must repent or else the Lord will come quickly and remove their candlestick. Unless they repent, they will be lost.
Heb. 12:15-17. "Looking diligently lest any man should fail of the grace of God." Then it goes on to use the example of Esau who found no place of repentance. Those who fail to repent will also lose their inheritance.
Acts 8:13-24. Simon heard the preaching of Philip, believed, and was baptized. Then he saw the miracles being performed and wanted to buy that power. In verse 20, Peter told him, his money would perish with him. Then in verse 22, he was told to pray that the thought of his heart might be forgiven him. Why? Lest he perish with his money.
Gal. 5:4. "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace." Yes, my friend, you can fall from grace.
1 Cor. 10:12. "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."
These are just some of the many places in the Bible that teach that one can fall from grace. The Bible does not teach that you cannot fall. This is a false doctrine taught only by man. We are warned many times throughout the Bible to beware of false teachers. Because of lack of space I did not copy all the passages mentioned here but I beg you to turn to them that you might read them yourselves and come to a knowledge of the truth: We are going to stand in judgment some day to give account of the deeds we have done, whether they have been good or evil (2 Cor. 5:10). Christ will render to every man according to his deeds (Rom. 2:6). Are you ready to stand in judgment?
Truth Magazine XIX: 42, pp. 669-670