Bible Basics: Possibility Of Apostasy

By Earl E. Robertson

The idea of “once saved, always saved” is nowhere taught in the Scriptures. Yet, this is one of the doctrines taught by many churches today. Many manuals contain this article of perseverance (see The Standard Manual For Baptist Churches, Edward T. Hiscox, p. 67).

Jesus told Nicodemus, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). 1 believe this statement is most emphatic! There are no exceptions to Jesus’ statement. No man can enter the kingdom except he is born again. I did not say this, it is so stated by Jesus Himself. Yet, the same Lord also said, “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” (Matt. 13:41, 42). Having already observed that only those “born again” enter the kingdom, and now the record says that some will be “gathered out of his kingdom,” leads one to conclude that some born again people will be lost in “fire.” This is exactly what Jesus says. Look at it again; only the born again enter the kingdom; yet, some shall be taken out and burned. If the “furnace of fire” herein affirmed is not heaven then it is torment, and being torment it will contain some “gathered out” of Christ’s kingdom. Born again people, having committed iniquity, are gathered out and cast into the fire. Believe it or not, this is what the Master says, my friend. This doesn’t sound like “once saved, always saved” to me. If born again people are saved it is saying that some, having been saved, will finally burn in fire for having lived iniquitously.

Paul writes, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8: 1). First, one must be in Christ; second, one must not walk after the flesh to enjoy salvation and no condemnation; third, he must walk (live) after the Spirit. Now, the question is: what shall be the results if this one refuses to walk after the Spirit and walks after the flesh? The same results cannot be. “No condemnation” is predicated upon the fact that one walk after the Spirit and not the flesh. If one walks after the flesh, he reaps corruption (Gal. 6:8).

Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 3, p. 79
February 2, 1984