By Robert Walters
This article is a response to an article by Larry Hafley that appeared in the June 7th issue of Guardian of Truth. The article was entitled, “The Yo-Yo Syndrome.” This brother had some things to say about an article that appeared in Vanguard (March ’84). First, I want it to be understood that I do not believe that, “I have eternal life right now,” as was quoted from Barney Cargile. We can have confidence that we are in a saved condition and can have “hope” of eternal life, but we do not yet have it in “fact.” Aside from this one point, the article in Vanguard has some things to say worthy of our serious consideration.
I believe that there are two extreme positions on this security issue. One is that a child of God cannot commit sin unto death (fall from grace). The other is the idea that every sin is unto death (spiritual separation from God). I believe the truth is between these extreme views, and I see no reason to be afraid of teaching what the Bible clearly teaches.
The place to begin in studying this subject is 1 John 1:7. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin”. I verily believe that a child of God can “walk in the light” even though he has not reached the point of perfection. I stress the word walk as opposed to Yo-Yo. I believe that children of God can and do fall, but I believe that the “Yo-Yo Syndrome” doctrine is opposed to the biblical phrase “walk in the light.” It upholds the idea that every time a Christian sins (misses the mark), he goes down, and then at the very instant he confesses it, the “Yo-Yo” is back in the hand again.
Before you can accept what I’m trying to set forth, you must be able to see that God considers some sins to be greater than others. This deduction is obvious when we consider the consequences of various examples of transgressions given in the Old Testament. Perhaps many have already come to your mind if you are a veteran Bible student. One such example is found in Numbers 15:27-30. “And if any should sin through ignorance, then he shall bring a she goat of the first year for a sin offering . . . But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously . . . shall be cut off from among his people.” This passage leaves no doubt that a “presumptuous” sin is greater, in the eyes of God, than a “sin of ignorance. ” The only point that I’m making here is that God recognizes a difference in sins. You can see that He does.
John says,”. . there is sin not leading to death” (1 Jn.5:17, NKJB). This is sin that does not result in spiritual death. The “Yo-Yo syndrome” doctrine is the idea that, every time a Christian sins, he dies or that it is “unto death.” This is opposed to what John said and it is not taught in the Bible. The Bible teaches that “sin” causes death but some “Church of Christ preachers” add the word “every.” It reminds me of what the Baptists do to the word “faith.”
If brother Hafley had upheld the Bible doctrine that a child of God can “walk in the light” and be cleansed of all sin by the blood of Christ, his Baptist friend, who he debated, would likely not have called him a “Yo-Yo.” Furthermore, he might have avoided the humiliation of being called a “Yo-Yo” and, who knows, he might even have been able to teach him. But they can’t and won’t believe the “Yo-Yo” doctrine. Why ask them to? Brethren talk about the consequences of my position. The argument goes both ways.
Brethren, Let’s leave the Yo-Yo’s to the kids and do our best to walk (not Yo-Yo) in the light.
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 17, p. 518
September 6, 1984