As we conclude this series on the subject of salvation, let’s turn our attention to a belief that is espoused by millions worldwide – “Once saved, always saved!” It is obvious as to why it is popular - it is immensely comforting. After all, if it is impossible for a Christian to be lost, then there is practically nothing else to worry about. As a friend of mine use to say, “We’d have it made in the shade."
Popularity notwithstanding, what does the Bible say?
First, the Bible repeatedly states that a Christian can “fall.” Paul warned Christians about a “falling away” (2 Thess. 2:3), and the Hebrews writer, referring to some that were previously saved, “then have fallen away” (Heb. 6:6). Speaking to overconfident Christians, Paul warned, "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1 Cor. 10:12). The writer of Hebrews added, “be diligent…lest anyone fall” (Heb. 4:11) and “looking carefully lest anyone fall” (Heb. 12:15). Peter followed up with, “beware lest you also fall” (2 Pet. 3:17). Paul even warned against putting “a cause to fall in our brother’s way” (Rom. 14:13), and he said that unqualified elders could “fall into the same condemnation as the devil” (1 Tim. 3:6-7). A Christian can fall.
Moreover, the Bible teaches that a Christian can “stumble.” As indicated earlier, Paul warned against putting a “stumbling block” or doing anything that “makes my brother stumble” (1 Cor. 8:9, 13; cf. Rom. 14:13, 21). Peter, outlining several steps for Christian growth said, “if you do these things you will never stumble” (2 Pet. 1:5-10). A Christian can stumble.
The Bible also affirms that a Christian can “turn away.” Paul warned that some Christians would “turn their ears away from the truth” (2 Tim. 4:4; cf. Heb. 12:25). He also rebuked the Galatian brethren for “turning away…from Him” (Gal. 1:6; cf. 4:9). Peter spoke of Christians who “turn from the holy commandment delivered to them,” like “a dog returns to his own vomit” (2 Pet. 2:20-22). A Christian can turn away.
In addition, the Bible affirms that a Christian can “depart,” “wander,” be “drawn away” and must “repent.” Read 1 Tim. 4:1; Heb. 3:12; James 5:19-20; Acts 20:29-30; Heb. 10:38-39; Acts 8:22; 2 Cor. 7:9-10 and Rev. 2:5, 16; 3:3, 19. Like it or not, a Christian can lose his or her salvation.
But it does not have to be that way. “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev 2:10).
Jesus, always Jesus,