We live in a day when false doctrine seems to abound. Among the most popular and widespread, is that once a person is saved, they can never lose salvation. This doctrine comes as the fifth of five points in Calvinism (T.U.L.I.P.), entitled "Perseverance of the saints". Some are so deeply fallen into this false way, that they believe they are invinsible to the consequences of sin. Baptist preacher, Sam Morris, once stated in a tract by the name, 'Do a Christian's sins damn his soul?', "We take the position that a Christian's sins do not damn his soul. The way a Christian lives, what he says, his character, his conduct, or his attitude toward other people have nothing whatever to do with the salvation of his soul... And all the sins he may commit from murder to idolatry will not make his soul in any more danger." Bill Foster, another Baptist preacher, once commented, "If I killed my wife and mother and debauched a thousand women I couldn't go to hell --- in fact, I couldn't go to hell if I wanted to."
If these things are true, what are we to make of passages such as 1 Corinthians 15:1-3, wherein Paul says one is saved "...if you hold fast that word which I preached to you -- unless you believed in vain."? When the Lord commands, "Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life" (Revelation 2:10), shall we not answer, "Why? For if I am unfaithful, you will likewise give it to me"? There are countless admonitions in Scripture to faithfulness, which, if the 'once saved, always saved' position is correct, become meaningless words.
Consider a small number of passages which illustrate that a Christian can so sin as to lose his salvation:
Ezekiel 18:24-26 - The fact that the one spoken of is called righteous would indicate one who is saved, and yet this one who is saved has the ability to turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity. He dies before the Lord because of the sin which he committed (also see v 20).
John 15:1-6 - The frist branch of verse 2 was in the vine. It is speaking of a Christian, but one who bears no fruit. That one is taken away, cast out, withered, thrown into the fire and burned.
Acts 20:28-30 - The apostle Paul warned the elders of Ephesus, that even some of them would rise up, drawing people after themselves and away from the truth.
1 Corinthians 1:1-12 - Paul shows the unfaithfulness of Israel, and sums up by saying "...let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall."
Galatians 2:11-14 - Paul withstood Peter to the face, for he was to be blamed, or literally, condemned.
Galatians 5:4 - Some Christians from Galatia had become estranged from Christ, they had fallen from grace.
Galatians 6:1 - In order to restore someone, they must have been saved, and fallen from that state.
1 Timothy 4:1 - The Spirit expressly says, some will depart from the faith.
Were that not enough passages to see that a Christian can so sin as to lose salvation, study the following list of texts: Matthew 25:1-30; Luke 8:13; Luke 9:62; Luke 12:42-48; Acts 4:32, 5:1-11; Acts 8:9-24; Romans 11:13-23; 1 Corinthians 9:26-27; 2 Corinthians 13:5; 1 Timothy 1:18-20; 1 Timothy 5:8; 1 Timothy 6:10; 2 Timothy 2:16-18; Hebrews 2:1; Hebrews 3:12-4:1; Hebrews 4:11; Hebrews 6:4-6; Hebrews 10:25-31; Hebrews 10:38-39; Hebrews 12:7-8; James 5:19-20; 1 Peter 5:8; 2 Peter 2:1; 2 Peter 2:20-22; 2 Peter 3:17; 2 John 8-11; Revelation 2:4-5; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 3:16-17.
Indeed, apostasy is a reality. It is possible for each child of God to walk the way of Demas, who at a time was considered a faithful co-worker of the apostle Paul (Colossians 4:14; Philemon 24), but some time thereafter turned back to the world (2 Timothy 4:10). However, we need to fall. The Lord has given us the ability to stand (1 Corinthians 10:12-13). We can lay hold of the crown of righteousness, even as Paul did (2 Timothy 4:7-8). Walk careful, be faithful!
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