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Tuesday, July 25 2017 @ 09:44 PM CDT

Can a Christian fall from grace?

Bible Study MaterialsJake Taft answers the question "Once a person has obeyed God's plan of salvation and has become a Christian, can he ever fall from God's grace or is he eternally secure from that point onward?"

Yes, one can fall from grace once he is saved. The Bible gives us examples of people who have done this and even tells us how to be on guard against it. Let's look at an example or two of people who fell from grace. In Philemon 1:23-24, Paul writes, "There salute thee Epaphras, my fellowprisoner in Christ Jesus; Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers." Here we see Demas listed as a "fellowlabourer" along with several other Christians. Again in Colossians 4:13 we read, "Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you." However, in 2 Timothy 4:9-10 we read, "Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens unto Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia." Here we find that Demas had fallen because he "loved this present world". Another example is Simon the Sorcerer from Acts 8:13,18-24. It says, "Then Simon himself believed also, and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done." Picking up in verse 18 we read "And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thine wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity. Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me." Here we see that Simon had obeyed the Gospel, but that he had slipped back into his old ways. Peter however tells him what he had to do to make things right with God. If Simon was to be reconciled he would have to repent and pray for forgiveness, otherwise he would be lost.

Now let's look at a few passages which warn the Christian against falling away. In 1 Corinthians 10:6-10 we read of what happen to some of the Israelites who disobeyed while under the Old Law. Picking up in verse 11 we read, "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." Verse 12 concludes his point by stating, "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." This letter was written to the Christians at Corinth. Paul is warning the brethren of the danger of falling away. He gives several examples of some Israelites, God's chosen people under the Old Law, who fell from grace and were destroyed. This should also be a warning to us as Christians also. Another verse that warns us against falling from grace is found in 2 Peter 2:20-22. It reads, "For if they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire." Peter says here that you can turn from the way of righteousness and the holy commandment. Let's look at another warning. Galatians 5:4 gives a quick and simple warning to us. It says, " Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law, ye are fallen from grace." Hebrews 4:1 says "Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to fall short of it." A Christian can therefore fall short of the promise of heaven. Verse 11 of the same chapter says, "Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after that same example of unbelief". Lastly, Hebrews 6:4-6 says, "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh and put him to an open shame." There is no doubt that the Hebrew writer is speaking of a Christian here. This person was enlightened, had tasted the heavenly gift, was made partakers of the Holy Ghost, tasted the word of God and the powers of the world to come, yet they could fall still away.

So how can a Christian guard against falling away? The Bible gives us several ways to do this. Let's look at 2 Peter 1:5-10. It says, "And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make you calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall"

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