Can A Child Of God Fall From Grace?
by Terry Broome
Our title question, “Can A Child Of God Fall From Grace?” has been debated for centuries. The traditional “Calvinist” believes in the “perseverance of the saints,” also known as “eternal security of the believer,” or “once saved, always saved.” Primarily these individuals tell us that if a person is saved, he cannot lose His eternal reward. It’s a fair question and one a saved person should spend time studying. If we answer “Yes, a child of God can fall from grace,” are we forced to believe there is no eternal security for a believer? This would be a frightening thought for we see many incidents where a person comes to believe in Jesus, obey His teachings on how to become a saved person, and walk with God by faith for a period of time. After tasting the joys of salvation and fellowship with the Lord, there are some who later turn away. Does this mean they were just not saved in the first place? Or were they saved but then fell from grace?
The Apostle Peter teaches us the perfect Will of God on this matter. He does indeed assure us there is such a thing as eternal security for a believer, but he does not define that security the way mentioned above. 2 Peter 1:5 – 10 (KJV) “5And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8For 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. 9But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.”
The Apostle Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 10:12, “Wherefore, let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” Further, he told the Corinthians that he practiced a daily vigil: “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27). Paul obviously realized there was a possibility of allowing some sin to rob him of eternal salvation.
Paul’s concern for the Hebrew Christians was that they not incur “an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God…” (Hebrews 3:12,13). To the Corinthian Christians he admonished:“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Note that the word “reprobate” is accurately translated by several translators as, “fail the test,” “fail to meet the test,” “be disqualified.”
One can hardly miss the clear message of Hebrews 2:1-3 which ends with the strong words: “how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation . . .” Paul tells us of individuals 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…” (thus saved individuals). Then Paul suggests that they can “fall away” (Hebrews 6:4-6) “…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.
Salvation is a gift of the good grace of God, but a gift that He has chosen to bestow upon those who are faithful to Him, Revelation 22:14, “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Salvation is too precious for us to take it for granted through negligence. We all want security, and there is a security for the believer, but it would be foolhardy to rely on a false sense of security. Thus, we must “give diligence to make our calling and election sure…” (2 Peter 5:10).
The author can be reached for comments at 256-574-2489.