There is a subtle lie that is unfortunately believed by many people related to salvation. It has many names, but the basic idea is that a Christian cannot be lost once saved. Some defend the idea by suggesting that if someone did fall then that was evidence that they were never believers in the first place. Others go so far as to say that a Christian can do anything at all and sin in any way he wants without repentance and still go to heaven. Why do people defend such ideas? Where do they come from? What does the Bible say about these things? As usual, Robert shows us the Truth in Love.
ROBERT >> Good morning, and welcome to The Truth In Love. The last couple of weeks we’ve been talking about some of the popular lies of the devil. Just as the old serpent deceived Eve in the beginning, he’s still telling lies today, he’s still out to destroy our souls. Today we want to talk about another one of those most popular lies of the devil. It goes something like this: A Christian cannot fall from grace.
SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.
ROBERT >> Yes, one of the popular lies of the devil today is that a Christian cannot fall from grace. Sometimes he’ll say it like this: Once you’re saved, you’re always saved. There’s nothing you can do, nothing that could ever happen to cause you to lose your soul once you’ve been saved by the blood of Christ. And you know, the old devil, he’ll even quote scripture on this one, like in John chapter 10 where Jesus pictures himself as the good shepherd, and those that follow him as his sheep. And you remember in that chapter where the good shepherd says that no one can snatch us out of the Father’s hand. And so the devil implies that that means that there’s nothing that could ever happen, nothing we could ever do to lose our souls. But the old devil fails to mention that this promise was made to the sheep that know Jesus, hear his voice, and follow him.
Yes, you see, we can quit listening to Christ and turn away from him and lose our souls. Nobody can snatch us out of the Father’s hand, but we can certainly walk out on him. There’s another passage that the devil likes to quote from Romans the 8th chapter, where he says nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Amen. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. But you can refuse to accept that love and quit walking in the love of Christ.
And that’s why the Bible also says in Jude 21, “Keep yourselves in the love of God.”
We as Christians have a responsibility to continue to keep faith with Jesus Christ, continue to follow after him, to strive to be the kind of people that God wants us to be if we don’t want to fall from grace. And you know, there are many other passages in the Bible that really the devil doesn’t want you to know, that he will not quote, that he’ll try to keep from you because he knows that they teach that a Christian can in fact fall from grace; and not only that, that some have actually fallen from grace before. So let’s take a look at some of those passages in the time that we have together this morning. Let’s look first of all at 1 Corinthians 10:12. If you have your Bibles, you’ll want to turn over there and take a look with me. Here in 1 Corinthians 10:12, the apostle Paul is reminding the Christians of the first century of how that God’s people who traveled through the wilderness to the promised land actually fell and died there in the wilderness. And he’s telling them that to warn us that we do not fall and lose our souls eternally.
Let’s look together at this passage, 1 Corinthians 10:12. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed, lest he fall.”
That little word therefore takes us back to the verses just before this passage. And if you look back in 1 Corinthians 10 and the first several verses, you’ll read about how God delivered Israel out of their bondage in Egypt and how he brought them through the Red Sea and destroyed their enemies.
Let’s read it together, the first several verses of this chapter. “Moreover brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses and the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ.”
Yes, God brought them through the sea safely. He saved them from the Egyptians, from Pharaoh and his army. He set them free from their bondage. And in the wilderness he blessed them with manna from heaven to eat, with water from the rock.
And so these were God’s people who had been set free from their bondage who were now being blessed by God in the wilderness; but notice what the Bible says there in verse 5. “But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.”
Though all of them had been saved by God and had been blessed by God, most of them fell in the wilderness. Now, what happened to them physically could happen to us spiritually.
When we are saved from our sins by the blood of Jesus Christ, when we’re set free to live for him and God blesses us abundantly as we make our way towards the greater promised land of heaven, we, too, can fall just as they fell.
In fact, as you read on in this chapter, you’ll see that what happened to them is actually an example to warn us not to let that same kind of thing happen to us. Notice verse 6. “Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted, and do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play. Nor let us commit sexual immorality as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell. Nor let us tempt Christ as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyers. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”
Yes, you see, what happened to them there in the wilderness physically as they all fell in the wilderness and died before ever entering the promised land, so this same kind of thing can happen to us who have been saved spiritually. We, too, can die spiritually somewhere along the way if we lose faith, if we turn from our God as Israel did in the wilderness.
So what a great warning for us. That’s why Paul says in verse 12 of this chapter, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed, lest he fall.”
Just as soon as we begin to think that we cannot fall, that a Christian could never fall from grace, that’s when we’re going to fall. We need to take heed. We need to be on guard and be careful, knowing that we can fall so that we do not. So let us remember that the devil wants us to fall, and so he’s telling us that we cannot fall. But God tells us to be warned, to be on guard because in fact we really can fall from his grace and lose our souls in eternity. God doesn’t want that to happen to any of us, and it doesn’t have to happen to us. That’s why he has given us these warnings in the scripture. But the fact is that it did happen to some.
Turn with me to Galatians 5:4. In this particular chapter we see that some of those who belonged to the churches of Galatia, some of those Christians actually fell from grace.
Because they began to put their faith in their own performance in keeping of the law rather than in Jesus Christ. There were those who believed that their salvation was based upon things like circumcision and the other regulations and commandments of the law of Moses, and so they moved their faith from the gospel of Christ to that law; and thus they fell from grace.
Notice how Paul puts it here in Galatians 5:4. “You have become estranged from Christ, that is, alienated, separated from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”
Yes, they were looking for justification in the keeping of the law rather than in Jesus Christ, and that separated them from Christ and caused them, as he said, to have fallen from grace.
You see, the kind of faith that saves is the faith that Paul speaks of down in verse 6, where he says, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.”
We could never earn or merit our salvation by the keeping of the law; but putting our faith in Jesus Christ, we work for him out of a heart of love. And it’s on that basis then that we are able to have our salvation. But if we ever move away from that, yes, Paul says, as he said for the Galatians, could happen to us, we’ve fallen from grace. Now let’s take another look at some other passages in the New Testament that teach this very same thing. Go to the book of Hebrews.
Hebrews 6:4-6. They had the same problem among the Hebrew Christians that were being written to in this letter that we read of in Galatians, this idea of going back to the law and being justified by their performance of the law. And so we see the similar attitude that was going on here. And once again, the inspired writer of the New Testament gives us a great warning.
Here in Hebrews 6:4-6 he speaks of those who have experienced salvation, but now it’s impossible to bring them back to Christ.
Let’s read it together Hebrew 6:4 “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened and have tasted the heavenly gift and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God and put Him to an open shame.”
You see, these are those who had been enlightened, they had come to know the truth. They had come out of the darkness of the lies and deceptions of Satan into the truth of God that’s able to set them free. These are those that have actually tasted the heavenly gift. They’ve experienced somewhat that eternal life that we have in Jesus Christ. He says that they have become partakers of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit now dwells in them, they have fellowship with him, they have that helper, that comforter. And not only that, but he goes on to say that they have tasted the good word of God. They’ve experienced the blessings and the salvation that comes from hearing and believing and obeying that message, and the powers of the age to come. Certainly these verses describe a Christian, one who’s been saved by the blood of Christ, one who’s been set free from his or her sin, one who has now been united with Jesus Christ, he belongs to Christ, he’s a Christian; but he tells us here that it’s impossible if they fall away to renew them again to repentance.
Because he says they were crucifying again for themselves the Son of God. Jesus wasn’t actually going back up on the cross for them, no; but you see, in sinning against Christ, in turning their backs on Jesus Christ, no longer having their faith in him, but in themselves and their own performance of the law, they were actually in a sense putting Jesus back up on the cross. These were those who cried for his blood in the streets, Crucify him, Crucify him. They were no longer trusting him as the savior, as their Messiah. They had turned against him. And that’s what we do in our lives when we lose our faith and we begin to sin against our God. And so they had crucified again for themselves the Son of God and put him to an open shame. Yes, we bring great shame to Jesus Christ when we as Christians turn away from him, when we fall away from grace. Let’s look at this a little further in Hebrews 10:26-31. Here he extends the discussion here a little bit more, and I think we can understand a little better what he’s really talking about.
Hebrews 10:26, let’s notice what the Bible says. “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.”
I want you to notice from this passage that he speaks of those who might sin willfully; that is, they sin knowingly and purposefully. Certainly we all sin. We have moments of weakness in our life as Christians when we’re tempted, and we give in to sin. There are those sins of ignorance that we do unintentionally, not even really knowing it, or inadvertently. And so certainly as Christians we sin. But if we sin knowingly and purposefully, what does he tell us? He tells us here that there remains no more a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and fierceness of fire. Hell awaits those who would in high-handed rebellion turn against the one who saved them from their sins. A Christian can fall from grace.
Under the old law of Moses, there were two different kinds of sins. There were those that were unintentional, the ignorant sins of weakness, and there were those that were presumptuous. And what’s interesting about it is that when they committed unintentional sins, a sacrifice was offered to bring about the forgiveness of sins, pointing to the Christ who would come and ultimately pay the price. You could read about that in Leviticus chapter 4 and chapter 5, how the unintentional sins required a sacrifice under the law. But on the other hand, the presumptuous sin, for such sins there was no sacrifice. There was nothing to do because the one had despised God’s word and had rebelled against him, and so a sacrifice was not offered, but in fact that person was cut off.
You can read about that in Numbers chapter 15. David speaks of it in Psalm chapter 19. There are many passages that show us the difference between those who might sin in moments of weakness and ignorance and inadvertence and those who in high-handed rebellion presumptuously, knowingly, willfully, purposefully sin against the Lord. Such persons who sin presumptuously, there remains no more a sacrifice for sins. Look how the Hebrew writer goes on to explain this, as we read here in 10:28. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Under the law, one who committed a presumptuous sin would be cut off. He would be put to death. And that’s what he’s talking about here. No sacrifice was there for his sin. He would simply be put to death, die physically.
Now look what the Hebrew writer says in verse 29. “Of how much worse punishment do you suppose will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God under foot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the spirit of grace?”
If they died by presumptuously sinning against the law of Moses physically, then we die when we presumptuously sin against our Lord and savior Jesus Christ spiritually. We’re separated from God forever. We have fallen from grace. You see, he speaks of one here who had trampled underfoot the Son of God. Just like those we read about in Hebrews 6 who crucify him afresh, crucify him again to themselves, so here he says they trample over the cross as though Jesus had never died for their sins. They go on in sin. He says here that they count the blood of the covenant by which they are sanctified, by which they are set apart and cleansed a common thing. These are those who have been sanctified by the blood of Jesus, but now you see to them it’s just a common thing. The blood no longer means anything to them. They’ve fallen from grace. They’ve insulted, it says here, the spirit of grace. They’ve insulted God’s grace. God and his mercy and his kindness and his love graciously provided salvation for them, they experienced that salvation, and now they have turned against him in unbelief, and so they have indeed insulted the spirit of grace. And so then what does the Hebrew writer say in these last verses of this section?
He says, For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord; and again, The Lord will judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
Did you notice that our God is an awesome God?
And he must be revered, and he will judge his people, and it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Let’s take a look at a couple more passages today.
Notice with me 2 Peter 2:20-22. Here in these verses we read about those who had escaped the pollutions, the corruptions of this world, but they got entangled in it again. And I think this is what happens to many of us today. We become Christians, we give our lives to Jesus, but the world gets ahold of us again because we haven’t been on guard.
Here’s what the text says. “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them, and overcome, the latter is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than having known it to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them; but it has happened to them according to the true proverb: A dog returns to his own vomit, and a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”
Those are ugly pictures, aren’t they? The dog returning to his vomit, the pig, washed, but then going right back into the mud. And so there are some who have been washed by the blood of Christ, this corruption, this defilement of sin has been purged from their hearts, but they’ve returned to it. They’ve fallen from grace. The latter state is worse than the beginning. It’s bad enough to be lost without Jesus; but having come to Jesus, to be lost again is even worse.
This final passage, Revelation 3:16, where Jesus gives a letter here to the church at Laodicea because he’s concerned about their souls. It says,” So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”
Have you ever tried lukewarm water?
Doesn’t taste very good, does it?
You might want to just spit it out. But these folks had made Jesus sick because of their spiritual condition, because they had quit trusting him, and they began to trust in themselves.
Look what he says as you read on down in verse 17. “Because you say, I’m rich, have become wealthy and have need of nothing and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked, I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. And therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. Anyone who hears My voice and opens the door, I’ll come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”
You see, here’s a church that had become so self-sufficient and thinking they no longer needed their Lord that they had pushed them out of their hearts. And he’s knocking at the door because he wants back in. Maybe some of you have done that very same thing. You’ve pushed Jesus out of your life, you’ve pushed him out of your heart, you’ve fallen into unbelief, you’re in high-handed rebellion against him this morning. Jesus is knocking at the door. Open your hearts to him. In genuine penance, confess your sins, and ask him for forgiveness, that he might return, because that’s where he wants to be. We hope if we can help you here at The Truth In Love that you’ll let us know today.
SINGING>> Will your anchor hold in the storms of life
when the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift and the cables strain,
will your anchor drift or firm remain?
We have an anchor that keeps the soul
steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
fastened to the rock which cannot move, grounded firm and deep in the savior’s love.
It is safely moored,
twill the storm withstand,
for tis well secured by the savior’s hand.
And the cables passed from his heart to mine
can defy the blast through strength divine.
We have an anchor that keeps the soul steadfast
and sure while the billows roll,
fastened to the rock which cannot move,
grounded firm and deep in the savior’s love.
SINGING>> We place you on the highest place,
for you are the great high priest.
We place you high above all else,
all else, and we come to you and worship at your feet.
We place you on the highest place,
for you are the great high priest.
We place you high above all else, all else,
and we come to you and worship at your feet.
And we come to you and worship at your feet.
ROBERT >> I want to thank you for watching our program today. If you have any questions, comments, or requests, if you would like a personal home Bible study or special prayers, if you’d like more information about the lesson today, or if you’d like to order today’s lesson or any other lesson on CD, DVD, or in manuscript form, let me encourage you to write The Truth In Love at P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053.
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SINGING>> Unto the hills around do I lift up my longing eyes.
Oh, whence for me shall my salvation come,
from whence arise?
From God the Lord doth come my certain aid,
from God the Lord whom heaven and earth hath made.
From every evil shall he keep thy soul,
from every sin.
Jehovah shall preserve thy going out, thy coming in.
Above thee watching,
he whom we adore shall keep thee henceforth, yea for evermore.