Summary: In this message we examine 8 Old Testament Scriptures that proves Apostasy can take place and in doing so disproves the doctrine that once a person is saved they will always be saved regardless of what they do or how they live.
Can Christians Walk Away From Their Salvation?
Scripture: Ezek. 3:17-21; 18:24-28; Deut. 13:6-15; First Chron. 28:8-9
In part two of my series “Can Christians Walk Away From Their Salvation?” I told you that Christians can choose to walk away from their salvation. As a matter of truth, in these latter days in which we are living, the Bible says some will knowingly walk away from Christ. I also shared with you that unlike the situation where a Christian walks away from their salvation, that a Christian cannot just “lose” their salvation every time they mess up – if their “messing up” is not their lifestyle. And in those times when we do mess up, First John 1:9 reminds us that God promised to forgive us and make us clean again if we repent. This morning we will examine Old Testament Scriptures that address apostasy and next week we will examine what the New Testament has to say on the subject.
Before we go to the Scriptures, let’s review the definition of apostasy which I shared with you in part one of this series. Apostasy is defined as “the renunciation of a religious or political belief or allegiance.” The word “renunciation” means “a denial or rejection of something or somebody, usually for moral or religious reasons.” Apostasy in Christianity is the rejection of Christianity by someone who formerly was a Christian. The term apostasy comes from the Greek word apostasia meaning “defection, departure, revolt or rebellion.” It has been described as “a willful falling away from, or rebellion against, Christianity.” Based on its definition, apostasy is the first and only argument against the once saved always saved doctrine as it proves a person can choose to walk away from their salvation. If apostasy is not possible then once saved always saved must therefore be true meaning that a person can never choose to walk away from their salvation. Now, I want you to think about what I just said. If once saved always saved is true, a person can never CHOOSE to walk away. However, if apostasy is possible, then once saved always saved cannot be true because a person can choose to walk away. To find the true answer we must look to the Scriptures and see what it teaches on the subject. So let’s see what the Bible has to say about this.
As I said at the beginning, this morning we will examine what the Old Testament says about apostasy. We will not look at every reference, but enough to get you started on your search for the truth. As we read each Scripture, I want you to focus on what it says about the “how” and “why” someone walks away. But before I begin, there is something we must absolutely understand. God gave us free will. He gave us the ability to choose. We can choose to obey Him or we can choose not to obey Him. For example, when the Bible identifies certain acts and lifestyles as sin and we say we don’t agree, then eventually what we believe is going to separate us from God for all eternity and that is what the Bible says, not Rodney. So let’s start our Old Testament search with Ezekiel chapter three.
Ezekiel 3:17-21: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, ‘You shall surely die; and you give him not warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at your hand. Yet if you warn the wicked, and he turns not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die: because you have not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man, that the righteous sins not, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also you have delivered your soul.” Through the years I have been told that I preach or teach too much about sin. After reading this Scripture, I want you to put yourselves in the place of the man or woman of God who knows of sin in the congregation and then “choose” not to address it with the congregation so people do not get offended and leave the Church. In that situation God makes it clear that if we keep our mouths shut and the person dies in their sin He holds us accountable. I do not need to be accountable for anyone else’s sins. But what I want to point out from these verses is what was written in verse twenty. It says, “when (not if but when) a righteous man turns from his righteousness…” This verse tells us that it is not only possible for a righteous man to turn from being righteous and once again turns to sin, but it will happen! And once the man does return to a life of sin, it says that man “…..shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered.” This verse confirms that if a righteous man returns to sin without repenting then when he dies in his sin his former righteousness will not be remembered. I believe that we can all agree that the Bible makes it clear that no “unrighteous” person will enter heaven. Now turn over to Ezekiel chapter eighteen.