Summary: In part 4 of this series I rwalk you through several New Testament Scriptures that confirms once again that a Christian can walk away from their salvation.
Can Christians Walk Away From Their Salvation?
This is part four of my series, “Can Christians Walk Away From Their Salvation?” Last week we examined several Old Testament scriptures pertaining to apostasy and this morning our focus will be on the New Testament scriptures. Let’s review once again the definition of apostasy. Apostasy is defined as “the renunciation of a religious or political belief or allegiance.” As you recall from last week, 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 Christian doctrine 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.” I told you last week that what a person believes about apostasy will determine what they believe about the doctrine of once saved always saved. You see, if apostasy is not possible then once saved always saved must therefore be true, which means a person can never choose to walk away from their salvation. However, if apostasy is possible, then once saved always saved cannot be true because a person can choose to walk away. This morning we will start with what Jesus said about abiding in Him.
John 15:5-7: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He that abides in Me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without Me you can do nothing. If a man abides not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you.” The word “abides” means to endure or withstand something. The Greek word translated as abide is “meno” and it means “to stay in a given place; state or relation (as in relationship); to continue, tarry, endure.” Jesus said that He was the true vine and the He said; “If a man abides not in Me….” What Jesus taught here is that a person must abide or stay in Him in order to be saved. The fact that He started the statement with “if” means that it is possible that some will choose not to stay in Him. I think it’s significant that the word “in” is used with the word “abide” because it’s a primary preposition that identifies “a fixed position in place, time or state.” Jesus is really making a point here about our state as sons and daughters of God. The abiding we are to do has to be in Jesus or in the things that Jesus taught in the four gospels. They are the “fixed positions” of doctrine that we cannot stray away from if we are going to abide in Him. To drive this point home, Jesus used the example of a tree that brings forth fruit. If you have ever seen someone prune a tree by cutting off the dead branches, then you know what He was referring to. What are the dead branches? If we are the living branches because we are abiding by teachings and beliefs according to His word, then the dead branches are obviously those that no longer abide by them and have died spiritually leading to eternal death. Remember, the branch cannot exist outside of the Vine from which it is attached. As we remain attached to the Vine, Jesus says our lives will bear fruit – the fruit that He desires.
As I thought about this passage, I was reminded of what David wrote in the very first Psalm. He said “Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in His law does he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he does shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:1-3) New Light, this is an encouragement to all us to abide in Jesus. Christians must remain with Jesus in order to bring forth fruit. However, if they do not remain in Jesus, they will be cast forth as a branch that is withered, dead and without life. And what does He say will happen to such branches? They will be burned. Jesus is painting a picture of someone not abiding in Him and will spend an eternity in the lake of fire. Turn with me to the book of Hebrews.