Summary: This sermon examines the question of Eternal Security and Apostasy and what the Bible teaches concerning these things.
Eternal Security & Apostasy:
Can a Child of God Fall from Grace and Be Lost?
One of the major points of Calvinism is "the eternal security of the believer" or perseverance of the saints."
Many people believe that, when a person becomes a child of God, afterward it is impossible for him to so sin as to fall from grace and be eternally lost.
This doctrine is one of the five major points of Calvinism. It is often called "the eternal security of the believer," "perseverance of the saints," "impossibility of apostasy," or simply "once saved, always saved The Westminster Confession adopted by most Presbyterian churches, states:
The Philadelphia Confession, adopted by many Baptist churches, is almost identical to the above.
Sam Morris, "Pastor" of the First Baptist Church, Stamford, Texas, expressed the doctrine in its most extreme form as follows:
"We take the position that a Christian’s sins do not damn his soul! The way a Christian lives, what he says, his character, his conduct, or his attitude toward other people have nothing whatever to do with the salvation of his soul … All the prayers a man may pray, all the Bibles he may read, all the churches he may belong to, all the services he may attend, all the sermons he may practice, all the debts he may pay, all the ordinances he may observe, all the laws he may keep, all the benevolent acts he may perform will not make his soul one whit safer; and all the sins he may commit from idolatry to murder will not make his soul in any more danger … The way a man lives has nothing whatever to do with the salvation of his soul." (Morris, A Discussion Which Involves a Subject Pertinent to All Men, pp. 1,2; via Handbook of Religious Quotations, p. 24)
What does the Bible says about falling from grace.
It would be very comforting if this doctrine were true. However, if it is not true, then it would be a very dangerous doctrine because it would give people a false sense of security. People would not be on their guard against sin, and may not see any need to repent of sins, if they thought they would still be saved eternally despite their sins. If however they will be lost for sins they do not repent of, then such people are in grave danger. Surely it is important for us to know what the Bible teaches.
We can all agree that there is security for those who serve God faithfully. If we study God’s word diligently and honestly, if we strive to overcome sin in our lives, and if we diligently repent and ask forgiveness for our sins, then we definitely have assurance and security regarding our eternal destiny. The question, however, is whether it is possible for a child of God to cease being faithful, to become disobedient, fail to repent, and so be lost.
Part 1: Evidence that a Child of God
Can Sin and Be Lost
A. Passages Warning Christians about the Danger of Sin
The Bible teaches that Salvation comes through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. After we are “born again” we are to live after Christ or according to the Word of God.
Romans 8:12-13 - We must live according to the Spirit, not the flesh.
13For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.14. 14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 16The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
We are warned not to live according to the deeds of the flesh but be led by the Spirit. If we live according to the flesh, we will die (v13). This cannot be physical death since we all die physically regardless of how we live. This death is the opposite of the life we receive if we follow the Spirit.
To be heirs of Christ, we must be led of the Spirit (v14) and suffer with Christ (v17). It is conditional and depends on our life.
Galatians 6:7-9 - We must sow to the Spirit, not the flesh.
7Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.