The Sin Of Departing From God
Albert E. Farley
Is it possible for a child of God to fall from grace and to be eternally lost? What does the Bible teach?
The Bible says, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;” 1 Timothy 4:1. The writer of the book of Hebrews warned, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.”
In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul reminded the church that all of the Jewish fathers were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea when they were delivered from Egyptian bondage. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank of the same spiritual drink of the same spiritual Rock which was Christ. Yet, after being delivered, they sinned and were overthrown in the wilderness and did not enter into the promised land. He said these things happened to them for examples and are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come!
The Old Testament often uses the word backsliding to describe Israel, God’s chosen people. See Jeremiah 2:19; 3:6, 8, 11, 12, 14, 22; 5:6; 8:5; 31:22; Hosea 4:16, 11:7, 14:4. This word means, “apostasy.”
Paul said, to the churches of Galatia, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:” 1:6. He then said of those who would preach a perverted gospel, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” 1:8. The word accursed is anathema, and it involves eternal damnation. Why did Paul say that he or an angel from heaven would be anathema if it were not possible for them to be so? In 5:4, Paul told the Galatian Christians that if they sought to be justified by the law (of Moses), Christ would become of no effect unto them; they would be fallen from grace. It is possible for one to fall from grace!
The church at Ephesus began well. Paul said that God had chosen him and them in Christ before the foundation of the world. Ephesians 1. Their adoption in Christ had been predestinated according to the good pleasure of God’s will. They, who had been dead in sins, were made alive by God’s rich mercy; they were saved by grace! Ephesians 2. Read of their one baptism and salvation in Acts 19 and Ephesians 4:4-6.
However, examine the last picture of the church at Ephesus in the Bible. Revelation 2:1-5. They had left their first love! Jesus said, “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” I heard a Calvinistic denominational television preacher (who believed and taught the false doctrine of “Once saved, always saved”), comment on this verse. He said, “Wouldn’t it be terrible to go to heaven and not have a personal relationship with Jesus?” Friends, this is foolishness. If we do not have a personal relationship with Jesus, we are not going to heaven! “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62.
The apostle Peter wrote, “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the later end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” 2 Peter 2:20-22.
The cost of discipleship is high. Luke 14. The cost of not becoming a Christian is higher. Mark 16:15, 16. However, the cost of becoming a Christian and then departing from God is the highest of all. May we all, as Christians, watch and pray. Let us add to our faith virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity. Let us give diligence to make our calling and election sure. If we do these things, we will never fall. 2 Peter 1:5-11. What will happen, then, if we do not do these things? -Editor.
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