Lucia's Blog: THE PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS: “ONCE SAVED, ALWAYS SAVED"
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Thursday, June 16, 2016

THE PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS: “ONCE SAVED, ALWAYS SAVED"

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.  Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.  So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.  But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified."
I Corinthians 9:24-27


It takes both the carrot and the stick. I am picturing a mule harnessed to the wagon and a long pole extended beyond his nose with a carrot tied to it. I can see that mule pulling the wagon forward in the hopes of getting a nibble of the carrot. Do you suppose the mule might get tired at some point and just decide it was not worth it anymore? What if your wagon has not quite reached the barn yet? You just might need that stick to tap Mr. mule on the flank and encourage him to finish his day's work. Jesus Christ has taught us all we need to know about heaven and hell, to get us home with our God. The doctrine of "Once saved always saved" has taken away the fear of hell as well as the fear of God from those who believe that they were saved forever the moment they first believed. They will never make it into God's barn.

Since Calvinism has impacted and swayed the hearts and minds of so many people including many who claim not to be Calvinist, I feel compelled to expose its false doctrines or teachings. My fervent prayer is that we all develop the noble heart of the Berean brethren of Acts 17:11. These brethren had a heart of love for the Truth. Likewise, they diligently searched the Scriptures because of their love for the Truth; making sure that what the apostles were teaching was in full harmony with their message of the Gospel of Christ before they accepted them.

The purpose of this study, as with all my studies, is to push myself beyond my knowledge in search of the Truth in the light of God's Word.  Indeed, Calvinism is such a study. I hope you will find it encouraging. As I have said earlier in other studies, the love of Truth is like a treasure hidden in a field which a man finds. He goes and sells all that he has to buy that field and rejoices to take possession of that treasure. That is how I feel every time I am compelled to dig deeper into the Scriptures seeking God's treasures. I pray that you may feel the same joy.

In 2 Timothy 4:2-4 the apostle Paul clearly pointed out that there is only one revealed, sound form of doctrine that is approved of God, the Word. Unfortunately, much of what is taught in the religious world today is a mere reflection of the constant stubbornness and desire to turn away from the Truth of God. Today as in the days of the apostles, many in the religious world have rejected “the yoke” of our Lord and Savior, (Matt. 11:28-30) going after a different Jesus, a non-biblical pattern (model, form). Why? Because they refuse to abide in God's Word choosing to adopt other forms (patterns) of man-made inventions of religion since they are not satisfied with the one ordained by God. Thus, obedience to God's Word is replaced by loyalty to traditional religious practices and human doctrines. It is that simple!

Men who do not love the Truth of God but reject it, find that the “narrow gate” is too narrow for them. It will be good for them to remember also that “there is a way which seemeth right unto a man; But the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12). Nonetheless, many who claim to be followers of Christ, walk the twisted, crooked path that seems right to them. This is seen in their refusal to acknowledge God's revealed Truth which we must hold fast.

Calvinism is merely the work of John Calvin, entitled “Institutes of the Christian Religion.”  He expounded and promoted the false teachings or concepts of Martin Luther and Augustine (354-430 A.D.). Calvinism can be reduced to five major tenets usually represented by the acronym “TULIP.” The five points express John Calvin’s view of the fall and redemption of man. Consider them:
  1. Total hereditary depravity.
  2. Unconditional election.
  3. Limited atonement.
  4. Irresistible grace and finally
  5. Perseverance of the saints.
The world of Calvinism takes the sovereignty of God to extremes. Surely, we all must emphasize and exalt His sovereignty. However, Calvinism distorts that sovereignty. In what way? According to them, the true believer can never fall from grace since his salvation does not depend on himself but rather on the sovereignty of God. Thus says Calvinism, God can never fail. They insist that God's providence is in charge or responsible for the believer; that they are saved by God's power through faith for salvation. This doctrine is called “the perseverance of the saints.”

The doctrine of “the perseverance of the saints” is the fifth and final tenet of Calvinism. It is also known as the doctrine of:
  • "Once saved always saved."
  • "The impossibility of apostasy."
  • "The security of the believer,” and 
  • “Once in grace always in grace.”
This doctrine plays an essential role in the Calvinistic system of theology and does not stand alone. According to Calvinism, since man is born with a sinful nature, totally hereditarily depraved, he can do nothing on his own to receive salvation. He can only do evil. Therefore, Unconditional Election is vital to his salvation. That is to say, God must call him in an irresistible way to save him. And for this reason, man does not need to do anything to be saved and remain saved. Nothing he does, even the most heinous sin, can affect his salvation since that would nullify God's miraculous work of redemption (saving him).

In my study, I will be analyzing the doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints as follows:

  1. The perseverance of the saints as expressed by its advocates (proponents).
  2. The Calvinistic doctrine of imputation: imputed righteousness.
  3. The Scriptures twisted by Calvinists to support it and the Scriptures that refute it.
  4. The Scriptures that explicitly teach that the faithful can depart (fall away) from the Lord and thus fall from the grace of God.

I.   THE PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS, AS EXPRESSED BY ITS ADVOCATES:

  • The Westminster Confession of Faith:

Chapter XVII. Of the Perseverance of the Saints:

Section I.–They whom God hath accepted in his Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.

Section II.–This perseverance of the saints depends, not upon their own freewill, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ; the abiding of the Spirit and of the seed of God within them; and the nature of the covenant of grace; from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.

Section III.–Nevertheless they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalence of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their perseverance, fall into grievous sins; and for a time continue therein: whereby they incur God's displeasure, and grieve his Holy Spirit; come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts; have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded; hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves.

  • Sam Morris, a Baptist preacher, and famous debater stated,
 "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....The way I live has nothing whatsoever to do with the salvation of my soul" (Sam Morris, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Stamford, Texas, in a tract entitled, "Do A Christian's Sins Damn His Soul?").

Calvinism's first problem is the rejection of man's free will (free moral agency).


II.    CALVINISTIC DOCTRINE OF IMPUTATION: IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS:

If the “Tulip Acrostic” of Calvinism had six points, I would add this one as one of their man-made doctrines since each of their tenets leads to more error. It seems that the false doctrine of Imputed Righteousness is another one of their biggies. In Calvinism's theological system, one error leads to more error and those points that follow it certainly fall with it. And although they may deny that one error follows another error, it still true.

The logic behind the apparent injustice of rewarding the disobedient believers equally with the obedient believers is the doctrine of “imputed righteousness.” The argument is that since God counts believers righteous solely because of the obedience of Jesus, then our own personal obedience to God neither helps nor hurts our salvation. If our faithfulness or unfaithfulness is irrelevant to our eternal reward, then once saved, a believer will always be secure no matter how heinous the sins he may commit, no matter how cowardly he may be in his faith, and no matter how indifferent he may be toward God whom he was commanded to love with all of his heart.

I have devoted a special study to the argument of imputed righteousness on a different page.  Here is the link:

http://www.luciasblog.com/2016/04/the-calvinistic-doctrine-of-imputation.html



III. SCRIPTURES THAT ARE TWISTED TO SUPPORT THE PERSEVERANCE    DOCTRINE:
        
  • John 3:16 and 5:24:  
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth him that sent me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but hath passed out of death into life."
Calvinists make the argument that the believer, the redeemed, has (present possession) eternal life since according to them the word “eternal” means “unending.” And if the Christian, the believer, is lost, he could never possess "eternal life." Wherefore, he can never lose it since he has or possesses eternal life.  But I John 5:11-13 says the opposite of their false argument regarding eternal life. Consider what this text has to say about eternal life:

“And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

Here we see that this passage is talking about the life we Christians now possess in Christ.
“In hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began.” (Titus 1:2).

This text speaks of the hope (eternal life): something that we Christians all hope for and will receive “in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:29-30).

The eternal life that we now possess as Christians would not be changed should we lose it. Why? Because life is what is eternal and not the possession of it. And even if one were to leave it behind, that still would not alter its intrinsic nature. Therefore, our possession of eternal life is conditional upon our walking in the Light as He is in the Light and according to God's will.

  • John 5:24:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”

The Calvinist position is that the faithful believer can never stop believing and become an unbeliever. But there is a Scripture to refute this:  John 3:36, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

Now, if the Lord meant to say that the faithful believer can never become an unbeliever and be lost, then He also meant to say that the unbeliever can never become a faithful believer to be saved.  He says that the believing person “does not come into judgment,” but for the unbelieving, disobedient person, He says that he “will not see life.” So if this were to be unconditional for the believer, then it would have to be unconditional to the unbeliever as well.  That is why this doctrine demands unconditional election.

  • John 10:27-29:
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who hath given them unto me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”
Their argument is that no one can snatch any of Christ's sheep from His Father's hand (“no one shall snatch them out of my hand”).   Therefore, no one who is saved can ever be lost. This argument is false.  Here are the reasons:


1.   The phrase “no one shall snatch them out of my hand,” is not talking about what the believer can do or not do, but rather what Christ can do.  Besides that, it is conditional since He says “ My sheep hear my voice  and I know them, and they follow me.” 

2.   Becoming a “sheep” being placed in God's hand is conditional. It requires:
    • Hearing Christ (verse 27).
    • Believing Christ (verse 26) and 
    • Following Him (verse 27). 
3.   Likewise, remaining a “sheep” is conditional. That is, that as long as the believer remains faithful to Christ, he “shall never perish,” (verse 28). But the sheep can stop hearing and reject His voice and stop following Him and go astray (fall from grace). Why? Because he willfully refuses to submit to the will of God.

So whoever claims that any believer can never stop believing and follow Jesus, he must remember Demas’ example in Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 24.  Demas had been a faithful companion for Paul, but in 2 Timothy 4:10 Paul says:

“For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world.”
So we infer that anyone, any believer, can separate himself from the hand of God by sinning (Isaiah 59:1-2).

  • John 15:1-10: 
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine dresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.”

Notice that in this text, the word “abide” appears ten times. It is crucial that we understand Jesus' words to us, His believers, when He said, “Abide in me, and I in you,” “ abide in me, and my words,” “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.”  BUT, He likewise said that it is possible for us to stop abiding in Him. Notice what He commanded us to do, “Abide in me.”  Why did Jesus command His believers to abide in Him if the believers could not do otherwise but abide in Him?

Later in verse 6 He says, “If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.”  Moreover, verse 10 states that “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.”  Verse 10 explicitly points out that to abide in Him, it is vital that we keep His Father's commandments.

Notice what Colossians 1:21-23 has to say regarding this abiding in Him in steadfast faith, not moved away from the Gospel of Christ we have heard,
“And you, being in time past alienated and enemies in your mind in your evil works, 22 yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and without blemish and unreproveable before him: 23 if so be that ye continue in the faith, grounded and stedfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel which ye heard, which was preached in all creation under heaven; whereof I Paul was made a minister.”

So it is essential that we remain or continue grounded and steadfast in our faith (the Gospel), and in our hope, and not be moved away from the Gospel of Christ, that He might abide in us and we in Him. This abiding of Christ in us is conditional. That simple!

  • Romans 8:28: 
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

My question is: To whom do all things work together? Simply all those who love God. So what do all those who love God do? They keep His commandments; they surrender to His will in complete obedience: “Jesus answered and said to him, 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.'" (John 14:15,23).

It is vital that we understand that all of God's blessings are dependent upon our obedience and faithfulness to Him. They are conditional. Period!

  • Romans 8:33-39: 
“33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written, 'For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.' 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

“33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.”

Calvinists like to twist verse 33 and put in the instrument of torture until it says what they want it to say, especially the word “elect.”  According to Thayer, the original word “elect” means picked out, chosen. God does not choose at random, and there is a reason why He makes this choice. God simply chooses or elects those who are willing to obey Him, regardless of race, social or financial status, etc. Certainly no one can bring any charge against God's elect since He is the One who justifies them. It is Christ who is to be Judge overall, (Matt. 25:31, 46; John 5:22; Acts 17:30-31). Hence, only those whom God does not justify will be condemned.

35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written, 'For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered... ”

The phrase, “the love of Christ,” can mean either the love Christ has for us or the love we have for Him. BUT here it is speaking clearly about the love we have for Christ, the sufferings we undergo when we are serving Him ("28 And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose").  Often our sufferings and trials cause us to grow cold and even abandon Him. But when one loves Him as we should, nothing can move us; that is, none of the things mentioned will affect or destroy our love for Him, force us to depart from our first love and cause us to go astray, Matt. 24:11-12, Rev. 2:4. Paul recognized that some might depart from their faith but was persuaded that nothing, none of the evils coming on us, could destroy our love for Christ. So when we love Christ, come what may, God's love for us meets our love for Him. Let us please keep everything within context. I must stress this here!!  It will make everything much clearer for us.

The Calvinist position is that nothing can separate the elect from the love of God. Therefore, since they cannot be separated from the love of God, they can never be lost. Take heed that this passage is not teaching that we Christians cannot be separated from the salvation which is in Christ.

It is true, according to this Scripture, that nothing (all the things named in this text) can separate us from the love of Christ (both the Father and Son, John 3:16; 2 Cor. 5:14). Does this imply that everybody (since they are loved by both the Father and the Son) is going to be saved?  Even Calvinists do not believe this!!

  • Romans 14:4: 
“4 Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”

Take heed!  This verse does not imply that one will stand firm before God despite his sinful conduct or lawlessness (as Calvinists teach), but rather despite the unfair and unjust judgments of others, if one is faithful, one will be judged as faithful (stand) for the Lord.


  • I Corinthians 3:15: 
If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”
Calvinism asserts that even if the believer's work is lost, he can still be saved. But the “work” in this text is talking about the "work" of the one who preaches to those who have been converted to Christ (1 Cor. 9:1). It means that if these who were converted to Christ are not faithful, they will be lost. And even though they are lost, the evangelist or whoever taught them will not be lost. If he remains faithful, he will be saved, even though his “work” being tested, as through fire, is lost.  Period!

  • Ephesians 1:12-13: 
“12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.
Calvinists assume that if they are sealed with the Holy Spirit, they can never fall from grace. But this is not what this passage is implying since it says, “when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him.”  So can one not stop believing in Him? And if one stops believing in Him, can one be still sealed with the Holy Spirit? What do you think?

  • 2 Timothy 2:18-19: 
“18 men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some.19 Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”

Indeed, “the Lord knows those who are His” and also those “who have gone astray from the truth... and they upset the faith of some.”  My question is:
  • Are those who have gone astray from the Truth still “His”(those who are accepted by God)?
  • Are those who do not abstain from wickedness still "His"? 
  • Are those who do not walk in the Light as He is in the Light still "His"?
Take heed!

  • I Peter 1:5: 
“who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

Notice the expression “through faith.”  The faith that saves is not dead faith so is the faith that obeys. “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.  You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” (James 2:17,24).

  • I John 2:18-19: 
“18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.”
This is one of our Baptist friends’ favorite verses and those who teach that it is impossible to fall from grace and apostatize. They brazenly claim that those who abandon their faith were never true or genuine believers but rather shallow or superficial (hypocrites), that profess to have faith but in reality are not Christians. It is absurd for them to make this assumption since such teachers play the role of God, judging the heart and the motives of man. That is amazing!

So according to I John 2:19, when “were they not of us”?  Obviously, after they had become "antichrists." Then, they went out from them (verse 18). And if it were true that they had already manifested themselves as antichrists before they were baptized, why is it that John says “now”? How then could the apostles and other Christians accept their “obedience” if indeed they did not want to confess Christ as the Son of God? Such a confession implies that Jesus is Emanuel, God with us (God and man). The antichrists did not make such a confession.  That simple!
“By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.” (I John 4:2-3).
Calvinists cannot prove that the “antichrists,” which this passage is speaking of, had not obeyed the Gospel. The statement “they went out from us” suggests that they had been with the apostles and other Christians as well. It is impossible to leave a group of people without ever having been with them or be part of them.

My question is:
  • Did they not obey the Gospel?
  • Did they not confess Christ before they were baptized? 
  • If they were already Christians before they were baptized, did the apostles know it and accept them though they were refusing to confess Christ? 
  • Were they not baptized for the forgiveness of sins and added to the Lord's church? (Acts 2:38, 41, 46). 
  • Therefore, if they “went out” of the church, they must had been members of the Lord's church, Christians.  Period!
Therefore, the important question is: when was it that “They went out from us”? Obviously, after they had become (manifested) antichrists. We have many Scriptures that confirm plainly and distinctly that some of those who obeyed the Gospel departed from the faith.

  • I John 3:6-9: 
“No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.”
Calvinists argue that one who is born of God cannot sin, i.e., it is impossible for a Christian to sin. Therefore, if he cannot sin, he cannot be lost. And that once he is saved, he is always saved.

The word “cannot” from the Greek “ou-dunamal” means morally unable, not that which is physically impossible. The word “cannot,” as used in the Bible, does not necessarily mean “impossible.”

Take for example Numbers 22:18 speaking of Balaam: “But Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, 'Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the command of the Lord my God to do less or more.”'

Balaam here did not imply it was impossible for him to go beyond God's Word. He merely indicated that it is impossible to please God and go beyond the Word of God. Therefore, he acknowledged that he was forbidden to do it.

In I John 3:8-10 and 2:1-2, John never implied that it was impossible for a Christian to sin. To the contrary, he affirmed that he could sin.

  • I John 5:13: 
“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.”
The world of Calvinism based on this verse teaches that eternal life is a current possession. But they seem to ignore what John himself stated in this same letter, “And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.” (I John 2:25). That is to say, before he said, “that you may know that you have eternal life.” Notice that John had already said three chapters earlier: “And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.”

Let us be careful to read with understanding all that the Word of God has to say without adding, or taking away from the Truth on any subject that we want to study. Therefore, no one has any current or present possession of that which he hopes to have. “For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?” (Romans 8:24).
“And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:46).
Hence, on Judgment Day, only the righteous will go into eternal life. Period!


IV. VERSES THAT DISTINCTLY TEACH THAT THE SAVED CAN FALL FROM GRACE:

  • I Corinthians 5:1: 
“It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father's wife.”

Notice that the fornicator that this verse is speaking of was a member of the church in Corinth. Now, in verse 5, “you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.” Likewise, this man was in the kingdom of Christ but as an unfaithful member who was to be delivered to Satan's domain (kingdom) of darkness, (Colossians 1:13-14). Calvinists teach that the believer who is not faithful was never a Christian, but rather he was just pretending and professing to be Christian. The fact is that if he is not saved, he is already in Satan's kingdom of darkness. In verse 5, Paul explicitly says that such a member is to be delivered to Satan. So, if this member or believer had been in Satan's kingdom of darkness already, Paul would have never said, “you are to deliver this man to Satan .”

  • I Corinthians 5:11: 
"but as it is, I wrote unto you not to keep company, if any man that is named a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such a one no, not to eat."
Unfortunately, many commentaries say that the verb “named” implies that he was only pretending to be a brother. But Paul was not speaking of this brother's truthfulness or the honesty of his profession, but rather his fornication. Therefore, it is wrong to teach that any believer or member who falls into sin or departs from the faith, was never converted and thus was not or is not a brother.

Furthermore, the translated word “named,” is never used in the sense of  “to pretend” or be pretentious. The Greek word is “onomazo” ( ὄνομα, ατος, τό ) which means to name, to utter, to make mention of the name, give name to, one be named, to bear the name of a person or thing. This word “onomazo” is used in:

Romans 15:20, “not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's.”
Ephesians 1:21, “and every name that is named, not only in this."
Ephesians 5:3, "uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as"
2 Timothy 2:19, “And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart."

Therefore, it is an error to affirm that the word “named” in I Corinthians 5:11 implies a pretentious or false profession (vocation, calling) and that the fornicator under consideration was not actually a brother.

So why does it say “called” or “named” a brother? To point out that the commandment, not to keep company... with such a one no, not to eat” refers to the brethren, the members of the Lord's church and not those outside of the Lord's church. That is why later in verse 12, Paul states, “For what have I to do with judging outsiders?  Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?"  I have to stress that Paul is not saying “named a brother” to judge the heart of man but rather to point out that he was a brother and member of the Lord's church with whom one could not associate or keep company (“with such a one no, not to eat”) and not outsiders with whom he could eat. Paul says, “named brother” to distinguish him with outsiders.

Notice that the words, “for what” connect verses 12 and 11 and contrasts those in the church from the “outsiders.” A Christian can indeed imitate Christ and still eat with sinners. But to save and discipline the fornicating brother (a member of the Lord's church), Paul commands the faithful to depart from him, “not to keep company” with him, and “with such a one no, not to eat.”

So, why teach error?  Why say that the word “named” implies pretext or pretentious? If the fornicator was not a real or true brother, but rather one who merely proclaimed to be a brother, even if he was disciplined by the church, the members could indeed eat with him since he was not a brother (a member of the Lord's church). With this Calvinistic reasoning, the commandment "not to eat with such a brother" is avoided. So the whole plan of salvation taught by Paul and the apostles is canceled.
  • As Christians what do we think of those who deny the plan of salvation (hear, believe, repent, confess Christ and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins) for the lost? 
  • Why accept this plan and reject the plan to save the brother who falls into sin? 
  • What do you think?
Another Scripture that is very similar to I Corinthians 5 is 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14,15 that says:
“6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which they received of us. And if any man obeyeth not our word by this epistle, note that man, that ye have no company with him, to the end that he may be ashamed.15 And yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. “

Notice that Paul calls the man who is walking disorderly brother.” Again, in verse 15, Paul calls the one who is admonished brother.”

So, when Paul declares in 1 Cor. 5:11, “with such a one no, not to eat." With whom are the brethren not to eat? The fornicating brother. So if the fornicating brother of Corinth was not a real brother (according to Calvinists), why could not the brethren still eat with him?  In any case, one could easily say like the Calvinists that the member of the Lord's church who falls into sin was merely pretending to be a brother. And so although the church may “discipline” him, it should be okay to eat together and have company with him because he was not really a brother in the first place. According to this way of thinking, there is no room for the church to practice discipline. Why? Simply because Paul assumed that the brother could be saved by the discipline that the Holy Spirit ordained. So if the church can distinguish between faithful brethren and those (brethren) who just pretend to be faithful brothers, they are standing in the place of God who is the only One who can judge the hearts of men!

Indeed, the problem in all this is nothing more than Calvinism. Why do I say that? Because according to Calvinism, the believers or members who fall into sin or depart from the faith were never and are not faithful and true believers but rather shallow and superficial ones, hypocrites.

So to teach that the person that Paul is speaking of in I Cor. 5:11 ("with such a one no, not to eat") is not a brother, is pure error and false teaching. So what is the result of this false doctrine? That obviously they refuse to obey God's command. They completely ignore God's plan to save the lost brother. How? By continuing to associate or have company with him, the fornicating brother, in this case, the one who walked disorderly, in lawlessness.

In I Corinthians 10:12 we have a very needed and powerful exhortation. Notice what it says:
“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. “
Paul exhorted the brethren with this verse because the church in Corinth had many serious problems:
  1. division (I Cor. 1:10-13); 
  2. carnality (1 Cor. 3:1-3); 
  3. fornication (1 Cor. 5); 
  4. litigation (1 Cor. 6); 
  5. marital problems (1 Cor. 7); 
  6. problems with eating meat offered to idols, idolatry (1 Cor. 8,10); 
  7. false teaching or erroneous doctrines regarding the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:12).
  8.  Furthermore, when Paul exhorted the Corinth brethren regarding all these serious problems within the church, he also acknowledged that he might be rejected and lose his salvation.
“but I buffet my body, and bring it into bondage: lest by any means, after that I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected.” (I Cor. 9:27).

  •  Galatians 1:6:
“I marvel that ye are so quickly removing from him that called you in the grace of Christ unto a different gospel.”
To be removed from Christ means that they were in Christ. "4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace." (Gal. 5:4). The language in this Scripture cannot be clearer. To reject this Scripture is to reject the Bible!

  • Galatians 2:11:
"11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision."
So, was not the apostle Peter a "faithful believer"?

  • Philippians 2:12:
"12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling."
So, if the believer's salvation is unconditional, why is it that we have such an exhortation like this one?

  • I Timothy 4:1-4:
"But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3 men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude."

The "faith" this Scripture is talking about is simply the "Gospel" of Christ. Indeed, Paul declared that some were going to fall away from their faith. i.e., they were apostatizing. But the problem is that it is impossible to fall away from the faith without ever being in the faith.

  • Hebrews 3:12:
"2 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin."
So, if it is impossible that the believer ever falls from grace, then this Scripture is useless and makes no sense. You see, the Calvinist tries, at all cost, to get out of his own dilemma by saying that "such people were never really true and genuine Christians."  However, it is impossible to depart from the living God, if indeed the believer was never with Him. To be with God implies:
  • communion, 
  • fellowship with Him. 
Therefore, if it were true, that this person was never really a genuine or true believer, then we can conclude that this person was an unbeliever. Therefore, as an unbeliever, he was able to commune or have fellowship with God. Do you suppose that all unbelievers can have fellowship with God? This is the most absurd thing I've ever heard!! But that is what Calvinists assert.

  • Hebrews 6:4-6:
"4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame."
  1. Were the ones that this Scripture is speaking of “faithful believers?”  
  2. Enlightened? 
  3. Did they not taste of the heavenly gift? 
  4. Where these not partakers of the Holy Spirit? 
  5. Do you suppose they can be faithful believers, be enlightened, taste of the heavenly gift and be partakers of God's divine nature and still be “superficial believers” and not real and genuine believers?
It is evident that Calvinists have it wrong! They just reject the Truth, forcing it to say what they want it to say. Amazing! I think they should imitate the Jehovah's Witnesses and publish their own “bible” even though they teach false doctrines, the doctrines of demons.

  • Hebrews 6:18-19:
“18 that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil.”
This Scripture emphasizes two words, “an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast.”
But there is a problem here since there can be NO “sure and steadfast anchor of the soul" for those who “neglect so great a salvation” (Hebrews 2:3), departing from their faith.

  • Hebrews 10:26-29:
"26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?"
If those, who have been sanctified (the saved) by the blood of Christ (verse 29), forsake the Lord and do not repent, they can only anticipate "a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries." (verse 27).

  • Hebrews 12:6:
“For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

Calvinists assert that God indeed disciplines His children but does not condemn them to hell. So according to these false teachers, this Scripture contradicts the other passages found in Hebrews that clearly state that some “have fallen away.”

  • James 5:19-20:
19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”
So, according to this passage, how can one affirm that a Christian (the true and faithful believer) can't “wander from the truth” and lose his soul?  I'd like to know if there is another answer.

  • 2 Peter 1:5-11:
“5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.  10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

So what happens when a Christian (the true believer) does not give all diligence to make sure his calling and election? Simply, “he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.”

Do you suppose that such a “blind” believer forgetting that he was cleansed from his former sins may be saved at all?

  • 2 Peter 2:20-22:
“20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

Do you think that the those who are mere “superficial believers” have “escaped the defilements of the world.”?!  It is very clear that the expression “they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” is talking about their sincere conversion from lawlessness to righteousness in Christ through baptism. It is also evident from this Scripture that they went back to the world of darkness, sin.


CONCLUSION:

So can a Christian fall away and be lost eternally? YES! The Word of God is crystal clear on this. He can come short of the grace of God, (Heb. 12:15); wander from the Truth (James 5:10-20); he can stray away after Satan (1 Tim. 5:15); he can be “carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.” (2 Peter 3:17); he can be destroyed if he is weak, (1 Cor. 8:11); he can forsake the right way and go astray, (2 Peter 2:14-15); he can turn back from the holy commandment, (2 Peter 2:21); he can fall under condemnation, (James 5:12); he may be disqualified, (1 Cor. 9:27); he can be "thrown away like a branch and wither; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.” (John 15:1-6); he can depart from the living God, (Heb. 3:12); he can come short of the promise, (Heb. 4:1); he can depart from the faith, (1 Tim. 4:1); and be carried away with false doctrines, (Heb. 13:9); he can cling to sin (Heb. 12:1); they can shrink back unto perdition and not save their souls, (Heb. 10:38-39); and he can fall from grace, (Gal. 5:4).

Therefore, the doctrine of “once saved, always saved,” taught by Baptists, Presbyterians and many others is completely false and a doctrine of demons. Such a doctrine contradicts all of the Scriptures that simply affirm that any Christian (the true believer) can indeed sin and fall from grace.

The false doctrine of “once saved, always saved,” is based primarily on the Calvinist error that man is born with a sinful nature, totally depraved of all good and unable to understand and obey the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the Holy Spirit has to intervene directly on his heart to regenerate and save him. And since God is in charge of converting and saving him, He also has to prevent or spare him from falling (falling from grace) so that he would not be lost.

The Word of God is clear in teaching that the “faithful” believer can secure his salvation only when he himself remains faithful to the will of God, thus being loyal to Christ alone, (2 Tim. 4:7-8). Moreover, it also teaches that a child of God can willfully, by his sins, separate himself from God and His Son and be lost eternally. That is, if he remains in his sins without repentance, causing him to die spiritually because of the wages of his sins, though he once was in fellowship with God, (Romans 6:23).

Hence, the Perseverance of the Saints, or the so-called doctrine of “once saved, always saved,” as the four tenets of Calvinism, which precede it, is merely a doctrine of demons. It is not valid and must be rejected. It is only when one applies the Truth of Scripture that this whole system of Calvinism will crash down to the ground. There is no other way to do it, but with the Truth of God alone!

 May the Truth prevail over this doctrine of demons and may we all see with clarity the great dangers that may drown us in perdition. May our Lord preserve us perfect and entire until we reach our goal.

Luci