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But if they were not really saved, what did they "fall away" from? You cannot fall from a height where you have never stood. And it is impossible to depart from Chicago if you have never been there! Let's imagine an emergency room doctor who believes it is impossible to fall from a cliff. As his patient lies on the examining table with broken bones, multiple lacerations, and bruises, the doctor shakes his head in disbelief.

But if you had ever really been on that cliff, there is no way you could have fallen.


My professional opinion is that you were never actually on the cliff. Consequently, you are discharged. Follow this line of reasoning to its logical conclusion. If it were impossible to fall off the cliff, and if there were no danger at all of a fall taking place, then there would be no need for warning signs or guardrails. Likewise, if those who are saved can't fall away, there would be no need for so many warnings against falling away or departing from the faith.

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The admonitions of Jesus and Paul would be false alarms, warnings without substance. Clearly, the Bible warnings are for those who have believed and accepted the gift of salvation. In fact, Paul did not even consider himself exempt from the danger of losing salvation.

He wanted to make sure that he was prepared for the attacks of the enemy, lest when he had "preached to others" he himself "should be a castaway. The language of Scripture is too plain to be misunderstood. In John chapter 6, Jesus called Himself the Bread from heaven. He said, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

Jesus did not mean that His followers should eat and drink His literal flesh and blood, but rather that they should partake of His words. However, even after Jesus explained His meaning, "many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

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Paul warned believers that this could happen. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. If a saved individual can draw back to perdition, that means it is indeed possible for him to lose his salvation.

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Peter gives another example. When someone who knows the truth is led away by an error of the devil, he falls from his steadfastness and, eventually, departs from the faith. Another cause for departing from the faith is returning to the lifestyle of the world. 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.

Here Peter tells us that it is possible for those who have known Christ-and knowing Him is eternal life-to become entangled again with the world and, in doing so, deny their Lord. Demas had accepted Jesus as his personal Saviour and was listed among the fellow-laborers of Paul Philemon 24 , who had their names written in the book of life Philippians Yet Demas was apparently an example of what Jesus called a thorny-ground hearer.

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The seed began to grow in his heart, but the things of the world, like thorns, choked out the life of the growing seed so that it produced no fruit Mark , Demas, "having loved this present world," forsook the apostle 2 Timothy Once a devoted Christian who labored with Paul, he became entangled again in the things of this world and left not only Paul, but Jesus also. Separated From the Saviour If Christians who turn back from following Jesus don't turn around, seek forgiveness, and follow Him again, they will find themselves classed with unbelievers when Christ returns.

Jesus Himself made this clear in the parable of the "faithful and wise steward" Luke , who represents those who follow Him just before the second coming. He said, "If that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

Some believe that willfully disregarding God's Word may affect our fellowship with God, but does not affect our relationship to God. However, Isaiah says that sin separates us from God. In John chapter 15, Jesus taught that our connection to Him, which He compared to the relation of the branch to the vine, can be severed. A branch has life only as long as it is connected to the vine. Just as the branch that is connected to the vine is able to bring forth fruit, the Christian who is connected to Jesus will produce the fruit of the Spirit. However, branches that bear no fruit are severed from the vine by the husbandman. Having no source of life, they wither and "men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. While we should not live in constant worry that we might make a mistake, yet it is true that the willful commission of a single known sin can begin to set our feet on a downward path.

If not checked, this course will ultimately lead to perdition. Thus "when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live?

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All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die. It was a long chain of wrong choices that changed King Saul from a Spirit-filled young man entrusted with the gift of prophecy 1 Samuel into a man with whom God refused to speak.

In this desperate condition, the king stooped to seek the counsel of a witch.

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Eventually he committed suicide 1 Samuel , 7; , 5. There is hope that the one who has become separated from the Saviour will see the folly of such a course and begin following Him again. Paul taught this in Romans chapter 11, where he gave the experience of the nation of Israel. Some had been severed from the olive tree because of unbelief, but they could be grafted back in if they renounced their unbelief.

It was their own course of action that caused them to be severed, but through the mercy of God they could be reinstated. God is seeking to save people, and whatever may have been our past experience, we may choose to give ourselves to Christ today. But didn't Jesus say that no man can pluck us out of His hand? Yes, He did.

And in the preceding verse Jesus identified those who are held securely in His hand.

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  5. The ones who cannot be plucked out of Christ's hand are the sheep who hear His voice and follow Him. They are obedient to His teaching. Those who are trying to secure the gift of eternal life without following Jesus are thieves and robbers John Jesus warned, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

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    Jesus made it very plain that it is not those who just hear the Word that will be saved, but those who hear and follow it. If there were no possibility of losing one's salvation, a judgment would be unnecessary for Christians. Yet Paul said, "We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ" to "give account of himself to God. The inevitable conclusion is that Christians can choose to fall away from Jesus just as surely as they can choose to follow Him. Receiving Christ does not take away our freedom of choice. In fact, knowing Jesus, the Truth, will make us more free than we were before!

    Because we are free and not forced to follow Jesus, we can choose to be lost just as surely as we can choose to be saved. Why, then, is the teaching of eternal security so prevalent? The idea that our eternal life is secure solely because we have accepted Christ as our personal Saviour at some time in the past-regardless of whether we now follow Him or not-is based on a false idea of the gospel.

    It is not the gospel presented in the Bible. Biblical salvation is not merely a profession of Jesus as Lord and Saviour, but the possession of Jesus in the daily life. How to Have Assurance The sweetest music to the ear of a repenting sinner is the voice of Jesus saying, "Be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. Jesus said, "For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast unto the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

    What "mountains" do you suppose the Lord was talking about? The prophet Micah says, "He will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.