The quick answer to this question is given by Paul, who
says, "You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking
to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace" (Gal.
The Bible plainly tells us that Christians can fall from
grace. But this doctrine is widely disputed in religion
today. Therefore it's helpful to consider additional Scriptures
on this topic, to help us answer this question.
Christians Must Take Heed
Paul tells us to take heed, lest we fall (1 Cor. 10:12).
We must beware, lest we have an evil heart of unbelief in
departing from the living God (Heb. 3:12). "For it is impossible
for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the
heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit,
and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the
age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance,
since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God,
and put Him to an open shame" (Heb. 6:4-8).
"For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge
of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery
indignation which will devour the adversaries" (Heb. 10:26-27).
"Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great
reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you
have done the will of God, you may receive the promise"
Christians Can Stray From the Truth and Lose Their Souls
James cautions us, saying, "My brethren, if any among you
strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know
that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will
save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins"
There are some important points to notice from James 5:19-20:
- Christians can stray from the truth. The truth is God's
word (Jn. 17:17).
- A Christian who strays from the truth is a sinner. His
soul is lost. If he turns from his sin, he will be saved
Christians Can Come Short of God's Grace
Christians can come short of the grace of God (Heb. 12:15-17).
Esau is an example of one who came short of God's grace,
when he sold his birthright for a single meal (Heb. 12:16).
If we come short of God's grace and we're lost in hell for
eternity, we cannot repent and be restored to God (Heb.
Some People Strayed from the Faith in the First Century
Paul tells us that some people had "gone astray from the
faith" in the first century (1 Tim. 6:21). The expression
"gone astray from the faith" means that they were no longer
obedient to the faith, and thus lost in their sins (Rom.
1:6; 16:26; cf. Acts 6:7).
Paul also tells us why some people depart from the faith:
- They give heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of
demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, forbidding to marry,
and commanding to abstain from foods (1 Tim. 4:1-3).
- They love money (1 Tim. 6:9-10).
We are not immune from sin in the twenty-first century.
We must be careful not to depart from the faith, turning
from God to entertain the passing pleasures of sin.
Paul Knew He Could Be Lost
The apostle Paul lived, knowing that He could turn away
from God and be lost for eternity. If the apostle Paul could
be lost, every Christian can be lost.
Paul used himself as an example to encourage the brethren
in Corinth to work hard and be diligent in their service
to God, saying, "but I discipline my body and make it my
slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself
will not be disqualified" (1 Cor. 9:21).
Therefore he says, later in the epistle, "I affirm, brethren,
by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our
Lord, I die daily" (1 Cor. 15:31).
Like Paul, we shouldn't take our salvation for granted.
Rather, we should recommit our lives to God, every day.
Be sure. . . .
Be sure you are humbly obeying God, knowing that you can
turn from the truth and lose your soul.
Peter says it like this, "Therefore, brethren, be all
the more diligent to make certain about His calling and
choosing you; for as long as you practice these things,
you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into
the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
will be abundantly supplied to you" (2 Pet. 1:10-11).
Be sure to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling
(Phil. 2:12). And by all means, don't take your salvation
for granted -- "pride goes before destruction, and a haughty
spirit before a fall" (Pr. 16:18).