"As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him." - Psalm 18:30

The Possibility of Apostasy & Restoration

Roger L. Leonard

The Scriptures teach that a person becomes a Christian - is forgiven - by "having believed" upon hearing "the word of truth, the gospel of ... salvation" (Eph. 1:13), confessing Christ as Lord upon believing one's heart that God raised Him from the dead (Rom. 10:9,10), repentance (Acts 2:38; 3:19), and by being "baptized into Christ" (Gal. 3:27) "for the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38).

Following obedience to the Lord's commands in becoming a Christian, it is essential that children of God live faithfully. (See Revelation 2:10.) The Bible distinctly teaches the possibility of falling from the grace of God (See Galatians 5:4) and consequently being lost.

Consider the following:

1. Paul said he had to discipline himself, lest after preaching to others he himself should be a "castaway" or "rejected" (1 Corinthians 9:27). He warned the Christians at Corinth to take heed lest they "fall". (1 Cor. 10:12) He told some of the Galatians they had "fallen from grace". (Galatians 5:4) Paul wrote again to the church in Galatia: "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For 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." (Gal. 6:7-8). This "corruption" is in contrast with "everlasting life," so it would be condemnation in hell.
3. The apostle Peter spoke of those who had known Christ Jesus, but forsook “the right way” and reverted to their old ways. He said it would have been better for them to have never known the truth. (See 2 Pet. 2:1-21). They “will utterly perish in their own corruption,and will receive the wages of unrighteousness” (vs. 12-13a). Paul wrote that "the wages of sin (i.e., unrighteousness) is death" (Romans 6:23).

4. James wrote: "Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins" (Jas. 5:19-20). Again, "brethren" - Christians - can sin and die spiritually. Therefore, it is false to teach the impossibility of apostasy.  

Every Scripture cited is about believers - Christians - living with the possibility of sinning to the point of being lost. Anyone who believes otherwise, 1) denies the validity of the above Bible references, 2) denies the Holy Spirit of God Who inspired the writers of the New Testament, and 3) leads people astray if they teach it!

4. James wrote: "Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins" (Jas. 5:19-20). Again, "brethren" - Christians - can sin and die spiritually. Therefore, it is false to teach the impossibility of apostasy.
Every Scripture cited is about believers - Christians - living with the possibility of sinning to the point of being lost. Anyone who believes otherwise, 1) denies the validity of the above Bible references, 2) denies the Holy Spirit of God Who inspired the writers of the New Testament, and 3) leads people astray if they teach it!

 

2. The Hebrews writer warned, "Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God" (Heb. 3:12). "Brethren" - Christians - can sin and depart from God! 

However, this is certainly not the end of the discussion. Noting once more that some in Galatia had “fallen from grace,” Paul further said: “I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind….” (Gal. 5:10). Paul would also admonish the Corinthians, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” (2 Cor. 5:20.)


Obey God by becoming a Christian and by remaining faithful. And if you are in need restoration, please come back to the Lord.