30 Minute Radio Lesson - WAVG Radio 1450 AM
Clarksville church of Christ
December 3, 2000
Speaker: Richie Thetford
"Can A Child of God Sin and Be Lost?"
Good morning and welcome to another presentation of "What Is Truth?" I'm Richie Thetford, evangelist for the Clarksville church of Christ, located at 407 W. Hwy 131 in Clarksville. I want to thank each and every one you for taking the time to listen this morning as we examine another truth of God's word.
It is my hope and prayer that those of you that are listening today will honestly examine your heart to ensure that you are in fact doing only those things that are pleasing to our almighty God. As we discuss the topic of the hour, "Can A Child of God Sin and Be Lost?", I want to encourage you to have your Bible readily available so that you can examine the scriptures to make sure that what I am presenting is in fact God's will for you. Remember, the Bible clearly states that we must obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29). It is my hope that each one of you this morning will have the kind of heart that the Bereans did back in the first century. It was said of them that"These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). Also the apostle John warns us that we should "....not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1). By looking at the Bible passages, you can see for yourself that what I am teaching this morning can in fact be backed up by book, chapter, and verse in the Bible. This is so vitally important as we strive to do only that which is authorized by God and not what some man may say about a given subject. Now I invite you to please have your Bible, pen and paperready and let's study together another truth of God.
Well, here we are again with an open Bible before us, ready to discuss those things which pertain to life and godliness, ready to discover Bible answers to any and all questions that deal with religious subjects. Today as we have stated, we are going to be discussing the subject of God's grace and answer the question "can a child of God fall from God's grace and be lost? We will examine whether the Bible tells us that if the doctrine of once one is in God's grace, then they are always in God's grace. If it is in the Bible, then any one of us should be able to find it there. The Bible either teaches it or it does not teach it. If the Bible teaches it, it is a truth from God; if the Bible does not teach it, it is a false doctrine and emanates from the devil. One or two results should develope from this discussion. If you can furnish proof texts quoting the doctrine then I will accept it and preach it in that manner. On the other hand if you cannot supply such texts then you should renounce the idea and be determined to live as the Bible teaches.
Sometimes the doctrine is more eloquently stated than is here the case and a generation ago many public discussions were conducted in which the doctrine was vehemently set forth in the arena of public debate. It was not too difficult then to find an able exponent of the idea who was willing to stake his reputation upon his ability to defend it with the sword of the spirit. But alas, men have grown too "nice?" to enter into such discussions in our day, and rare indeed is the man who will sign a proposition to affirm, in the presence of a reputable opponent, that "the scriptures teach that the child of God, one washed by the blood of Christ, is so saved that it is impossible for him to apostatize or sin to such an extent as to be eternally lost."
Frankly, it is the opinion of some that the hesitance to enter into such public discussion is not so much a matter of believing debates to be wrong as is the fear that the doctrine will not stand when fairly and carefully examined by one skilled in handling the scriptures.
It seems in order to say here that I make no pretense at being a debator, and that I have never entered into such an undertaking and feel sincerely that others are more capable in that field, but you may rest assured of this fact: I would be ashamed and afraid to teach any doctrine in private discussion by any means or on the radio or from the pulpit that I would not undertake to defend in open, fair discussion. The facts are these, if the things which are being advocated on this broadcast will not stand up under the challenge of fair examination they ought to fail. If they are true, they will shine all the brighter when examined. If they are false, we want to know it for our hope of heaven and everlasting joy is being predicated upon them. Truth never loses in fair and honorable discussion.
It shall be my purpose now to prove to you that the Bible teaches that a child of God may so sin or apostatize as to be eternally lost. There are two things which we promise to read for you today. First, we shall show by the scriptures that a Christian can fall, sin, transgress and be lost, and second, we shall sight Bible examples of such. That ought to be sufficient and, if we can show this truth from the Bible, then you ought to give up the doctrine and forever oppose it for it is a false doctrine. Let the Bible be the source of information and you be the judge as to whether the text is fairly applied.
A number of passages could be introduced here but it seems good to begin with Paul's letter to the churches of Galatia. In verses 1 and 2 of chapter 1, the writer says, "Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead), and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:" Please note that the letter is addressed to the churches. The Apostle Paul makes no reference here to the plurality of religious denominations as we know them for at the time of this writing no such division existed. He was addressing himself to the several congregations of the one church established by our Lord. There is one New Testament church but when reference is made to local congregations of saints, such units of the one church were called churches. We trust now that that matter is clear. The letter is addressed to the churches. In Acts 2:47 the text says that the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. Therefore, all of the saved are in the church and all in the church are saved. If, in the course of your life you have conducted yourself in proper obedience to the commands of Christ, thereby having become eligible for salvation, the Lord added you to the church. Don't let anybody mislead you to believe that you are saved without the church. The process is simple and above objection. The Gospel is God's power to save (Rom 1:16); that Gospel is to be preached by the church (1 Tim 3:15); when it is obeyed one is made free from sin (Rom 6:17); and added to the church (Acts 2:47).
Now then, if the saved are added to the church, a letter addressed to the church would be addressed to a group of saved people, those who had come under the grace of Christ. In the New Testament they are otherwise identified as Christians, saints, children of God, or brethren. So whatever is stated in the book of Galatians is, unless otherwise marked, a message to the saved in Christ.
It was my purpose to go directly to Galaliens 3:26 but since the Bible is opened to the first chapter, the page seems fairly glistening with pertinent information. Do you have your Bible? If not, please get it and turn with me now to Galatians 1, verse 3 and following. Have you found the place? Let's read this passage now. "Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,"Let's stop here to apply a little common sense reasoning. The gospel is God's power to save but these who were saved were removed from it, having chosen something else. How can they be saved eternally since they have departed from the only means of salvation? If there were nothing more to be said, this would prove to the open minded person that one cran be lost after he is once saved. But we read on. The other gospel mentioned in verse 6 is further described in verse 7. "which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed." Paul here implies that it was, and is, entirely possible for one like himself to turn from the true gospel and preach something else. Do you allow for a moment that he could be saved if he should do so? It sounds very much like it would be an easy matter to fall away and be lost and it would not be too difficult to find preachers who are in that exact condition.
Let's read verse 9 again. "As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed." That not only warns against falling by reason of a false doctrine, a perverted gospel. but also states that such a man has the anathema of God resting upon him.
Since you have your Bible open before you, let's turn over to another passage in the book of Galatians. Turn if you will to Galatians chapter 3, verses 26-27. I want you to read with me and mark these passages for your future study on this very important subject. Here is what the text says; "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." Here we learn that he was talking to children of God and, incidentally, telling how they became such. Children of God by faith, having been baptized into Christ. That's the only way known to us through an examination of the scriptures.
In the above text they were called children of God. Now turn to the next chapter, Galatians 4:6-7, Here they are called "sons"; "And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ."Turning to the next chapter we read in Galatians 5:4, still talking to these children of God, these sons who had so soon been removed unto another gospel, "You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace." Who is it, Paul, who are fallen from grace? Whosoever of these children of God, these sons, who have turned back to the law of Moses. What did he say has happened? Hear him, "You have fallen from grace."
You may have been taught as far back as you can remember that you cannot fall from grace once you are saved but here is one way it can and has been done. Need we say more? We have read what we promised you in the beginning of this message this morning. The Bible says one may fall from grace and that some of the Galatians had actually done so. We repeat the argument. They were children of God, (Gal. 3:26); they were sons of God, (Gal. 4:6); they had fallen from grace (Gal 5:4). Beware lest you fall too. 1 Cor 10:12 says, "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall."Why sound a warning if there is no danger of falling from the grace of God? You should clearly understand now why if a person believed the doctrine of once in grace always in grace he should renounce it and defend it no longer. There is one I know of that has stated that he believed one cannot fall from grace to a certain extent. If you have been of this very same persuasion, and if you have had your Bible open this morning following along with these passages, I am confident that that certain extent is extinct now.
Galatians 5:21 is our next passage that we want to discuss this morning. Here the text says, "envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." I say again, why warn against these things if there is no danger that a child of God may yield to them? God told Adam concerning the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, "in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." The devil came along and added one little word. God had said you shall surely die. The devil said God knows that you shall "not" -- not surely die. Paul said if you do these things you shall not inherit the kingdom of God, but men come along and say that you can't do anything to hinder you from entering the kingdom of God.
The devil added the "not" in Genesis 3:4, and those who claim to be saved to the extent that they cannot fall have taken it away from Galatians 5:21.
Another passage of scripture that we want to read this morning concerning this subject comes from 2 Peter 2:4-6. Listen to what Peter records for us: "For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly." But to uphold the doctrine in question some will say, "God will spare us, because we cannot fall from grace." Friends, I urge you to please look at what the Bible says. This is God's direction for us in our life. We will be judged by Jesus (John 12:48), and therefore, we better make sure that everything that we are doing religiously is in accordance with the word of God and not the word of man. Peter and the other apostles said in Acts 5:29, "We must obey God rather than man." That is certainly good advice to each and everyone of us today. Obey God, not man. Can your preacher prove to you, using only the Holy Bible, citing book, chapter, and verse why one is saved and NEVER can fall from that salvation? If he can, then you better look really close at the Bible he is using because it did not come from the Bible bookstore!
Now let us continue with our study and turn now to another passage, this time in 2 Peter 1:5-10 and read what is said here in keeping with our thought of one can fall from God's grace. "But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;" Here Peter has enumerated on what are commonly called the Christian graces. He said "if you do these things you will never stumble." The King James Version of the Bible uses the word "fall" instead of stumble in this particular verse. The idea or meaning is just the same in either case. In other words, if one does not do those things (practice the Christian graces) in their life then they will stumble or fall. These words are meant to challenge the attention and integrity of every child of God today. Don't hang onto a man-made doctrine, especially to one which contradicts so many plain passages of scripture.
There are so many that I have know that hold to this doctrine of once saved always saved that just know that there is no way possible that they can or ever will be lost! The inspired apostle Paul warns all of us concerning this kind of attitude. Listen to what he writes in 1 Corinthians 10:12: "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall." The text of scripture that I believe is my absolute favorite in refuting this false doctrine in taken from Romans, chapter 11, verse 22. Listen now to what the apostle Paul says in this text: "Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off." This text is so plain concerning our subject this morning. If we continue in God's goodness, then we will be blessed, however, if we do not continue in God's goodness, we will be cut off. Does that sound like we have salvation locked up so that we can basically do whatever we want to once we have accepted Jesus, accepted God's grace, have been saved? Friends the passage is clear and if we would read it with an unprejudiced heart I truly believe that everyone of us can clearly see that we must remain steadfast, loyal, faithful to God all days of our life (Rev 2:10), in order to be saved.
There are many other texts which we hope to consider at another time. but in closing this morning, here is one more that I want to use. It is the case of a church that had fallen. In Revelation 2, John sends the message of Christ to the seven churches of Asia. To the church at Ephesus he addressed himself in the first several verses. Having complimented them in every deserving trait, he said,Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love."
Now listen closely to what is further said, "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place--unless you repent."
The Ephesian Christians, children of God, were not only in danger of falling but they had already done so. So may we, unless we exercise the greatest care.
It is with Christian love and sincerity of purpose that we have brought these thoughts to your attention and we pray God's blessings upon you that you may understand his will, have opportunity to receive it and that you may join us again one week from today, to listen to another message of God's Holy inspired word.
This is Richie Thetford, evangelist for the Clarksville church of Christ thanking each of you for listening to this morning's broadcast and invite you to listen again next Sunday morning at 8:30 A.M. for another presentation of "What Is Truth?"