What About Those Who Do Fall Away?    

I John 2:19


     It cannot be denied that many do depart from Christ, forsake the gospel, fall away from the faith and leave the kingdom of God. In the days of our Lord's earthly ministry, when his doctrine was plainly declared, "many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him" (John 6:66). In the early church the apostles were frequently saddened to see men and women, whom they loved and held in high esteem as fellow believers, depart from the gospel. Some were driven away by persecution, some drawn away by love of the world, some overcome by pride and sin, and some taken in the snare of Satan by false doctrine. The examples are numerous: Judas, Ananias, Sapphira, Simon magus, Demas, Diotrophes, Hymenoeus, Philetus, Alexander, Phygellus, Hermogenes, etc. And every pastor, every local church, every believer can add to the list with tearful eye and broken heart. How many have fallen!

     What about them? Do these examples of apostacy prove that men and women who are truly born again by the grace of God can be lost? Certainly not! That conclusion would be directly contrary to the plain statements of the Word of God and all the doctrines of the gospel. The multitudes who leave Christ never truly knew Christ. Those who leave the church were never part of the Church. Those who forsake the way of faith, never had true, saving faith in Christ. But these apostates do stand as beacons to warn and instruct all who profess faith in Christ. We should learn from them that...

1.  Anyone who can leave Christ will leave him.

2.  There is a false faith by which many are deceived.

3.  Salvation is by grace alone.

4.  The one, ultimate proof of faith is perseverance in faith. "He that endureth to the end shall be saved." The test of time is the sure test of faith. Experience, profession, deeds, and feelings are nothing. We are made partakers of Christ only "if we holdfast the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end."


Don Fortner