Author: Ron Graham
The Possibility of Apostasy
—Can a person fall from grace?
In this lesson, we are going to see from the scripture that it is possible to fall from grace —it's not inevitable, but it can happen if you let it. We will lay some groundwork, then prove the point. Please follow the steps carefully.
1 People Were Saved and Sanctified
In Hebrews 10 the writer addresses certain remarks to a definite group of "brethren" whom he knew very well. In verses 32-34 he recalls how he and they had endured persecution together. Throughout the chapter he says several things which he believed to be true of himself and them.
- Firstly, he says, "By God's will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ" (verse 10). The writer considered that he and the brethren he was writing to were sanctified, isn't that so?
- Secondly, the saints were "perfected forever" according to verse 14. If the people were sanctified by Christ's offering, then they were perfected forever. That's quite clear there in verse 14, isn't it?
- Thirdly, through Christ their High Priest they could have the "full assurance of faith" as stated in verses 19-22.
Satisfy yourself that the writer and the people he was writing to were sanctified by the body and blood of Christ, were perfected forever, and fully assured of their salvation. Isn't that true?
2 Those Sanctified People Could Fall Away
Now looking through the rest of the chapter (Hebrews 10), ask yourself whether it was possible for them to lose what they had gained.
- Firstly, note the exhortation in verse 23, "Let us hold fast to the hope we profess." Doesn't that imply that it was possible for them to let go of their hope?
- Secondly, note the warning in verses 26-27, "For if we sin willfully..." Doesn't that imply that it was possible for them to exercise their will, however foolishly, and go back to a life of sin?
- Thirdly, note the consequences in verses 26-27, of letting go of the hope and of sinning willfully. "There remains no more a sacrifice for sins, but a certain expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which shall devour the adversaries".
Satisfy yourself that the Hebrew writer is still addressing the same "we" as he referred to in the previous passages —that is to say we who are sanctified, perfected forever, fully assured.
Upon whom do these consequences come? The "we" in the phrase "If we sin willfully..." The same "we" and "us" that were said to be sanctified, perfected forever, and fully assured.
It is clear from this examination of Hebrews 10 that the very ones who were sanctified, perfected forever, fully assured, and could hold fast to their hope, were the same ones who could sin willfully, be left without a sacrifice for their sins, become God's adversaries, and be subject to damnation. In short they could either persevere, or they could fall away.
3 Don't Let it Happen to You
In verse 39 of the chapter vthere is the happy statement, "But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul".
Did he say it was impossible for them to draw back to perdition and that the only thing possible for them was believing to the saving of the soul? No. But he did express their firm resolve. It was possible to draw back to perdition, and some folk do (1Peter 2:20-22).
However, it was also perfectly possible, by God's providence and grace, to persevere in believing to the saving of the soul. That is what the writer to the Hebrews, and his brethren, had resolved to do.
May you, dear friend, do likewise, and may God give you every encouragement.