Blotted Out
by Timothy A. Southall
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So often doctrines of salvation and eternal life mislead individuals into false security or false insecurity. Some believe you cannot lose your salvation no matter what you do, while others believe you can be condemned to hell for a single sin. Neither of those positions is correct.

The purpose of this study is to show the Bible teaches that one can fall away. There are several scriptures which are often used to try to prove the doctrine of "eternal security" (Romans 8:35-39; 1 Corinthians 3:15; Ephesians 1:13-14; Hebrews 12:8; 1 John 1:9; 1 John 2:1). But we must also seek the rest of God's Word to see the whole truth. When we read God's Word, we must take every scripture into account-not just the ones which happen to fit our opinion or doctrine. We must not "explain away" scriptures or say that certain scriptures are "problem passages" if they contradict our doctrines.

Secure position. We are warned to be on our guard not to fall from our secure position (2 Peter 3:17). We are also told to make our calling and election secure so we will never fall (2 Peter 1:10-11). These scriptures plainly show that one can fall, even from a secure position.

Disqualified for the prize. Paul calls our eternal life a prize. He compares our life as a Christian to a race (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). He clearly shows here that one can become disqualified for the prize. He even states he had not taken hold of or obtained the prize. He was pressing forward to win the prize for which God had called him heavenward in Christ (Philippians 3:10-15). Paul also warns us not to follow anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels or we will be disqualified for the prize (Colossians 2:18). Being disqualified means you once were qualified to receive the prize.

Believe for a while. Jesus warns that some will receive the Word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe in Christ for a while, but in the time of testing, they fall away (Luke 8:13).

Abandon the faith. Paul tells Timothy that later some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons (1 Timothy 4:1). In order to abandon the faith, one must first have it.

Drifting away. Some are lured back into the sins of the world. Paul warns us to pay careful attention to what we have heard so that we won't drift away by neglecting or ignoring the gift of salvation (Hebrews 2:1-3).

Better off not knowing Christ. Peter tells us that some will get to know the Lord, then go back into being entangled in the corruption of the world only to be worse off than before (2 Peter 2:20-21). It would be better to have never known Christ than to know the way to righteousness and then turn one's back on Him.

Crucifying Christ again. Paul tells us that those who have been enlightened, tasted the heavenly gift, shared in the Holy Spirit, tasted the goodness of the Word of God and the powers of the coming age cannot be brought back to repentance if they fall away (Hebrews 6:4-6). They are crucifying Christ all over again. This shows that one can be a Christian and permanently fall away.

Standing firm. Jesus warns us that only those who stand firm to the end will be saved (Matthew 10:21-22; Matthew 24:12-13; Mark 13:12-13). We are to watch for the return of Jesus and not to be caught sleeping so that we can stand before the Son of Man (Matthew 24:37-44; Matthew 25:6-13; Mark 13:30-37; Luke 21:30-36; Revelation 3:1-3). This doesn't sound as if we are "once saved, always saved." If so, we wouldn't be warned to stand firm and keep watch.

Hold firmly. Paul wrote to the Jews to see that none of them had a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. They were to encourage one another so that none of them would be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. They were to hold firmly until the end with the confidence they had at first (Hebrews 3:7-14).

Blotted out. Jesus strongly warns that if we are not faithful, our names can be blotted out from the Book of Life (Revelation 3:1-6). Yes, blotted out of the Book of Life! Of course, we know that, in order to have one's name blotted out, it must have been in there in the first place. This warning was from Jesus to Christians and should not be taken lightly.

Conclusion. One can fall away by doing any of the following:

  • Abandoning the faith to follow anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels
  • Believing but later failing to believe when tested
  • Following deceiving spirits and things taught by demons
  • Being lured back into the sins of the world
  • Neglecting or ignoring the gift of salvation
  • Becoming entangled in the corruption of the world after knowing Christ
  • Not standing firm in the faith to the end
  • Not watching for and/or being unprepared for Jesus' return
  • Allowing one's heart to harden by sin's deceitfulness
  • Not living a life faithful to Christ
And this list may not be all inclusive, either. While it is true that God will never forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), we can forsake Him. Only those who obey Jesus will remain in His love (John 15:10). Take this seriously, because only a few will be saved (Matthew 7:13-14). Don't let your name be blotted out of the Book of Life.

Copyright © 2000 Timothy A. Southall.  All rights reserved.