Thank you for your pamphlet on Predestination! It’s a wonderful truth and humbles me to think the Lord would grant me new life and the gift of Salvation. He, the Holy Spirit, convicts the world of sin, of righteousness and judgment to come. I’m so thankful He convicted me and drew me to the foot of the cross where Christ saved me from my sin, is still saving me from sin, and will finally save me on that glorious day! God bless you.
Thanks for a good article about predestination! [Predestination by Shaun Willcock]. But how do you explain the apostasy – falling away? Can we not fall from grace? Gal 5:4: Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
1 John 2:15-17: Love not the world. If we do, we don't love the Father (cf. I Cor. 16:22). Why warn us, if it is impossible to be guilty? Revelation 2:10: Be faithful until death and receive the crown of life. So you mean that “once saved, always saved” is right?
Thank you for your email, and I hope what I’m about to write will help you understand this important matter still further.
1. Regarding apostasy: this means the “falling away”. However, it does not mean that a true child of God can fall away, and lose his salvation. There are those who come right up to the very threshold of the door, so to speak – and then fall away. They were never truly saved from their sins in the first place; but they appeared to be, to men; they professed to be Christians, although they weren’t; and then in time they fall away from the faith they professed, but did not have in the heart.
2. No, a true child of God cannot fall from grace. This is the false teaching of Arminianism, which claims that one can be a child of God today, and a child of the devil tomorrow. If this were true, then the Lord is ultimately defeated by Satan. The work of grace in the soul is a divine and miraculous work, an almighty work, which none can overthrow. As you pointed out, Gal. 5:4 is often used to try to claim that those who are children of God can fall away; but this is to interpret the verse incorrectly. Paul says in the verse that those who tried to be justified by their obedience to the law – by their own works, in other words, and specifically circumcision (see the context) – had fallen from grace; and the meaning is not that they had been saved and now had lost their salvation, but simply that they had fallen from the true doctrine of the grace of God in salvation, to embrace the false doctrine of justification by their own works. They had rejected the Gospel of grace in favour of the false “gospel” of works.
3. As for 1 Jn. 2:15-17: this is said for at least two very important reasons. For one thing, there are always true churches in which, sadly, not all are truly converted; and so we have this and many other warnings in Scripture, for every professing child of God must examine himself, whether he is in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5). In the second place, it is precisely BY such warnings as these that the true children of God – the elect – are preserved throughout their lives. The Bible is full of warnings to Christians, for as they take heed to the warnings they are preserved. The Holy Spirit uses the very warnings in Scripture to keep them on the narrow way that leads to life. It is true that no genuine child of God can be lost; but this is one of the ways the Lord uses to preserve them. The heart is very deceitful, and many are convinced they are true Christians when they are not; and warnings such as these cause them to examine themselves, and to give diligence to make their calling and election sure (2 Pet. 1:10).