In these bulletin articles, we’ve been going through a list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism, published in the 17th Century. We’ve been looking at the subject of sanctification, which is God making Christians holy. But once a Christian is made holy, can they fall away? Can a Christian stop being a Christian?
The Bible teaches us that the Christian can neither totally nor finally fall away from the true state of grace. In other words, once saved, you’re always saved.
For example, in the Old Testament, the prophet Jeremiah says about the people of God: ‘I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me’ (Jeremiah 32:39-40).
Also, one of the greatest promises concerning the perseverance of Christians comes from Jesus’ words when he was here on earth. John tells us that Jesus said: ‘27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one’ (John 10:27-30). Once you belong to God, you are kept safely in the Son’s hand and no one can take you out. Furthermore, you are also in the hand of the Father and no one can take you out of his hand either. The Christian is safe and sound.
Similarly, Jesus says in another place: ‘37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day’ (John 6:37-40).
The apostle Paul also gives the Christians great assurance that they will persevere for all eternity: ‘35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 8:35-39). Paul is clear, nothing can separate us from the love of God.
So if you truly believe in Jesus today, you will truly believe in Jesus forever. You will persevere to glory!
Do you believe in Jesus? Do you look forward to remaining in his grace forever?