The doctrine of the impossibility of apostasy is simply stated as “falling from grace.” Those who hold to this position in religion believe that a child of God once saved can never be lost. Regardless of what he does or does not do, his destiny is fixed when he believes. This is an aftermath of the teaching of John Calvin and the doctrine of predestination. As has often been stated, Calvin taught three basic principles. First, if you were not among the “elect” you could not be saved. Second, if you were one of the “elect” you could never be lost. Third, all of this was fixed before the foundation of the world. It seems strange that those who deny two-thirds of this teaching would hold to the principle of security for the believer.
In the two letters to Timothy, the great apostle Paul calls Timothy’s attention to six things that can happen to one’s faith. Since those who teach that the redeemed are in no danger, regardless of any action on their part, also teach that salvation is by “faith only.” It is easy to see that if one is saved by “faith only” and he looses or destroys the very thing that saves, he would be lost in the judgment. This is emphasized by the use of the word ONLY. If faith is the only thing that has to do with man’s part in salvation and he loses or destroys that, then he has lost the ONLY thing that saves.
Using the King James as the text, let us study these seven dangers to our faith.
1. The first term used in connection with the destruction of our faith is found in I Tim. 1:19, “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck ...” It would be hard to find a more powerful term than SHIPWRECK. The idea here is the complete loss of faith just as a ship is completely lost at sea, never to be of use again.
2. In I Tim. 4:1, we have the word DEPART used in connection with our faith. It reads like this, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.” Here we have the idea of the child of God walking off and leaving the faith. The faith is one place and he moves to another. In this case, the faith once in his heart is . no longer there. He has departed from the faith.
3. Perhaps one of the most graphic terms used in connection with faith is the simple term DENY. Paul puts tremendous emphasis on this by saying in I Tim. 5:8 that the man who does not provide for his own has DENIED the faith and is worse than an infidel. “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” Here the faith is denied by what a man fails to do.
4. It is possible to ERR from the faith or as some versions put it, to be “led astray.” We find this statement in I Tim. 6:21, “Which some professing have erred concerning the faith.” It is interesting to note that although the New English Translation takes great liberty with the original, it translated the passage, “. . . for many who lay claim to it have shot far wide of the faith.” In I Tim. 6:10, “for the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have ERRED from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” It is this passage that finds the Revised Version reading, “led astray from the faith.”
5. Every reader knows what happens when something is OVERTHROWN. It means it is lost or destroyed. This strong language is used by the apostle in connection with the faith of some Christians. In II Tim. 2:18, in speaking of false brethren who had already lost their faith, “Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.”
6. Young widows brought damnation upon themselves in I Tim. 5:11 when they CAST OFF their first faith, “But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.”
In reviewing these seven passages that tell of the six things that can happen to our faith, we find six unanswerable arguments that a child of God can fall from the grace and favor of God and be lost in Hell. It seems almost impossible that one could believe he is saved by faith only without also believing that if he lost that which saved him he would then be lost. Check them again as the aged Paul writes to the young Timothy to remind him that the Christian can made SHIPWRECK, DEPART, DENY, LED ASTRAY, ERR, OVERTHROW, and CAST OFF his faith. It is little wonder that the men who believe this remnant of Calvinism are no longer willing to defend it. Let the reader beware lest these things happen to his own faith. The Hebrew writer in Heb. 3:12 expresses it this way, “Take heed brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.”