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And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32

"Can A Christian So Sin As To Be Eternally Lost?"

Neal Pollard

The Bible reveals a "second death." It is implied in Revelation 2:10-11 that those not faithful unto death will "taste" of the second death. The second death is defined in Revelation 20:14 as being fulfilled in the eternal punishment of hell (cf. Revelation 21:8). Nowhere does the Bible teach the annihilation of the wicked, but rather teaches that the wicked will be everlastingly punished (Matthew 25:46).

The point of concern, and that which separates New Testament Christianity from denominationalism, revolves around the question forming the above caption. It is a very important question, especially in light of the fact that so many believe that once a person becomes a child of God he cannot so sin as to be eternally lost. Is this a valid position? Or can a Christian lose his salvation?

A Couple Of Relative Passages

2 Peter 2:20-22 loses all import if one cannot so sin as to be eternally lost. What is the condition of one in the "beginning" (before conversion)? How can it be said that the "latter end" of an obviously apostate child of God is worse than before his conversion, if that one cannot lose his salvation? Why would it be better never to have known God's will than to have cast it off?

Hebrews 10:25 ff is also significant. The context unmistakably shows the audience of this passage to be Christians. The subject addressed is the willful sin of Christians. If a Christian be engaged in willful sin, then by virtue of having rejected knowledge (cf. 26; Hosea 4:6) there "remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries" (27). Now, an important comparison is drawn by the Hebrews' penman in verses 28 and 29. Those punished for willful violation of certain precepts under the Law of Moses died without mercy, being put to death. The condemned, sadly, were children of God. Using that as an example, Hebrews 10:29 (addressed to those "sanctified" by the blood of Christ's covenant-- and if that does not refer to children of God, to whom can it apply?) teaches that a sorer punishment is in store for Christians who willfully and rebelliously sin under the covenant of Christ? What other interpretation rightly explains Hebrews 10:25-29 as connected with the subject at hand?

A Compelling Example Of Apostasy

By way of example, Simon the sorcerer (undoubtedly, truly converted to Christ per Acts 8:13) fell away from Christ and was, now in a lost state as a child of God, in need of forgiveness. Peter instructed him, "Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee" (Acts 8:22). He could be forgiven, but not if he did not follow an apostle's instructions to obtain forgiveness.

A "Second Law Of Pardon" Exists

It must be noted that God has provided a "second law of pardon" whereby, through His grace and mercy, He gives Christians who have fallen into apostasy another chance. He wants no one (Christian or non-Christian) to perish (2 Peter 3:9), but all who fail to do all the will of God Will be lost (Matthew 7:21-24). That "second law of pardon" is taught clearly in 1 John 1:7-2:2. But, just as the plan of salvation is conditional, so is this plan to restore fallen Christians. The conditions are plainly revealed in 1 John, as well as James 5:16 and Acts 8:22.

So many teach and broadcast error, calling it truth. God's truth is knowable (John 8:32), and all must yield obedience to the source of truth (John 17:17). May the concern of every Christian be the retrieving and restoring of the lost souls of men, whether they be those who have never known the Lord or those who have turned away therefrom!

H. A. "Buster" Dobbs, email:
P. O. Box 690192
Houston, Texas 77269-0192
(281) 469-3540

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