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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Will Christians Be at the Great White Throne Judgment? (Can Christians Fall Away?)

Will Christians Be at the Great White Throne Judgment? (Can Christians Fall Away?) [Print Document]

That a Christian could possibly fall away is one of the highly debated topics among Christians. There are many who believe that once you are saved, you can never fall away (or cease to be a Christian). Does the Bible teach that it is impossible for a Christian to fall away? Does the Bible teach that all Christians are the elect or God’s sheep? We we look at this from a biblical perspective to see what God’s Word says about this debated topic.

Hebrews 3:6-19 gives an admonition to brethren (i.e. believers). Hebrews 3:8 says: “Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:”
But, some might say that Hebrews 3 was addressed to unbelievers. Is it really addressed to unbelieving people? Let’s take a look.
Hebrews 3 and Hardness through Sin
Hebrews 3:12-13
“[12] Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. [13] But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. [14] For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;”
First of all, an unbeliever already doesn’t know God and doesn’t believe in Jesus Christ as his (or her) personal Savior and Lord. In a sense, they already have departed from God. Also, notice the tone of the message? It is one of warning and admonition. The writer of Hebrews addresses his readers as “brethren” and warns them that they can be “...hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” He also clearly states that he and his readers are made partakers of Christ if he and his readers hold fast their confidence to the end.

Matthew 24 and Enduring to the End

Jesus warned in Matthew 24:11-13“[11] And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. [12] And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. [13] But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”

Jesus taught about enduring to the end repeatedly. In Mark 13:13, Jesus said: “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”

The people who endure unto the end shall be saved. The Greek word for “endure” is hupomenó, which means: “ persevere: absolutely and emphatically, under misfortunes and trials to hold fast to one's faith in Christ…” Webster’s 1828 dictionary says this about “endure”: “1. To last; to continue in the same state without perishing; to remain; to abide.”

If we Christians hold fast to our faith in Christ and abide in Him, we shall be saved. But, if we do not hold fast to our faith in Christ or abide in Him, would we really still be saved from our sins? For instance, if we put sin above God, and sought after sinful living, would we still be enduring or holding fast to the truth of God’s Word?

Luke 8 and the Parable of the Sower

In Luke 8, in the parable of the sower, Jesus taught about the various types of people who hear the Gospel. Some people hear it, but reject it immediately. Some people receive the truth and start to bear fruit, but later reject the Gospel. But, the good soil… [Luke 8:15] “But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” These people hear God’s Word and keep it.

The Greek word for keep is katechó. It means to hold fast and retain. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines keep as: “To hold; to retain in one’s power or possession; not to lose or part with…” So, people who are the good soil do not “lose or part with” God’s Word. And, they bring forth good fruit. Another way of saying to part with something is to forsake it. These people do not forsake God’s Word. They eventually choose to obey it, even when their fleshly nature does not want to. Jesus said that His sheep know His voice and follow Him (John 10:4-5).

1 John 2 and Keeping God's Commandments

In 1 John 2:3-5, we read about how Christians know that they know God.

1 John 2:3-5
“[3] And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. [4] He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. [5] But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.”

God’s love is perfected in those who keep His Word, the Bible. In verse 4, “keepeth” is the Greek word téreó, which means to: “take care of” [and] “to keep” [and] “to guard.” To keep something means to hold onto it. If we do not hold onto and obey God’s commandments, which are taught in the New Testament and in the Ten Commandments, the truth would not be in us and we would not know God. (Note: We do not keep the sacrificial law or the Levitical laws, which Christ fulfilled; see Galatians. But, we must keep the Ten Commandments and all that is taught in the New Testament.)

For instance, if we pursued a marriage that is outside of the marriage covenant that we made with our first spouse, we would actually be going against God’s Word.

Jesus Christ said, in Luke 16:18, “[18] Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.”

The Bible also teaches that adulterers cannot enter God’s Kingdom (Galatians 5:19-21). Jesus taught that we need to remove anything in our lives that leads us into sin.

Matthew 5:29. “[29] And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.”

Why forsake sin? As Jesus taught, going after sin would eventually result in Hell and damnation because a rebel cannot enter Heaven.

God shows us to forsake the world and its ways in 1 John 2:15-17 and 2 Corinthians 6.

2 Corinthians 6:17 says: “[17] Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,”

1 John 2:15-17
“[15] Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. [16] For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. [17] And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

Notice the last part of 1 John 2:17? God is telling us: “...but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” If we love the world, we do not love God. If we do God’s will, we will abide forever. So, if a Christian were to turn toward sin, and continue living in sin, and harden his heart against God's Spirit, would he go to Heaven? Let's look at a passage in Hebrews 10.

Hebrews 10 and the Falling Away

Hebrews 10:26-30
“[26] For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27. But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

29. Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30. For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.”

The Greek word for “sanctify” is hagiazó. It means to: “make holy, sanctify”. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines “sanctify” as: “2. To separate, set apart or appoint to a holy, sacred or religious use.” [and] “3. To purify; to prepare for divine service, and for partaking of holy things.” [and] “5. To cleanse from corruption; to purify from sin; to make holy by detaching the affections from the world and its defilements, and exalting them to a supreme love to God.”

By the blood of Jesus Christ, the person in Hebrews 10:29 was cleansed from sin and set apart from the world, for God’s purposes. But, this person rejected God and forsook Him. This former Christian trampled under his feet Jesus Christ’s blood as he walked away from God, and toward the very things God had earlier delivered him from.

Romans 5 and Being Reconciled to God

But, God wants us to be reconciled to Him. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines reconcile as: “ restore to friendship or favor after estrangement;...” It also means: “ bring to agreement…” God wants us to be restored to close friendship with Him (1 John 1:3) and to be in agreement with Him and His Word. Let’s look at Romans 5:8-11.

Romans 5:8-11
“[8] But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”


The Greek word for “justify” is dikaioó. It means: “to show to be righteous, declare righteous”. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines justify as: “2. In theology, to pardon and clear from guilt; to absolve or acquit from guilt and merited punishment, and to accept as righteous on account of the merits of the Savior, or by the application of Christ’s atonement to the offender. St. Paul.”

Being a Christian means that one is walking in agreement with God and His ways. As Christians, we should and must forsake sin when we feel convicted of resisting God, and we should desire to fellowship with God. He deeply desires to fellowship with us (1 John 1:3, 1 Corinthians 1:9, 2 Corinthians 13:14, Philippians 2:1, Ephesians 3:14-20, John 17:23, Jeremiah 31:3). And, God promises to satisfy all our deepest needs (Psalm 36:7-9).

Psalm 36:7-9
“[7] How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.
[8] They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.
[9] For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light."

If you are coming here as a non-Christian, I encourage you to read this. God desires to have fellowship with you, as you make Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior.



Webster, Noah. American Dictionary of the English Language. United Books Press, Inc., 2009. (i.e. Webster's 1828 dictionary)

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