Nuggets from An Urgent Call to a Serious Faith by Dave Hunt – Falling from Grace? |

Dave Hunt

Salvation is full pardon by grace from the penalty of all sin, past, present, or future; eternal life is the bonus thrown in. Denying this cardinal truth, all cultists, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons, for example, reject salvation by grace and insist that it must be earned by one’s good works. They accuse evangelicals of teaching that all we need to do is to say we believe in Christ and then we can live as we please, even in the grossest of sins, yet be sure of heaven. Evangelicals don’t teach that at all, yet a similar complaint is made by those who believe in “falling away.” They say that “once saved, always saved” encourages one to live in sin because if we know we cannot be lost then we have no incentive for living a holy life. On the contrary, love for the One who saved us is the greatest and only acceptable motive for living a holy life; and surely the greater the salvation one has received, the more love and gratitude there will be. So to know one is secure for eternity gives a higher motive for living a good life than the fear of losing one’s salvation if one sins.

Although those who believe in “falling from grace” are clear that good works cannot earn salvation, they teach that salvation is kept by good works. Thus one gets saved by grace, but thereafter salvation can be lost by works. To teach that good works keep salvation is almost the same error as to say that good works earn salvation. It denies grace to say that once I have been saved by grace I must thereafter keep myself saved by works.

If those who are saved could lose their salvation, then they must by their own actions keep themselves saved. If that is true, then those who stay saved and get to heaven will be able to boast that they played a key role in their salvation. Christ saved them but they kept themselves saved. On the contrary, no man can take any credit for his salvation. We are “kept by the power of God” (1 Peter:1:5), not by our faith or efforts.

According to Hebrews:6:4-9, the “falling away” doctrine, rather than glorifying Christ, once again holds Him up to shame and ridicule before the world for two reasons: if we could lose our salvation, then 1) Christ would have to be crucified again to save us again; and 2) He would be ridiculed for dying to purchase a salvation but not making adequate provision to preserve it – for giving a priceless gift to those who would inevitably lose it. If Christ’s death in our place for our sins and His resurrection were not sufficient to keep us saved, then He has foolishly wasted His time. If we could not live a good enough life to earn salvation, it is certain we cannot live a good enough life to keep it. To make the salvation He procured ultimately dependent upon our faltering works would be the utmost folly.

“Falling away” doctrine makes us worse off after we are saved than before. At least before conversion we can get saved. But after we are saved and have lost our salvation (if we could), we can’t get saved again but are lost forever. Hebrews:6:6 declares, “If (not when) they shall fall away…it is impossible…to renew them again unto repentance.” The idea that  “falling away” is hypothetical is clear (verse 9): “But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.” So “falling away” does not “accompany salvation.” The writer is showing us that if we could lose our salvation, we could never get it back without Christ dying again upon the cross. This is folly. He would have to die an infinite number of times (that is, every time every person who was once saved sinned and was lost and wanted to be “saved again”). Thus, those who reject “once saved, always saved” can only replace it with “once lost, always lost.”