There are many preachers in today’s world who give people a false sense of security by teaching them that once they are born again, they can never again be anything but a child of God, and that they have sealed their destiny in heaven. They often use a father-son illustration to support their doctrine, saying a son will always be a son of his father, even if he treats his father and family badly. This example may sound good to some, but the Bible speaks to the contrary. We had no choice but to be children of our earthly fathers. That can never be reversed. However, we choose to become children of God. By choosing to sin, we choose to be converted back to children of the devil. The following scriptures show very clearly that a person can lose salvation, sonship of God, and their place in heaven.
“Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth. When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.” Ezekiel 33:12-13.
That needs no explanation. Some say, “That is in the Old Testament–we are under the New.” The scriptures answer: “Now therefore ye [the New Testament church]… are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” Eph. 2:19-20. “This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you…that ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour.” II Pet. 3:1-2. Thus Paul and Peter both taught that the
doctrines of the New Testament are founded on the teachings of Jesus, His apostles, and the prophets. Knowing this, it is impossible to brush off the words of the prophet Ezekiel as mere history. The truths of Ezk. 33:12-13 still hold especially true in this New Testament dispensation and tell us very plainly how God feels toward those who choose to sin after they have been born again.
“For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” II Pet. 2:20-22. This very clearly tells us that someone can turn from righteousness and go back to their old, sinful ways. Their condition is worse than if they had never been saved.
Rev. 3:5 says, “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” Here we learn that those who overcome evil will remain in the book of life. It is implied that those who do not overcome will be blotted out. God told Moses this very thing, “Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.” Ex. 32:33. Now this is very serious, for on Judgment Day, whosoever is not found written in the book of life will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15).
“…Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” John 8:34. “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.” Matt. 6:24. Here Jesus says you cannot serve God and mammon. Mammon is simply money and earthly possessions. How much less can a person serve God and sin? It cannot be done. “He that committeth sin is of the devil…In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” I John 3:8-10. Can you be a child of God and of the devil at the same time? No!
When a person is saved, they receive eternal life. Some say, “See–it is eternal; it is never ending. You can never lose it.” The Bible says, “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” I John 3:15. They say a person can be living in sin–have hatred, commit murder, adultery, etc.–and yet still have eternal life. This scripture says that we know it is not so. “For the wages of sin is [still] death…” Rom. 6:23.
“If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” John 15:6. For something to wither, it must first have had life. It was a living branch that was cut off from its source. It dies. It hasn’t changed from Adam’s day, when God told him, “…In the day that thou eatest thereof [i.e., sin] thou shalt surely die.” Gen. 2:17.
“Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well, because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.” Rom. 11:19-22. The disobedient will be cut off. A branch cut off of a tree does not live. Though for a short time it looks like it is alive, it is most surely dead, and time will prove to everyone that there is no life at all in that branch.
The devil loves to use this false doctrine to try to ease the consciences of people–to make them feel comfortable in their sins and give them a false hope of heaven. Sinners will receive the sentence of eternal damnation on Judgment Day–no matter if they called themselves “Christians” or not. We all need to walk carefully before God, keeping our garments unspotted from sin and the world. Only in righteousness and holiness can we remain children of God and expect a home in heaven.