Home > Living as a Christian
Is it possible for a child of God to fall away and cease being faithful? If so, what has God provided to help us avoid falling? What guidance and instruction are offered by the Bible and other Christians? What about the power of prayer? How does God, by His love and grace, help us overcome temptation and avoid sin?
Click/tap here to view this material as a video Bible study.
Click/tap here to see PowerPoint slides to accompany this material.
Gospel preachers often warn Christians of the danger of falling away from God. Such warnings are needed because there is a very definite danger of falling. However, if we warn people of danger, we should also remind one another about things that can help avoid falling.
This study will focus on the means or blessings God provides to guard our security and help us avoid falling. We will also emphasize our responsibility to use these blessings so we continue faithful and do not fall.
God provides the blessings we need to remain faithful. These are so fundamental that without them none of us could be faithful. Nevertheless, each of us must choose whether or not to use these blessings.
Titus 2:11-14 – God has extended His grace to all. He wants all to be saved. In order to receive the blessings of grace, we must deny ungodliness, live righteously, and devote ourselves to good works.
Luke 15:3-24 – God wants us to be saved like a shepherd wants to find a lost sheep, a woman wants to find a lost coin, and a father wants his lost son to return. God is willing to forgive us if we repent. He has made great sacrifices to make salvation possible. But like the prodigal, whether or not we repent and return is up to us.
This is fundamental. God is not looking for ways to condemn us. He wants us to be saved and He makes great sacrifices to help us be saved.
(Romans 5:1,2; 5:6-8; John 3:16; 1 John 4:8-10,19; Ephesians 2:5-10; Psalm 86:5; 106:1; Titus 3:3-7; Hebrews 2:9)
1 Timothy 2:4,6 – Because of God’s love and grace, He wants us all to be saved. To make this salvation possible, He sent Jesus to die as a ransom for us all. Obviously not all will be saved, which means there are conditions we must meet to receive salvation.
Hebrews 7:25 – Jesus is able to save to the uttermost. This assures us that we can be forgiven of sin.
1 John 2:1-4 – Jesus is propitiation for our sins and of whole world. If we sin, we have Jesus as an advocate with the Father. But we must be obey His commands.
All of us at times sin. Our relationship with God can remain secure only if we receive forgiveness. This security is available. There is no lack of power to forgive. There is power in the blood. But we must be willing to repent and become obedient.
(1 Corinthians 1:18-24; 1 John 4:9,19: 5:3)
John 10:27-29 – No one can snatch us from the Father’s hand. This verse is often misused to teach “once saved always saved.” But the context and other verses show that, to receive eternal life, we must follow Jesus. Nevertheless, these verses state a great promise. No enemy can remove us from God’s hand if we are truly willing to follow Jesus.
Hebrews 13:5,6 – God is our helper who will never fail nor forsake us. So, what can man do to us? We can fail God; if we do, this promise no longer applies. But as long as we turn to God faithfully, no man can overthrow our spiritual relationship with Him.
Romans 8:31-39 – If God is on our side, who could defeat us? If He cares so much for us that He gave His Son, what could we possibly need that He would withhold? What earthly force could ever destroy our relationship with Him? We are more than conquerors in all these problems if God is for us. But if we disobey and do not repent, God is no longer for us.
Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. The power of the Creator and Ruler of the universe can work in our lives to keep us secure in our relationship to Him. But we must be willing to fully obey and turn away from disobedience.
(Ephesians 3:16-21; 6:10-18; 2 Peter 1:3,4; 2 Corinthians 9:8-10)
1 Corinthians 10:13 – By His power, God limits Satan’s ability to tempt us. God will not allow temptations beyond our ability to resist. Always God makes a way of escape.
James 4:7 – Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee. We can be victorious. But we must submit to God and resist Satan.
Jude 21,24,25 – God is able to keep us from stumbling, and to set us before Himself without blemish. But we must keep ourselves in His love.
These passages state conditions we must meet, but the emphasis is on the power of God to protect us if we truly submit.
2 Peter 3:9-14 – The world continues to stand because God is longsuffering, giving people time to repent. But we must make use of the opportunity by repenting. And we must prepare for the end of the world by living righteous and godly lives.
Revelation 2:20-22 – Jezebel tempted Christians to commit fornication. God gave even her time to repent. If so, surely He would give His faithful servants time to repent if we sin.
1 Peter 5:7-9 – Cast your cares on God for He cares for you. This does not mean He will take care of everything Himself. Satan is a roaring lion seeking to devour us. We must withstand him in faith. But we can withstand if we trust God and pray diligently.
Psalms 138:3 – God gives encouragement and strength in the soul. But we must call on Him. (Philippians 4:6,7)
Nothing we have studied says it is impossible for a child of God to be lost. Nothing says that we can be forgiven and saved without repenting of sin and obeying God.
What is said is that God gives many things to limit the power of evil in our lives, to help us overcome it, and to offer forgiveness. All this helps guard the security of our relationship to Him. But in every area there are things we must do: conditions we must meet to receive these blessings and to remain faithful.
2 Peter 2:9 – The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment. We sometimes upset ourselves because we want to know exactly what God is doing and how He is working to help us. We want to be in the driver’s seat or at least be the back-seat driver!
I do not fully understand how God answers prayer or how He limits temptations or how He gives us time to repent. He works through His providence, which I do not fully understand. But His word teaches these things.
God is in charge and He knows what He is doing! We need to do our part to do what He tells us to do and then trust Him to do His part to produce the results He has promised.
There are many ways that the Bible can help guard our relationship with God and help us remain secure in His service.
We have read many passages that warn of the danger of falling or encourage us to remain faithful. The Bible is filled with such teachings.
1 Corinthians 10:1-13 – Israel is an example of children of God falling way. This is written to warn us and to promise us that God will help us overcome temptation. But we must take heed to ourselves, trust God’s faithfulness, and look for the way of escape.
James 5:10,11 – The Bible gives examples of people who faced temptation but remained faithful. These examples help us see that faithfulness is possible despite the difficulties.
1 John 2:1-4 – John wrote so we would not sin. But if we sin, we have an advocate: we can be sure of forgiveness and of staying right with God if we obey God’s commands.
Ephesians 6:10-18 – God’s armor makes us strong to resist Satan. We are able to withstand. Many aspects of this armor involve God’s word (truth, gospel, word of God).
One of the main reasons why God gave us the Bible is to help guard our security, to assure us that we can remain faithful, and to show us how to maintain our relationship with God.
(2 Timothy 2:16-19; Hebrews 3:1-4:11)
James 1:21-25 – The word is able to save our souls. Do we believe that? If so, we must look diligently into it to see what it reveals about the kind of person we are. Then, to receive God’s blessing, we must do what is taught.
2 Timothy 3:15-17 – Scriptures are able to make us wise to salvation, teach us in righteousness, reprove and correct us, provide us to all good works.
Psalm 119:11 – Hide God’s word in our hearts so we will not sin against God.
Matthew 4:4,7,10 – Facing temptation from Satan, Jesus resisted by quoting Scripture.
Acts 20:32 – The word of God’s grace is able to build us up and give an inheritance among those who are sanctified.
One of our greatest blessings to guard our security is the Bible. It helps us know when we have done wrong and it tells us what to do to correct our lives. It gives us strength and motivation to do what is right. It gives us a means to rebuke those who tempt us to do evil.
But none of this means it is impossible to fall. It means we must study the Bible regularly, discuss it regularly with other Christians, and attend church assemblies and classes regularly so we know what is taught. When we neglect these things, we have already disobeyed God, and the likelihood of falling in other ways is also great.
(Hebrews 4:12f; 12:5-11; Revelation 3:19; Romans 1:16; 15:4)
Working with other Christians provides many things to help us be secure with God.
2 Corinthians 1:3,4 – Being comforted by God, we are able to comfort one another in time of hardship.
Romans 15:14 – Brethren who study the Bible are able to be filled with knowledge and admonish one another.
Hebrews 3:12-14 – Take heed to avoid unbelief and departing from God. To help avoid this, we should exhort one another daily. Then hold fast our confidence until the end.
Hebrews 13:17 – Elders should watch on behalf of the souls of members, guarding against false teachers and other forces of evil that draw members away. (Acts 20:28-32)
Hebrews 10:24,25 – Provoke one another to love and good works. Assemble with Christians to exhort one another. There are several reasons for coming when the church meets. But the main reason considered in Hebrews is that this is where we get the exhortation we need so we won’t fall away. It helps guard our security. This is why missing is so dangerous.
Again, falling away is a definite danger. God has provided things that help us remain secure. But these require us to be active: willing to be present and work with other Christians and to discuss with them and to submit to elders.
2 Corinthians 1:9-11 – Other Christians helped Paul in his time of severe hardship by praying for him.
James 5:16 – Confess our faults one to another and pray one for another. Christians’ prayers can help us overcome our faults and remain secure with God. But we must be willing to talk to one another about our problems and pray for one another.
(Acts 8:10-22; Ephesians 6:18)
Galatians 6:1,2 – If one is overtaken in a fault, spiritual brethren should work to restore him. We should bear one another’s burdens.
1 Thessalonians 5:14 – Admonish the disorderly, encourage the faint-hearted, support the weak.
2 Timothy 4:2-4 – God’s people need preaching that even rebukes and reproves sin so people will be faithful and not follow after fables. Sound Bible preaching is a solid guard to our security. When we want the preaching watered down, we are removing a barrier that protects us!
2 Thessalonians 3:14,15 – When members sin and are rebuked but will not repent, the church should withdraw. This helps give them motivation to repent. Some people think this is meanness, but actually it is a blessing from God to help guard our security.
One great barrier against apostasy that God has provided is the knowledge that other members, if they know we are in sin, will firmly rebuke us and even discipline us if necessary.
(Acts 8:20-22; James 5:19,20; Hebrews 12:5-16; Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Timothy 1:18-20)
It is possible for Christians to be lost. It is a dangerous and serious matter. Often our brethren can help us stay faithful. We should appreciate those who preach and teach the word, and those who oversee local congregations. We should appreciate Christians who care enough to talk with us about our spiritual needs and even those who rebuke our sins. And we should be glad to be part of a congregation that cares enough to discipline members who go astray.
But nothing here excuses us from responsibility. If we sin, we will be held accountable. We cannot escape our responsibility by blaming other members. When we stand before God in judgment, each of us will bear our own burden (Galatians 6:4,5)
God has promised eternal rewards after life is over. These rewards help motivate us to do right and avoid evil. They guard our security by reminding us of the importance of faithfulness and the consequences of falling.
Galatians 6:7-9 – If we sow to the Spirit we reap eternal life. This hope motivates us to not faint or be weary in well doing.
Revelation 2:10 – Be faithful till death and receive a crown of life.
James 1:12 – If we endure temptation we receive the crown of life. Hope for that crown motivates us to endure.
1 Peter 1:3-5 – We are guarded by God’s power to salvation revealed at the last time, an inheritance reserved in heaven.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 – As in sports, the desire for a reward should motivate us to exercise self-control. Athletes seek a corruptible crown but we are motivated by an incorruptible crown.
Romans 2:5-11 – People who continue doing good receive eternal life. Tribulation and anguish awaits those who do not obey truth.
Rewards give motivation, but the ultimate result depends on our choice. To receive the reward, we must be obedient.
Every child of God must face the very real danger that it is possible to fall away from God. Each of us should also understand that there is no need to fall away and therefore no real excuse for it. We can be faithful if we use the things God has provided to guard our security.
Every child of God should fully appreciate God’s blessings. But we should also realize that all these blessing are available to everyone. Those who fall away, do so because they neglect these blessings. To be saved we must make full use of them.
The choice is ours. We do not have to be lost. What is the condition of your life before God?
(c) Copyright David E. Pratte, 2022; gospelway.com
Local churches and individuals may, within limits, distribute this Bible study guide for free, but not for sale. Web sites may link to this page but not reproduce it. Click here for more information about our copyright guidelines.
Please bookmark our site in your favorites.
We welcome links to us from other sites :
gospelway.com - The Gospel Way: Free Bible Study Materials & Guides
Scripture quotations are generally from the New King James Version (NKJV), copyright 1982, 1988 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. used by permission. All rights reserved.