Can a True Believer Fall Away?

This coming Sunday we will hear again the story of how one of Jesus’ original disciples fell in his spiritual journey. In light of this study, It is vital that we remember what we believe about the perseverance of the saints.

Listen to what our Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 17, Points 1 & 3 says: 

Those whom God has accepted in His Beloved, effectually called, and sanctified by His Spirit can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere  to the end, and be eternally saved (John 10:28-29; Ephesians 1:7; Philippians 1:6; Romans 8:29-30).

However, true believers can fall into grievous sin. Listen again to our Confession:

Nevertheless, through the temptations of Satan and the world, the prevalent corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of grace, they may fall into grievous sins; and, for a time, continue in them: whereby they incur God’s displeasure, grieve His Holy Spirit, come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts, have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded; hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves (Matthew 26:70, 72, 74; Ephesians. 4:30; Psalm 51:8, 10, 12; Isaiah 63:17; Mark 6:52; Psalm 32:3, 4; Psalm. 51:8; II Samuel. 12:14; Psalm 89:31, 32; I Corinthians 11:32).

Jesus urged Simon Peter before his catastrophic fall into sin: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32).

Let us avail ourselves of the resources that God uses to strengthen our faith. Let us resolve today that we will not spiritually drift (Hebrews 2:1). Let us seek the friendship of those who will keep us believing and resting in Jesus and his gospel. Then, let us get busy strengthening others to follow faithfully our Lord!

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