Question:

Question

Answer:

If a person is saved and then stumbles, are they considered a save person?


"And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother" (II Thessalonians 3:14-15).

The word "saved" is used in two senses within the Scriptures and failure to acknowledge this can cause difficulty in understanding God's Word. When a person is obedient to the requirements of God, he is forgiven of his sins and, thus, is saved from the ultimate consequence of his sins -- death. "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him" (Romans 6:3-9). Or, as Jesus put it, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:16).

Yet, full salvation is not obtained until we reach heaven. A promise is given to those who have been saved from sin, but it is possible to return to sin and miss receiving the promise. "Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. ... Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience" (Hebrews 4:1, 11). Paul used the example of Israel's many rebellions against God to warn Christians, "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall" (I Corinthians 10:12). Several are mentioned by name in the New Testament who discarded their faith. "This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme" (I Timothy 1:18-20). Of Alexander, Paul later wrote, "Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words" (II Timothy 4:14-15).

Still, a person who falls from the grace extended to him is still to be treated respectfully (II Thessalonians 3:14-15). If he repents of his sins, he is not required to start over from scratch. He can confess his sins before God, and if necessary his fellow man, and then return to walking the path of righteousness. "If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (I John 1:6 - 2:1).

Unfortunately some stumble so far from truth that they are unable to return to the truth. "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame" (Hebrews 6:4-6). "For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries" (Hebrews 10:26-27). Such people can no longer be called "saved" because they have rejected the gift offered to them.


See also:

Questions and Answers regarding Salvation
Questions and Answers regarding Once Saved, Always Saved