Larry Ray Hafley


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Contending for the Faith

Can A Saved Person Be Lost?


I have a question, Is there any condition, when somebody has been saved, and they are a Christian, can that person get unsaved?  Thank  you, William

Reply:

Thanks for your question, William.  I shall seek to answer it with Scripture.  I will also send you some articles which apply to your question.  

First, there are those who believe there is not "any condition" which will cause a saved person to become lost or unsaved.

"We take the position that a Christian's sins do not damn his soul. The way a Christian lives, what he says, his character, his conduct, or his attitude toward other people have nothing whatever to do with the salvation of its soul....All the prayers a man may pray, all the Bibles he may read, all the churches he may belong-to, all the services he may attend, all the sermons he may practice, all the debts he may pay, all the ordinances he may observe, all the laws he may keep, all the benevolent acts he may perform will not make his soul one whit safer; and all the sins he may commit from idolatry to murder will not make his soul in any more danger....Salvation is settled once and for all when we believe....The way I live has nothing whatsoever to do with the salvation of my soul" (Sam Morris, "Do A Christian's Sins Damn His Soul"?). 

William, do you agree with that statement?  Do you agree that "The way a Christian lives, what he says, his character, his conduct, or his attitude toward other people have nothing whatever to do with the salvation of its soul"?  I do not.  Do you?

Second, note that some who were "saved" in the Old Testament were later "destroyed."  I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not" (Jude 5; Cf. 1 Cor. 9:24-10:13).

Third, Simon, who had been lost, was saved when he believed and was baptized (Mk. 16:16; Acts 8:9-13).  Later, however, (a) his heart was not right in the sight of God; (b) he was guilty of "wickedness," and (c) he was said to be "in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity" (Acts 8:21- 23).  That does not sound like a description of one who is saved, does it?  So, Simon, who had been saved, was then lost, or unsaved.

Fourth, consider the following passages which show that those who have been saved may become lost, or unsaved.

    (A) "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction" (2 Pet. 2:1).  Note that the Lord had "bought them," which means they were saved, for one is "purchased" with the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19).  Next, they denied the Lord who bought them.  "If we deny him, he also will deny us" (2 Tim. 2:12; Cf. Matt. 10:33).  "Then, when they denied him, they brought upon themselves "swift destruction."  Those who had been bought by the Lord now deny him and "bring upon themselves swift destruction."  Thus, those who had been bought and saved became lost and unsaved.

    (B) "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" (2 Pet. 2:20, 21).  Observe that they had escaped the pollutions of the world.  They knew the Lord.  Then, they were "again entangled therein and overcome."  One could not be "again entangled," if he had never been disentangled to begin with, so they were saved.  When they were "again entangled," they were also "overcome."  That does not sound like they are still saved, does it?  No, "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."

    (C) "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God" (Heb. 3:12).  These Hebrews had been saved, for Jesus was "the Apostle and High Priest of (their) profession" (Heb. 3:1).  Too, they could not "depart" or leave "the living God" if they had not been in him.  The apostle says there could develop in them "an evil heart of unbelief," and that this would result in their departure from the living God.  That does not sound like they were still saved, does it?  So, those who are saved may depart from the living God and be lost.

William, below is some material which you may study.  Please write again if you have further questions.


Baptist Doctrine And Galatians 6:7, 8
Larry Ray Hafley

Do you believe Galatians 6:7, 8?  "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting" (Gal. 6:7, 8).  The text does not say that the principles of sowing and reaping only apply to alien sinners, to unbelievers.  No, the laws of sowing and reaping are universal and eternal.  Thus, whatsoever any man sows, whether he be a Christian or not, "that shall he also reap."

Do you believe that "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap?"  Do you believe that "he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption?"  Do you believe that only those who sow "to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting?"  If your answer to the questions above is, "Yes, I believe Galatians 6:7, 8," then you are not a Baptist, or if you are, you do not believe the Baptist doctrine of "once saved, always saved."  See what Sam Morris, a Baptist preacher, said in his tract entitled, "Do A Christian's Sins Damn His Soul?"

"We take the position that a Christian's sins do not damn his soul. The way a Christian lives, what he says, his character, his conduct, or his attitude toward other people have nothing whatever to do with the salvation of its soul....All the prayers a man may pray, all the Bibles he may read, all the churches he may belong-to, all the services he may attend, all the sermons he may practice, all the debts he may pay, all the ordinances he may observe, all the laws he may keep, all the benevolent acts he may perform will not make his soul one whit safer; and all the sins he may commit from idolatry to murder will not make his soul in any more danger....Salvation is settled once and for all when we believe....The way I live has nothing whatsoever to do with the salvation of my soul."

Sam Morris's statement denies what God said in Ezekiel 3:20, "When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity...he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered."  It also contradicts Ezekiel 33:18, "When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby."

One must decide whether he shall believe the word of God or the word of men.  Condemning me for pointing out the contrast between Baptist doctrine and Bible doctrine will not do away with the irreconcilable differences between the statements cited above.  Does ridiculing this article make Baptist doctrine any less contradictory of the word of God?  Does it make Sam Morris's statement true?  Is it right for Baptists to teach that one may commit every sin "from idolatry to murder" and still go to heaven, but wrong for me to point out how their belief makes void the very word of God itself?

We appeal for honest hearts to reject the errors of men and to receive the truth of God.  One's refusal to do so will not do away with God's immutable, irrefutable law that "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."


Hebrews 7:25 & "Once Saved, Always Saved"
Larry Ray Hafley

"Rev. Mack Jones," of Baytown, Texas, writes a weekly column in his church bulletin entitled, "From Your Pastor's Heart."  From it, we extract the following:

"We are often questioned about the eternity of our belief.  People want to know if God will disown them.  The emphatic answer is, no!  By no means will God ever disown one of his children.  Heb. 7:25 states this very clearly; ‘Hence, also, he is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them' (NAS).  We are saved forever.  We draw near to God through Christ, and He makes intercession for us.  This gives us great assurance of our faith in Christ" (Wooster Baptist Church Messenger, Vol. 29, Number 8, 2/20/01).

Review Of Mack Jones' Remarks

It is to be doubted that folks question "the eternity of (their) belief."  Faith, like hope, is not eternal.  Both shall be swallowed up in the possession of "life and immortality" brought to fruition and completion.  However, we shall let that pass and deal with the main thrust of Mack's message.

(1) Observe this stark contrast between the word of the spirit of Jones and the word of the Spirit of Jesus:

Mr. Jones said, "People want to know if God will disown them.  The emphatic answer is, no!  By no means will God ever disown one of his children."

The Bible says, "I will smite them...and disinherit them" (Num. 14:12). "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered: and men gather them, can cast them into the fire, and they are burned" (Jn. 15:6).  "If we deny him, he will also deny us" (2 Tim. 2:12).  "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. 11:22).

God will "Disinherit, cast forth, deny, and cut off" some of his children.  This cannot be speaking of the unsaved, for they have no inheritance and are already denied and cut off (Jn. 3:18).  Thus, God will, contrary to Mr. Jones' claim, "disown" his disobedient children.  Jones says, "He won't." God says he will.  Whom do you believe?

(2) As proof of his contention that God will never "disown one of his children," Mr. Jones refers to Hebrews 7:25, "Hence, also, he is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them."

The passage is not disputed, nor is its teaching denied.  It is certain that God will "save forever those who draw near to God through Him" (Christ).  With that we are in complete agreement.  There is no difference between us on that point.

However, that is not the question at issue.  Mr. Jones believes, and Baptist doctrine teaches, that God will "save forever" those who cease to "draw near to God."  He says that God "By no means will ever disown one of his children," even if they quit drawing near to God.  Hebrews 7:25 makes no such promise to such people.

It is indeed possible for one who once drew near to God to depart–"many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him" (Jn. 6:66).  "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God" (Heb. 3:12).  Remember, there is absolutely no way that a child of God who draws near to God will ever be disowned.  Jones is right about that, but what of those who, instead of drawing near, turn and "draw back, or fall away?  What of them?  "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.  But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of  the soul" (Heb. 10:38, 39).

Conclusion: Those who "draw near," God will "save forever," but those who "draw back" do so "unto perdition," or destruction.

(3) Other passages in the book of Hebrews show that Jones is wrong when he says that a child of God will not be disowned, no matter how he lives.  Even if we did not know how to explain Hebrews 7:25, we would know that the Baptist doctrine of "once saved, always saved," is false.  As proof thereof, note the following passages in Hebrews.

"Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.  For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him" (Heb. 2:1-3).

"Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God" (Heb. 3:12).

"Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it" (Heb. 4:1).

"Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief" (Heb. 4:11).

"For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.  But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.  He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace" (Heb. 10:26-29)?

"Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled" (Heb. 12:15).

These passages show us that Hebrews 7:25 does not teach that a child of God cannot, under any circumstances, be disowned.  There is perfect harmony between these texts and that of 7:25.  As long as one draws near to God, he is "saved forever," but if one ceases to believe, departs from God and is "defiled," a punishment worse than death awaits him!

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