Can a Christian fall out of favor with God?

Hello W,

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A Christian can certainly fall out of favor with God. A Christian should not take Christ’s love (1 John 4:8), the power of His saving blood (1 Peter 1:18-19), or the promise of spiritual safety (Romans 8:35-39) as a license for disobedience (Romans 6:1).

The Bible nowhere teaches that Christians who, for example, lose their first love are still in favor with God. To the Christians in Ephesus who had lost their first love, Jesus said, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent” (Revelation 2:5).

Christians who become lukewarm cannot remain in favor with God and expect to receive “the crown of righteous” on Judgment Day. Lukewarm Christians must “repent,” or, Jesus said, “I will vomit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:19, 15-16). Unlike imperfect, yet saved, Christians who are striving to “walk in the light” (1 John 1:5-10), Christians living in sin lose their favor and must repent to regain their salvation. A Christian can’t claim eternal life if he does not remain faithful to Christ. Jesus taught: “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).

There are certain things a Christian must have to obtain God’s favor, for example, a Christian must forgive others to be forgiven. Jesus said: “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Mathew 6:14-15). What happened to the servant who was previously forgiven an enormous debt, but later failed to forgive the small debt of another? “His master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers” (Matthew 18:34). “So,” Jesus said, “My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses” (18:35). When a person receives the gift of salvation (through confessed faith, repentance, and immersion in water—Acts 2:38; 8:26-40; 16:30-34; 22:16) and becomes a Christian, God forgives him of his debt. If he, however, becomes hardened and unforgiving, God will “deliver him to the torturers” (Matthew 18:34; 25:31-46).

Is it possible for a Christian to fall out of grace and lose God’s favor? Yes, a Christian can fall out of grace by willfully becoming disobedient to Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Profession alone is worthless. He who pretends to know God and yet disobeys His commandments “is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4).  Faith in God must produce fruits of obedience to God’s Law. It is true that “faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:17), but it is equally true that works unaccompanied by a sincere and living faith are also “dead” (Heb. 11:6). But the good news is that God does the good works in our lives when we submit to Him (Philippians 2:13).

In His service,

The BibleAsk Team,

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