Perserverence of the Saints and “falling away”

A commenter asked, "Not sure if this is too big a question to answer using comments, but I would so appreciate a Calvinistic response to this scenario: whilst (I love using that word) in Bible College, there was a great guy that everyone loved. Passionate but not obnoxious in his faith, participated in the classes, faithfully showed up for prayer meetings, confessed his faith in Jesus, etc etc etc.

A few years later, I ran into his wife and she reported that he had had an affair, left her; and renounced his faith!...So, it appears (and I know that appearances can be deceiving!) to me that he had abandoned the faith that he once practiced and proclaimed. What would a "once saved always saved" construct say to that? It just seems to easy to say that he was never saved in the first place. Could it truly be that simple?"

It is a big question. There are folks that can answer/debate it a lot better than I can - and it's a question that has been around for a long time and I doubt we'll settle it here 😉

One of the things that makes it difficult to answer whether or not the person in question was ever saved (did they "fall away", or were they ever saved in the first place?) is that we can't see into their heart.

The Bible says that there will be people who believe that they were saved, but will get to heaven and hear Jesus say, "Depart from me, I never knew you."

These two verses would appear to say that if you are truly saved, you will remain - and that it is God that will carry the good work in us to completion.

1 John 2:19
They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

Philippians 1:6
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Was the man you knew truly saved (did he truly love the Lord with all his heart, all his mind and all his strength?). I cannot answer that.

Another thought is that we do not know what God has planned for this man for the rest of his life. Will he return to God? I cannot answer that either.

What I do know is that "in him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will..."

I belong to a sovereign God who is in control of the universe. He has chosen, elected, predestined - whatever word you want to use - His people.

John 10:27-29 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand.

This is a short answer, I know. I hope it helps.

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