For some period of time Armenians had been given the partially earned reputation of being in and out of salvation based on their works or stated another way — their ability to abstain from sin or not. Stated still another way: it would be based upon their walk either in the Spirit or in the flesh. And with many preachers who were uneducated in Scripture in the past as well as in the present this was largely the perception.
I heard one Wesleyan pastor once say: “there dose not seem to be any limit on the number of times one can be reborn spiritually speaking”. But there does. The questions become — What exactly does falling away mean? Is falling away the same as backsliding into sin?
Backsliding is falling into sin through a moment or even a period of weakness in the flesh. David sinned with Bathsheba, he committed Adultery. That was a very serious thing, but he was not flaunting it in the face of God. He did not remain in an adulterous ongoing relationship, which had he been, could have caused him to break his relationship with God. Instead David prayed: “Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me”. He knew that what he had done coupled with the murder of Uriah her husband was pure evil, but it was backsliding over which he grieved in his own spirit, but it did not cost Him his salvation. Had it done so it would have resulted in his falling away from his faith in God. That did not happen.
So what is falling away from Christ. When Israel fell away it was considered by God to be a divorce. Paul says that their state became one of unbelief. This unbelief became the act upon which they were cut off (see Romans 11). Jesus put it another way. “If you deny Me, I will deny you before My Heavenly Father.” He was speaking to His disciples, believers in Him. In case you think that Paul did not understand this:
If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; 2 Timothy 2:12
Paul emphatically stated this to Timothy his protege. He had also told Timothy:
1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. (KJV)
Paul understood the difference between a backslider and Apostasia or apostatizing. Unfortunately many teachers today do not, which as I stated in my last article:
“The belief in Calvinism coupled with the scriptural understanding that God is no respecter of persons is actually the crack in the door of truth that Universalism walked through. If God does not respect persons He must love and save them all.”
Armenians hold each person individually responsible to God for what they believe — for the race that they personally run. One final point. Salvation is about commitment. We are either in Christ or we are not. If we forfeit that position there is no return. Israel is the lesson. Blind and deaf, was the outcome of their unbelief. A believers walk is a walk of trust in Christ alone for our salvation, and that walk in the Spirit is one of obedience.