When I was around 8 years old my parents took me to a large church event. It was a skit & show dedicated to the Gospel. During the event the actors called the children up with them to do a skit and dance about the Armor of God. I don’t remember the skit, but I do remember when I was walking back to my chair I was pretending to take the armor back off. I didn’t understand that we are supposed to always be equipped to fight our spiritual battles. In my youth I was unaware of the constant spiritual attacks believers face. My parents asked me what I was doing when I returned to my seat, but never fully explained how or why we should be ready for spiritual attacks. To be fair I had many questions about faith and religion growing up. I was well read for a child and had a college understanding of literature by fifth grade.
My main two questions were, as believers do we need to ask forgiveness every time we sin? If we do need to ask forgiveness every time we sin, then do we not go to Heaven if we forgot one?
I could not accept the concept of salvation by faith and the grace of God which redeems the soul forever once someone believes. It plays into the question that if someone believes in God and in faith believes in the salvation given to them through grace in their faith, then could they walk away?
1 John 2:18-19
Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.”1. John Piper, “Can a True Christian Fall Away from God?” 1 John 2:19, 1 John 2:19: Can a True Christian Fall Away from God? | Desiring God
1 John 2:18-19 is often used to say that believers may walk away. However, the true subject of 1 John 2:19-19 is the antichrist and the antichrists of the church turning their backs on true faith.
Children, it is the last hour, and as you have hard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrist have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. (1 John 2:18-19) Also see Hebrews 1.
It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.2. New International Version, Copyright 2011-2019 Biblica, (Heb 6:4-6)
“It is impossible… to be brought back to repentance.” (Heb 6:4-6) Here we find an answer to teh burning question. I have read the Greek to English translation of this verse and agree with David Johnston that true believers may walk away from their faith to the detriment of their soul.
3.Johnston, David. Apr 28, 2007, “What About Hebrews 6:4-6?”, What About Hebrews 6:4-6? Sermon by David Johnston, Hebrews 6:4 – SermonCentral.com (Pages 1 – 4)
4. ABRARIM Publications, Hebrews 6, Hebrews 6 Greek interlinear, parsed and per word translation, free online (abarim-publications.com)
Then, the question leads into, (If a Christian sins deliberately, is that turning their back on Christ?)
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins” (Heb 10:26)5. Tabletalk Magazine, Heb 10:26-27, Sinning Deliberately | Reformed Bible Studies & Devotionals at Ligonier.org
but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. (Heb 10:27)6. New International Version, Copyright 2011-2019 Biblica, (Heb 10:27)
We turn to Hebrews to find that those who continually sin after believing though faith in Christ will face the wrath of the judgment, but we are still unsure here in this argument of a believers salvation after back sliding and seeking out redemption under Christ.
Return ye backsliding children, [and] I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou [art] the Lord our God.
O Lord, through our iniquities testify against us, and do thou [it] for thy name’s sake: for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against thee.
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.7. BIBLE VERSES ABOUT BACKSLIDING, BIBLE VERSES ABOUT BACKSLIDING (kingjamesbibleonline.org)
I conclude that backsliding is different then walking away from faith completely. If one disregards their faith then they walk away from the Grace of God and cannot ever be redeemed because they would have to face God and redo the sacrifice that Christ made originally for their soul. A backslider may fall into two categories, one that never truly had faith in God, or a believer who has fallen into the temptation of sin, but has not thrown away their faith in God. Those who backslide only need to seek repentance for their transgressions and truly seek to turn their back on the ungoldly ways they were practicing. This is why the armor of God is so important in believers spiritual battles. The Armor helps them face down the temptations.
Spritual Warfare Imagery
Belt (Isa 11:5) Truth
Breastplate (Isa 59:17) Righteousness
Feet Fitted (Isa 52:7) Gospel of Peace
Shield (Ps 25:2; Isa 21:5-23) Faith
Helmet (Isa 59:17) Salvation
Sword (Isa 49:2-178) Spirit/Word
8. NIV STUDY BIBLE (RED LETTER EDITION), (EPH 6:10-20)