How can you be delivered from depression? In this Little Lesson, Bible teacher David Servant provides encouragement for Christians who often feel depressed and lack assurance of their salvation, pointing them back to the love, faithfulness, and forgiveness of God. Learn more!
In today’s Little Lesson, we’re going to focus on a question from one of our beloved viewers. This is actually from a viewer who is just 13 years old. She watched a teaching that I did where I asked the question, “Is it possible for believers to fall from grace?” And that’s a controversial question within Christian circles. I believe it is possible for Christians to fall from grace, simply because that’s what the Apostle Paul said the Galatians had done. Right? So I don’t know how anyone can get around that. It’s just as plain as day.
But anyways, here’s a 13-year-old who wrote in response to that. And she said, “Is it unhealthy if I’m depressed from that fear,” that is the fear that I might fall from grace? “I am 13, and this fear does turn in or can turn into depression. Is this normal and healthy?” Okay, so your heart goes out to her. And we get a lot of questions just like that. And so let me take some time and address that. God doesn’t want you to be fearful or depressed, and especially about the possibility of falling from grace. Again, the Galatians had been hoodwinked by some false teachers who taught them that if you’re going to go to heaven, you need to be circumcised, I’m talking to the men, and you need to keep the law of Moses, all 613 commandments that were under the Old Covenant. And so they began scrupulously trying to do that.
And so the reason Paul said they had fallen from grace is because now they weren’t looking to Jesus as the author and the perfecter of their faith and the author of their salvation. They were looking to themselves and their ability to keep a law that nobody ever kept. I mean, the law is not a way to be saved. The law is a way to be condemned, because we’ve all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. That’s the good news of the Gospel that Jesus died for our sins, paid the penalty for our sins, and not only offers us forgiveness if we’ll repent and believe in him, but offers us the Holy Spirit to indwell us and the ability to serve him with joy and to have a victory over sin. That’s the good news. So for our Christian, especially a 13-year-old, to be worried, “I’m afraid I might fall from grace and lose my salvation,” that’s not good. That’s not normal. That’s not healthy.
I just fear that you’re feeding on the wrong things. I don’t want to tell anyone where to go to church, but if the church you’re going to is filling you with that kind of feeling, then I think it’s time to look for a new church. It just seems like churches succumb so often to a temptation to become unbalanced. Preachers do this. And I’ve done it, so I can’t be critical of anybody else. I try not to be that way. But when you start to emphasize something and then people come against you, you try to prove you’re right, and so you focus too much on one thing. But the Bible is balanced. It has lots of Scriptures about fearing God and the judgment of God, the holiness of God, the wrath of God, but it has tons of Scriptures on the patience and mercy and long suffering and grace of God.
I mean, I just was reading the story the other day in my daily devotions about this King Ahab, who, if you know King Ahab, he was a bad dude, a very bad dude. He’s the guy that coveted Naboth’s vineyard, and Jezebel hired some guys to falsely accuse him and have him stoned to death so that her husband could get the guy’s vineyard. And God pronounced judgment. This is wicked. This was just adding sin to his very sinful life already. And you’re reading Ahab’s story and you’re just thinking, “Why does God put up with this guy for so long?” But then when God sends this prophet to tell Ahab, “Well, that’s the last straw, buddy,” Ahab humbles himself. And he starts wearing sackcloth and mourning, going around mourning for his sin and so forth.
And God says to the prophet, “Look, look. Look at Ahab. He’s humbling himself. He’s showing some humility here. He’s mourning over his sin. I’m going to forestall that judgment that I said I was going to bring upon him. I’m going to bring it upon his son.” I know that raises questions, but still, God is so incredibly merciful. And if you’re a true Christian, you’re trying to do your best. But like all of us, you’re not perfect. You stumble. James said this. It’s in the Bible. It’s in New Testament. We all stumble in many ways. See, stumbling is unintentional, right? You’re caught by surprise. You weren’t diving into the hole. You stumbled because something you didn’t see tripped you up, and boom. But once you fall, you realize it and you get back up again and you say, “Lord, oh, forgive me.”
And he just forgives you and forgets about it and says, “Now, let’s get moving on again here.” That’s our God. He’s good. And if your church that you attend is kind of feeding continually these fears that I might lose my salvation, that I might go to hell, well, again we can’t avoid Scriptures that warn of that, but that’s not the whole Bible. That’s just a tiny little fraction of the revelation of the Bible. So feed on the whole Bible. And if you’re finding that you’re unbalanced and you’re all worried and you can’t sleep at night because you’re worried you’re going to lose your salvation. I would tell you, you’re way off on balance. So to bring yourself back into balance, I’d say just be reading only Scriptures that make you feel good about yourself and about God’s love for you and his mercy for you.
Just put all those scary ones aside for a few months, or maybe even a year or two, and just focus on these ones so you can get in balance once again in your understanding of who God is and where you stand before him. If you believe in Jesus, you’re his beloved child and he died for you. Jesus is preparing a place in heaven for you. He doesn’t want you to miss it. And you say, “Well, I’m just afraid that I’m going to do something wrong.” If you do something wrong and you don’t repent of it, he’ll discipline you to get your attention, to get you back. I mean, God is really devoted to your salvation. I mean, someone who will die to get you saved, they’ll do a whole lot more for you to get you saved.
So God is not just letting people go really easy here. I believe it’s possible to forfeit your salvation through unbelief or through returning to the practice of sin. But if you do that, you’re going to come under God’s discipline, and he’s going to try to get you. He won’t force you, but he’ll work overtime to get you back on track and he succeeds most of the time. Okay. God is good.
All right, so thanks for writing and thanks for that question. I hope that helps. Okay, until next time, may the Lord bless you richly.