A Question I Was Asked:

Why Would the Bible Say, "Let Him Who Thinks He Stand, Take Heed Lest He Fall," if We Cannot Now Fall Away?

Why would the Bible say, "Let him who thinks he stand, take heed lest he fall," if we cannot now fall away, which you teach?

UK Apologetics Reply:

Because to 'fall' does not have to mean to fall irretrievably, it can refer to a backsliding phase. Okay, in the first place, let us look at the full quote:

10. And do not grumble, as some of them did - and were killed by the destroying angel. 11. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. 12. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! 13. No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:10-13; NIV).

Three Groups of People

We are mainly considering verse 12 of the above here, and we are actually looking at three groups of people:

a. Those who dwell among Christians - in churches and so on - who are there for the wrong reasons because they are actually uncalled at the present time. We have all met them.They may be there because they feel comfortable and content attending church, or maybe because their parents always attended, or whatever. In some cases they have their own pet theories about Christianity which don't amount to biblical Christianity. A famous British TV newscaster said about a year ago. "Yes, I like to attend church, I feel better about myself and about life in going but, to be honest, I have no idea why I go." About ten years ago I also heard a lady say, "You just have to go to church on a Sunday don't you? But I don't really 'get' everything which is taught from the pulpit or even whether Jesus actually lived." As far as one may see, that man and that woman are not being called at present (or when they made those comments, at least). It is still probably better if such people feel that way and associate with believers. They may indeed 'fall away' from their Christian associations, that is, but they are not falling away from being truly called, tried and tested Christians - that particular door has not yet even opened to them! So these people can only "fall away" from a sort of association with Christians and with Christianity - that is a very different thing. See Luke 8:10.

b. Truly called and converted Christians who are undergoing a 'backsliding' phase. That could continue for a few months or even years. Yet they are indeed called and have made that commitment in the past and will eventually pull clear from their backsliding. To a degree they have already 'fallen away,' and need to repent, start to again get back 'on track' and take a closer walk with God. So one may 'fall,' but this does not have to mean to fall irretrievably. These come into the category of people who cannot be snatched out of God's hands (John 10:27-29), just as people as varied as Jonah, Samson and David (hardly "pure" individuals who never had 'backsliding' phases), found it is - nevertheless - just not possible to walk away from God!

c. Truly called and converted Christians who never seem to get too many 'backsliding phases.' So this phrase has little application to them.


The phrase, "he who thinks he stand, take heed lest he fall," can have a wider application than we might think. 'Falling' here could refer to entering a backsliding phase, or to 'falling away' from an influence of Christianity by one possibly not even being called at present. My questioner refers to "[what] you teach," but I simply seek to correctly teach and uphold what is in the Holy Bible - I have no hidden agenda.
Without question the Bible teaches that the truly called are never snatched out of God's hands (John 10:27-29), the entirety of Romans 8 teaches the very same thing, but that does not mean that such individuals will never go through backsliding phases. Putting all of these things together I think Paul was mainly referring to the tendency to 'backslide' even by the truly called; he is saying, 'don't take the precious knowledge which you have been given for granted, try to keep pushing hard against sin and against compromise.' He is most assuredly not saying, 'some of you truly called Christians could still end up in the lake of fire if you are not very careful.'

Much fuller information on this point may be found here, and here.

Robin A. Brace. August 27th, 2016.