Q. In 1 Timothy 4:1, it says that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith. Some teachers that I listen to believe this is proof that true believers can walk away from their faith and lose their salvation. Then they mention the perseverance of the saints. I believe that if you are a true believer that you will persevere even though you will not be perfect and will still sin.
A. These teachers have it wrong, and both Jesus and Paul will prove to us that the fact that they depart means they were never saved in the first place.
There are numerous verses in the New Testament that say a true believer can not depart from the faith. For example, Jesus said that He would lose none of all the Father had given Him (John 6:39) and that no one could snatch us out of his or His Father’s hands (John 10:27-30). That means not even we can snatch ourselves out of their hands.
Paul said when we believe we are sealed with the Holy Spirit to guarantee our inheritance (Ephes. 1:13-14). And in 2 Cor. 1:21-22 he said God Himself has taken ownership of us and makes us stand firm in Christ. I could give several more references but I think you get the point.
The correct interpretation of 1 Tim. 4:1 is that those who depart were believers in name only.
By the way, the term “perseverance of the saints” comes from Calvinism which teaches that believers cannot lose their salvation. It’s used to describe the fact that true believers will persevere because God has taken responsibility for making sure we do. I don’t agree with Calvinism on everything, but that’s one their points that’s straight out of the Bible.
Paul said, “In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 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” (Phil 1:4-6).
He began the work of our salvation and will not quit until it’s complete and we’re at His side forever.