Home / Early Church Father Quotes by Topic / Losing Salvation/Backsliding

Losing Salvation/Backsliding


Take heed now to yourselves, and not to be like some, adding largely to your sins, and saying, “The covenant is both theirs and ours.” But they thus finally lost it, after Moses had already received it.

We take earnest heed in these last days; for the whole [past] time of your faith will profit you nothing, unless now in this wicked time we also withstand coming sources of danger, as becomes the sons of God that the Black One may find no means of entrance. – ibid

“Only those who fear the Lord and keep His commandments have life with God; but as for those who do not keep His commandments, there is no life in them.” – ibid

Take heed, lest resting at our ease, as those who are the called [of God], we should fall asleep in our sins, and the wicked prince, acquiring power over us, should thrust us away from the kingdom of the Lord. And all the more attend to this, my brethren, when you reflect and behold, that after so great signs and wonders were wrought in Israel, they were thus [at length] abandoned. Let us beware lest we be found [fulfilling that saying], as it is written, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” – ibid

Shepherd of Hermas

“For the Lord has sworn by His glory, in regard to His elect, that if any one of them sin after a certain day which has been fixed, he will no be saved. For the repentance of the righteous has limits. Filled up are the days of repentance to all the saints. But to the unbeliever, repentance will be possible even to the last day… For the Lord has sworn by His Son, that those who denied their Lord have abandoned their life to despair.”

The Didache

Watch for your life’s sake. Let not your lamps be quenched, nor your loins unloosed; but be ready, for you know not the hour in which our Lord will come. But come together often, seeking the things which are befitting to your souls: for the whole time of your faith will not profit you, if you are not made perfect in the last time.

Clement of Rome

Look you, brethren, lest His benefits, which are many, turn unto judgment to all of us, if we walk not worthily of Him, and do those things which are good and well-pleasing in His sight with concord. … It is right therefore that we should not be deserters from His will.

But they that endured patiently in confidence inherited glory and honor; they were exalted, and had their names recorded by God in their memorial for ever and ever. Amen. To such examples as these therefore, brethren, we also ought to cleave. For it is written; Cleave unto the saints, for they that cleave unto them shall be sanctified. – ibid


“Those who do not obey Him, being disinherited by Him, have ceased to be His sons.”

“Christ shall not die again in behalf of those who now commit sin, for death shall no more have dominion over Him; but the Son shall come in the glory of the Father, requiring from His stewards and dispensers the money which He had entrusted to them, with usury; and from those to whom He had given most shall He demand most. We ought not, therefore, as that presbyter remarks, to be puffed up, nor be severe upon those of old time, but ought ourselves to fear, lest perchance, after [we have come to] the knowledge of Christ, if we do things displeasing to God, we obtain no further forgiveness of sins, but be shut out from His kingdom. And therefore it was that Paul said, ‘For if [God] spared not the natural branches, [take heed] lest He also spare not thee, who, when thou wert a wild olive tree, wert grafted into the fatness of the olive tree, and wert made a partaker of its fatness.”


“Certain ones of those [heretics] who hold different opinions misuse these passages. They essentially destroy free will be introducing ruined natures incapable of salvation and by introducing others as being saved in such a way that they cannot be lost.”


“Being a believing man, if you seek to live as the Gentiles do, the joys of the world remove you from the grace of Christ.”


“Let us press onward and labor, watching with our whole heart. Let us be steadfast with all endurance; let us keep the Lord’s commandments. Thereby, when that day of anger and vengeance comes, we may not be punished with the ungodly and the sinners. Rather, we may be honored with the righteous and with those who fear God.”

Second Clement

And we ought not rather to fear men but God. For this cause, if you do these things, the Lord said, Though you be gathered together with Me in My bosom, and do not My commandments, I will cast you away and will say unto you, Depart from Me, I know you not whence you are, you workers of iniquity.

The promise of Christ is great and marvelous, even the rest of the kingdom that shall be and of life eternal. What then can we do to obtain them, but walk in holiness and righteousness, and consider these worldly things as alien to us, and not desire them? For when we desire to obtain these things we fall away from the righteous path. – ibid

And the scripture also said in Ezekiel, Though Noah and Job and Daniel should rise up, they shall not deliver their children in the captivity. But if even such righteous men as these cannot by their righteous deeds deliver their children, with what confidence shall we, if we keep not our baptism pure and undefiled, enter into the kingdom of God? Or who shall be our advocate, unless we be found having holy and righteous works? – ibid

Wherefore, my brethren, let us not be double-minded but endure patiently in hope, that we may also obtain our reward. – ibid

Let us therefore practice righteousness that we may be saved unto the end. Blessed are they that obey these ordinances. Though they may endure affliction for a short time in the world, they will gather the immortal fruit of the resurrection.- ibid

We ought to know that he which contends in the corruptible contest, if he be found dealing corruptly with it, is first flogged, and then removed and driven out of the race-course. What think you? What shall be done to him that has dealt corruptly with the contest of incorruption? For as concerning them that have not kept the seal, He said, Their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be for a spectacle unto all flesh. – ibid


“He put a seal upon him, for it is concealed as to who belong to the side of the devil and who to the side of Christ. For we do not know out of those who seem to stand whether they will fall or not. And of those who are down, it is uncertain whether they might rise.”


“God had foreseen… that faith – even after baptism – would be endangered. He saw that most persons – after obtaining salvation – would be lost again, by soiling the wedding dress, by failing to provide oil for their torches.”

“The world returned to sin…and so it is destined to fire. So is the man who after baptism renews his sins.”  -ibid

For since, by the introduction into an appropriation us of the Holy Spirit, we are all “the temple of God,” modesty is the sacristan and priestess of that temple, who is to suffer nothing unclean or profane to be introduced (into it), for fear that the God who inhabits it should be offended, and quite forsake the polluted abode.-ibid

Fear is the foundation of salvation; presumption is an impediment to fear. More useful, then, is it to apprehend that we may possibly fail, than to presume that we cannot; for apprehending will lead us to fear, fearing to caution, and caution to salvation. On the other hand, if we presume, there will be neither fear nor caution to save us. – ibid

“Grace with the Lord, when once learned and undertaken by us, should never afterward be cancelled by repetition of sin.” – ibid

“As to one who again denies Christ, no special previous standing can be effective to him for salvation. For anyone of us will hold it necessary that whatever is the last thing to be found in a man in this respect, that is where he will be judged. All of those things that he has previously done are wiped away and obliterated.” – ibid


“Therefore, the ones who are pardoned are those who slip into sin unintentionally and incautiously. He who sins willfully has no pardon.”

“A son who deserts his father in order not to pay him obedience is considered deserving of being disinherited and having his name removed forever from his family.”-ibid

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *