They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. (1 John 2:19)
It’s common to use the above verse as an attempt to support that true christians can never fall away from their faith. Since we can read about the people in this verse that they were “not all of us” this is used as a blanket statement throughout scriptures for that those who seem to have fallen away were automatically then “not all of us”. They fail to see the following:
1) The people spoken about were “antichrists”, which the verse just before explains, and we are not told if they might have been this all along or when this started to happen. The text is silent about this. That they left might indicate why they didn’t fit in and why they were not “all of us”.
2) This verse provides ONE case only with a rather unique situation with no indication that this rule applies each time people fall away and leave an assembly.
3) Only 5 verses later we can read about a CONDITIONAL eternal security in this verse:
24Let that therefore ABIDE in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. IF IF IF that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.
Here we can read that it’s not so sure that what we have heard from the beginning will remain in us since we can read “IF that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you”. What if we choose NOT to abide and what if the word does NOT remain in us? Are we still saved?
4) We can read other conditions and warnings from John in the very same chapter, and that it’s not self-evident that we will always choose to abide:
3And hereby we do know that we know him, IF IF IF we keep his commandments. 4He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.5But whoso KEEPETH his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.6He that saith he abidethin him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.10He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. 15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.17And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but HE THAT DOETH THE WILL OF GOD abideth for ever.26These things have I written unto you concerning them that SEDUCE you.28And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
5) Neither 1 John 2:19 or other verses in the Bible say anything close to “if a person falls away and loses his faith then he wasn’t saved to begin with”. This is something we must add to scriptures.
We can gather from this that unless we keep on abiding in Jesus and obey the commandments we are on a very shaky ground and we are not assured a place in the new Kingdom. I can add, that if it’s always true that a person who leaves his faith (and/or combines his faith with living in sin) was “not truly of us” and “not saved to begin with” then we will NEVER know who is saved or on the way to heaven in this life. Because if he later on in his life falls away, then we must at once assume that he was not saved earlier in his life eventhough he showed good fruit to go with his faith.