by Paul Benson
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. -Jesus the Christ
Though a good many well-meaning believers who were ‘brought up in the faith’ sitting under the errors of Calvinistic Theology would disagree, a person can (and sadly many do) fall away from the truth that brings us a vital living faith; and therefor they depart from saving grace. Disagree if you must, but if it were not possible to fall from grace (Gal. 5:4) the Bible would not detail the danger of doing so, nor decry the actions of those who have done so.
In spite of all the preaching and teaching that promotes the ever-popular and ear-tickling concept of OSAS (once saved always saved) there is an enormous amount of Scripture devoted to the warning of lingering in sin and the hardness of heart that results from doing so.
Whether it be in the teachings of our Christ (the ‘shallow of faith’ don’t endure to the end in the parable of the Good Seed), or of his Apostles (we have many accounts they clearly rebuked those who had apostatized and now spoke contrary to the truth), or the many other places the Bible warns of apostasy, clearly the reality presented in the Scriptures is that not all who begin the race complete the course and obtain the reward of salvation.
Many do apostatize and fall from grace.
But, thankfully, just as the Word of God gives us clear indication of the danger and symptoms of apostasy, it also gives us a sure cure for that malady! Let’s look at those symptoms and that wonderful life-saving cure.
The Reality Of Apostasy
Strong’s Definitions gives us the following explanation of the meaning of apostasy:
Apostasy apostasia ap-os-tas-ee’-ah
Feminine of the same as G647; defection from truth (properly the state), (apostasy): – falling away, forsake.
Apostasy is a falling away from the truth. It is a disease that, if left untreated, is fatal to those inflicted by it! The Bible calls the teachings that come forth from apostasy ‘heresy’. And as we see this evil of heresy is listed among the things that will prohibit us from inheriting the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21) it is an absolute must we comprehend the vital nature of walking free of such defilement.
Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20
This is one of those passages I was referring to that show clear indication a person can in fact depart from saving faith by departing from the truth. James, speaking to his fellow believers (if any of you) about falling away to perdition (save a soul from death), clearly tied the departure from the truth (err from the truth) to the loss of ones salvation. James did not preach OSAS; and neither did any other Apostle of Christ!
Believers who are secure in Christ don’t need to be saved from death; but those who have fallen away certainly do! To depart from the truth is to depart from Christ. For many folks (steeped in the teachings and traditions of man) cognitive dissonance prevents them from accepting the fact that OSAS is bogus theory; but understanding that people can and do apostatize is crucial understanding.
It is a biblical reality!
Though giving heed to false-teachings is but one way to fall away from Christ (the dangers are many), error in beliefs will always be associated with doing so. If not the direct cause of the departure itself, incorrect beliefs will manifest as a person strays farther and farther away from Jesus who himself IS the Truth. Just as embracing truth is tied to our deliverance from sin and death, you will always find falling-away and falsehood walking hand in hand.
This realization, that not only can one be seduced away from Christ through the lure of false teachings but also restored to the true faith (and saved from perdition) by a return to the truth, is what motivates me to do the work I do. To me it is a ‘search and rescue’ mission of the highest order! But if I bought into the notion of OSAS I doubt I would have the drive I do. Why bother to labor at rescuing those who can never get lost in the first place?
The Symptoms Of Apostasy
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. 13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end. Hebrews 3:12-14
Depart from sin! Abide in faith! Raise the Standard! Preach that Standard! Endure to the end! The Scriptures are replete with the warning of the dangers of sin and its effect upon ones heart. And just as replete with the demand we are to continually exhort one another as to this peril. But where is the out-cry in the modern pulpit? Next to nonexistent!
I can’t help but feel that false teachings over the security of salvation have fueled the ho-hum attitude most believers today have toward the heretical doctrines and wayward life-styles so prevalent in Western Christianity.
In fact, I would be so bold as to say that one’s lack of concern over this apostasy is in itself evidence of that very apostasy!
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. -Jesus Christ
Contrary to what I call the ‘modern Gospel’ not all who profess to believe in Christ Jesus and his work on the Cross will enter God’s eternal Kingdom! God is a God of truth; and he demands his followers also have a love for the truth. Only those who abide in Christ and in his truth, and who submit to that truth will be saved. Those who follow after seductive falsehoods and ear-tickling lies will be shut out of the Kingdom.
One of the greatest signs of apostasy is the willingness to accept teachings that are blatantly contrary to the simple teachings of the Bible. When we see clearly stated truths of the Scriptures set aside in favor of modern opinion or pet doctrines this is apostasy at work! The fact that heresy is so rife today among those professing faith in Jesus proves we are in the midst of the great end-time delusions prophesied to manifest in the end of days. Most can recognize that fact.
Once again I am led to re-emphasize a truth often stated in my writings. Though you probably do recognize the apostate state of much of what calls itself ‘Christian’ today, do you realize that God himself often chooses to have a major role in the progression of that apostasy? WHAT? God causing apostasy? God steering people unto their perdition? Yes, as amazing as that statement sounds it is absolutely true!
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2Thessalonians 2:11-12
God can, and at times will, cause those who refuse to submit to the truth, and who choose to give place to error, to continue on to deeper error until they are locked into an irreversible apostate condition that will damn them and keep them from defiling his eternal Kingdom! It is foolish to hold to teachings that disregard that possibility.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind… Romans 1:28
This is a stark reality many refuse to embrace: According to the Bible there are some who have had the knowledge of God’s truth but chose not to cherish and retain that knowledge. The result is them being given over to a reprobate mind. What is a reprobate mind?
REPROBATE, a. L. reprobatus, reprobo, to disallow; re and probo, to prove.
1. Not enduring proof or trial; not of standard purity or fineness; disallowed; rejected.
Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the Lord hath rejected them. Jer. 6.
2. Abandoned in sin; lost to virtue or grace.
They profess that they know God, but in works deny him, being abominable and disobedient, and to every good work reprobate. Titus 1.
3.Abandoned to error, or in apostasy. 2Tim. 3.
Definitions from Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828.
I find the reference to reprobate silver in Jeremiah 6 to be the most telling clue as to the biblical meaning of a reprobate condition. Reprobate silver was considered next to worthless because it was metal that refused to submit to the refining process and be separated from its impurities. It was therefor rejected as far as being considered legitimate currency.
In a similar manner much of what is today called ‘Christian faith’ will on Judgment Day be rejected as illegitimate. Cast aside as reprobate. Today’s ‘come as you are’ gospel is producing a ‘stay as I am’ generation of professing believers who are little more than reprobates. But the true Gospel is a ‘repent (turn from sin) and follow Jesus’ message.
I do hope you understand the difference!
The Cure For Apostasy
The sad fact is that there are some who love their sin; and there are some who love their lies! There are those among the Christian Church who refuse to be separated from the defilement of their sins, or of the falsehoods they have come to love, and they will ultimately be rejected as reprobate by the Father. What could be more tragic?
As I stated earlier: if you are not deeply concerned that you may be one of those rejected ones you probably already are in that fog of delusion that masks the danger of sin and deception with a false sense of security.
But, thank God!
Not all who fall to sin or falsehood are destined to the perdition an unrepentant reprobate will face. There are some who recover from that condition. And the difference between those who remain lost or those who recover is found in the choice between pride and humility!
Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18
He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Proverbs 28:13
For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. Isaiah 57:15
We have a merciful God who will draw near the humble and contrite of heart, ready to forgive and revive those who have been tainted by sins and the defilement of falsehoods. But we must recognize the need. We must repent and seek his forgiveness.
Jesus bore ALL of our sins on that Cross! Including the sin of allowing the doctrines and commandments of man that are contrary to the truth to defile us with false beliefs that lead us along false paths. But we can come to him with a hunger for the truth and have our paths corrected.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Matthew 5:6
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. John 16:13
In spite of the polluted and convoluted message the Western Church is preaching, the true standard of Christian living is one of purity and truth. God demands we walk free of sin; and also free of the defilement of falsehood.
God is looking for a sanctified people to serve him!
Sanctification is a topic that has fallen by the wayside in most pulpits, but the purifying of not only our hearts but also our beliefs is something that is only possible through an outpouring of the grace, strength and truth brought to us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. God’s Word contains his truth; but we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit (not man’s theories) to rightly divide that truth and apply it to our lives. We must humble ourselves before God and cry out for this divine assistance. It is not something we can attain on our own or by religious association.
The knowledge of the truth is a gift from God; and should be cherished as such!
One of the most alarming ‘words’ I have heard from the Lord concerned his view of falsehoods being pawned off as truth. The Lord, in a very serious way, caused me to understand that to him lies and false doctrines are just as defiling to ones heart as sexual perversion! Perversion is perversion in God’s sight. And when people allow themselves to be seduced by false teachings they are allowing themselves to become perverse in their beliefs.
Seeking out and abiding in the truth is not just a good idea; it is the path that leads to eternal life! Again: God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24) Many of us have certainly asked the Father to purify our hearts and our behavior; but I wonder:
Have you ever asked God to purify your belief system?
Have you asked him to sanctify your understanding of his ways; and to deliver you from the apostate teachings an apostate Church has sought to convince you of? Considering the seriousness and consequence of apostasy (departure from the truth), and looking at the condition of the Western Church, I think it wise we approach God with a petition to sanctify our beliefs on an ongoing basis!
I do, and I hope you would follow suit!
Blessings upon those who worship the Lord in truth;
I welcome your input!
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