- Apostasy is the term used to refer to those who have fallen away from their once professed faith in Jesus Christ. It’s a tragic reality that the Bible speaks of and warns against numerous times.
- Apostasy can happen for many reasons: doubt, fear, conformity to the world, a desire for the things of the world, etc. However, the root cause of apostasy is demonic deception. The apostle Paul declares, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1).
- Most who apostatize wouldn’t recognize the spiritual battle behind their decision, but that is the biblical truth of the matter. Jesus calls our enemy, the Devil, “the ruler of this world” (John 14:30); and the apostle Paul calls him, “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Furthermore, we are told in scripture that our battle in this present age is a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12) and that Satan’s goal is to “steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10).
- What are we to make of those who have fallen away from their formerly professed faith in Christ? Scripture is clear that a genuine faith is a faith that persists in belief. 1 John 5:1 declares, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God...” The word “believes” here in the Greek is a present tense verb, which speaks of continuous action. So, a truly saved child of God will be marked by a persevering faith.
- Sadly, throughout the history of the Church there have been those who simply didn’t persevere, marking themselves as people without a true faith from the beginning. The apostle John speaks to this reality in 1 John 2:19, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.”
- How can the Church combat the tragic reality of apostasy? The only remedy for this condition is to proclaim the true, biblical gospel of Jesus Christ. People must hear and embrace the full counsel of the gospel: God’s holiness, our sinfulness, God’s gift of grace in Jesus, and our need to repent of sin and trust Christ for our salvation (Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23; Acts 3:19; John 3:16-18).
- As the Church we must proclaim the gospel because it is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16); and we must pray for the lost in our world, that the Holy Spirit would draw them unto himself and to a genuine faith in Christ (John 6:44; John 16:8; 1 Corinthians 2:14).
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