In Apostasy-Part One we took a look at the definitions for the word Apostasy. In Apostasy-Part Two we took a look at the Biblical Warnings Regarding Apostasy. In this article we will be taking a look at all the Bible passages that are If/Conditional passages. These passages make it clear that God gives warnings regarding apostasy to Christians because of the reality that they can commit the act of apostasy.
1 Timothy 4:1
The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
A person cannot abandon the faith if they were never in the faith. There is only faith spoken of in the New Testament-faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
12 Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. 13 You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. 14 For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.
This is clearly written to Christians (brothers and sisters). A person cannot turn away from the living God unless they had a relationship with God. The passage goes as far as to say that we as believers are to warn others to not become deceived and harden their hearts against God. The passage goes even further by saying “if we are faithful to the end”, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. Does not salvation come through Christ. Is this talking about having salvation but losing other things? Maybe? But dangerous to turn away from God, to harden the heart, and not be faithful to the end. This is certainly not the definition of a follower of Christ.
Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.
‘To believe’ in this passage is certainly speaking of those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior. Or at a minimum believe Jesus is the means of salvation. It gives the connotation that they were saved because they believed for awhile.
4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.
A. Enlightened-Is it not lost people who become Christians the Enlightened?
B. Tasted the Heavenly Gift-Is it not Christians who taste the gift of heaven-salvation?
C. Shared in the Holy Spirit-Only Christians can have the Holy Spirit.
D. Tasted the goodness of the Word of God-Only Christians taste of, receive the Word of God in the context of this phrase.
E. Tasted the powers of the coming age-What else but the power of being born again and receiving a glorified body in eternity?
F. Fall away cannot be brought back to repentance-Cannot fall away unless ‘in the way’.
G. Subjecting Christ to public disgrace-Certainly a person who was born again and then turns to wickedness, rejecting Christ is putting Christ to shame.
It takes much manipulation to try and make this passage be speaking about someone who was never born again.
2 Peter 2:20-22
20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.”
The Greek word epignosis is used for knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It means “knowledge gained through first-hand relationship or experience”, “precise and correct knowledge”. Thus, this passage is saying those who have known Jesus as Lord and Savior and then turn their backs on Him are worse off than before they accepted Christ into their life. If we look at the context the passage is directed toward those who are false teachers. There are certainly examples of false teachers who at one time accepted Christ. Everything in 2 Peter 2 gives the impression that false teachers will not enter heaven. Could this mean they will just have a miserable life here on earth? Yes. But does anyone actually believe a false teacher will be in heaven?
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?
What does it mean to have received the knowledge of the truth? Does it not mean receiving the truth of Jesus Christ being Savior? How can one trample the Son of God underfoot if they are not born again based upon the context? How does one treat the blood of the covenant that sanctified them (saved their soul) as unholy if they are not born again? Lost people are not sanctified by the blood of Christ.
“If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”
Do not remain in Jesus. Thus had to be in Jesus at one time. Thrown into the fire and burned. Certainly does not sound like their destiny is heaven.
1 Timothy 4:1-2
1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.
Will ABANDON THE FAITH, had to be in the faith.
10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
To turn away from the faith would require to be in the faith at some point. The love of most will grow cold would mean the love that comes from God dies out. If the one who stans firm to the end is saved, what about those who do not stand firm to the end?
2 Peter 3:17
Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.
B. Be on guard
C. Not be carried away
D. Fall from your secure position
No need for God to forewarn, no need to be on guard, no potential to be carried away, cannot fall from secure position if once saved always saved. Obviously, a person can fall from the grace of God (secure position) or no need for the warning. Thus, there is a condition in regard to eternal security-Jesus must be Lord, not just Savior.
You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.
How can you fall from grace if you never were in grace?
1 Timothy 1:19-20
19 holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith. 20 Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.
One must hold unto faith. A person can reject the faith and have their lives shipwrecked. Being shipwrecked at a minimum is not a good thing, but this passage goes further in describing what it means to be shipwrecked-to commit blasphemy. Blasphemy is the unpardonable sin.
If the following people will not enter heaven, then certainly a blasphemer cannot enter heaven.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
Never Born Again
There is a difference between never being born and being born again at one point.
1 John 2:19
“They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us.”
From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
Certainly many if not most were not true followers of Christ. It should be mentioned that at this time, none of the followers of Christ were literally born again at this time. It was not until John 20:22 that they had the Holy Spirit living in them.
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
It is clear there are those who claim to be Christians that are not. Thus, these type of individuals do not lose eternal life since they never had it.
There is a preponderance of passages of Scripture that Christians can commit the act of apostasy. Does that mean that no follower of Jesus Christ has eternal security of salvation? Absolutely not!!! There are passages of Scripture that speak clearly on eternal security in Christ. The answer to the apparent dichotomy is that Jesus must not only be Savior, but He must be Lord. Many say we cannot make Jesus Lord, He is Lord. That is absolutely true. But even though He is Lord a lost person is not going to heaven because they refuse to allow Him to be LORD OF THEIR LIFE. We will explore the Lordship of Jesus Christ in our next article on Apostasy.
Apostasy-Part One, Definition
Apostasy-Part Two, Biblical Warnings
Apostasy-Part Three, Conditional Verses
Apostasy-Part Four, Lordship of Christ
Apostasy-Part Five, An Example
Apostasy-Part Six, Extremes
Apostasy-Part Seven, Summary