Danger Of Falling Away — No. 2
(Continuation of Vol.2, No.15, Pg.3, Danger Of Falling Away — No. 1 )
By proving that man is responsible for the deeds of the body, the idea that the regenerated spirit of man does not sin while his body does sin is disproved. Few who hold this doctrine will make the statement as I have made it, but try to modify it in some form to sound more credible. The doctrine calls for the impossibility of falling from grace, and when a plain unimpeachable Scripture is given to disprove the position, something must be found to try to save the theory. So the idea that the body sins while the spirit of man cannot sin after the new birth was invented.
But some Baptists have long ago turned loose this exact position because of its plain fallacies and have explained the dilemma in another way. We are told that a child of God may sin after his conversion, but that God will always bring him back in the right way before he dies. This doctrine certainly pleases some people for all they have to do is "get saved" and then live in sin and they will never die. Of course this consequence is not desired, nor is the consequence of such a theory taught even to Baptists, but such a course cannot lead to any other consequence.
But what about a church falling away? Someone says, Since Christ gave his life for the sins of man, no one once saved can ever be lost. If I find just one person in a lost condition after having been pardoned by obedience to the gospel, recorded in the word of God, it is possible for all to be lost. If one Christian can be lost, a whole group of Christians, or a church, can be lost.
From the second letter to Timothy we learn this: "Do thy diligence to come unto me: for Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia." Now how do we know that Demas was a Christian? This man is mentioned three times in the New Testament. First, to the church in Collosse Paul wrote: "Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you." (Col. 4:14.) Demas sent his salutations as a Christian by Paul to those in Collosse. Second when Paul wrote to his friend and brother, Philemon, he closed his letter in this manner: "Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellow laborers." (verse 24.) Does this not sound like Christian brethren? Even more? Demas was a fellow laborer to Paul: one who helped in preaching the gospel of Christ. There is no question but that Demas was a Christian at this time in good standing with Paul. But now the third time Demas is mentioned the picture is quite different. "Demas hath forsaken me, HAVING LOVED THIS PRESENT WORLD." What does it mean to love this present world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." (I John 2:15, 16.)
The attention of Demas had been turned from the things of God to the lust of this world, thus he fell away. Now if it were possible for this man to fall away, why is it not possible for us to do so today? Are not the same temptations confronting us today that were
before this man? The conclusion cannot be missed. But some want further proof. I believe I can find one who was inspired showing some that "falling away" is possible. Paul wrote this: "For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; YE ARE FALLEN FROM GRACE." (Gal. 5:3, 4.) Did you hear the Bible say that? Yet men will teach it this way: "YE ARE NOT FALLEN FROM GRACE." The devil put in a "NOT" —in his doctrine to Eve; that is what has happened here. You know what happened when Eve believed the "NOT"; the same will happen here. It is indeed handling the Scriptures recklessly to accuse Paul of saying "Ye are NOT fallen from grace." Who were they that had fallen? Certainly not alien sinners, for they were never in grace in the first place. One could not fall from a place where he has never been. So then by direct quotation and example we can see that it is possible for a child of God to fall from grace; there is a danger of falling away. Do not let anyone tell you that the danger signs of the New Testament do not mean what they say. Let me read just one statement from Paul that shows he understood the possibility of apostasy. "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." (I Cor. 9:27.) The Revised Version says: "... I myself should be rejected." Even a preacher might fall away and be rejected.
While on this subject we might inquire why and what causes one to fall away from the grace of God. One thing that causes one to fall into sin after having obeyed the gospel is failing to consider the Lord in his life afterward. "The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider." (Isa. 1:3.) God's people do not study the Bible as they should. "My people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge." (Hosea 4:6.) Today, perhaps more than at any other time in history, people do not read the Bible for themselves; they depend upon some preacher to tell them what to do and never investigate for themselves. There has always been false preachers, and the only way to detect them is by the word of God. Let us have a love for the truth of God and not be led to believe a lie and be lost. (2 Thess. 2:10- 12.)
Another cause of many falling away from the faith is to fail to do as we have learned. Christianity is a religion of DOING. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that DOETH the will of my Father which is in heaven." (Matt. 7:21.) James discusses this at length in his epistle. "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." (James 1:22.) The three verses following discuss it more fully. A man who has been told what to do by the Lord, but continually refuses to do it, that man is sinning, whether he be a child of God or an alien sinner. A danger sign posted here is that by not doing what we know to do as Christians, we will be lost except we repent. "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." (James 4:17.) When a Christian knows to read and study his Bible, but fails to do so he is sinning and will be lost if he continues. The same can be said for prayer, public worship, daily service, etc. We must continue to do good or suffer the consequences of sin. "The wages of sin is death." (Rom. 6:23.)
In the last book of the New Testament we find this message: "... be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." (Rev. 2:10.) Near the close of his life Paul penned this: "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." (2 Tim. 4:6-8.) Paul based his hope in this farewell letter upon his faithfulness unto death. That is consistent with all else he wrote during his Christian ministry. If the doctrine of "Impossibility of Apostasy" were true, these statements would have absolutely no meaning. Flee from it and "save yourselves from this untoward generation" to obedience to the gospel of Christ, and continue faithfully unto death, and the "crown of life" awaits you.
Not only "can" people depart from the faith, but they "will." "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." (I Tim. 4:1.)