<<abandoning the faith>>

Renouncing one’s belief in God, rebelling against Him and His authority, turning aside to other religions or myths (1 Tim 1:4, 4:1; 2 Tim 4:4). This can be termed ‘spiritual adultery’ and is what the Israelites did when they forsook God and went after other gods (1 Sam 8:8). It is not just starting down the ‘narrow way’ that is important but continuing on

Is my connectedness with Christ growing daily?

faithfully (Eccl 7:8; Mt 10:22, 24:13; Lk 8:13). We need to persevere (continuing to remain) so we will receive what God has promised. If we give up He is not pleased (Lk 9:62; Heb 10:36,38). We must be on our guard so we don’t fall or are lead astray by false teachings (2 Pet 3:17,18). Thus we need to be in close fellowship with God and other believers, and by diligently searching the Scriptures strengthen our faith, so “we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved” (Heb 10:39).

Prior to the rapture there will be a great falling away or rejection of God's revelation (2 Thes 2:3). Jesus said many will turn away from the faith and because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold (Mt 24:10-12). Many of those following Jesus, when He outlined the cost of discipleship "turned back and no longer followed Him" (Jn 6:60,66). While many Christians believe there will be a massive revival before the rapture, Scripture does not back this up. However, this should not stop us sharing Jesus and praying for a significant move of God in the hearts of people to genuinely turn to Him as during the tribulation period (this is before Christ's second coming) in spite of the hardship there will be a great ingathering of souls (Rev 6:9-11, 7:9,14, 20:4).

Apostasy is the intentional or deliberate abandonment of traditional Christianity. This is in contrast to a temporary lapse of living contrary to the ideals set forth in the Word of God – a falling away, backsliding or 'going prodical' for a time due to the temptations and trials of the world and the flesh, for we all sin regularly and fall short of God's standards – Christians are just repenting sinners, who turn back to the Lord when they realise the error of their ways (Rom 3:23,24; 1 Jn 1:9). Jesus said there will be many who think they should be allowed to enter heaven, yet the requirement is "only those who do the will of God" will be permitted (Mt 7:21-23). There is the need to firmly hold onto, with a lifestyle backing up the confession we make, of the true gospel (1 Cor 6:9,10, 15:1,2).

The outcome of apostasy

Since the Holy Spirit comes to us through Jesus, when a person commits apostasy through wilful renouncement and is no more in relationship with Jesus, the Holy Spirit will abandon them, and they are doomed to a lost eternity, for "Whoever has the Son has life, whoever does not have the Son does not have life" (2 Chr 15:2; Heb 10:26,27,29; 1 Jn 5:12). Salvation is not a one-time event; it is a state in which you are sanctified, justified, forgiven etc. The Father will disinherit any Christian who, for whatever reason has committed apostasy and their name will be removed from the Book of Life. It is impossible for a person who commits apostasy to be saved again, and their life degenerates further than they were before (Heb 6:4-6; 2 Pet 2:20,21).

While it is a controversial issue if Christians can lose their salvation, the Bible is very clear we are not to continue in sin by living according to the flesh and intentionally pursue sin (Jn 15:1-8; Rom 1:18-32, 6:1-4, 8:13, 11:20-22; 1 Cor 9:27; Eph 4:22; Col 1:21-23; 2 Tim 2:17-19; 1 Jn 5:18). Those who live by the sinful nature will not inherit the Kingdom of

God knows those who are His – and who will be in heaven

God (Gal 5:19-21). While it is true in the OT with the Holy Spirit coming on people rather than indwelling as happens in the NT there was a recognizable loss of presence due to sin (Jdg 16:20; 1 Sam 16:14; Ps 51:11). The Bible indicates living consistently according to the sinful nature results in eternal death (1 Cor 6:9,10,18; Gal 6:8 ; Rev 21:8, 22:15). Instead, we are to persevere in our faith, follow sound doctrine, do good works, resist the temptations of this world, the passions of the flesh and the influences of Satan (Mk 14:38; Eph 2:10; 2 Tim 4:3; Jas 1:25, 4:7; 1 Pet 2:11, 5:9). This is summed up in the great commandment to love God with all our being (Mk 12:30). Following this is the command to love our neighbour as ourselves (Mk 12:31). If we live by these commands we need not fear about apostasy.

See also: agnosticatheistbacksliding, controversial issues, eternal security, give up, rapture, salvation, tribulation, unbelief.