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Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Van, Apr 4, 2011.

  1. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Mar 4, 2011
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    Apostasy, turning away, is clearly a sound biblical doctrine. But it never applies fully to a believer chosen by God. It applies instead to two other groups of people. Those that heard the gospel but did not accept it into their hearts, and hence they fall away after professing belief, and those that turn from the truth of the gospel to another gospel and teach false doctrine and it is this group that spreads apostasy. Those that believe you can lose salvation point to apostasy as proof but lets look at some passages and see if the assertion holds up.

    Judas was chosen by God and given to Jesus as the one who would betray Christ. God had foretold this facet of God’s redemption plan. Rather than God accepting his professed faith, God may have hardened Judas’ heart further to bring His plan of redemption to fruition. Judas is an example of someone who does works and talks the talk but not only is the love of Christ not in his heart, his faith was rootless and hence Judas’s life was not impacted by the washing by the word (John 13:18-20). Jesus applied part of David’s psalm (41:9) to Judas, leaving out “whom I trusted.” And then He follows the prophecy that the one who eats bread with Jesus will lift up his heel (referring to Judas) with the additional truth that if you receive Jesus, you also receive the Father. Judas never received Jesus and never received the Father or the Father’s word in scripture, but instead, his betrayal of Jesus and rejection of the Father who sent Him, was in fact in accordance with the purpose and predetermined plan of God.

    In 1 Timothy 4:1, Paul says, “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.” This is an example of the second type of apostasy where false teachers and false doctrine are in view, causing people to fall away from the sound doctrine of the “faith”.

    Paul also teaches that apostasy will earmark the end of the age in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, again indicating that those affected will be of the unsaved “because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved” (2 Thess. 2:10)

    In 2 Timothy 2:16-18, Paul identifies Philetus and Hymenaeus as people who have gone astray, teaching that the resurrection which believers look forward to has already taken place. And this false teaching also has upset the faith of some, which I think means not that someone saved has lost their salvation, but that someone who has heard the true gospel but has not yet believed from the heart was lead astray with a false gospel, hindering efforts to add to the number of believers.

    In 1 Timothy 1:18-20, Paul commands Timothy to keep the faith, to not stray from the gospel, and to live such that he has a good conscience, pointing out that two others did not do that and made shipwreck of their faith. Again, it is unnecessary to assume loss of salvation, but rather simply the falling away of those that do not love God more than anything else, and hence were never chosen by God despite attaining some influence in the church. Demas (2 Timothy 4:10) fits this model of apostasy perfectly.

    In summary the doctrine of apostasy does not conflict with the doctrine of Eternal Security, but instead reinforces two biblical truths; some will turn away having never received the love of Jesus into their hearts, after perhaps a period of deluded or hypocritical service such as Judas, and some will be deceived by another gospel both now and perhaps more extensively prior to the second coming of Christ because of a deluding influence. Loss of salvation is not necessarily taught within the concept of apostasy.

    Now lets consider another facet of apostasy. After you hear the gospel, if you are receptive such that you believe in the Father as holy, just, merciful and our loving creator, then the word of God including the gospel will sink into your heart and your faith in Jesus will be heart felt. God has said that with this heart-felt faith as an introduction to grace, God will choose you, baptize you into Christ and indwell you with the Holy Spirit as a pledge to an inheritance of life eternal. But, what happens to those who hear the gospel and either reject it knowingly or it does not sink quickly into their heart. Those that reject the gospel are committing the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and unless they change or some subsequent event or circumstance in their life changes them they will remain lost because there is no other gospel by which men may be saved. Hebrews 6 talks about their plight.

    But what of those who hear the gospel, intellectually accept it, but it does not penetrate their heart? These are the ones who turn away when the going gets tough, when the cost of following Jesus becomes too high. Note that if you love Jesus more than anything, more than life itself, then the cost of following Jesus is never “too high.” But apostasy is not the only possible outcome. They may grow in their love of Jesus, and recommit to Christ (not realizing their initial commitment was never accepted by God) and be indwelt years after they were water baptized based on their self-proclaimed testimony.
    Also, during this period of potential growth, these folks are wide open to being led away by a works based salvation theology.

    Apostasy is an important doctrine, one that all believers should fear for the sake of Christ and the lost.