Yes, Christians CAN Fall Away from God…

June 4, 2015 at 12:20 PM 2 comments

…but they don’t lose salvation.

deceitful heartWe have been discussing the teaching of parts of Hebrews; chapters 3, 4, 6, 10, and 11. Obviously, we have not covered all aspects of each of those chapters, but we have gone over sections from them that connect to the concept of entering into the “rest” that God has for us.

We’ve talked about the fact that the writer to the Hebrews cannot be simply referring to gaining salvation as a definition of this rest because he clearly appears to be speaking to people whom he assumed were already believers. Based on this, he cannot be speaking of salvation, so he must be referring to something else. Paul does the same thing in numerous places throughout his epistles.

There must be something beyond salvation (or included in salvation), that the believer is to strive to receive. It appears that this part of it is based on the choice and perseverance of the individual believer. Just as those in the Old Testament times became believers, they were encouraged by Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and others to press on to receive all that God had for them.

I must conclude then that salvation is received based totally on faith, nothing based on works so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-10). However, just as Paul “ran the race” and even completed it, that part of being a Christian is something we must actively pursue. If we are in fact, authentic Christians and we fail to pursue all that God has for us, we do so because we become someone with an evil, unbelieving heart, who departs from God’s purposes, will, and path.

We pointed out that this is exactly what occurred with Adam and Eve, Moses, Peter, and we can go further and highlight the unbelief in King David’s heart. Look what happened to David all because he opted to stay at home instead of being out there leading his troops as was the what kings did when the spring came around.

“Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel, and they destroyed the sons of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem,” (2 Samuel 11:1).

The above passage fully implies that David was being completely irresponsible. There was an Ammonite rebellion (chapter 10) that needed David’s attention, but instead of dealing with it directly, David simply passed the torch to Joab, who then became busy besieging Rabbah, the capital of Jordan. The king by all means should have been the one to lead his troops into battle and this was the custom at the time. Since it is clear from the narrative that David had no real reason for remaining in Jerusalem, he should have been out with his troops.

Remember, in order for Israel to live in peace in the Promised Land, there were times when defending the territory was needed. This was one of those times and David believed that he didn’t need to be out there, but could stay home. God would have expected David to be with his troops unless there was some mitigating reason why he needed to remain at home. As we continue reading through Chapter 11 of 2 Samuel, it becomes clear that David had no reason for remaining at home. In fact, remaining at home is what got him into serious trouble with the Lord.

2 Samuel 11-12 shows us the path that David took all because he had an unbelieving heart in what God expected him to do. He chose his own path, which first caused him to lust after a woman he was not married to, then commit adultery with her, then after it is learned that he impregnated her (Bathsheba), David actually creates a plan to have her husband Uriah, killed while on the battle field! How could this happen to someone like David who was a man after the Lord’s heart (Acts 13:22)? It seems unbelievable to us, doesn’t it? But if we understand how David got there, it should help us also understand that all of us can fall in the same or similar ways if we harbor an unbelieving, evil heart!

Yet it is also clear that David did not lose salvation. He was fearful of having the Holy Spirit taken from him, but he did not lose his salvation. There were also consequences that must run their course and they did. The baby died, David’s household was turned upside down, and things became a terrible mess. It all started because David had this brilliant idea that he would stay home instead of being out there defending areas of the Promised Land.

I find it fascinating that we would call things like what David, Moses, or Peter or someone else did as backsliding. That actually softens the reality. It’s not backsliding, as though we merely slide a few steps backwards and can regain what we lost quickly. No, the writer of Hebrew (as well as in many places of Paul’s writings), informs us that mistakes like those made by Moses, David, Adam and Eve, Peter, and others constitutes having an evil, unbelieving heart. As Christians though, we don’t like the sound of it. How can a Christian have that kind of depraved heart?

Is that not what God called Moses’ actions in Numbers 20? Do you think you are more spiritual than Moses? “Oh, but Moses didn’t have the Holy Spirit in him.” How do you know that? Moreover, he actually walked and talked with God as one man to another. He had a very special, fruitful relationship with God. At one point, Moses stood in for the people of Israel and begged God to kill him instead of them (cf. Exodus 32:32). He is a type of Christ in many ways, yet he failed miserably and so can we!

What Moses did in Numbers 20, when he struck the rock twice after God specifically told him to simply speak to the rock, was not backsliding! It was born of an evil, unbelieving heart, plain and simple. This is what God calls it. Who are we to disagree with God, which is the essence of having an evil, unbelieving heart?

When we choose to disbelieve God, we do so because we have chosen to believe something else. This stems from an evil heart, a heart that is extremely difficult to know and understand (cf. Jeremiah 17:9). It’s not “backsliding” as if we simply lost our footing while trying to climb up a metal slide. It is giving way to an evil, unbelieving heart! Maybe if we were willing to call it what it is, we would be more willing to humble ourselves and acknowledge that we are capable of doing what Moses did, what David did, what Peter did and what others have done.

We still have a sin nature that is unique to us. That sin nature will be there until after we leave this life and at the Bema Judgment Seat when we stand before Jesus, He will remove it. This is why we can never have perfect “rest” in this life. Rest implies a cessation from work. We will always be working as long as we’re alive, or we should be working. While we live, it is called “today” and as long as we are in “today,” we must be working. There will be a time for us to cease from our labors, just as God ceased from His work on the 7th day of Creation. This is our pattern. When our work is done, then we will cease from working and will enter into His eternal rest.

How much of that rest we will enjoy all depends upon how well we continue to believe Him in this life. I want to come back in the next article with ways in which we prove to Him that we are believing in Him. I mentioned one example in the last article, about continuing to gather together with other believers to encourage, to fellowship, and to worship. Believers who refuse to gather with other believers have departed from God because He clearly tells us that we must continue gathering together with other believers. If we have departed from God in that area, it is because we obviously do not believe that His Word, His commands to us are binding, or that we are obligated to obey. WRONG. To disobey means to depart from God.

I guarantee you that you will not obey God if you do not believe Him!

We’ll be back with more examples next time. Thanks for sticking with me in this series.

 

Entry filed under: christianity, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation.

Good News of Hebrews 4… Believing Faith vs. Evil, Unbelieving Heart for the Christian

2 Comments

  • 1. Sherry  |  June 5, 2015 at 7:55 AM

    Many of us must gather together by other means than a church setting for fellowship because we know that the celebrations of Christmas and Easter are an abomination to God. We…WE…get kicked out of our church for not abiding the evil paganism in it. Just as well, since Jesus says to Come out from among them. You cannot christianize paganism-Jesus did not redeem these man-made “holy” days when He died on the cross. They have nothing to do with our Lord and Saviour, Jesus, of the Bible though many are deceived into thinking it is so. We don’t believe one can worship God by disobeying Him. So, until we can find a church that is biblically obeying God’s Word, and rightly interpretting His Word, we meet online, in homes and/or in Bible Study groups.

    Question: Is repentance a “work?”

    • 2. modres  |  June 5, 2015 at 8:09 AM

      I tried to make it clear in my article that I was NOT talking about people in situations like yours. I personally know people who live in areas where there is not ONE Bible-believing church. They teach lies. I know others who – like yourself – have been asked to leave for one reason or another.

      I don’t believe that this is what the writer to the Hebrews is referring to when he talks about not forsaking joining together with other believers. I believe he is talking about people who simply decide that they can do better on their own, that they don’t really need (or want) local fellowship. They consider themselves a “John the Baptist” where it’s just them and God. No need for others.

      Again, I was trying to be really clear in my article, but apparently, I came up short. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to further explain it.

      Repentance? Is it a work? Are you referring to repentance that leads to salvation or repentance that guides the Christian on a daily basis when he/she falls into sin?

      The repentance that prompts me to go to God for salvation is a work that He does within me (or anyone). I respond to His pull.

      As a Christian, it is my responsibility to ensure that I repent of my sin whenever the Holy Spirit brings it up to me. There have been times where the sorrow I have felt as a Christian for my disobedience was nearly overwhelming. However (and strangely enough), I never felt GUILT or that God was considering casting me off. In fact, I felt the strong pull of His gracious love and understanding, which only made my sense of failure (for that specific, individual sin) that much greater. I recall it well. Though it was nothing immoral at all (it was business related where I did not trust Him to provide and it put my home in a bit of a financial mess, because of course, I knew better than God), the weight of my failure was intense. All I could do was apologize repeatedly and stand before Him waiting for His discipline.

      Even though I had sinned, His loving disapproval was almost more than I could bear. I had failed Him. I had catered to unbelief. Yet, He drew me back to Him as a loving earthly father would take the “belt” of discipline to his son. I really don’t know how to describe it, frankly. I’m sure you can imagine the weight of my sorrow at having sinned against the power of His love and acceptance.

      In that sense then, God still drew me to Him, but I believe it was MY responsibility to succumb to Him in repentance. Never was my salvation in question.

      Don’t know if I’ve made sense or not, Sherry. I’ll wait for you to tell me 🙂


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