Tonight, after church, a whole bunch of young believers got together at a believer’s house just to hang out. (I love that about true Christian life — we the family of God are the best friends there could be!)
But as we were having a great time chatting, eating, drinking, laughing, and playing games, I could not help but to notice the notable absence of two people.
You see, in my church, two believers fell away from Christ and became unbelievers. Both are very good friends, and each decided, together, to leave the faith. How devastating.
Incidentally, another person whom I know also just gave it up. No explanation whatsoever. He just seems to have lost sight of the meaning and point of it all. Bizarre!
So this got me thinking. We believers share in the joy of the Lord. And so we should! It is right and just to express our joy. But shouldn’t we also share in sorrow for the fallen?
Think of what it means to fall. It means to be cut off from Christ. To leave one’s family. It means that after having been washed from one’s filth — having removed one’s ripped rags, having been clothed with pure garments — to jump back into the slime-filled mud-pit full of stinking feces that God dragged you out off originally. It is moving from a state of peace with and life in God, back into an original state of death and condemnation before Him.
In other words, to fall away is to be is danger of the fires of eternal hell.
So I find it quite distressing when somebody falls. They have left their love of and inheritance in the Eternal God of glory for what is foolish, fleshly, and fleeting.
Apostasy is offensive and grievous to us as Christians. Of course it is. It is so much so that we shy away from it. Surely not, O Lord! Some people even resort to a false doctrine of “eternal security” or “once saved always saved” asserting that we cannot fall, or that if we do that God will most assuredly bring us back in his timing. God is faithful to us, after all. Well of course. But that is to miss the point. When a man casts Christ from himself, Christ has not been unfaithful to him; he has been unfaithful to Christ. Eternal security or once saved always saved is a false doctrine with false security and false assurance. It denies the reality of the dangers of turning back to the world and perishing, like the Bible warns us about. And our just shielding our eyes from it simply will not equip us to deal with it properly when it comes to our doorstep and someone we know decisively walks away from a vibrant faith they once had.
The proper response to apostasy should be a deep-seated grief and mourning on behalf of us all. Cutting oneself off from Christ is literally spiritual suicide. We would be crazy not to prepare ourselves to respond to it in the right way.
Furthermore, I think we need to be watching out especially for those in our churches who put on a façade of going well but are actually slowly slipping away.
I am just so impressed by so many young men and women in my church — late teens and early 20s and such. But in light of those their age who have fallen away, whom I thought were going strong, I want to commit myself to their service all the more, and enact a ministry of prayer and more purposeful engagement and encouragement of them. I want to be a big brother to those in my church. I want to lead them into everlasting life. To this end I want to lead by example, and to be holy and Spirit-filled. I want to be peaceful, patient, kind, faithful, loving, gentle and all other virtues of the Lord. I want to be wise for their sake. I want to live so as to make Christ beautiful to them, and to fan into a roaring flame the spark the Holy Spirit has placed in their hearts!
Blessed be the name of the Lord. I pray the Church would stand against the Gates of Hell by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us, that by Her example many would continue on in Christ, and perhaps those who have fallen may return.