The Reality of Apostasy
Apostasy? What is apostasy? To some this word may sound strange and may not have meaning. But let us first assign a meaning to this word and then we will understand how serious apostasy is. Webster's New World Dictionary defines apostasy as: "an abandoning of what one believed in, as a faith, etc." Now do you see how serious this word is? The Lord's church is suffering today because of individuals that have abandoned their faith in God and slipped back into worldliness. Peter says "For if after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them" (2 Peter 20-21). These are some strong words delivered by the apostle Peter! God is very displeased with anyone that accepts his commandments one day and then throws them into the wind the next. Individuals that do this will be lost eternally. James say "My beloved brethren, if any among you strays from the truth, and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins" (James 5:19-20). God takes apostasy very seriously and so should we - our soul is at stake!
If apostasy wasn't a real problem then it would not be addressed so often in the word of God. There are different types of apostasy. The Hebrew writer says "For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins," (Heb 10:26). Apostasy usually comes about as a result of an individual who willfully strays from God's word but we can also see that apostasy can come in other ways such as deceptiveness. "But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived" (2 Tim 3:13).
Apostasy is known by other terms such as "shipwreck" as Paul points out to young Timothy in 1 Tim 1:19. It is also described as a "falling away" in Heb 6:6. James refers to individuals that slip into apostasy as "erring" (Jam 5:19). As we see various terms associated with this word apostasy - one thing is for certain and that is "ONE HAS ABANDONED THEIR FAITH IN GOD!"
Now that we know what apostasy is, we need to find out what causes this awful thing to happen to God's children. In today's society there is an endless list of things that can cause someone to turn away from God because their faith is not as strong as it should be. False teachers that are on the television networks and around every corner are being fueled by Satan himself to cause you to fall away from God. Jesus talks about the false prophet in Matt 24:11 when he says; "...many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many". This is just one cause that will confront the Christian on a day to day basis. There are many, many others such as; the love of this world (2 Tim 4:10), ignorance (Rom 10:3), carelessness (1 Cor 10:12), discouragements (Matt 24:12), temptations of all kinds (Luke 8:13), developing an attitude of "unbelief" (1 Tim 1:19), impure hearts (1 Tim 1:5-6), and the lack of a good conscience before God (1 Tim 1:19), just to name a few.
But there is a remedy for this awful sickness of apostasy and that is to repent and turn back to God's way before it is everlastingly too late (Rev 2:5)! As Christians, if we would concentrate on adding Christian graces to our lives, then we would not be so easily swayed into apostasy from one form or another. Read 2 Peter 1:5-10 and add these graces to your life. Apostasy is real and can happen to anyone that has a weak faith and isn't growing in the Christian graces!