Friday, March 29, 2013

Eternal Security: Backsliding and Apostasy

Carefully distinguish between the backsliding of real believers, such as Peter and Lot, and the real falling away of apparent believers, such as Judas and Simon Magus.

Peter, in self-confidence, yet real love to his Master, vowed that he would face prison and death for his beloved Lord, and yet at the voice of a servant maid denied His Master with oaths and cursing! Peter sinned, but his faith did not fail (Luke 22:31-34, 54-62). It is so with each one of us. Even in the darkest season of fiercest temptation, those who have the weakest faith always cling to Christ, the Son of the living God (1 Peter 1:4-7), although the lips may cruelly deny that they know Him! "Peter followed Him afar off." "My people have forgotten Me days without number" (Jer. 2:32). "Yet will I not forget you" (Is. 49:15).

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it; Prone to leave the God I love.

A believer may, alas, go down into terrible depths of evil, and , for the time being, wreck present happiness and usefulness, as Lot did in Sodom (but see 2 Pet. 2:7-8) and Jonah (Jonah 1:2-5, 2:9) and the fornicator of 1 Corinthians 5 (but see 2 Cor. 2:6-8). but there is one thing he cannot do. He cannot, like Judas, absolute give up Christ. How many weak, yet true believers needlessly worry about the fear of being lost, citing the sin of Judas and his awful end. But reasoning as to Judas, Satan, angels, and Adam falling, overlook the difference made by the "eternal redemption" that is in Christ Jesus for the believer (Heb. 9:12, 10:39, Rom. 8:34).

Many a believer has followed in the footsteps of Peter, the backslider, but no true child of God has gone , nor van go the way of Judas, the apostate. Backsliding is not renouncing Christianity, but failing in that holy separateness of walk which God expects from His children. Peter was a backslider, and one for whom the Lord prayed and on whom the Lord looked (Lk 22:32,61). That touching look of grieved and injured love broke the heart of the poor backslider. "Peter went out and wept bitterly."

Provision is made in the advocacy of Christ with the Father for the restoration of backsliders (1 Jn. 2:1). It is of apostates that the sacred writer says, "It is impossible...if they fall away, to renew them again unto repentance" (Heb. 6:4-6).

Judas was an apostate and so the word he had heard and received had "no root" in him (Lk. 8:13). He was a mere professor, not a saved man, nor quickened of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 13:10-11).

An apostate is one who professes to believe and received all the outward privileges of Christianity, yet with no divine work in his soul, and so later he gives up Christ. Thus Judas, an apostate, sold his Master, but Peter, a backslider, temporarily denied his Master.

An apostate has "tasted" of the heavenly gift and rejects it, having neither faith nor life. A true believer is one who has tasted, but more also-he goes on to "eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man" Jn. 6:34, 53-54, 58). One may taste and perish (Heb. 6), but to "eat" is to live for ever."

Judas sinned willfully by rejecting the only Savior and thus made it manifest that he would incur the awful judgment which cannot possibly overtake the weakest believer. He had shared in that external sanctification which includes all who outwardly separate from Judaism and Paganism to embrace Christianity, the only soul-saving system which reveals a Savior. (Outward sanctification is also seen in 1 Cor. 7:14) To sin willfully is to deliberately, with heart and mind, give up Christ and Christianity completely. That, no child of God could or would do (1 Jn. 2:19).

If an unredeemed professor deliberately renounces Christ for Mohammed, the Bible for the Koran or Christianity for Atheism, he embraces a system without a Savior, without a sacrifice, and without a heave. So there is nothing before him but a certain "fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation." The solemn warning contained in Hebrews 6 and 10 refer to mere profession, to giving up Christianity to go back to Judaism and d not at all assume that the persons referred to were ever true children of God. See the contrast in chapter 6:9 and 10:39.

Beloved of God, heir of glory, rest your soul in unshaken confidence on the imperishable Word of God. God has pledged Himself in word and oath to secure your blessing and has anchored your soul in Christ. Your ship may be tossed on stormy seas, but fear not, you will ride out every storm successfully. The anchor cannot drag, nor can the divine chain which links the ship and anchor ever break. All, all is as solid and enduring as the throne of the Eternal! You cannot be more safe in the glory than you are now. You are as completely beyond judgment in this world, as Christ is at God's right hand: "Because as He is, so are we in this world" (1 Jn. 4:17). "When He shall appear, we shall be like Him" bodily (1 Jn. 3:2).

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