I'm sure most of you heard recently about a couple of prominent Christian leaders who announced they are changing their mind about following the Lord and have decided to abandon their faith.
It's true that all of us make our own decisions every day, but this is different and much more serious. Our spiritual life is the most important aspect of our journey and for the Christian, it is literally the meaning and purpose of our existence. We become excited and filled with hope when someone embraces the gospel and turns their life over to Christ, but stunned when we hear about a member of God's family turning away from him. I'm sad not only for these individuals but also for seekers who might have been thinking about taking a closer step toward God and are now having second thoughts. In a world permeated with discouragement and confusion, it's difficult and disheartening to understand how a person who has experienced the joys of salvation can suddenly declare they no longer believe it anymore.
Some might be curious with how a person could be saved and then be lost, especially like many Protestant groups who believe that salvation is a one-time confession. For Orthodox Christians, the idea of losing one's salvation is much more understandable since they believe that salvation is a process of being saved instead of the concept of eternal security. With so many different doctrinal interpretations and without walking through a theological minefield, let's just say that whatever your persuasion, we can agree that walking away from God is the ultimate betrayal. We realize there have always been individuals that have drifted away from former convictions; however, it is prophesied in I Timothy chapter four and II Thessalonians chapter two, that in the end times some will fall away and depart from the faith and submit to seducing spirits. This "falling away" is a translation of the Greek apostasia, meaning departure, rebellion, defection, or apostasy. One indicator of rejecting holy truth is ignoring the reverential fear of God which is why it's so critical to developing a constant awareness of his presence. Another sign is developing an ungrateful attitude and allowing arrogance to corrupt and control our thinking. "We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away" Hebrews 2:1.
What sin could be more valuable, or satisfying, and more alluring than the glories of God's presence? What could be more joyful, and peaceful than trusting in God's divine truth which cannot fail? Since temptation can influence the mind and have such a powerful stronghold within the conscience, it is heartbreaking to see that many are being held captive in the bondage of deception. When a person ceases to believe in God, it is worth considering who they are serving now and what consequences will this bring. Taking a closer look at II Peter chapter two, the question remains for those who turn away; did they ever have a true personal relationship with Christ, or was their former religious lifestyle only based on an emotional feeling?
Billy Holland writes a weekly column for HD Media. Ask for a free copy of the scripture CD, "keeper of my Soul" and learn about Billy's brand-new book, "Convictions and considerations - Encouragement for the Soul," at billyhollandministries.com.