Most of us, whom genuinely love our Lord and our brethren, try to figure out how a person can fall away when we see it happen. We ask: “how, why, what happened?” Apostasy does not make sense to those of us whom continue faithfully. In the pursuit of these answers, it is easy to assume a person was just fake all along. We know there will be fake disciples among us (Matthew 7:15-20, Acts 20:28-31, Galatians 2:1-5, Titus 1:16, Jude 1:3-4, etc.). We know that there have always been people that appear righteous outwardly, but that they are really just fake (Matthew 6:5; 16, Matthew 23:5, and Matthew 23:25-28). Therefore, it makes it easier to accept someone falling away from Christ if we just conclude that they were never really there to begin with. There is some Scriptural merit to that conclusion regarding some people (John 6:60-66).
What we need to realize is, while some people may have never been converted, that does not mean such applies to all or even most whom fall away. While you or I may not be able to comprehend why a person would come to the knowledge of the truth and then leave that all behind, that is just what many have done. Before we proceed, I want to remind us all of something lest we err in our thinking. Through the pen of Paul, the Lord said this: “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (II Corinthians 10:12). Do you understand that? I do, but I still find myself sometimes forgetting the point. We must remember, just because you or I would not do something, that doesn’t mean someone else won’t. What seems completely stupid to you, someone else may just be stupid enough to make that choice. You cannot judge situations or people based upon what you have done, do, would do, or would never do! We are going to look at some Scriptures that show us that people can, do, have come to the Lord and then choose to walk away from Him.
As we proceed in our study forget your thinking and your feelings (Proverbs 14:12; 21:2; 28:26) and be prepared to allow these Scriptures to show you that people do fall away. What that means is, they were once amongst us, in Christ, and then knowingly choose to surrender that salvation. Jesus taught that there are those whom would exchange their souls for something (Matthew 16:24-27). Therefore, we have to accept that there are those that have and will choose to go to Hell for something that this world has to offer them regardless of how stupid we might think they are for that choice.
Some Will Be Converted And Then Fall Away
After teaching the “Parable of the Sower” (Luke 8:4-8), Jesus explained it saying: “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience” (Luke 8:11-15). In Jesus’ explanation of that parable, He showed two different types of people that receive the truth and are believers, but then fall away.
As you study through the New Testament, you find that there were people who were converted and then fell away and needed restored. There were men like Simon who was properly taught and converted, but erred thereafter (Acts 8:5-24). Men such as the fornicator in Corinth or those companions of Paul are examples of men who were faithful, but walked away from Christ (I Corinthians 5:1-13 and II Timothy 4:10-16). There were entire congregations that fell away too. The churches in the area of Galatia are an example of entire congregations that were on the right path, and due to false doctrine fell away from the faith (Galatians 1:1-9, Galatians 3:1-3, and Galatians 5:7-9). To those congregations, Paul said: “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace” (Galatians 5:4). The people in Ephesus were properly taught and converted (Acts 19:1-7 and Ephesians 2:1-17); but later fell away (Revelation 2:1-7). You cannot fall from somewhere you have never been.
Paul taught the possibility of falling away (I Corinthians 10:1-13). He himself worked hard not to fall away (I Corinthians 9:24-27). He knew and understood that some simply depart from the faith (I Timothy 4:1). You cannot leave somewhere you have never been. In the first century there were those whom had been enlightened, tasted of the heavenly gift, were partakers of the Holy Ghost, and then fell away to a degree of departure that their return to Christ was impossible (Hebrews 6:4-6). The fact is, a person’s name could be in the book of life and then he or she can do something that will cause it to be removed (Revelation 22:18-19). We cannot ignore these truths just because it’s hard to accept.
Brethren, we all oppose the doctrine of an impossibility of apostasy. Yet, if we begin to reason amongst ourselves that all whom fall away must have not been converted to begin with; we are essentially teaching that all true converts cannot fall away. Think on that. Our confusion and desire to make sense of a dumb choice will ultimately end up in a false doctrine.