We know that it is possible for a saint, a follower of the Lord, to fall away from the faith (Luke 8:13, I Corinthians 9:24-27, I Corinthians 10:1-12, Galatians 1:6-9, Galatians 3:1, Galatians 5:4, Galatians 5:7-9, I Timothy 4:1, Hebrews 3:12-13, II Peter 2:20-22, and Revelation 22:18-19). We know that sometimes individual brethren and/or congregations may have to withdraw themselves from a brother or sister in Christ that has erred for various reasons thus, delivering that saint to Satan (Matthew 18:15-20, Romans 16:17-18, I Corinthians 5:1-13, II Thessalonians 3:6-15, I Timothy 6:3-5, II Timothy 3:1-5, and Titus 3:9-11).
In the first century, saints where given the gift of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of the hands of an Apostle (Acts 8:12-17, Acts 19:1-7, and Romans 1:11). The Holy Spirit then equipped those saints with certain spiritual gifts (I Corinthians 12:3-11). In light of that information, consider this as it relates to some whom could go too far away from the Lord: “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame” (Hebrews 6:4-6). It should be obvious that this doesn’t directly apply to anyone today. However, the principles do. When a saint errs, he or she injures Christ.
The Hebrew penman also stated this, which puts the application to today in clearer view: “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:22-31). All of the above information makes this scary. Doesn’t it? So, should you just give up if you fall away?
Is It Useless To Try?
A man named Simon used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one. He was taught and converted (Acts 8:5-13). After his conversion, he saw that the Holy Spirit was given by the laying on of the hands of an Apostle. He wanted to purchase this ability (Acts 8:14-19). This is what happened next: “But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me” (Acts 8:20-24).
What we just saw was a man that appeared to be without hope. Yet, he was taught to pray. He was taught to repent. Peter did not tell him to pull a Judas (go hang himself - Matthew 27:3-5). Why would anyone, who loves God at all, give up? Why would anyone, that wants eternal life, just accept failure? The Psalmist repeatedly stated this about God throughout one Psalm: “his mercy endureth for ever” (Psalms 136:1-26).
To be a lost person that wants true restoration you have to completely humble yourself (James 4:6-10). You have to understand that God doesn’t owe you anything nor do your brethren. We are all unprofitable servants (Luke 17:7-10). If you have erred, act like it! Don’t be arrogant about it (Luke 18:9-14).
I have practiced and taught error multiple times in my life. Each of those times I did so out of ignorance. However, I understand that ignorance is no excuse (Acts 17:30-31). I therefore beg, frequently, for God to forgive me. I have shed real tears in private and in public over my errors. I know the righteous judgment of the Lord is greater upon me because I am a teacher (James 3:1). I have not given up because of the hard path I have made even harder. Now, I know I am not anyone else’s standard (II Corinthians 10:12). I am just saying all of that to let you know that I understand the fear. I understand, all too well, the doubts. Therefore, I am not writing this article lightly as someone who has never erred. I have erred. I have caused my Lord and my brethren grief. I would not at all question the righteous judgment of God if Jesus told me to depart from Him in the Judgment. Yet, I am not giving up. For your sake, for my sake, I am not quitting. Even if you are withdrawn from, get to work trying to fix it (Matthew 5:23-24). Brethren, don’t give up (Galatians 6:7-9)!
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