Most whom are in Christ Jesus have witnessed the falling away of those whom have been faithful. When that happens, you witness the spiritual death of someone you love and care about deeply. From the days in the garden to the last epistle we have access to, apostasy has been a reality (Genesis 3:1-24 and Revelation 2:1-3:22). Apostasy occurs regardless of how much effort is made to prevent it. Even the Master and perfect teacher Jesus Christ could not prevent those who started the journey from falling (John 6:60-71).
When the faithful fall, those whom really love them will have emotional reactions. We see such with God Himself. Prior to flooding the earth, we see God’s emotions. Notice: “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart” (Genesis 6:5-6). The Psalmist spoke of God’s emotions, notice: “God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day… How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert” (Psalms 7:11 and Psalms 78:40). Apostasy was rampant among the Jews many times. Such was the case in the days Jesus walked this earth. When Jesus came to Jerusalem, we read this: “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation” (Luke 19:41-44).
Like God, we whom are faithful will have emotional reactions when the once faithful err. Let me begin with some words penned in the Psalms: “Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law… Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law… I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word” (Psalms 119:53, Psalms 119:136, and Psalms 119:158). Jeremiah said: “But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the LORD'S flock is carried away captive” (Jeremiah 13:17). The Apostle Paul wrote: “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (Romans 9:1-3). So, what do you see in these few examples?
The Range Of Emotions
Whether it is God or faithful followers of the Lord, we saw a range of emotions in the few Scriptures we looked at above. We saw regret, grief, anger, weeping, horror, great heaviness, continual sorrow, etc. God loves His children (I John 3:1). Faithful saints love their brothers and sisters in Christ (I John 3:10-5:3). When a child of God, a brother or sister in Christ, errs from the faith; that is a spiritual death (Luke 15:11-32 and I Timothy 5:6). That is why our Lord goes through a range of emotions in such times. That is also why we go through the same or similar emotions. Someone you love dearly has died spiritually. Think about why that is even worse than a physical death.
Spiritual Death Is Worse Than Physical Death
If a faithful brother or sister in Christ dies physically, we certainly mourn the loss of their fellowship in this life. However, we have hope. We think about how that faithful brother or sister in Christ is in Paradise (Luke 16:19-31 and Luke 23:33-43). That faithful brother or sister in Christ has nothing left to live through or fear (Revelation 2:8-11). We can even find words of comfort in his or her death. Notice: “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).
However, when a brother or sister in Christ dies spiritually; there are no reasonable words of comfort. The emotions will run wild. All we can really say is that if that brother or sister in Christ falls, we shall have no pleasure in him (Hebrews 10:26-38). That brother or sister in Christ is in a lost state that is worse than if they had never known the Lord (II Peter 2:20-22).
I am personally tired of the emotional rollercoaster that comes about from losing brethren I love. If you love the Lord and your brethren, don’t fail and put them through these things. Let your love for God and the saints keep you faithful if all else fails!
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