Personal Reflections – Abandoning the Faith

Christians Who Abandon the Faith – Part One

I have ministered in the same city now for 40 years and I have seen many come to faith in Christ. I have watched as they responded to the spiritual hunger deep in their heart and grew and matured in their walk with the Lord. I have watched as they were baptized in the Holy Spirit and began to move in the supernatural gifts of the Spirit. I have been excited to see them minister to non-believers and live an evangelistic, soul-winning life style. 

However, I have also watched many true believers abandon the faith and go back into the world. These were true believers who were faithful and even zealous for the Lord but have chosen to no longer follow Him and who have renounced the faith they once held. Some have simply gone back into the world, others have become atheists, still others have switched beliefs and now follow the precepts and teachings of another world religion.

Now, I am not talking about drifting from the faith. Hebrews 2:1 states that this is a definite possibility f we are not careful to hold on tight to the faith. It states, “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” Many unintentionally do drift for a wide variety of reasons. However, they have not left the faith and can turn things around and become strong in the faith once again.

And, I am not wanting to delve into the whole discussion on whether they were really saved. You know, did they understand and accept the gospel on an intellectual level only – without any true change of heart and sincere repentance. And, as a result, became ‘cultural Christians’ without ever embracing a personal relationship with Jesus. 

I am speaking of those who had a real personal encounter with the Living Christ, repented, and became born again. And then, turned away from this relationship and the foundational beliefs of the faith and have truly renounced their belief in Jesus as “the way, the truth, and the life.”

If you know me you are aware that I don’t believe in “once saved, always saved.” I believe that a person makes a decision to follow Jesus and enter the Kingdom that He rules – the Kingdom of God. And, I believe that a person can make another decision to step out of the Kingdom and away from allowing Jesus to be Lord and Saviour of their life. Many scriptures confirm this belief for me – the one I like the most is found in Hebrews, chapter six…

“For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.”  (Hebrews 6:4-6)  

So, let’s explore and think through why these people – who in most cases had al lthe outward marks of being a true follower and disciple of Jesus – decided to serve Jesus divorce papers and turn their back on the true Christian faith and thus on the one true God.

Reason One: The way that Christians treat each other

The reason why some believers want nothing to do with following Jesus or associating with believers in a local church who say that they are following Jesus is due to the way that professing Jesus-followers treat others who also follow Jesus. Christians treating others in non-Christian ways. Christians who are critical and judgmental and reject the thoughts and feelings of others if they disagree with what they think and feel. 

This, of course, breaks the cardinal commandment of the Head of the Church, Jesus. And, indicates that maybe the Christians who are critical and judgmental are not really following nor do they have a personal relationship with Jesus. Jesus said, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12). And, of course, does not in any way fulfill His comments about love found in Matthew 22:39 “…You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”

We can look at another two reasons next time…