Arminian Today

A Jesus-Centered Arminian Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Apostates

Watch Out For Antichrist or Antichrists?

Note: The purpose of this post is not to debate the issue related to whether there will be a future leader named by many as “the Antichrist.”  I know many godly people believe this to be true.  I respect their view while I do not hold to that view.  The purpose here is not to elaborate upon the debate over the antichrist as a person.  I am simply wanting to make a point that deception is current.

The word “antichrist” appears only in 1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3 and 2 John 7.  In fact, the antichrist is not even called “the antichrist.”  Notice 1 John 2:18:

Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.

Notice that John doesn’t say, “the Antichrist” but antichrist.  It lacks the definite article to be translated “the antichrist.”  1 John 4:3 goes even further about antichrist:

And every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

Notice that John says that antichrist is already in the world!  That is 2000 years ago and John says that antichrist is now in the world.

2 John 7 tells us who the antichrist is:

For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.

These antichrists then were people who were heretics.  They were false teachers (1 John 2:19).  They claimed to be preaching the apostle’s doctrine (Acts 2:42) but they did not abide in their teachings (2 John 9-11).  They forsook the faithful teachings of the apostles (Jude 3-4).

Many in our day want us to be careful to avoid “the Antichrist” but I believe we should avoid antichrists.  The world, since the dawn of the Church, has been full of false teachers.  Jesus warned His disciples in Matthew 24:4-5 that many would come in His name.  His warning is not for a far off generation but those to whom He was speaking to (Matthew 24:34).  Even among His own apostles, Jesus was warning them to know that false teachers and false christs would come (antichrists).  These antichrists would come in the power of Satan to deceive many (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

I pray that our heart would be careful to search all things.  No teacher is above error.  I enjoy listening to various Bible teachers and reading their works but we must test all things by the Word of God.  Scripture must be the final authority for it alone is the inerrant and infallible truth of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  The Word of God is the truth of God (Psalm 119:160; John 17:17).  Jesus told us to abide in His Word (John 8:31-32) and His Word keeps us saved (James 1:21).  The Word of God protects us from doctrinal error (1 Timothy 4:16) and from sin (Psalm 119:11).  The Word of God cuts us and exposes us before God (Hebrews 4:12-13).  The Word of God convicts us of sin and reveals to us the path of righteousness.  How vital for us to love the Word of God and to abide in its truth!

As we abide in the Word, the Word keeps us focused on the Lord Jesus.  We hear His voice (John 10:27).  Scripture is the voice of God.  The Bible should be how we question all things.  I don’t care if the teaching comes from your favorite trusted theologian.  Turn to the Word of God to test their teachings.  Don’t accept blindly what a teacher tells you.  Turn to the Word of God to make sure they are faithful to the Word of God.  Don’t be deceived by a teacher who quotes a lot of Bible verses without also opening the Word of God to make sure what the teacher is saying is faithful to the Word of God.  Acts 17:11 tells us that the Bereans examined Paul’s teachings by Scripture to make sure what he was saying was true.  The Bible calls them “noble-minded” for this.

Instead of looking for “the Antichrist,” we should be looking for antichrists.  Paul warned the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:29-30 that wolves would arise from among them to deceive the church.  These antichrists among us are whom we should be careful to avoid.

My advice: abide in the Word.  This is the only sure guard to keep us from falling.  We can know truth from error by learning and hiding the Word of God in our hearts (1 Peter 3:15-16).  The Word of God alone is able to protect us from antichrists and I am thankful to God for His holy Word.

Apostasy (or Whatever) is Always Tragic

I have been a disciple of Jesus since 1992.  Over those years I have seen many people come and go in regard to Christianity.  I could tell you one sad story after another of people who fell away from the faith.  We could debate whether they were ever saved to begin with but what is the point?  Apostasy (or whatever) is always tragic.  It should break our hearts to meet “former” Christians who once seemed to love the Lord, hungered for His presence, spent countless hours in prayer, and witnessed to others.  Some of my friends who have fallen away include men who once preached the gospel (whether they were saved is another issue but they did preach the gospel in truth).  I have known guys I went to college with who once loved to gather and pray and today they are shells of what they once were.  I have had friends ruin their marriages by adultery and left their wives for other women (and their faith as well).

Apostasy is always tragic.  Whether you deny they were saved or not, let’s agree here that they must repent.  We long for them to repent!  I pray you do.  We should not gloat over a person falling away from Christ.  We should weep and it should warn us as well (1 Corinthians 10:12).

Humility must be maintained when it comes to how we view “former” Christians.  Proverbs 16:18 reads, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”  Proverbs 18:12 reads, “Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.”  Galatians 6:1 reminds us to watch ourselves when we are dealing with someone caught in any transgression.  Galatians 6:3 is clear: “For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”  We must guard against the temptation to look down on those who fall away.  We can become prideful and think that we will never sin like they have sinned.  We boast they were are secure in Christ and that  nothing will ever turn us away from following Jesus (like Peter in Matthew 26:33).  But beware of this. Beware of pride and an attitude that says, “I will never fall into the same sin they did.”

I assure you that those who have turned away from Christ, at some point, probably never dreamed they would.  I can still remember the prayers of one man I know who fell away and how earnest he was in his prayers.  This man would go witnessing with me in college.  He would often cry out for revival in our nation.  Yet today he is living in complete rebellion against God.  He wants nothing of the kingdom.  Nothing!  He claims to be agnostic now and believes Christianity to be nothing more than a joke.  Yet if I could go back to 1996 and talk to this man I am sure he would have said that he loved Jesus, would never fall away and would assure you that he would always be a child of God.

I am not writing this to scare you or myself.  I pray daily for the Lord to help me hate sin.  I don’t want to sin (1 John 2:1).  I want to be holy (1 Peter 1:15-16).  Yet I see that it is easy to slip into pride and think that I won’t fall away from Christ.  I won’t give in to sin.  I will be strong when temptation comes. I will stand secure in Christ.  I pray that I will but I must rest in Christ alone to help me.  I cannot overcome sin by my will power.  I cannot overcome sin by promises.  I overcome sin by the grace of God (Titus 2:12).  I remain steadfast in Christ through faith in Him and a focus upon Him (Hebrews 12:1-2).  I fear Him lest I deny Him (Romans 11:20-22).

I don’t live in insecurity.  I do trust the promises of God to keep me (Jude 24-25) but I also look to Jesus alone to help me overcome (1 John 5:1-4).  I know that I am not saved by my works but by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who died to save me (Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:4-7).  My salvation is found only in Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:3-6) and I rest in His work (John 19:30; Hebrews 10:10, 14) knowing that He saved me and He is sanctifying me for His glory (Ephesians 1:3-14).

For those we know who have turned away from Christ, let us pray for them to repent.  Whether they were never saved to begin with is another issue altogether.  We believe that a person is saved through Christ Jesus but they must remain in Christ to be saved and remain saved.  Even my Calvinist brethren teach that a person who does not persevere in the faith is not a true disciple of Jesus and I agree.  A true disciple of Jesus is one who keeps their eyes on Jesus and looks to Him alone to save them, to keep them, and to give them eternal life (John 8:51).  Let us pray for those who have turned away to truly come to know this Savior and find rest in Him.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

02/16/2014 at 8:07 PM

Dogs Who Return to the Vomit

For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”
– 2 Peter 2:20-22

One of the difficult people to evangelize are those who claim to have once been Christians.  Whether they were ever saved to begin with is another debate but these apostates are hard to talk to.  They are antagonistic toward Christianity, toward God, toward faith of any kind, and of course, they despise the Bible.  They claim that Christianity “just didn’t work for them.”  Living in the southern United States, I meet these apostates often.  I work with one of them.  He is a guy who claims he was even studying to be a minister.  He claims that the church he was attending would not stand with their doctrinal statement and were hypocrites so he just gave up.  He is now a cursing, bitter man who said to me once, “I use to just like you.  All into God, all into wanting to see others believe in Jesus, but now I am content just to live my life and not worry about God.  If He wants to ‘save’ me then let Him save me otherwise who cares.”

Peter the Apostle calls these apostates dogs and pigs.  That is tough.  In our age of politically correct language, we are cautious not to put another person down.  We avoid language such as we see here in 2 Peter 2:22.  The Apostles did not.  Even Paul the Apostle was tough with his words on false converts or apostates.  He even said in 1 Timothy 1:20 that he had turned Hymenaeus and Alexander over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.  He wrote in 1 Timothy 5:20, “As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.”  Paul even mentions those who abandoned him in 2 Timothy 1:15 and 4:10.  Apostates do more damage than the unsaved do.  They lie about Jesus, lie about His grace, lie about His salvation, lie about His goodness.  Apostates lie about the Bible, lie about prayer, lie about sin, lie about forgiveness, lie about the Church, and lie about faith.  They claim to “know” the way of righteousness (2 Peter 2:21) but they lie.

An example of this is the man at my work.  He is a man who is an apostate but he goes around telling people that he use to be like me.  He claims that he once proudly walked around with his Bible like I do at work.  I don’t carry my Bible for others merely to see, I carry my Bible because I actually read it.  We have some down time often on my job and I read my Bible during those times.  I really want to grow in my knowledge of God and His grace (2 Peter 3:18).  I don’t carry my Bible because I just want these sinners to see that I am a disciple of Jesus but I also want them to know that I do love God and His Word.  I fear God.  I want to be holy before Him and before them (1 Peter 2:11-12).  I do want them to test my faith and to see if I live to the glory of God.  This apostate damages this when he claims that he use to be a Christian but he gave up on Christianity.  I do believe the Lord will judge him more severely for the damage he is doing against the name of Jesus (Romans 2:9-11).

How do we true disciples of Jesus deal with apostates?  My first reaction is to ignore them.  When I have encountered them in evangelism, I simply move on.  I have no time to cast my pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6).  Apostates often are tough to take through the Law of God because they will say they know the Commandments but then they will claim all kinds of reasons why God will not cast them into outer darkness when they die.  “God is love” is the most dominant argument I hear.  Because God loves, says the apostate, He will not judge us and cast us into hell.  Because God is loving and good, He will not care if we humans live in fornication, in drunkery, and indulging the flesh.  He will understand and forgive us and let us into His presence.  When I have countered with the holiness of God and His hatred for sin, they often counter with “Jesus died for my sins and all our sins so we are forgiven in Him.”  Amazing how Satan pours lies into apostates minds.

I do pray that apostates repent.  I am not sure they will.  Hebrews 6:4-20 seems to suggest that apostasy is without repentance.  I can see why.  Apostates are truly dogs and pigs.  They truly bring shame to the name of Jesus by claiming to be in Him while living in apostasy (1 John 2:3-6).  The apostate at my work is doing much harm and I pray that God will save him or judge him.  The damage he is doing is eternal as these sinful men that I work with listen to his lies about Christ and His salvation.  Just like his father Satan, he is a destroyer (John 10:10).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/29/2012 at 11:03 AM

Posted in Apostasy

Tagged with ,

%d bloggers like this: