Summary: A message to inform believers about the true nature of this doctrine
“Answers About Apostasy”
Introduction: I’m going to be dealing with a doctrine this morning that some of you have never heard of due to the fact that it has been neglected; some of you haven’t heard it preached or taught for years because of the difficulty in defining it and others have heard about this doctrine but do not have a biblical understanding of what it means. There is a great deal of understanding about it. I am speaking of the doctrine of apostasy or you may have heard it referred to as “falling from grace.” Webster defines apostasy as an act of refusing to continue to follow, obey, or recognize a religious faith. 2 : abandonment of a previous loyalty : defection. The Jews considered it
“…a hudud crime, which means it is a crime against God, and the punishment has been fixed by God. The punishment for apostasy includes state enforced annulment of his or her marriage, seizure of the person's children and property with automatic assignment to guardians and heirs, and death for the apostate. wikipedia.org
In the context of Christianity the Apostles, particularly Paul and the writer of Hebrews make it plain that apostasy is possible, not probable but possible. Paul actually uses this term in Galatians 5:4, KJV: "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace."... You have fallen away from God's grace." What this means is that the NT teaches that it is possible for a born again believer to lose their faith and be lost. Now let me clear something up before I get started. There is a difference between “backsliding” and apostasy. Backsliding is the process whereas apostasy is the final state of the person who backslides and willfully, deliberately leaves the Christian faith. You can backslide theologically and morally, usually simultaneously in my experience in dealing with people for 46 years as a pastor. The last point is that backslides may repent and be restored but an apostate cannot be restored and will not have a desire to.
Let also deal with one other issue. FWB’s are among a group of believers who were influenced by the teachings of Jacob Arminius who opposed the teachings of John Calvin and who basically taught that you should balance the sovereignty of God with the free will of man. Thus he taught that it is possible for a believer to “lose” their salvation. Arminians include various groups of Baptists, Methodists, Seventh Day Adventist and others. No one would consider Arminianism a cult. I consider myself to be in the reformed Arminian tradition and have taught the possibility of apostasy my entire ministry. That is where we begin today. Let’s read our text.
1 Cor. 10:1-13
10 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. 10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. Let’s look first of all at:
I. The Address
The first word in verse one is from the Hebrew ward “gar” which is translated for and connects this section with the last verse of chapter 9. “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” The number one rule of interpretation is context. The church at Corinth was primarily a Gentile church although we are sure that there were some converted Jews in their number. Paul uses several different terms to address them. He calls them “brethren,” and the “sanctified” and the “saints.” He recognizes as being believers in every way so that tells us the context of his teaching.