More “God Questions”

Posted: April 17, 2009 in atheism, Bible, Christian, faith, friends, Religion
Tags: , , , , ,

 

“What happens to someone who professes Christ, goes to church for 30 years, serves in the church and does all sorts of good in the church and then decides they don’t believe anymore? Are they still saved?”

 

Short answer: No, scripture tells us that they were never saved to begin with and that their leaving was to show us that.

 

Long answer:

 

First, I think we need to be reminded that only the Holy Spirit can testify to the authentic faith of another believer. While we may judge the fruit of a professed believer, and correct them in love, we do not condemn unbelievers for they are condemned already as we once were.  If someone professes Christ, however, they should be held accountable to the truth as a brother or sister in the faith. If they choose to reject the Holy Spirit, then we are to treat them as an unbeliever, not condemning them, but leading them to the truth with gentleness and respect.

 

1 Tim. 3:2 “The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”

 

Secondly, the apostle John addressed this very issue within the church in his first letter. At that time people who were in the fold had left the church in the face of persecution and to follow other teachings. “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.” 1 John 2:19

 

Jesus explained how this happens in his parable of the seeds recorded in Luke.
“Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance. Luke 8:13-15 Jesus assured us that a true believer will hold fast to the end, bearing fruit with perseverance.

 

Christ, in speaking about salvation, says no one can snatch such a believer out of His hand. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” John 10:27-29

 

We know that someone who has been saved by grace through faith is eternally sealed with the Holy Spirit. And according to John, they have assurance that Christ will keep them till the resurrection. True believers recognize and obey the voice of the Savior, seek the Wisdom of the Father and their lives testify to the Truth that they claim. As we see in 1 John, people can “play Christian” and “do church” appearing to be one of us, but never really know the Savior and later deny Him. John tells us that their leaving is an indicator to us that they were never truly one of us. In addition, many may confess Christ with their lips, but deny Him with their lives. While the heart of others may be hidden from us, the heart is never hidden from God the Father.

 

Now you might be asking, “How do I know that I’m not just “doing church” and just don’t know it?” Hmmm, sounds like a topic for next time…

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Comments
  1. ghostwriter says:

    To answer your question yes they are still saved by the blood of Christ.We all fall away from Him sometimes or get out of the will of God.The bible says that God is married to the backslider.We cannot undo our marrage to the Father no matter what we do.We all at times move out of the will of God such as when we gossip,argue with our spouses ext. We as christians only wear our hallows on sunday and at bible study when we should be wearing them until Christ’s return. And yes “we” means you too.

    • Nance says:

      ghost-
      Would you please back up your statements with scripture? What you are saying is in direct contradiction to the biblical principles I have presented through scripture. It is true that believers may temporarily move in and out of God’s moral will as they allow the Holy Spirit to work out their salvation; however, as I stated that is not the problem I am presenting. Scripture is clear that people who call themselves Christians and only wear their “hallows on Sunday and at Bible study” need to examine themselves to see if they are in the faith.

      2 Cor. 13:5 “Examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test?”

  2. CeCe says:

    Romans 8:38-39, I think applies. What do you think?

  3. Nance says:

    The passage is Romans is an assurance for believers that Christ will keep us and agrees with the passage in John 10 that I quoted. It does not apply to people who claimed Christ and then later left the fold, “so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.”

  4. CeCe says:

    Hmmm…back to the drawing board:)

  5. Sarah Robison says:

    Also, I think the ‘backsliding’ that is presented in the original post is more of a renunciation of the faith (correct me if I’m wrong) rather than just blatant sinfulness such as gossiping or being hypocritical. The two shouldn’t be confused.
    So, Nance, I agree with you when you say that an individual who denies the Gospel despite a history of belief, is no longer saved. The scripture you cited was excellent. Great post!

  6. Wilhelmina says:

    The discussion on your blog is really interesting.

    I think the love of Christ constrains you. You may “go astray” (I dislike the use of that word) but always, always, like a magnet, you somehow know that you will never be able to deny he who is within you. You may rebel, be upset at God, and ultimately cease contact with him, but if you really have been born again, you know there is no hiding from God and you also know that the very core of your soul will always feel incomplete until you go back to him.

    Another thing is denying the deity of Christ, the process of salvation you have undergone or did you? In the face of such denial, well then, you never really were saved to begin with.

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