Weekly Newsletter

Pastor David’s Weekly Devotional
     I remember the first time I became familiar with the word “apostate.”  I was looking in the bookstore of a large church in Washington, in an attempt to find some sermon tapes (yes, cassette tapes) to listen to while driving home to Oregon.  The short series that immediately got my attention was (I thought) titled “The Anatomy of an Apostle.”   It wasn’t until I got in my car, and started listening to the sermons, that I realized that I was mistaken – the title was “The Anatomy of an Apostate.”  Not knowing what an apostate was, I went ahead and listened to the sermons.  Thankfully, it was on that day I began to learn the important and sobering truths about apostasy.

     The dictionary defines an apostate as “someone who commits apostasy” (that clears it up).  Looking further we find that apostasy is “the renunciation or abandonment of one’s religious faith, or one’s previous loyalty.”  That’s a little more helpful, but it is more important to know how the Bible defines and describes an apostate.  Fortunately, the Bible has a lot to say about apostasy.  In fact, as we will see, just about as long as there have been true believers there have also been unbelievers and false believers.  The Bible is not reticent in unmasking apostates or describing the sin of apostasy.

     Apostasy is the willful rejection of, and rebellion against, the truth of God (“apostasy” is the transliteration of apostasia meaning “a falling away,” “a forsaking,” or “a defection”).   Perhaps, within that definition, we need to initially underscore the word “willful.”  For an apostate is not someone who has accidentally wandered from the faith, or someone who is simply struggling to live out their faith, nor does it describe an unbeliever who has never heard or responded to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  An apostate describes someone who once knew – and even professed to know and believe – the Gospel but later rejected it.

     Moreover, apostasy is not merely the ignorance, confusion, or doubt of God’s Word – or even the failure to live according to the Word of God.  Rather, it is the willful and stubborn refusal to live out the truth of God’s Word which he/she once professed.  True apostasy is not the struggle to believe, but the pursuit to not believe.  Let me say it another way: Every apostate is an unbeliever, but not every unbeliever is an apostate.  An apostate is anyone who knows the truth of Jesus Christ, and by their words and/or actions (whether passive or active) seeks to distort, deface, deny or destroy it!

     Arthur W. Pink wrote that apostasy is:
 “… a making shipwreck of the faith (1Tim.1:19).  It is the heart’s departure from the living God (Heb.3:13).  It is a returning to and being overcome by the world, after a previous escape from its pollutions through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2Pet.2:20).  There are various steps that precede it.  First, there is a looking back (Lk.9:62), like Lot’s wife, who though she had outwardly left Sodom, yet her heart was still there.  Second, there is a drawing back (Heb.10:38): the requirements of Christ are too exacting to any longer appeal to the heart.  Third, there is a turning back (Jn.6:66): the path of godliness is too narrow to suit the lustings of the flesh.  Fourth, there is a falling back, which is fatal: ‘That they might go and fall backward, and be broken’ (Is.28:13).”
[A.W. Pink; An Exposition of Hebrews; “Apostasy” (Heb.10:25-27)]

(continued, Lord willing, next week)

Together in and for Christ,
Pastor David

Scripture Readings for the Week (Monday – Sunday ~ Week #28):
Leviticus 13-15; 2Kings 6-10; Psalms 81-83; Proverbs 10; Ezekiel 25-30; Luke 19-20; Colossians 1-2
Recommended Reading:
“Stand: A Call for the Endurance of the Saints” (compiled & edited by John Piper & Justin Taylor)

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