Thursday, August 2, 2012

Apostasy Part 1

How far can a truly saved person go into apostasy?  Does God allow members of the Body of Christ to actually preach and teach a false gospel?  Does the fact that someone is doing that show that they were never saved in the first place?  I do understand that we are saved by grace alone and not by any works that we do, and that we don’t do any works to keep our salvation.  This has been bothering me for a while; any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated.

You can go into apostasy to the point where you don’t serve the Lord Jesus Christ anymore.   We will look at some verses in which Paul talks about preachers and teachers who do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ.  You can’t get any further away than that.  They were placed into the body of Christ to be preachers and teachers.  That is their part.  God tempered the body – put it together – as he saw fit.

1 Corinthians 12:24
For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked.

There are people in the body of Christ who have specific duties.

Colossians 4:17
And say to Archippus [who is mentioned in Philemon, perhaps his son], Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.

Here is a brother in the Lord who was given by God the ministry of grace under the Apostle Paul.

Paul says, ‘take heed,’ which is a warning.  Paul is warning Archippus that this is his job; do it well – fulfill it; be faithful to it.  Paul tells Timothy in this famous verse:

2 Timothy 2:15
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

He is going to be held accountable.  Second Timothy is a pastoral epistle.  It is written to pulpit ministries.  There had been some subverting of hearers through words to no profit.

2 Timothy 2:14, 16-18
Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearersBut shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. 

They were going against God’s word.  Watch this:

And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;

So, there is God’s word and the word of preachers.

Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

These men were saved men; they were in the body of Christ.  They were preachers.  They just did not preach the rightly divided word.  They did not recognize/acknowledge Paul’s authority and his office of apostleship; therefore they did not preach the message of the grace of God given to Paul.  They, concerning the truth have erred. It became their word of ungodliness that subverted the hearers.

So how can a truly saved individual go into apostasy?  As far as you can go.  You can get to the point where your conduct is as if you are not saved.  When we talk about apostasy we think of the doctrine of heretics.

Titus 1:5
For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:

Titus is going to ordain elders, the leadership of the local assemblies.

Titus 1:11-13, 16
Whose [Cretians] mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's [money] sake.

There were some teachers and preachers in the body of Christ who were teaching for filthy lucre’s sake (lucrative business).

One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, the Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts [they tear up the saints/flock], slow bellies [like ‘slugs’ that only consume Phil. 3:19]This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;

Titus, an elder who Paul ordained, has to go and rebuke these people sharply.  Paul never rebukes lost people; he only rebukes those who are saved (whether in the body of Christ or the Little Flock (see Galatians)) who are preachers and teachers.  Watch what he says:

They profess that they know God [They were professing Christians/believers.  The book of Titus is about the good works of grace—the ministry.]; but in works [ministry] they deny him [Christ], being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

These men were saved, but just like Hymenaeus and Philetus, their word did eat as doth a canker (a cancer) that was destroying the body of Christ, and they had to be rebuked.

2 Timothy 2:11-13
It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him [That is our identification; our spiritual baptism in Christ. Romans 6:2-4]:  If we suffer [Romans 8:17], we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

Unlike what most people think, that is not saying you can lose your salvation.  They will go back to the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John where the Lord says under the prophetic program’s short-accounts system, a performance-based acceptance system under the law for Israel, and equate what Paul says with what the Lord said under the law.

Matthew 10:33
But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

But that is not for the church the body of Christ.  If you rightly divide God’s word you will know that is for Israel.  That is their program.  We are in a different dispensation – the dispensation of pure grace.

Ephesians 3:2
If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

God deals with us based upon our faith in Christ; but most importantly, based on the faith of Christ—his faithfulness.

Galatians 2:16
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

2 Timothy 2:12
if we deny him, he also will deny us:

This denial is explained in Titus 1:16:

They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

But in works they deny him.  Their so-called ministries deny the Lord Jesus Christ’s word through Paul; and in doing that, they deny Christ.

…if we deny him, he also will deny us:

That refers to our reigning with him.

2 Timothy 2:12-13
If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

He will deny us what?  The reign, that equal share.  But look at verse 13.  Paul makes it clear that it is not denial of our salvation.

 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

To be continued…

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