Many Are Apostatizing

November 24, 2015

As I was walking to the bus and train stops to witness today, a big yellow truck stopped, the passenger window rolled down, and the driver, visibly agitated, said, “What does your sign say?” I let him read it again, as it says, “Faith without works (of obedience to God) won’t save.” The guy, with his two teens in the back listening, said angrily, “That’s not true!” Being that I have several Scripture references on the sign, I started to quote one of them –James 2:24– which says, “We know that a man is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.”

Without letting me really finish, the driver of the yellow truck said, “What denomination are you?” I said, “Non-denominational.” He then proceeded to vent his opinion, telling me that all we need is faith and that if we needed to do works, it would mean that what Jesus did for us was not sufficient for us to be saved. The man then drove off having never let me finish another sentence.

I tell about this encounter because I’m pretty sure that guy had been previously influenced by, maybe even entrenched in, Calvinistic doctrine –the teaching that man cannot, and should not, make any effort to be saved because it is all God’s doing and such efforts would be useless as well as insulting to God.

Isn’t it interesting that a man can become so upset when confronted with the Truth that faith alone does not save but must be accompanied with works of obedience to God? Why would “Christians” –who are considered servants of Christ– not be wanting to serve Him? Why are so many “Christians” trying to defend impotence concerning our ability to carry out God’s commands? Why are so many “Christians” insisting that we are not to make any effort toward pleasing God? Why are so many “Christians” teaching that we sin daily, that we carry around the sinful nature, and that there is nothing we ourselves can or should do as we follow Christ? Certainly it should be easy to understand that following Jesus means the follower is imitating Christ, is walking in His will and commands, and is doing plenty of works under the guidance and power of His Spirit!

I bring this encounter up because last Friday while witnessing down there, I happened to see, much to my (initial) joy, another evangelist (I’ll call him Paul here) who I’d not seen in a long time but who also used to witness at the bus and train stops. In fact, about twelve years ago I had witnessed to Paul at a bus stop and then, seeing him periodically, encouraged him to follow the Lord, which it appeared that he chose to do. Paul matured in his walk, went to a good church and Bible study, and organized evangelistic outreaches on the streets. I always very much enjoyed seeing him, talking with him about ministry, and sharpening one another in the Truth. I got to know several of his friends who often came out evangelizing with him, though, unfortunately, they seemed to not have the same beliefs about freedom from sin that I had.

So, last Friday when I saw Paul, I was excited to hear how things were going for him, especially concerning his walk with the Lord. However, I was surprised to hear him say that he was not doing much evangelizing of late. I also was surprised to hear he was not involved in the Bible study at his church he had helped lead. When I asked if he was still attending that church, Paul said he was but that he was also looking for another church whose doctrine would better fit his doctrine. This surprised me very much since I knew his church to be a solid Bible-believing church. I kept asking Paul “Why?” as he was telling me these things.

“Well,” Paul finally said. “I’ve become a Calvinist.” This definitely shocked me. I reminded him that we had often talked about the falsehoods of Calvinism and that he had agreed with me. He said, yes, but that he had come to see that Calvinism was actually true. He then went on, trying to convince me of what he had come to realize. It was really sad.

A friend of Paul’s (I’ll call him Jimmy here), one who had often accompanied him, showed up just then and I greeted him. I asked Jimmy, as I always used to ask, how his walk with the Lord was going. Jimmy often used to let me know he was struggling with sin, but that since he believed in OSAS (once saved, always saved), his continuation in sin wasn’t (supposedly) too critical of an issue to God –something, of course, that I would adamantly contend with him against. Now (last Friday), besides his falsehood of OSAS, I saw that Jimmy, like Paul, had succumbed to Calvinism, for he immediately joined in with Paul in trying to convince me, using their “proof-texts”. But sadly, even though I felt I was adequately refuting every one they brought up, it didn’t take long for me to realize that these two guys were already deeply entrenched in Calvinism. Nothing I could say seemed to be getting through to them, and they had, since I’d last seen them, most definitely come under a strong delusion.

“You and I are no longer of the same spirit,” I said, shaking my head.

That seemed to sadden Paul greatly. Even so, he merely went from the predestination argument to that of total depravity, thinking he could persuade me there. But that too I countered, and when I said again that it was obvious we were now no longer of the same spirit, the two guys at last gave up and said good-bye.

So again, I tell all this to say this: God’s Word tells us to watch closely our conduct, our thoughts, and our doctrine and to make sure that it all fits perfectly with that taught and required in Scripture. (Mt. 5:28-30 // 1 Tim. 4:16) We are warned not to listen to men’s philosophies, but to listen to the Holy Spirit teach us from the Word of God. (John 14:26 // Col. 2:4,8 // 1 John 2:26,27) We are cautioned about laziness in putting Christ’s words into practice and warned that it will reap destruction. (Luke 6:46-49) Over and over we are warned that it is the Truth that we must believe and follow, that falsehoods lead to false gospels, and that both false gospels and sin lead to Hell. (Gal. 1:6-9 // Heb. 10:26,27)

It all goes together: A continuation in sin, the slide into falsehoods, the delusion God sends to those who refuse repentance (2 Thes. 2:10-12), and the eternal condemnation for those “who have not believed the Truth but have delighted in wickedness.” (v. 12)

The number apostatizing is growing. May we take much precaution that we not join them.

with love,

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