On Being Victorious Over Apostasy

October 3, 2015

                       On Being Victorious Over Apostasy

II Timothy 3:1 warns us that perilous times shall come in the last days. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” Verses 2-5 tell us what will characterize the people in those days. “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,   Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” The Apostle says men will be lovers of their own selves. He goes on to explain what it means to be a lover of oneself. The behavior of many people gives us reason to think that we must be living in the last days.

 

II Thessalonians 2:2-3 speaks of “a falling away.” In the Greek New Testament it is all one word. The word means a departure from the truth. Douglas McLachlan, gives the following definition of apostasy. “Apostasy is active departure from the truth and is grounded in unbelief. This is pagan perversity. It is the secular world-system disowning, dethroning, and debunking God and his truth.”[i] “The day of Christ,” mentioned in verse two, is interpreted by many Bible scholars as the time when Christ shall come for his own. It is followed by what the Bible calls the tribulation.

We read about the coming of Christ for his own in I Thessalonians 4:15-18. “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.   Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” The believers in the church in Thessalonica were asking themselves if perhaps “the day of Christ” had already come. Paul tells them that there will be a time of apostasy before he comes. A full explanation of these prophetic events cannot be given in an article such as this one. There are books written on the subject.

Since apostasy is a departure from the truth, the word apostate means one who abandons his religious beliefs. Apostasy is more often used in speaking of the tendency of people to make a gradual departure from truths they once held. In I Timothy 6:20 the Apostle Paul warns us to guard against the oppositions of science falsely so called. “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called.” Pseudo-science has made a major contribution in our day to the departure of many from the faith. Scientific theories have been presented as though they are scientific facts. Many haven’t bothered to make the distinction between theory and facts. Empirical science speaks of that which can be proven in the laboratory. The theory of evolution is taught in most of our schools as a science. It isn’t anything that can be proven. It is a theory of origins. Many young people have abandoned their faith in the Bible because they have been told that science proves that it is wrong. Science doesn’t prove that. See my article entitled “Reason For Believing In The Existence Of God” under “Various Themes” on our web page.

Another philosophy that Satan and his servants are promoting is that all religions are good. If that is true, all that is needed is a little of some religion and you are alright. Any religion will do. In answer to that, we need to keep in mind the fact that the Bible isn’t a book about religion. The word “religion” only appears seven times in the Bible. Three of those references are found in the book of James. The words used nearly always speak of religious ceremonies. When used of the Jews, it speaks of their faith. The word is never used in speaking of Christianity. It doesn’t take much discernment to see that not all religions are good. A religion that advocates the violent murder of those of a different religion is obviously satanic, but it goes under the name of religion. We get insight into the workings of Satan in II Corinthians 4:4. “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

How then should we live in days of apostasy? First of all, we need to be diligent in doing what is right. Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” We must be thoroughly convinced that moral principles don’t change. People all around us are letting down their standards, but that doesn’t give us license to do it. There are times when we have to dig in our heels and say “I won’t do it” even though it may seem like almost everyone around us does it. It is easy to let ourselves be carried along by what the Bible calls, in Ephesians 2:2, “the course of this world.” “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” Some may say we are puritanical or legalists, but what was sin for our grandparents is still sin.

We also need to be thoroughly convinced that the truth doesn’t change. John 17:17 says the Bible is the truth. “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” In the Old Testament we read that David prayed, “Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name” (Psalm 86:11). We often hear today that the truth is relevant. By that they mean that the truth needs be interpreted to fit the culture of our day. That robs the truth of its authority. In reality, if one believes that, it makes the truth irrelevant. It has left our society in chaos. If truth means different things to different people we ask, “What is truth?”

It is extremely important that we maintain a close relationship with God. If we do, we will continue to give preference to that which is pleasing to God. God saves us, not only to deliver us from the condemnation we deserve because of our sin, but also because he has a work for us to do. Jesus, as a young child, said in Luke 2:49 “I must be about my Father’s business.” We too need to be about our heavenly father’s business.

We need to be strong in faith like it says of Abraham in Romans 4:20. “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.” God has promised to give strength to those who follow him. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” The beloved old hymn says, “In times like these you need an anchor; Be very sure, be very sure your anchor holds and grips the solid rock. This rock is Jesus, Yes, He’s the one.”[ii] If we are strong in faith we will not doubt what God’s Word says, and we will continue to claim the promises found in it.

According to Titus 2:14, God expects his people to stand out from those around them. “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” The farther others depart from godly living, the more peculiar we are. Living a consistent Christian life becomes more costly in terms of our being accepted by our peers. Only our love for the Lord will motivate us to pay the price.

Are you willing to pay the price? In Luke 21:36 Jesus said, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” In due time we will reap our rewards if we don’t faint, as we read in Galatians 6:9.

If you have questions or comments you can address them to us at the following e-mail address: rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

[i] “Reclaiming Authentic Fundamentalism” Douglas McLacklan P.83

[ii] Great Hymns Of The Faith #202

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