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Falling Away From God

Falling Away From God

Consider Jesus words, as found in Luke 22:32, “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren,” suggest two things about man's salvation. First, we can depart. One cannot return if he has not departed. Peter departed from the Lord, and his soul was in eternal jeopardy at that time. The Bible makes it clear that we are able to lose the salvation of our soul.  Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 10:12 – “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall Hebrews 3:12-13, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” and Hebrews 6:4-6, “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”)  The apostle Paul speaks of Demas as a fellow labourer (Philemon verse 24), but at some later point, writes in 2 Timothy 4:10, "...Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world..." Demas returned to the world, and thus brought damnation upon his own soul.

Second, we learn from Jesus' words that it is possible for the one who has departed from the Lord to return. Peter would depart, but the Lord acknowledged that he would also return. Again, several Bible passages discuss the fact that one who had walked with God, then turned away, can turn back (Psalm 51:1-15 (David); Galatians 6:1 (one overtaken in a fault), “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” and James 5:19-20 (one who errs from the truth), “Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death.”

We are given no specifics on Peter's return to the Lord, except what we read in Luke 22:62, “
And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.” However, we can learn from the experience of the prodigal son (Luke 15:17-24). Notice verse 17, "...he came to himself..." He realized how far he had fallen.  He was awakened to the deceitfulness of sin.  He understood that if there was to be a change, it was his responsibility, and that part of this change involved a confession of his sins (v 18), “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee…” He took charge of his life, "...arose and went..." to his father, confessing his sins.  He did not attempt to justify himself, but relied upon his father's mercy.  And thus, he was restored.

  God forbid that even one of the Lord's should fall from faithful service, but God be thanked, that He is merciful and forgiving, and desires that the wayward return. And so wonderful is that return, for the angels in heaven shall rejoice, and the brethren upon the earth likewise. And with the return of even one straying sheep, such as Peter, the Prodigal, or YOU or ME, who knows what immeasurable good will result in the kingdom of God.


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