Does Believing Apostasy is Possible Lead to Insecurity, Lack of Assurance, and Anxiety?

Not if it is understood properly (Biblically).  Here are some short comments from a discussion on the topic:

Visitor: Why should someone who has no more condemnation fear [falling away] on a regular basis? It makes no sense to me…

Such a fear is a healthy concern so that such a person will remain in Christ where alone there is no condemnation. It isn’t the type of fear that is suppose to be anxiety producing. Maybe that is the problem with how you are seeing things. For example, if I have no concern (or fear) at all over the possibility that I might at some point commit adultery on my wife, then I would probably not be careful not to look too long at attractive women, or thumb through magazines that I shouldn’t. If I had no concern (or fear) over the strength of my relationship with my wife, I wouldn’t make the effort to love her and do things for her that she appreciates. I wouldn’t invest in our relationship which would inevitably weaken it, possibly even to the point of breaking up. But such “fear” is not the same as a constant anxiety. Still, that fear is very important. I love her and know she loves me, but I also know I am weak and susceptible and need to be on guard (i.e., “don’t be arrogant”). It’s the same with God. We can know that God loves us and love Him too, but if we have no concern to keep that relationship strong and no understanding that despite our love, we are weak and susceptible in the flesh, we would not strive to overcome the flesh through His Spirit. But that doesn’t mean we need to live in anxiety or constantly worry that we will fall away. You may think that is how Arminians live, but that is not how I live and it has not been the experience of so many more like me who share my view.

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You can read the entire exchange in the comments section of this post.

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8 Responses

  1. Where is the comfort under the Calvinistic approach? One can still fall away by that reckoning, but it only means they were never saved in the first place. That one might be deceived about their actual relationship with Christ would be the most unnerving thing by far.

  2. I agree Stephen. The Calvinist view is that only the truly saved are forever secure. Yet if they turn away, it proves they were not saved to begin with (1 John 2:19 or so they suppose it teaches). The dilemma for the Calvinist then is that it is possible they are not saved right now since, as Augustine taught, God does give false assurance of salvation to the non-elect.

    I believe the proper view is to teach that we are secure IN Christ. There is no life apart from Christ (John 15:1-11). Eternal life is not some vague life in the hereafter but is found in the person of Christ (John 8:51; 14:6). The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23) but the key is IN Christ Jesus our Lord. There is no hope, no righteousness, no life apart from Christ.

  3. I think there is a wide range of reasons that people fear apostasy. For me, it was a lack of a full understanding of all related scriptures, coupled with sin and a little confusion about a couple of key words in the apostasy proof texts. I struggled with the word translated repentance in Hebrews 6, because I did not know if it was saying a person who fell away would not be allowed to repent, or if it meant they were simply incapable of it. This was further added to by the account of Esau, and how he was used as a type of apostate in Hebrews 13(?) It seemed to be saying that Esau sold his birthright (i.e. committed apostasy), then tried to undo his decision (i.e. repent) but was not allowed to by his father. This was something that the Devil used to cause great fear in me, almost to the point of suicide. It took a while, but I then realized this was not what was being taught at all. First, we repent of our sins because the Holy Spirit draws and convicts us, and we decide to choose to heed His call. Without that drawing and conviction, nobody would ever even want to repent. (Romans 2:4, John 6:44) Secondly, we know that Jesus will not turn anyone away (in this life) who comes to Him. (John 6:37) so, anyone who wishes to repent, is being both allowed to, and enabled by God. It is inconceivable to me that God would draw and convict someone who was incapable of being saved. So, Esau was not being used as an example of one who was trying to repent in this life, and then not being allowed to, he was being used as an example of someone who rejected the free gift of salvation, and then AFTER DEATH, at judgement, trying to repent, but not being allowed to. As stated, I also struggled because of sin. I think sin eventually brings spiritual death, if left unchecked in one’s life, so someone who is slipping back into sin will eventually begin feeling the conviction of God for those sins. That can be a very uncomfortable experience, as it was for me because to know the joy of the Lord and then suddenly begin to feel the weight of sin is like being massaged for 6 hours, and then suddenly having cold water poured on you! Sin is a destructive force, and God desires us to be free of it. Only someone whose heart is hard would ignore such warnings, or cover them with more sin. If you want to be saved, chances are, you are not an apostate, but you could be one if you do not treat sin seriously.

  4. When I said The Devil used something to cause great fear, I should have said to doubt my salvation, as fear to an extent can be from God. The Devil’s fear is an unhealthy, self destructive fear, whereas God’s is corrective.

  5. Matthew,

    Thanks you for sharing your experience. I am so glad that you now have peace about this. God is so good!

    God Bless,
    Ben

  6. To answer the question in the title of this post. NO!

    Romans 8:16 states this
    The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,

    Good post Ben.

    Russ

  7. Well, I will say that I never felt any anxiety about it until I read about it.

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