Scripture gives warnings for the good of people, so they don’t miss them and will understand what God says and what He means by them as defined in His Word. One such warning that is needed in our day for people to consider is the meaning of what an apostate is and why it matters. 1 John 2:19 makes it clear an apostate is someone who walked away from the faith because they were never in the faith, to begin with:

“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.”

Does the true Christian need to worry about falling away? No, because Jesus says He will not lose one of His sheep (John 6:39). Salvation is an eternal free gift given by a sovereign God of grace (Eph. 2:8-9). Once saved by grace, the Christian is held secure by Christ (Romans 8:31-39). The faithful Christian will find satisfaction in Christ alone, which reminds me of Ps. 42:1, “As the deer pants for the water brook, so my soul pants for You, O God.”

There is a longing for God inside the believer’s heart. For the apostate, they never have a longing for the Word or Christ because they don’t belong to Him.

The Warning

The apostate warning comes from the books of Hebrews. The letter’s author is unknown. Hebrews 6:4-8 describes what an apostate is, and Hebrews 10:26-39 deals with the sin of apostasy. Both passages are not talking about a Christian with true faith in Christ. In his book The MacArthur Bible Handbook on pg.456 under the Interpretive Challenges section, John MacArthur explains:

By far, the most serious interpretive challenge is found in 6:4-6. The phrase ‘once enlightened’ is often taken to refer to Christians, and the accompanying warning taken to indicate the danger of losing their salvation if ‘they fall away and ‘crucify again for themselves the Son of God.’ But there is no mention of their being saved and they are not described with any terms that apply only to believers (such as holy, born again, righteous, or saints). This problem arises from inaccurately identifying the spiritual condition of the ones being addressed. In this case, they were unbelievers who had been exposed to God’s redemptive truth, and perhaps made a profession of faith, but had not exercised genuine saving faith. In 10:26, the reference once again is to apostate Christian, not to genuine believers who are often incorrectly thought to lose their salvation because of their sins.”[i]

Apostasy can happen to anyone. Many understand the gospel but do not possess saving faith. This makes me think of the Parable of the Sower that Jesus gave in Matt.13:1-9, Luke 8:1-15, and Mark 4:1-20. The Parable of the Sower shows how people receive the gospel message. The first three “soils” in the Parable of the Sower were hearts unregenerated. The last “soil” is the regenerated heart. The person described in the first three “soils” never possessed saving faith in Christ. The true Christian is the last “soil” mentioned in the Parable of the Sower because they kept growing in the faith. An apostate doesn’t grow in faith. Examining yourself to see if you are in the faith (2 Cor.13:5) is part of the Christian walk. Examining yourself, dear Christians, helps you to know you have biblical assurance you are saved and are continuing to walk in a matter worthy of the gospel (Col.1:10, Phil.1:27).

A person without a deep, genuine love for Christ, His Word, obeying God, hating sin, and pursuing holiness will grow numb to the gospel and drift off to the love of the world. Loving the world will not make a person love God more but make that person an enemy of God (1 John 2:15). The opposite is true for a true Christian who desires not to love the world, but to grow in their obedience to Christ, treasure His Word, and hate their sin. The heart that does not trust and love Jesus will gradually disappear from the church scene. The saved are those who the Word is transforming more into the image of Jesus. The Spirit is taking the Word Christians read, study, and hear preached and helping them to bear fruit in keeping with repentance (Galatians 5:22-23).

Will You Consider the Warning?

Dear reader, please heed the warnings that the author of Hebrews wrote in God’s Word. It is devastating to ignore the warnings and turn into an apostate. Apostasy has eternal consequences.

Many people profess Christ today because of VBS when mom and dad took them as kids or said a one-time prayer at the altar while thinking that is all to be done because they trusted in a prayer. They fell into that trap of a one-time prayer or because of mom and dad’s faith, so they, too, think they are Christian because of their upbringing. So, when life happens, or someone comes along and shares their anti-God ideas, they blame God or curse God and walk away from the faith. These are the people who 1 John 2:19 describes who were never Christians, to begin with. Instead, true Christians pray, read/study the Bible, go to church, obey Scripture, grow in grace, and enjoy being around other like-minded Christians who will lift them up in their prayers and hold them accountable if needed.

Philippians 3:14, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”


The Threat of Apostasy | Reformed Bible Studies & Devotionals at

What Is an Apostate? | Reformed Theological Seminary (


[i] Bible Introductions – Hebrews by John MacArthur.

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