WHY DO MANY LEAVE THE FAITH?
Posted on May 31, 2022 by Catey Stover in Freedom Fighters
WHY DO MANY LEAVE THE FAITH? ARE THEY STILL SAVED?
Psalm 37:28, “For the Lord delights in justice and does not abandon His saints (faithful ones); they are preserved forever, but the descendants of the wicked will (in time) be cut off.” (Amplified Bible)
The other evening my wife and I and our daughter and son-in-law began to discuss people we ministered with who are no longer following Jesus. And then my mind wandered to the many people I know through the years who have “left the faith.”
Jesus said, “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life” (John 4:14). And, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst” (John 6:35). And, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:38). And finally, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Math 11:31).
If all of that is true (and it is), did these folks never believe in the first place? Were they never truly born again? Are they still “saved” or are they “lost”? Can you lose your salvation? Is there “eternal security” (once saved, always saved) or is it “the perseverance of the saints” (your responsibility to follow through on your commitment)?
Today I looked through my sermon notes and collected writings concerning this matter. It is remarkable. I read one which passionately states eternal security and another which fervently postulates perseverance. Reading either without the other would totally convince me of both! And both are supported by multiple scriptures.
So how do I resolve in my ordinary mind what to believe and what satisfies my soul?
To this I give Eugene Petersen credit. In his book, “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction,” he offers a solution which makes complete sense to me. In summary it says: once you are truly born again your salvation is secure, no one can pluck you out of His hands, but if you decide you no longer want God in your life and turn your back on Him purposely and deliberately, He will not stop you. Once you willfully leave Him, there is no possibility of returning to Him.
This is both encouraging and terrifying. On the one hand my ongoing sin (because I have not yet been perfected in Christ) will not remove me from His grip, while on the other hand, if I purposely remove Him from my life, there is no turning back. (Heb. 10:26, 27, 31, 38, 39)
I realize that salvation and church attendance are two different issues, but somehow they must be related. The following statistics are alarming: a 2014 study showed there was an ongoing silent migration away from the church of an estimated 3,500 individuals each and every day. It indicated that over 1.2 million people would leave the church in the next year. In 2015, it estimated that over 10,000 churches would close their doors. The statistics of 2017 are more revealing: only 28% of people between the ages of 28-35 attend church; only 27% of ages 18-27 who grew up in the church remain in the church; attendance figures for other age groups range between 43-52%; only 49% of those who attend say they can find a positive impact because the messages are not relevant; 85% of churches are either declining or have plateaued.
Now the logical question is, so what? Why are you telling me this?
People are leaving for at least these four reasons: first, they do not find it relevant; second, they see the hypocrisy in our lives; third, they do not experience all they were (mistakenly) promised would be true in their lives after receiving Christ; fourth, their life-styles are too busy and enjoyable to include God as a priority, usually until there is a crisis!
Thus, for us as believers, we need to walk our talk, be able to relate to and accept people who are far different than we are in their convictions and life-styles, and not make unrealistic promises which cannot be supported by proper application of the scriptures. We are the Bible they read!!!
A song I love says: “I have decided to follow Jesus, No turning back.
Though no one join me, still I will follow.
Will you now join me and follow Jesus?”
May that be true of each of us.
Written By Neil Fichthorn: Rev. Neil Fichthorn is a seasoned conference and camping servant having served at Gull Lake Bible Conference, Sandy Cove Ministries as President, and an interim Executive Director at Pinebrook Bible Conference. He also served in church music for decades as a choir director and arranger. He has been Bill Welte’s mentor and friend for over 45 years.
Think About This: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him” ―
The Daily Bible Reading: 2 Chronicles 1-3; John 12:1-19| You can download our 2022 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here.
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” 1 Corinthians 1:10