The Danger Of Falling Away

Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.

–Hebrews 3:12

There are some Christians who read the characteristics of carnality we have been studying, and they say, “Pastor, when you talk about being a slave to the old sin nature, being self-centered, and focusing on people and not God, you are describing me. But so what? Nobody is perfect. I know I am going to heaven one day, so why should I be concerned about being a carnal Christian?” Let me share with you the consequences in Scripture of remaining a carnal Christian, an infant in Christ.

In Hebrews 6:1, the writer issued a rousing challenge: “Leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity.” What happens if we do not take that challenge and move to maturity? In verses 4-6, the writer discussed the consequences of remaining as a fleshly Christian: “In the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.”

The first danger of remaining a carnal Christian is falling away. In the book of Hebrews, the term “falling away” always refers to believers–they do not lose their salvation, but they lose the benefits of their salvation. In Hebrews 3, the writer likened them to the children of Israel who because of unbelief did not enter the promised land. Did they lose their salvation? No, but they died in the wilderness without experiencing the rest of God. And the writer warned, “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God” (v. 12). Christians who remain stunted in their spiritual growth will be led astray and will fall away from the faith.

Specifically, carnal Christians are in danger of falling into false doctrine. If you hear the message of salvation but you never go on to the deeper things of the Word, at some point you are going to fall for false doctrine. Carnal Christians are also in danger of falling into sin. They never grow in their faith, and then there is some disruption in their lives or in the church they are attending, and they become disillusioned, disenchanted. They quit reading the Bible and quit attending church, and they fall into sin. The first consequence of being a carnal Christian is the danger of being led astray, either by false doctrine or by sin.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Growing Up by Growing Strong” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.

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