Monday, April 16, 2007

1 Timothy 4:1-2 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron,

In this text, Paul writes that the latter times some will aposteisontai from the faith. The idea chronologically is that the "latter times" refers to the period from the ascension of our Lord continuing through the present until that future day when the Lord Jesus returns again to receive His church. The terms "last days" (Heb 1:2) and the "latter times" (1 Tim 4:1) are those marking the present "church age."

The Spirit says that some during these last days will "fall away" (NASB); "depart" (KJV, ESV); "desert" (NET); "abandon" (NIV) from the faith. The Gk verb here aposteisontai has the root idea of "withdrawing," "to depart," "to fall away." Significantly, the verb is in the middle tense (thus giving more emphasis to the reflexive nuance to the verb). That is, some will 'withdrawal themselves completely out of.'

Why would some do this? Well it is plain that if some ever fall away from the faith, it is good indication that they were first of all never in the faith. Paul continues by saying that as they are apostasizing from the faith, they are "giving heed to" (present participle signifying the ongoing, habitual, constant nature of this verbal adjective) evil spirits and doctrines of demons. As far as what these "evil spirits are and the doctrines of demons" Paul will further explicate this in the next few verses.

Verse two gives a brief list as to what these apostates will do:

1 Timothy 4:2 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron,

They will be 1) hypocrites putting on a show that they are religious but really they are "just acting" or putting on another "face;" 2) speaking falsely/liars; and 3) seared by their own (evil) consciences. They will have been hardened to the truth for quite some time that to apostasize and leave the faith does nothing to their conscience. In essence, their consciences have not been trained - according to the Scriptures. Thus, when they are living a life of hypocrisy, habitually speaking lies and other evils their consciences will not alert them that something is wrong because they did NOT train their minds for godliness.

It is during the church age (in which we now live) that is synonymous with "the latter days." We are seeing this reality come to fruition before our very eyes in today's contemporary evangelical world. Many 'churchgoers,' 'religious leaders,' 'pastors,' 'elders,' etc. are apostasizing from the faith because they are convinced that holding fast to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons is more appealing.

When you see leaders of national evangelical organizations fall because of habitual sexual sin, when you see good friends "convert" from biblical Christianity to Roman Catholicism, when you observe a family fall apart who has been in ministry for a decade serving together, you wonder...why do these things happen?

Though we must not be shocked that the Scriptures are being fulfilled because this is exactly what the Apostle Paul said would happen.

May we be those - this day - who are unhypocritical, speaking truth to one another and training our consciences with the true, inspired, inerrant and authoritative Word of God so that when hard times come in life, we do NOT fall away/apostasize, but rather we stand firm knowing that we have all the Divine power of the Godhead to help us in temptation (James 1:2-5; 1 Cor 10:13).

2 comments:

kim said...

i no quite a few people who 'fell away' and it's really sad

Geoffrey R. Kirkland said...

Kim,

It is totally sad. It is really a bummer. But I guess it shows the real condition of their heart!

Continue to have a great week and I'll see you on Sunday :=)

Geoffster

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