The term "apostacy" is a fairly new one in my vocabulary.(apostacy: the state of having rejected your religious beliefs or a cause (often in favor of opposing beliefs or causes); the act of abandoning a party for cause)
In my Bible Study, my friends and I have been trudging through the book of Hebrews, and the subject is projected very boldly in the early chapters of the book. There are so many references to the "disobedient" or the "hardened hearts" or those who have turned away, etc. Through the first several chapters, I have felt a little uneasy about the reference to those who will not inherit the promised land because of their disobedience. However, in chapter 6, I reached a point of intense turmoil in my soul!
"It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace."- Hebrews 6:4-6
I was completely floored when I read this passage! In my complete understanding of the whole of scripture, I do not feel that this acurately expresses the character of God. God is a gracious, forgiving, loving God, right? He sent his son to die for the disobedient and the sinners, right? Right!! So, how is this passage possible or relevant?
I am learning that this is not inconsistant with God's character at all. It is in fact very much consistant! He is a loving and gracious God. BUT He is also a jealous God! His only request of us is for us to believe in the one who was sent. To deny all other gods. To set Himself as the focus of our lives. If we do this, we WILL taste the goodness of Him and experience the fullness of a relationship with Him. So, how does this work? If we have commited ourselves to Him, and have welcomed the presence of Christ into our hearts, then we are saved. So then, can we lose this salvation??
This is where the concept of "apostacy" comes in. The COMPLETE turning away from a relationship with God. Not a "professed" relationship or a false religious experience, etc. Not just small actions of disobedience or rebellion. This is speaking of a complete and utter denial of the presence of God in your life and discarding the possibility of having a relationship with Jesus Christ.
This passage cause anxiety for me on several levels though. As my friends and family know, I was raised with a solid foundation of scripture, and I have experienced a love relationship with my Heavenly Father from a young age. There was a time, as a result of pain and suffering in my family, that I did have a period of intense rebellion where I verbally denied the very presence of God in my life. Now, I have to admit, that I did continue to know in my heart the truth that God continued to love and protect me even during this time, and as I look back now, years later, I am overwhelmed with God's mercy and protection during that time! It is not the righteous He came to save... He came to save the sinners! (Romans 5:8)
Therefore, what does it take to be a true apostate? As I stated above, a complete turning away! As I ponder this, I think it should not cause, as it has in me, anxiety. However, I do believe that it absolutely should cause us to fear God! I think so often we take our salvation and the intensity of what Christ did on the Cross for granted. We sin with the knowledge that God is a forgiving and loving God. We sin believing that the all-consuming Grace that God gives us will negate our responsibility for our actions. How foolish!! I have to admit that I am like an ungrateful child more often than not. I carry on in my day-to-day and do not realize the sacrifice that was given so that I CAN live! Oh, how I WISH I could keep in my sights the delicate balance between believing that Salvation is only by Grace through Faith and also on my responsibility to live a life that glorifies God.
I desire to be an Apostle. (apostle: a person who carries out the mission of Christ in proclaiming the work of Him) I desire for my life to have the purpose of proclaiming the work of Christ on the Cross and His salvation of sinners, such as myself. I desire for my life to be one that glorifies Him. Lord, let me be guarded from the posibility of becoming an apostate. Lord, protect my heart and my mind from the lies of this generation, but rather to be an apostle to those who do not know you.