Volume 1, Issue 4
APOSTASY Part IV “Personal Apostasy”
“Therefore, thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.” (Romans 2:1 AV)
The beginning of all apostasy is of the heart. It is the personal falling away of an individual which infects all other institutions. The principle, underlying cause of all personal apostasy is pride. It is the pride of the heart which deceives, and causes the soul to stray from the simple truth of the Gospel.
“Thy terribleness hath deceived thee, [and] the pride of thine heart, O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, that holdest the height of the hill: though thou shouldest make thy nest as high as the eagle, I will bring thee down from thence, saith the LORD. “ (Jeremiah 49:16 AV.) cf Ob 1:3
This passage in Jeremiah clearly speaks to all mankind, represented by Edom. It is an admonition to all who are of Adam’s nature, exhibiting a prideful countenance. Yet, it is an express warning for those who “dwell in the clefts of the Rock“ and who have their “nest as the eagle’s“- the professing Christians.
The General Problem
Pride always leads to destruction. Haughtiness of spirit always leads to a
falling away. Pride infects all aspects of life, and therefore, every aspect of
Wicked pride is found in the home, between husband and wife. It is evident between siblings. It shows itself in the marketplace. It is clearly seen in the church, as well as in the venue of government. Pride is a consuming and destroying sin. In both History, and by experience, we know this to be the case. But why is pride so destructive?
Consider the text from Romans chapter 2. God indicts His external representatives, National Israel for being prideful. He further identifies their problem as “Prideful Knowledge.” Today this problem is epidemic. Legal knowledge of God’s Word and His Law, which is held without the infusion of the Spirit, negatively effects the conscience. This “head knowledge” leads the individual into thinking that he is a special representative of God. He falls prey to the snare of the carnal, fleshly mind, and holds such a good and high opinion of himself, that he fails to see clearly because of the beam in his own eye.
The deception of the heart, by the sin of pride, leads to a severe attitude of the judgment of others. This condemnation of others begins to fill the thoughts of the deceived as he exalts himself into thinking that he is not like all other men. Like the Pharisee in Luke 18, he prides himself on his many works and pious character, as he points out the sins of others.
It is the fleshly mind that loves the high places in the market place and the praises of men. Today’s Pharisee climbs up on the carcasses of those who he has condemned, so as to appear more holy and mightier than they.
Pride also suffocates sincerity and humility, and causes all devotion and service to the Lord to be done with hypocrisy.
The Beam and the Mote
The Pharisee forgets that God has
brought the Gospel to them so as to bring humility that they may serve the
Living Christ and the Kingdom of God. Those who live only to pluck the mote from
their brother’s eye, have forgotten that they have a myriad of beams in their
Wisdom The Principle Thing
Pharisee-ism promotes the importance of knowledge, rather than the importance of people. Yet, all too often, knowledge is used in its raw form, without the discretion of the Spirit’s Wisdom. Knowledge alone is oppressive, if not mingled with its application: Wisdom. If there is anything the saints need to learn it is that the Gospel is about people, not about knowledge. Once an individual learns this, God will give him the Spirit’s knowledge, mingled with the Spirit’s Wisdom in order to serve.
False Understanding of the Sanctity of Conscience
Another factor contributing to personal apostasy is the false notion that the conscience of the believer is above reproach. A common defense in many an argument is “liberty of conscience.” Yet, when that conscience is opposed to Biblical precepts and doctrine, the action dictated by that conscience is forbidden. Thus the conscience cannot be the ultimate standard of behavior. Both Calvin and Hobbes addressed this problem extensively during the Reformation periods. The conscience of the saint is still subject to heresies and wickedness and should never be trusted above the Infallible Word of God’s Law.
Because all institutions and relationships are effected by the individual, it is imperative that the Christian guard himself against person apostasy. The primary reason for the erosion of the Family, the church and the State, is due to the Christian’s personal sloth and selfishness. We must be constantly on guard against the workings of the flesh and the ignorance of our carnal minds. We must pray earnestly for God to humble and strengthen us, that we do not fall prey to the assaults of our own un-mortified, sinful tendencies. Forgetfulness of what we really are by nature, leads to sinful pride. May God be pleased to assist us in our personal walk as we mend our way unto the praise of His glory and Grace.
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