Are You Falling Away?

Whenever I hear the "news" of someone falling away from Christianity, I felt saddened. Saddened, distressed, and filled with some disappointment. This is especially true when I get to know more and more about Christianity, and the character of this God that we are dealing with. When I hear "falling away", the book of Hebrews quickly rings in my head. Especially what has been written in Hebrews 6:4-6 - those who have already tasted the heavenly gift and be partakers of the Holy Spirit, if they turn their back against God, there is no more restoration and forgiveness. It is the consuming-fire God that we are going to face on the Judgement Day, and it is like crucifying Jesus again if we deny what we have also received and experienced...

It is even more saddened when it is closer to home. A while ago, maybe 5 or 6 years ago, I would tell other people that my father is a Christian. However, I am not that certain now - or at least I will not say that he is an evangelical Christian. Too liberal I'll say - to a point that some other people might define it as "falling away". My heart hurts and my conscience denies when I realise that my father might not be a Christian... It is not that my father has changed over the past few years, but instead my understanding of fundamental Christianity changes as my knowledge of the Bible matures. According to my dad, he used to be very active in the church and youth group when he was in high school and university. He even told me that he was considering going to the theological college in Taiwan, but changed to do medicine because of the family objection. But what made the change? I am truly not sure. Maybe it is my mum, who is not a Christian (but my grandma on my mother's side has been a faithful Christian, and that has always been encouraging). Who else knows but God?! From what I have remembered, he has never had a zeal for the gospel. He might be able to memorise and quote a few verses, and he might be the one who brought me to church in the first place (and I felt very thankful for that), but until now I still feel saddened to see how my dad has fallen away from what he has used to believe. And from my own experience it has been very hard to help the fallen Christians to get back to have right relationship with God again. I should trust God who is sovereign, but at the same time, maybe it is really like what Hebrews 6:4 has said, that it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened...

But the real reason for me to write this blog entry is that someone I know in church has shown the sign of falling away. Bible is no longer convincing, and "faith" does not find its definition in that person's dictionary. You can see that person's struggle from the priorities of her life, and Jesus has fallen in popularity in that person's heart. It saddens me. Really really depresses me. I don't know how to minister this person to stop this sliding slope, but to God I prayed that no one will be snatched away from His hand.

And I also need to constantly remind myself about my own relationship with God, and trust him that he will help us to last 'til the end. It is time to lift up my drooping hand and strengthen my weak knee, and make straight path to the end...


Updated on 24 June 2003 at 5:30pm: Coming back to what I have written yesterday, and I am still seeking solution to a disturbed mind. Real life examples have been entangling my mind to think the way the Bible wants me to think. Even though you might be active in the church and fellowship group when you are at the university, how can you be sure that you will be as faithful 30 years down the road? And you might be doing FOCUS Team, leading a Bible study group, coming to church half an hour early, following up each each individual new comers - will you still have the same kind of zeal when you are 40 or 50 years old? My dad is an example. Talking to Ian Cordery, a faithful Christian coming to IUC, who is retired from teaching at uni, and he has a few similar stories that he has experienced in his walk with God. Can you be sure? Unfortunately, the reality bites. The correct answer is no. You cannot be sure whether you can still be God's faithful servant in 20 or 30 years. You cannot even be sure whether you will still follow Jesus as your lord and saviour, from the examples of possibly millions of Christians falling away...

And I guess that is what we have expected anyway. A saved sinner is still a sinner, and a sinner will not seek God by his/her own will. By our own effort we can never make ourself right with God. We can't even build the first step of the relationship with God, why then should we expect that we can maintain it?

And only in Jesus we can stand - there is simply no other way. Trust in him that his blood is sufficient as a redeeming sacrifice that saves you - that might be the first step to become a Christian. But trust does not stop here, and faith should not be just on the first sight. Have faith in him that he will not only save you, but also protect you from the persecutions and preserve you from the temptations. We know that there is a high possibility that we will fall away if we are looking after ourselves, but in him, who is our lord, saviour and high priest, will carry us to the end.

Lord, please help me not to trust on my own ability to stand firm in this age, but have faith in you only. Amen.