Monday, September 26, 2011

What is falling away?

I am going to share a quote that got me thinking.

"My former priest taught we that, I have been saved, I am being saved, and to have faith that I will be saved because I might fall away- which lays the foundation of cooperation in salvation- because I might fall away from Him."

I don't know the person who said it - it just got me thinking.

Rome, the East, and Protestants all eventually end up focusing on works, on what we do, because they are worried about what "might" happen - that they might fall away. Works are seen as the safeguard against this - if I just keep doing good things, if I keep living the holy life, if I keep doing acts of love and charity, then I know that I won't fall away.

Here is the problem. Outward acts of righteousness guarantee nothing. How many athiests and pagans are kind to people? They have works that seem appealing to the world - are they thereby saved? I can find Buddhists who show compassion - are they then "anonymous Christians" who by their works show that they are really Christians in spite of what they believe?

I'd say no.

The thing we so often fail to acknowledge is that our works do not cause or maintain faith... no more than an atheist who is moved to pity by seeing something pathetic is thereby moved to faith. Falling away from the faith is not primarily an lack of action on our part.

It is a lack of reception. To fall away from the faith comes about by ignoring the Word, by falling to hear either (or both) Law and Gospel - to despise the Commands of God or to ignore His promises. And then faith dies. This often will impact our works - a cold heart can be a sign of this -- indeed, if you see that your heart is cold, repent.

Repent - this is not primarily a call to "do more" - but it is a call to be turned once again to Christ Jesus and His life giving Word.

Rome, the East, and Protestants all end up focusing on cooperation because they live in the fear that they might fall away. Because of that dreaded "might" they focus on their own works and efforts, rather than simply focusing upon the true might of Christ Jesus and what He has done for them. Period. We live in Christ - it's as simple as that, as deep and wondrous as that.

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