“Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first…” (2 Thessalonians 2:3 ESV).
I overheard part of a sermon my wife was listening to online. The pastor was talking about the Signs of the times preceding the return of Christ. He said that “the rebellion” would be characterized by billions of Christians turning their backs on Jesus.The thought occurred to me that apostasy, despite most definitions, may be more subtle than that. Dictionary.com defines apostasy as “the abandonment or renunciation of a religious or political belief.” But I’d like to propose that apostasy may also include the efforts to make Christianity conform to a desired lifestyle. This can be true of individuals as well as churches.
Paul exhorted us, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2 ESV). The manner of our lives before we came to faith is not a lifestyle we are to retain. It doesn’t matter if that lifestyle was blatantly sinful or simply not a surrendered. Who we are is supposed to be determined by who He is.
Peter echoed the sentiment, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct” (1 Peter 1:14-15 ESV). There was a time when we had no knowledge of God. We may have grown up in the church but still walked in ignorance of who He is. We may have even accepted Him as our Savior while rejecting Him as Lord, keeping ourselves firmly planted on the thrones of our lives.
Is this great falling away as the pastor stated, with billions turning their backs on Jesus in widespread, overt rebellion? Or is it possible that we have turned our backs on Him by holding to our own views of how a Christian should live? Do we presume to be doing the work of the Lord while mistaking our vision for His?
Have a very Mindful Monday!