I hope you were at church tonight and I hope you were intrigued by the scripture and the ideas that Bro. Jason talked about.  I also hoped that it sparked an interest to do more study to understand and enjoy God’s word even more.  I have a thought or two and remembered some things I had read and I include them for your reading pleasure.

Why then has this people turned away in perpetual backsliding? They hold fast to deceit; they refuse to return.  [Jeremiah 8:5]

  1. They hold fast to deceit [5], they do not speak right or stop their evil; they turn their own way [6].
  2. Their behavior [fruit] is the proof or evidence of their heart condition.

The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways.  [Proverbs 14:14]

  1. Backslider or apostate – to pervert, to turn away, to turn back, to turn away from allegiance to anyone.
  2. Term used by the prophets to describe Israel’s faithlessness to God
  3. This term, so often used by the prophets, is here [Prov. 14:14] used in such a way as to clarify who is a backslider. You will know him by his fruit.  He belongs in the category of the fool, the wicked, and the disobedient and he is contrasted with the godly wise.

How can this behavior be tolerated in the church?

The church has failed in its mission to disciple and has encouraged easy believe-ism and superficial conversions.  The church has grown but it has only gotten fat, not mature [sanctified / holy].

Per Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

As Christianity spread, the Church became more “secularized”, lowering the demands of obedience to Jesus to the requirements of society. In this way, “the world was Christianized, and grace became its common property.” But the hazard of this was that the gospel was cheapened, and obedience to the living Christ was gradually lost beneath formula and ritual [religion], so that in the end, grace could literally be sold for monetary gain.

Grace became cheap:  “cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, and grace without Jesus Christ.”

Allowing easy believe-ism and superficial conversions and then ignoring the consequences has dangerously tilted the influence of the church more toward the world in many matters of great importance rather than toward the commands of scripture.

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