Truth is you may not have been a Christian after all

Something non-believers tell me all the time is that they were once, some even very devout, Christians who, often with a significant amount of heartache and personal turmoil, walked away from the faith and will never go back.

I hate to argue with people over this or even tell them they might be wrong because, truth is, no one but them and God will actually ever know for sure.

But, then again, I hate to sugarcoat biblical truths too so…

I was studying Revelation 3:16 in Matthews Henry’s Concise Commentary this morning and this line jumped out at me.

“There are many in Hell, who once thought themselves far in the way to Heaven. Let us beg of God that we may not be left to flatter and deceive ourselves.”

Not only do I agree with that completely, I think its central meaning can be rightly applied to another verse I have also been studying lately, 1 John 2:19.

“They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.”

If there are people who proclaim to be actual confessing Christians that will find themselves in Hell, certainly there are deconverts who were never truly saved despite how adamantly they may declare they were.

Causes of the indifference and inconsistency in religion Revelation 3:16 speaks of, the commentary explains are, self-conceit and self-delusion. If one thinks about these key terms, along with “flatter and deceive” in the above quote, they explain quite a bit.

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Categories: Christianity

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15 replies

  1. I’ve read this before and I think I have to agree, but the whole thing just kind of messes with my head. As far as I’m concerned, if you once believed in God, believed you were saved, but have now taken a full 180, all you’ve really proven is that you have an astounding inability to discern and a complete lack of self awareness. If you were so wrong once, who’s to say you aren’t even wronger now?
    It’s kind of like listening to the testimony of someone in court, “I was absolutely convinced about the truth of what I saw, but that was yesterday, today I am absolutely convinced of the truth of what I didn’t see.” So in other words, you’re incompetent, blind, and none of us should be paying you any heed?

    Liked by 2 people

    • I disagree, the person who changes their mind over something when new information comes to light or when believed information can no longer be supported, is someone who shows integrity.
      The person you should be wary of is the one who resolutely stands their ground in the face of contradictory evidence because they insist on holding firm to their beliefs.

      Liked by 1 person

      • There is much more to it than simply changing one’s mind Limey.

        A Christian is a new creation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). A Christian is not simply an “improved” version of a person; a Christian is an entirely new creature. He is “in Christ.” For a Christian to “change his mind”, the new creation would have to be destroyed.

        A Christian is redeemed. “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:18–19). The word redeemed refers to a purchase being made, a price being paid. We were purchased at the cost of Christ’s death. For a Christian to “change his mind”, God Himself would have to revoke His purchase of the individual for whom He paid with the precious blood of Christ.

        In order to say one can just change their mind, one must grossly misrepresent how salvation works.

        Liked by 1 person

        • You’re making the assumption that salvation is actually a thing. When someone realises that they have been deceived about salvation then that changes everything. That you and others continue to believe it, do not make it true. It could just as easily be that it is you who have been deceived and you haven’t yet been saved from that deception.

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          • When you say one can just change their mind, aren’t you making an assumption that salvation is a thing too?

            Seems like your argument here is a bit inconsistent.

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          • No I’m not making that assumption. I’m saying it’s something that people can have an opinion on. Some think it’s real and some are unconvinced.

            What do you think is inconsistent?

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          • I said people may not have been saved even though they think they were.

            You said people can change their mind when presented with evidence.

            If you can change your mind about something, that something is indeed a thing, is it not?

            Seems confusing to me. Are you arguing against how salvation works according to Christian teaching or whether or not it’s a thing?

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          • I’m not arguing either.

            I’m arguing that changing your mind over something when exposed to new information is an honest and decent thing to do and does not at all mean that you are incompetent and blind.

            It is possible to believe something that is false and become convinced you were wrong and to change your opinion. The original belief has no baring on the validity of what it was that was believed.

            It is you who introduced salvation. It might be a thing or it might not be a thing. That people used to believe it was a thing and now don’t doesn’t change it’s status, whatever that is.

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          • Limey,

            In almost all circumstances, changing your mind when exposed to new information is a good thing, I won’t argue with that.

            Where salvation is concerned however, and as I explained, there is no possible way someone can change their mind, that’s biblically not how it works.

            A Christian is promised eternal life. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Eternal life is the promise of spending forever in heaven with God. God promises, “Believe and you will have eternal life.” For a Christian to “change his mind”, eternal life would have to be redefined. The Christian is promised to live forever. Does eternal not mean “eternal”?

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          • And yet many thousands of people have done exactly that.

            Perhaps it is you who is mistaken in your conclusions.

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          • The many thousands are mistaken.

            “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.”

            – 1 John 2:19

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          • I’m pretty sure the bible also contains warnings about being too confident in your position lest you discover that it is you who is wrong.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Cite the passages you believe teach that, let’s discuss:)

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    • Interesting take IB. Even if someone doesn’t think about being a new creation and being born again, that someone can just “change their mind” doesn’t add up.

      As the post said, people who “used to believe” are simply decieved.

      The only other option is that they are lying in order to make themselves seem more credible to those they are trying to convince.

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  2. ““Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:21-23‬ ‭NLT

    It’s all about relationship. If the so called Christian who said the words of a prayer but does not have a real relationship with Christ, then that one is lost.

    Liked by 1 person

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