In spite of what many religious groups would like to believe, the bible is clear about the fact that a Christian, once cleansed from his past sins, can sin so as to be lost eternally (Hebrews 6:4-6; Hebrews 10:26; James 5:19-20; 2 Peter 2:20-22). But what would bring such a situation to pass? Why would someone, after escaping the “pollutions of the world” (2 Peter 2:20), choose to return to “wallowing in the mire” (2 Peter 2:22)? I believe that some of the words that scripture uses to warn about this are instructive. Hebrews 2:1 says, “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.” Verse 3 of the same chapter says, “ how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation”. James warns against wandering from the truth (James 5:19). Peter speaks of one who has “forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins” (2 Peter 1:9).
Most Christians who fall away do not just suddenly make a decision to return to a life of sin, rather they “drift”, they “wander”, they “neglect”, they “forget”. This is something that could happen to any of us if we are not on guard. In the parable of the sower in Luke 8:14 Jesus warned about the distracting influence of the “cares, riches, and pleasures of life”. These things, while not evil in themselves, can occupy our attention to the point that we “drift away” from the Lord. One of the greatest causes of Christians falling away is a failure to assemble with the saints (Hebrews 10:25-30). God commanded that we “come together as a church” (1 Corinthians 11:18); “come together in one place” (1 Corinthians 11:20) for a reason. Christians come together, in part, to instruct, strengthen, encourage, edify, and, if necessary, warn one another (Ephesians 4:11-16, Colossians 3:16, 1 Thessalonians 5:14). One of the greatest threats to the church today is the current trend toward “virtual worship”. Rather than exhorting the saints to come together for worship and their mutual benefit, they are being told to stay home. Whether it is by personal choice or a decision of a church’s leadership, the longer the saints fail to assemble together the greater the danger that they will “drift”, “wander”, “neglect”, and “forget” and ultimately be lost eternally.