Falling away doesn’t take much of a fall. What’s the difference between walking with God in the light and stepping over into the domain of darkness? It is as simple as turning the attention to yourself and away from God. Worship is no longer worship of God because we are exalting our own desires for what makes us feel good.

The devil is happy to see us give up one sin if we will take up another. When we think we have beaten one habit, another one crops up. When you think you have beaten the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes is right around the corner. And when you think you have beaten the lust of the eyes, watch out “boastful pride of life”, 1 John 2:15ff. Thinking you can’t fall away is naive.

You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. – Gal 5:4

I’m sure there were plenty of Israelites who “thought they stood” firm, but look how they fell. And Paul is writing to the Corinthians who are dangerously close to doing the same. In vss 1-11 of the same chapter he tells them the example of Israel falling into idoltary which manifested itself in seemingly harmless of ways: eating, drinking, and playing, 1 Cor. 10:7. The devil is crafty though, deceiving men to abuse even the best of things. When a party becomes sinful. When eating and drinking becomes idolatry. When “playing” becomes sinful because it is an idol.

Satan disguises the sin so as to catch even the strongest Christian. Paul says, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.” 1 Cor 10:12

As strong as I believe my faith is, there is always room for growth. And if I feel immune to falling back into sin, I need to remember just what it is that Satan’s working for. Paul said to the Corinthians,

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” 1 Cor 12:13

The temptation to sin that comes from Satan is subtle. “Come on, God gave you the sense of pleasure so why not please yourself. God is the one that gave you your talents, so how can God be upset if you are using them? God is the one that gave you free will. So how can God be angry if you are exercising it. And nobody is perfect. God gave you life. So live it. Have fun because God wants you to be happy.” Sound familiar? Anyone who thinks he could not fall away is forgetting the craftiness of Satan. Paul promises you are going to be tempted and that you need to look for God’s providence that you might endure the temptations.

Paul’s words to the Corinthians could be harsh. But a thorough reading of 1 Corinthians shows that the Christians were fairly immature as Christians and in danger of falling away. They were exalting men and dividing the church, were immature and fleshly, boastful of sin, attacking and suing fellow Christians, challenging Apostolic authority, bragging on and misusing the supernatural gifts, turning the worship into a circus and some were questioning the resurrection. What a mess. And so it seems completely appropriate for Paul to remind the Christians of their past in 1 Corinthians 12, saying, “You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols, however you were led” 1 Cor. 12:2. Instead of being upset at Paul, I’m sure many of them understood completely that their idolatry was being replaced by a new idolatry.

Peter reminds enlightened people that they can return to the unchristian life of the past.

21 For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. 22 It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT,” and, “A sow, after washing, returnsto wallowing in the mire.”

The one who thinks he stands is the one who likes to think he is the least susceptible to falling away. “Take heed” means keeping an ever vigilant watch over your soul. Don’t think you can’t fall away from God. Instead keep putting your faith in Christ.

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