How do you know whether someone has fallen or not? Well in these times, it is easier knowing as we have many practical examples. The ‘institutioning’ of gay marriages and people openly denouncing their faith are vivid examples. Like someone wrote in his book, there are signs people show when they’re sliding backwards (i.e. backsliding). It is the aim of this article to expose and to teach believers whether someone is falling or fallen.
In 1 Timothy 4:1-3, we are shown to a clear extent what it is like for people to fall from the faith. There are explicit things mentioned, which are signs of a falling Christian. Drawing from the Scripture, this is how you know someone has departed from the faith
- They listen to themselves or seductive spirits; they do not listen to anybody. Like we say in our language, “the one cutting the path doesn’t know his way is crooked”. It is difficult knowing when you are backsliding unless people tell you. Comments from people are like your markers, they show you which path you are taking/leading. All the same, if you feel the path you’re on is a right one, then only pray that it does not lead to death
- They give heed to devilish doctrines, which kill the soul; these no longer draw their strength from the Gospel. They live life like they own it and are their own bosses. They do not lean on God to direct them and help them with finding their way but take their own paths. Don’t think of devilish doctrines as some weird false religion which some secret societies engage in. Doctrines of devils can even be listening to some weird thoughts of yours
- They speak lies or half-truths and are hypocrites; they do not come out openly to proclaim their faith and stance- whether they are with God or against Christ. These are simply hypocrites who do not want to hurt any category; they do not know they are only hurting themselves. When you speak lies, you’re not lying to anybody because YOU have to keep up with all the lies you’ve spoken- by explaining yourself and thinking people misconstrued you
- They forbid marriages and endorse false ones; this is how extreme some fallen souls can go. But before they get here or to this point, they would’ve been convinced in the first three instances. This does not only entail forbiddance of marriages but the establishment of false or diabolic ones like gay marriages. And as we are seeing, passing the right of LGBTQs
- They preach abstinence from certain things as a way of holy life/living; abstaining from foods (fasting) doesn’t make you any purer, it’s your conscience. Most of the practices or rituals we have today in our churches stem purely from consciences and not things God Himself has established. And when your conscience does not agree with or cannot fathom why we practice certain things, it becomes vague its essence. This is one marked example of a fallen Christian, they replace godliness with rituals
- They’ve lost their faith and no longer know the Truth i.e. Christ; you could tell someone has lost his or her faith from the way they speak. They do not quote scriptures, not like verbatim but making references to it, because there is no light in them. They’ve been filled with darkness or their souls are being darkened by some lies they’ve conceived. Sometimes you could tell someone is confused in the faith when they speak, there is hope for such a person than those who’ve lost it
When you see these signs in a person, it means that they’ve fallen or are falling. Like the Apostle Paul said, when you see such a person, help him up if you are that spiritual but be careful with yourself. I don’t think I’m in any position to help such persons though it hurts my heart so much to see them falling. I myself have stopped church because I’m in a transition trying to find my identity and where I belong.
What is expected of us Christians is to pray for such souls. Speaking may do the work but then it may push the person to the defensive point because it’ll feel like you’re attacking them. When that happens, you’ve lost the soul even though you tried to save it.
Instead, ask the person to come out openly and let him explain himself. Give him or her a hearing ear and afterwards, pray for the person if necessary. Doing this one-on-one is more efficient than in a crowd of listeners. When a soul decides to depart from the faith, there is little you can do to help; perhaps that soul may even be damned (Hebrews 6:4-6).
I wish I could mention names here to clarify some issues but then I cannot name any names. What I seek is for believers to be wary of such backsliding persons, who keep on deceiving the masses and themselves. “If you’ve fallen from the faith, there is no pride in that, just come out openly and say it. If you’re falling, I just want you to make sure you fall alone and not carry with you those who want to stand or are standing.” God bless you.