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Is Apostasy the Unforgivable Sin?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
December 29, 2023 2:30 pm

Is Apostasy the Unforgivable Sin?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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December 29, 2023 2:30 pm

Episode 1391 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

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  Today’s Offer: WE BELIEVE: THE NICENE CREED STUDY   Want to partner with us in our work here at Core Christianity? Consider becoming a member of the Inner Core.   View our latest special offers here or call 1-833-THE-CORE (833-843-2673) to request them by phone.


Is apostasy the unforgivable sin? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Hi, this is Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. We'd love to hear from you, and you can leave us a voicemail anytime with your question at this number. It's 833-THE-CORE. 833-843-2673.

Of course, you can always email us as well. Send your question to us at First up today, let's go to Brian calling in from Oklahoma. Brian, what's your question for Adriel? Hey, Pastor Adriel and Bill.

I so appreciate your program. I have an avid listener almost every day, and I appreciate so much what you do for the body of Christ. Mine is kind of an unusual, maybe, situation in that I've been a believer for several years, and lately I've been fitting myself to slipping away in doubt and unbelief. I have been in the scriptures. I know that the Bible tells us not to let sinful behavior cause us to have a sinful and unbelieving heart.

I deal with a very unusual issue, an emotional issue, I've had since I was a kid. I've been in Christian therapy for it, and everyone tells me from a Christian perspective that it's not a sinful behavior, but it's just an emotional bondage of sorts, but I feel like it's in between my walk with the Lord and me, and I think it's the root of why I'm getting to feel like I'm slipping away from the Lord. I get cynical, I get unbelieving.

It's like a roller coaster. I do have times of belief and of repentance, but there are other times when I just feel like because of this issue that I just feel hopeless many times, and I just like your perspective and maybe some thoughts on this. Thank you. Bill, I'd like to get your input. And also, Brian, let me just say thank you for your encouragement and for listening.

And, Bill, I want to get your input on this too, especially with the emotional aspect there. But before I say anything, let's just take an opportunity, a moment right now, to pray for Brian, that the Lord would draw him near, strengthen him and keep him. Our Father in Heaven, we come before you right now. Thank you for this opportunity to lift our brother Brian up to you. And, God, thank you for his willingness to open up and to share. And, Lord, thank you that you pursue us, and Jesus that you keep us, that you're the good shepherd who, when we wander away, you don't just say, okay, whatever.

You pursue your straying sheep. So I pray that, Lord, as my brother feels like he's been drifting some here and there, I pray, Jesus, that you would pursue him and grab a hold of him and strengthen him, Lord, in his faith. I pray that this emotional issue, but he's getting some therapy for, Lord, I just ask for your grace to be poured out upon him in that, that he would get the encouragement and help that he needs, whether it's professional help, but also from the body of Christ, that the church would really come in clutch in his life during this season and during these times of doubt. And, God, as he reads your word, I pray, Father, even as you've promised in the book of Isaiah, that your word does not return void, that it will accomplish all that you have purposed, that your word would be efficacious in his life and in his heart, strengthening his faith, sustaining his faith, and leading him more and more into growth and grace, into repentance, into walking with you. And so would you keep our brother and would you bless him, we pray in Jesus' name.

Amen. One thing I would say, Brian, is, I mean, that tendency to drift away from the Lord is almost natural. It's like, left to ourselves, if we're not coming before the Lord, if we're not taking advantage of his means of grace, hearing the preached word, receiving the ordinances of grace, the Lord's Supper, you know, weekly, being in that fellowship with other believers. You alluded to that passage in that passage in Hebrews chapter three, you know, where it talks about our hearts not being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, where the author of the Hebrew says in verse 12, take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But here's how we combat that, he says, but exhort one another every day, as long as it is called today, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. And then just a little bit later in the book of Hebrews, in Hebrews chapter 10, he gives another exhortation in verse 24.

Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day approaching. And so what's interesting is the book of Hebrews, Brian, in particular, was written to a group of people who were drifting away from the truth. You get this back in chapter 2 verse 1, the author says, therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.

He's saying, I can see what's happening here. You're drifting away from Christian fellowship, you're drifting away from the truth of the gospel, you're beginning to engage in these sinful practices and patterns that are hardening your heart. As he says there in chapter 3, don't remove yourself from Christian fellowship, don't distance yourself from the word.

You need that. We need that in order to continue to fix our eyes upon the Lord. And so I think that those three texts that I just brought up, I think that those are helpful to think about when we feel like we're straying to say, okay, Lord, help me to pay closer attention to what you've said in your word, to the promises of the gospel. Help me not to neglect, as much as I feel like I want to, as much as, you know, and it is a battle because it's going to feel like, man, I want to isolate myself, I don't want to be around other believers. But as much as we have that feeling to say, God, I know that I need other people around me encouraging me, I'm going to open myself up to that, I'm going to continue to press in, even though my feeling right now is to isolate and to move away from the body of Christ, I want to press in, God, and say, help, help, come alongside me, I need some encouragement, and I hope that you're in a church, Brian, that will provide that for you. Let me just go back to you briefly, because fellowship is such an important part of not drifting. Are you in a church right now where you're being encouraged?

Definitely. It's a great, life-giving church. Several of the people that I attend with, that are friends, know what I deal with issue-wise and are very supportive, very loving, but have had that tendency to drift a little bit from fellowship. I did attend churches past Sunday, but you're right, the temptation to isolate is very strong.

Yeah, well, I'm just thankful, because I know how hard it is when people don't have that. It's almost like you're starting off on the wrong foot, but so you do have fellowship, there are people that you're open with there, and I would just encourage you to continue to press and to continue to be open, and certainly it sounds like you're already doing the right thing in terms of working with a Christian counselor or therapist, to work through some of the emotional stuff as well. But let me just say to you, brother, it's not hopeless. It's not hopeless because there is a God in heaven who knows you, who knows your struggles. Sometimes those struggles are induced by sin, sometimes it's an emotional health issue, it's a mental health issue, and that's a struggle too.

Our minds are just as much under the effects of the fall as the rest of our bodies, and so we can experience that there, but it's not hopeless because Christ is present with you through His promise, through His word, and He has promised to restore our minds, our bodies, every part of us through His resurrection from the dead. And so right now we do struggle, and we do have times of doubt and questioning and emotional lows. Take all of that to the Lord, take all of that to the Lord, continue to get the encouragement that you need from the body of Christ.

When you're tempted to isolate, fight that by saying, okay, Lord, give me the strength to get up, to get out there. And even if it's just to pray and say, Lord, have mercy upon me, help, if that's all I got, if I'm just there and I'm saying, Lord, help, keep doing that, don't stop doing that. And Bill, I do, I mentioned just with your expertise, I'd love to hear any additional encouragement that you have for Brian as well. You know, I don't have a lot to add to what you said, you ought to really hang out a shingle and be a Christian therapist because you've covered a lot of ground there. You know, the Bible does talk about the renewing of our mind and putting on the mind of Christ. And oftentimes distorted thoughts, distorted thinking, which as you said, can come from the fall, can come from the fact that our brains, our brain chemistry can, you know, it was affected, is affected by the sin nature, by the fall. So we oftentimes will get into these patterns of destructive or faulty thinking, and then that leads to destructive or faulty feeling.

And so really the answer a lot of times is to get our thinking right. And it sounds like Brian's got some, was going to a Christian therapist, hopefully he is still doing that. But one of the things I would mention, he mentioned, yes, I'm going to church and I have some great people in my congregation that I, you know, have been open with. I think going to church on Sunday is key, but I also think being part of a small group would really benefit Brian because then when there's a tendency to pull away, those group members will be, you know, there for him. We'll call him to accountability. We'll say, Brian, we missed you on Tuesday night.

Where were you? We want you here. We want to pray for you.

We want to hear what's going on in your life. So I think sometimes in situations like this, it really requires more than just a Sunday morning service as far as that fellowship component goes. And I think, Brian, you can even be proactive here. That text in Hebrews 10 that I read about, okay, how can we stir up love and good works?

Well, the church should be doing that for you, right? I mean, these people that you're around, but you can also be proactive in thinking, what does it look like for me? My temptation right now is to isolate and to pull back. What would it look like for me to press in and to think about what the author of the Hebrews there to consider how to stir up the body of Christ unto love and good works? What would it look like for me to serve, even in this place of weakness, to offer myself to the Lord and to God's people, broken as I am, but for the good of the body of Christ? And I think even there, there can be healing and strength and encouragement that you can get. And so just want to encourage you to think about that text, not just as what others can, how they can minister to me in this time, but how can I be also engaged and continuing to fix my eyes upon the Lord in serving his people? And may God enable you to do that, and may God be with you, Brian, and strengthen you, appreciate you again reaching out to us, and we'll keep you in our prayers. I'm so glad you added that, Adriel, because even just the psychological research would say that when we are at a place where we're feeling stuck, if we will reach outside ourselves and serve others and assist others, help others, all those things that Christ calls us to, a lot of times that actually improves our mood, improves our feeling and the way we think.

And so that's a great bit of advice, Bram. Amen. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and we always love hearing your questions. By the way, you can email us anytime at or leave us a voicemail on our voicemail system. Here's the number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. I also want to mention a wonderful Bible study that we have just developed. Adriel worked on this with our Core Christianity team, and it addresses the core doctrines of the Christian faith. Yeah, the study is called We Believe, and it's a study through the Nicene Creed. And just thinking about Brian's encouraging feedback there where he said, you know, I'm in a church, I'm in a good church where I'm being encouraged and people know me and we're building each other up.

That is so important, brothers and sisters. And one of the things that you'll find in this 10-week study, the 10th lesson is actually, how do I find a good church? One of our desires here at Core Christianity, I'm a minister, I'm a pastor in a local church, but I'm not your pastor if you're listening on the radio.

You need a pastor who is going to care for you, who you're going to be able to sit down with and grab coffee with, who's faithful to preach the word of God. So we're always encouraging people to get plugged into good churches. And one of the ways you can figure out what a good church is, is by getting a hold of this resource. Again, we believe the Nicene Creed, we're offering it right now for a gift of $25 or more. And if you go to our website, forward slash offers, you can find out more about that Bible study.

Again, it's called We Believe. And as we're coming up to the end of the year, we would ask you to prayerfully consider making a year-end gift to this ministry. Core Christianity is fully listener supported. We count on people like you to make regular gifts to keep us on the air, and we want to continue doing what we're doing on a daily basis. So if you believe in our mission and you agree with it, we would ask you to find out more by going to Well, let's go to a voicemail that came in from one of our listeners. This is from Dawn. I would like to know if you commit apostasy, can you repent and be forgiven? Thank you. Bye-bye.

Hey Dawn, thank you for that question. And I, short and sweet, the way you asked it, but I imagine that there's a lot behind that question, whether you're thinking about someone else or maybe in your own life. And I know that there are Christians who have fallen into a season of sin or left the church and denied Jesus and then want to come back, but they're questioning whether that's even possible. And one of the reasons people have those questions is because there are passages in the New Testament like Hebrews chapter 6, where the author of the Hebrews says in Hebrews chapter 6 verse 4, it is impossible in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift and have shared in the Holy Spirit and have tasted the goodness of the Word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. Now let me say this. It is clear, according to the Bible, that there are people who experienced the mercy of God, the grace of God, tasted of the heavenly gift we might say, and had a close relationship with the Lord, and then sinned in very grievous and horrible ways, unimaginable ways.

But it's true. I mean, you think of King David, for example, right? He commits adultery, and probably more than that, I mean, just thinking about the dynamic there in his relationship, if we can even call it that, initially with Bathsheba, where he essentially takes her and has sexual relations with her, and then has her husband killed, murdered, really. I mean, this is someone who is said to have a heart after God's own heart, and yet even for him there was grace and forgiveness. Or you think of Peter, Peter who insisted that he would never deny the Lord, Peter who says, you know, I'll die with you to Jesus. And Jesus says, no, actually, before, you know, before all this is said and done, you're going to deny me several times. And again, Peter swearing to people, right, like I don't know who Jesus is, and even invoking a curse upon himself, denying the Lord and invoking a curse upon himself, lying and cursing himself, there was mercy and forgiveness for him. And so what I tell people, and what I would say to you, Don, is if you're coming to the Lord and saying, God, I've sinned. I've sinned, and I've sinned in some pretty bad ways. I turned away from you.

I denied you. I mean, when we think about what apostasy is, what is it? It's denying Christ.

It's turning away, turning our backs on him. Lord, I did that. Have mercy upon me. I believe that the mercy of God is big enough for you. Now, there are some people who, in anyone who's saying, I reject the gospel, and I'm turning away from the Lord, and they're truly hardening their hearts against God. I don't think that they want God's grace and mercy. They've denied Jesus. They've trampled the Son of God under foot and counted the blood of the covenant, a common thing, an unholy thing. That's what the author of the Hebrew says in Hebrews chapter 10.

That doesn't sound like you. It doesn't sound like the people who call into this broadcast with this question, you know, is there hope for me? And I would say to you, I would say to you, just as I'd say to anyone else, for a sinner who recognizes their sin, their shortcoming, how much they've fallen, the fact that they've turned away from the Lord and denied him, and they're gripped with conviction and sorrow and grief, and they're coming to the Lord, I would say to you, trust and believe that the mercy of Christ is sufficient for you, just as it was sufficient for David, just as it was sufficient for Peter. The love of Christ is infinite.

We are finite. Our sins are finite, but the love of Christ extends beyond all of that, and so when we come to him, we can receive his grace and mercy. But for those who harden their hearts and apostatize and reject the gospel and live in that obstinate state, you know, I want nothing to do with the Lord. They're hardening their hearts, and there's no interest in forgiveness or in Christ. There is no hope for that person, that person who doesn't want forgiveness and doesn't want God's mercy.

No, there's no hope for that person, but for the person who recognizes their sin and turns to the Lord, there is hope because of the gospel. And so, God bless you, Don. Thank you for reaching out with that question. Thanks for that, Adriel.

Great words of comfort. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question about the Bible, the Christian life, doctrine, theology, you can leave us a voicemail 24 hours a day on our voicemail system.

That number is 833-THE-CORE, 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to John calling in from Oklahoma. John, what's your question for Adriel? Hello. Hello, and thank you. Merry Christmas. Yeah, Merry Christmas.

Thanks. In relation to the last broadcast, we were talking about Zionism. I know there's some Zionist churches that say that the church, some of the other churches, are saying that they are guilty of replacement theology. In other words, we don't want, we don't think the Jews are, you know, have any future in anything that has to do with the church. What is replacement theology, and is that really a real belief?

Hey, John, thank you for that question. And I would say the best place to go in Scripture, Romans 9-11, with regard to this topic in particular. Now, getting to the last part of your question, there's no hope or there's no place for ethnic Israel now that they're just done for. I think when you read Romans 11, it does seem to indicate that there is going to be a large scale turning to Jesus, turning to Messiah among the Jewish people. And so I think that is something we can look forward to, but it doesn't happen apart from Jesus Christ. And so sometimes people will use, you know, that phrase, replacement theology, to talk about this idea that while you believe that God doesn't care about his covenant people, the Jews, and that the church has replaced them and pushed them out.

And well, I don't know that that's a helpful way of thinking about it. I think in Romans 11, the way that the apostle Paul talks about it, and same with, you know, in his letter to the Galatians, is that Jesus Christ is the true Israelite, the son of Abraham. The promise is, and you see this in Galatians 3, to Abraham into his seed. Jesus is the seed that's spoken of there, and it's in Jesus that all of the promises of God find their yes and amen. So it's not that, you know, the church is pushing out Israel or something like that. It's that it's only by faith in Jesus Christ that we are united to the vine. And apart from faith, we're broken off. That's what Paul says in Romans chapter 11. If some branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, speaking of the Gentiles, were grafted in among the others, and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches.

Right? He's saying, look, you've been grafted in. It's not about replacing the branches, it's about, through faith, being joined to, I would say, the true vine, the true Israelite, Jesus Christ, and then inviting everyone, Jew and Gentile alike, to be brought in as well. And that's what he's going to go on to say there with regard to the Jews. He says in verse 28, As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake, but as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers, for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you were at one time disobedient to God, but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they too have been disobedient, in order that by the mercy shown to you, they may also receive mercy. That God's heart is to extend mercy to all peoples, Jews and Gentiles alike. Praise God for that. God bless. Explore the truth of God's Word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-29 17:25:31 / 2023-12-29 17:35:17 / 10

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