Bill Craig on avoiding apostasy

Philosopher Bill Craig has some sage advice for someone struggling with his or her faith:

One of my greatest concerns as a Christian is that I might somehow fall away from the faith and so betray Christ. It would be the height of folly and presumption to think that this could not happen. Think of what happened to Judas. It’s amazing that a man who was one of the original twelve disciples, who had been for years in such close proximity to Jesus, should in the end turn against him. Is it then any wonder that we can similarly fall away and betray Christ? Paul speaks of several whom he knew who had left the faith (1 Tim 1.20; 2 Tim 2.17; 4.10). He warns, “Let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor 10.12). Paul included himself in that admonition, “lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Cor 9.27). If someone of Paul’s spiritual stature and commitment took seriously this danger, how much more should we? Paul urges us, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are holding to your faith” (2 Cor 13.5).

So how can we avoid falling away? I don’t think there is any sort of simple recipe, but 2 Pet 1.5-11 provides some important guidelines:

For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these things are yours and abound, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be the more zealous to confirm your call and election, for if you do this you will never fall; so there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Look at the promise here: “If you do this, YOU WILL NEVER FALL.” What a wonderful promise! This is exactly what we are looking for, and so we need to pay close attention to the text.

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