“They went out from us, but they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have remained with us. But they went out, revealing that none of them were of us.”
— 1 John 2:19
How are we to understand it when someone seems to become a Christian, they seem to actively grow, and then eventually they fall away? They leave, and they never come back. The first thing we think of is that these people are somewhere out there someplace. But they were right in the church.
They went out from us, but they were not of us. They were among them, a part of the church, but they really were not of it in its essence. “For if they had been of us, they would no doubt have remained with us.”
Many people ask about those that leave the church and apostatize and deny Christ. Have they fallen from grace and ceased to be Christians, or were they never really Christians at all? Two theological systems have been built in response to that question. The Calvinistic system, which says they never were Christians at all and that is why they left. And the Arminian system, which says they once were Christians and now they have ceased to be Christians.
I think John settled once and for all that controversy in this very verse. Their apostatizing is a part of the continual purification of the church.
Father God, it is with deepest sorrow that we think of the people we know who have left the church. We ask You to bring them back to Yourself. You who received the prodigal son with open arms, quicken and make alive those who are spiritually dead…
BY GOD’S STRENGTH AND POWER
ALONE, CAN THE DEAD BE MADE ALIVE.