Since saving faith is a belief, i.e., a persuasion of which the one believing has been convinced that salvation unto eternal life comes solely through a moment of faith alone in Christ alone + nothing and thereby has immediate assurance that he is forever saved unto eternal life,

(would one actually belief something he is not sure of?)

And since an apostate relative to Christianity is a departure from both that particular persuasion and that particular assurance,

Then one cannot apostate from something that one has never been convinced of nor has been assured of.

Thus believers only have the possibility of becoming apostate.


[Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, G & C Merriam Co, Springfield, Ma, 1980, pp. 53, 294]:


"1: renunciation of a religious faith

[Notice that one must have a faith to begin with in order to renounce]

2: abandonment of a previous loyalty

Synonym: DEFECTION =

conscious abandonment of allegiance or duty (as to a person, cause, or doctrine)."

C) [Hypertext Webster Gateway]:


" 'apostasy' From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913) Apostasy \A*pos"ta*sy\, n.; pl. {Apostasies}. [OE. apostasie, F. apostasie, L. apostasia, fr. Gr. a standing off from, a defection, fr. to stand off, revolt; from + to stand. See {Off} and {Stand}.] An abandonment of what one has voluntarily professed; a total desertion of departure from one's faith, principles, or party; esp., the renunciation of a religious faith; as, Julian's apostasy from Christianity.

Defection \De*fec"tion\, n. [L. defectio: cf. F. d['e]fection. See {Defect}.] Act of abandoning a person or cause to which one is bound by allegiance or duty, or to which one has attached himself; desertion; failure in duty; a falling away; apostasy; backsliding. "Defection and falling away from God.'' --Sir W. Raleigh. The general defection of the whole realm. --Sir J. Davies. From WordNet (r) 1.6 (wn) defection n 1: withdrawing support or help despite allegiance or responsibility; "his abandonment of his wife and children left them penniless" [syn: {desertion}, {abandonment}] 2: the state of having rejected your religious beliefs [syn: {apostasy}, {renunciation}]"

So what is in view re: the words apostasy, defection and synonyms such as falling away, depart from relative to the Christian faith is a departure from a position of actual belief that one formerly and truly held in Christ unto eternal life and all the doctrines of the Christian life therein related to one of unbelief. False professors are therefore not in view for they had no position of true faith that they actually departed from. Their true beliefs were simply revealed which were estranged from the Christian faith all along.

D) [The New Analytical Greek Lexicon, Wesley J. Perschbacheer Ed., Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Ma, 19929. 48]:


"a falling away, a defection, apostasy"


"to put away, separate; to draw off or away, withdraw, induce to revolt, Acts 5:37;

to depart, go away from, Luke 2:37

to desist or refrain from, let alone, Acts 5:38; 22:29; 2 Cor 12:8

to make defection, fall away, apostatize, Luke 8:13; 1 Tim 4:1; Heb 3:12

to withdraw from, have no intercourse with, 1 Tim 6:5

to abstain from, 2 Tim 2:19"


"to falter, to fall away, Matt. 13:21"



[From the parable of the sower and the soils ]


a) [Mt 13:5-6; 20-21]:

(v. 5) "Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.

(v. 6) But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.

(v. 20) And the one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word, and immediately receives it with joy;

(v. 21) But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, quickly he falls away."

"he falls away" = "skandalizetai" from skandalizO, to falter, fall away

b) [Cp Mk 4:16-17]:

(v. 16) Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy.

(v. 17) But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, quickly they fall away."

"they fall away" = "skandalizontai" from skandalizO, (pres. passive, indicative, 3 pers. plural) , to falter, fall away

c) [Cp Lk 8:13]:

(v. 13) "Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away."

"aphistantai" = "They fall away", present, middle voice, indicative mood.


"the ones who receive the word" (Lk 8:13; Mt 13:20 & Mk 4:16) =

The word receive is synonymous with the word believe when it comes to the gospel, thus those of the rocky soil are indeed believers, saved unto eternal life:

a) [Compare Jn 1:12-13]:

(v. 12) "Yet to all who received Him [Christ, (vv. 10-11)], to those who believed in His name, He [God] gave the right to become children of God -

(v. 13) children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God."


A number of God's born again children - those who move on in the faith will inevitably have their faith tested by God via trouble and persecution which is in view in this section of the parable:

"When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he [the one who "receives the word", i.e., believes in it unto eternal life] quickly falls away", (Mt 13:21b; Mk 4:17b similar).


"They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.", (Lk 8:13b).

Notice that "trouble or persecution comes because of the word, i.e., a "testing" of the believer's faith. Many believers will not stand up under God's testing, but the believer is given a way out and if he perseveres he will be rewarded:

a) [Compare Jas 1:12]:

"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial [Gk = periasmon], because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him."

b) [Compare 1 Cor 10:13]:

"No temptation [Gk = "peirasmps", same root word for trial, testing] has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful, He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

Notice that the same family of words is used for "temptation", "tempted" and "tested" in the above 2 quotations signifying testing and trial. What our Lord is teaching in Lk 8:13 is that some believers will not persevere in the faith when tested. There are no guarantees - many in deed will depart from their beliefs, i.e., apostasize.


To set the matter straight from God's Word, consider that there are no passages in Scripture that stipulate that a believer can lose his salvation, and many which indicate that he can fail testing, live like the world and fall out of the grace of God and into a lifestyle which is under the discipline of God until he repents or goes home early to be with the Lord in heaven, suffering the loss of the appointed years of his physical life, (sin unto death, Jas 1:15, 5:20; 1 Jn 5:16), and great loss of eternal rewards but never loss of eternal life.

(REF: )

Jesus is teaching here and in the next section, (the seed among the thorns), that not all believers will persevere in the faith, that spiritual victory in the believer is not guaranteed. The believer needs to persevere in the faith through "trouble or persecution", (Mt 13:22), i.e., "time of testing", (Lk 8:13), and "worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth", (Mt 13:22), i.e., "riches and pleasures", (Lk 8:14), in order to move on to spiritual maturity and to receive eternal rewards - a key purpose of the testing in the first place; but never is loss of salvation in view.

a) [Compare Lk 8:14]:

"But as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature".

Contrary to objectors to eternal security, if a believer does not lose his salvation as a result of having his faith choked out by "worries of this life" and the "deceitfulness of wealth" and "pleasures" - but simply does not mature; then one can expect so much the more that a believer who fails the tests of trouble and persecution would not lose his salvation either.


According to this parable, believing results in the individual being saved unto eternal life, (Lk 8:12). The length of the believing in order to result in being saved is not stipulated, but the context of the parable, the verb tenses as indicated below and other passages in Scripture, (Ref: Jn 3:15-16 ) , indicate that the moment required is an instantaneous one, the object is Christ alone and the result is a completed and irrevocable action of being saved unto eternal life ] Furthermore, there is no indication in this parable nor anywhere in Scripture that stipulates that one must have a continuous, uninterrupted saving faith in order to continue to be saved unto eternal life - if that were possible.

Notice that the key verb forms in Lk 8:12 are aorist indicating that a completed action, once for all time moment of believing results in those individuals becoming believers resulting in a completed action, i.e., a once for all time condition of being irrevocably saved unto eternal life:

a) [Lk 8:12]:

"Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, lest having believed they should be saved."

"lest.........having believed they should be saved" =

"hina me pisteusantes......sothosin"

"having believed" = "pisteusantes", (nom. pl. m. aorist act. part.)

"they should be saved" = sothosin", (3 pers. pl. aorist pass. subj.)

Notice that "pisteusantes" is a nominative participle meaning "they who have believed", in the aorist tense signifying a completed action in the past of believing resulting in the noun in participle form: 'they who are believers' with the result that 'they who are believers' are "sothosin", i.e., completely saved unto eternal life due to the aorist tense here also. So it only takes an instantaneous moment of faith in order to be completely and irrevocably saved unto eternal life.

Furthermore, "believe" in verse 13, ("pisteuousin"), of Luke 8 is exactly the same word "believe" in verse 12 in which in verse 12, as discussed, one would be permanently saved unto eternal life if they believed. So in the same way as in verse 12, verse 13 portrays individuals as doing the same believing unto an irrevocable eternal life. Furthermore, since the duration of eternal life is forever then the possession of eternal lifemust be permanent. Finally, the phrase "received with joy" in verse 13 is tantamount to indicating a status of being saved unto eternal life per other passages not the least of which is John 1:12-13 which indicates that one who receives the word, especially the gospel of salvation, is defined as one who believes in it, thereupon becoming a born again child of God]:

b) [John 1:12-13]:

(v. 12)"Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God -

[Notice that to receive Him is defined as "to those who believed in His name." So to receive the Lord Jesus Christ is to believe in the name of Jesus Christ as Savior - to save you from your sins - and thus become a child of God as verse 13 further elaborates]:

(v. 13) children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God."


Phrases such as "they [plant shoots] sprang up", (Mt 3:5, Mk 4:5); and "the plants were scorched, and they withered" indicate symbolically that the seed of the gospel did sprout to life, i.e., saving faith was exercised and hence acceptance of the gospel unto eternal life. So the seed of the gospel took root, a shot sprouted up, life began - eternal life, i.e., the individual believed and was saved unto eternal life. So there was established a condition of being saved unto eternal life as indicated by our Lord's explicatory comments:

"They believe for a while", (Lk 8:13):

a) [Compare Lk 8:12-13]:

(v. 12) "Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, lest having believed [Gk = pisteusantes] they should be saved.

(v. 13) Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have not root. They believe [Gk = pisteuousi] for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away."

Notice that both verbs "having believed" = "pisteusantes" (v. 12) and "they believe" = "pisteuousi" (v. 13) are from the same root verb "pisteuo" = to have faith, believe. Therefore, if "having believed" in v. 12 would result in being saved unto eternal life as it so stipulates, then certainly the phrase "they believe" in v. 13 referring to those on the rocky soil will also be saved unto eternal life.


Objectors, on the other hand, ignore all of the foregoing evidence, focusing only on the phrase "but they have no root" and falsely maintain that since this particular phrase indicates that there was absolutely no root established at all [which is not the case], then no saved condition resulted.

But this conclusion ignores the fact that there was actual growth indicated necessitating some kind of root structure, (see italics below):

a) [Ref. Mt 13:5-6]:

(v. 5) "Some [seed] fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.

(v. 6) But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root."

Notice that that which sprouted must have grown roots in order for it to be called a plant after all! The objectors ignore the possible understanding of the phrase "but they have no root" to mean 'but they have not sufficient root'. Just as one can say, 'I have no stamina' to describe one's lack of a strong finish in a 10k race that they have just run in good time but without a strong kick at the end, (obviously the runner had enough stamina to run the entire 10k in a good time), the issue of 'no stamina' being a relative one not an absolute one - relative in the case of the runner to insufficient stamina for a closing kick at the end of the 10k race, and relative to the case of plant to insufficient root to survive after sprouting up; so in the same way, one can say that a seedling plant in the rocky soil 'has no root' meaning insufficient depth of root to survive the condition of shallow soil and scorching sun.


Although the individual received the word and became a born again child of God, the word did not take root in his life and he fell away due to this particular case of "trouble or persecution", (Mt 13:21), i.e., "testing", (Lk 8:13). The context and other passages shed light on the degree of this falling away.

a) [Compare Luke 8:12]:

"The devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts so that they may not believe and be saved."

The whole point of this part of verse 12 is to bring home the concept that the devil endeavors to keep individuals from believing in the word, i.e., the gospel, so that they won't be permanently saved.

("saved" = "sothosin", aorist tense = completed action, i.e., once for all time).

If one could lose one's salvation by ceasing to believe, then verse 12 would lose it's credibility emphasizing the devil's effort to keep the word from the individual so that one would not have an opportunity to believe and be saved. For if an individual could lose his salvation via an inconsistent or ceased belief which is not uncommon then why is this not mentioned in verse 12 and why the devil's effort to prevent the individual from believing at all when he could just as easily work on the individual believer to lose his faith & thus his salvation - if this were the case? The whole point of the message in verse 12 is that if the individual believes, then he is saved forever. That's why the devil is taking away the word before the individual believes, otherwise verse 12 has very little significance and the devil and his demons could concentrate their efforts more on getting saved believers to 'unsave' themselves by interrupting or ceasing their believing.

{Know anyone who keeps a perfect record of continuous saving faith which implies sinless perfection, (1 Jn 1:8-10; 2:6)?}

Later on in the parable, one finds those who believe and whose faith is choked away as seeds sown among the thorns, the thorns representing "the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth", (Mt 13:22) and "riches and pleasures", (Lk 8:14) which are the cause of the choking. But the result is not loss of salvation but a condition whereby the believers are so choked by "the desires for other things [which] come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.", (Mk 4:19; Mt 13:22 similar); and thus they continue to be saved, albeit being unfruitful, for they "do not mature", (Lk 8:14) - far from being in a lost state. Note that only believers can be described as not maturing and being unfruitful. Unbelievers are simply lost and incapable of being considered as mature/immature or producing/not producing fruit, (Ro 8:8).

Furthermore, if it were possible to lose ones salvation by stopping believing, then one must draw the absurd conclusion that one is far better off dying immediately upon being saved than living another 50 or 60 years or so 'faithfully' but then lose it on one's death bed with a single faithless thought and then go to hell.

Finally, Scripture teaches that at the moment one trusts alone in Christ alone, one is permanently & irrevocably saved unto eternal life:

b) [Compare Eph 1:13-14]:

(v. 13) "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,

(v. 14) Who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession - to the praise of His glory."

c) [Compare Ro 11:29]:

(v. 29) "For God's gifts [salvation is a gift, (ref. Eph 2:8-9)] and His call [God calls the elect to believe and be saved, (ref. Ro 8:29-30)] are irrevocable."

d) [Compare Eph 4:30]:

"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with Whom your were sealed for the day of redemption."

e) {short description of image}_ on Eternal Security

[Robert N. Wilkin states, CONFIDENT IN CHRIST: LIVING BY FAITH REALLY WORKS, Grace Evangelical Society, Irving, Tx 1999, pp. 27-28]:

"In the first place, the Lord Jesus clearly said that the people represented by the rocky soil believed. How can we conclude that they didn't believe, when Jesus said that they did. To say that they believed 'mentally' [i.e., head faith and not heart faith] is to skirt the clear meaning of the text.

What these people believed is nothing other than the saving message, the gospel. When Jesus said that the devil takes away the word 'lest they should believe and be saved' (verse 12) He was talking about saving faith. He said that whoever believes in Him is saved the very moment he believes. There is no minimum time requirement on saving faith. Thus, when Jesus said that these rocky-soil people believed, we have no choice but to conclude that they were saved, since according to verse 12 all who believe are saved.

In the second place in verse 13 [Lk 8:13 = Mt 13:5] the Lord indicated that the rocky-soil people received the word [with joy]. Luke used the same expression twice in Acts to refer to the growth of the church: 'Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them' (Acts 8:14). 'Now the apostles and brethren who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God' (Acts 11:1). Those who receive the word are born again.

In the third place, Jesus said that the seed sown on the rocky soil sprang up: 'Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture' (Luke 8:6; [Mt 13:5]). Springing up refers to initial growth. Only a seed that has germinated can spring up. Germination and growth are proof that life has begun.

[The issue is thus one of growth & fruitfulness, not birth and life]

The people represented by the rocky soil exercised saving faith. Whether they believed for a second or for a century, they were born again at the very moment they believed in Christ for everlasting life.

In the fourth place, when Jesus said that 'the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved' (Lk 8:12) He was talking about eternal salvation. He wasn't talking about some type of temporary salvation that could be lost. He was speaking of a faith accompli. Satan wouldn't have such a sense of urgency if he could snatch the word away later and still keep people from heaven. Once the word germinates, eternal life has begun, and since it is eternal, nothing - not even Satan - can destroy that life.

Believers are held by the promise of God, not by their own faithfulness or by the endurance of their faith. If Satan can't stop someone from believing the gospel, he loses the battle for that soul. Eternal salvation occurs the moment that a person believes the promise of the gospel. Thus it cannot and does not depend on continuing to believe the gospel."


1) [Acts 21:20-21]:

(v. 20) "When they heard this, they praised God. Then they said to Paul: 'You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the Law.

[Note that the subject in view, "thousands of Jews" are depicted as having actually believed in the gospel of eternal life and further have zealously believed in keeping the Law as a rule of life as they did in the past before they became true believers."]

(v. 21) They have been informed that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn away from Moses, [lit. you teach apostasy from Moses to all the Jews] telling them not to circumcise their children or love according to our customs."

"apostasy" = "apostasian" = noun

Here the Jews genuinely believed in and practiced the keeping of the Mosaic Law as part of their walk with God. And Paul is accused of teaching them to depart from what they actually believed in. Thus false profession or never having believed is not in view.


1) [2 Thes 2:1-4]:

(v. 1) "Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him [in the Rapture], we ask you, brothers,

(v. 2) not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report of letter supposed to have come from us saying that the Day of the LORD has already come.

(v. 3) Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the "apostasia" [=standing away] occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction]

(v. 4) He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God"

So Paul is answering in this passage whether or not the Tribulation period had already begun. Notice the mention of the deceptive teaching referred to in vv. 2-3 which was falsely attributed to Paul. Paul's answer is 'NO, the Tribulation has not yet begun', and he gives two reasons for this in verse 3 - the first being that the Rapture has not yet occurred and the second - the Antichrist has not yet been revealed to the world:

"The day will not come until 'he apostasia' occurs" = the Rapture.

The noun "he apostasia" comes from the verb aphistemi meaning to go away, depart. It can mean "the falling away" = as in "the apostasy" or "the rebellion", or it can mean "the standing away" as in the Rapture. This word "apostasia" is used in only one other place in the Bible, Acts 21:21. The meaning there is to turn away from, depart from. "He apostasia" has commonly been transliterated as "the apostasy". The definite article is significant in that it indicates something that Paul had already told them about. If it is to be then assumed to apply to the final, great religious apostasy at the end of the age we must take into perspective that there has transpired over 1950 years since Paul wrote these lines, numerous great apostasies from the faith; and none of these introduced the Day of the LORD, although persecuted believers in each case might easily have so interpreted them.

Although other passages indicate that there will be a great apostasy worldwide, such an apostasy as an 'event' is hard to set in time and may not be what is in view in 2 Thes 2; but the "standing away" of the Rapture is. So most likely Paul is referring again to the Rapture.

Furthermore, the context as well as the etymology of the word itself makes the interpretation of "he apostasia" = The Rapture very likely. In this precise form, it is used nowhere else in the New Testament, so its meaning must be defined by its context here. It is derived from two Greek words, apo (meaning "away from" ) andstasis (meaning "standing"). It could properly be rendered "standing away" in the sense of a physical departure from, rather than falling away from religious convictions in the sense of the English word apostasy. Paul refers to the last days as a time when there will be a forsaking of fundamental truths, i.e., an apostasy in other letters; but he has not mentioned that idea in either of the letters to the Thessalonians and these are the first that he wrote to them. Hence, if this specific great worldwide doctrinal defection is what he meant, it is doubtful if the Thessalonians would have understood him. On the other hand in Paul's previous letter to the Thessalonians he had discussed, at length, a coming physical departure from the earth by all believers when Christ returns to meet them in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). This "standing away from", in context, seems to refer to all the raptured believers standing away from the earth, as they stand before their returning Lord when they meet Him in the heavens. Here, Paul is simply reminding them that the "sudden destruction" that would come upon unbelievers when the Day of the LORD begins could not happen until the rapture - the standing away - from the earth before Christ (Romans 14:10) - had taken place. The entire context, before and after, fits this understanding of the text better than the idea of the apostasy from the faith:

a) [2 Thes 2:1]:

"Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered [up] to Him...."

And in verse 5, Paul indicates that he had previously gone over this material with them:

b) [2 Thes 2:5]:

"Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things."


1) [1 Tim 1:18-20]:

(v. 18) "Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight,

(v. 19) holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.

(v. 20) Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme"

[Notice that individuals have have not held on to their faith and a good conscience but rather have shipwrecked their faith even to the extent of blasphemy. So true believers are in view who have apostasized.]


1) [Acts 8:9-12]:

(v. 9) "Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great,

(v. 10) and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, 'This man is the divine power known as the Great Power,'

(v. 11) They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic.

(v. 12) But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women."

["They" = a number of individuals who lived in Samaria, v. 5.

So Luke states in Acts 8:12 that a group of Samaritans believed in the gospel of salvation. God's Word states in numerous places that once one believes in Christ alone for eternal life alone then one is saved, (Jn 3:16; Acts 16:31), so these Samaritan individuals were saved unto eternal life at the moment of their expressing their belief in the gospel of salvation, including Simon]:

3) [Acts 8:13]:

(v. 13) Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw."

[Objectors to these Samaritans and Simon being saved state that they were not saved because they must have been false professors or because they only expressed a simple intellectual assent to the gospel of salvation. Otherwise, the objectors go on to say, they should have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. But this contradicts what Scripture says about salvation and disallows God to sovereignly permit unique and extra normal events.

In defense of what Luke wrote in this passage, one must state that if the Bible says that an individual believed in the Gospel of salvation then that's what the verse means. And God's Word states that that's all that is required of an individual in order to be saved, (Jn 3:16-18; Eph 2:8-9). One must also accept our Lord's conclusion that faith is defined as a simple intellectual assent:

a) [Mt 18:3 AMPLIFIED]:

"And [Jesus] said, 'Truly, I say to you, unless you repent [change your mind, turn about in your thinking] and become like little children you can never enter the kingdom of heaven at all."

["repent" = "straphete" = turn yourself about in your thinking, i.e., change your mind about Christ from not believing to believing in Him as Savior, i.e., be converted to Christianity by faith alone in Christ alone.

"become like little children" = have a simple mental attitude of acceptance, i.e., an attitude of agreement that what God is saying about His Son is true:

b) [1 Jn 5:9-13]:

(v. 9) "We accept man's testimony, but God's testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which He has given about His Son.

(v. 10) Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made Him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about His Son.

(v. 11) And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

(v. 12) He who has the son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

(v. 13) I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life."

So eternal life is received when one expresses a simple mental assent that what God is saying about His Son is true - that to believe alone in His Son alone will provide for them eternal life]

1 cont.) [Acts 8:9-24 cont.]:

(v. 18) When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the Apostles' hands, he offered them money

(v. 19) and said, 'Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.'

(v. 20) Peter answered 'May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!'

(v. 21) You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God.

(v. 22) Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart.

(v. 23) For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.' "

['May your money perish with you" = The word "perish" and other synonymous terms are used in Scripture to mean physical death, (Jer 44:27; Jer 12:4), or the destruction of something, (1 Pet 1:4; Acts 8:20; 2 Sam 1:27), or eternal damnation in the Lake of Fire, (Jn 3:13-18), depending upon context. Keep in mind that Peter is speaking to Simon who is a born again believer destined for eternal life with God in heaven, (Acts 8:13, Eph 1:13-14). Although Simon behaved in a despicably evil manner after his conversion to Christianity, recall that this kind of behavior is not beyond a believer, especially a newborn believer with a history of such behavior, (cp Eph 5:1-17; Gal 5:16-21). Thus the word "perish" cannot mean that Simon will perish in the Lake of Fire. But he is in danger of perishing via physical death, (cp Jas 1:15; 1 Jn 5:16; Pr 10:27; 11:19), and perishing in the sense of his earthly lifestyle, i.e., the value of whatever he does on earth perishing at the judgment seat of Christ, (1 Cor 3:11-15), leaving him with no rewards in heaven for all eternity! Consider also that Simon repented of his despicable behavior]:

1 cont.) [Acts 8:9-24 cont.]:

(v. 20) Peter answered" 'May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!'

(v. 21) You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God.

(v. 22) Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart.

(v. 23) For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.'

(v. 24) Then Simon answered 'Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.' "

So Simon indeed did repent and asked Peter to pray for him so that he would not be harshly disciplined by God for his admitted evil behavior. Recall that such an admission to God of evil behavior resolves the problem of discipline for a believer bringing him temporal forgiveness and bringing him back into fellowship with God Almighty [{short description of image}]:

a) [1 Jn 1:9]:

"If we [believers, (v. 2:1)] confess our sins, He [God] is faithful and just and will forgive us these sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

If objectors had considered these later verses in Acts chapter 8 their stand on Simon's condemnation to the Lake of Fire would not have been so rashly made.


1) [2 Pet 2:20-21]:

(v. 20) "If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse of at the end than they were at the beginning.

(v. 21) It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on them.

(v. 22) Of them the proverbs are true: 'A dog returns to its vomit,' and, 'A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.' "

[Mr. Robert Wilken, founder of The Grace Evangelical Society, states, (GES Newsletter, May 1988 issue, 'Does Hell Await Those Who Fall?', 2 Peter 2:18-22')]:

"Recently I received a question from a reader about 2 Peter 2:20-22. He felt that it dealt with unbelievers who knew about the gospel but had never really accepted it in their hearts. My understanding of the passage follows.

First, notice that there is a change in referent. Verses 17 and preceding refer to coming false teachers. However, verses 18 through 22 refer to people who are duped by the false teachers. Verses 18 and 20 indicate that the people being drawn into sin by the false teachers are those 'who have actually escaped from those who life in error' and who 'have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.' Only believers fit that description. [N.B. The word 'knowledge;' in v. 20 is the same term which is used in 1:2, 3, 5, 6. It is a term used in 2 Peter exclusively of believers. See also 1:1, 9 and 3:1, 8, 14, 17-18 for further proof that 2 Peter is addressed to believers.]

Second, it is evident in all three chapters of 2 Peter that Peter is concerned that his readers - believers - might fall into a sinful lifestyle as a result of the wiles of the false teachers whom he knows via prophecy are coming soon. Peter urges his believing readers to be diligent so as to keep from stumbling and falling (1:5, 10; 2:18-22; 3:14, 17). We err if we read into 2 Peter the idea that anyone who fell away would prove to be a false professor. Peter never questions the faith of his readers. Rather, he acknowledges it (e.g., 1:1). What he questions is the progress of their sanctification.

Third, the real question is this: What does Peter warn his readers will happen if they fall? Most commentators suggest that eternal judgment - hell - is in view. They point to verses 21 and 22. However, a careful reading of those verses suggest that temporal judgment, not hell, is in view. Notice what isn't said. Peter makes no reference to hell, the lake of fire, unending suffering or any similar term or phrase. He instead says that it would be better for a believer never to know the way of righteousness than to have known it and then turn away in a licentious lifestyle.

It is a [grievous] mistake to understand those words to mean hell. If they do, Peter is teaching that believers can lose their salvation - something he did not believe (cf. Luke 10:20; John 13:10; Acts 10:43-48; 11:16-18; 15:7-11; 1 Peter 1:23-25; 2 Peter 1:9; 3:8-13). Rather, Peter is simply saying that if a believer grovels in a life of sin, his life here and now will be worse than if he had never become a Christian. While both non-Christians and Christians experience the terrible consequences of their sins here and now, those consequences are even worse for believers because we are God's children with the Holy Spirit living within us. Certainly conviction of sin is greater. So, too, new consequences for our sins come on the scene (e.g., rebuke by a Christian friend, church discipline). And, the more a believer resists God's discipline, the more He turns up the heat. That is not necessarily true for a non-Christian.

The reference to dogs and pigs in verse 22 is often cited as proof that false professors are in view. Actually I think the references show that believers are in view. Notice that the dog and pig are said to have been free from their filth. Only believers are free of their sins. Surely the reader of 2 Peter would harken back to 1:9 where Peter refers to his readers as being purged from their old sins. Peter was not referring to forgiveness there. All our sins, past, present, and future are forgiven in Christ. [1 Jn 2:2 & Acts 10:43]. He was referring to our new natures. Believers have a nature which is free from the sins which used to enslave us. [Which exists along side of and battles with the ever present intrinsic sin nature, (Ro 7:21-25)]. Whenever a believer walks in the darkness [thus following the intrinsic sin nature's call] he has forgotten who he is (2 Peter 1:9) and has allowed the flesh [i.e., the intrinsic sin nature] to rear its ugly head.

The word 'better' in 2 Peter 2:21 is crucial. When explaining this passage ask your audience, 'better WHEN?' The text, properly understood, only allows one answer: better in this life. The false teachers promised their potential dupes liberty (2:19). They actually delivered bondage and temporal judgment. May we all take heed. Sin pays lousy dividends."