Have you ever had a friend that once professed Christ and then abandoned the faith? I have and it’s an experience like no other. In the case of my friend, who was a pastor’s wife and staff writer for a popular Christian publication, the signs began to mount up that something was very wrong, but by that point she had cut off most of her Christian friends, including me. One morning I received a call from her and she confessed that she was involved in a sinful relationship. I pleaded with her to repent, but to no avail. Like so many before her, she chose the fleeting pleasures of sin over the eternal weight of glory that awaits those who fight the good fight of faith and persevere. The pain and devastation in her wake continues to this day.
Experiences like this can really rattle you to the core. So many questions arise that aren’t easily answered. So I was pleased to see an article by Sinclair Ferguson at Ligonier Ministries titled, “The Early Symptoms of Spiritual Danger.” Dr. Ferguson discusses Hebrews 6, a classic chapter when dealing with apostasy, and then gives these early warning signs to watch out for:
- Look out for the presence of thorns and briars.
- Look for the absence of things that accompany salvation.
- Beware of the failure to show diligence and a tendency to become “sluggish.
Ferguson then warns, “Sometimes the catalyst is flagrant sin. The pain of conviction and repentance is refused, and the only alternative to it is wholesale rejection of Christ. But sometimes the catalyst is a thorn growing quietly in the heart, an indifference to the way of the Cross, a drifting that is not reversed by the knowledge of biblical warnings.”
Dr. Ferguson’s hope is that the reader will do a spiritual health check of his or her heart and do it promptly.