“Take care, brethren, lest there will be in any of you an evil heart of unfaithfulness so as to fall away from the living God. But encourage each other every day, while it is called today, that none of you may be hardened by the deception of sin” (Hebrews 3:12-13).
“ But each one is put to the test by his own strong desires, being lured away and being enticed; then the strong desire conceiving, it gives birth to sin and sin, being full grown, produces death . Do not be deceived my beloved” (James 1:14-15).
These verses outline the mechanics of falling away from God. Firstly, we are lured by our own fleshly desires and self nature into sin. Secondly, this sin hardens our hearts because we turn away from the cautioning voice of the Spirit within; we want to follow our own will and don’t want to be corrected by God; and so we no longer hear from God. Thence, we fall away from the Living God and, in this condition, we are destined for the second death.
However, although biblically speaking we are unbelievers and lost at this point, we still consider ourselves believers and, in fact we do believe in Christ and all that the scriptures say. But we have become unfaithful believers and, having fallen away from the Living God, the One Who Is, what we fall into is religion. In that place, we are allowed, and even taught, to think that we can choose to accept Christ because we need Him as Saviour and that we can postpone our obedience to Him for as long as we want to.
The truth is, though, that salvation without obedience is unknown in the scriptures; in fact, it is a self contradicting impossibility. Unfortunately, men covet the power of God without first being made holy by the Holy Spirit; that, of course, is exactly what Satan wanted; he wants to be like God and to use God’s power for his own purposes. For that reason, our pulpits are filled with demonic individuals who eschew God’s demand for faithfulness, righteousness and holiness in favour of their own system of righteousness (Romans 10:3) and their own worldly agenda.
That is why we are repeatedly warned against deception and the doctrines of men; they will lead us into sin where our hearts are hardened and we fall away from the Living God.