Vol. 6, No. 3
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(1) The wrong kind of companions, as in the case of Simon Peter (Luke 22:54-62). The future apostle "sat down among" the wrong kind of people. Soon thereafter he denied the Lord three times (Vs. 61). "Evil companionships corrupt good morals" (1 Corinthians 15:33).
(2) The love of money, as in the case of Judas Iscariot (Matthew 26:14-25). Judas' heart was "in the bag" in the sense that he loved too much its contents (John 12:6). Paul said that covetousness is idolatry (Colossians 3:5). Many have been led away from God who loved too much the power of money (1 Timothy 6:17).
(3) Self-satisfaction, as in the case of the church of Christ at Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22). Robert R. Taylor, Jr., has correctly depicted this ancient church of Asia Minor by saying, "Laodicea is a sad synonym for lukewarmness, disinterest, lack of zeal, heartlessness, iniquitous indolence and lethal lethargy. They were a congregation on the certain way to hell and did not care. It bothered them not one iota" (Ripley Beacon, Sept. 9, 1990). If we are not moving upward and onward (spiritually), we are sliding backward and downward.
(4) Returning to false religion, as in the case of the Galatian and Hebrew brethren (Galatians 5:1-4; Hebrews 6:4-6). Judaizing teachers who confused people with extra demands insisting that circumcision and the Mosaic Law were needed in addition to the cross affected the Galatian churches. The Hebrew Christians had been reared in the religion of Moses for fifteen centuries. The design of the Hebrews epistle is to show the excellencies of Christianity over Judaism. When people are converted out of denominationalism to Christ, they are sometimes subjected to pressure from relatives and friends to return to Babylon. If they do not grow in their knowledge of the Bible, they may be easily enticed to fall back into false religion.
(5) Religiously mixed marriages, as in the case of Solomon (1 Kings 11:1-8). A faithful Christian is asking for trouble, in most cases, when he marries another whom is not a Christian. Some people find it difficult to remain faithful without support from a mate, although such does not excuse them. In those situations where both husband and wife are not Christians, 1 Peter 3:1-7 should be applied.
Wendell Winkler mentions these "other fruitful causes":
…(a) persecution, Matthew 13:21; (b) higher and modernistic education, 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; (c) secret sins such as maliciousness, envy, unforgiveness, jealousy and ill-will, Psalm 19:12; (d) sickness, resulting in getting out of the habit of church attendance; (e) Sunday work; (f) moving into a strange community and getting lost, rather than finding the Lord's people; and, (g) expecting perfection either of oneself or of the church in general and, when such is not found, becoming disappointed and discouraged. (For the thoughts of this article, I am indebted to the book, Toward Spiritual Maturity by Wendell Winkler.)