Some who have backslidden tell themselves, “I can get right with the Lord whenever I choose. I’m just not ready. I’m not mad at God; I just need time with my friends, time to enjoy myself. I know God is loving and merciful, so when I’m ready, I’ll come to Him. I’ll know when that time is.” I hear these thoughts especially among young people who are drifting away.
The Holy Spirit has compelled me to show you the danger of coldness. It is not that God turns aside from those who backslide; His grace is offered continuously. The blood of Christ toward sinners will never lose its power, but spiritual coldness has a potent and predictable effect. It leads to hardness of heart.
The term “hardness” indicates a condition that is beyond the influence of any gracious pleadings, any persuading from the Holy Spirit. It begins with coldness — a self-imposed exclusion from God, with no intention of obeying the call of His gospel. Continuing in coldness to God’s voice — keeping distant from the Holy Spirit — will result in hardness.
Paul refers to this when he says that prior to Christ’s return, “There will come a falling away” (see 2 Thessalonians 2:3). He is speaking of a mass apostasy, to be followed by the release of an Antichrist spirit at that time. Those who “did not receive the love of the truth” (2:10) will fall under a great delusion; they will believe lies rather than truth. And those who turn away from Him who is truth will perish (2:10).
Hebrews offers this warning: “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ let any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:12–13).