Last time we saw that it is possible for someone who was a true believer to fall away. Our faith can be shipwrecked.
1 Tim 1:19 … holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith.
This next question to consider is whether it is possible for such a person to be restored. This will bring us to the concepts of a backslider versus an apostate.
The Bible differentiates between those who fall away and are brought back (which for the sake of simplicity we’ll refer to as backsliding) and those who cannot be brought back to repentance (which we’ll refer to as apostasy).
Caution: The terms “apostate” and “backslider” are viewed as synonymous by KJV and NASB translators. While the KJV translates passages using the Hebrew word “meshuvah” as “backslide”, the NASB uses the term “apostasy” or “faithless” as an equivalent.
But as the Bible clearly identifies two classes of those who fall away, we’ll stick to using the term “backslider” and “apostate” when making these distinctions – even though this distinction is not made by translators. The distinction is determined by the context.