When a large crowd had gathered together and people were coming to Him from every city, He told this parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. As he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. Some fell on a rock. And as soon as it sprang up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. Yet some fell among thorns. And the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. And other seed fell on good ground and sprang up and yielded a hundred times the amount sown.”Luke 8:4–8 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
I love the parables Jesus taught. The depths of meaning converted in a simple story, often are misunderstood. This is one example. Jesus explained the parable in detail… Even so, it is misunderstood.
Here is Jesus explaining the parable:
“Now the parable means this: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are those who hear. Then comes the devil, who takes away the word from their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.Luke 8:11–12 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
I am going to stop here. This is the natural dividing line in the parable. In this part, salvation is mentioned. It is mentioned to be employed as a contrasting point. These folks hear, but the seed is never planted. Clearly, these are unsaved folk.
Now that the division is established, let’s move on.
Those on the rock are the ones who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root, for they believe for a while, then in the time of temptation fall away. That which fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the seed on the good ground are those who, having heard the word, keep it in an honest and good heart and bear fruit with patience.Luke 8:13–15 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
In the former explanation, the seed never was planted in the hearts of those who heard it. That is the person didn’t believe what he heard. Which means those are not saved. It follows that those who did hear received the seed (believed) and were saved.
These next groups are those who received the seed. These three groups are those who heard and believed. These are saved people. They receive the seed with joy.
The first group falls away. They apostatize. That English word comes from the underlying Greek word translated to fall away. The root of that word are where the English word apostatize has origins.
What does that mean?
Let’s see if we can glean some understanding of what apostasy means by examining the rest of the text of the parable.
The second group received the seed. It took root but was stunted by other cares. The end result of such is given, these bring no fruit to maturity. Jesus doesn’t say these lost or didn’t have salvation.
The next group received the seed, nurtured it, and through patience bore fruit.
To conclude, in this trio who received the seed and believed, we see various stages of fruit production from the seed planted. The first has no root and obviously bore no fruit. The second bore some fruit but it never matured. The last bore good fruit.
Apostasy doesn’t mean people lose salvation at all. It means they fell away from being fruitful and useful to God. They didn’t fall away from being saved.