There are types of people who profess to be in Christ; those who are truly in Him and those who are not in Him. This has always been the situation since the beginning of Christianity, and the false professors are the hypocrites who will inevitably manifest that they do not truly believe by apostatizing (leaving or departing) from their false profession, for only those truly reborn (saved) never cease their profession in the Christian walk. Hypocrites are those whom the Lord Jesus said that “this people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me” (never reborn - Mat 15:8).

The difference between true and false professors is important to identify, and is why the Lord said “the tree is known by his fruit” (Mat 12:33). One of the primary functions of Scripture is to teach believers how to identify those who nominally profess to believe, which eventually show itself outwardly by their lifestyle. Those who are not truly saved always give up, and those truly saved never give up; and this is seen in the parable of the sower in which only one of the examples presented is saved.

When Scripture speaks of those falling away, departing, etc., it refers to false professors who never continue professing to be living in the faith (not falling from the faith but from their false profession of it), because it requires the Spirit creating one in rebirth to be saved and remain. One of the reasons why many people practice false professions (many unaware it’s false until later) is to attempt to ease their conscience by and outward show so that they will be accepted, as guilt always attempts to seek self-justification.

Continuing in professing Christianity does not produce salvation but shows one is saved, for only one who is saved will continue without ceasing. Inwardly we are assured by the Sprit that we are saved (Rom 8:16); outwardly we will manifest this by God’s love for one another (Jhn 13:35). Not our natural love which is to others in the same degree we love ourselves (Mat 22:39), but in the love we have of Christ to others (Jhn 13:34), as this is what makes love to others a “new command.”

I believe one important reason why there are false professors is to outwardly affirm the true professors, just as the Tree of Knowledge was to affirm God’s holiness via contrast of good and evil (He wants us to know His holiness); and as the wheat and the tares bear resemblance when young, they can be distinguished when the ears of grain begin to show in the wheat.