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The state of the backslider | Back to articles | Articles sitemap |

As always, I come to you in the name of love, wishing for you to become firmly rooted and grounded in Christ, so that your way may be prosperous, your years filled with joy, your heart held captive by peace and your eternity secure in heaven.

These things have been made available to everyone in Christ Jesus; Christians. Many of us however are living out our lives with a false sense of security, ignorant of the fact that living a Christian life is a life of continual, faithful obedience to God.

Many of us who have taken the initial step of accepting Jesus as Lord, later turn from the freedom and life we have been given in Christ, and go back again to bondage in sin. This my friends is called backsliding, and oh how awful the state of a backslidden Christian is!

I am writing you today in urgency as the Lord’s return is approaching. We must all be prepared for that day! Do I know this date? Definitely not; to say the Lord is near can be days, months, or years. I am convinced however, that He will return in our lifetime, and that is near enough. Everything: scripture, current events and the recent moves of the Holy Spirit in the earth point to this. The Lord has placed it on my heart to write you this special article concerning backsliding. This matter must be understood today, so that we may avoid future mistakes in our walk with Christ.

Backsliding is happening all throughout the body (the church) today. As the Lord’s return is on our heels, each and every one of us claiming to be a Christian must examine ourselves to see if we are living right in the eyes of God.

The state of a backslidden Christian:

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God – or rather are known by God – how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?” (Galatians 4:8, 9 NIV)

The main reason Christians backslide is because they are not rooted and grounded firmly enough in the Word of God to take a faith stand against the principalities and powers operating in the high places. As to why Christians fail to become rooted and grounded, well, there are numerous reasons.

Many backslidden Christians end up where they are because they simply neglect their Bibles. A small knowledge of God and His Word amounts to no power because all authority and power comes from God; the written Word and Christ, the Word made flesh. (See John 1:14) We must know, understand and follow the Bible. If you don’t know it, your life will show it. Neglecting Bible time will severely cripple your faithwalk and will eventually render you fruitless.

Others let some circumstance in their life (courtesy of the devil) lead them away from their faith in God. Some have small successes, but give into temptations of the flesh and worldly desires. Pride often becomes an issue with more advanced Christians, where many feel because they have been Christians so long, they no longer need to spend time in or meditate on the Word. Many of these people feel that listening to teaching tapes or watching televangelists is sufficient for their continual spiritual growth seeing as they “already know the scriptures.” Whatever you do, do not let any teaching tape, televangelist, or book replace the Bible, ever. These things are here to aid us in our Christian lives, not to replace God’s Word.

Other long-time Christians believe that because they have served the Lord for so long it has somehow guaranteed them Salvation, as if Salvation were attainable by works. Finally, some just become lazy and lack the enthusiasm to learn and obey the Word of God. Unfortunately, many really haven’t contemplated eternity and fail to grasp the complete concept of hell and the enormity of suffering awaiting the wicked there.

All of these things have led many Christians to backslide. They believe they can have one foot in sin with the other in righteousness. I say to you however that “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.” (1st Corinthians 10:21) You cannot serve God and the devil at the same time; it’s either one or the other. Choose today whom you will serve.

Once saved always saved?

Can one lose their Salvation? This question has been debated by many of the Christian denominations throughout the world. Even to this day many remain to be divided on this topic. I myself have done my best to offer you what I believe is the most Biblically safe and sound answer.

Biblically speaking, it is clear that a “falling away” from the Lord can occur. First let’s look to 1st Corinthians where Paul is writing to the “Christians” at Corinth. “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the Kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the spirit of our God” (1st Corinthians 9-11 NIV)

Now we must keep this scripture in its proper context. Paul is talking to the Corinthians who were already reborn in Christ. Repentance for their sins was not debatable here. Forgiveness from God only comes when repentance takes place.

Next let’s look forward to Hebrews 6:4-6: “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the Word of God, and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because of their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.” Here it becomes undeniable that a Christian can backslide. Furthermore, Paul makes it clear that Christians can fully apostatize from Christ, that is, completely reject Him and His atoning work. If we reject Christ as our only sacrifice for sin, there remains no other.

Jesus Himself also makes it very clear that there will be ones who have performed works in His name, yet still He rejects them. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-23) The things Jesus speaks of here could not be done unless power and authority had once been imparted to these people through Christ in the first place. These “former Christians” prophesized, cast out devils/demons, and did many works while proclaiming the name of Christ.

If we cannot “lose our Salvation”, if there aren’t any consequences for continuing in sin after Salvation, why would God tell us to abstain from sin after accepting Jesus in the first place? It is illogical. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:1-4)

Understand that in no way am I trying to take away from what Christ did on the cross, nor am I trying to imply we are saved by works. No one can take away, alter or change what Jesus did for us. Indeed, Jesus’ blood has completely paid for all sin; nothing was left incomplete. For this reason therefore, I believe it is better to say that we can choose to willfully reject and renounce our own Salvation, rather then “lose it”.

For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:26-31) It is a scary thing to fall into the hands of the one who decides your eternity when you have rejected Him. As long as a backslider keeps his faith in Christ and His atonement he can be once again renewed unto repentance, however one that completely rejects Jesus and His Gospel is left with no hope.

God does not take our Salvation away once we’ve accepted Jesus into our heart, and in fact does all He can to continually draw us closer to Him. He will not however, interfere with our freewill. Living a life of unrighteousness and turning from the Lord even after knowing Him indicates we desire nothing from Him, not even eternal life in heaven. If we desire hell with all our hearts, and souls, God will give us over to our wicked intentions and along with our wickedness we shall inherit hell, just as with Christ we inherit life everlasting. “Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved (wicked) mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolents, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things, but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1:28-32) God therefore will not take away our Salvation, but we can choose to abandon it. “Thou hast forsaken me, saith the Lord, thou art gone backward: therefore will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary with repenting.” (Jeremiah 15:6)

Now, I have shown this evidence to say this: Do not endanger your life and possibly your afterlife by backsliding. A “once saved always saved” approach to Salvation gives us more or less an “ok” for sin. It says “sin all you want, its ok! After all, you’re saved no matter what right?” I have seen this approach to Salvation encourage many to sin more, rather then persuading them to stay holy and pure; blameless before the Lord. All in all, it is eternally safer to take caution with this issue.

The world we live in (and by this I’m talking about much of the Christian world) has turned God into a “love only” God. A large part of the Christian world acts as if God is incapable of hate and wrath. As a teacher of the truth however, I oppose this point of view. Remember first that God is sovereign. To say God is truly incapable of anything actually denies His sovereignty.

God does in fact have a wrath side: “God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses His wrath every day.” (Psalms 7:11 NIV) God also hates. God hates sin, but only sin. If you do not believe that the Bible teaches these things you will have to throw it away because there are numerous examples of God displaying His judgment on sin. Secondly, Jesus many times talked about the reality of heaven (mercy/love) and hell (wrath/hate) just as God the Father had. Remember Jesus and the God of the Old Testament are the same God!

There are many Christians, church going Christians, who will jump at the chance to point their finger at someone and say “Ah hah, I knew you fell again, I knew you were backslidden!” Fellow Christians, were we not all guilty before God ourselves at one time? Do we not all make mistakes? Are any of us completely ridden of sin yet? It is our first priority to pick up our fallen brothers and sisters, so that they may be comforted, instructed and rebuilt in their walk with God. I am not condoning sin; however we must compassionately deal with those who have backslidden. Many times Christians will attack others who have fallen rather than trying to help them return to the Lord. This in and of itself reveals their own condition.

Now, if those who have walked away from God refuse to repent and change their ways, they must be addressed. Specifically addressing the church now, sin cannot continue to run rampant in the body, for it will cause the body to become of no effect; contaminated, ineffective, fallen and therefore destroyed. Understand this, we are not to judge those outside the church but we must judge those who claim to be within. (See 1st Corinthians 5:12)

Come back to the Lord your God:

All you who truly love the Lord put off sin. All you who truly love the Lord keep His commandments. God has been patient towards us friends, He has been ever so merciful, however a time of judgment is coming, and it is my prayer that you heed the warnings against backsliding in the Bible and live holy unto God.

Confessing our sins:

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.” (Psalms 51:1-4)

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1st John 1:9)

God is faithful to forgive us whenever we turn back to Him. If we keep faith, He will always be willing to heal, restore and renew. If you believe you have fallen away from the Lord, please, pray this prayer today with all your heart and rededicate yourself to the Lord Almighty.

Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus:
I here and now rededicate my life to you and repent for my backsliding. I purpose in my heart, from this day forward, to serve you with a renewed enthusiasm and desire. I ask Lord that you guide me and lead me into all truth, by the Spirit of Truth. Renew me Lord, strengthen me Lord. Today I turn back to you, and trust you as my redeemer, my provider, my protector, and my Father. Your Word says “ask and you shall receive” and I believe that Word, and stand on it in faith.
In Jesus’ name, I thank you, Amen.

I look forward to your renewed walk with the Lord! Again, as always, I continue to pray for you: for your safety, for your peace, for your joy, for your faithfulness, for your boldness in the Lord and your eternal security! Jesus is coming friends, live every day as if today was the day!

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