Backsliding is an Old Testament term used to describe those within the nation of Israel who turned away from the LORD and followed their own ways. The Hebrew words involved can also be translated, "turning away, apostatizing, to flinch, to go back, to retreat, to turn back, rebellious, revolting, stubborn," etc. The New Webster Dictionary defines apostasy as "an abandonment of what one has professed; a total desertion or departure from one's faith principles, or party."
Although these are strong terms an individual who is backsliding can be restored to fellowship with the LORD. Jeremiah 3:22a says, "Return, you backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings." Hosea 14:4 adds, "I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, for My anger has turned away from him."
Backsliding leads to open sin against God. However, backsliding itself begins in the heart. Proverbs 14:14a states, "The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways." This is in contrast to "a good man [who] will be satisfied from above." (14b).
Backsliding reveals itself in an attitude of self-reliance or independence from the Lord. Isaiah 30:1 says, "'Woe to the rebellious children' says the LORD, who take counsel, but not of (from) Me, and who devise plans, but not of (from) My Spirit, that they may add sin to sin.'"
In application: when we fail to resist temptation, when we become bold in doubtful areas, when we approve of things that formerly grieved us: -- then we are backsliding! When Christian service becomes a burden, when we show no concern for the lost, when our prayer life and worship becomes a duty: -- then we are backsliding!
When we are harsh with our spouses, bitter with those who disagree with us, make light of the things of the Lord: -- then we are backsliding! When we fail to confess our faults to one another, refuse to acknowledge our sins and confess to our heavenly Father: -- then we are backsliding! When we fail to help a fallen Christian, doubt our own salvation, question God's keeping power: -- then we are backsliding!
In New Testament terms backsliding is an attitude of the heart that allows sin to break the believer's fellowship with God while allowing him to maintain the outward forms of Christianity.
A number of things lead to backsliding:
(1) A lack of the fear of the LORD (Jeremiah 2:19).
(2) A failure to obey His voice (Jeremiah 3:13).
(3) A refusal to return to the Lord or repent (Jeremiah 8:5-6).
(4) A failure to exalt the LORD (Hosea 11:7).
In the New Testament:
(1) Failure to study the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15).
(2) Failure to walk in/by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16).
(3) Failure to fellowship with other Christians (Hebrews 10:24-25)
(4) Failure to keep short accounts with God in terms of confessing sin right away (1 John 1:9) will all lead to backsliding!
Backsliding leads to the LORD withholding His blessing from His people. Jeremiah 5:23, 25 states, "But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone.... Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you."
Is the backslider in a hopeless position?No, as already mentioned the Lord is eager to restore the backslider. His arms are outstretched to welcome the repentant backslider. He is willing to turn His anger away. Jeremiah 3:12-13 says, "Return, backsliding Israel,' says the LORD, 'and I will not cause My anger to fall on you; for I am merciful,' says the LORD, 'and I will not remain angry forever. Only ACKNOWLEDGE your iniquity, that you have transgressed against the LORD your God... and you have not obeyed My voice,' says the LORD."
Isaiah 57:15 further adds, "For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: 'I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.'" 1 John 1:9 promises, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." God will heal us of our backsliding if we will acknowledge [and repent of] it. Study David's experience in Psalm 51. The LORD will also restore the JOY of your salvation!
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If you are lost:
The Only Way you can have your sins forgiven and get right with God is through the Lord JESUS CHRIST, whom the Father sent to save you (Acts 4:12; 1Jn. 4:10, 14).
It is He who came down from Heaven to live a completely sinless and perfect life - showing us what God is like in His love and righteousness, And it is He who took responsibility for all we have done wrong, paying the price for the forgiveness of our sins with His own sinless blood by His death on the cross. And having done all, it is He who rose from the dead to Heaven as your present Savior and future Judge (Act 10:39-43).
Neither Allah, the Pope, Mary, Muhammmad, Buddha, etc. can save you. Your church membership, “good deeds,” praying to saints, etc. will not make you right with God. Only the One who came down from Heaven to die for you and rose again is able to redeem you on His expense and merit (blood and righteousness) - not yours, and then strengthen you to follow Him. “Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25). “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
We pray that you, dear soul, will not be a fool and sin away your day of grace but instead will “forsake the foolish and live” by choosing Christ and His Life today. (Prv. 9:6; Jn. 10:10; 1Jn. 4:9). Humble yourself as a guilty and helpless sinner, decide you want the Lord Jesus and pray to the Lord Jesus to save you, giving your sins and life to Him. “.. the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner” and so “went down to his house justified” (Lk. 18:13). God gives grace unto the humble.
This decision is shown by being baptized under water in identification with your Lord and following Him with a Bible-believing and preaching church,.. rejoicing in Christ - despite persecutions!
"Then they that gladly received His Word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers,” “and went everywhere, preaching the Word” (Acts 2::41, 42; 8:4 ).
Praise ye the Lord.