1 Kings 11:9 And the LORD was
angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel,
which had appeared unto him twice
What, exactly does "backsliding" mean? What does the bible have to say about it?
Many of us Christians define the word "backslider" as one who has been saved at one point in his/her life, and now is involved in all sorts of debauchery. In fact, Scripture makes it clear that a lot of good, solid believers also fall into this category, because they are not following the Lord with 100% of everything they have. Sadly, this is the case for many believers who genuinely think they are alright like they are. The good news is, we can all return to Him. Don't let anyone ever tell you different.
As we will see in the following verses, God requires His children to come running after Him with all their heart. Anything less is a divided heart, and shows a lack of commitment to Him which does not match up with His total commitment to us. To read what Scripture has to say about Commitment, please click here.
In Revelation 2:4, Jesus describes believers who have "left thy first love." It is important to note that this section is addressing the leader of the Church in Ephesus, so this is a believer, not an unbeliever. In other words, this is a warning to you and me, not to leave our first love.
Not being totally committed to God can lead to all sorts of sin, which we can see outwardly. For example, with David, it led to adultery and murder (see 2 Samuel chapter 11). Peter, on the other hand, exhibited verbal denial of a relationship with Christ (Matthew 26:70-74).
King Saul's refusal to let God rule his life resulted in disobedience to God's commands:
1 Samuel 15:10-11a: Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying, It repenteth Me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following Me, and hath not performed My commandments.
Now that we know the cause, let's make it clear that, no matter how far we have strayed, there is hope. Backsliding is not irredeemable. Repentance, confession, and restitution will bring any believer back into fellowship with God.
David composed several psalms during the process of getting back on track with God, and he made it clear that there is no sin which God cannot forgive, and there is no relationship with God that God cannot restore, except those in which the person refuses to turn back to Him:
2 Samuel 12:13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.
The final example is that of Peter, who denied Jesus. What could be worse than following the Son of God around for over 3 years, witnessing miracles, hearing His words, and then denying Him? Yet Peter realized his sin, repented, and chose to commit himself to the cause of the Lord once and for all, even to the point of being persecuted himself.
This is good news for you and me, because it is evidence that no matter how uncommitted we have been, we can turn to Him and give ourselves totally to Him.
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Based on the emails I have received, this topic seems to be one of the hotest ones among believers. It is unfortunate that many of the backslidden cannot grasp the fact that God can and is willing to take them back. To believe otherwise is to believe a lie of Satan.
Go back and read those last two sentences again. There is nothing you have done that is so bad that God doesn't want you to come back into a relationship with Him. Please get this truth into your head, soul, and spirit. If you have trouble getting this, I urge you to read the parable of the Prodigal Son. If necessary, read it again. This passage was meant for you. Just as any loving parent would take back a son who had repented and wanted to return back to the family, our heavenly Father will welcome you back, no questions asked.
Jeremiah 3:22 "Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding"
Jeremiah 4:1-2 "If you will return to Me, O Israel, return to Me," declares the Lord. "If you put your detestable idols out of my sight and no longer go astray, and if in a truthtful, just and righteous way you swear, 'As surely as the Lord lives,' then the nations will be blessed by Him and in Him they will glory."
Finally, this whole issue of backsliding is related to the idea of losing salvation. It would take a lot of pages to cover such a topic, but I do attempt to tackle one controversial passage, Hebrews 6:4-6, which talks about it being "impossible" to get back into repentance after we have "fallen away." Or does it? Click here to read about it.
If you find that a particular study has been helpful, I'd love to hear from you. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.