A backslider is a saved person who falls into sin. A lost sinner cannot be a backslider. You have to go somewhere before you can slide back. But one who is truly born again, a child of God who falls into sin, is a backslider. It may be outrageous and gross sin known to everyone, or it may be merely coldness of heart, a lukewarmness of heart instead of the burning fire of love for God. But when a Christian loses any of his joy, or loses part of his sweet fellowship with God, or falls into sin, then he is a backslider. Remember that only Christians can backslide.
We have many examples of this in the Bible. What an honest Book the Bible is to tell us of the failures and sins of God’s people through the ages! God wanted us to know that the men of the greatest faith, saints who had truly been born again, were frail people such as we are and subject to the same temptations and surrendering sometimes to the same sins.
God tells how Noah got drunk and lay naked in his tent. He tells how Lot sought the fellowship of the wicked Sodomites, lost all his influence, got drunk and ruined his own daughters. The Bible tells how Abraham deceived, calling Sarah his sister. Even saintly Moses lost his temper. When God commanded him to speak to the rock that Israel might be watered from it a second time, in a temper he beat upon it with his rod and so dishonored God that he lost his chance to enter the Promised Land.
David, a man after God’s own heart, a man used to write the Psalms, that blessed book of devotions for the saints through all these centuries, committed adultery with Bathsheba and then had her husband Uriah slain to hide his sin. The Bible tells how Samson, a judge of Israel who had been filled with the Holy Ghost and was a Nazarite from his birth, kept company with harlots until God left him powerless, a slave of the Philistines with his eyes burned out.
The Bible tells how Peter denied Christ and cursed and swore; how all the disciples forsook Jesus and fled; how later Peter, fearing the Jewish Christians, played the coward again, and led even good Barnabas away with his dissimulations. The Bible tells how Joseph of Arimathea, a disciple of Jesus, was a coward, a secret disciple. Even Paul the apostle went up to Jerusalem against the plain leading of the Holy Spirit.
So the saints of the Bible fell into sin. They were backsliders.
These examples should humble us and teach us that even the mightiest of God’s saints sometimes backslide, fall into sin, and so lose the sweet joy that every Christian ought to have.
A Christian who backslides is like a child who disobeys his parents. It does not affect his sonship but it affects his fellowship, his joy, and the approval of the Father.
- Was there ever a time when you were nearer to God than you are now?
- Was there ever a time when you read the Bible more, or enjoyed it more than now?
- Was there ever a time when you prayed more, when you had your prayers answered more frequently?
- Was there ever a day when you won more souls than you have won today?
- Was there ever a time when you were more completely absorbed in the Lord’s business?
If there was ever a time when you were nearer the Lord than today, you are a backslider. You have slid back from that close intimacy with God, from that high place of blessing which you once had.
If you are a backslider, then I have good news for you. Simply turn to God in your heart, confess your sin and backsliding, and He will receive you with open arms and forgive you of all your sins, failures and mistakes. In I John 1:9 is this sweet verse for Christians, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Isn’t that simple? We simply confess our sins honestly, then God is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us.
Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.
(Thank you to Pastor John Rice for the above information)