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May 24, 2019, 12:31 AM

Consider The Backslider


   My daughter and I were discussing backsliders during lunch today; the cause and the types. First, it is important to understand that all backsliding is rooted in pride and pride is the worship of selfish desires over God’s Word. Backsliding has many excuses, some are justifiable. However, when they are compared to the price Jesus paid to redeem us at Calvary, the Holy Ghost that He has given to those that obey Him, the blessings that He gives us, the heaven to come, and the hell to be delivered from – backsliding is not worthy to be considered (John3:16-21).

Through personal observation, there appear to be three types of backsliders:

1) Those that have a degree of the fear of God and believe the Truth but have become convinced that they cannot overcome sinful habits. Because they do not want to be hypocritical, they leave the church. Some of these come and go - not affecting others but never truly victorious. These will tell any and all that Acts 2:38 salvation, holiness within and without, love for others, and submission to God is necessary to be saved BUT feel that they are beyond God's mercy and grace (2 Timothy 2:25-26).

2) Those that become bitter having experienced VERY REAL abuse and injustice done to them by church members or ministry. These rarely find a place of true repentance because the root of bitterness is seldom dealt with. A victory lap and some tongue talking help them feel secure for a while. They often become church hoppers. Many of them end up in charismatic or trinity churches. They look for love and acceptance from others - rather than Truth - they become disillusioned and wander in delusions of spiritual self-will becoming companions of like-minded individuals (Hebrews 12:15-17).

3) Those that have the world - Lust of the eye, Lust of the Flesh, Pride of Life (1 John 2:16), in their hearts. They’ve never truly sold out to God. There seems to be a tendency to worldly things and a resistance to regular Godly consecration. With those raised in the church, it usually reveals itself in the late teens and early twenties. Some folks are shocked by what is called, “a sudden falling away” – but a silent majority are not. They partake in worldly ways with joy and abandonment. Often they will visit the church and its functions flaunting their rebellious freedoms – without fear of God or respect for His people. When the world they have desired finally crumbles (for some it never does) the degree of pride that must be overcome is almost insurmountable and so, they look to justify their worldly desires and heartache by continually accusing church members of judging them. When these leave, they rarely return. Thank God for those few that do return.

   Many years ago, I was a backslider. The church I was raised in had many good and godly people in it. The pastor was a man above reproach. However, there were many things that church folks were unaware of. For instance, the physical and mental abuse at home by a hardworking and tongue talking mom. The exposure to pornography at six years old and the molestation by some church teens and adults that began when I was 8 years old, the constant reminder by some church members that I would turn out to be like my father. Much more could be written. By the age of 9, I received the Holy Ghost but had so many sinful and shameful habits that I was convinced there was no hope for me. Finally, at the age of 18, I left the church – convinced it was right but that I could not overcome sin in its various forms. I exemplified points 1 and 2. Thankfully, at the age of 22, God allowed me to return home and helped me to gain victory over sin and any desire to return to the world – for any reason!

   The prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) chose, for whatever reason, to leave the Father’s house and go to a faraway city – a type of the world and its desire for you – to get you as far away from the Father and His house as possible. However, many prodigals have a moment when they come to themselves. What they do with that moment makes a difference. Some decide to stay in the city or in the pig pen. Others get up and go back home – they must travel a long way back – but they make it. How glorious that is!

The Father gave the returning son three things:

1. Robe – a type of righteousness
2. Shoes – a type of testimony
3. Ring – a type of power to use the family name

   The Father could not give the son back the wall of innocence. Every day the former prodigal lived at home, going back to the faraway city was an option – unless, he chose to serve and love the Father and his house with the same passion and obedience that he used in the faraway city (2 Corinthians 10:4-6).

   When I was a backslider, I did not associate with other backsliders. Never did I doubt God’s Word, church standards of separation, or the joy of evangelism. I felt that the failure to serve God was in me and not the fault of Jesus Christ or the church. Therefore, I did not want to hang around other backsliders that heaped ridicule and disrespect on the very Church that God chose to save them from hell. Backsliders that know all about what is going on in various churches around them will NEVER repent – they have become family with the ungodly, sinners, and mockers (Psalm 1:1-6).

   The modern apostolic church is too touchy-feely, politically correct, and user-friendly towards the backslider. Many churches now allow the things some people once backslid to do. Other’s feel that the backslider must feel comfortable and loved and then they will return. THAT IS A LIE!!!! The prodigal knew that the Father cared for him. He had chosen to no longer care for the Father, his brother, and the house. Only when the prodigal returned, willing to be a servant was the relationship repaired! Until a backslider comes with that attitude – there is no hope of truly returning to God. They may cry, speak in tongues, and dance but until they are willing to serve – regardless of the cost to their pride – they will never be able to live in the Father’s house.

   The backslider should feel condemnation, shame, guilt, and alone. That is the price of leaving the Father’s house. Yet, when they begin to return, there should be joy among God's people that they are. However, the cost of living in the Father’s house and enjoying fellowship with God’s family remains the same. Without apology!!!

   Mercy is for the repentant and grace is given to empower the repentant to serve God beyond their capability. When a backslider comes to their self they come to the Father in repentance and are given mercy. As they begin to demonstrate obedience and love to the Father, they gain grace to help them overcome sin and become the “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1) that God desires them to be. The scriptures state, “He that covers his sins shall not prosper: but whoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13) and, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).


   There is hope for every backslider who will return to the Father’s house. If they are willing to be a servant and ask for mercy, they will find relationship and grace enough to overcome their pride and the world as the Bible declares, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18).



Comments

07-13-2019 at 4:30 PM
Dale Young
The Savala's have been dear friends for years. We've always enjoyed their outgoing personalities, and been blessed by his ministry.
We recently acquired JPS ministries' music and Bible story CD'S and continue to be blessed and entertained.

Thank you for all of your dedication to furthering the Gospel!
06-12-2019 at 4:43 PM
Lee Wilson
Excellent article. I like your site.
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