Recovering from Backsliding

One of the most tragic and sad situations of our Christian walk, is that of –backsliding. A verse in Bible reminds me of this folly. “As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly” (Proverbs 26:11). Wikipedia describes backsliding as follows ” Backsliding, also know as falling away, is a term used within Christianity to describe a process by which an individual who has converted to Christianity reverts to his pre-conversion habits and/or lapses or falls into sin, when a person turns from God to pursue his own desire.”  Let’s look into this backsliding and how with God’s power we can recover from it.

Backsliding comes in basically three stages. 1) A temporary slip or fall. Meaning we make a spiritual mistake and fall into temptation but quickly realize our transgression and repent and turn from that sin(s). 2) We slip and fall often and repeatedly, off and on. Our walk is strong, then weak and we seem to have stages of success then just as sure stages of failure. 3)  We slip and stay fallen for extended periods.

The last stage (3) is most dire spiritually. We won’t dwell much on that,  as it really is a situation where one has made no real commitment and repeated prayer and fasting is a must!

As we are well aware, only those who “overcome” will be allowed to sit on the throne with our Lord in heaven(Rev. 3:21) That means that while we will have occasional slips and falls, we must in fact overcome them. Our cherished sins are to be no more.But what do we do when we slip and fall? Let’s look at the 2nd case scenario.

The 2nd case people are most likely to be the “grace abusers”. Definitely these would include the outlandish believing  “once saved always saved” crowd.  Grace abuse is described in (Romans 6:1) “What shall we say then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?”  Those who repeatedly fall often think that grace will cover them, in effect they do not claim the Lord’s power to help them overcome sin.

I have often heard and read where people use the standard worn out line “Oh, we’ll never stop sinning and the Lord accepts us anyway.” If that’s the case why did He say –we must overcome? The ones who claim that their weaknesses are incurable, will never be able to say that they –overcame. So we see that those we repeatedly slip and fall, are in need of serious alignment of their spiritual values. Let us never forget the equally used quote, but this one is spot on– The Lord saves us from our sins, not in our sins.

Our prophetess made a clear statement in regards to overcoming. “Let no one say, I cannot remedy my defects of character. If you come to this decision, you will certainly fail of obtaining everlasting life” (Christ’s object lessons, p.331).

These people need to “hit the books”,  start a serious undertaking in studying the Scriptures, Ellen White, and our last prophet–Victor Houteff. They need to receive the Spirit of Truth. As the parable teaches, they must be planted in “good ground” (ie. inspired truth) instead of walking halfway in their walk with the Lord. As we have learned from prior studies, our Lord will begin judgment for the living in his church soon(before the plaques come), we can’t afford to be found partly converted.

Let us now look at the most spiritually  “healthy” case,  the 1st case scenario. In ( 1 John 1:8) we read ” If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” Our walk will never be perfect until our Lord comes and transforms us. For those of us who will remain alive in the very near future, we will see our Lord’s promise.  “For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.” (Ezekiel 36:24-25)

The implication from our Lord’s above words is that , though we think we are clean, we are not fully. It will only be once we arrive back in God’s kingdom, the holy land in Israel, that we will be made fully clean in God’s sight. For those of you who have missed the posts on the future kingdom to be set up, see “Thy Kingdom Come, part 1 and 2.

Please do not mis-interpret the Lord’s words above. When we are to be fully clean, that means we will be cleansed from sins we have even though we are not fully aware of them. We shouldn’t say ” I can have some idols and do a few sins here and there, because the Lord understands and will clean them in the future”. No, it does not mean that. This would be a contemptible attitude and calls upon our Lord to ever expand His grace. Again,  (Romans 6:1) applies.

The occasional slip or fall (into sin) must not degenerate into a often slip or fall. Our Lord made that clear in (John 5:14). “… See, you are well again, stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”  The falls can become so frequent that things begin to unravel. The devils then influence us so thoroughly that we backslide into case number 3.

Speaking of the devil, let’s discuss his active role in backsliding. As we’ve mentioned in our post under God’s light, we showed that the ones who are actively walking daily in His Commandments and truth shine the brightest. As the Angels and devils see this, some are noticed more than others. The devils focus primarily on the bright shining ones, as these are the ones they despise and want to corrupt.

So it stands to reason that the cleaner and straighter your walk with the Lord, the more and harder will be the temptations. But this can be met fully with the Lord’s power. That is key.

Ellen White, in describing the “shaking”  of our church describes the devils and their dark influence on those staying true to the Lord. “I saw some, with strong faith and agonizing cries, pleading with God. Their countenances were pale and marked with deep anxiety, expressive of their internal struggle…Evil angels crowded around, pressing darkness upon them to shut Jesus from their view, that their eyes might be drawn to the darkness that surrounded them, and thus they be led to distrust God and murmur against Him.”(Early Writings, page 269)

In these very last days, the devils, at Satan’s command, want nothing more than to make those who are converted to backslide, the more the better is their goal. Recently I slipped and fell. I reverted back to an old cherished sin. I did it and quickly realized my mistake. I felt real bad. I knew better yet I submitted to stumbling.

But the next day, after coming clean and repenting of my sin, our merciful Lord gave me a vision. In it I saw myself laying on the ground looking up to the Lord who was standing above me. His arm was stretched out, to grasp my hand and raise me back up. It brought tears and I was so moved by this vision. Our Lord was letting me know, He forgave me.

This is the kind of merciful Lord we serve. A King who understands that the devils have put many stumbling rocks in our path and we may slip and fall occasionally. Our walk is precious to Him and He wants us to “overcome”. Are we going to get right back up after stumbling and steer away from that crooked path? Yes, we must.

In closing,  let us realize our dear Lord’s words when we stumble “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyones sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1 John 2:1-2)

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4 Responses to “Recovering from Backsliding”

  1. shepherds-rod-speaks.org Says:

    There is a nice quote in 6T 371 about the effect of backsliders on new converts and why God does not bring many into the church at this time, only after a purification takes place.

    As my wife always reminds me, though we stumble and fall at times striving to overcome the sins which so easily beset us, Satan and his minions are defeated foes in the mighty name of Christ Jesus. Say it aloud and let him know who is your the captain of your salvation. God bless

  2. godsloveandlaw Says:

    Amen bro, good advice. Yes, we must stand solid, as you say upon the Rock.

  3. Feo Says:

    Thanks much,if only our eyes could see how the devil is dilligent in his work of causing many to fall into temptations we would turn back to our savior in prayer and supplication more than what we do now ,though there are many temptations they should not be excuses to sin (MYP).
    May God help us i pray,God bless.

  4. godsloveandlaw Says:

    Amen Feo. I agree prayer and supplication are much needed in our spiritual battle.

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