Saturday, February 16, 2013

Five Bible Passages on Backsliding

1. Revelation 2:5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

This passage in Revelation most certainly applies to someone who has already fallen away. It says remember where you used to be! Remember how good it was to be close to God. This quote speaks to those who have already fallen into defeat and disgrace. It calls the individual to come back to the works they used to do. If we end up in this place we ought to look back to the person that was good, the one we used to be. This can motivate us to start back down the good path. We're also told to repent here. If we fall from grace, we must repent! Go to God and ask for forgiveness. I know that in the past when I've had trouble with my faith I would pray to God and say, "Please Lord, give me the desire! Make me want to want your kingdom and your path." He answered. God gives out grace generously.

2. 1 Timothy 1:19 Holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith

In the book of Timothy, a personal hero of mine, we find this passage. We ought to hold our faith close, and work towards a good conscience. And a clean conscience! My roommate refers to it as being "on fire for the Lord!" It's something we can reach by steadfastly pursuing the faith by attending church, groups, bible studies, and by reading the word. It's not as hard as some people think. It often will blossom into something we love if we simply force ourselves to do it for a few months. Those who reject these basic precepts and head off in their own ways, often end up harming their faith. This is the essence of backsliding.

3. 2 Peter 2:21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them.

This passage in Peter goes as far to say that it would have been better if we had never known righteousness than to turn away! This way at least we would not be directly disobeying God. Because once we know the truth and love the truth, how dark is it for us to fall away? How bad is it for us to disobey our maker? We are sinners, and we are forgiven through Christ but this does not mean we should sin freely.

4. Luke 9:62 Jesus said to him, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."

What is Jesus trying to tell us in Luke 9:62? Jesus often spoken in metaphors to explain things to his disciples. In fact he most often spoke in metaphors. In biblical times going to the plow was often related to undertaking business. Jesus is saying we must put our whole heart into these endeavors. We should not look back at the temptations of the world and wish we still had these things. There is no room for half measures in the spiritual journey. In step groups they often say "half measures availed us nothing" and this will be true for our spiritual journeys as well. God does not want half of us, or two thirds of us, he wants it all! Early in my faith I often saw my life like a car engine. I had various parts that I worked on, morality, truth, justice, philosophy, and spirituality. When I came to God, I considered him to be like one of the pistons in the engine. This caused me to slip away! God could not be just one of the pistons in the overall engine that was me. He had to be the entire engine itself! And that's what he is now to me. And the pistons are now things like truth, politics, justice, and philosophy. But God must be the center. And let me tell you friends the engine runs much better with him in command and not me.

5. Hebrews 10:26-29 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?

This passage in Hebrews is a great reminder. It's a powerful verse and kind of scary because we're told that yes Jesus died for our sins but if we ignore the law of Moses, which is the ten commandments, the we will not have eternal life. In fact we are told this will make God quite angry! We are told that if we go on sinning deliberately after accepting Christ, that there is no longer any sacrifice that can save us. It tells us that even Christ's sacrifice will not save us! Let's not get crazy with this though, it's very important that we notice the operative word in this passage "deliberately." It doesn't say "If we go on sinning after accepting Christ" then we're doomed. No! We are all sinners friends, and yes sins will happen everyday in our lives. We are still saved through Christ. The important thing to understand here is that if we continue to deliberately sin, as in "well Jesus saved me so I can do whatever I want" then we will not have eternal life.