We’ve all experienced a time in our life when things are going well both physically, emotionally and spiritually. But eventually, we undergo a spiritual relapse as a result of situations around us. Backsliding and turning away from the faith you once cherished isn’t something that must be taken lightly.
This is because there are numerous dangers of backsliding in the Bible being spoken of that everyone must be aware of. And in this article, we’ll discuss broadly the topic of backsliding and its dangers.
What is backsliding in Christianity?
Looking at what “backsliding” is in the English Dictionary, it means to regress; to slip backwards or revert to a previous, worse state. It can also be regarded as a way of shirking responsibility; to reneging on one’s obligations or commitments. And Backsliding in Christianity will then be defined as turning away from the things that ensure your spiritual growth, or going back to one’s previous state before Christ: which is the sinful life.
Backsliding doesn’t mean someone losing salvation. However, it is often an expression used to describe an individual who has believed in the gospel of Christ and has gone back to his previous patterns of sin.
Is backsliding biblical?
Yes, it is Biblical. According to the Old Testament history, we saw how the Israelites would turn away from worshipping the God of Abraham to serve Idols.
Examples of backsliding in the Bible
There are several examples of backsliding in the Bible; however, we’ll just mention a few of them;
- Peter (Matthew 26: 69-75)
- Saul (1 Samuel 15: 11)
- Solomon (1 Kings 11: 4-40)
- Some disciples of Jesus (John 6: 66, Matthew 26: 56)
Causes of backsliding.
You might have been asking yourself, “Why do I keep backsliding?”. In this section, we’ll provide an answer to the question by looking at 4 recurring causes of backsliding.
1. Bad company of friends
Your friends are a reflection of who you are. (Proverbs 13: 20). When you start mingling with friends that aren’t going in the same spiritual direction as you, it’s only a matter of time before they’ll turn you to face their direction. But remember, there’s a way that seems right to a man, but the end is destruction.
2. Things you consistently meditate on.
Your mind is channeled in a way that it always conforms to the things you constantly behold. If you start thinking of things that don’t glorify the name of God, or things that satisfy your lust, you’ll open the door that will cause you to backslide.
3. Difficult times
Many people always turn away and lose their confidence in Christ when things are difficult. You must know that Christ is the solution to any difficulties you can face in life. Even in the midst of the storm, Jesus is with you, but you must learn to call him, and to trust him for help.
This is when you think you can do everything well outside of Christ. The bible makes it clear when it said we shouldn’t lean on our own understanding. There’s a limit to the things you can do for yourself if you lean on your understanding.
What does the bible say about backsliding?
Here, we’re going to check through what the Bible says or better still, what does God say about backsliding?
The Bible speaks on this topic quite extensively, warning believers of the dangers of backsliding and urging them to remain steadfast in their faith. In Jeremiah 3:22, God Himself declares, “Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding.”
This passage offers hope to those who have strayed from their faith and encourages them to seek repentance and restoration.
Additionally, 2 Peter 2:20-22 cautions that it would have been better for a person not to have known the way of righteousness than to have known it and then turn away. Thus, it is important for believers to remain vigilant and to constantly nourish their faith so as to avoid backsliding.
What are the four types of backsliders?
- The first type is a gradual backslider, where their faith slowly and subtly decreases over time.
- The second type is a sudden backslider, where a specific event or circumstance causes a sudden departure from their faith.
- The third type is a pseudo-backslider, where someone claims to have left their faith but continues to attend church or pray in private.
- The fourth type is an intentional backslider, where someone actively chooses to reject their faith and pursue a different path.
Each type requires a unique approach when it comes to guiding them back to their spiritual path. By understanding these types of backsliders, we can better help those who are struggling to stay on their spiritual journey.
What are the symptoms of backsliding?
Before an individual would backslide, there would’ve been significant signs and symptoms reflecting in the person’s life. And if these signs are not paid attention to, they’re what will eventually cause backsliding. So, let’s see a few of those symptoms of backsliding;
- Weakened conviction
- Reduction in commitment to the local church
- Loss of passion to pray and study
- Reduction in commitment to reaching out to lost souls.
What are the stages of backsliding?
A man doesn’t just wake up one day and stop believing in the truth of God’s word, or turn away from Faith. There are different stages of backsliding, and here we’ll see those stages.
1. Self-Isolation from People
This is the first stage in which people who are on the verge of backsliding from faith don’t count as important as the gathering of the saints. You’ll always want to be alone, all by yourself. Whereas, the Bible instructs us not to forsake the gathering of the saints. Hebrews 10: 25.
2. Loss of Spiritual savor
At this stage, they become complacent in the practice of the things of the spirit. Praying and studying God’s word won’t matter to them anymore. If you notice that you’re tilting towards this direction, you may want to check yourself.
3. Not willing to take instructions
Following instructions becomes a difficult thing to do for people within the perimeter of turning away from the faith. They effortlessly disobey the leading of God and the directory of their leaders in the church.
4. Seeing everything as normal
This, being the fourth stage, is a very crucial stage and worth paying close attention to. At this stage, nothing is seen and regarded as a sin. You just see them as normal practices, since they are generally accepted. Sin is no longer a sin, but a norm. You need to take heed unto yourself at this stage.
5. Denying the Faith
This is the last and worst stage of backsliding and it’s when you outwardly deny the fact that you are a believer and that Jesus is the Lord and master of your soul. This is a good example of the phrase, “a dog going back to its vomit”. Denying faith isn’t a good place to be. That’s you rejecting the life that God has given to you and embracing death, which is the outcome of sin and not believing. Romans 6: 23.
What is the punishment for backsliding?
You may ask, is there a punishment for backsliding? Or what are the consequences of backsliding? Well, backsliding, which is another way of saying someone has fallen or turned away from the faith, is not anything less than a SIN. And there are punishments for every act of sin. Anyone who backslides deprives themselves of the things they are bound to enjoy being part of God’s family. Just like the prodigal son in Luke 15: 11-32.
What happens when you backslide in the Bible?
When a man backslides, he doesn’t take spiritual growth seriously, and his love for God becomes weaned. They forsake the gathering of believers where they can be provoked to love, to good work, and to be better Christians (Hebrews 10: 25).
What is the difference between backsliding and falling away?
There are no differences between backsliding and falling away, both of them can be used interchangeably. To backside means to turn away from spiritual practices that lead to growth or, ultimately, turn from Faith. While falling away means drifting away from those practices.
What is the prayer for those backsliding?
Here is an example of a prayer you can pray for backsliders;
Lord, I pray for (include the name if you know any), that you’ll restore them to your love. That your love burns in their act for them to begin to see their need for you. Their desires are aligned with yours, and they give themselves wholly to practices that aid spiritual growth. And, that you will surround them with friends and family that will help them grow. Amen.
Where is the scripture, I will heal their backsliding?
This Scripture can be found in Hosea 14: 4 which says, I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine, anger is turned away from him. We also see a similar promise of healing of backsliding in Jer. 3:22.
How many times will God forgive a backslider?
This is a frequently asked question by those who have backslid or their loved ones. They began to wonder, “Does God forgive backsliders?”. The answer to this is simple, God always forgives.
The Bible says in 1 John 1:9 that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
God is a faithful and loving father. Even though you backslid and stopped being active in godly things like you always have. God still loves you, and He wants you back into His fold, back into being active in learning and growing in the things of God.
How to come back to Christ after backsliding
What led to backsliding is having one’s knowledge darkened and mind corrupted by outside factors. Therefore, for you to return to Christ, you must subject yourself to mind transformation through the word of God.
Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Learning God’s Word and surrounding yourself with friends that will encourage you in faith will help you get back on track and be renewed in your mind to keep on loving God.
Can the Holy Spirit leave a backslider?
No, He won’t, even though he can.
The Holy Spirit is the seal, stamp, guarantor, and assurance of eternity that everyone who believes in Jesus Christ has received. And Jesus in John 14: 16 says, “I’ll pray for the Father, and He shall give you another comforter, who shall abide with you forever”. The Holy Spirit has been given to everyone who believes to live in them forever.
And, it is the will of God to save all men and will go to any length to preserve them until the very end. (1 Timothy 2: 4). He does not want any to perish. So, It’s important to note that backsliding isn’t a loss of salvation, it’s just a drawback from practices that ensure your growth as a believer.
Hence, the Holy Spirit can’t leave a backslider.
Backsliding never ends well because it is a movement from a better state of living back to the poorest state. Therefore, it must be avoided like a plague.