Summary: • A person backslides when they fall away, and gradually abandon the faith and practice of religion they once professed.
The Lifestyle of a Backslider
Mk. 14:54; 2 Pe. 2:20-22
What does it mean to backslide? Backsliding in scripture is compared to adultery. See Jer. 3:6-10.
• A person backslides when they fall away, and gradually abandon the faith and practice of religion they once professed.
• It is a failure to maintain a high state of morality and to drop to a lower state.
• Backsliding can happen to any believer who allows sin and unbelief to change their affinity, or affection for God and the things of God.
As we’ve read in Jeremiah, backsliding is considered ‘spiritual adultery.’ Unlike illicit relations between a man and woman, ‘spiritual adultery’, centers on the illicit relationship a child of God has with the world. We are told that to be friends with the world is to be an enemy to God. You cannot be a partaker of Christ and participate in the worlds sins.
• “For ye are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them and walk in them and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from amongst them and be separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing and I will receive you and be a Father unto you and you shall be my sons and daughters saith the Lord almighty.”
A survey of the NT reveals that those who are backsliders and adulterers seek after signs:
• Even though the Lord had just performed a miracle and filled their bellies with fish and bread, the multitude still wanted a sign.
• Jesus called them hypocrites. He said you can tell when the weather will be fair, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. “But unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”
o Jesus would later say, as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the earth.
The only sign God gives to backsliders is the cross. He says return to your first love.
C. S Lewis puts it this way: A wrong sum can be put right, but only by going back till you find error and working it afresh from that point, never by simply going on.
Why do you glory in the valley, saith the Lord? Backsliders find false peace in the valley of death instead of walking in the light.
Peter, who now stands as a giant of the faith, and a father of the Church teaches us that even the strongest saint can sin. He walked with the Lord, ministered with the Lord, and was given the keys to the kingdom to bind and to loose, but he himself lost his standing in the Lord, backslid and needed recovery and restoration. He betrayed the Lord. Note what Peter writes in verse 20 (read):
I. Backsliders are Proud
a. We are responsible for our own spiritual welfare and if we allow ourselves to be led astray we will pay a high price.
b. In fact Peter writes that if we have tasted freedom and then allow ourselves to be entangled again with the yoke of bondage our condition will be worst than the time when we didn’t know Christ.
i. Christ tells us that we must bind the strong man, and evict him if we are to live clean lives. Further, we must allow the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts so that he (Satan) does not return with seven other devils, hence being worst off than before.
ii. Jesus asked, “How can Satan Cast out Satan?” You cannot deliver yourself fighting with sin, and living in sin. You put on the armor of righteousness and serve God at cost.
c. Peter in verse 20 recognized that pride is the first step backward because humility is the first step forward into the kingdom.
d. It was pride that led Peter to say “Lord I will never deny you.” Pr. 16:18: “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before stumbling.”
i. Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
ii. Read verses 21-22.
II. Backsliders are Lazy
a. In Mk. 14:32-42 Peter was told to “keep watch.” But he kept falling asleep.
b. It was his lack of diligence that left him unprepared when the time of temptation came upon him. And we too can backslide when we fail to watch as well as pray.
i. Lk. 21:34 states: “Be on guard that your hearts may not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and worries of life, and that day come on you suddenly like a trap.”