Friday, June 24, 2011
"It is not My heavenly Father's will that anyone should perish" (Mt 18:14)
Backsliding has become too common in the Church. Backsliding is never sudden; it is always in stages. There are two types of backsliding—one from which recovery is possible and the other for which under normal circumstances there is no remedy.
The first type can be explained by three conditions. First of all, there may be the loss of first love for God (Rev 2:4,5), and fervour in spiritual matters. Another condition is the loss of personal holiness and loss of victory over sin. Recovery from these two conditions is possible. James 5:19,20, "If anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins." Yet another state of backsliding is loss of sound faith and being led into strange doctrines. Apostle Paul calls this a spiritual "cancer" (2 Tim 2:17). By the mercy of God, this is also curable through the diligent ministry of a Bible teacher. When he would teach patiently, "God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will" (2 Tim 2:24-26).
There is another type of backsliding which is generally irreversible. It is the open denial and rejection of the Person of Christ. The seriousness of this type of backsliding is given in Hebrews 6:4-6. "It is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame." The author of Hebrews quotes Esau as an example. "Esau sold his birthright for one morsel of food. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears" (Heb 12:16,17). Selling the birthright, in the sight of God, is nothing but rejecting the Messiah. This is the "sin leading to death" (1 Jn 5:16,17). Unless the person who backslide repents, there is no remedy. The fellow-believers should meet with such candidates and talk to them and remove the blocks lovingly and bring them back to the love of Christ.
"Lord, Thou hast here Thine ninetynine, Are they not enough for Thee?"
But the Shepherd made answer: "I go to the desert to find My sheep!"
(Elizabeth C. Clephane, 1830-1869)