WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JULY 7, 2022
TOPIC: RESTORATION OF BACKSLIDERS
BY T. O. BANSO
“Brethren, 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” (James 5:19-20 New King James Version).
Jesus says you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free (John 8:32). He also says that He is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). But someone can draw back from the truth. Someone can begin to live contrary to the truth he has believed.
His commitment to Christ may not be as fervent as before. He may begin to regress spiritually instead of progressing. This is what backsliding is in Christianity – going back from doing the right thing to doing the wrong thing that one has stopped doing or one was not doing before.
The word “backslide” and its variants are not used in the New Testament unlike in the Old Testament about the Israelites (Jeremiah 3:6, 8, 11-12, 14, 22; 8:5; Hosea 11:7; 14:4). Some people consider backsliding as the same as apostasy or falling away but others believe that there is a difference between them. Whereas the backslider is not growing spiritually, he has not fallen away like the apostate. Apostasy is defection from Christianity or abandoning the faith.
The backslider may still be attending church services, serving in one group or the other in the church, preaching to a large congregation, and not being involved in open or gross sin. Nevertheless, he has regressed instead of progressing spiritually. He may be involved in secret sins; his commitment to Christ or faith in Him may not be as fervent as before. Anyone who is not going forward in Christ or growing spiritually is backsliding. There is no other option. It’s either you go forward or backward. Thus, there is a sense in which many Christians are guilty of backsliding. We have drawn back and, thus, we are not where we are supposed to be, spiritually. We need to repent.
The church of Ephesus was a church guilty of backsliding. The church had some things to its credit but failed in maintain the first love for Christ. Jesus says, “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place–unless you repent” (Revelation 2:1-5 New King James Version).
One could be full of spiritual activities yet be backsliding. One could be backsliding in prayer, obedience to the Word of God, evangelism, and other things. Examine yourself. Is your love for Jesus growing or waning? Are you progressing spiritually or regressing? Are you falling back into the sins you have forsaken before or you have returned to them? Repent today and cry to God to deliver you.
What about your relationship with the backsliders you know? What does God expect you to do about them? How are you supposed to relate with them/ The Apostle James says, “Brethren, 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” (James 5:19-20 New King James Version).
It is not for you to judge or condemn a backslider. The Bible does not say you should deride them or gossip about them. What that scripture says is to bring back such a person who has wandered from the truth. If you do so, you will be saving a soul from death and covering a multitude of sins.
God doesn’t want any sinner to perish but come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Don’t have a superiority complex or look down on anyone. 1 Corinthians 10:12 says anyone who thinks he stands should take heed lest he falls. “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:1-2 New King James Version).
You should not judge or hate a backslider. You should work and pray for his restoration. You, too, could be guilty of backsliding in some aspects of your walk with God. Don’t have a holier-than-thou attitude. Show love to backsliders. As 1 Peter 4:8 says, above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins.
Every backslider can be restored. As I have said, backsliders are different from apostates whom Hebrews 6:4-6 is talking about and it says it is impossible to bring them back to repentance. “For 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 an open shame” (Hebrews 6:4-6 New King James Version). This scripture refers to rejecting Christ or apostasy, not backsliding.
Backsliders can be restored, unlike the apostates of whom the Bible says it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them (2 Peter 2:21).
Have you backslidden in your walk with Christ? Address your area of backsliding today. Repent. Ask God to deliver you and with the help of the Holy Spirit, begin to do the right thing. Continue in the grace of God. Relate with the backsliders in love, not in judgment or condemnation. Prayerfully talk with them and continue to pray for them.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, forgive me for falling back in my walk with You. Deliver me from my backsliding and restore me. I receive the help of the Holy Spirit to continue in the grace of God and grow spiritually. I shall progress and not regress. Father, I pray that every backslider shall return and be restored.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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