Introduction from the Webmaster: This article was written by Pastor David Berg to members of his flock, a community which was called the Children of God. It was not addressed to Christians in general. If there is something in it you can apply to your life, great! It's not meant to condemn anybody, but to encourage Christians who have fallen by the wayside to repent and come back to their first love, Jesus, and to align their lives again with the Word of God -- how Christians are supposed to live according to the Bible.
Scriptures I often think about are:
Psalms 119:59 ¶I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.
60 I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.
The pilgrim who never reaches his goal is not on a pilgrimage!--He's just a wanderer who doesn't know where he's going, so how can he ever get there? I'm sorry, but I just don't have much patience with such people! As God Himself says: "My soul ABHORRETH him that turneth BACK!"
God hates to see people's back sides, and when He does, He usually gives them a good quick hard stiff KICK in the butt that sends them sprawling back into the slime pit from which they came for another good bellyful of it, hoping they'll get so sick of it THIS time, they'll never look back at it again!
One reason why God gets so angry with backsliders is that they're such a terrible testimony and seldom ever backslide alone!--They always take others with them! The backslider's a REAL SOUL WINNER for the DEVIL! He's always got the most convincing arguments to justify himself and to persuade others to do the same so he can defend his OWN backsliding.
They always loudly murmur, complain and criticise and proclaim their doubts and fears to all who will listen, especially the already weak and wavering, particularly babes and beginners! Backsliders are the greatest proselytizers in the religious business! As Jesus Himself said, they'll compass the World to convert one person to their cause, and then make him more of a child of Hell than they are themselves!-- Mat.23:15 . They become your very worst enemies and the most diabolical traitors to your cause!
Like Judas, they not only backslide, but they also have to fight and betray you to prove they're no longer ONE of you. To try to get reaccepted by the System, they now LEAD the fight against you because they're now so ashamed they were once fool enough to be one of you! They become your most dangerous enemies because they know you and your operation so well!
This is why God goes after them so hard with such severe chastening to try to get them to repent and come back to Him before they've done too much damage. He sometimes wields the heaviest rod on the backs of His OWN children when they backslide because they KNOW BETTER and are WITHOUT EXCUSE! Then if they will not soon repent, He usually DESTROYS them so they can do no further harm! I've seen it happen so many times! Almost the worst things I've ever seen happen to Christians, I've seen happen to BACKSLIDERS in the hands of an ANGRY GOD!--And I've seen it happen so often and in so many cases, more than I can possibly number!
So backslider beware! You'll never make it unless you return to the Lord and his service!--And if you DO repent and return, He'll expect MORE of you than He did BEFORE to undo the DAMAGE you've done, make restitution for the losses you've caused, and to work harder and more faithfully than ever before to PROVE your loyalty, which has become somewhat doubtful and untrustworthy from past experience. The TRUST that was once placed in you by GRACE will now have to be EARNED by WORKS to the UTMOST to prove you are no longer a traitor and will no longer backslide. You will find it very hard to restore people's confidence in you once you've lost it. They're afraid to trust you again unless you prove to the UTMOST that you're WORTHY of it! It's a hard road back for the backslider!--Which is another reason why they so seldom come back. It was so easy to backslide but so hard to return!
Yet the Lord says He's "married to the backslider" ( Jer.3:14 ), and begs the wicked to forsake his wicked way and promises to FORGIVE him if he'll only turn from his sins, which He promises to wash away and make him whiter than snow! So if the backslider DOES make it and DOES return to the Lord and His Service, he will usually make one of the BEST men you've ever had, because he'll do his best to PROVE that he can make it, and work harder at it than almost anyone else, for which God will even seem to bless him sometimes more than others.
The bird whose pinion was once broken, by the grace of God will fly even higher than before, and the straying sheep whose leg had to be broken will have to remain in the Shepherd's bosom so long he will never stray again! He knows the price; he's been through that hell of backsliding and he wants no more of it ever again! He'll work harder than he even did before and he'll hate backsliding more than ever and will have less patience with the backslider than ever before!--I oughtta know: I was one!--And who hasn't been at some time or other?
God just seemingly will not tolerate backsliders! Paul said the Lord even turned their FLESH over to the DEVIL that their SOUL might be saved, in cases of backsliders!-- 1Cor.5:5 . Peter said in one case, it is better that they had never even HEARD than that they had heard and turned BACK. Jesus said in one case it was better for that man that he had never even been BORN!-- 2Pet.2:20-21 ; Mt.26:24 .
Not many people who go back really see what they are getting into. They think they're going back to the easy way, but they never realise what they're getting into by going back.--A TERRIBLE LETDOWN! It's like mountain climbing. You have a peculiar feeling like you don't want to leave the mountain, no inspiration in it. There is a certain drive, almost a spiritual thing going UP. You'll risk ANYTHING! But going DOWN?--No inspiration, no goal, no accomplishment. You're just sliding back down into the slough!
The reason some of these people sit down and quit and begin to sit back and fall out is simply because they have LOST their VISION. And when they lose their VISION they lose FAITH. And when they lose FAITH they can no longer have any INITIATIVE to do anything. Backsliding is the REVERSE of PIONEERING, and WHEN YOU STOP PIONEERING, YOU START BACKSLIDING!
Some go back because they don't burn their bridges behind them. They don't sacrifice the plow and the oxen!-- 1Kings 19:21 . They hold a little reservation in the back of their mind of what they plan to do in case God doesn't work! They DIDN'T really CUT ALL TIES BY FAITH. They STILL have a few STRINGS attached--a few things they're holding on to.
And yet there are others who, like Demas of old, have simply gone back because they still loved this present world, and when the real testing and showdown came they proved they were not willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for either their flock or the Lord, and did not love the Lord that much, and therefore deserted their post, even in the midst of battle, like the hireling that fleeth when the wolf cometh, having no real love for either the sheep or the Shepherd, but was only there for the hire or the glory, and when the going got ROUGH he RAN! IT'S THESE TESTS WHICH TELL THE TALE BETWEEN A GOOD SHEPHERD and an HIRELING!
Just remember that when people start talking about going back, they have already been thinking about it for a long time, and by the time they have started TALKING, it is already too late! They have already made up their minds in their own hearts to go back. And the longer you let them stay the more they will poison others with the same disease, like a traitor in the camp! This is why Jesus said, "He that having put his hand to the plow and LOOKING back is not worthy of Me!"-- Luk.9:62 .
If a person wants to go back to the pit, and a little loving, patient, prayerful persuasion and Scriptural admonition of not more than an hour won't dissuade them, for God's sake, LET THEM GO! They'll have to learn the HARD way!
Experience is the best teacher, but the hardest one!--but if that's what they NEED, let'm HAVE it! I don't think I ever dealt with a potential backslider for more than a few minutes, except for a few rare cases by special revelation! As soon as I had talked to them long enough to find out that they really WANTED to go back, I HELPED them to leave as quickly as possible, without talking to anyone else, as one bad apple can rot a good many others!
Any life or territory not yielded to the Lord, when they make a definite decision of some kind, like going back, then immediately the Lord allows the Devil to take over: The Devil has won!--They've decided in his favour. Like the man whose house was swept and garnished and EMPTY, and because he didn't FILL it with the LORD and the HOLY SPIRIT, it soon got filled with DEVILS, and his END was worse than the BEGINNING!-- Mat.12:43-45 .
One of the most dangerous things in the world to do is to resist the Holy Ghost, which you need to help you make the grade. As the Lord Himself said, if this resistance continues unrepentedly, it will NOT be forgiven, and your LATTER fate will be worse than your BEGINNING!-- Mat.12:31,32,45 .
So you certainly need the baptism of God's love and power to be filled to overflowing with His precious Holy Spirit in order to have the strength to pull through! Because spiritual RESISTANCE causes spiritual CALLOUSNESS!--Every time we resist God's Spirit our hearts grow HARDER, until He will strive with us no more and we are "destroyed without remedy!"-- Pro.29:1 .
So may the resister beware! The Lord nevertheless says He is MARRIED to the backslider and there is always time to repent, and even the Lord's CHASTISEMENTS and TRIBULATIONS are signs of the Lord's LOVE, to get you to repent and come back to serving the LORD. There is NO sin that is unpardonable except RESISTING the LORD: In other words, the UNrepented sins. I'm sure the Lord loves you and is waiting to forgive you if you'll return to the Lord and His Service.
Are you a potential backslider?--Beware! "Let the wicked FORSAKE his way and the unrighteous man his THOUGHTS and let him RETURN unto the Lord, and He will have MERCY upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly PARDON."-- Isa.55:7 .
Are you one? if so, cry out for God's help and he'll save you! Do it TODAY!--TOMORROW may be TOO LATE!--God has NEVER left you and WE STILL LOVE YOU!--Please come back TODAY!
My name is James Arendt. I was raised in the Hegewisch neighborhood on the southeast side of Chicago, Illinois, served in the USAF from 1970 to 1974, and became a full-time missionary for Christ living 40 years in Japan, 3.5 years in Russia, and a few months in other countries such as Finland, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, South Korea, Taiwan and mainland China where I also served the King of Kings, Jesus, as an Ambassador for His Kingdom.
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