The question of backsliding for Christians is real, and it has hit many Christians, countless, I am sure, including myself. I also have a story to tell. Mine is minor kind of way, but I have seen some Christians got hit in a major way, to the point that it makes you wonder if there is any more of Christ left in the person. That’s totally devastating to the person and his or her loved ones. We certainly cannot take backsliding lightly. I have never really understood how can anyone backslide that much. The stark reality is that you see even the so called big church pastors of celebrity pastors deconstructed their faith, and left the faith all together.
What happened to Jesus’s words that no one can snatch you out of my father’s hands. Does that not stand? Or is the “you” not including certain people? Reformed also believe that once a Christian always be one. It’s not possible to lose something which you don’t work for. It’s something given by grace to you. Nice words, but we are dealing with the reality of life.
The Fall of Eve and then Adam
The parable of Jesus came to me big time on the Prodigal Son. I remember when I was backsliding myself in my first year A Level high school, I went to a boarding school with an Anglican chapel where the vicar or priest preached nothing from the bible but everything from the social life niceties and justice. I even questioned the chaplain why did he not preach from the bible? Its so deadly, and crafty of the devil to attack Christians not in the upfront way, but in the roundabout way, subtle way. Its wolf in the sheep’s skin. Literally that’s how Satan got Eve and got her to fall and who dragged along her husband, the man Adam. Satan offered a modified version of who God is. A subtle message. Its never a straight in your face denial of Yahweh or God, but rather a modified version of the gospel. God clearly told Adam and Eve to not eat that forbidden fruit, and if they did they would surely die. No reason given, and God doesn’t need to, as He is sovereign and God. But Satan modified it, by telling Eve that if she took it, she would be like God.
Genesis 3:4–5 (ESV)
4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
You see how the devil lied? First he contradicted God straight by denying that they would not die if they eat it. Interestingly, the serpent spoke to the woman, not the man. And even more interesting is that the man when given the fruit by his wife to eat, did not even question or uttered a word, before he also ate it.
Satan offered Eve something that’s seemed attractive on the outside and premium: she would be like God, knowing good and evil. What do you mean knowing good and evil? They already know good and evil. The only real difference after the fall is that they knew they were naked, and shame came into their world. Is that what you mean by knowing good and evil? I think not. Satan uses the words ”God knows when you eat….putting God as selfish, not wanting them to know good and evil. In fact they were created in God’s image, definitely like God, not through disobedience to be like God? Its more like Satan!
Any backsliding has to center on and originate from who God is
That’s how the devil today deceive many Christians and caused them to backslide. It’s called the redefinition of who God is. Any backsliding has to center on and originate from who God is, not on your own circumstances per se, though it may be a factor. But the real deal is your understanding and conviction of who God is to you. Eve doubted God when hearing what the devil said. The real question therefore is do you have the faith in God, and trust in Him even at times of uncertainty or hardship or temptations?
I know for sure, one of the primary reasons for young people to backslide from God is the lure of the world. Somehow, the world’s offer becomes more attractive to what God has promised in his scriptures. Somehow, the worldview, and the temptations from the worldly desire, has challenged the integrity and holiness of God in a person’s life. A Christian , being seduced by the worldly forces, like Eve was seduced by the serpent, began to imagine a new god in his or her mind, in order to compromise and suit what the person desires with his or her eyes. Like Eve when she saw the fruit was pleasing to the eyes,
Genesis 3:6 (ESV)
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
A delight to her eyes. Temptations start from physical, from the external forces that enter the mind. First to was her eyes, then it went to her mind, the fruit would make her wise. How on earth a mere two sentence from the serpent would overthrow her conviction and faith in her God, her creator? You see how vulnerable she was? How vulnerable we would be in this world, if we don’t walk with God and know him deeply with our hearts?
Eve Redefined who God is and His Promises
What she did was she redefined the promises and command of God by twisting it as she totally accepted the words from the devil. In a mere few minutes, all God’s words were thrown out of the window. The most dangerous thing for Christians today is the redefining of who God is, and His promises. By the seduction of the devil that comes in sweet, half truth, half lies, that completely rebels against God. As this develops in a person’s mind, he or she is slowly being seduced away from the truth of Goof’s words.
God’s Response of Redemption
But God immediately stepped in to pronounce a curse on the serpent.
Genesis 3:15 (ESV)
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
God puts an enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. You know that’s how Jesus crushed the head of the serpent, the devil on the cross, and Jesus was bruised on his heel on the cross as he was killed on the cross. He resurrected three days after, and destroyed the power of death and the one who holds the power, Satan.
So would God bring back those backsliders to himself? If we look deep in the scriptures, it is clear that God is looking to bring them back. Look at the parable of the prodigal Son, when God the Father was waiting for the younger son to return even he has squandered half of his properties. He loved him. Jesus gave parable that there is more joy in heaven when a sinner repents than a hundred saints. Jesus gave teaching of a shepherd looking for his one lost sheep, and he left behind his 100 sheep to look for his one lost sheep, and when he found it, he brings it back with such rejoicing. What’s all these? This is showing the heart of our Father God. He wants to bring them back.
So would he? Or can he? Of course he can. The rest would need us to come to Christ in prayers and meditation of scriptures as we pray for our loved ones to come back to the Father in heaven. Or some who never have personally accepted Christ, to put their faith in Christ.
The Prodigal Son returned after he hit the bottom of life
I think this is what the final turn to bring many back to God. He hit the bottom of most bottom when he was famished, with no money working a for a pigs’ farm. He was so hungry that he was about to eat pig’s food, and he was awakened at that point why would he be doing this when he remembered his father’s house, the maids have plenty to eat. He woke up and decided to return to his father at that point. He decided that he is no more worth to be a son, but rather he’s going back to his father as. Servant. But his father came huggin him!
Luke 15:20–24 (ESV)
20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
His father saw him from a long way off, saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. That love and compassion of the father is intrinsically put there by God’s grace. That love and compassion over turned the anger and disappointment he should have towards the son.
God would use the darkest moments, to cause a person to reach that total emptiness, to wake him up and return to him. That’s what happened to me in college first year, when I was backsliding from God until I failed a paper in the university that shook my life and sought the real meaning of life. Providentially at that time an evangelist came to our hall of residence in Leicester and I heard the message of dry bones came alive, and I totally felt like dry bones. I came back to God with tears in my eyes. A great revival started, I was never the same anymore. I joined evangelism teams for 3 summers and preached the gospel over London.
God will bring them back to Zion. That’s where they belong. Where we belong. Amen.