Can a Christian backslide?

Can we forfeit our gift of salvation or “backslide”? From the scriptures below, the answer is a definite yes.

Proverbs 14:14 The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.

1Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

John 6:66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. 6:67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? 6:68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.

1Timothy 5:15 For some are already turned aside after Satan.

Luke 9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 22:32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

James 5:19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

Jude 1:22 And of some have compassion, making a difference: 1:23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

Backsliding happens gradually and results in spiritual poverty

Proverbs 24:33 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: 24:34 So shall thy poverty come as one that traveleth; and thy want as an armed man.

In the book of Revelations, God warns the end time churches that being lukewarm will not be tolerated

Revelations 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

Revelations 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. Rev 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.

Peter tells us that returning to sin (backsliding) will result in a worse ending than never having known the Lord.

2 Peter 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

In the last days, the “love of many shall wax cold” or backslide. It doesn’t take too much understanding to know that we are in those days.

Matthew 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Jesus tells of the terrible state of a backslider

Matthew 12:43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. 12:44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. 12:45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.

Can a backslider return to the Lord? Yes!

Jeremiah 3:22 Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the LORD our God.

Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

Hosea 6:1 Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.

Hosea 6:2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.

Hosea 14:1 O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. 14:2 Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips. 14:3 Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy. 14:4 I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.

Jeremiah 3:14 Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:

Revelations 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

The Lord Jesus gave us the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32, which illustrates the return of a wayward son to God.

Some may say that the sixth chapter of Hebrews (see text below) tells that a backslider can not be restored, as it says that it is impossible for the person described “to renew again unto repentance”. I think we must remember what the Lord said in Luke (Luke 18:27 And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.) First we should notice the description is not your average Christian, but a Holy Ghost filled Christian that has tasted of the heavenly gift and the powers (spiritual gifts described - 1 Corinthians 12) of the world to come. If a person grows to the spiritual state described by Paul and backslides, then he or she is likely to become a reprobate (Matthew 12:43) or very hard hearted. I could understand the unlikelihood of this person returning to God. For example, could you imagine a minister with the gift of healing or some other spiritual gift, backsliding and how difficult a recovery would be? This “impossibility” that Paul refers to would not be the Lord’s limitation, but the difficulty of the apostate from overcoming the hold of Satan. From the scriptures, we know that there is only one sin that can’t be forgiven, which is blaspheming against the Holy Ghost (Matthew 12:32). I can say that God definitely is a God of second chances, as I have witnessed several backsliders that have returned to the Lord. If nothing else, this scripture should cause Christians to be aware of how serious a lukewarm or backslidden state can become.

Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 6:2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 6:3 And this will we do, if God permit. 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 6:5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6:6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

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