BACKSLIDDEN STATE OR STATE OF APOSTASY?
Before touching on this subject I would like to make it clear that the purpose of me writing this is not to condemn anyone for using such terms without knowledge about them but to educate the body of Christ of the biblical definition of these terms, not mans. With that said, the first thing we will do is to explain these terms as they are defined by man and then we will correctly define these terms according to the bible.
Backsliding- the act of temporarily or permanently abandon your religious duties by going back into the world, to revert to sin or wrongdoing, especially in religious practice
Apostasy- The complete rejection of God and ones faith
Backsliding-(4878, 7726 Strong’s Hebrew) turning away, apostate i.e. idolatrous: forwardly, turn away from
Apostasy-(apostasia. 647Strong’sGreek) falling away; forsake/ (648) Apostasion-something separated, divorce, writing off, divorcement.
Ok now that we have defined these terms let us take a look at what it means scripturally to backslide or apostatize. The reason being is many have tried to be politically correct by explaining the actions of a sinner as being backslidden. When the truth of the matter is to backslide and apostatize is technically the same thing. These individuals attempt to comfort the apostate by misquoting Jeremiah 3:14 which reads “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.” This is done to the sinners hurt and to the “believers” shame. I say to their shame because we as ambassadors for Christ have not been so appointed to console sinners in their rebellious state but to show them the error of their ways, turn them away from their sin and to Christ. To tell a sinner “God is married to the backslider” without knowledge of who God was speaking to or what he was talking about is detrimental to the sinner and encourages them to remain in the state they are in because they believe God is still happy with them.
Anyone who has any knowledge of the Holy Scriptures would know that God was married to Israel but they had played the harlot by turning away from God and fornicating with other Gods. (See Jerimiah3:8-19). So to call an apostate believer a backslider is to grossly soften a blow that should have hit them in the gut, knocked the wind out of them, and brought them to their senses causing them to repent and turn to God with true repentance. They are APOSTATE. The word backsliding is used once in the scripture to refer to and individual believer but is in every other area used to refer to Israel corporately. In many translations the word backsliding is replaced with the words faithless or rebellious.
Jeremiah 3:6 “The LORD said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, hast thou seen [that] which backsliding Israel hath done? She is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot.”
Jeremiah 3:8 “She saw that I divorced faithless Israel because of her adultery. But that treacherous sister Judah had no fear, and now she, too, has left me and given herself to prostitution. “
Jeremiah 3:11 “Then the LORD said to me, "Even faithless Israel is less guilty than treacherous Judah!”
Jeremiah 3:14 “"Come back, you rebellious people," declares the LORD.”I'm your husband. I will take you, one from every city and two from every family, and bring you to Zion
In one place it is used to refer to the condition of one’s heart and it was to rebuke and to warn the individual. Proverbs 14:14 reads in the Bible in Basic English like this: He whose heart is turned away will have the reward of his ways in full measure; but a good man will have the reward of his doings.” The individual who is “backslidden” is oftentimes convinced that he is still saved and God will get him back on track whether he obeys the father or not. We can now see the context in which the word was written and each application of the term. We can also see the danger of using a word with emptiness in order to “encourage” someone. It is not a light thing to be in rebellion against the father. It is actually the worst state that one could be in. To apostatize or turn away you must have once been in the way. The bible gives many admonitions to those who have turned away. First we will take a look at what an apostate is referred to in the bible and then we will examine the admonitions given such a one.
The first and most clear example is found in 2Peter 2:21-22 and it reads: “It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them, of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud."
James 1:23-24 “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
2Thessalonians 2:3 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
1Timothy 4: Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.
Hebrews 6:4-6 “For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened--those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame.”
With these warnings and examples of those who apostatize in mind we can clearly see why someone would rather use the softer term “backsliding”. Honestly, no one wants to admit to themselves that they are like a dog returning to their vomit. No one wants to admit that by their wicked ways they themselves crucify the Son of God again and publicly put him to shame. Everybody seems to agree that we are living in the last days but no one would ever want to be associated with the mass apostasy that must take place before the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ. Because the church has become so politically correct these scriptures that warn such individuals have lost their power and regenerating influence in the life of believers. Whether we do it subconsciously or intentionally to tickle ears we must stop conforming to the ways of this world by trying to sugar coat the truth with seemingly harmless terms such as “backsliding”, “when we sin we are out of fellowship with God”, “Christians are just sinners saved by grace” “You either just came out of a storm are, are in one, or are about to go into one”(how discouraging is this ignorant statement) “Your sins can disqualify you from being used by God” “God loves the sinner but hates the sin”. How in the world do we expect to turn sinners from their ways when we continue to fill their heads with lame excuses that they can use to justify their sins? This brings dishonor to God and definitely does not fulfill the purpose of the Gospel. The bible tells us in 2Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” Nowhere in the bible are we taught how we are to justify sin or soften the blow. We are living in a day in age when most of the “Hirelings” in the church have made up their minds that they WILL NOT! Preach against sin. They refuse to address the true problem with the church (which is sin) and rather give people false hope that everything is ok, God understands their blatant disobedience, he will not allow them to remain in their state of apostasy all they have to do is wait on him to move, that their season is coming, they are chosen therefore God ordained the sin they are committing, God knew yesterday what they were going to do today, God allows us to sin to teach us lessons, or that all they need to do is confess and ask for forgiveness.
These leaders really are preaching to these apostate individuals a false God. They seem to be saying. We are sinful and rebellious by nature and God is going to have to understand that if he wants us to be a part of his kingdom. How blasphemous it that? I believe that if we remember what promises God has for those who do his will and the destruction that will come upon those who don’t we would be more zealous and straight forward with the word of God. James 5:19 reads “My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”
Anyone who has wandered from the truth is an apostate and is in danger of judgment. This person is not just out of fellowship with God; God is not pleased with this individual. Psalm 5:5 reads “The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity. And again in Psalms 11:5 “The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates” and again in Psalm 7:11God judges the righteous, and God is angry [with the wicked] every day.”
We know that God does not change. Though we are under grace Gods personality remains the same. The apostate individual is commonly told that all they need to do is pray but the scripture tells us that without a godly sorrow and true repentance their prayers are in vain.
Proverbs 15:29 “The LORD is far from the wicked but he hears the prayer of the righteous”
Job 15:29(Please Read The Context) “Indeed, God does not listen to their empty plea; the Almighty pays no attention to it.”
Proverbs 15:29 “The sacrifice of the wicked [is] an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright [is] his delight.
Proverbs 28:9 “God detests the prayers of a person who ignores the law.”
John 9:31 “We know that God doesn't listen to sinners, but he is ready to hear those who worship him and do his will.
These scriptures are almost never quoted or taught on in today’s institutions of religion because they are very straight forward and difficult to twist. It is time for the true saints of God to wake up and stand against this attack on God’s word. We need to throw out political correctness and preach the truth without compromise whether it is convenient or inconvenient, welcome or unwelcome. We have not been called out of the world by God to be taught more cunning ways to seduce the world. We have been called into holiness for the purpose of leading others to holiness. If a believer offends a sinner because of the preaching the gospel let God judge between the two by his word and spirit. We need not feel guilty when a sinner if offended by the PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL but we should be prayerful that through the preaching and truth that sinner would repent with a Godly sorrow. Lastly I would like to look at a couple of examples in the bible where people were offended by the preaching of the truth and what kind of attitude our Lord Jesus and our brother Paul had towards these individuals.
Matthew 5:12(Please Read The Context) “Then the disciples came and said to him, "Do you realize that when the Pharisees heard your statement they were offended?" But He answered and said, "Every plant which my heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted, leave them alone. They are blind guides of the blind. If one blind person leads another blind person, both will fall into a ditch."
Matthew 6:64-66 “But some of you do not believe me. (For Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn't believe, and he knew who would betray him.) He went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him. From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.”
2 Corinthians 7:8-12(Please Read The Context) “I am not sorry that I sent that severe letter to you, though I was sorry at first, for I know it was painful to you for a little while. Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There's no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death. Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have done everything necessary to make things right. So even though I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did the wrong or of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are.”
I Ramon pray that this work of God would be a blessing to all those who hear and obey his word and that it would produce much fruit to the glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ. May God keep and prosper all the hearers and doers of his most precious word. Amen MARANATHA!
Such good teaching!
Praise be to God brother. God bless you.
Amen Bro. Ramon...may God continue to draw you nigh unto Him and you continuously stay obedient to His Word. May all who read this turn to their scriptures and pray and ask God to open their minds and heart to His truths. May God continue to add a blessing to the reading of His Word. Amen
Thanks for sharing.
In Love Sis. Denise
Thank you sister for the encouragement and may God bless you as well.