Updated: Mar 8
What is the answer?
This study is a brief overview of what is happening when our faith level goes down. This is also known as 'backsliding'. Christian believers should understand this and live their lives accordingly. This message is to help us understand when our faith is reducing and also to help us to know what steps to take to prevent it.
Hosea 4:16 For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer: now the Lord will feed them as a lamb in a large place.
The Lord compares his sinful people Israel to a helpless young cow that is sliding backwards down a slope. The cow is moving away from safety and security as is Israel when they move away from God.
Definition of Backsliding: five points
To turn away from God after conversion
To grow cold towards God and his things
To harden your heart against him
To turn from your first love
To turn back to ways of world
Backsliding may be caused by
Pride or haughty spirit or stubbornness
Lusting for evil or longing for old life (bondage)
Desire for material things
Adversity – when the going gets tough
Prosperity – when the going gets easy
Associating with evil company
Unforgiveness and lack of commitment
Effects of backsliding
May lead to punishment
Makes us unfit for God’s kingdom
Examples of Believers who were Backslidden
Lot`s wife; Longing for old life (sinful)
David; Adultery with Bathsheba
Peter; Denied Jesus three times
Corinthians; Sexual immorality
Ephesians; Left their first love (see Revelation 2:4)
Scriptures to encourage us when we backslide
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Jeremiah 3:12 “Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, ‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the Lord. ‘I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful,’ declares the Lord; ‘I will not be angry forever.'”
Jeremiah 3:22 “Return, O faithless sons; I will heal your faithlessness.” Behold, we come to you, for you are the Lord our God.
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? —unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
Proverbs 14:14 The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways.
2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Hosea 14:1-4 O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God: for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity.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. 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.4 I will heal their backsliding; I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.
Hosea calls on Israel to turn to the Lord asking him to cleanse all their sins. Only from God can they find mercy. If the backsliders turn to God, forsaking their idols, he will heal their backsliding, and show his love freely as his anger is turned away from them. In the New Testament when anyone backslides a good starting point to recovery is 1 John 1:9 (see above).
Prayer: Today, let us pray for those in our fellowships who have slid back. We now ask the Lord to grant the grace for repentance and removal of sin, then He will heal their backsliding and love them freely.