The Prodigal Son (COPYRIGHT 2010)
The Prodigal Son (COPYRIGHT 2010)
But those who turn to crooked ways the LORD will banish with the evildoers. (Psa 125:5)
A man who strays from the path of understanding comes to rest in the company of the dead. (Prov 21:16)The scriptural backslider definition, therefore, is a person who turned to crooked ways and strayed from the path of understanding.
The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways... (Prov. 14:14).
If a righteous man turns from his righteousness and does evil, he will die for it. (Ezek 33:18)
If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.So, if you backslide are you still saved? Not according to God's word, but that doesn't mean you can't return to God and salvation. In fact, God commands such! Moreover, God's cure for backsliding is simple. The backsliding must return to him:
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." (2 Pet 2:20-22)
"Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding...." (Jer 3:22)
The grieving backslider wants to come back to God, but isn't sure about the restoration of the backslider or even if that is a possibility for them. Some backsliders think they sinned too much and too grievously while others think they committed eternal sin and therefore can't get forgiven. There is, perhaps, no more downcast person to communicate with than a repentant backslider who isn't sure he can come back to God and find forgiveness, though he desperately wants it!
Years ago, when I was pastoring, I knew a backslider who fell into sexual immorality. Over the next couple days that same backslider lost nearly 10 pounds and was actually, on occasions, beating his own head against the wall in regret over his sin and foolishness. He wrongly thought, as a backslider, he could not repent and was doomed to hell with no possible hope of ever getting saved again.
What finally helped that backslider to see that he could come back to God, in spite of his wicked actions, were the examples of King David and the Apostle Peter. Since God took these men back after they backslid, why should he not take him too, since he was deeply repentant and resolved to never commit those sins again.
Other examples we know of grieving backsliders would vary from people crying to simply asking if they could possibly find forgiveness once again. For such people, we often tell them about Luke 15:11-32. In our day, we call that teaching the Parable of the Prodigal Son though it is not actually called this in the Bible. The highest authority on the backslider, and how God reacts to a repentant backslider, taught the following:
Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.
After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need.
So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!
I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' So he got up and went to his father.
But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.
Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 'Your brother has come,' he replied, 'and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.' The older brother became angry and refused to go in.
So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, 'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!' My son, the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'" (Luke 15:11-32)
I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery. (Jer 3:8)
...'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' (Luke 15:18,19)When he met the Father, he started to say what he had planned, but never finished:
...'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' (Luke 15:21)That was interrupted by the Father and he never spoke make me like one of your hired men. As the Father stopped him, he then said to his servants:
'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. (Luke 15:22)The Father wanted:
Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:18,19).
He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy (Prov 28:13).Did you notice that the returned prodigal (backslider) confessed his sins and wicked actions directly to the Father (and not to any man, including a priest):
The son said to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son" (Luke 15:21).The Bible also says about those who sin after getting saved:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba. Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me (Psa 51:1-11).
Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God. Your sins have been your downfall! Take words with you and return to the LORD. Say to him: "Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips. Assyria cannot save us; we will not mount war-horses. We will never again say 'Our gods' to what our own hands have made, for in you the fatherless find compassion." (Hosea 14:1-3)Had the prodigal (or King David) died physically when in their backslidden condition, they would have gone to fiery torment. We can all rejoice that those backsliders came back to the Father, but this is not always the case. God's discipline doesn't always bring the backslider home (Jer. 32:33). Many turn away and die physically in that lost condition, such as the Apostle Judas Iscariot. Don't be deceived by those who would say that Judas was never saved. (Please see our book, "The Believer's Conditional Security," pages 279-286.)
Similar to the fact that there are two types of lost people, there are also two types of wicked people - one being a backslider. This is reasonable since the spiritually lost are also wicked in God's eyes. But many in our day would wrongly consider the backslidden, who were previously saved, carnal Christians or elect people in grievous sin and not unsaved (wicked) at all. Such has been produced by the pernicious theology of eternal security as embraced by multitudes of religiously deceived people. We have noticed that eternal security proponents don't usually repent of their sins until they first learn that there is no such thing as eternal security, once saved always saved or the perseverance of the saints, that is, there is no such thing as salvation security in sin unto death.
For the director of music. Of David the servant of the LORD. An oracle is within my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: There is no fear of God before his eyes. For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin. The words of his mouth are wicked and deceitful; he has ceased to be wise and to do good. Even on his bed he plots evil; he commits himself to a sinful course and does not reject what is wrong (Psa 36:1-4).
Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways (Prov 2:12,13).That fact is also a deathblow to the Charles Stanley eternal security teaching because the wicked are always unsaved people on the road to the fiery furnace:
Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek out your decrees (Psa 119:155).
This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Mat 13:49,50).
You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell. (Psa 5:4)NOTE: The wicked of Psa. 5:4 will not dwell with God. That is the same exact Hebrew term for the wicked in Prov. 2:12,13 showing backsliders are lost and dead, as the prodigal was before he repented and became alive again (Lk. 15:24).
Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes; I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way. She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, 'I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.' (Hosea 2:6,7)
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash (Mt. 7:24-27).
He replied, "My mother and brothers are those who hear God's word and put it into practice" (Luke 8:21).Getting back to Psalm 36:3, to cease to be wise and to do good shows that such a person was once God's child at a prior point in time, but since (as a backslider) has lost that spiritual identity and taken on a new identity - wicked. In other words, when one turns to this degree he loses his salvation. The backslider is no longer saved. This is taught other times in the Bible:
But those who turn to crooked ways the LORD will banish with the evildoers (Psa 125:5).Hiding God's word in your heart, by memorizing and pondering scripture, is a major advantage in walking holy and preventing backsliding from occurring again. See Psalm 119:9-11. Notice the importance of your thought life:
But rebels and sinners will both be broken, and those who forsake the LORD will perish (Isa 1:28).
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. (Rom 8:5,6)You must become active in your own spiritual protection or the devil will tempt you away from God again!
But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin. He said this because they were saying, "He has an evil spirit" (Mark 3:29,30).If you read Mark 3:22 you will learn more about those who committed such a form of blasphemy. They were saying that Jesus had a demon and by the power of the devil he was casting out demons and performing his miracles. This is what Jesus identified as eternal sin. It is not adultery, murder, disowning Jesus, witchcraft or any other kind of sin.
All of the latter can be forgiven, but not blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, also known as eternal sin. Another sin that can't be forgiven is taking the mark of the beast, Rev. 14:9-12. (Eternal sin is apparently the type of sin those mentioned in Heb. 6:4-6 committed and, therefore, they could not be renewed again by repentance.)
So backslider, return to God. Backsliders, come back to Christ. Almighty God wants you back. It is the devil that is tormenting your mind and trying to make you think you cannot repent and return to God. Remember also all the good that Peter did after he returned to God from his backslidden condition. God used him mightily and can do the same with you. Yes, returned backsliders can do great things for the kingdom of God.
If you have been a backslider, but since have sincerely repented to return to God, he has accepted you home as he did the prodigal son and others. Believe it. That is bible truth. May God use these eternal truths for those who did backslide, to help all backsliders, who desire to return to God. Now you know what does it mean to backslide and how can a backslider be restored to God. If you are righteous now (1 John 3:7,8), keep yourself pure (1 Tim. 5:22) and do not backslide.
Similar to the prodigal son are all those who wandered from the truth and committed a multitude of sins, yet returned to salvation (James 5:19,20). Such reveals the real God of the bible. Believe the truth not the devil's lie, who is trying to destroy you. Don't dwell on your past backsliding. Live in the present with God front and center. Make the rest of your life count for God. Backslider, God wants YOU back and will take you back upon sincere repentance to serve God!
Artwork is copyrighted by Evangelical Outreach.