The Grace of God commands men everywhere to repent.
But repent from what? In all the writings of the apostle Paul to a group, except one, he gave thanks for the readers and the audience that he is writing to. Who is the one group that he does not write a thank you for? Is it the unholy rebellious group of idol worshipping, pagan practicing, sexually sinning so called Christians? Or, does he overlook that slight mishap and get serious with the altogether holiest group of them all, The most law abiding Christians in the book? What are the odds that you are leaning towards the latter right now?
The Backslider is a person who is often assumed to be someone who is or seems to be caught, sinking, living, or dying in sin. This sin is defined by the culture of the region that the “backslider” lives in. It could range from smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, to drinking coffee and eating too much, maybe even some heavyweights like fornication and lust. Of course the less frequently mentioned problems are there as well. Sins like Idolatry, and failing to remember the Sabbath. But if we’re honest with ourselves, Come on I mean really honest, we can all confess that we are or have at one time or another been living in, got caught by, or “slipped” into some sin on a regular basis of some sort. Maybe you don’t lie, steal, murder, or practice infidelity. But maybe, just maybe, you’ve seen that one person with that purse or car you want so bad it ate you up inside. Or maybe you’re not that person, maybe you just practice work. All day every day, your mind is running and you’re not even considering that you’re breaking the Sabbath, and practicing idolatry. Oh yeah, forgot about that one huh? No worries I wouldn’t leave you out there.
When we put it into that perspective we all look like mini backsliders right. I mean, it stands to reason that if the “heavier” sins dictate a backslider then all sins commited after repentance qualify you for the title of backslider. Well, that’s not exactly true. The qualifications for being a backslider are skewed on a lot of levels. As we allow God to show us the right way, the way of grace, we begin to see that the body of Christ is filled with backsliders and they seem to be holding their holy rolling sanctification together fairly well. So, by now you’re probably wondering what I’m getting at. Just what do I mean by all of this? Am I implying that you are a backslider? NO. I don’t know you to make that call. But hopefully by the end of this you will see that we can very easily become backsliders in God’s eyes, never mind the eyes of man.
I believe that we must use the bible to define the backslider. We need to search the scriptures and allow the Holy Spirit of God to lead us into revelation concerning these things. Most of us fall into the category of Gentile where our natural heritage is concerned. That places us outside of the old covenant as natural things go. But God gave a new covenant to bring the outsider into the fold. The way into the new covenant is through Jesus Christ. But many of us are trying to accomplish through the law what God already accomplished through the messiah. The bible gives us an example of what happens when we make that mistake.
The churches of Galatia receive a rather harsh “talking to” from Paul the apostle. Not an apostle sent by men, nor man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the father who raised him from the dead (see gal. 1:1). Paul has taken apparent issue with the Galatians saying that they have been removed from “him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel.” This gospel turns out not to be a gospel at all, but a perversion of the truth. A close look at Paul’s letter to the Galatians reveals the reason for his disappointment in the Galatians who he himself labored for in the Lord. “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; you are fallen from grace” (gal. 5:4).
Fallen from grace? Here we have found the true definition of the backslider. It is shown to us clearly in the Galatian’s actions. They received Jesus Christ as the way, truth, and the life. They trusted his sacrifice to be a replacement for their own lives before God. They relied on his righteousness to be their own. Then, they turned to the very law which Jesus had come and fulfilled on their behalf. They had been dissuaded into trusting in their works. They would rather have a serving of old fashioned law with a side of Christ, than a heaping scoop of fresh Christ all by himself. This was the problem; they had failed to obey the truth.
The Grace of God is what has always been and will always be the method through which God reconciles man unto himself. It is his unwavering love shown in its highest fashion. The law has been in place since the beginning of time. It has never nor will it ever be able to remove the stain of sin from our lives. But the grace of God through the Blood of His lamb cleanses us from all unrighteousness. The grace of God is what commands men everywhere to repent. Grace is the very goodness of God which leads to repentance. Where Men will remember your shortfalls, Grace blinds God’s eye to your sin. Men judge men day in and day out, but the greatest judge of all declares the recipient of grace not guilty. It is God who has bestowed upon His people His love long before we were even considering loving him or worshipping him. God loved us so much that he sent his own son to die for us that we might live and love for him. Ask yourself , “Am I a Backslider? Have I fallen from grace?” If the answer is yes, repent and be renewed in the grace of God.