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Beginner’s Discipleship Class 39a : Backsliding

What Does Backsliding Refer To

  1. Backsliding is a word for Israel, for Jews. It is not for Christian.
    This verse is talking to Jews, never to Christians. In v14, this is speaking to Jews.

    Jeremiah 2:19 “Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.”

    Again, this is referring to Jews.

    Jeremiah 5:6 “Wherefore a lion out of the forest shall slay them, and a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them, a leopard shall watch over their cities: every one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces: because their transgressions are many, and their backslidings are increased.”

    Other verses:

    Jeremiah 3
    Jeremiah 8:5 “Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return.”
    Jeremiah 14:7 “O LORD, though our iniquities testify against us, do thou it for thy name’s sake: for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against thee.”

    Jeremiah 31:22 “How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? for the LORD hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man.”
    Jeremiah 49:4 “Wherefore gloriest thou in the valleys, thy flowing valley, O backsliding daughter? that trusted in her treasures, saying, Who shall come unto me?”
    Hosea 4:16 “For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer: now the LORD will feed them as a lamb in a large place.”
    Hosea 11:7 “And my people are bent to backsliding from me: though they called them to the most High, none at all would exalt him.”
    Hosea 14:4 “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.”

    These are all the verses on backsliding and notice that they’re all in the Old Testament.

  2. It practically applies to an individual
    There is only one verse in the entire Bible that shows that backsliding can be used for any person.

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

    It is okay for us Christians to use the word ‘backsliding Christians’. It is important to know that doctrinally it refers to Jews, it never refers to Christians. But practically we can use it for anyone.
    Why can’t Christians use the word backsliding doctrinally? Notice that 10 of those verses were for Jews and only one verse for anyone. Also, Proverbs 14:14 is not in New Testament, it’s in Old Testament.

Definition Of Backsliding

It means sliding back.

It doesn’t matter how small the sin is, we’re still sliding back. Backsliding doesn’t mean that we’re such a wicked person and we’re not serving God, it simply means sliding back.

This verse shows what backsliding means. Backsliding means sliding back.

Hosea 4:16 “For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer: now the LORD will feed them as a lamb in a large place.”

It also means turning your heart away from God and back to sin.

Solomon turned his heart away from God and went back to sin. His sin was marrying a bunch of heathen/pagan wives. Solomon never got right with God again. He always remained a backslider until the day he died. That’s why turning our hearts away from God and back to sin is the same as backsliding.

1 Kings 11:4 “For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.”

It also means leaving your first love.

God is talking to Ephesus. Notice in Rev. 2:4 that God is telling the church at Ephesus that you left your first love, loving God. In v5 God says that if you don’t get back your first love, your church is done. In history, the church at Ephesus is gone.

Revelation 2:3-5 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 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.”

In Gal. 5:4 We fall out of salvation by grace to anyone who trusts in the law (good works) for salvation.

Galatians 5:4 “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”

When the Bible talks about a Christian falling, it doesn’t mean a Christian falling out of salvation by grace. It’s falling back to sin.

1 Corinthians 10:12-13 “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

Becoming cold is sliding back to sin. Are you becoming colder for God?

Matthew 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”

Backsliding Is A Gradual Process

Lot is a perfect example of a Christian backsliding gradually.

2 Peter 2:6-9 “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)”

Lot is a saved man, in v8 God calls him righteous. But Lot committed sins, he isn’t 100% right with God. Lot is a perfect example of a person who is saved by sins.

How did Lot backslide?

  1. covetousness: wanting something but it doesn’t belong to you.
    Sodom and Gomorrah is a very wicked city, no one should live in there. Notice that Lot looked at all the beautiful land Sodom and Gomorrah had and he coveted it, he wanted it so badly.

    Genesis 13:10 “And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.”

  2. choice: he made a bad decision.
    When we sin against God, it doesn’t happen immediately. He first covets it, then he makes a bad decision to do it.

    Genesis 13:11 “Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.”

    Sin grabs you very slowly.

  3. compromise
    Notice that Lot didn’t sin immediately, he partially sinned. Lot didn’t live inside the wicked city of Sodom, he lived in the grounds/plains of Sodom. That’s compromising. He’s not living in the city of Sodom but he’s close to it.
  4. captured
    Lot was captured by the enemy.

    Genesis 14:11-12 “And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way. And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.”

    That’s what sin does to us, we only sin a little bit then sin grabs all of us.
    If we give sin our finger, it will grab our hand, then our arm, then our whole body.

  5. carnality: loving the sinful world
    Now he is inside the city and he has a job in Sodom: sitting at the gate. He loves the sinful world and his job.

    Genesis 19:1 “And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;”

    Later on, he loves Sodom so much he doesn’t want to leave it. Lot knew that fire was coming down to Sodom but he didn’t leave immediately because he loves Sodom. He lingered, he hesitated.

    Genesis 19:16 “And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.”

  6. cripple: becoming weak
    The men of Sodom wanted to rape the two angels but Lot didn’t want that to happen. So Lot told his ‘friends’, ‘Let me give you my daughters. Why don’t you rape my daughters?’. Now, who would say that kind of thing? He became weak.

    Genesis 19:8 “Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.”

  7. caved
    Lot’s life caved, crashed, it was over.
    The last thing we heard about Lot was he got drunk, slept with his daughters, and bore sons through his daughters.

    Genesis 19:33-38 And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father. And the firstborn bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day. And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day.”

Reasons For Backsliding

These sins specifically cause people to backslide.

  1. covetousness
    Lot backslid into sin and it all started with covetousness.

    Genesis 13:10 “And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.”

  2. society
    Lot’s wife, her life ended. She backslid and ended up backslidden forever. Why? Because of society, she looked back at Sodom, she loved the city of Sodom so much, the city influenced her, gave her worldly thinking, and made her backslide.

    Genesis 19:26 “But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.”

  3. fear
    Peter denied Jesus because he was afraid of the Jews. Peter remained backslidden until the last chapter in John until Jesus got Peter right with God again.

    Matthew 26:70-74 But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man. And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.”

  4. haughty spirit/pride

    Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

  5. selfishness
    A backslider only thinks about satisfying himself, filling up his own lust.

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

  6. idolatry/worshipping idols
    The children of Israel worshipped a golden calf and became backslidden. They have turned aside quickly out of the way, they weren’t on a straight path for God anymore.

    Exodus 32:8 “They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.”

  7. disobedience
    Saul did not perform God’s commandments and he is turned back from following God, he backslid. He remained backslid until the day he died.

    1 Samuel 15:11 “It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night.”

  8. love of earthly good/worldly things
    Achan was a Jew who served God and fought God’s battle in war but Achan backslid and was stoned to death because he loved earthly goods.

    Joshua 7:1-24 

  9. love of money
    Judas loved money and later on betrayed Jesus. He hanged himself and died.

    John 13:29 “For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor.”

  10. lust
    The children of Israel married heathen women and they backslid in sin.

    Nehemiah 13:26 “Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin.”

  11. ambition for power
    The sorcerer, Simon, wanted the power that the apostles had. He offered money to Peter. Simon was already a saved Christian but he was backsliding when he wanted power so Peter told him not to do that and get right with God. Simon got right with God after that.

    Acts 8:19 “Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.”

  12. love of the world
    Demas followed and worked for Paul but in the end, he loved the world so much and backslid.

    2 Timothy 4:10 “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.”

Causes For Backsliding

  1. Failure to read the Bible
    Our way with God will become prosperous and successful if we read the Bible day and night. So if we don’t read the Bible, then we won’t be prosperous and successful. What does that mean then? We’re backsliding.

    Joshua 1:8 “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

  2. Failure to pray
    If we pray then we won’t fall back into sin.

    Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

  3. Failure to attend church
    Do not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. In other words, don’t ever forsake whenever we have a meeting when we gather together. When do we gather together? In a church, in fellowship, in street preaching, etc.

    Hebrews 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

    When we gather together, we exhort one another. Exhort means to encourage, support each other.
    Whenever we gather together (to do soul winning, in church, or fellowshipping), doesn’t that lift us up and help us keep on being right with God?

  4. Failure to yield to the Holy Spirit
    Whenever we yield/obey/walk in the spirit, we don’t fall back to the sins of the flesh.

    Galatians 5:16 “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”

  5. Failure to confess Christ (to say publicly about Jesus Christ and how to get saved)
    We’re not supposed to deny Jesus Christ. We should be unashamed, unafraid, we should tell publicly and boldly to people about Jesus Christ.

    Matthew 10:33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”

  6. Failure to mortify (kill, make dead) the flesh
    If we follow the flesh, we will die. If we make our flesh dead, then we won’t do the sin.

    Romans 8:13 “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”

  7. Failure to take care of the eyes
    We’re not supposed to look at wicked things or we’ll end up being like a wicked person.

    Psalms 101:3 “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.”

    Christians are supposed to look at Jesus.

    Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

  8. Failure to press forward
    If we don’t press forward for God, then we will backslide.

    Philippians 3:14 “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

  9. Failure to confess sins
    People walk in darkness. If we do not want to walk in darkness then confess our sins to God in prayer and His blood will wash away our sins.

    1 John 1:6-7 “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
    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.”

Check-Up For Backsliding

  1. Are you losing the power of the spirit?
    Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit, He came out with the power of the Holy Ghost.

    Luke 4:1 “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,”
    Luke 4:14 “And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.”

  2. Are you losing joy?
    If we are 100% keeping the law, then we are happy.

    Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”

  3. Are you losing peace?
    Notice that these people who are backsliding don’t have perfect peace. Our peace would have been 100% full like a river if we followed God 100%.

    Isaiah 48:18 “O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:”

  4. Are you murmuring/complaining?
    It’s not just outward murmuring but inside our heart or mind.
    We will follow the lust of our flesh, we will backslide if we murmur

    Jude 1:16 “These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.”

  5. Are you being persecuted?
    If we are godly in Christ then we will suffer persecution.

    2 Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

  6. Are you being punished?
    God chastens people who are not right with God. God punishes His children who are backsliding.

    Hebrews 12:5 “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:”

Invitation To Backsliders

God invites backsliders to come back to Him and get right with God again.

God invites backsliders to return to Him. Not only that, God said that He will help to heal us, cure the problem of backsliding.

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.”

God will pardon backsliders.

Hosea 14:4 “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.”

God calls us a just person, a good person even if we fall many times as long as we get back up again.

Proverbs 24:16 “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.”


Here are the homework assignments where you can listen to the bible study about backsliding.

Part 1

Part 2