God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
See Hebrews 13:5
It’s impossible for a Christian to backslide. That very word isn’t even in the New Testament, which describes the only Testament–or Covenant–available to planet earth. Don’t you think that if backsliding was important it would be mentioned in at least one book in the New Testament?
Like tithing, this word has been pulled up and out of the Scriptures written to the Jews–which is now obsolete since Christ brought in the New Covenant at the Cross (see John 19:30, Hebrews 8:6,13). The accusation of “Backslider!” has been forcefully retrofit into the gospel by the supposed Law-abiding citizens, but it doesn’t belong and is obviously a turd in the punchbowl.
Jesus’ blood set aside the first Covenant so that the New Covenant could be established (see Hebrews 10:9). Christians–who were never even a part of the first Covenant–we like to copy/paste the Old onto the New, the phrase backsliding included. It’s as if we think we’re climbing up to God by way of our holy actions and attitudes, then slipping and falling away when we don’t have them anymore–or at least on the level others say we should. You know, like them.
Most of us are confused with the dividing line of the Covenants–which is the Cross–so we’ll pluck out phrases from the Jews’ obsolete text and try to shove it into the lives of others as well as our own. Backsliding is no different. But even if we look at the Old Covenant, which was the mail for Israel and nobody else, it’s only mentioned twice:
“The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, But a good man will be satisfied from above.” (Proverbs 14:14)
[Healing for the Backslider] And one shall say, “Heap it up! Heap it up! Prepare the way, Take the stumbling block out of the way of My people.” (Isaiah 57:14)
First of all, this was written to the Twelve Tribes–the people group who followed Moses out of slavery in Egypt once Pharaoh set them free. It wasn’t written to America, or Canada, or Australia–or the current country of Israel, which was founded in 1948–or even you, dear reader. This was written TO THE JEWS UNDER THE OLD COVENANT: ISRAEL. We are Gentiles. Everyone who is not a Jew is a Gentile. If you didn’t follow Moses through the Red Sea, this is not for you. But even still, for the Jews of old and today, these writings are useless for them too. Now that Christ is here, these documents have become relics! Museum pieces! (See Hebrews 10:26-29).
The only use of Old Testament Scripture is to shut people up–those who attempt to obey it and teach it. It’s meant to push them off the cliff of grace! (See Romans 3:19-20,28, 1 Timothy 1:7-9).
It’s fine to look back at Israel’s Scripture–to understand the lineage of our Savior and glean from it. But we must have our New Covenant glasses on. Anything that causes a Christian fear, is wrong. Christians have nothing to fear because fear has to do with punishment and Jesus was punished in full. God is 100% satisfied with His sacrifice (see 1 John 2:2, 4:18, Romans 5:1).
Do unbelievers need to be afraid? Yes. But not us.
We are forgiven. We are new creations. We don’t have the ability to backslide.
After hearing this good news, a kind person might make the statement, “I like what you’re saying, Matt. But this is hard to believe. I was saved as a child but then I backslid into sin for 15 years. I turned away and ran from God. My preacher said that hell has the hottest spots reserved for backsliders.”
Friend, your preacher is wrong. I’m sure he’s a good man and means well. I’d even bet he receives a nice round of applause from his perfectly-behaved people while saying such a thing with big hand movements, a face full of aggression, and a fist-pound on the pulpit.
“Amen, brother! Those nasty backsliders deserve to burn! They know better!”
It preaches good, but biblically, he’s not telling the truth.
Once you’re saved you can’t be unsaved. You don’t have that kind of power–a power greater than the Cross, a power greater than a promise between the Father and Son. You might think you turned away and ran from God–because of your poor choices and bad attitudes–but you didn’t. You did not backslide. But even if you did slide backwards, because of what the religious people told you, God would slide with you. He’s in your spirit and will never go away. You’ve been born again and your identity is final, even if your actions and thoughts don’t match up to that finality, which is a process that does not end on this side of the afterlife (see John 3:6-7, Philippians 1:6).
Because of the New Covenant, and your one-time faith in it for your sin, you and your Creator are one. The only thing that could separate you is sin, and Jesus has looked down the timeline of your life and yanked those all away from you (John 1:29, 1 John 3:5, Hebrews 10:10, 2 Peter 3:8). Just look at these amazing promises:
“This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.” (1 John 4:13)
“But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.” (1 Corinthians 6:17)
“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3)
From the moment you first believed, you died. Your sinful spirit, the one you were born with, was supernaturally crucified with Christ, and your new perfect spirit is now hidden inside of God with Him! Who could possibly find you to harm you if God has hidden you? Nobody! You’ve been added to the Trinity! (See Galatians 2:20, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Romans 6:6-7, 1 Corinthians 6:11,19, Colossians 2:9-10, 1 John 5:8, John 14:20, 17:21).
Therefore, you don’t have the supernatural ability to live in sin because God can have nothing to do with sin–and you’re inside of Him and He’s in you! (See 1 John 3:9). Sure, you can walk according to the flesh–which can be influenced by the power of sin–the force. You can even take your physical shell to places in which sinful activity is happening in bunches–but God goes with you, never to leave you nor forsake you! (See Hebrews 13:5). Because of your one-time belief in the event at Calvary, your spirit is sealed up and secure! No sin can ever enter into it again! Just look!
“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 1:13)
You’ve been marked with a seal! God’s very own Spirit-stamp! Nobody has the strength to break this royal seal, not even you! When demonic forces and self-centered people want you to believe that your sinning is breaking God’s seal–or making it weak–the grace found in that seal causes it to grow larger! (See Romans 5:20, Ephesians 2:8-9). The only way this seal could ever be broken is if Jesus dies again, and we are nuts if we’re on board with such a theology! (See Hebrews 7:25-27).
The Father’s promise to the Son, and the Son’s promise to the Father at the Cross, has caused you to inherit a new spirit and become a member of heaven for good! This is what we gotta deal with–not dealing with sin–but dealing with permanent righteousness! (See Hebrews 1:3, 6:16-19, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Colossians 1:22, Ephesians 1:5, John 1:12, 3:18).
“But Matt, I feel like I still backslide when I sin.”
…I hear you. I really do. When I sin, I too can easily allow myself to feel like I’ve slid away from God. But those are just feelings. Feelings can’t override the Cross. It’s good to have remorse for sin, we weren’t made for it. But no amount of remorse can keep us saved, cause us to be more forgiven, or more sanctified than we are right now. It’s healthy and natural as a sinless spirit, a saint, to feel bad when we temporarily go insane and act according to stuff that is not of faith. But feelings didn’t save us, and they don’t keep us saved. Jesus’ life does (see Colossians 3:4, John 3:16-17, Hebrews 10:14).
Feelings are like a breeze, they come and go without invitation or eviction. They’re just…feelings…a part of our soul. They don’t determine truth or error. The Spirit within us does. Sometimes we can feel like we’re backsliding far from God because of the lies we’ve been taught about our unholy behaviors and thoughts–there’s quite a bit to unlearn. But as we learn, we are still holy. We’re not changing–we’ve been changed! Instead, we are maturing into our real self’s abilities and attributes (see 1 Corinthians 13:11, Philippians 1:6, Romans 12:2).
The truth is, if we were actually backsliding then that would mean we would be climbing up to God, each and every day. We’d be striving to crest an impossible-to-summit, huge, infinite mountain. We are not climbing…We are resting in the green pastures at the bottom of that mountain, with Jesus. He climbed down to us, so that we would never have to climb up to Him–because He knows we couldn’t. That’s how much He cares. Christ did everything we never could, out of love.
So today, my friends, know this: God has made His home inside of every believer! If we think we’re sliding away from Him, we’re not! We might be sliding away from overbearing people and ungraceful double-talk. We might be sliding away from the “Be like me!” teachings–but not from God! We may have even slid away from knowing who we are as children of God–but not from God! The word backslide is one of the most behavior-centered, non-Christ-focused words on the demonic market. If it’s in your vocabulary repertoire, dump it. You don’t need it. No amount of incorrect actions and attitudes could ever cause a Christian to slide away from the promises made at the Cross!
A prayer for you: Dad, I know you remember the days of me begging you to come back to me as I lived by my feelings–but you never left to begin with. Satan had me so deceived about your grace. The truth is, even when I feel like I’m faithless, you remain faithful because you cannot disown Christ in me, OR me. Your Word says so in 2 Timothy 2:13, and I believe it. Thank you for such a rock-solid confidence in what you’ve done for me! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. Father, so many of them have been innocently duped into Old Covenant/New Covenant-copy/paste theology–as if they’re doing something, or NOT doing something, to keep you near. Nothing could be further from the truth! It is by their BIRTH you stay near! It is by their BIRTH they continue in your love! It is by their birth you will never let them slide away! Where we go, you go! Teach us and counsel us into even deeper revelations of this amazing, graceful relationship, that we have with you through Christ! Amen.
This devotional is from The Christian Identity, Volume 1. Get your copy here!