Can Christians “backslide”?

Some try to justify the concept of “backsliding” by pointing to the use of the word in the Old Testament. However, the word is used in reference to the nation of Israel, not to born-again individuals indwelt by the Holy Spirit. We cannot justify a believer falling away from following Jesus in light of Luke 9:62, where Jesus said that no one who even looks back is fit for the kingdom. The true convert says with Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). It is the false convert who is like a dog that returns to its vomit and a pig that goes back to the mire. A genuine convert would rather die than despise the Spirit of grace and trample the blood of Christ underfoot.

Jeremiah 3:8 Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also.

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3 Responses to Can Christians “backslide”?

  1. Bob K says:

    I disagree with your view that a person can’t backslide. There are references that point to “man” and not a nation. Ezekiel 18:24 “But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, (sin) and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered;…….” And Hebrews
    10:26 ” For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.
    The bible talks alot about backsliding, which would be irrelevant if once saved always saved. I believe we can fall back and we need to get disentangled the same way we came to christ in the first place, on our knees.

  2. In Luke 9:62, the Commentator Matthew Henry relates this verse to Elisha in 1King 19:19-21. However, in that scripture Elisha is not rebuked for going back home to say goodbye (or is he?), and returns shortly after and follows Elijah. There seems to be a difference in the heart conviction of Elisha to the call, in contrast to that of the man Jesus is speaking to in Luke. Elisha did “look back,” but not in the sense of backsliding or desiring to be back in that life. Christ must have known that the man he was addressing was asking to go back home out of a hearts desire to BE back home and not fully committed to the call. I would be interested in your comments regarding the contrast of both scriptures!

  3. Michael L says:

    1 Cor 5:5 is proof that backsliding is real. If this person wasn’t a true convert his spirit would not be saved in the day of the Lord. If he wasn’t backsliding, then he wouldn’t be given up for the destruction of the flesh. So, a Christian can backslide, although I do concur that many if not most are not truly backsliders, but rather false converts. These false converts do not receive the chastisement of the Lord.

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