|The Backsliding Heifer|
A backslider is a transgressor and an offender. "But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor," Galatians 2:17-18.
A transgressor is a violator, a law-breaker. The etymology of the word indicates one who steps across boundaries. The transgressor breaks the rules and prefers forbidden territory. In these days of licentious "grace," very few people truly believe they are breaking any rules, but they are. And in doing so, they are committing grave offenses against God and His true Church.
The backslider does not want to do the perfect will of God, but has other interests that are contrary to God's best interests. The backslider wants the wrong friends, wants to be in the wrong places, and wants to do the wrong things. The true things of God and Church and fellowship with the saints are of little or no interest to the backslider.
The backslider offends God, His purpose, and His people. In the New Testament Greek, to OFFEND (skandlizo) is to SCANDALIZE, ENTRAP, or ENTICE TO SIN. The offender is a snare, a trap, a stumbling-block, one who causes others to sin. Men and women who have known the ways of God but who now spurn them will be judged severely for their role in hindering other saints and sinners.
The backslider has a morbid, deadly influence on others who might have done the will of God. The backslider encourages backsliding, emboldens spiritual slackers, and would discourage those who are striving to do the will of God. But God will not always tolerate the backslider. His longsuffering is long, but it is not indefinite.
"Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him: But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God," Ecclesiastes 8:11-13.
"And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man," Genesis 6:3.
"Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost," Acts 7:51.
"Grieve not the holy Spirit of God," Ephesians 4:30.
"[Let] no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way," Romans14:13. A backslider will be judged for stumbling others.
"The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom ALL THINGS THAT OFFEND, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a FURNACE OF FIRE: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth," Matthew 13:41-42.
If you are not living right, you had better get your act together before God calls your name. You may not live until the Second Coming. He could come for you today, and that would be a horrific tragedy.
"Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea," Matthew 18:6.
The Church is a mighty army, but no army performs as it might have, when troops mutiny or desert. If you are a backslider, you are a mutineer. In naval history, mutineers were counted the worst criminals, and faced the harshest penalties and even death sentences. In other military branches, the deserter faced court martials and harsh criminal prosecution.
So it is with the true Church. Many souls perish when a Christian abdicates. If you have deserted the cause of Christ, or are in mutiny or rebellion, be afraid of the harshest judgments of God. The sacred purposes for which God birthed you into this world and gave you life and breath and strength will be forever unfulfilled, and there will be Hell to pay.
"Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever," Jeremiah 3:12.
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you," James 4:7.
"Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble," 1 Peter 5:5.
Backslider, get the backsliding out of your heart. Get the love of God, His Word, His Truth, and His people in it, and get with the program - God's program.