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Point of departure 2: Failure of obedience

Often our severance from the Church occurs as a consequence of sinful actions. It doesn’t have to be a public scandal that sets the gulf between us, it could be an unforgiving spirit or an unbridled or lying tongue that alienates us from fellowship with our brethren.

Backsliding is not only a matter of a loss of faith but also a question of disobedience.

 John Henry Sammis wrote the hymn “When we walk with the Lord” the chorus of which says

“Trust and Obey!
For there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey”

We backslide when our faith wavers, wilts or suffers a temporary loss of liveliness, as if in a spiritual coma.

We also backslide when we deviate from the pathway of obedience.

The believer, justified by faith and not works is expected not to disregard the law but to have a righteousness which exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees. Jesus did not come to destroy but to fulfil the law and Paul reminds us that it is inconceivable that we should continue in sin with the argument that “where sin abounds grace does much more abound”.

The hallmark of the disciple is that he keeps his Lords commandments.

Disobedience becomes a barrier between ourselves and our Heavenly Father, and until repented of robs us of the sweetness of fellowship with Him and the joy of our salvation.

The Devil will always help you find reasons to justify your acts of disobedience but for the true Christian even though temporarily deceived there is ultimately no justification, disobedience is sin, and the only thing to do with sin is to confess and repent of it.

The Scriptures tell us that “he that knows to do good and does it not, to him it is sin”. When we cease to do good, when we fail to obey the Lord in any respect we are in danger of backsliding and unless we make haste to repent are likely to slip quickly and further, until alas we find ourselves to be “in the far country”.

So why do we backslide? Why do we find ourselves saying with the hymn writer “prone to wander, Lord I feel it”?

Whether you have strayed so far that you have ceased to meet with God and His people (a state normally referred to as being ‘right away from The Lord’ or having backslidden ), or are one of those who having not gone this far attend out of habit and with a coldness of spirit, (not yet one normally referred to as having backslidden but one who is backsliding).

If our faith in God, His Word and His character is diminishing rather than growing, we are backsliding. Similarly if instead of growing more into the image of Christ we are relapsing into sin disobedience and conformity to the world we are also backsliding.

Causes of backsliding >