Thursday, April 6, 2017

Backsliding Resolved

In his book Getting Back in the Race: The Cure for Backsliding [ISBN 978-1-936760-35-0], Joel Beeke defines backsliding as "a season of increasing sin and decreasing obedience in those who profess to be Christians," (p. 16) and outlines the signs of a backsliding believer [see my first post here].  Then he lays out how Christians cure backsliding (pp. 43-65):

True Repentance which involves:
  1. Recognition of your sinful condition
  2. Remembrance of your past obedience
  3. Searching out sin--"You know there cannot be any true, spiritual revival of grace while unrepentant sin remains undiscovered in your heart," (p. 47).
  4. Grieving over sin
  5. Confessing your sin
  6. Fleeing from sin--"But godly repentance includes both turning from sin and turning to God.  It flees from sin with the heart," (p. 49).
  7. Pursuing righteousness
True use of the Means of Grace:
  1. The means of the Word of God
  2. The means of prayer
  3. The means of public worship--"Much backsliding could be avoided or remedied simply by faithful participation in a faithful church," (p. 57).
  4. The means of affliction
  5. The means of spiritual desertion
  6. The means of human accountability
True Reaffirmation of Faith through:
  1. The Father
  2. The Son
  3. The Holy Spirit
Mr. Beeke rightly notes that "the backslider's fundamental problem is one of misplaced trust (Hosea 2:5, 8, 12)," (p. 62).  Therefore, he concludes that "[i]n order to know God in utter dependence, you must also know yourself.  You must know your utter inability to do any good apart from his grace.  You must know the dire straits in which your backsliding has put you.  You must know the horrible offense of your sins against God...But you must also know the infinite riches of grace in Jesus Christ...Dependence means that we build our lives and hopes on a fountain outside ourselves: the only reliable foundation is our triune God," (pp. 63-64).

"Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up," (Hos. 6:1).