A Backslidden Believer?

Q. I have a friend who was walking in the Lord for several years. Now she is backslidden and glories in posting semi-nude pics of herself on Facebook, calling herself a witch, taking drugs again, and denying the Lord. I know your stance and being forgiven for past, present, future when we are saved – and she was, but now she denies the Lord in everything and she is almost 70 years old! Isn’t she crucifying the Lord a’fresh?

A. The term backslider comes from a Hebrew word that means “to turn back” or “turn away.” It appears 14 times in the Old Testament, usually in reference to a person’s relationship with God. The Old Covenant was a conditional relationship based on obedience and a person who became disobedient was said to have turned away from the Lord.

The word backslider does not appear in the New Testament because unlike the way things were back then, born again believers cannot turn away or turn back. The New Covenant is an unconditional relationship based on our belief (John 6:28-29).

Paul said it began when we heard the word of truth, the gospel of our salvation, and believed it (Ephes. 1:13-14). Since then the Lord has become responsible for making us stand firm in Christ. He set His seal of ownership on us and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come (2 Cor. 1:21-22).

We wouldn’t have the option of turning away even if we wanted to because we are no longer our own, having been bought at a price (1 Cor. 6:19-20). That price was the blood of Jesus (1 Peter 1:18-20) and it made us God’s property. We are His and no one can take us out of His hands (John 10:27-30). Not even we ourselves can do that.

Therefore, there are only two possibilities where your friend is concerned. Either she was never truly saved, or else she is going through a time of rebellion. This could be caused by a personal tragedy for which she is blaming God, or possibly even a drug induced or age related illness. Not knowing anything about her history, I couldn’t possibly speculate on the cause for her behavior. But I can tell you that she is either forever saved or she was never saved.

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