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Repenting of Repentance

The word Backslider comes from the Hebrew word מְשׁוּבָה, which means to turn back. Over the years, this word has lost some of its meaning and become inadequate. It is now something we joke about and use in everyday language. However, if we modernize the definition, we may breathe new life into this word that holds significant meaning and value for every Christian. The best way to describe מְשׁוּבָה in modern terms and in a way that is consistent with the biblical text is to repent from your repentance. You had once repented, walking away from sin and friendship with the world, so that you could follow Jesus. You went from death to life. But then you changed your mind. You decided the narrow road wasn't worth it and returned to the path you were walking before. You rejoined your old friend and went back into your former lifestyle on the road that leads to death. Fully aware of where this path will lead you but no longer concerned for your eternal fate. An older term used to describe the same concept is Apostasy. In the early church and in times of persecution, the enemies of the Way would torture and maim the early Christians trying to get them to apostatize, to deny their faith. The Romans would attempt to force the Christians to worship a false god or blaspheme the name of Christ. Interestingly enough, one of the reasons that the early Christian church proliferated so rapidly is that these pagan revelers rarely saw Christians deny the faith. They were shaken by the idea that a person would stand by their convictions even if it meant their death. Never had they seen such faith among their own ranks. The early church's response to persecution and the Christians' refusal to apostatize had such a significant effect that it eventually transformed the Roman Empire completely. But today, it has become commonplace to deny our faith in small ways every day, which has made our testimony obsolete. The modern church's constant compromise and worship of comfort and safety have had the opposite effect from the churches of our spiritual forebearers. We make simple compromises every day. We deny him with our words and our actions. We refuse to speak for Him because we fear ridicule. We can not handle the idea of being thought of as "old fashioned" or "non-progressive." We could never stand up to genuine persecution because the truth is, we have come to love this world, and we hold a firm grip on our place in it. To lose our standing would be a sentence worse than death. But hear these words from Peter, a man well acquainted with apostasy:

For if, having escaped the world's impurity through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in these things and defeated, the last state is worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy command delivered to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb: A dog returns to its own vomit,, and, "a sow, after washing itself, wallows in the mud." ---2 Peter 2:20-22

So, what is the remedy to our current dilemma? It is simple, spend time with Jesus. He should be your rock, the center of your universe, the driving force behind every action. Pray to Him, listen and obey, seek Him, speak of His goodness, and you, like Peter, will right the ship, recover from your error, and avoid the Shipwreck of your faith (1 Timothy 1:19).

UPDATE: Since I first wrote this [2017] I have seen multiple people walk away from the faith, both friends and "Christian celebrities." I noticed a pattern or at least the beginnings of one. In every instance, the first step to Apostasy is denying the reliability of God's word. In every instance I have observed they first denied the trustworthiness of the Bible, in exchange for their own word. Just like Adam and Eve in the garden!

The enemy the serpent is up to his old tricks again..."Did God really say?..." So, if you want to avoid this slippery slope, spend time daily in God's word. But also learn the reasons why we believe that his word is trustworthy and true. In order to get you started on that path I want to point you in the direction of a round table discussion with some of my friends at Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters: Who wrote the Bible & How should we read it.

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