Bringing Back Backsliders

The Return of the Prodigal Son, 1667-1670 Bartolome esteban Murillo

What is backsliding? In his book Getting Back in the Race: A Cure for Backsliding, Joel Beeke (the modern day puritan) writes, “Backsliding is a season of increasing sin and decreasing obedience in those who profess to be Christians”[1]. Backsliding is the dark and debilitating reality of disobedience. For some it is a season of compromise, whereas for others it is the process that begins to reveal that they are not genuinely converted. In Beeke’s excellent book, he reveals the signs of compromise: (1) coldness in prayer, (2) indifference under the word, (3) growing inner corruptions, (4) the love of the world, (5) declining love for believers, and (6) man-centered hopes (pp. 21-36). All of us battle with this and must be dealing with such practices daily by means of God’s grace.

What can we do for backsliders? At the end of his letter James writes these words,

My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins” ().

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19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.