Is It Possible To Backslide?

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Hi T____,

Thank you for your question. You ask if it is possible to be truly converted and filled with the spirit and still backslide?

The answer is: yes, definitely. It is possible to be truly converted and then to backslide and be lost in this age. Judas is a New Testament type and shadow of just such a person. Please note I said a “type and a shadow”. When so many who had been following Christ, “went back and walked no more with Him”, Judas remained faithful.

Joh 6:62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?
Joh 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
Joh 6:64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.
Joh 6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
Joh 6:66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
Joh 6:67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?

“Then said Jesus unto the twelve proves that Judas remained faithful through this trial only to backslide at a later date, serving to emphasize these words which are addressed to any who are so foolish to ever think there comes a time, while still in these bodies of sinful flesh and blood, that we can ever say that we are beyond the temptations and struggles of “dying daily” to these corruptible bodies.

Php 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Why would we “fear and tremble” if there is no chance of our being lost to “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life”? Why should we fear and tremble if there is no way that the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches can reach and seduce us? Whether we fail or succeed is already known by our Lord, because it is His work either way, and our salvation or our loss of salvation in this age is really all of God. So we are told in the very next verse.

Php 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Here is how the apostle Paul followed Christ, and this is how we should do the same concerning our attitude toward facing the trials of this life. It is right here in this same epistle:

Php 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
Php 3:11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Php 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Php 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
Php 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Php 3:15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect [ Greek, are being perfected], be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.

“I count not myself to have apprehended.” Paul was very much aware that our Lord had said, “He that endures to the end shall be saved.” Paul did not consider himself to be above failure. He was always sober, vigilant and diligent to fight against all the pulls of his flesh and this world. He considered his backsliding as a definite possibility, if he became lackadaisical in His service to our Lord. He even tells us this:

1Co 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Please do not take any of this to mean that Paul or you and I must go through life in fear. No well-armed warrior lives in fear. He has complete confidence in the power of his military strength to fight the fight in which He is engaged. At the same time, however, he realizes that he of himself cannot win the battle.

Christ and “the armor of God” are our military strength, and all the nations are as dust.

Isa 40:15 Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.

So while we are diligent and sober and vigilant, we do not need to be anxious or fearful.

Mat 6:25 Therefore I say unto you, be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body than the raiment?
Mat 6:26 Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they?
Mat 6:27 And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life?
Mat 6:28 And why are ye anxious concerning raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
Mat 6:29 yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Mat 6:30 But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Mat 6:31 Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
Mat 6:32 For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
Mat 6:33 But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Mat 6:34 Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.(ASV)

“The morrow will be anxious for itself.” We are to be “sober and vigilant, but we are not to worry or be anxious.

1Pe 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
1Pe 5:9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
1Pe 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle [you].

I will close with these very comforting verses which are just a much a part of the Bible as those which exhort us to work hard, be diligent, sober, and vigilant.

Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Rom 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
Rom 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
Rom 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
Rom 8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.
Rom 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
Rom 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Rom 8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Rom 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
Rom 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Rom 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Yes, it is possible to backslide. Backsliding is in our flesh. “I am the chief of sinners.” If you and I acknowledge that and repent, then we are “the apple of His eye”, if indeed Christ is living in us.

Zec 2:8 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.
Luk 18:9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
Luk 18:10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
Luk 18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men [are], extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
Luk 18:12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
Luk 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
Luk 18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
1Ti 1:15 This [is] a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

God bless you as you seek to know Christ and His Father better each day, and learn to think as they think.

Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
Php 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Your brother in Christ,


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