It is interesting to draw a parallel between the days of Noah and Christ era. There exists similarity between the two in terms of the need for man’s pathway to salvation through loyalty, humility and unalloyed obedience to God at all times. Noah was human while Christ was God incarnate. Noah carried out God’s instruction to build an Ark so as to get people saved from the flood that would wipe out humanity except they got into the Ark. Christ unarguably had shared in the divinity of the Almighty God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Let us look at Jesus Christ and his mission on earth. His was not a physical but a spiritual Ark that is not man-built. He came that man must be saved from all his iniquities and through HIM people must work out their salvation with fear and trembling. What Noah’s people did to warrant God’s condemnation included irreverent behavior through forgetting their creator and valued worldly or mundane things more than Jehovah. In Genesis chapters 6 and 7, the bible narrated how contemporary poeole were opposed to the work of building the Ark.
Jesus’ mission was a continuation of what Noah strove to do. Prophets Isaiah in, Isaiah 9:6 prophesied the birth of Jesus about 400 years before he was born. Prophet Micah in Micah 5:2 did prophesy the birth of Christ up to his birthplace centuries before HE was actually born is Bethlehem. In Matthew 1:18 – 23 Isaiah’s prophesy was fulfilled. There came the Son of Man in His glory to teach the way of the Lord to the people.
The coming of Christ was the Annunciation or the rallying cry to get the Jews and peoples of the world to repent from their apostacy or renunciation of their agelong believe in Yahweh (The Ark). Both Hosea and Apostle Paul had a conclusion that pointed to failure to abide in God would always attract condemnation; the Ark and the flood as much as Christ’s death on the cross for remission of sin with consequent salvation for eternal life or rejection of the good news and ensuing condemnation to eternal sorrow and anguish.
To backslide is to lapse in morals or from standard religious practice. A post or tree on one spot cannot be said to have backsliden because of any twist and turn even in stormy weather. In christendom, such movement refers to stormy blast of life that can break or uproot a standing tree of faith. Christians are known to develop anchor to their faith. It has been seeing them through all their difficulties, even from ages past.
A born again christian that backslides, shows a situation of strong faith and belief in Christ Jesus but owing to certain events or condition faith and belief can be eroded by so many factors thus making the believer to lose grip of his or her erstwhile faith. Baptism signifies a believer’s rejection of sinfullness or worldliness. It thus suggests breaking bond with the devil or agents of darkness. Such a new believer is supposed to have become adopted into the sonship of the Almighty God.
However, baptism is a beginning phase of walking with Jesus in faith. It is believed that one has died to his sin and had risen (from the water in baptism by emersion) with Christ Jesus holy and pure.. One has thus gotten free access to salvation. Though ticket to salvation is free but it has to be guarded from being taken away or losing it. One is deemed to be carrying God’s anointing that needs to be continuously replenished. The process is as simple as effectively and effectually praying without ceasing among other observances, for the mere fact that the devil as a roaring lion is roaming the world seeking whom to devour. A prayerless Christian is said to be a Christless believer. Prayer represents maintenance of the armor of God so that the devil will not be able to yank one out from following Christ in thought, words and deeds.
…..To be concluded.
To slide is to move smoothly on a surface. However, to believers the smoothness in moving on a surface connotes worldly enjoyment which unfortunately slides or glides them out of relationship with God. A step backward is more than two lost in following Jesus because life is not static. It is obvious that no one has ever been able to wind back the clock of life. The backslider is out of contention in the race or efforts made to seek the righteousness of Jesus. Proverb 14: 14 says “The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied from above”. In early days of having been saved , it is the nature of man to be on fire for Christ. At such times, prayers will be fiery or firebrand and fasting days will exceed days for eating. Holiness will be pursued with vigor and one will always attend all assemblies of ardent worshippers. Sadly, as soon as this type of people receives spiritual power, rather than using it for rescuing the perishing and caring for the dying they will start having pleasure in using it to exploit those in need. In plain language, they commercialize the spiritual gift until they get recompensed for their work of iniquity. Matthew 24: 12 says “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” Such that have started backsliding would become impediment to up and coming believers.
Paul in 1Timothy 1:18-20 says “The charge I commit to you Timothy, according to the prophesies made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and in good conscience which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck; of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blasphemy”. Paul also commented on another backslider in 1 Timothy 4: 10 “For Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed to Thessalonica”. Work of salvation demands dedication to the cause of Christ’s good news. Draw to Christ, He will lighten your burden. Christ never preached that it would be all bed of roses to his followers rather he enjoined his disciples to forego all worldliness and follow Him.
Paul remains an example of those who suffered for the cause they believed in. He was flogged, imprisoned, shipwrecked and divinely escaped the plot to kill him. Backsliding from spiritual progress is, at mundane level a quitter that can never win a race or ever become a champion. However, the backslider can still retrace his steps back to Jesus like the prodigal son. In Hebrew 10: 38 -39, there is a warning to those contemplating drawing back from following Christ. “Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul”
Waiting upon God prevents spiritual shipwreck
Any form of love that does not line up with the will of God for mankind, is un-arguably non-divine. A situation of professing to be God’s vessel of honor,only to end up engaging in blasphemies against HIM, is a situation of olive leaves of salvation coming to one and one blindfolds self thus refusing and missing the gift of salvation. It may require saints to pray up coupled with the persons confession and heartfelt repentance to be able to get saved. Paul in his epistle in II Timothy 4: 10 said, “For Demas has forsaken me, having loved the present world, and has departed for Thessalonica”. Also Paul said, Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. may the Lord repay him according to his work” II Timothy 4: 14.
They were just there wasting their time working tirelessly until they turned away from God. Inability to be faithful to the end is a crucial mark of “fig tree syndrome”. Such people abound in homes, at work places, churches, in government business, in politics and in industries. Their general pattern join in fighting the good fight but deserting mid stream and ending in shipwreck of their faith. in other words, they start well but would fail to carry through.The bible warns against this behavior in 1 Timothy 1: 19-20; Luke 12: 35-40; Titus 2: 11-13 and Peter 1: 13-15. Believers need to brace up to changes in their daily life to ensure effectiveness in their physical and spiritual life. Love is persistent and long-suffering.