Of Perseverance of the Saints.
Chapter 17, Paragraph 3.
“…come to have their graces and comforts impaired have their hearts hardened, and their Consciences wounded,…”
Believers, even though they are preserved unto glory by God, will fall into sin during this life. Some of us will fall into grievous sins and will wallow in them for a time. Those who are regenerated, for whom the Lord Jesus lived and died, in whom the Spirit works sanctification, do incur God’s displeasure and grieve Him by their trespasses. Sin is a terrible affront to God. Yet sin affects the backsliding Christian as well.
The Christian who succumbs to the temptations offered by the world, the flesh, and the devil, who neglects the means offered for encouraging and strengthening her perseverance, inflicts self-harm upon herself. The injury may not be physical, but it is definitely spiritual. The graces and comforts enjoyed previously are dimmed. She is not feeling close to God, is not fruitful in good works, and is not repentant while in this sin. Any pricks of guilt felt are brushed off, as her heart hardens and her conscience is weakened.
When we see brothers and sisters in Christ persist in sin, sorrow and concern should be stirred in us. Much as we would yell “Watch out!” when we see an object about to hit someone, so too we should not be afraid to warn our fellow believers of the harm they are doing to themselves. Confrontation is not pleasant, but our love for our fellow believers should overpower our discomfort. While hearts may have hardened and consciences are weakened, the backslidden are not beyond hope of repentance.
Questions to Consider
- Do you view backsliding as harmful?