Slipping and Sliding

If Satan cannot convince man that God’s Word is all a lie, he will attempt to harm the testimony of Jesus. Many souls act according to their own thinking instead of waiting for the Holy Spirit’s direction. We are to be alert and watchful so we are not caught in Satan’s trap of self confidence.  When we give up on Bible study, daily prayers and confessing our sins to our heavenly Father, we lose the joy of our salvation. We cannot lose salvation in itself because believing is receiving. It is important we understand that apostasy and backsliding are two different things. Judas’s faith was false. He never believed Christ, and he was an apostate. Peter, on the other hand, was saved and when he denied Christ he backslid. God’s Word promises if we walk in the spirit we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Galatians 5:16

Moses led the Jewish people out of Egypt, and he was saved. However, anything that is not of faith is sin, and Moses was led by Satan to act according to his own interests instead of God’s. The Lord told Moses to take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.” Numbers 20:8 NKJV  Instead of speaking to the rock Moses struck the rock twice with his rod, and the water came rushing out. Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” Numbers 20:12 NKJV Moses died right before they got to the promise land so he paid for his sin of independent action.

  I wonder sometimes if I will experience the rapture of the church. I am beginning to age, and I know the calling of the saints is at hand. Will I die right before it happens, or will I see the culmination of the event. David was a man after God’s own heart. He did many great things in his lifetime. He slew the giant Goliath and he wrote the many prayers and songs of the Psalms. However, he was trapped by Satan when he lusted after another man’s wife. He committed adultery, and had her husband murdered. He paid a huge price for his sin. The son he had with this man’s wife died. Now David didn’t lose his salvation, but he paid a tremendous price for his sin.

Jacob was trapped by Satan into deceiving his brother and father. He stole the birthright of his brother, and he paid for his sin with years of being exiled from his family. However, he did not lose his salvation. Lot was  Abraham’s nephew, and the lust of his eyes were on the city of Sodom. For his sinfulness he paid with the life of his wife when she disobeyed, and looked back at the destruction of Sodom. We should pay close attention to the backsliding of these great men of the Bible. They were led by the works of the flesh.

Peter, the apostle, and I have a lot in common. When the Holy Spirit would give me an idea I would take off with it, and then realize that I had left the Holy Spirit behind. Then I would have to stop and wait for Him to direct me. Peter was impetuous and often raced ahead of his brain. When Christ spoke of His crucifixion Peter asked Jesus“Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward.” Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake.” Jesus answered him, “Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times.” John 13:36-38 NKJV  The Bible tells us that when Jesus was arrested all the disciples scattered.

Pride was one of Peter’s weaknesses.  He proclaimed that the Lord could count on him, and he would never deny Him. Peter was unable to back up those words with actions, so he slid further down the slippery slope of faithfulness. He was unaware that Satan planned to sift him like wheat. The wiles of the devil were later reported by Peter when he wrote,  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” 1 Peter 5:8 NKJV Another downfall of Peter’s was his lack of prayer.  Jesus went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour?  Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation, and Peter said, The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:39-41 NKJV When we neglect our prayer life we are venerable to Satan’s assaults.

  When we love this world and it’s pleasures we are exposing ourselves to temptation. Anytime we fellowship with enemies of the Lord we are asking for trouble. After Jesus was arrested Peter followed Him from afar trying not to let any of Christ’s enemies know who he was. We follow Jesus from afar when we neglect our Bible studies. Without DBS&P, (daily Bible study and prayer) the Holy Spirit cannot have it’s work in us. He cannot lead us, and He cannot protect us from evil. Have you ever been in a situation where you had to deny God. This is the place where Peter found himself that night. All of his boasting amounted to nothing because he was relying on his own strength instead of God’s power

Thanks be to our Lord Jesus Christ for His willingness to forgive us for denying Him. We have all done it, and it hurts now when we look back on our behavior. Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly. Matthew 26:75 NKJV It hurts because we know what Christ did for us, and we know because our self confidence got in the way. Fortunately for us God knows the ending from the beginning. Just as the Lord revealed to Peter that he would deny Him, Jesus eased Peter back into the fold, and his restoration into fellowship with the Lord came while they ate breakfast on the beach. Three times Jesus asked Peter did he love Him. Three denials, and three confessions. After the third time Peter started to cry and said, “Lord you know all things. You know I love you.”

We have the anger of Moses. We have David who was  an adulterer and a murderer. There was Jacob who betrayed his own family and, of course, Peter who denied Christ three times. These men were just like you and me. We are sinners, and there is no possible way while we reside in these bodies of flesh that we will ever be able to please God. These men are in heaven with their Lord, loving and serving Him, but each of them failed God in some manner. My friend, there is hope for you and for me. We can regain our fellowship with Christ. It is never too late this side of heaven for us to repent of our sins and turn towards Christ. He is our propitiation. Through His sacrificial death He appeased our heavenly Father’s demand for a sinless sacrifice to pay the price for our sins. We may now walk in peace because our sins are forgiven us.

Won’t you pray with me.

Dear heavenly Father, Thank you for the testimony of these men. Thank You for helping me understand there is nothing I can do to save myself, and I am in need of a Savior. Thank You, Father, for sacrificing Your only Son so that I can come back into fellowship with You. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

 

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