Ministering to the Backslider-Part One

In this nugget we will discuss how to minister to a backslider.

We should define what a backslider is. One of the ways to define a backslider is to define what they are not.

A backslider is not a person who struggles with sin. A person can be committed to Jesus Christ but have a struggle with certain sins, habits, or behaviors in their life.
Read Romans 7:14-8:1. All of us would agree that Apostle Paul was a man sold out for Jesus and was not a backslider. But at times he struggled.

For we know that the Law is spiritual; but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. [15] For that which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. [16] But if I do the very thing I do not wish to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that it is good. [17] So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which indwells me. [18] For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. [19] For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish. [20] But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. [21] I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good. [22] For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, [23] but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. [24] Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? [25] Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. [8:1] There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
If there are things that a person is doing that they wish they were not doing, and they are going to God for help, then they are not a backslider.

A Christian who is hopeless is not necessarily a backslider. Because of trials and circumstances a Christian can sometimes feel hopeless. This does not mean they have walked away from God. Yes, they may be having a hard time to trust God in the midst of their circumstances, but it does not mean they have walked away from God.
They should not be told that they are a backslider. Instead they should be given encouragement. Here are some verses to give hope. 

Romans 5:1-5
Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, [2] through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. [3] And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; [4] and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; [5] and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Romans 15:13
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

2 Cor. 1:10
who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us,


A backslider is not a person who has committed the unpardonable sin. They have not committed the unpardonable sin because they still can experience the convicting power of the Holy Spirit and there are times they wish they could get back into a right relationship with God. They usually want out of the mess their end, but are too entangled in sin. Ultimately they must make a choice to repent. A backslider can at anytime repent and be forgiven by God, and start over in their walk with Jesus. A person who has committed the unpardonable sin (blasphemy of the Holy Spirit) has no desire to repent. They no longer experience the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. Their heart is so hard that they deny the fact they ever accepted Christ into their life. A person who has committed the unpardonable sin does not worry if they have committed the unpardonable sin. A backslider will at times be concerned that they have walked too far from God.

In the next nugget we will discuss what a backslider is and how they can come back to God.


Copyright @ 2001 Richard D. Dover. All rights reserved.
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Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations used are from the New American Standard Version (NAS)