The experience of taking a fall or tumble is a universal one. We all can relate to the experience of falling out of a tree house, losing our balance while on a ladder, or tripping on an object in a dark room. If you have ever attempted to learn skating, snowboarding, skiing, or any other sport, you know what it feels like to lose your center of gravity and wipe out!
What we have all experienced physically is also a reality in the spiritual realm. The Bible emphatically testifies to this reality. Biblical examples come swiftly to mind, and church history is also replete with examples of spiritual failure.
- For instance, Adoniram Judson, one of America’s most famous missionaries to Burma, had a crisis of faith after his wife died on the mission field. At one of his lowest points, he recorded that he could not find God and believed Him to be unknowable.
- F.B. Meyer, a well-known preacher around D.L. Moody’s time, freely admitted that he fell into great jealousy of G. Campbell Morgan’s Bible conference ministry.
- Carl Gutzlaff, the man who Hudson Taylor proclaimed as the grandfather of China’s Inland Mission, knowingly came back and reported inflated numbers of converts on the mission field.
- C.T. Studd, well-known pioneer missionary to Africa, became a morphine addict and had to be removed from the mission field completely.
So falling into sin and spiritually meager times can happen to anyone, even to some of what we would call God’s choicest servants.
Scripture is our clearest and most powerful voice, admonishing us to beware of our spiritual footing:
1 Corinthians 10:12
Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.
2 Peter 3:17
You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.
Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
This will be post #1 on several pertaining to GETTING BACK UP after one falls into sin that debilitates one spiritually. I plan to systematically go through a plan on how to counsel someone who has experienced a spiritual fall, whether “great” or “small”. I am so thankful that Scripture points us to Christ as our Savior from past, present and future sin. Before I get into the steps for next post, this first post will deal with assurance of salvation.
The first place to start and end with any problem for a believer who has fallen into sin is the gospel. When believers fall into a sin, one of the most common questions people repeatedly ask is, “Am I saved?”
An important reminder on the issue of assurance: The Bible does not keep asking us, “Are you saved?” That is generally the wrong question. From one standpoint, it frankly is none of our business. We cannot save ourselves. Salvation is God’s gracious work on our behalf.
What we need to ask ourselves and others as they struggle through assurance is, “Do you believe?” Scripture asks us time and time again, “Do you believe?” The attestation of Scripture is that if you believe, then you are saved. The saving is God’s part; the believing is the part you need to be asking yourself about and examining yourself over.
So what do you believe? Do you doubt that the Son of God took flesh? Do you question whether He was conceived of a virgin? Do you deny His blood atonement? Do you question the bodily resurrection? Are you skeptical about the Ascension and the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ? If you do question these things, then you should be concerned with your eternal destiny.
I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” John 8:24
I want to be clear: there are only two classes of people in this world, so don’t think that you fit in a third category. There are those who believe the gospel and those who do not. There is no group of people who truly believe and are truly lost. On the other hand, there exists no group of people who do not believe the gospel and yet are somehow saved. These are mutually exclusive categories.
I John 5:10 proclaims:
Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son.
I John 5:13 gives us the positive side:
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.
Only two categories. You fit in one or the other.
If you fit in the category of unbelief, you will never have consistent victory over sin, and the power of Christ and Scripture will have no hold on your life. You will continually give in to your sin and feel little to no remorse. The end is eternal death. In order to be free from the power and bondage of sin, one must repent of their sin and believe the gospel. It is impossible to be victorious over the flesh and one’s sin if God has not fundamentally transformed a heart (2 Corinthians 5:17).
On the other hand, if you are a believer in Christ Jesus and profess faith in Him, be reminded from the lives of Abraham, Sarah, David, Jeremiah, Jonah, Peter and John Mark. They all faltered, faced harsh consequences, and yet in the end persevered. None of them were even close to perfect, but they never abandoned their faith in God. It was God’s grace that kept them and never abandoned them. Their faith and belief was rightly placed in line with Scripture and God’s promises.
Know that in love God gave His son and justified the ungodly. We can be thankful that in graciousness God included the struggles, falls and tragedies of His own people, so that we may take heart that there is forgiveness and restoration for anyone who will repent and believe the gospel. May those who do not believe run to Christ and seek forgiveness before it’s too late. May believers confess and forsake their sin today and not presume upon God’s grace and make no provision for the flesh.