Breaking Into Prison

“Have you not brought this on yourself, in that you have forsaken the LORD your God when He led you in the way? And now why take the road to Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? Or why take the road to Assyria, to drink the waters of the River? Your own wickedness will correct you, and your backslidings will rebuke you. Know therefore and see that it is an evil and bitter thing that you have forsaken the LORD your God, and the fear of Me is not in you,” says the Lord GOD of hosts. – Jeremiah 2:17-19 NKJV.

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. – 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NKJV.

A strange thing happened in Vienna, Austria. A 23-year-old man, Detlef Federsohn, has been arrested for trying to break into jail. Detlef had served two years in the Josefstadt Prison for theft prior to his release and his rearrest. Police officers found Detlef on the roof of the prison trying to break in, trying to get back into prison. Federsohn said this in response to questions about his strange behavior, “Life is so much easier on the inside. They feed you, do your washing and let you watch TV, which I can tell you is a lot more than my mum does. So I thought if I could sneak back in, I would blend in with the others and the (guards) wouldn’t notice.”

Backsliding is a word that is not used much anymore but it does not mean that backsliding among Christians has stopped. Backsliding is the Christian equivalent  to what Detlef Federsohn was trying to do. Detlef wanted to return to his familiar surroundings in prison with all of his prison friends, and prison food. Christians sometimes try to do the same thing. They try to go back down to Egypt, they try to go back to being fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, sodomites, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners. However, once you have been born again (John 3:3), you cannot become unborn. Once you have eternal life (John 3:16) it cannot become uneternal life or it would not have been eternal life to begin with.

What happens when a Christian begins to backslide is misery begins to set in. Lot is an example of what it is like to live in the midst of wickedness. While Lot may not have participated, he was certainly in the midst of it living in Sodom and Gomorrah. The apostle Peter writes of this situation by saying, “…and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds) (2 Peter 2:7-8).” Just being around the wickedness was enough to torment the soul of Lot. How much worse it would have been if Lot had actually been participating in the evil? It is even worse for the Christian who tries to go back to the evil lifestyle that God brought them out of through their believing in Jesus Christ.

The backslidden Christian will never have peace and will always have a tormented soul. In addition, their backsliding opens them up to the discipline of the Lord (Hebrews 12). So, if you’ve gone down to Egypt and are trying to find a way back into your former prison of sin – the chains have been broken. Stop trying to wrap them back around yourself! Stop trying to make yourself miserable! How do you stop? You turn back to the Lord! You ask Him for help. As the apostle Peter says just after talking about Lot’s tormented soul, “…the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations (2 Peter 2:9a)….” God knows what you need, He has what you need, and He is able to deliver you. Let Him!!

(Backsliding is an old fashioned word that we do not like to hear. However, it still adequately describes what many Christians are trying to do by living on the fence between good and evil.)

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