Hope for the Backslider
A backslider, if there is a spark of life left in him, will groan for restoration. In this renewal the same exercise of grace is required as at our conversion. We needed repentance then; we certainly need it now. We required faith that we might come to Christ at first; only the same grace can bring us to Jesus now. We needed a word from the Most High, a word from the lip of the loving One, to end our fears then; we shall soon discover, when under a sense of present sin, that we need it now. No man can be renewed without as real and true a manifestation of the Holy Spirit's energy as he felt at first, because the work is as great, and flesh and blood are as much in the way now as they ever were.
Let your personal weakness, Christian, be an argument to make you pray sincerely to your God for help. Remember, David when he felt himself to be powerless did not fold his arms or close his lips, but he hurried to the mercy-seat crying, "renew a right spirit within me." Do not allow the doctrine that you, unaided, can do nothing make you sleep; but let it be a goad in your side to drive you with an awful earnestness to Israel's strong Helper. O that you may have grace to plead with God, as though you pleaded for your very life-"renew a right spirit within me." He who sincerely prays to God to do this will prove his honesty by using the means through which God works.
Be much in prayer; live constantly on the Word of God; kill the lusts that have driven your Lord from you; be careful to watch over the future uprisings of sin. The Lord has His own appointed ways; sit by the wayside, and you will be ready when He passes by. Continue in all those blessed ordinances that will foster and nourish your dying graces; and knowing that all the power must proceed from Him, do not cease to cry, "Renew a right spirit within me."
verse 1 2 Kings 13
verse 2 Timothy 3
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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.