Evening Reading for March 25

John 6:66-71
Suggested further reading: Matthew 13:18-23

What an old sin backsliding is! We read that when our Lord had explained what he meant by `eating and drinking his flesh and blood', `from that time many went back and walked no more with him'.

The true grace of God no doubt is an everlasting possession. From this men never fall away entirely when they have once received it. `The foundation of God standeth sure' (2 Tim. 2:19). `My sheep shall never perish' (John 10:28). But there is counterfeit grace and unreal religion in the church, wherever there is true, and from counterfeit grace thousands may and do fall away. Like the stony-ground hearers in the parable of the sower, many `have no root in themselves, and so in time of temptation fall away'. All is not gold that glitters. All blossoms do not come to fruit. All are not Israel which are called Israel. Men may have feelings, desires, convictions, resolutions, hopes, joys, sorrows in religion and yet never have the grace of God. They may run well for a season and bid fair to reach heaven and yet break down entirely after a time, go back to the world and end like Demas, Judas Iscariot and Lot's wife.

It must never surprise us to see and hear of such cases in our own days. If it happened in our Lord's time and under our Lord's teaching, much more may we expect it to happen now. Above all, it must never shake our faith and discourage us in our course. On the contrary, we must make up our minds that there will be backsliders in the church as long as the world stands. The sneering infidel who defends his unbelief by pointing at them must find some better argument than their example. He forgets that there will always be counterfeit coin where there is true money.

For meditation: Machines that are never serviced prove inefficient and break down. Christians that neglect their relationship with God decline and grow cold.

These readings (ISBN: 0 85234 420 1) are copyrighted and made available with permission by
Evangelical Press; 12 Wooler St., Darlington, Co, Durham, England, DL1 1RQ